Football

Pedro Rodriguez bids Chelsea farewell after surgery

Chelsea forward Pedro Rodriguez has undergone surgery on his shoulder ahead of an expected transfer to Italian side AS Roma, meaning he will not play for the English Premier League club again.

The 33-year-old Spain international confirmed on social media that his operation had been successful.

He landed awkwardly on his right shoulder when appearing as a substitute in Chelsea's 2-1 FA Cup final defeat by Arsenal last Saturday.

Pedro will miss Chelsea's Champions League last-16 second-leg clash at Bayern Munich on Sunday morning (Singapore time) before he leaves Stamford Bridge.

"The surgery went well, I will be back soon. It was a pity not to win the FA Cup. Thank you for all your support," Pedro posted on Instagram.

Chelsea tweeted: "We're all wishing you a speedy recovery, @-Pedro17-!" in response to his update.

Pedro left Barcelona to join the Blues in 2015, winning the Premier League, FA Cup and Europa League. - AFP

Spain and Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas retires at 39

Spain's World Cup-winning goalkeeper Iker Casillas announced his retirement yesterday, after being sidelined for more than a year with a heart problem.

Casillas, 39, also won the European Championship twice with his country in a trophy-laden career which included more than 700 games for Real Madrid.

"Today is both one of the most important and most difficult days of my sporting life, the time to say goodbye has arrived," he said on Twitter.

Casillas joined Portuguese side Porto in 2015 after a tearful departure from Real. He suffered a heart attack in May last year.

He played 167 times for Spain, winning the 2010 World Cup and the Euros in 2008 and 2012 in a golden age for Spanish football. He also lifted five La Liga titles and the Champions League on three occasions while at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Casillas wanted to run for the presidency of the Spanish Football Federation, but ended his bid in May due to the Covid-19 pandemic. - AFP

Bundesliga ready for return of fans if authorities give green light

Germany's first and second division football clubs yesterday said they were prepared to allow some fans back into stadiums next season, if the authorities give the go-ahead later this month.

German Football League (DFL) CEO Christian Seifert said the possibility of fans in stadiums depended solely on the political leaders giving the green light.

The health ministers of the individual German states are due to meet next week.

"The DFL does not expect or demand anything, but we are preparing to take this small step (with fans in stadiums) when the time comes," said Seifert.

The recent Bundesliga season was suspended in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but restarted behind closed doors on May 16, becoming the first of Europe's top leagues to do so.

Germany is fearing a second wave of infections and the government has banned all mass events until Oct 31.

The new Bundesliga season starts on Sept 18, a day before the new Serie A term kicks off. - REUTERS

Football