Diego Maradona has pledged to work with all of his "heart and soul" for Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata after taking over as the club's head coach.

Former Argentina star Maradona last coached Mexican side Dorados, but left in June due to health reasons.

The 58-year-old former Argentina boss has now stepped back into a coaching role, this time with struggling Superliga team Gimnasia.

Following the announcement, Maradona used his official Instagram account to share his delight at the new post.

"Finally, now it is official. I'm very happy to be the new coach of Gimnasia," Maradona's post read.

"I want to thank president Gabriel Pellegrino for this opportunity and I want to tell the fans that I will work with all my soul and heart for El Lobo. A hug and thank you very much!"

Gimnasia are bottom of the Superliga with just one point from their first five games this season, with Racing Club set to be Maradona's first opponents.

The club's president Pellegrino believes Maradona's appointment is the boost Gimnasia require following their poor start.

"I have a huge satisfaction because I found a father figure for the club," Pellegrino said.

"We talked about the details and he was constantly talking about the fans. It's all positive. We are in a difficult time and we need someone really strong.

"We thought of him, we called him and he was the first to say that he wanted to take care of this moment for Gimnasia."

Lionel Messi headlines the final three for the Puskas Award, given to the scorer of the best goal of the season.

A panel of FIFA and external football experts selected 10 goals to put to a public vote and three of those remain in the running after seven were cut on Monday.

Barcelona icon Messi is the big name still in the hunt, while Juan Fernando Quintero of River Plate and Colombia and Hungarian rookie Daniel Zsori join him.

The winner will be announced on September 23 at The Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony and we have the lowdown on each of the three still in with a chance…

Lionel Messi (Barcelona) v Real Betis – March 17, 2019

We have become so accustomed to Messi's brilliance that he makes the extraordinary seem normal, but his hat-trick clincher in March's 4-1 win at Betis was pure genius. After receiving a cut-back from Ivan Rakitic, he caressed a first-time chipped effort over Pau Lopez and in off the crossbar from about 18 yards when shooting through a crowded penalty area looked an impossibility.

 

Juan Fernando Quintero (River Plate) v Racing Club – February 10, 2019

A former so-called 'wonderkid' who went off the boil before enjoying a resurgence, Quintero has had a fine couple of years. A playmaker with an eye for the spectacular, his free-kick against Racing in the 2-0 Superliga win in February was quintessential Quintero – from about 35 yards out on the right flank, his left-footed strike bent inside the top-right corner in a remarkable display of accuracy.

 

Daniel Zsori (Debrecen) v Ferencvaros – February 16, 2019

Eighteen-year-old Zsori announced himself to Hungarian football in astonishing fashion in February. On his league debut, the attacker met a cross from deep with an overhead-kick just inside the area, picking out the top-far corner in stoppage time to secure a 2-1 win.

Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic lead the names nominated for FIFA's Puskas Award, given to the scorer of the best goal of the season.

A panel of FIFA and external football experts selected 10 goals to put to a public vote, with the efforts ranging from the sublime to the outrageous.

Barcelona icon Messi is nominated for the fourth time in five years, while three female players are included after there were none up for the award last year.

All goals selected for consideration were scored between July 16, 2018 and July 19, 2019, and we have the low down on each one, with voting open until September 2…

 

Matheus Cunha (RB Leipzig) v Bayern Leverkusen – April 6, 2019

Brazilian midfield Cunha dazzled the Leverkusen defence in April's 4-2 win as he latched on to a pass in from the left, beat a defender with a pirouette and then found the net with a sumptuous chip.

 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA Galaxy) v Toronto – September 15, 2018

Ibrahimovic has always been synonymous with the extravagant. His goal in last year's 5-3 defeat to Toronto is up there with his best. The Swedish forward got on the end of Jonathan dos Santos' lofted throughball and, despite initially looking set to take it down on his chest, he spun and guided the ball into the net acrobatically. His penchant for martial arts was immediately noticeable from the finish.

