Independiente head coach Lucas Pusineri hopes Manchester City star Sergio Aguero one day returns to the club.

Aguero came through the youth ranks at Independiente before joining Atletico Madrid in 2006 and moving to City five years later.

His former Independiente team-mate, Pusineri, is now in charge of the Argentine club and wants Aguero – and Milan midfielder Lucas Biglia – to return.

"With Sergio Aguero and Lucas Biglia I have a beautiful relationship," he told InfiernoRojo on Tuesday.

"We were partners and I have a lot of respect for the trajectories they have taken with Argentina and in Europe as well."

Pusineri added: "Of course it would be nice to have them tomorrow. In the future, it is hopeful to count on them."

Aguero has said previously he wants to return to Independiente, although his contract at City runs until 2021.

He scored 23 goals in 30 games before this season was stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a vastly reduced sporting schedule for the coming weeks.

With the world attempting to stop the spread of a virus that has claimed over 6,000 lives, leagues and events have been suspended in many countries.

Some competitions are still ongoing, though, and we have picked out five match-ups from Monday's slate.


Tambov v Krylya Sovetov - Russian Premier League

The title race is all but over in Russia as Zenit streak clear, but there is plenty still to play for at the foot of the table. With two relegation places and two more for a relegation play-off in the 16-team division, the bottom seven teams are separated by just five points.

Tambov - promoted last season - are 15th but only trail Monday's 14th-placed opponents Krylya Sovetov on their head-to-head record. This clash could be huge in the race to avoid the drop.

Southern Steel v Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic - ANZ Premiership

The 2020 netball season began in New Zealand at the weekend, with defending champions the Central Pulse quickly impressing again in victory over the Mainland Tactix.

On Monday, it is the turn of 2017 and 2018 winners the Southern Steel to lay down a marker. They will hope to adapt quickly to life after departed Silver Ferns star Te Paea Selby-Rickit against the potentially dangerous Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic.

Antalyaspor v Sivasspor - Turkish Super Lig

There is an intriguing title tussle in Turkey as the teams head for the home straight. And the group at the summit only became more bunched up on Sunday when top two Trabzonspor and Istanbul Basaksehir played out a 1-1 draw.

That result means fourth-placed Sivasspor could now move within a point of the pair with victory at Antalyaspor. The hosts are unbeaten in seven in the league after a poor run, though, and should provide the title hopefuls with a stern test.

Prime Bank v Gazi Group Cricketers - Dhaka Premier League

Another competition to get under way in recent days was cricket's Dhaka Premier League, and two-time defending champions Abahani Limited soared straight to the top of the standings.

Two former winners will face off in their first match on Monday. Gazi Group Cricketers have recruited Bangladesh star Mahmudullah, too, and will hope for a serious challenge in 2020.

Lanus v Argentinos Juniors - Copa Superliga

The Copa Superliga endured a tough start to just its second season over the weekend as giants River Plate refused to open their stadium and prompted the postponement of a meeting with Atletico Tucuman.

But there is an intriguing clash on the cards on Monday, as Argentinos Juniors visit out-of-form Lanus. The hosts have slipped three points below their opponents in the league amid a five-match winless run but will be looking for the cup to provide some respite.

River Plate's Copa Superliga clash with Atletico Tucuman was called off on Saturday after the home side refused to open their stadium.

Despite sporting events across the globe having been cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, domestic football in Argentina has remained largely unaffected.

Friday's fixtures between Gimnasia La Plata and Banfield, and Patronato and San Lorenzo went ahead as planned, with Independiente's home match against Velez Sarsfield also proceeding on Saturday, though it was played behind closed doors.

However, River insisted on Friday that, due to safety concerns over the spread of COVID-19, they would not be fulfilling their fixture against Tucuman, a decision which was backed by Gimnasia coach – and Boca Juniors icon – Diego Maradona.

"I'm with them to the death. Look, I don't like the Gallinas ['Chickens', a nickname used by Boca fans to mock River] at all, but I'm with them to the death," Maradona told reporters.

"If the players make a decision, you've got to stick with that to the death. To the death."

And when Tucuman staff, along with referee German Delfino, arrived at El Monumental on Saturday, they were unable to enter the stadium.

Tucuman's official Twitter account posted images of its staff outside the stadium, while they also shared photos of the squad waiting in the team hotel.

The match was subsequently called off, with a Superliga statement confirming the decision.

