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FOOTBALL

AIK defender Hooiveld heading to Scotland’s Celtic

Dutch defender Jos Hooiveld, who helped lead Stockholm club AIK to the 2009 Swedish football championship, has been signed by Scottish club Celtic.

Celtic are set to make 26-year-old Dutch defender their first signing of the new year, press reports said on Monday.

The AIK Solna player will cost in the region of £2 million ($3.2 million) and he will be given the role of replacing Scotland defender Gary Caldwell who is heading to Middlesbrough to join former Hoops boss Gordon Strachan.

Hooiveld told the Daily Record: “I think my style of play will be good for the Scottish league and I can do a very good job for Celtic.

“It should be something special for me to play for Celtic because they are a big, classic club.

“In many ways, they are like AIK to me because they have a big and passionate following of supporters.

“All the town of Glasgow speaks about football. It’s a massive interest to everyone. It will be a very good move for me.”

AIK won the double in Sweden recently but have fallen on hard times financially. Hooiveld joined the club on a free transfer 12 months ago.

He now joins a number of other standouts, including Ivàn Óbolo, Daniel Örlund, Markus Jonsson and Mikael Thorstensson, who have left the reigning Allsvenskan champions in recent months, much to the dismay of AIK supporters.

But AIK trainer Mikael Stahre, credited with much of the squad’s success in the 2009 campaign, urged the club’s fans to be patient and trust AIK’s long-term strategy, even if it meant saying goodbye to a good portion of the championship team.

“Don’t be sad or sentimental. Trust us, we know what we’re doing,” Stahre said in a statement directed at AIK supporters.

The deal, in addition to boosting AIK’s coffers, represents a significant step for Hooiveld , who failed to make the grade at first club Heerenveen in the Netherlands and was even rejected by Scottish side Livingston after a trial there in 2005.

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FOOTBALL

Croatian player tests positive ahead of Sweden match

Croatian midfielder Marcelo Brozovic tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday, a day ahead of the country's Nations League match with Sweden, the Croatian football federation (HNS) said.

Croatian player tests positive ahead of Sweden match
Croatian midfielder Marcelo Brozovic (left) tested positive for coronavirus on Friday. Photo: Miguel Medina / AFP
“Brozovic's Inter Milan and Swedish epidemiologists were informed about the positive test,” an HNS statement said.
   
The player's positive result came two days after defender Domagoj Vida was informed of a positive Covid-19 test after playing the first half of a friendly with Turkey in Istanbul.
   
Apart from Brozovic, 27, one staff member also tested positive.
   
They were both isolated from other members of the national team.
   
After Sweden, Croatia play another Nations League game against Portugal on Tuesday.
   
Croatia, runners-up at the 2018 World Cup, are third in their Nations League group which also includes France, the team that beat them to the World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal and Sweden.
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