 

Lionel Messi (Barcelona) v Real Betis – March 17, 2019

We have become so accustomed to Messi's brilliance that he makes the extraordinary seem normal, but his hat-trick clincher in March's 4-1 win at Betis was pure genius. After receiving a cut-back from Ivan Rakitic, he caressed a first-time chipped effort over Pau Lopez and in off the crossbar from about 18 yards when shooting through a crowded penalty area looked an impossibility.

 

Ajara Nchout (Cameroon Women) v New Zealand Women – June 20, 2019

Arguably the standout goal of the Women's World Cup was also a vital winner. With Cameroon being held to a 1-1 draw, Nchout – who also got her team's first – embarked on a mazy run, beating her marker twice with sharp turns before guiding a composed finish in to seal a late 2-1 win and book their place in the knockout phase of the competition.

 

Fabio Quagliarella (Sampdoria) v Napoli – September 2, 2018

Quagliarella went on to have the best season of his career at the ripe old age of 36 last term, scoring 26 times. We should have seen the early signs, as his first of the campaign was a truly special effort. Against his former club Napoli, Quagliarella met Bartosz Bereszynski's right-wing cross with an airborne back-heeled effort from 12 yards that left the goalkeeper helpless.

 

Juan Fernando Quintero (River Plate) v Racing Club – February 10, 2019

A former so-called 'wonderkid' who went off the boil before enjoying a resurgence, Quintero has had a fine couple of years. A playmaker with an eye for the spectacular, his free-kick against Racing in the 2-0 Superliga win in February was quintessential Quintero – from about 35 yards out on the right flank, his left-footed strike bent inside the top-right corner in a remarkable display of accuracy.

 

Amy Rodriguez (Utah Royals) v Sky Blue FC – June 16, 2019

After picking up possession inside her own half, Rodriguez cleverly side-stepped a defender and burst into the attack. She got to the final third and, sensing little support, let fly with a left-footed screamer that nestled in the top-right corner.

Billie Simpson (Cliftonville Ladies) v Sion Swift Ladies – August 9, 2018

A truly ridiculous goal. Straight from the opposing goal-kick, Simpson volleyed it right back in the opposite direction, catching it perfectly with a ferocious volley that caught the goalkeeper completely off guard.

 

Daniel Zsori (Debrecen) v Ferencvaros – February 16, 2019

Eighteen-year-old Zsori announced himself to Hungarian football in astonishing fashion in February. On his league debut, the attacker met a cross from deep with an overhead-kick just inside the area, picking out the top-far corner in stoppage time to secure a 2-1.

Boca Juniors star Daniele De Rossi made his league debut for the club in a 2-0 win over Aldosivi at La Bombonera on Sunday.

De Rossi made his first appearance for Boca in their shock penalty shoot-out defeat to Almagro in the Copa Argentina on Tuesday.

The 36-year-old, who left boyhood club Roma for Boca, marked his bow with a goal in that match against the second-tier side.

But De Rossi had his first proper taste of life at Boca as he stepped out onto the famous La Bombonera turf in Buenos Aires for his first league match.

Former Italy international De Rossi played the full 90 minutes in a Superliga Argentina victory sealed by Carlos Tevez and Eduardo Salvio.

Ex-Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus forward Tevez opened the scoring in the 34th minute before substitute Salvio made it 2-0 with 12 minutes remaining as Boca made it two wins from three matches in the league.

Boca, who are unbeaten, are third as they eye their first Superliga crown since 2017-18 and 34th overall.

Dario Benedetto has sealed his reported €14million move from Boca Juniors to Marseille, becoming Andre Villas-Boas' second signing in France.

Argentina international Benedetto joins centre-back Alvaro Gonzalez in moving to Marseille, where he will hope to go some way towards replacing Mario Balotelli.

Balotelli scored eight goals in 15 Ligue 1 matches in an entertaining stint with the club. He left when his contract expired at the end of last season.

Benedetto has taken the number nine shirt worn by the Italian, who has been linked with a switch to Flamengo.

Benedetto has taken the number nine shirt worn by the Italian, who has been linked with a switch to Flamengo.

Benedetto scored 30 goals in 34 appearances across his first two Superliga campaigns with Boca but was on target just twice in 15 outings in 2018-19 after returning from knee and Achilles injuries.