The statement read: "In light of River Plate's decision to not open their stadium for the encounter that was due to be played for the first round of the Copa Superliga against Atletico Tucuman, referee German Delfino went to the Monumental facilities alongside the rest of the officiating team and national public notary Marisa Galarza, and noted it was impossible to enter the stadium to carry out their jobs.

"Alongside them, the Tucuman side's kitmen, first vice-president Enrique Salvatierra and spokesman Cristobal Godoy were also present.

"At that time a document was signed notifying the situation and the visiting team was informed there was no need to make their way to the event venue, as the match referee had made note of the general situation.

"The Buenos Aires City Security authorities also advised the Tucuman delegation it was not necessary to go to the stadium, as the facilities were closed."

It is unclear at this stage what consequences River will face, though they could reportedly lose the match as a walkover.

With coronavirus spreading across the globe, sports events, tournaments and leagues have been postponed or cancelled en masse. 

On Friday, the Premier League, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 followed the example of LaLiga and Serie A by suspending fixtures, while golf's Masters tournament in the United States was also postponed.

The Giro d'Italia is awaiting a new date, while the NBA, NHL and MLB seasons have all been put on hold.

Planned Six Nations fixtures have also been postponed, including Saturday's clash between Wales and Scotland in Cardiff, while England's tour of Sri Lanka and South Africa's tour of India have been scrapped.

However, despite the upheaval, some events are still set to take place.

FOOTBALL

While most of the major leagues across the globe have been suspended, some are carrying on, though often with mitigating circumstances such as playing behind closed doors.

In Argentina, both the Superliga and Primera A competitions are scheduled to continue, while matches in Australia's A-League are also set to take place. Liga MX remains, and the Russian Premier League is likewise going ahead.

RUGBY LEAGUE

Though Leeds Rhinos' meeting with Catalans Dragons has been postponed, the rest of the Super League fixtures this weekend will be played, as will the Challenge Cup matches, with fans allowed to attend.

In Australia, the first round of NRL fixtures will take place, though the second round will be held behind closed doors, based upon government advice.

CRICKET

The Indian Premier League start date has been pushed back two weeks until mid-April, but the Pakistan Super League has been given the all clear to continue – although a number of players have pulled out, leaving a reduced schedule.

Four matches this weekend precede a pair of semi-finals next week.

There are question marks over Sunday's behind-closed-doors ODI between New Zealand and Australia in Sydney, however, as Black Caps pace bowler Lockie Ferguson is in isolation after complaining of a sore throat.

RUGBY UNION

Wales-Scotland, scheduled for Saturday, was the last of the three planned Six Nations games for this weekend to fall through. The Pro14 and all French rugby union fixtures have also been halted, and Sunday's Premiership Rugby Cup final between Sale Sharks and Harlequins belatedly joined the mass cull of fixtures.

There are six Super Rugby matches to look forward to across the course of the weekend, however, despite the Australian government advising against non-essential gatherings.

Meanwhile, the RFU Championship fixture list has also been largely unaffected, the weekend's action starting with Newcastle Falcons' home match against Bedford Blues on Friday.

Carlos Tevez revealed he kissed Diego Maradona for luck before leading Boca Juniors to the Argentinian Primera Division title on Saturday.

Tevez scored a 72nd-minute winner to lift Boca to a 1-0 victory over Maradona's Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata and to the title after River Plate's draw at Atletico Tucuman.

The forward kissed Maradona on the mouth before the encounter and later said he was seeking luck, while he also praised Boca's second vice-president Juan Roman Riquelme.

"Roman is very important, it was very clear from the first talk. He also helped me a lot to find that Carlitos, this is the reward," Tevez said, via Ole.

"Roman in the box, me making a goal.

"I knew I had to kiss Diego, I was lucky that way... sometimes you have to look for luck."

Gimnasia goalkeeper Jorge Broun was unable to keep out Tevez's 20-yard effort for what proved to be the winner.

Tevez, 36, said he was desperate to deliver success for Boca, who moved onto 34 titles – two shy of River's all-time record of 36.

"I was hungry for glory again. I think I felt again that I had to go back to my neighbourhood, that I had to get off a lot of things and fight like the kid who fought when I was a kid," he said.

"It was two or three years of fighting against my head, against a lot of things. I always kept working, trying to get out of that well, it was very difficult for me to get out, to get back to my roots.

"It was as I was telling you, I needed to go back to be hungry for glory. I found myself at the right time."

Carlos Tevez helped Boca Juniors clinch the Argentinian Primera Division title with a 1-0 win over Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata on Saturday.

