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Batigol bound for England

Rome: AS Roma’s Argentine striker Gabriel Batistuta said he will leave Italy at the end of the season to play in England. “When the season ends I will go to England,” said the 33-year-old former Fiorentina marksman. “I’m fascinated by the idea of playing in England where they play a different kind of football.

“I want to broaden my horizons, speak a new language, meet new people, and experience a different culture. Physically I feel great and want to show what I can do in England.

“More people watch English football because it’s more entertaining,” he added. “They play a more open game and rely less on tactics.”

“I want to finish the season on a high with Roma,” he said. “We have shown we have a strong squad and I am convinced we can win everything this season.”

“I have already spoken to Veron and he told me that you have more time to yourself,” Batistuta told the Corriere Dello Sport.

Srichaphan tamed at last

Paris: Paradorn Srichaphan’s extraordinary year came to a close on Saturday when he was eventually tamed by world No.1 Lleyton Hewitt in the semi-finals of the Paris Masters.

The 23-year-old Thai, one of the hottest properties in the game, has shot up the rankings from a lowly 120 at the start of the year, to within touching distance of the 16th position attained by Vijay Amritraj in 1980.

Hewitt secured a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory to book his place in the final. The 21-year-old Australian will face Marat Safin on Sunday after the Russian beat Spain’s Carlos Moya 7-5, 7-6.

Hewitt looked to be heading for a straightforward win as errors flowed off Paradorn’s racket in the opening set. But the 23-year-old Thai, with nine successive victories under his belt, hit back with some sensational tennis to level the match.

“I wasn’t surprised at how well he played,” said Hewitt. “He’s had a great second half of the year and is full of confidence.”

McClaren backs Eriksson

London: England’s departing coach Steve McClaren urged people to support Sven-Goran Eriksson in response to invasions of his private life and endless media scrutiny.

“One defeat in 13 matches is a good record for any coach to be proud of, and yet all we seem to get is endless, and ridiculous, questioning of his private life and future plans.” McClaren told The Times. He believed it was the right time to devote his energy to Premier League side Middlesbrough after playing part-time roles in both domestic and international football.

Keane still weeks away

Manchester: Manchester United captain Roy Keane will be out of action for longer than expected following his hip operation, according to Alex Ferguson. He had planned to return to action in the Champions League game against Bayer Leverkusen on November 13. n Cricket: Harsha Online from 10.30 pm on STAR Sports n Soccer: Premier League — Manchester United vs Southampton from 9 pm on ESPN n Soccer: Premier League — Newcastle vs Middlesborough, live from 1.25 am (Monday) on STAR Sports


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