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Soccer

James Rodriguez signs 6-year deal with Real Madrid

Colombia forward James Rodriguez signs 6-year deal to play at Real Madrid
Harold Heckle, The Associated Press

MADRID - A week after finishing the World Cup as the tournament's top scorer with six goals, Colombia forward James Rodriguez signed a six-year deal with Real Madrid on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old Rodriguez, who helped Colombia reach the quarterfinals in Brazil, passed a medical examination at the Sanitas Clinic in the northern suburb of La Moraleja.

"I'm very happy," Rodriguez said as he left the clinic. "Everything went well."

Dunga returns for second stint as Brazil coach

After Scolari resignation, Dunga hired for second stint as Brazil coach following Cup flop
Stephen Wade, The Associated Press

RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazil is bringing back Dunga to coach the national football team, four years after he was fired from the same job.

Tuesday's hiring comes two weeks after Brazil was eliminated from the World Cup in a humiliating 7-1 loss to Germany in the semifinals.

The 50-year-old Dunga replaces Luiz Felipe Scolari, who resigned last week after Brazil failed to win football's premier event on its home soil.

Shakhtar midfielder says players' lives at risk

Brazilian midfielder Douglas Costa says Shakhtar players' lives at risk in Ukrainian conflict
The Associated Press

Douglas Costa says he and his fellow players who are refusing to return to Ukrainian champion Shakhtar Donetsk do so because the conflict in the country puts their lives at risk.

Costa and five other South American players refused to leave France last weekend with the rest of the team to return to Donetsk for Shakhtar's first match of the season on Tuesday.

Steven Gerrard retires from international football

England captain Steven Gerrard retires from international football to concentrate on Liverpool
The Associated Press

LONDON - England captain Steven Gerrard announced his retirement from international football on Monday to focus on playing for Liverpool.

The 34-year-old midfielder made 114 appearances for England over 14 years.

Gerrard said he "agonized" over his future after the World Cup in Brazil, where England went out after the first round.

He told the Football Association that "this has been a very difficult decision, one of the toughest I've had to make in my career."

6 South Americans refuse to return to Donetsk club

6 South American players risk fines, suspensions after refusing to return to Ukrainian club
James Ellingworth, The Associated Press

MOSCOW - Six South Americans — five Brazilians and one Argentine — have refused to return to Ukraine to play for their football club in the troubled city of Donetsk, risking possible fines and suspensions for breach of contract.

The players remained in France following Ukrainian league champion Shakhtar Donetsk's friendly against Lyon on Saturday. The Ukrainian military is attempting to retake Donetsk in the east of the country from pro-Russian rebels.

Shakhtar players refuse to return to Ukraine

6 Shakhtar Donetsk players refuse to return to Ukraine for new season
The Associated Press

MOSCOW - Shakhtar Donetsk's owner says six players have refused to return to Ukraine for the new season as conflict rages around the club's home city.

Five Brazilian and one Argentine player remained in France following a friendly against Olympique Lyon on Saturday.

"If they don't come then in the first instance they will suffer," the club's billionaire owner Rinat Akhmetov said in a statement on the Shakhtar website.

2 Newcastle fans flying to games killed in crash

2 Newcastle fans flying to EPL team's games in NZ among victims of Malaysia Airlines disaster
The Associated Press

LONDON - Two Newcastle fans flying to watch the team play in New Zealand were among the 298 people killed on the Malaysia Airlines jet shot down near the Ukraine-Russia border, the English Premier League club said on Friday.

Replica jerseys and flowers were left outside Newcastle's St. James' Park after the team named the fans on Thursday's Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur flight as John Alder and Liam Sweeney. Ages were not given.

Germany top of FIFA rankings after World Cup win

Germany replaces Spain at top of FIFA rankings after winning World Cup
The Associated Press

ZURICH - Germany climbed to the top of the FIFA rankings on Thursday after winning the World Cup for the first time in 24 years, while several European rivals paid the price for their dismal performances in Brazil.

Germany, which beat Argentina 1-0 on Sunday to win a fourth World Cup, replaced deposed champion Spain in first place. Argentina jumped three places into second in the rankings, while the Netherlands soared 12 spots into third after beating host Brazil to clinch third place.

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