He played a starring role in Boca's run to the 2018 Copa Libertadores final, scoring in the second leg as arch-rivals River Plate won the trophy.

Marseille have endured a tough pre-season and coach Villas-Boas acknowledged star players could yet be sold to the Premier League following a friendly loss to Napoli.

Daniele De Rossi believes he has chosen to continue his career with "the craziest fans in football" after joining Boca Juniors following his Roma departure.

The 36-year-old midfielder had spent his entire professional career at Roma, having come through their academy, but they opted to let him leave on a free transfer and that sparked protests from supporters.

Initially the former Italy international looked destined to retire, but Boca emerged as a potential destination, and it soon became apparent De Rossi had long desired to represent Los Xeneizes.

De Rossi was given a hero's welcome upon his arrival in Buenos Aires, and Boca confirmed his signing on Thursday after he agreed a 12-month contract.

He was officially presented to the media on Monday and highlighted the influence of Boca sporting director Nicolas Burdisso – a former Roma team-mate of De Rossi's – and the passion of the fans in his decision to sign.

 Con este emotivo video, el club sorprendió a Daniele De Rossi en medio de la conferencia de prensa. ¡No te lo pierdas! pic.twitter.com/vwfnjQf3Sy

— Boca Jrs. Oficial (@BocaJrsOficial) July 29, 2019

"These days I think I want to be inside this stadium, to know deeply what it means," he told reporters.

"The reception at the airport was incredible. I can't thank you enough other than by doing my job as seriously as I can. I have to be serious to show that we all made a good choice.

"From time to time we talked, Nicolas and I. First, I said yes after I left Roma, but then I asked him if I could think about it a little more.

"Being 36 years old and changing everything at once was something that could scare me, but this place stimulates me, and Nicolas was my guarantee.

"He told me that they are professionals in Boca and I believe him. He is my friend; he would not have brought me to a place where I wouldn't fit in.

"Estoy muy feliz de estar acá" | Daniele De Rossi fue presentado este lunes en conferencia de prensa y brindó sus primeras palabras como jugador Xeneize.

  https://t.co/yUNjUqBHjK pic.twitter.com/pUVAYLuk2b

— Boca Jrs. Oficial (@BocaJrsOficial) July 29, 2019

"I need serious people, with a structure similar to that in Europe, and what I have seen here is that, a suitable place to work.

"I asked myself many times. I lived for 20 years in a country where football is lived 24 hours a day.

"I could have chosen a much quieter place to relax, but I only know one way: seriousness, and then I chose to come to a place with the craziest fans in football."

Boca Juniors are unwilling to rush Daniele De Rossi's debut, with the midfielder set to make his first appearance for the South American giants in mid-August.

The Roma and Italy great signed with Boca last week after his 18-season stay with the Serie A giants came to an end.

However, De Rossi must wait for his debut, with the club eyeing their Copa Argentina clash against Almagro on August 13 as a possible first appearance for the 36-year-old.

"We are testing him. He is in an evaluation period," Boca coach Gustavo Alfaro told a news conference after his side drew 0-0 with Huracan on Sunday.

"We are evaluating him because he has a really good attitude and he shows himself eager to work. We are looking at his physical conditions.

"So, based on this I was talking with his trainer to see how possible it is to get him ready to play against Almagro in the Copa Argentina. That's in 18 days, it was 18 days when I talked to him. I asked him if we can get him fit in 18 days.

"We are working on this premise, so he can get onto the pitch at that time so he can play."

Daniele De Rossi says he is fulfilling a dream by joining Boca Juniors.

The veteran midfielder was confirmed as a Boca player on Thursday after leaving boyhood club Roma at the end of his contract.

The 2006 World Cup winner was tempted by the prospect of a switch to MLS, with Los Angeles FC said to have been interested in his signature.

However, the 36-year-old has followed his heart by moving to the Bombonera to play for a club co-founded by Italians at the beginning of the last century.

In a special video released to mark his arrival at Boca, De Rossi said: "My heart is Roma, but I've really liked Boca since I was a boy. For [Diego] Maradona, for the stadium, because I love the stadium, I love the fans, who are passionate.

