Rinus Michels award nominees revealed

Phillip Cocu, John van den Brom and Giovanni van Bronckhorst have been nominated for the Rinus Michels award which recognises the Eredivisie manager of the year.

Cocu has been nominated for the award after leading PSV Eindhoven to the Eredivisie title this campaign. The club have won the title three out of the last four seasons.

When Cocu won the Eredivisie with PSV in 2014/15, he also claimed the Rinus Michels award. The last two award winners were Erik ten Hag and Peter Bosz.

Van Bronckhorst earned a nomination after guiding Feyenoord to the KNVB Cup, while also finishing fourth in the league. The former Netherlands international has never won the award.

Meanwhile, AZ Alkmaar's Van den Brom has received widespread praise for his team's attractive style of football. AZ also managed to make the KNVB Cup final, where they lost against Feyenoord, and a third-place finish in the league.

Neuer has doubts about return from injury in 2017/18

Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer says his return to first team action may be in doubt in 2017/18, as he continues his recovery from a long term injury. 

Despite resuming full first team training last week after seven months out with a fracture to his foot, the Germany international is cautious about making a return until his condition is at a level to do so. 

The 32-year-old suffered a second metatarsal break in six months during a victory over Mainz on 16 September last year. After his most recent return this month, their were hopes he would be back in action sooner rather than later.

However, the shot-stopper says that he is taking it one day at a time and is assessing his physical condition carefully with medical professionals. 

He told SPORT BILD: "After an injury like the one I had, everything is a motivation - a Bundesliga game, the DFB Cup final, the Champions League. 

"I'd obviously like to help the team again, but I have to wait to see how the next steps go. 

"It's also important what the doctors says: at what point can I be involved again. On top of that, I have to be happy with my performance level and be honest with myself: can I be my old self so soon after such a long period out. 

"Or do I need to say: I'm still a way off and need more time? I don’t have the answers today, there are a lot of question marks." 

It appears Neuer is in a race against time as Die Mannschaft boss Joachim Low names his World Cup squad on 15 May, just four days before the Bavarians DFB Cup final encounter against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Roma condemns abhorrent fan behavior

Roma have issued a statement condemning the actions of a few of its supporters prior to the Champions League semi-final with Liverpool on Tuesday.

Two men from Rome were arrested by the Merseyside Police on suspicion of attempted murder after a 53-year-old man was seriously injured outside the Albert Pub - close to Anfield.

The statement read: "AS Roma condemns in the strongest possible terms the abhorrent behavior of a small minority of traveling fans who brought shame on the club and the vast majority of Roma’s well-behaved supporters at Anfield after getting involved in clashes with Liverpool supporters before last night’s fixture.

"There is no place for this type of vile behavior in football and the club is now cooperating with Liverpool Football Club, UEFA and the authorities.

"The clubs thoughts and prayers are with the 53-year-old Liverpool fan in hospital and his family at this time."

The fan remains in critical condition following the altercation.

Liverpool also posted a statement, after the incident: "Liverpool Football Club is shocked and appalled after a Liverpool supporter was left in a critical condition having been attacked prior to the Champions League fixture against AS Roma.

"Our thoughts, in the first instance, are with the victim and his family at this very traumatic time. We will be offering them our full support.

"The club has been liaising with the emergency services since the incident occurred and will continue to do so.

"Liverpool FC directs supporters and those in attendance at the game to Merseyside Police's appeal for information."

And UEFA added: "UEFA is deeply shocked by the vile attack that occurred ahead of the Liverpool FC v AS Roma match and our thoughts are with the victim and his family.

"The perpetrators of this ignominious attack have no place in and around football and we trust they will be dealt with utmost severity by the authorities.

"UEFA is waiting to receive full reports before deciding on potential disciplinary charges."

Bale won't rule out Bayern switch

Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale says it's an honour to be linked with Bayern Munich and admits he can't rule out a move to the Bundesliga champions.

The Welshman has seen his stock take a dive at Real recently. He was briefly a world-record signing when he joined Los Merengues from Tottenham in 2013, but has not featured prominently for the Spanish side this season.

The 28-year-old enjoyed his best season at Real in 2015/16, when he scored 19 goals and provided 11 assists in La Liga, but has seen those numbers dwindle of late. He has scored only 11 league goals this season and made four assists.

Bayern, who host Real in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals on Wednesday, have long been linked with a move for Bale and he hasn't rubbished the rumours.

"In football, you can never say never," Bale, who has four years left on his Real contract, told SportBild in Munich.

“At the moment, I play football for Madrid and I enjoy it. Bayern have a fantastic team and have always been one of the most successful clubs in Europe in the past.

“Being linked with this club is an honour for everyone. But, now, I am a Real Madrid player.”

Mhango: We have to win our remaining games

Gabadinho Mhango is adamant that winning their three remaining games can secure a top eight finish for Bidvest Wits after a disappointing season.

Mhango believes his side has the quality to collect nine points starting with Wednesday’s clash with Orlando Pirates.

The two teams will come up against each other behind closed doors at Orlando Stadium, as the Soweto club's punishment for pitch invasion by their supporters in last season's heavy defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns.

Gavin Hunt’s side wade into the match without a win in their last three Premiership games and in eleventh position in the table.

“Probably we have to go there as a team and not as individuals, it’s the most important thing because we are fighting for top eight,” Mhango exclusively told Vodacom Soccer.

“You know we have not been doing quite well, but we have to try our best as team and show our presence as the players to at least get maximum nine points from the remaining three games.

“Yes, we still have hope as the team and we believe in our abilities.

