BUENOS AIRES: An Argentine agronomist who was kidnapped in Nigeria has credited his release to his mention of Lionel Messi, the Argentine football great. “Tell them to thank Messi — naming him is what saved me,” Santiago Menendez told his brother after his release on Friday, two days after being kidnapped by an armed gang in central Nigeria, the newspaper Clarin reported Sunday. The 28-year-old Menendez, who managed two farms for Nigerian Flour Mills Plc, said he shouted “Messi, Messi, Messi” to establish a rapport with the kidnappers, who freed him two days later in exchange for a ransom. Messi is playing for Argentina in the Copa America in Chile.
PRAGUE: Legendary Czech midfielder Josef Masopust, the 1962 Ballon d’Or winner, died aged 84 on Monday, following a long illness, Petr Prochazka from the Josef Masopust Friends Club told AFP. Masopust, who was dubbed “a knight of football” and “Caballero” for his chivalrous manners on the pitch, was the playmaker of the Czechoslovak team that made it to the World Cup final in Chile in 1962. On June 17, 1962, in Santiago, Masopust opened the score in the final, but Brazil came back to win 3-1. He also played for the Czechoslovak team that won bronze at the 1960 Euro in France. A devoted Dukla Prague player, Masopust made 63 international appearances and scored 10 goals for the Czechoslovak national team in 1954-1966. He also coached the national team in 1984-1988. In 2000, Masopust was honoured as the top Czech footballer of the 20th century. Czechoslovakia split peacefully into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993, four years after shedding its totalitarian Communist rule of four decades.
Clyne to join Reds
LONDON: Southampton defender Nathaniel Clyne is set to join Liverpool as Brendan Rodgers continues to revamp his squad ahead of the new season. The 24-year-old England right-back has returned from holiday and is to undergo a medical before the £12.5million move is completed. Once that has been done; Clyne will become Liverpool’s sixth summer signing. Arrangements are also being made to complete a deal for Brazil international Roberto Firmino as his participation in the Copa America has come to an end. On Wednesday when the transfer window opens, Liverpool will confirm the arrivals of Manchester City midfielder James Milner, Burnley striker Danny Ings, Bolton goalkeeper Adam Bogdan and, most likely, that of Clyne.
Langerak in Stuttgart
BERLIN: Australian international goalkeeper Mitch Langerak has joined Stuttgart from Borussia Dortmund, his new club announced. Langerak, 26, has signed a three-year contract tying him to the Swabian club until 2018. He will find himself competing for a first-team place with Poland’s Przemyslaw Tyton after the departure of Sven Ulreich to Bayern Munich. Langerak joined Borussia in 2010 from Melbourne but never really held down a regular No 1 spot and had to be satisfied with an understudy role to Roman Weidenfeller. Although he made 17 appearances last season, the arrival of Swiss international Roman Burki from Freiburg seemed to have pushed him further down the pecking order.