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Since 1st March, 1999
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Alex Ferguson’s Hughes target

London: Wales manager Mark Hughes is Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson’s top target to become his number two at the English Premiership champions, the club’s former assistant manager and newly-appointed Real Madrid coach Carlos Queiroz said on Sunday.

Queiroz revealed to the News of the World that United had already tried to persuade 39-year-old Hughes to return to Old Trafford — where he enjoyed two successful spells as a player — last November but talks had broken down over Hughes’ financial demands.

However United would face a real battle with the Welsh authorities as Hughes — nicknamed ‘Sparky’ — has guided Wales to the top of their Euro 2004 qualifying group which included a stunning home win over favourites Italy.

“Alex has been working hard for a long time to get Mark on board,” Queiroz said.

Rogge criticises Lewis

London: International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge has criticised heptathlon champion Denise Lewis for working with controversial German coach Ekkart Arbeit.

“It’s not a good idea and I say that very clearly,” Rogge told the Sunday Times.

“I think she’s being so unwise, in terms of perception.”

Arbeit was a senior figure in the highly successful East German athletics programme in the 1980s which, it later emerged, had been built on the systematic doping of athletes.Lewis, Olympic champion in Sydney, has been using Arbeit to help her with throwing and conditioning as she prepares to make her comeback to competition next weekend at a European Cup combined events meeting in Tallinn.Lewis had a baby last year and needs to do well in Tallinn to qualify for the world championships in Paris in August.

Rivaldo ‘close’ to UAE move

Dubai: Brazilian star Rivaldo is said to be “close” to signing a deal with United Arab Emirates club Al Ain, according to a newspaper report here Sunday.

The 31-year-old Rivaldo, who moved to AC Milan last summer from Barcelona, has spent much of the season on the bench and is said to have been attracted by the Emirates club’s offer, according to Khaleej Times.

Al Ain, who have reached the semi-finals of the Asian Champions League, are set to be coached by Frenchman Bruno Metsu, who led Senegal’s World Cup campaign last year.

Lucio stays in Germany

Berlin: Bayer Leverkusen defender Lucio will stay with the Bundesliga side and not transfer to Italian club AS Roma, the German team said on Sunday.

“This will put an end to all the speculation that he will be leaving,” Leverkusen said in a statement, hours after the World Cup winner had said the same thing in a German newspaper.

“I have decided to play for another year with Bayer Leverkusen. I feel extremely good here with my family,” Lucio said.

Medals stripped

Prague: Russian cross country skier Larissa Lazutina has been stripped of the two silver medals she won at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games after losing her legal battle over two positive dope tests, the IOC announced here on Sunday.

Lazutina won silver in both the 15km mass start and the 5km free pursuit.

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