The Sports Matrix: Wednesday 23 May 2012


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Departing Drogba backs Torres to fill his Chelsea role

Didier Drogba announced his departure from Chelsea yesterday, after eight years and 157 goals, and said that he trusted Fernando Torres to improve next year after a poor 18 months.

"Everybody knows Fernando is a very good player, an international player," Drogba said yesterday. "He's been through difficult moments here. It happens to everyone. The good thing is he has our support."

"I know next season he's going to improve; he's going to be better. Now I can't complain but my first few seasons were very difficult. Of course we will need new strikers but Torres will do the job, he will do it. He will do it, no doubt."

Drogba's last kick for Chelsea was the winning penalty in last weekend's European Cup final. "The best for me was to finish on a high with this Champions League final," he said. "It was the best of the best, la crème de la crème."

After winning that trophy, Drogba is moving on, not to another English club but to China or the MLS. "I would have stayed if we hadn't won the Champions League. That was my challenge, what I wanted to achieve. The club tried [to keep me]." MORE

Keane: Neville will not call the shots

Roy Keane has dismissed suggestions former team-mate Gary Neville will "call the shots" when he joins England in a coaching capacity. "Don't think he was as influential as people say," Keane said. "He will be a link between the players and the manager." MORE

Amalfitano set to join Newcastle

Newcastle are closing in on their latest French acquisition, with Romain Amalfitano of Reims arriving at the club to finalise a deal. The 22-year-old midfielder, who helped his side win promotion, joins seven French-origin players at St James' Park. MORE

Mourinho staying at Real until 2016

Jose Mourinho has agreed a contract extension at the new Spanish champions Real Madrid, taking him through to the end of the 2015-16 season. "I need these great challenges in the maturity of my career," he said. "I need things to force me to be better."

Hodgson calls up Kelly for England

Liverpool right-back Martin Kelly has been called up to the England squad by Roy Hodgson for Saturday's friendly against Norway in Oslo. The 22-year-old has been capped at Under-21 level and comes in as defensive cover for the game.

Windies call on Best for second Test

Fast bowler Tino Best has been recalled to the West Indies squad for the second Test starting on Friday at Trent Bridge. The 30-year-old, whose last Test appearance came three years ago, repla-ces Shannon Gabriel, out of the tour with a back injury. MORE

GB hockey men in Argentina clash

The GB men's hockey team face a high-profile match with Argentina following yesterday's Games draw. The match will come weeks after a controversial Argentinian TV advert showed a former captain training on a British war memorial in the Falklands. MORE

Baker alone in race for Roland Garros

Jamie Baker is the last Briton standing in the men's qualifying for the French Open after beating Peter Torebko in straight sets yesterday. He has two more matches to win to make the main draw. James Ward and Josh Goodall both fell at the first hurdle. MORE

Care seeks to repay 'amazing' support

Danny Care has pledged to repay team-mates as he prepares for the Premiership final. The Quins scrum-half was arrested three times and dropped from England's Six Nations squad. "The players have given me support," he said. "They've been amazing." MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

If Ryan Giggs joins old team-mate David Beckham in the GB football side it will be a played-out, garish sideshow. The idea of the Olympic tournament is to stiffen a new generation of talent, not to sell tickets or refresh memories. MORE