Afternoon Report: January 9

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Football News

Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has apologised after being photographed wearing a suicide bomber costume at a fancy dress party.

A photograph of the 24-year-old was splashed across the front page of The Sun newspaper this morning - and the former Fulham star admits he made an ill-thought out and insensitive decision.

Chelsea will not be signing Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso this month - or in the summer - after the Spain international penned a new two-year contract at the Bernabeu.

The 32-year-old had been tipped to leave the Spanish giants this year, but he will now stay with Real Madrid until 2016.

Arsenal winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hopes to earn a place in the England squad for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.

The 20-year-old has been out since the opening day of the season with a knee injury, but now has his sights set on this summer's showpiece tournament after returning to training.

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has praised striker Alvaro Negredo after the striker bagged a hat-trick in last night's 6-0 demolition of West Ham.

City now have one foot in the Capital One Cup final - although Pellegrini insists his side must remain focused for the second leg of the semi-final.

Barcelona star Lionel Messi scored a brace on his return from injury against Getafe last night.

The Argentina international, who has missed the last two months with a hamstring injury, netted two goals in the last four minutes of the match to help his side record a convincing 4-0 victory.

And Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti believes the return of Messi is great news for La Liga.

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