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Midday Ticker: Podolski completes Inter loan; Barca ousts football director; and more

Lukas Podolski of Arsenal celebrates scoring to make it 2-0


Struggling for minutes with Arsenal, Lukas Podolski was in need of a new club and now he has found one.

Podolski has finalized a loan to join Inter Milan for the remainder of the season, the clubs announced Monday.

The 29-year-old German forward joined the Gunners in 2012 but has struggled to find a regular spot with the first team.

He scored three goals for Arsenal this season in 14 appearances, three of them starts, including a late game-winner against Anderlecht in Champions League group play.

Podolski traveled to Italy last week for medical review and began training with his new club Monday. He could make his debut for Inter on Tuesday at Juventus.

Here is some more international news from Tuesday afternoon:


It had seemed to be a long time coming, but losing to David Moyes and Real Sociedad was apparently the last straw. FC Barcelona has fired Andoni Zubizarreta, the club’s director of football, the club announced Monday.

Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu announced the decision on the heels of a loss Sunday night to Real Sociedad, which netted Moyes his first big win at the helm of his new La Liga side.

“The President, in the name of the Club, thanks Andoni Zubizarreta for his contribution, dedication and professionalism over the last four years in his role at the head of the Club’s football area,” a short statement on Barca’s website read.

Shortly after the news broke, Zubizarreta’s assistant Carles Puyol announced via his personal Facebook page that he was stepping down. A replacement for Zubizarreta has not been named.

“I would like to have said goodbye in action but life doesn’t always go as planned,” Puyol wrote. “I have been very fortunate to feel so loved and that’s why I am only saying thank you. Please know that you will always be in my heart.”

Sociedad, 13th on the league table, eked out a 1-0 victory Sunday night over Barca, second in the league. Moyes took over La Real in November, his first coaching job since being unceremoniously sacked by Manchester United in April.


Serie A could be going through a bit of contraction.

Italian Football Federation president Carlo Tavecchio hopes to reduce the top-flight Italian league from 20 clubs to 18.

Serie B would also be cut from 22 clubs to 20 under his plan, which he hopes will be approved this year, although it’s not clear when the changes would take effect.

“If it’s not done in 2015 then we’ll have to make other evaluations,” he said, according to the AP.

Up against leagues in England, Spain and Germany, Serie A has been dogged by financial problems, such as aging infrastructure and dropping attendance numbers, as well as violence and racism in the stands.

“The Italian sports system is imploding. The resources are diminishing,” Tavecchio said, adding that the cuts “can return Italian football to a better level.”


What do you think of this news? Can Podolski make an impact for Inter Milan? What do you think of Barca’s decision to fire Zubizarreta? Would a smaller Serie A field make sense?

Share your thoughts below.


    • Depends entirely on the club– there can be huge variance. In some cases, the Director of Football is the most important and influential figure at the club. He is the primary figure in transfer and personnel decisions, and has discretion to hire and fire head coaches (a lot like a General Manager in US Sports). At the other extreme, the Director of Football can be almost a symbolic title– he is an ambassador for the club with some significant administrative authority, but does not have primary discretion for transfers and does little to affect the on-field performance of the team compared to the head coach

      Barcelona are probably closer to the latter, though it should be said that they are a unique club who value collective decision-making, and rarely allow any one individual to exert undue influence in club personnel or strategy.


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