December 30, 2008 / 3:14 PM / 10 years ago

Briefs 3-Melandri in the dark over reported Kawasaki pull out

Dec 30 (Reuters) - Sports news in brief from around the world on Tuesday.

Motorcycling - Marco Melandri said he was in the dark after Italian media reported that his Kawasaki team are planning to pull out of MotoGP because of the global economic crisis.

“I have to wait and speak to someone. At the moment I don’t know anything,” the Italian rider, who has switched to Kawasaki after a disappointing season with Ducati, was quoted as saying by La Gazzetta dello Sport’s website (www.gazzetta.it).

“I can only hope that I wake up on Jan. 1 and discover it’s all a bad dream.”

Soccer - Portsmouth have agreed a 4.5 million euros ($6.38 million) deal with Lens for Algerian defender Nadir Belhadj who has been on loan with the English Premier League club this season.

“Even (Arsenal boss) Arsene Wenger commented on his ability to spring from defence to attack so quickly,” manager Tony Adams told the club’s website (www.portsmouthfc.co.uk) after the 26-year-old signed a four-and-a-half year deal. “He has great pace and energy and is a terrific crosser of the ball.”

Soccer - AC Milan forward Marco Borriello is not expected to return from a thigh injury for another month, chief executive Adriano Galliani said.

“I fear that Borriello will not be available before the end of January,” the club website (www.acmilan.com) quoted Galliani as telling a news conference at Milan’s winter training camp in Dubai.

Soccer - Russia manager Guus Hiddink and Zenit St Petersburg boss Dick Advocaat have been named the recipients of the Merited Coach of Russia award — the country’s highest sporting honour — by Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko.

This year, Hiddink led his team to the European Championship semi-finals for the first time in 20 years while fellow Dutchman Advocaat guided Zenit to victory in the UEFA Cup.

Editing by Padraic Halpin

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