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Football: Two worlds collide as Brazil players push for reform

Brazil's old guard may hold sway with 73-year-old Marco Polo del Nero confirmed as the man to succeed octagenarian Jose Maria Marin as head of the Brazilian football Confederation. But if the game's hierarchy remains in place pressure to reform the domestic game is mounting from the bottom up via player pressure group Bom Senso (Common sense) FC.

Brazil study forecasts Cup gains

World Cup-related spending will give Brazil a major shot in the arm, tripling a $4.2 billion contribution to the economy made at last year's Confederations Cup, a study by the Institute for Economic Research Foundation (FIPE) revealed Monday. The study for state tourist board Embratur estimated the June 12-July 13 tournament should more than triple last year's $4.2 billion gain which emanated from a total $9 billion spending at the Confederations Cup, a World Cup dress rehearsal.

Mexico to play home friendly against Israel in May

Mexico City, Mar 7 (EFE).- Mexico's national soccer team will play a home friendly against Israel on May 28 as part of its final preparations for the 2014 World Cup, which will get underway two weeks later in Brazil, the Mexican soccer federation said Friday. The match will be played at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City and will be the only international friendly El Tri plays on Mexican soil before competing in soccer's showcase event, the federation added. The Israeli side did not qualify for this year's World Cup.

Football: 'Lovestruck' Jefferson has eyes on Brazil prize

Jefferson de Oliveira Galvao is not a household name in world football. In Brazil, certainly, the 31-year-old does not go unrecognised, but in the wider world, a place on Brazil's bench does not bring much global esteem. Yet the Botafogo shot-stopper is eyeing a slice of the limelight at a home World Cup in June as he bids to persuade Luiz Felipe Scolari to make him his number one. The man in possession of the shirt, Julio Cesar, has been Scolari's undisputed first standout choice on the basis of 77 Selecao caps won over a decade.

Football: Leverkusen sign Brazilian starlet Wendell

Bayer Leverkusen have signed Brazilian left-back Wendell for next season on a five-year deal to continue the club's tradition of recruiting south American talent. The 20-year-old, who will join Bayer at the end of the season, currently plays in the Brazilian top flight for Gremio, on loan from fourth-tier Londrina. Wendell has penned a deal until June 2019 after Bayer's director of sport Rudi Voeller flew to south American to complete the signing. "Wendell is a big talent who can play a decisive role for us," said Voeller.

Football: Brazil keeper Julio Cesar finalises Toronto loan

Brazil's first choice goalkeeper Julio Cesar on Friday announced he had finalised a loan move to Major League Soccer side Toronto. "I have signed a loan deal until the end of December," said the 34-year-old, who has not featured at all this season in England's second tier Championship with Queens Park Rangers. The veteran revealed the move on his new club's website and will now look to get match-fit ahead of his planned March 15 debut in Seattle.

Ronaldinho influence sees Atletico settle player debts

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Atletico Mineiro have settled their outstanding debts with players after Ronaldinho stepped in to lobby on behalf of his team mates, Lance newspaper said on Friday. Ronaldinho signed a new one-year deal with Atletico last month but told the club it was conditional on them paying past salaries they owed to other players. The club settled their debts soon after, the sports paper said on its website (www.lancenet.com.br).

A peek at Rio's World Cup security nerve center

The World Cup security command center in Rio is for now just an empty room with a large interactive touchscreen table for emergency officials to monitor the situation during the tournament. It is here on the third floor of the city's integrated command and control center that security force officers, the state governor and the mayor of Rio will oversee operations during the month-long event.

Football: Ronaldinho extends deal with Atletico Mineiro

Former World Player of the Year Ronaldinho has signed an extension to his contract with Atletico Mineiro, the Brazilian side's president announced on Thursday. "The supporters are very demanding, but the guy (Ronaldinho) loves them. He has renewed (his contract)," wrote Alexandre Kalil on Twitter, without offering any further details. The 33-year-old Ronaldinho, a World Cup winner with Brazil in 2002 and a winner of the Copa Libertadores with Atletico last year, was due to be a free agent at the end of this year and had been a target for Turkish side Besiktas.

Football: Atletico take third despite Ronaldinho red card

Atletico Mineiro had Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho sent-off but still struck in the last minute to snatch third place at the Club World Cup with a 3-2 win over Guangzhou Evergrande on Saturday. Ronaldinho had pulled his team level at 2-2 in the dying moments of the first half with his second spectacular free-kick of the tournament. But the 33-year-old World Cup winner was then red-carded in the 87th minute for a foul on Zhao Xuri.
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