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Fulham Upset After Losing Out on Reyna

Times Staff Writer

Claudio Reyna, captain of the United States’ 2002 World Cup team, was sharply criticized Friday after turning his back on Fulham at the last minute and instead signing with English Premier League rival Manchester City.

“Claudio was with us [Thursday], having his photo taken in a Fulham jersey,” Fulham Coach Chris Coleman said. “I was even discussing with him what training schedule we should have for him [Friday], and he was going to take part [in Fulham’s match today against Tottenham Hotspur] in some capacity.

“As far as I was concerned, yesterday he was a Fulham player. Then two hours later I take a phone call saying there was a snag in the deal. Four hours later, he was a Manchester City player.

“I am bitterly disappointed by the whole incident.... Somebody moved the goalposts at the last minute, and it wasn’t us.”

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Reyna, 30, signed a three-year contract with Manchester City, which acquired him from Sunderland for $3.9 million.

“Reyna gives me options in several positions,” said City Coach Kevin Keegan. “He can play right back or in midfield and he brings with him a wealth of experience. He will prove an invaluable influence for our younger players as well.”

Manchester City also was poised to sign another midfielder, former England international Steve McManaman, from Real Madrid.

Egg-Hurling Season

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Angry fans hurled eggs and shouted insults outside the headquarters of the Italian league in Milan, where it was decided to postpone Sunday’s planned start of the Serie B season by one week in the face of a threatened boycott by clubs.

The Italian soccer federation, under the presidency of Franco Carraro, last week controversially approved expanding the division from 20 to 24 teams, a move rejected by Serie B clubs and fans as one driven solely by financial greed and television interests.

“Carraro has overstepped the mark,” Massimo Cellino, Cagliari’s president, told Reuters. “He’s written his own resignation letter by his behavior in the past few days.”

AC Milan Wins

A 10th-minute goal by Ukrainian striker Andriy Shevchenko was enough to give European champion AC Milan a 1-0 victory over UEFA Cup winner FC Porto in Monte Carlo and its fourth European Super Cup.

Milan’s victory tied it with Real Madrid with 15 trophies in all European competitions.

Quick Passes

UEFA voted to extend its ban on Israel playing competitive international matches at home because of continuing security concerns in the Middle East.

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Leeds United midfielder Seth Johnson, 24, was sentenced to 100 hours of community service, disqualified from driving for two years and fined $2,400 after admitting in an English court that he had been speeding while driving under the influence of alcohol.

Chelsea announced that it had reached agreement with Real Madrid over the acquisition of French international defensive midfielder Claude Makelele.... Scottish champion Rangers sold team captain Barry Ferguson to Blackburn Rovers for $11.8 million and acquired Brazilian free-agent midfielder Emerson, 31.

Lazio strengthened its attack for the Serie A season that opens Sunday by acquiring forward Roberto Muzzi from Udinese for $3.5 million.... Valencia has rejected Real Madrid’s bid of $8.7 million for Roberto Ayala of Argentina.

Joseph “Sepp” Blatter, FIFA’s president, said in Helsinki, Finland, that FIFA might allow matches in the 2010 World Cup to be played on artificial surfaces.

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Times wire services contributed to this report.


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