"It's a club founded by Italians that has made me feel at home, a big club, one you can believe in.

"I'd love to go to America, but to climb those stairs, go out into the Bombonera with the Boca players... that would be a pleasure.

"The most important thing in life is to be able to achieve all your dreams. Thank you, Boca."

Manchester United may have identified a potential replacement for Romelu Lukaku.

Lukaku has been heavily linked with a switch to Inter, although progress on the striker's potential move from Old Trafford has been slow.

However, United are preparing if the Belgium international does depart, with Moussa Dembele reportedly on their shortlist.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UNITED EYE DEMBELE AS LUKAKU REPLACEMENT

Lyon striker Dembele will be on Manchester United's shortlist if they sell Lukaku to Inter, according to Sky Sports News.

The former Fulham and Celtic striker enjoyed a fine first season with the Ligue 1 giants, scoring 20 goals in all competitions.

United have also been linked to Lille's Nicolas Pepe, but the report says they see Dembele as a better replacement for Lukaku.

ROUND-UP

- Mauro Icardi is almost certain to leave Inter and the forward was contacted by Boca Juniors, according to Fox Sports Argentina. However, they say Icardi will not make the move to his homeland.

- Another forward set for a possible move is Radamel Falcao. According to Soccer Link, Valencia have expressed an interest in the Monaco star.

- Barcelona have continually been linked with a move for Real Betis left-back Junior Firpo and, according to Sport, the defender is their priority. The Spain Under-21 international is seen as a possible future replacement for Jordi Alba, but Barca reportedly do not want to pay more than €20million, even though Junior's release clause is said to be closer to €50m.

- Wilfried Zaha is a reported target for Arsenal, but it seems Everton could be ready to pounce to sign the Crystal Palace star. The Daily Mail says Everton are prepared to make an opening offer of £55m.

- Rafinha has options should he want to move from Barcelona. According to Sport, the midfielder has offers from Valencia and Serie A clubs Atalanta and Fiorentina.

- Borussia Dortmund want to land Barcelona attacker Malcom. According to Goal, Dortmund could pay €42m for Malcom, just a year after the 22-year-old made the move from Bordeaux for the same fee.

Daniele De Rossi has extended his 18-year professional career by joining Boca Juniors in Argentina.

The former Italy international left hometown club Roma at the end of last season after learning his contract would not be renewed.

Revered at Stadio Olimpico, where he debuted in October 2001, the 36-year-old De Rossi will prolong his playing days at the equally iconic La Bombonera after signing a deal on Thursday.

He arrives in Buenos Aires as a World Cup winner who won Coppa Italia twice and the Supercoppa Italiana with the Giallorossi.

Using Opta data, we take a look at the dependable, highly decorated and vastly experienced midfielder Boca have gained.

616 - De Rossi played 616 times for Roma in all competitions, albeit still 170 short of the club's record appearance maker Francesco Totti.

61 - The midfielder has, however, featured in more Champions League/European Cup matches than any other Roma player. His tally of 61 is four more than Totti managed.

459 - In total, De Rossi featured in 459 Serie A games for Roma.

249 - With De Rossi in their side, Roma won 249 league matches. They lost on 99 occasions and had 111 draws.

63 - De Rossi scored 63 goals for Roma in his 18-year spell in the first-team – 43 of those were in Serie A, with 13 in European competitions.

117 - Only three players have won more Italy caps than De Rossi's 117. They are Gianluigi Buffon (176), Fabio Cannavaro (136) and Paolo Maldini (126).

21 - De Rossi found the net against 21 of the 40 teams he faced in Serie A. He also managed 21 international goals.

4 - Chievo were De Rossi's favourite opponents when it came to getting himself on the scoresheet, as the holding midfielder netted four times in 24 league appearances against them.

355 - Only two players in Roma's history – De Rossi and Totti – have made at least 500 appearances for the club. De Rossi also played alongside the forward 355 times in Serie A.

Daniele De Rossi has completed his move to Boca Juniors, the club have confirmed.

