Olympiakos relieved to offload Yekini

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The Independent Online
The Nigerian World Cup striker, Rashidi Yekini, out of favour since October with the Greek club, Olympiakos, will join the Spanish side, Sporting Gijon.

"We are happy that the Yekini case is finally over so we can make plans to buy another foreign player. We agreed that Gijon will pay a half million dollars [£350,000]," an Olympiakos official said yesterday.

Olympiakos bought Yekini on the strength of his performances in the World Cup finals earlier this year but he has not played for them since breaking his contract in October. The club said they wanted to sell Yekini following rows with coaches and team-mates.

A doctor who examined Marco van Basten yesterday said it was too early to tell when the injured Milan and Netherlands striker will resume training, despite modest progress on his damaged ankle.

"We can see clearly the improvement, but we are not yet at the point we need to reach," said Professor Mark Martens, a leading sports-injury specialist.

Prof Martens has been treating the injury that has sidelined Van Basten since May ,1993, and cast doubt on the future of one of the world's best forwards.

Martens told Van Basten to return for another check-up in a month. In the meantime, he must continue physiotherapy to improve mobility. "There is some progress. But it's slow, very slow," Martens said.

Juventus is willing to extend the contract of its forward, Roberto Baggio, but is not going to start bidding against other clubs to keep the 27-year-old player at any cost. Antonio Giraudo, the Juventus managing director, said yesterday that the Turin club cannot compete with some Japanese and Italian teams which are reportedly ready to offer several million pounds for Baggio next year. His contract with Juventus is due to expire in June, 1995. "We want to keep him and extend his contract . . . but we are not going to be foolish," Giraudo said.

Baggio, Italy's most popular and expensive player, has a salary of about £1.2 million a year from Juventus, plus bonuses and fringe benefits. In the midst of an austerity campaign pursued by several Italian first division clubs, Juventus is reluctant to give Baggio a richer contract.

Although missing Baggio with a knee injury, Juventus are second to Parma in the league, boosted by goals from their improving young forward, Alessandro Del Piero, and the veteran, Gianluca Vialli.

Napoli have asked Uefa to examine the possibility that Eintracht Frankfurt used a fourth foreign player when the two teams met in a Uefa Cup match last month. Eintracht won the third-round tie 2-0 on aggregate.

Giuseppe Iodice, secretary-general at the Italian club, said yesterday the German team's use of the Serb, Slobodan Komljenovic, in the first leg on 24 November was the problem.

Rangers are edging closer to their dream of staging a European final at Ibrox. The Glasgow club's ground was one of 17 short-listed by Uefa, the European governing body, for this season's continental showpieces.

Rangers have lost out to Vienna and Paris, but work is due to start next year to complete the corners of Ibrox and that will increase the all-seater capacity to 51,000, giving them a stronger case. A Uefa spokesman said: "The Rangers ground is on our list of stadia for European finals and was considered. The club competition committee have put forward their recommendations for this year's final - the Champions' Cup final should be at the Ernst Happel stadium in Vienna and the European Cup-Winners' Cup final at the Parc des Princes, Paris. These proposals will go before the executive committee at the end of January".

The Paris ground holds 50,000 and the one in Vienna 48,700, so Ibrox will compare favourably by August.

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