Tevez's 20-yard strike in the 72nd minute at La Bombonera lifted Boca to their narrow victory over Diego Maradona's Gimnasia.

It meant Boca finished top of the table by a point after bitter rivals River Plate were held to a 1-1 draw at Atletico Tucuman.

Boca's title was their 34th, drawing them closer to River's all-time record of 36.

Tevez's goal was his ninth in 17 league games this season, with Gimnasia goalkeeper Jorge Broun unable to keep out the powerful effort.

River, meanwhile, had come from behind at Atletico Tucuman through Matias Suarez, but were unable to find a winner.

They were held to draws in their final two league games of the season.

Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo has returned to Argentine club Estudiantes on a short-term loan deal.

Rojo, who was close to joining Everton on the final day of the close-season transfer window, has found opportunities difficult to come by at United this term.

The 29-year-old, signed for £16million from Sporting CP in 2014, has now left Old Trafford, returning to Estudiantes – where he started his career – on loan until the end of the campaign.

Able to play at centre-back or left-back, Rojo has struggled with injuries during his time at United and made 76 Premier League appearances in total.

Estudiantes, who sit 12th in Superliga Argentina, were the first to announce a deal had been struck, posting a video to their official Twitter page along with the caption: "You always return to the places where you were happy. Because of the sense of belonging, it's stronger.

"Your dream and that of the Pincha family has come true. We meet again. Welcome and thanks for coming back, Marcos. We welcome you with our hearts."

United, whose manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had said on Tuesday he did not expect to see Rojo leave prior to Friday's transfer deadline, subsequently confirmed the defender's temporary departure.

Estudiantes welcomed Rojo's former Argentina team-mate Javier Mascherano to the club at the start of the month.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang continues to be linked with a move from Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain are the latest European heavyweight reportedly interested in the forward.

Aubameyang, 30, is reportedly a target for Barcelona after scoring 16 goals in 26 games for struggling Arsenal this season.

However, with Edinson Cavani potentially leaving, PSG are also eyeing the Gabon international.

 

TOP STORY – PSG INTERESTED IN AUBAMEYANG AMID BARCELONA LINKS

PSG are considering a move for Aubameyang, according to Foot Mercato.

Cavani may leave the Ligue 1 giants for Atletico Madrid during this transfer window and Aubameyang could be his replacement, the report says.

PSG are reportedly discussing a loan with an option to buy Aubameyang.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Emirates Stadium, Arsenal are close to a deal for Flamengo defender Pablo Mari, according to ESPN and other reports. The Premier League club will reportedly pay £8.4million (€10m) for the Spaniard.

- Marcos Rojo could be on his way out of Manchester United. After just three Premier League appearances this season, the defender is heading back to Estudiantes – where he started his career – on loan, according to the Mirror.

- Carles Perez is set to join Roma. Sky Sport Italia reports the Barcelona forward will join the Serie A club on loan until the end of the season, with a mandatory purchase option for €13m to be part of the deal.

- Inter are already preparing for a period of dominance, including next season. Sport Italia reports Napoli star Lorenzo Insigne has been offered to Inter, who may land the forward ahead of the 2020-21 campaign.

- Inter and Napoli seem to have a decent relationship. CalcioMercato reports Matteo Politano will swap Milan for Naples, where he will sign a deal until 2024 with a medical set for Monday.

- Mauricio Pochettino remains without a job after being sacked by Tottenham in November. The Mirror reports Spurs will be entitled to £10m in compensation if the Argentinian finds another job before the end of the season.

Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo is a target for Estudiantes and they are "working" on his signing, according to the Argentine club's sporting director Juan Sebastian Veron.

Rojo joined United from Sporting CP in 2014 but has rarely been considered first choice, with injuries a regular problem for him, while he has also seemingly failed to convince incumbent manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

This season the 29-year-old has featured just three times in the Premier League and media reports suggest United are actively trying to offload the centre-back, who is said to be on a wage of around £130,000-a-week.

Argentina international Rojo came through Estudiantes' academy and represented the first team before leaving for a brief spell with Spartak Moscow prior to joining Sporting.

But his family are reportedly eager to return to Argentina, and Veron – a former United player – is hopeful of being able to strike a deal.

He is quoted as saying by La Nacion: "Hopefully United can see that there is no economic issue that we can match, but that it [the deal] happens in other ways and that we can attract him. We are working so that he can come back.

"He has everything to keep playing Europe, but he wants continuity."

Manchester United will reportedly need to improve their offer to Sporting CP if they are to land Bruno Fernandes.

