1 Abidal recovering after transplant operation
Eric Abidal is recovering in hospital after receiving part of his cousin Gerard’s liver in a transplant operation.
“Both Abidal and his cousin are improving although I can’t give more information at the request of the family,” Barcelona president Sandro Rosell said.
A year ago, 32-year-old Abidal had a tumour removed from his liver but it was announced last month that he needed a transplant.
Abidal received a moving tribute from fans at Barca’s 4-0 victory over Getafe on Tuesday night. In the 22nd minute – his squad number is 22 – they held up signs that read “Courage Abidal, see you in Munich”.
Barcelona face Chelsea in the semi-final of the Champions League. The Final is in Munich on May 19.
2 Liverpool recall keeper Gulacsi
No, Liverpool aren’t reminiscing again. They’ve recalled keeper Peter Gulacsi from his loan spell at Hull to act as a backup to third-choice Brad Jones because Pepe Reina and Alexander Doni are both suspended for Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Everton at Wembley.
Gulacsi was on a season-long loan at Hull but picked up a knee injury and has not played since New Year’s Eve. The 21-year-old Hungarian, who has also had loan spells at Hereford and Tranmere, is yet to make his first-team debut for Liverpool.
3 Spain stay top of FIFA rankings
In the latest FIFA world rankings, England have dropped down to seventh place. World champions Spain are still top, with Germany up into second. South American champions Uruguay are third, ahead of Holland in fourth.
Brazil have slipped to sixth, while Italy have dropped out of the top 10, to 12th place.
Ivory Coast are the best-placed African team on the list, in 15th place, despite losing the recent African Nations Cup Final to Zambia (40th).
4 Rumour of the day: Ronaldinho to leave Flamengo
Reports in Brazil suggest Ronaldinho could be on the verge of leaving Flamengo.
The former World Player of the Year is under contract to the Rio de Janeiro club until 2014 but has had much-publicised problems with payment of his wages.
Flamengo are currently bottom of their Libertadores Cup group and failure to progress to the quarter-finals could give Ronaldinho the excuse he needs to leave the club.
A move to Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala, where his former Brazil team-mate Roberto Carlos has acted as caretaker coach, could a possibility, according to reports.
5 Afellay cleared to play again
Barcelona’s Dutch midfielder Ibrahim Afellay has been given the green light to play again, seven months after a serious knee injury put his participation at Euro 2012 in doubt.
Afellay was a member of Barcelona’s squad to play the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final again Milan but he did not make the bench.
6 Breno could go to jail for up to years
Bayern Munich’s defender Breno could be sent to prison for as long as 15 years after he was been charged with arson.
Breno was charged by Munich prosecutors after his rented villa burned down last year. They say the charge of aggravated arson carries a possible prison sentence of one to 15 years.
Breno has been treated for depression since the fire last September.
7 Wagner Love tells all in Playboy
It didn’t take long for Wagner Love to hit the headlines following his return to Brazil from CSKA Moscow.
The Flamengo striker has given an interview to the Brazilian edition of Playboy in which he claims that orgies involving players are commonplace.
“For every six men, there are eight women,” he says.
8 Chievo defend ballboy refusenik
Chievo have leapt to the defence of the ballboy who refused to accept Sulley Muntari’s shirt after Tuesday’s game against Milan, saying he was only following club policy.
Muntari scored the only goal of the game in Verona. As he left the field on the final whistle, he took off his shirt and offered it to one of the home side’s ballboys. The kid attempted to hand back the shirt to Muntari, only to be persuaded to hold on to it by a fellow ball boy.
Chievo responded with a statement on their website: “The behavior of the ball boy in question is only a result of directives that the club provided to young players at the start of the season, that is not to ask for Chievo jerseys or jerseys from the opposition so as not to disturb players still grappling with post-game emotions.”
“The strange thing is that the child, a young player of Chievo’s footballing school, is actually a fan of AC Milan.”
9 Goal of the day
A stunning 40-year free-kick by Dorlan Pabon for Atletico Nacional in the Libertadores Cup against Penarol. See it hereSubscribe today to World Soccer Magazine - The unrivalled authority on the game of soccer