Appeal court enforces Barcelona transfer ban

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Barcelona are banned from buying players during the transfer window until January 2016.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Tuesday backed a one year transfer ban against Barcelona in a major blow to the Spanish football giants.

The court said in a statement that it had "dismissed" an appeal made by Barcelona against the ban imposed by FIFA in April for breaching rules on signing players aged under 18.

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Barcelona, who are second behind Real Madrid in La Liga, are banned from buying players during the transfer window that opens on January 1 and for the summer transfer period before the 2015-16 season.

That means they cannot sign a player until January 2016. Barcelona were also fined 450,000 Swiss francs (Dhs 1.6 million).

The Spanish federation was also reprimanded by FIFA.

"The panel found in particular that FC Barcelona had breached the rules regarding the protection of minors and the registration of minors attending football academies," said the statement.

"The FIFA decision is confirmed in full and the sanction remains in force."

The CAS panel promised to give the full reasons for its decision as quickly as possible.

FIFA announced the ban in April this year after an investigation into several players aged under 18 who were registered and played for Barcelona between 2009 and 2013.

It found that Barcelona and the Spanish federation were guilty of a "serious" infringement of rules for 10 players.

Barcelona made a first appeal to the FIFA disciplinary committee and the sanction was suspended enabling them to make major signings such as Luis Suarez from Liverpool for 95 million euros ($115 million).

The club spent more than 150 million euros in all before FIFA's appeal committee upheld the ban.

Barcelona then went to the CAS and asked for an emergency procedure so that a decision was announced before the January transfer window opens.

Barcelona are one point behind Real Madrid but have played one game more.

Atletico Madrid in third place are just three points behind.

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Real Madrid v AC Milan - full preview

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Battle of the big dogs: Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo will be trying to outfox AC Milan's silky forward Stephan El Shaawary.

Real Madrid v AC Milan

Stadium: 7he Sevens

Kick-off: 20:00

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti is looking forward to a “very special game” when he clashes with former club AC Milan in tonight’s Dubai Football Challenge. 

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The European giants meet at a sold-out 7he Sevens for the highest-profile friendly ever played on UAE soil.

World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo and 100 million euro (Dh448m) man Gareth Bale will be present for Los Blancos, while Japan midfielder Keisuke Honda and exciting Italy forward Stephan El Shaarawy will be in opposition. 

Ancelotti, 55, enjoyed tremendous success with the Rossoneri as both a player and head coach, winning a pair of European Cups and Serie A titles between 1987 and 1992 when dictating play as a composed midfielder, before an eight-year stint in charge which ended in 2009 having won two Champions League, two UEFA Super Cups, a Club World Cup and a Serie A title attained.

Old mates: Carlo Ancelotti will come head-to-head against Filippo Inzaghi when Real Madrid take on AC Milan in Dubai.

Added poignancy is provided by the presence of Filippo Inzaghi in the Milan dugout, a deadly striker in his playing days under Ancelotti. 

“It is going to be very special game for me because of my long history with Milan,” Ancelotti said. 

“I have a very special relationship with their manager (Inzaghi). It will be a very good show for football. It’s very nice to be an actor in this event.

“We don’t have a problem being here. Real Madrid have great image to show, and are happy to be here to show that image.

“We have lots of supporters in the Middle East. We are happy to come here, to show our quality and give happiness to our supporters.” 

Real’s galaxy of stars are present in the UAE, with only injured players such as Spain defender Sergio Ramos and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric remaining in the Spanish capital to recuperate.

“All the players here will play,” Ancelotti said. “I cannot tell you the line-up before the beginning of the game, only players not available through injury have stayed in Madrid. Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema will play.”

Real swept into the winter break on the back of a Spanish record 22-match winning run, that last included victory at the FIFA Club World Cup. The friendly with Milan will not count towards this figure in competitive matches, but Ancelotti was motivated to keep the momentum going ahead of the resumption of La Liga duties on Sunday at Valencia.

“This week is important to prepare for the next games,” the ex-Juventus, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain boss said. “There
are no secrets in football.

"There is the work and professionalism of players. We have to pay attention as football is a bit strange. When everything seems good, that is the moment you fall down.

“The team is motivated because when you win a match it helps you to win the next one. We are very happy experiencing this moment.”

Players to watch

Real Madrid – Isco 

Has made the most of injuries to Gareth Bale and Luka Modric to become a star performer for Real this season in a number
of attacking positions. His deft touches and supreme vision are a joy to behold. Adds calm to a side full of explosive ability. Will pick gaps in the Milan defence.

AC Milan – Stephan El Shaawary

It has not been the most productive of returns for the exciting Italy forward, with only one goal registered in 11 Serie A games. Had thrilled prior to a crippling foot injury ruining the 2013/14 campaign. Must rediscover that vibrancy to inspire Milan to show their best against Real Madrid.

Likely line-ups

Real Madrid – 

AC Milan –

Team news:

Real Madrid – Spain centre-back Sergio Ramos is resting after tearing a thigh muscle. Luka Modric is still some time away from recovering from a similar problem. Germany midfielder Sami Khedira has recovered from a knee problem.

AC Milan – It is highly doubtful that striker Fernando Torres will be involved after it was announced yesterday that he is set to re-join Altletico Madrid. Elsewhere, full-backs Ignazio Abate and Mattia De Sciglio are both injured, as is centre-back Adil Rami.

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Real Madrid sweep the board at Globe Soccer Awards – Atlantis, Dubai

Simon Foster 30/12/2015
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Golden boys: Real Madrid's Carlo Ancelotti, James Rodriguez, Florentino Perez and Cristiano Ronaldo all received awards.

Real Madrid were the big winners at the Globe Soccer Awards in Dubai last night with Cristiano Ronaldo leading the way after being named Best Player of the Year.

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– Dubai trip is ideal preparation for Carlo Ancelotti's Real Madrid

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Ronaldo was at Atlantis, The Palm to collect his trophy with Carlo Ancelotti claiming the Manager of the Year prize, midfielder James Rodriguez given Player Revelation of the Year Award, Florentino Perez named President of the Year and the Champions League holders handed the Team of the Year for 2014 award.

Real Madrid hit-man Cristiano Ronaldo is hopeful of claiming of back-to-back Ballon d'Or titles.

Ronaldo, who will line up for Real Madrid against AC Milan in the Dubai Football Challenge at 7he Sevens tonight, now hopes this award can be replicated at the Ballon d’Or ceremony in Zurich on January 12.

“I hope that it can be a good signal but I’m not worried about that. The people who vote know what they have to do. I just feel happy it’s one more trophy for my dedication and hard work," he said. 

“I want to say thank you to the people at Real Madrid – the players, the coach – we had a fantastic season, we won four trophies and we are one of the best teams in the world. La Decima was a special moment as Real Madrid have looked forward to winning it.

“To win this award is one of the great pleasures, I am very proud.” 

Ronaldo scored 61 goals in 60 games for club and country and was leading scorer in last season’s Champions League competition with 17.

The Portuguese is determined to win more silverware for Los Blancos with Madrid leading La Liga by a point ahead of Barcelona and are in the last 16 of the Champions League having remained undefeated in the group stages.

“I am happy, I do what I like, to play football, to score goals, to make assists and help show we are one of the best teams in the world," he added.

Other winners on the night were Bayern Munich and Morocco defender Mehdi Benatia, who was crowned Best Arab Player while Milan coach Filippo Inzaghi was the recipient of the Player Career Award.

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