Ravanelli `still has a future' at Boro

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The Independent Online
Fabrizio Ravanelli still has a future at Middlesbrough, the club's manager Bryan Robson said yesterday. Robson, however, has given his striker permission to remain in Italy until the end of next week, as he believes he is not mentally right for action.

The 28-year-old striker is now due to return two days after Italy's World Cup qualifier in Georgia on Wednesday week. It means Ravanelli misses tonight's trip to Stockport, but Robson said: "Ravanelli has a future at Middlesbrough if he accepts it mentally and gets on with playing the way he can."

Terry Venables has won the first stage of his legal battle to gain a work permit to allow Portsmouth to sign the Australian international goalkeeper Zeljko Kalac. The Home Office refused to grant permission for Kalac to come to Britain after learning he has not played in competitive internationals.

The club have been given leave to appeal against the Home Office ruling by the High Court and the case is expected to be resolved next month.

Manchester City have bid for a player who helped Italy win gold at the World Student Games last week. Michele Zeoli, a left-sided defender who studies law, said he had received an offer from the First Division club following Italy's 1-0 defeat of South Korea in Friday's final.

Manchester United's Ronny Johnsen has pulled out of Norway's World Cup qualifying match against Azerbaijan in Baku on 6 September. The midfielder has not recovered from a thigh muscle injury.

Diego Maradona is protesting his innocence after failing a drugs test eight days ago. Talking on an Argentine television programme his agent, Guillermo Coppola, said: "Diego swore to me he did not take cocaine, so now I doubt the results of the doping test."

Maradona tested positive for cocaine after a League match in which he scored a penalty for his club Boca Juniors. If a second test proves positive this week, Maradona, 36, is likely to be suspended for up to five years.

Nottingham Forest's Pierre Van Hooijdonk has been named in the Netherlands squad to face Belgium in the World Cup qualifier in Rotterdam on Saturday. The former Celtic striker has scored seven goals in six games this season.

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