Fernandes, 25, is linked with a January move to Old Trafford, but it seems talks are ongoing between the clubs.

The Premier League outfit will need to raise their offer to land Fernandes, with some distance seemingly still between the sides.

 

TOP STORY – SPORTING WANT €65M FROM MAN UTD FOR FERNANDES

Sporting want £55.4million (€65m) from Manchester United for Fernandes, according to TVI 24.

The report says United are offering £42.6m (€50m) plus bonuses for the midfielder.

With Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba injured, United are desperate to strengthen in midfield this month.

 

ROUND-UP

- Christian Eriksen could be nearing a move to Inter. The Tottenham midfielder's agent Martin Schoots had dinner with Inter chief executive Giuseppe Marotta on Thursday, according to CalcioMercato.

- Tottenham must continue their search if they are to replace the injured Harry Kane this month. The Sun reports a possible move from Milan to Spurs for Krzysztof Piatek appears over and Tottenham are now looking at Porto forward Ze Luis or Napoli's Fernando Llorente, who left the club at the end of last season.

- Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare is deciding between Manchester United and Chelsea, according to Sky Sports, although no move is expected until after the Ligue 1 club face Paris Saint-Germain on January 26.

- Staying at Old Trafford and Manchester United will be offered Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani for free at season's end, according to the Manchester Evening News.

- West Ham's bid to sign Ross Barkley is not over yet. The Mirror reports the club will not give up on trying to land the Chelsea midfielder, who has made just seven Premier League appearances this season.

- Arda Turan remains contracted to Barcelona, but the midfielder knows where he wants to go next. The Turkey international is interested in signing with Boca Juniors, according to Sport, after terminating his loan agreement with Istanbul Basaksehir earlier this month.

Boca Juniors have failed in a bid to delay the resumption of the Superliga season, after claiming a clash with players' international commitments left them at a disadvantage.

The next full round of Superliga games is billed for January 24-26, ending a six-week mid-season break, but Argentina Under-23 players will be engaged in qualifying for the Olympic Games.

Argentina play Colombia, Chile, Ecuador and Venezuela between January 18 and January 30, looking to advance to the next stage in February and close on one of two CONMEBOL places at Tokyo 2020.

Boca had just two players named in the squad last month - Nicolas Capaldo and Alexis Mac Allister - yet they led protests against the Superliga schedule.

The club released a statement on Thursday, which read: "The new leadership of the club considers that restarting the championship as planned means a sporting disadvantage for our institution, due to the players that we have contributed to the national team, and we ask for the corresponding postponement.

"If there is something that characterises Boca throughout its history, it is the commitment to the national teams in all its representations.

"And the only thing we want is to continue with that commitment [while] taking care of the interests of our club, which is the task entrusted to us by the members in the elections of December 8, 2019.

"For this reason, through a letter to the Superliga authorities signed by president Jorge Amor Ameal, Boca requests the postponement of the start of the tournament in question, as well as a meeting to discuss economic aspects."

However, the Superliga announced on its website that the 17th round of games would go ahead as planned, after "general consensus" was reached at an executive committee meeting.

Argentinian sports newspaper Ole reported the results of a poll among the 24 Superliga clubs.

It said that with 16 votes required to make the alteration, just 15 were in favour, with Boca's rivals River Plate reportedly among the nine against the motion.

Boca, who sit in second place, behind Argentinios Juniors, are due to play Independiente on January 26.

Boca Juniors have appointed former boss Miguel Angel Russo as head coach to replace Gustavo Alfaro.

Alfaro stepped down earlier this month and club great Diego Maradona – currently in charge of Argentina's Superliga side Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata – suggested ex-Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino to take charge.

However, Boca brought back Russo, who previously coached the Argentine powerhouse in 2007 and led the club to Copa Libertadores glory that year.

"I always had the illusion of returning to Boca again," Russo told reporters. "The previous coaches who were lucky enough to win the Copa Libertadores have returned.

"I knew that some time I would return and that I never lost it. This is the moment and this is the opportunity."

"Hopefully I can win the Copa Libertadores and celebrate in La Bombonera," he added.

The 63-year-old Russo returns to Buenos Aires after spells with Peruvian side Alianza Lima and Paraguayan outfit Cerro Porteno in 2019.

Russo guided Cerro Porteno to the Libertadores quarter-finals this year – their campaign ended by eventual runners-up River Plate.

Heading into the New Year, Boca are second and a point behind leaders Argentinos Juniors after 16 matches.

