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This week in soccer

Corner Kicks

August 29, 2007|Grahame L. Jones, | Times Staff Writer

Five things happening around the world:

1. Defending European champion AC Milan got the Italian season off to a flying start with a 3-0 victory over Genoa as Brazil's Kaka scored twice, but it was Catania Coach Silvio Baldini who really kick-started Serie A.

In his team's opening game, on the road against Parma, Baldini applied his foot to the rear end of Parma Coach Domenico Di Carlo after the two became embroiled in a sidelined argument during a 2-2 tie.

Baldini was banished to the stands by the referee and Tuesday was fined $20,470 and suspended for a month. He apologized after the incident but not to Di Carlo.

"I am not apologizing to him because he deserved it, he provoked me," Baldini said.

2. Hugo Salcedo, a longtime Southern California soccer official and the father of UCLA Coach Jorge Salcedo, heads a FIFA team currently in Brazil to inspect that country's readiness to stage the 2014 World Cup.

The FIFA representatives are visiting five of the proposed World Cup cities -- Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Sao Paulo, Porto Alegre and Brasilia -- and are hearing presentations from 13 other would-be host communities.

The executive committee of FIFA will vote Oct. 30 on whether to grant Brazil the 2014 tournament.

3. Norwegian striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who starred on the Manchester United team that won the coveted "treble" of English Premier League championship, F.A. Cup and European Champions League in 1999, retired Tuesday at age 34 because of a lingering knee injury.

The hugely popular Solskjaer ended his career having scored 126 goals in 365 games for Manchester United and 23 goals in 67 games for Norway.

4. World Cup winner Ronaldinho, who is included in Brazil's roster for its games against the United States on Sept. 9 and Mexico on Sept. 12, has been granted dual nationality by Spain, and teenage Mexican forward Giovani dos Santos is soon to be accorded the same privilege.

The two moves mean that their Spanish club, Barcelona, will be free to add a third non-European Union player to go along with Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o and Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure.

5. Cesar Luis Menotti, who coached Argentina to its 1978 World Cup triumph, has been appointed coach of UAG Tecos in the Mexican league, where he will soon find himself encountering Toluca Coach Jose Pekerman, who led Argentina to the quarterfinals of the 2006 World Cup.

During the last three decades, Menotti, 68, has coached Boca Juniors and River Plate in Argentina, Penarol in Uruguay, Sampdoria in Italy, Barcelona in Spain, and Mexico's national team.

"He is a great football encyclopedia," Antonio Leano, UAG's president, told reporters in Guadalajara.

Meanwhile, Marcelo Bielsa, who coached Argentina to the gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics, has emerged from two years' seclusion and accepted the position as Chile's national team coach.

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