Man United's Ander Herrera hits out at match-fixing allegations

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Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera says his conscience remains clear after match-fixing allegations were reopened in Spain.

Real Zaragoza’s 2-1 win against Levante on May 21, 2011 has been investigated by Spain’s anti-corruption prosecutors’ office over payments related to alleged match fixing.

Herrera played for Zaragoza at the time and may face trial after the case was reopened by a judge in Valencia.

The timescale remains unclear and the 28-year-old maintains his innocence, with his representative reissuing a statement first released in December 2014.

“I have never had and will never have anything to do with manipulating match results,” Herrera said.

“If I am ever called to testify in any judicial hearing, I’ll be happy to attend, as my conscience is totally clear.

“I love football and I believe in fair play, both on and off the pitch.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Cristiano Ronaldo is not on the decline, says Kylian Mbappe

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Cristiano Ronaldo may be below his usual match-winning best this season, but PSG star Kylian Mbappe has denied claims the Real Madrid maestro is on the decline.

The 33-year-old has failed to fire in front of goal this term, with just eight strikes in 17 La Liga games as Real Madrid trail leaders Barcelona by 19 points.

But despite struggling in front of goal on the domestic front, Ronaldo has lit up the Champions League with nine goals in six matches.

And ahead of next Wednesday’s trip to the Spanish capital to face holders Real Madrid in the last-16, Mbappe said: “Ronaldo is not on the decline. If he is on the decline, there are many more players on the decline then.”

“He is a great player. But we hope he will remain quiet against us.

“We will prepare for the game by paying attention to all their strengths. And he is one of their strengths in the team.”

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Leeds appoint Paul Heckingbottom just days after signing new deal with rivals Barnsley

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Leeds have appointed Paul Heckingbottom has as their new head coach – less than a week after he signed a new contract at Barnsley.

The 40-year-old, who had been in charge at Oakwell since February 2016, agreed new terms with the Tykes on Friday.

But Heckingbottom has swapped that rolling contract for an 18-month deal with their Yorkshire rivals to replace Thomas Christiansen.

A Leeds statement read: “Leeds United are delighted to confirm the appointment of Paul Heckingbottom as new head coach of the club.

“The 40-year-old has signed a contract running until the summer of 2019 and succeeds Thomas Christiansen who left Leeds United on Sunday.”

Christiansen was sacked after a 4-1 home defeat by Cardiff which made it seven matches without a win.
That poor run included an embarrassing third-round FA Cup exit at the hands of League Two Newport.

Leeds began the season with a seven-game unbeaten run, raising hopes of a promotion push, but they have slipped to 10th in the Championship.

Heckingbottom will be expected to swap Barnsley’s relegation battle for an assault on the play-offs – Leeds are currently six points behind sixth-placed Bristol City.

Predictably the news did not go down well at Barnsley, who said in a statement: “Barnsley Football Club are thoroughly disappointed to announce that Paul Heckingbottom has joined Leeds United.”

Chief executive Gauthier Ganaye added: “Yes, it was unexpected. Yes, it has come during an already complicated period. Yes, it will make things more difficult short term, but our club is full of resources and it is certainly not dependent on one man alone.

“I’m asking everyone from the players, employees and our loyal fans to come together as we have an important game on Saturday.”

Heckingbottom will begin his Leeds tenure with a Yorkshire derby against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Saturday.

Provided by Press Association Sport 

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