Carlos Queiroz has stepped down as Iran coach after their 3-1 loss to Sweden in a friendly on Tuesday night.
The former Real Madrid and Portugal boss has reportedly been involved in a dispute over income tax with the Iranian Football Federation (FFIRI), and chose to make their friendlies this weekend against Austria and Sweden his last matches in charge.
Iran coach Carlos Queiroz ends four-year tenure as coach following his side’s 3-1 loss in friendly against Sweden pic.twitter.com/lCX7g3dGQw
— FOX SPORTS News (@FOXSportsNews) April 1, 2015
Speaking after Tuesday’s loss, he said on the FFIRI website: “After four years of work with the national team, I am proud of the team and the individual players…
“Now I am sad to leave the team, but that’s life and I’m happy to be moving forward.”
Queiroz, 62, became Iran coach in 2011 and qualified them for the 2014 World Cup.
After the tournament, he signed a new deal which was due to run until the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
More to follow…
New York City Football Club superstar David Villa has revealed to fans in the UAE how he is settling into life at the club – which is part of the City Football Group owned by HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Villa, who was formerly at Barcelona, became the first man to score for the club at their home ground, the famous Yankee Stadium, during a 2-0 win against New England Revolution two weeks ago.
The club captain celebrated in front of 43,500 fans and is now looking ahead to the rest of the Major League Soccer (MLS) season.
Villa, 33, said: “When I made this move it was something different in my career and an exciting challenge. For me, it’s important not only to settle into a new league but also a new country and culture.
“So far it’s going very well both on and off the field, I’m really enjoying training, playing and living in New York.”
Having spent his entire career in Spain before joining New York City FC, the striker is also embarking on learning a new language.
— David Villa (@Guaje7Villa) March 31, 2015
Responding to questions from football fans in the Middle East, he added: “I immediately started taking English lessons so I could communicate better with my teammates and the coaches.
“This is all very special and unique in my career. As a team we speak about the chance we have here to make history. It’s important we work hard but also enjoy the experience.
“I think we all feel lucky to be part of this project. It’s not easy bringing a whole new team together and we must be patient.”
New York City FC is the 20th franchise to join the MLS. The league has doubled in size from the ten teams that competed during the inaugural season in 1996 and is now attracting bigger crowds than some of the more established US sports.
It was May 2013 when it was announced that City Football Group and the New York Yankees were to invest in creating a football club for New Yorkers with David Villa being the first player the club signed, and the Spaniard knows that he has a big role to play.
— Jimmy Riccardi (@JimmyRiccardi) March 17, 2015
Villa said: “We are seeing more and more excellent players come to MLS and this is good for the fans and for the league. It is always important to have players with good experience playing for US clubs.
“I think it is important to see more US players doing well. I think in Mix Diskerud we have a fantastic young player who American fans are excited to watch.
“We also have a team which is full of experienced MLS players and four players from New York which is an amazing opportunity for us to get even closer to our fans.”
A familiar sight to football fans in the region will be the sight of Etihad Airways on the front of the New York City FC shirts with the club planning to roll out merchandise and other fan activations in the UAE and beyond in the near future.
Colombia superstar Radamel Falcao has spelled out his determination to rebuild his battered reputation during the final months of a trying loan spell at Manchester United.
– VIDEO: Falcao discusses future at Man Utd
– REPORT: Colombia beat Kuwait in Abu Dhabi
The striker returns to Old Trafford with his morale boosted, a three-goal haul from Colombia’s friendly double-header in the Middle East far from the norm during his time in the Premier League.
The 29-year-old was not a lively performer in Abu Dhabi last night, yet his accomplished penalty in the 3-1 victory against Kuwait showed a flash of the lethal performer who shone for both Porto and Atletico Madrid.
This followed a brace and an assist in Bahrain on Thursday, such form a distinct improvement from his paltry return of four goals from 22 appearances since his summer move to England.
“I think when I score it is always important for me because it gives me confidence,” Falcao said at Zayed Sports City.
“I said before that I need minutes and I need to play [several] games in a row. “Here with the national team I have that opportunity. I gave my best and I will return to Manchester with more confidence.”
He added: “We [United] have the last eight games [of the season]. I will give my best to have the chance to play as many minutes as possible.
“I need only to play. I am confident about me and my fitness.”
Falcao’s failure to fire with the Red Devils has led to constant speculation about his future, the player having to shoot down links with Serie A giants Juventus this week. But he will need to show more in the final months to earn a permanent move to United or another elite outfit.
Against a Kuwait side ranked 125th in the world, this was a display devoid of real venom and the incision that once defined him.
Despite the continued indifference of club boss Louis van Gaal towards him, the 2012 FIFA World XI member retained belief about his United future.
He said: “I have faith about that. When the season finishes, I am going to sit and think about my future and see what is best for my career.”
The striker remains a key figure for his country, wearing the captain’s armband and last night matching Arnoldo Iguaran’s national scoring record in front of a lively Colombian contingent at ZSC.
The striker’s United future came up – as it always does – in Los Cafeteros’ head coach Jose Pekerman’s press conference. A diplomatic answer did not cast any further light on a story that is set to run.
He said: “Those are tough decisions and personal decisions. I am not the right person to give an opinion about it.
“He is smart and he will know how to choose his next destination, if he needs to change destination at all.”