The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Real make fresh bid for Ronaldo

Monaco: European champions Real Madrid have launched a fresh bid for Ronaldo by offering Inter Milan 40 million euros ($39.3 million) plus Argentine midfielder Santiago Solari, officials from both clubs said on Friday. A decision must be made before Saturday’s European transfer deadline.

Solari, a 26-year-old midfielder with a good goalscoring record, is known to interest Inter’s Argentine coach Hector Cuper but it remains to be seen whether the new offer is enough to persuade the Italians to release Ronaldo.

Inter have rejected previous bids for Ronaldo but in a meeting with Moratti in Milan on Wednesday, Ronaldo repeated his intention to join Real.

Real’s bid could be conditional on the transfer of Spanish international Fernando Morientes to English Premiership club Tottenham for a fee of 25 million euros, but that deal is currently deadlocked.

Asprilla gives club the slip

London: Colombian Faustino Asprilla failed to turn up for a medical at Darlington and has headed for a job in the Middle East, leaving the chairman of the English third division club “absolutely devastated”.

Asprilla, the former Newcastle United player, had been paraded by Darlington in front of their fans and the club said they expected to sign the striker this week after persuading the British government to grant him a work permit.

But early this morning chairman George Reynolds, who had offered Asprilla up to £17,000 ($26,420) a week, found the 32-year-old “had done a runner” and flown to the Middle East. “We made him a fantastic offer and I thought it was all in place. I am absolutely devastated,” Reynolds told Sky Sports. “We’re friends, I wined and dined him but he knew about this (alternative offer) two to three days ago. He did not have the decency to say goodbye.”

Bovina ‘ties up’ with Big Mac

New York: Elena Bovina’s victory over fifth seed Jelena Dokic in the US Open may not be such a major shock on closer inspection — the Russian has been taking some tips from the Big Apple’s favourite tennis son John McEnroe.

“I really admire John. I met him. I was so happy and excited,” she smiled after blitzing world No. 5 Dokic in the second round on Wednesday. “We even hit at Roland Garros a few times and Wimbledon. He’s really clever. He’s really smart. I mean, he’s been the best player in the world.”

Not only has the 19-year-old been rubbing shoulders with the likes of McEnroe, but she has also been hooking up with Brad Gilbert — widely considered one of the canniest coaches around.

With such heavyweights in the Russian’s corner and with Dokic’s scalp under her belt, she is well set to continue her charge into the second week.

Chilavert ready to go

Strasbourg: Paraguay’s goalkeeper Jose-Luis Chilavert, at odds with Racing Strasbourg for financial reasons, says he is ready to leave the French club. Chilavert, 37, was expected to play his first match for Strasbourg this season on Saturday against Lille, but said he would not play.

“I have not been respected. And nothing matters like respect in life,” he told Strasbourg’s L’Alsace on Friday. “A large sum of money should have been paid to me a year ago and it has not yet been paid.”

Chilavert said Strasbourg staff told him a month ago he was no longer needed. “They did not need me then, I wonder why they should need me now,” he said.

First choice goalkeeper Vincent Fernandez is unavailable with a thigh injury and coach Ivan Hasek was relying on Chilavert.

Sepang on motor map

Geneva: Malaysia’s Sepang circuit will host the fourth round of the World Superbikes Championship for the first time in May next year after the FIM released its provisional calendar for 2003. The circuit was added to the calendar in place of Kyalami in South Africa.

n Cricket: Under-19 one-day tie, India vs England from 1.30 pm on ESPN n Soccer: English Premier League, live from 6.30 pm on ESPN n Formula One: Belgian Grand Prix qualifying, live from 4.30 pm on STAR Sports n Tennis: US Open, live from 8.00 pm and 4.30 am (Sunday) on STAR Sports

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