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Football coach Löw extends Germany reign until 2020

Germany's World Cup-winning coach Joachim Löw has extend his contract until 2020, the German FA (DFB) announced on Monday.

Football coach Löw extends Germany reign until 2020
Joachim Löw. Photo: DPA

The 56-year-old, who took charge in 2006, has penned a two-year extension to lead Germany's defence of the World Cup in Russia in 2018 and to the European Championships in 2020.

If Löw stays in office until 2020, his 14-year reign would make him the joint second-longest serving Germany coach, equal to Helmut Schoen (1964-78).

Having won a fourth World Cup in Brazil two years ago but lost to hosts France in the Euro 2016 semi-finals in July, one of Löw's goal is to win their first European crown since 1996.

“We have visions and things that we want to tackle, so the time of the extension was just right,” Löw told a press conference in Frankfurt.

“The goal is, of course, to repeat our success story in Rio and we want to be European champions, which is a big goal of mine. When the head and the heart both say 'yes' at the same time, then there is not much to think about.

“I feel the same motivation as I did at the beginning of my term at the DFB and I still feel their confidence.

“It's simply great fun to work with this team and these players.”

Löw, who took charge of the die Mannschaft after the 2006 World Cup following two years as assistant coach under Jurgen Klinsmann, will reportedly receive a pay rise to earn four million euros per year.

His old deal is believed to have earned him an annual salary of around three million euros.

“Löw is the best coach, that we in the DFB's executive committee can imagine,” said German FA president Reinhard Grindel.

“We have the same goal – we want to defend our World Cup title in Russia and, after we were so close to it in France this year, we want to try to be Europe champions in 2020.”

Grindel added that Löw's new deal was 'a reward' for the head coach's hard work, but the president wanted to get the contract signed before the German FA meets in Erfurt on November 3rd-4th.

Sepp Herberger holds the 28-year record for a Germany coach, from 1936-64, during which time he led West Germany to their first World Cup title in 1954.

Germany, who are top of their 2018 World Cup qualifying group with three straight wins, play minnows San Marino away in their next qualifier on November 11th before facing Italy four days later in a friendly in Milan.

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FOOTBALL

Putellas becomes second Spanish footballer in history to win Ballon d’Or

Alexia Putellas of Barcelona and Spain won the women's Ballon d'Or prize on Monday, becoming only the second Spanish-born footballer in history to be considered the best in the world, and claiming a win for Spain after a 61-year wait.

FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas poses after being awarded thewomen's Ballon d'Or award.
FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas poses after being awarded thewomen's Ballon d'Or award. Photo: FRANCK FIFE / AFP

Putellas is the third winner of the prize, following in the footsteps of Ada Hegerberg, who won the inaugural women’s Ballon d’Or in 2018, and United States World Cup star Megan Rapinoe, winner in 2019.

Putellas captained Barcelona to victory in this year’s Champions League, scoring a penalty in the final as her side hammered Chelsea 4-0 in Gothenburg.

She also won a Spanish league and cup double with Barca, the club she joined as a teenager in 2012, and helped her country qualify for the upcoming Women’s Euro in England.

Her Barcelona and Spain teammate Jennifer Hermoso finished second in the voting, with Sam Kerr of Chelsea and Australia coming in third.

It completes an awards double for Putellas, who in August was named player of the year by European football’s governing body UEFA.

But it’s also a huge win for Spain as it’s the first time in 61 years that a Spanish footballer – male or female – is crowned the world’s best footballer of the year, and only the second time in history a Spaniard wins the Ballon d’Or. 

Former Spanish midfielder Luis Suárez (not the ex Liverpool and Barça player now at Atlético) was the only Spanish-born footballer to win the award in 1960 while at Inter Milan. Argentinian-born Alfredo Di Stefano, the Real Madrid star who took up Spanish citizenship, also won it in 1959.

Who is Alexia Putellas?

Alexia Putellas grew up dreaming of playing for Barcelona and after clinching the treble of league, cup and Champions League last season, her status as a women’s footballing icon was underlined as she claimed the Ballon d’Or on Monday.

Unlike the men’s side, Barca’s women swept the board last term with the 27-year-old, who wears “Alexia” on the back of her shirt, at the forefront, months before Lionel Messi’s emotional departure.

Attacker Putellas, who turns 28 in February, spent her childhood less than an hour’s car journey from the Camp Nou and she made her first trip to the ground from her hometown of Mollet del Valles, for the Barcelona derby on January 6, 2000.

Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas (R) vies with VfL Wolfsburg's German defender Kathrin Hendrich
Putellas plays as a striker for Barça and Spain. GABRIEL BOUYS / POOL / AFP

Exactly 21 years later she became the first woman in the modern era to score in the stadium, against Espanyol. Her name was engraved in the club’s history from that day forward, but her story started much earlier.

She started playing the sport in school, against boys.

“My mum had enough of me coming home with bruises on my legs, so she signed me up at a club so that I stopped playing during break-time,” Putellas said last year.

So, with her parent’s insistence, she joined Sabadell before being signed by Barca’s academy.

“That’s where things got serious… But you couldn’t envisage, with all one’s power, to make a living from football,” she said.

After less than a year with “her” outfit, she moved across town to Espanyol and made her first-team debut in 2010 before losing to Barca in the final of the Copa de la Reina.

She then headed south for a season at Valencia-based club Levante before returning “home” in July 2012, signing for Barcelona just two months after her father’s death.

In her first term there she helped Barca win the league and cup double, winning the award for player of the match in the final of the latter competition.

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