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SAMBA BEATS

Selecao finished for Fred

Rio de Janeiro: Brazil striker Fred announced his retirement from international football on Sunday, one day after Brazil ended their 2014 World Cup campaign.

“For me, the Selecao is finished,” the 30-year-old Fluminense forward said. The former Lyon forward made his Brazil debut in 2005 and went on to score 39 international goals.

Plumber Leo

Rio de Janeiro: Global music sensation Carlos Santana likes Lionel Messi. But interestingly, he thinks that Messi looks like a plumber.

“Messi has a mystique about him, he has that street-football thing. I don’t think he even really looks like a football player — he looks like a plumber to me! It’s a compliment, because when he focuses, I admire the gift he has so much. It is a beautiful, God-given gift,” he has said.

For goalies

Rio de Janeiro: Wyclef Jean is one of the biggest music stars in the world. He also has another burning passion to go along with his love of music: football. And more than goals, Wyclef likes goalies. “We’re always talking about goals, but I just love the goalies. I felt what Tim Howard pulled off is incredible, I think Germany have an incredible goalkeeper too,” he said.

No holidays

Rio de Janeiro: Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal is in no mood to take a break after leading his country to third place at the World Cup on Saturday, starting work with new employers Manchester United on Wednesday.

Van Gaal is scheduled to return home with the Dutch squad on Sunday after their 3-0 win over Brazil in the third place play-off match in Brasilia and will embark on his next venture after taking just two days off. “That is no problem for me, I don’t need a holiday,” he said.

Thumbs up

Rio de Janeiro: The conflict in Ukraine will not affect the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko said Saturday.

Mutko, the local organising committee chairman and a Fifa board member, said: “It’s a different subject and it will not influence preparations for the World Cup at all,” Mutko said at a briefing designed to explain Russia’s $20 billion project to host the next Cup.

Petro skips

Kiev: Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko did not attend Sunday’s World Cup final in Brazil between Germany and Argentina because of the situation in his country, his office said.

The decision ensured Poroshenko did not meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose country hosts the 2018 finals, at the final.