Football: Atletico claim Juninho

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The Independent Online
Atletico Madrid have beaten off the challenge of Tottenham to sign Middlesbrough's Brazilian midfielder Juninho, an Atletico executive, Miguel Angel Gil Marin, claimed last night.

"Today we have confirmed 100 per cent the deal," said Gil Marin, son of club owner Jesus Gil, in an interview with the TVE1 television station. Recent Spanish media reports suggested Atletico would pay pounds 12 for Juninho compared with Tottenham's bid of pounds 11m.

Earlier Atletico had signed Christian Vieri from the Italian champions Juventus for another pounds 12m - a deal that appeared to place their pursuit of Juninho in some doubt. Announcing the transfer yesterday, Juventus said they had already signed a replacement, Uruguay's Daniel Fonseca, from Roma. Juve's general manager, Luciano Moggi, did not reveal the fee for Fonseca.

Patrice Loko, the French international forward, has been ordered to pay pounds 2,500 in damages for exposing himself and resisting arrest when he went on a drunken spree two years ago. A decision on an eight-month suspended prison sentence has been deferred.

A court was told he smashed up two cars, including his own, spat in police officers' faces, urinated in a hospital corridor and demanded to be carried because his feet were "worth gold".

The Republic of Ireland lost 1-0 to the holders, Argentina, in the semi-finals of the World Youth Championship in Kuching, Malaysia, yesterday. Despite a battling defensive display, Bernardo Romeo pounced on a loose ball in the 55th minute to net the only goal.