Mikel Arteta looks to be on his way out of Manchester City, and it may not be long before he is followed by Pep Guardiola.

That is if reports linking Paris Saint-Germain with a move for the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich head coach are to be believed.

Meanwhile, Arteta is not the only big managerial appointment expected imminently in the Premier League, with Carlo Ancelotti close to being confirmed as Everton boss, and reports suggest a big-name could be in line to follow the Italian to Goodison Park.

 

TOP STORY – GUARDIOLA LINED UP BY PSG

According to Le10 Sport, Paris Saint-Germain will look to swap Thomas Tuchel with Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola next season.

Guardiola is currently under contract with City until 2021, though has said he is open to extending his deal. However, these reports claim PSG will aim to bring in the Spaniard, along with former Barca star Xavi, who will act as his number two.

While City are 14 points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool, PSG are top of Ligue 1 and will face Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League last 16.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Sun claims Mauricio Pochettino is holding off on making any commitment to Real Madrid as he waits to see how Guardiola's situation at Manchester City plays out.

- According to The Telegraph, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is open to linking up with former boss Carlo Ancelotti at Everton. Ancelotti is reportedly set to be appointed by the Toffees and Ibrahimovic – who has been linked to Milan and Napoli – could follow him to Merseyside.

Mesut Ozil is close to securing a loan move from Arsenal to Fenerbahce in January, according to Turkish newspaper Fotomac.

- Madrid winger Vinicius Jr. has been linked with a move to the Premier League. El Desmarque reports Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham and Wolves are all interested in the Brazilian.

- Another potential outgoing from Arsenal could be Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, with The Mirror saying one of Arteta's first tasks will be to convince the Gunners' captain to stay put.

- Sky Sports reports Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs are all monitoring Lille forward Victor Osimhen, who has scored nine Ligue 1 goals this term.

- Inter great Dejan Stankovic is poised to become head coach of Serbian champions Red Star Belgrade. After Vladan Milojevic stepped down on Thursday, reports in Serbia claim the former Red Star midfielder will be unveiled on Friday. This is set to be Stankovic's first senior job.

Tottenham are considering a January move for Leicester City full-back Ricardo Pereira, says Het Nieuwsblad.

Bayer Leverkusen have bolstered their midfield options with the signing of highly rated Argentina international Exequiel Palacios from River Plate.

Palacios, 21, will join on January 1 and has signed a five-and-a-half-year contract with the Bundesliga side.

Capped four times by Argentina, Palacios has been around River's first-team for four years but began to appear more regularly in 2017-18.

A technically gifted midfielder with a keen eye for a pass, Palacios played a crucial role in River's successful Copa Libertadores campaign in 2018.

His form at the time saw him emerge as a reported target for Real Madrid, yet those links went cool despite Palacios' agent claiming in January that talks between the two clubs had gone well and were "quite advanced".

Two significant injuries – a fractured leg and hamstring tear – disrupted his progress earlier this year, but he has continued to earn praise for his performances since returning to fitness.

River coach Marcelo Gallardo expressed his frustration at having an "almost sold player" before the year had even finished at the end of November, with Leverkusen expected to sign Palacios for several weeks.

Monday brought the confirmation that they have their man, with Palacios' release clause at River reportedly securing them a €15million transfer fee.

River Plate head coach Marcelo Gallardo is not happy with the timing of Exequiel Palacios' proposed transfer to Bayer Leverkusen as he questioned the club.

Linked to LaLiga powerhouse Real Madrid previously, River star Palacios is reportedly set to join Bundesliga outfit Leverkusen.

The 21-year-old midfielder – also believed to have attracted interest from Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City, Inter and Ajax – has established himself as a key member of Gallardo's squad.

And Gallardo vented his frustration after the in-demand coach was asked about Palacios' future amid a potential January switch to Germany.

"I don't know exactly what is going to happen," Gallardo told reporters. "We haven't finished the year and we already have an almost sold player [Exequiel Palacios].

"I don't know what the rush was to close this. I've a player now thinking on his departure and we still have three games ahead. They could have waited a little bit, we could have waited a little bit. I don't handle those kinds of things.

"Now I must think on a player who's going to play these three matchdays. Because he's a valuable player for us. But already whit his mind elsewhere. I don't handle those kinds of things. So, I don't know what it's going to happen. I don't know." 

Palacios, who was sent off in the Copa Libertadores final loss to Flamengo earlier this month, has scored three goals for River this season.

 

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