De Rossi was a free agent after being released at the end of his Roma contract.

Only Francesco Totti had made more appearances for the Giallorossi than De Rossi, who was Roma's captain.

The former Italy midfielder, who won the World Cup in 2006, had initially been expected to retire, but he was also linked with Fiorentina.

But it became clear he was heading to Boca on Thursday when his arrival at an Argentina airport sparked huge celebrations.

De Rossi's arrival was then made official by Boca, with the 36-year-old reported to have signed a deal to March 2020.

His move to Boca is expected to pave the way for Uruguay international Nahitan Nandez to join Serie A side Cagliari.

Boca Juniors president Daniel Angelici believes a deal for former Roma icon Daniele de Rossi is all but sealed.

Sporting director Nicolas Burdisso spoke last month of his desire to see De Rossi join Boca after the World Cup winner left boyhood club Roma.

And despite reports the Italian would instead retire, links to the Argentine giants have persisted.

Angelici now hopes a move is close, claiming negotiations are 99 per cent of the way.

"The negotiations for De Rossi are well under way," he told TyC Sports. "In the coming days, he will fly to Buenos Aires.

"It is 99 per cent that Daniele will be a Boca player.

"To have a world champion say he wants to finish his career here fills me with pride. It is good for Argentine football to have a player like this."

De Rossi would likely replace Uruguay star Nahitan Nandez, who is a reported target for Cagliari.

"He is probably the best left-footed player in the world, in the history of football." Savo Milosevic lauded Sinisa Mihajlovic as he rallied around his former team-mate following the Bologna head coach's cancer diagnosis.

Serbian great Mihajlovic is set to undergo treatment after revealing his battle with leukaemia on Saturday, sparking an outpour of well-wishes from players – past and present – and supporters.

Milosevic played alongside Mihajlovic at international level, the pair representing Serbia – when they were known as the former republic of Yugoslavia – at the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.

And Milosevic hailed ex-Serbia boss Mihajlovic, who earned a reputation as a free-kick specialist during his playing days with Red Star Belgrade, Roma, Sampdoria, Lazio and Inter.

"It is very difficult to talk about him because I'm very close with Sinisa," Milosevic told Omnisport. "We have a special relationship aside from playing football together.

"I have no words for what happened but all I can say is I know his character, I know he will beat this. He always fought through many things… wars, lot of tragedies and difficulties and he managed to survive. I'm positive in this situation. I believe he will win this battle also."

"Sinisa is probably the best left-footed player in the world, in the history of football," Milosevic continued. "There are so many players who can take free-kicks well but not one like him.

"What he could do with the ball, it's impossible to explain. People need to watch videos to see part of the picture. It was a privilege to be on the pitch with him. He is not just a great player, but a great person."

Like countryman Mihajlovic, Milosevic has turned to coaching, albeit only recently via Serbian giants Partizan Belgrade.

Up until March, Milosevic had never worked as a head coach however the 45-year-old is now in charge of his boyhood club, with a piece of silverware already under his belt.

While Partizan finished third behind Red Star Belgrade in the SuperLiga last season, Milosevic's men did not end the campaign emptyhanded, winning the Serbian Cup against their bitter city rivals.

As eight-time SuperLiga champions Partizan prepare to open their league campaign on Sunday, Milosevic said: "For my confidence and the confidence of the team, it was very important to win that final against Red Star Belgrade.

"After that game, the players started to believe more in themselves. Also for me, it was important to start well after three, four months.

"Long term, it's not a big deal to win the Serbian Cup but for this moment, it's important for me, the players and the club. We didn't have a good season in 2018-19, so it's always important for big clubs to win trophies."

After some words of encouragement from Manchester United legend Alex Ferguson convinced Milosevic to take up coaching, the former Aston Villa and Parma striker eventually replaced Zoran Mirkovic late in 2018-19.

Reflecting on his work at Partizan so far, Milosevic said: "It was very difficult and tough time, not because I started as a coach but the situation at the club was very difficult with the team. The amount of job we had to do to finish the season well was enormous.

