One month after inexplicably being axed from his position at Cardiff City in favor of a 23-year-old former grounds painter (Alisher Apsalyamov, who has since stepped aside due to a visa issue), Iain Moody was named sporting director at Crystal Palace on Saturday.
As the South London club continues the search for their new manager, Moody is seen as a major component to help settle the rough waters at Selhurst Park.
Palace co-chairman Steve Parish discussed:
“We’re very happy with Iain Moody,” Parish said. “I met him and was very impressed with him. He’ll work directly with me and the new manager when he’s appointed. Iain is someone whose opinion we’ll ask about getting the new manager. We want to appoint someone quickly but we must get the right person. We want someone who will take this club forward over the next three to five years. We’re down to three or four possibilities, and we would hope to get something in place for Tuesday and Wednesday next week, though it might go on a little longer.”
Moody’s departure from Cardiff was particularly difficult on Bluebirds manager Malky Mackay, who brought Moody with him to the Welsh club from Watford in 2011. So when Vincent Tan fired Moody in October, Mackay came to his pal’s defense noting that Palace had recruited wisely.
“They’ve got a very good director of football, very good man that I said at the time on the record our loss will be someone else’s gain,” said Mackay. “He’s had three or four approaches since he left. He’s a good man and he’s someone that’ll do well for Crystal Palace.”
Now, with Moody firmly installed at Palace and Mackay’s future at Cardiff still up in the air, don’t be surprised if the former moves to return the favor from two years ago and brings the manager back to England in what would be a sensational mid-season coup.
PRAGUE (AP) Czech champion Viktoria Plzen is close to signing Austrian midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz.
Plzen says Ivanschitz agreed terms for a contract lasting 1 + seasons and will sign it when the team returns from a training camp in Spain. Ivanschitz has already joined the squad at the Oliva Nova resort, the club says.
Ivanschitz helped the Seattle Sounders win their first MLS Cup in December.
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No financial details were given.
The 33-year-old Ivanschitz also played for Rapid Vienna and Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, Mainz in the Bundesliga, Levante in Spain and Panathinaikos in Athens.
Ivanschitz played 69 games for Austria in 2003-14, scoring 12 goals.
Joel Matip is going to get to play for Liverpool during AFCON after all.
The center back had turned down the chance to represent Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations, and Liverpool was forced to apply to FIFA for a waiver.
[ PL PREVIEW: Swansea vs. Liverpool ]
Matip suffered an ankle injury in December, adding to his desire to stay at Anfield. He declared himself internationally retired and was one of six Cameroon players who refused call-ups for AFCON.
He last played for the Reds on Dec. 11, and can be selected by Jurgen Klopp against Swansea City on Saturday.
MANCHESTER, England (AP) Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney says he raised 1.2 million pounds ($1.5 million) from a friendly game against former club Everton last year.
That represents the profits, after operational costs, from August’s sellout match at Old Trafford and goes toward the Wayne Rooney Foundation’s target of raising 5 million pounds for children’s charities.
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Rooney said: “I’d like to thank all the fans who came to the testimonial and made it such a special night. They’ve raised a huge amount of money for children who are disadvantaged and it will make a real difference to their lives.”
Rooney is one goal from breaking Manchester United’s scoring record, with the striker currently tied with Bobby Charlton on 249 goals.
Rooney joined United from Everton in 2004.
Robert Lewandowski picked up where he left off.
The Polish striker scored twice for Bayern Munich, once in stoppage time, as the Bavarians improved their Bundesliga lead to six points after toppling Freiburg 2-1 on Friday.
[ MORE: Bundesliga second half preview ]
And what a winner it was, Lewandowski taking a Douglas Costa cross with two juggling touches before hitting an offspeed bouncer inside the post.
It was the league’s first match following the winter/holiday break, giving Bayern a cushion before RB Leipzig takes the pitch against Eintracht Frankfurt in a Top Five tilt on Saturday.
Lewandowski moves closer to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the goal scoring chart. His 13th and 14th goals have him two back of Borussia Dortmund’s striker, as Lewandowski pursues a third Golden Boot in four seasons.
Full Weekend Schedule
Freiburg 1-2 Bayern Munich — Friday
Augsburg vs. Hoffenheim — Saturday
Schalke vs. Ingolstadt — Saturday
Darmstadt vs. Borussia Monchengladbach — Saturday
Werder Bremen vs. Borussia Dortmund — Saturday
Wolfsburg vs. Hamburger SV — Saturday
RB Leipzig vs. Eintracht Frankfurt — Saturday
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Hertha Berlin — Sunday
Mainz vs. Koln — Sunday