Football In Brief

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QPR set sights on Vialli and Mancini as Dowie is dismissed for poor run

Queen's Park Rangers are looking for their fifth manager in 12 months after Iain Dowie's brief reign came to a surprise end yesterday. Gianluca Vialli, Roberto Mancini and the former Rangers manager Terry Venables are among the early names linked with the role after the chairman Flavio Briatore sacked Dowie just 12 games into the Coca-Cola Championship season. Dowie, who was only appointed in May, took charge of just 15 games in all competitions – the same number as his spell at Charlton Athletic two years ago. QPR are ninth in the Championship and in the last 16 of the Carling Cup, where they face Manchester United at Old Trafford as reward for knocking out Aston Villa in the third round. However, they have won just one of their past six games, and were held to a goalless draw at Swansea City on Tuesday despite the opposition playing for more than an hour with defender Alan Tate in goal. Dowie was also reported to have clashed with Briatore over the club's transfer policy, with the likes of Damiano Tommasi, the 34-year-old ex-Italy midfielder, brought in on a one-year contract but is yet to make an appearance.

Madrid end pursuit of Ronaldo after Calderon accepts player will stay

Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon said yesterday that his club's pursuit of Cristiano Ronaldo is over. Ronaldo, 23, was Madrid's top transfer target during the summer after his 42 goals helped fire United to the Premier League and Champions League double. "It is forgotten, not only for January but forever," Calderon said. "We would only talk about it if Manchester United decide they want to sell him. We talked about it last season but Manchester decided not to sell the player. The player decided to stay in Manchester and we accept it. Madrid is not doing anything to disturb a 'friend club' like Manchester. We are two very big clubs. We want to be good friends forever. We are in the same market. I have a good relationship with David Gill [the United chief executive] and I want it to be like that for a long time."

SFA opens door for Novo to make entrance in colours of Scotland

The Rangers striker Nacho Novo has said he would "probably" switch allegiance from Spain if called up by Scotland and the Scottish FA said it would not stand in manager George Burley's way if the 29-year-old became a UK citizen. Novo has spent the past eight years in Scotland, enough time to represent the country under Fifa rules. "While our priority will always be to invest in home grown talent, if the manager wants to pick a player who he thinks will do a job for Scotland then he should always be allowed to do so," an SFA spokesman said.

Beckham confirms talks with Milan over January loan deal

David beckham has confirmed that he is in discussions with Milan with a view to a short-term loan to the San Siro. However, Beckham insists he will return to the Los Angeles Galaxy for the start of the next MLS season. “Although nothing is confirmed at present, we can confirm that talks are taking place with Milan with regard to a short-term loan move at the start of next year,” read a statement on the midfielder’s website. “David will be in Los Angeles for the start of the 2009 MLS season.” It is anticipated he will join Milan at the start of January.