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Former Bulgaria defender Trifon Ivanov dies aged 50

Former Bulgaria defender Trifon Ivanov has died at the age of 50, the country's football association has announced.

Ivanov helped Bulgaria to the semi-finals of the 1994 World Cup. Credit: PA

The bearded centre-back helped Bulgaria to the semi-finals of the 1994 World Cup and also played at Euro 96.

In his club career, he played for the likes of CSKA Sofia, Real Betis and Rapid Vienna.

Ivanov featured 77 times for his country in total and the Bulgarian Football Union called him one of the nation's best ever players when announcing his passing on Saturday.

A statement read:

Trifon Ivanov will remain in the history of Bulgarian football as one of the best defenders. Before being a great player, Trifon was a great man with great heart and always ready to help. We all mourn the loss of a true friend. Rest in peace, Trifon.

– Bulgarian Football Union statement

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Former West Ham defender retires at the age of 27

Former West Ham and Wales midfielder Jack Collison is retiring from football at the age of 27 due to injury.

Jack Collison has been forced to retire from football. Credit: PA

After making 121 appearances during an injury-hit time with the Hammers, the midfielder moved to Peterborough in the summer hoping to kickstart his career.

Collison made 12 appearances for the Sky Bet League One outfit, but has now decided to call time on his career due to persistent knee problems.

The midfielder, capped 17 times by Wales, dislocated a kneecap playing for West Ham in 2009 and will now focus on a coaching and media career.

He told The Sun:

The nights I wake up in pain, or the mornings where I struggle to walk, will be a constant reminder I was lucky enough to play the game I love.

I still wake up some mornings feeling good and think 'one more try'. But that would be unfair on myself, my fellow pros and my family. I want to bow out with some pride intact.

– Jack Collison


Johan Cruyff feeling positive about battle with cancer

Johan Cruyff believes he is "2-0 up at half-time" and will eventually win his battle with lung cancer.

Cruyff feels like he is winning his battle against cancer. Credit: Reuters

The former Ajax, Barcelona and Holland star said in a statement on his official website: "After several medical treatments I can say that the results have been very positive, thanks to the excellent work of the doctors, the affection of the people and my positive mentality.

"Right now, I have the feeling that I am 2-0 up in the first half of a match that has not finished yet. But I am sure that I will end up winning."

Cruyff, who was a heavy smoker until undergoing heart surgery in 1991, made his illness public in October last year.

The 68-year-old, who won the Ballon d'Or three times, is regarded as one of the game's greatest ever players. He led Ajax to three consecutive European Cups from 1971 to 1973 and was the star figure as Holland reached the World Cup final in 1974.

By then he had joined Barcelona for a world record fee and became a huge favourite at the Nou Camp, eventually coaching the Catalan club to a first European Cup triumph in 1992 and four successive Primera Division titles.

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