“Even the technical team believes in the players, so the three remaining games we have to win them."

Rohr to name Nigeria World Cup squad on 1 June

Nigeria's 23-man 2018 World Cup squad will reportedly be named on 1 June with a preliminary 30-man selection set to be named on 14 May. 

Completesportsnigeria reported that coach Gernot Rohr will forward his initial 30-man squad to FIFA just before mid-May, and it will be the prelude to a three-phase training camp for the Super Eagles. 

The publication said: "The 30 players are expected to open the first phase of their pre-World Cup training camp in Nigeria which will culminate in the friendly against Congo Democratic Republic on May 28 in Uyo, before departing for London for the next phase of camping. 

"The team will then be pruned down to 23 players which will be submitted to the world football's governing body latest by Friday June 1, 24 hours before the friendly against England at Wembley Stadium. 

"The Super Eagles will then proceed to the third and final phase of camping in Austria with the final 23 players to take on Czech Republic in the last friendly game on June 6 before flying to their World Cup base camp in Yessentuki, Russia."

The Eagles are set to open their campaign at the global showpiece in Russia during June and July with a clash against Croatia on 16 June. They then face Croatia on 22 June before completing their Group D matches against Argentina. 

Lorch ruled out for season for Pirates

Orlando Pirates have received a massive blow with the news that key midfielder Thembinkosi Lorch has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury.

The 24-year-old was injured in his team's 2-1 victory over AmaZulu earlier in April, and thereafter went for scans to try and diagnose the full extent of the problem.

However, it has now been revealed that he has dislocated his shoulder and will play no part in the rest of the campaign including Wednesday evening's clash against Bidvest Wits at the Orlando Stadium.

Meanwhile, Luvuyo Memela is also doubtful for the match against the Clever Boys though he may feature if he comes through a fitness test ahead of the encounter. 

In addition, the versatile Gladwin Shitolo misses out with a foot injury and winger Mpho Makola is unavailable due to suspension. 

Pirates' official website said: "Thembinkosi Lorch has been ruled out for the rest of the season after injuring his shoulder. 

"'Meme' – as Memela is affectionately known – is due to undergo a late fitness test after getting injured during training this week. 

"The Bucs medical team are expected to make a call later today on the 30-year old left footer." 

Mbappe: Winning is a special feeling

Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe expressed his delight after a trophy-laden first season at the newly-crowned Ligue 1 and Coupe de la Ligue champions.

The 19-year-old joined the Parisians in August, after claiming the Ligue 1 title with AS Monaco last season, and has already helped his new club win two trophies.

Mbappe has scored 13 goals and made eight assists in Ligue 1 this season, while also contributing with three assists in the Coupe de la Ligue, which PSG won in March when they beat Monaco 3-0 in the final.

"Winning is always a special feeling, a source of pride. That's what we work for all year long," he told the club's official website.

"Here in France, everyone had us down as favourites, but we still had to go out and do it, because if we didn’t do it, everyone would have been on our backs and we would have been the first to be disappointed. 

"We are very happy to have done what we needed to do here in the league and now there are more records to be broken." 

On making the move to PSG, Mbappe added: "You change planet when you come here, both on the pitch and off it… In terms of the media attention as well; everyone is watching us. It really is two different worlds, but like I’ve always said: I really felt very quickly at home."

Polokwane City v Cape Town City

Polokwane City will clash with Cape Town City in a Premiership encounter at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium on Wednesday, with Rise and Shine not yet mathematically safe from the drop. 

City have not won in their previous two games and drew 1-1 with Bidvest Wits in Johannesburg last weekend, after conceding a late equaliser against the Clever Boys at the Bidvest Stadium.

The draw leaves Polokwane in 13th position on 31 points although they are just two points clear of SuperSport United in 15th place.

The visitors have not won in their last three matches and drew 0-0 with SuperSport in their last time out. As such, the Citizens are in sixth in the table with 36 points from 27 games and a place in the top eight is seemingly not yet secure. 

Meanwhile, Polokwane City head coach Bernard Molekwa says the club are in relegation trouble and must show fighting qualities against City. He said: "We're going into our game on Wednesday, still under pressure. 

"We're not yet safe, we still have to fight harder than we have been. But if we had three points it was going to ease pressure going to the next game."

For the away outfit, Cape Town City head coach Benni McCarthy is demanding his players keep on performing, saying: "With three games to go, they now have to stop thinking that it’s holiday time and start re-discovering themselves. 

"Players have to understand that it is tough to get into a starting team, so when you get an opportunity you have to take it. 

"The point is simply that we have to do more than just play good football. If you can't put the ball into the back of the net, then you can't win football games."

The action is set to get underway from 19:30 in Polokwane in the Limpopo Province.

Calderon: Real Madrid want Kane

Former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon insists the Spanish giants have Tottenham's star striker, Harry Kane, in their sights but admits he will cost a pretty penny.

Kane has been an incredibly consistent goalscorer in the Premier League over recent years and has netted 26 goals in 33 top-flight games this season. 

The Englishman still has four years left on his current contract at Spurs, but Calderon is convinced that he remains a transfer target of Real Madrid, alongside Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski.

"The objective for Real Madrid, no doubt, is Kane," Calderon told The Sun.

"If they want a player for the next five or six years they are going to go for Kane but [Spurs chairman Daniel] Levy is going to ask a fortune for him.

"As far as I know, Tottenham is not willing to let him go but Bayern also say Lewandowski is not going anywhere.

"[Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz] Rummenigge has said he can bet that he will be in Bayern next season but we have heard that so many times, and in my experience it is the player who has the final decision of where to go."