"But on the other hand, it was good because the experiences I've had in the last three months it would take maybe one or two years at another club. It was difficult to survive, but it was good to get through that as a first-time coach."

Milosevic, who scored 37 goals in 102 international appearances, enjoyed success as a player with two league titles and a cup for Partizan before joining Villa for a then-club record fee of £3.5million in 1995 – claiming the League Cup winners' medal in his first season.

However, he is facing a big task at Partizan, who won six successive league titles from 2007 to 2013 but have not triumphed since 2016-17, finishing 18 points behind Red Star in the championship round.

"Not just in Partizan but Serbian football, I want to try to bring the quality of football closer to Europe because we're now far behind," Milosevic continued when asked what legacy he wants to leave. "I know exactly where football is today around Europe and the world.

"It will be difficult, but I believe I can do that. The people I'm working with, we know what to do to move things forward. It won't be easy but it's possible. That's the main thing I want to try to do… not the biggest club in Europe but a serious club."

Not even Johan Cruyff or Pep Guardiola could turn things around with the current Argentina team, according to the Argentine Football Association's (AFA) director of national teams Cesar Luis Menotti.

Argentina have been in turmoil over the past 12 months, starting with the thoroughly underwhelming World Cup showing last year when they were eliminated in the last 16.

That cost Jorge Sampaoli his job and his assistant Lionel Scaloni stepped into the role on an interim basis, before being appointed permanently.

Two games into the 2019 Copa America, Argentina have just one point after a defeat to Colombia was followed by a draw with Paraguay, leaving them in danger of early elimination.

Menotti, who was coach when Argentina won their first World Cup in 1978, believes even the best coaches would not be able to fix things.

"Neither Cruyff nor Guardiola today could turn the history of the Argentine national team," he told Diario Popular.

"It reflects the present great complexity that Argentina is living through. Scaloni, of course, has to be evaluated, because we are all evaluated every day.

"It is essential to see the complete development, the complete overview. If we do not do so and we only partially look at it, then we are wrong.

"This selection had almost no rehearsal, it goes out and plays, and of course it is exposed, without a broad plan of work and without a schedule that all the areas of football respect, especially the [club] leaders. The selection will not recover."

Menotti elaborated on his criticism of clubs, claiming the AFA hoped to implement plans that would have seen the best domestic Argentina players spend more time away from their teams, boosting familiarity and cohesion in the national side.

However, Menotti says the "leaders" of Superliga Argentina clubs refused to buy into the AFA's plans, and he pointed the finger at them.

"There was an intention to organise the selection, to train, to get together, to have a group of players training in Argentina," he said.

"But the leaders did not allow it because of different interests, and that greatly weakens any player and any coach.

"Argentina has to improvise and there is a political use of criticism, criticising a selection project that will start now, because when I arrived [at the AFA] there was only the president of the AFA, that's why I am surprised by the opportunist leaders who criticise when the national team loses and they're never worried.

"There are leaders who expect Argentina to be eliminated. It is obvious that it's wrong for the us to rely on them when they did nothing to defend the national team."

Boca Juniors sporting director Nicolas Burdisso is hopeful of bringing Daniele De Rossi to Argentina, even as reports claim he is set to join Los Angeles FC.

Roma great De Rossi left the Serie A club at the end of the 2018-19 season but insisted he was not planning to retire.

He is consequently a free agent and Burdisso, a former team-mate of De Rossi's at the Stadio Olimpico, is keen to see the midfielder in Boca colours.

"A lot has been said about De Rossi," the former Argentina international told Closs Continental. "I know him and he opened the doors to coming here.

"He would be the cherry on top of the cake. I think Daniele could play for Boca. I know him as I was with him for five years.

"He values the team highly and watches all our games. Here there are things that China and MLS do not have, such as the passion of the people."

However, ESPN report runaway MLS leaders LAFC are set to complete a deal for World Cup winner De Rossi.

The American club sold Andre Horta to Braga this week, freeing a Designated Player slot for a high-profile player such as the 35-year-old.

De Rossi would join existing DPs Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi, who have fired LAFC six points clear with a game in hand in the Supporters' Shield race.

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