MADRID — Real Madrid has signed a 7-year-old soccer prodigy from Argentina who goes by the name Leo - just like his idol, Barcelona forward Lionel Messi.
Leonel Angel Coira signed with the Spanish club and will begin training Sept. 6, Madrid spokesman Juan Tapiador told The Associated Press on Monday.
Madrid reportedly made the push to sign Coira because Spanish league rival Atletico Madrid also was pursuing the youngster.
Barcelona signed Messi as a teenager and he has won the World Player of the Year award two times.
LeBron not looking elsewhere: LeBron James says he is so "optimistic" the coming NBA season will be played that he is not considering any possible international options - except for the 2012 Olympics. James, who has been working in Houston with Hakeem Olajuwon this offseason, insists he will be "even better" this coming season for the Miami Heat, which lost in the NBA Finals.
James was in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, to open "Wheels for Education," a program to provide more than 300 third-graders from Akron Public Schools academic tools they need.
Alex Meruelo, a 48-year-old California developer and pizza chain owner, vowed to do everything he can to bring a championship to Atlanta if his agreement to purchase a majority share of the NBA's Hawks is approved by the league.
Bulls grab win with late double play: The Durham Bulls held on to win a 6-5 Class AAA International League game Monday against Rochester. Adam Russell pitched the ninth inning, getting a double play to work around a leadoff hit and earn his first save of the season. Alex Torres picked up his team-leading eighth win by going five innings and allowing six hits and four runs, while striking out six. The team will continue their four-game series at 7:05 tonight.
Cherryville among Legion teams ousted: A brawl after a play at the plate Sunday morning has put American Legion baseball teams from Cherryville and Douglasville, Ga., out of the Southeast Regional baseball tournament in Sumter, S.C.
The decision to remove both teams came after organizers consulted with national American Legion officials.
The fight erupted after Cherryville Post 100 scored twice in the fourth inning to lead 4-0. When the second runner slid into home, words were exchanged with the Douglasville catcher, who threw the ball and hit the North Carolina player in the back, starting the fight.
It took about three minutes to restore order.
Checkers building roster: Charlotte Checkers coach and general manager Jeff Daniels announced the team has signed forward Matt Beca and defenseman Ryan Donald to American Hockey League contracts.
The Checkers are the top farm team of the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes.
Randy Carlyle, who is 266-169-57 and coached Anaheim to its only Stanley Cup title in 2007, agreed to a three-year extension with the Ducks, keeping him under contract through the 2013-14 season.
Former Clemson baseball star joins Winthrop: Wilson Boyd, a native of Denver, N.C., who played four seasons at Clemson, will join Winthrop's baseball staff as a volunteer assistant coach after a season as an assistant at Hickory High.
Qualifiers early surprises in Toronto: Qualifers Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan and Romanian Simona Halep beat No. 9 seed Marion Bartoli of France and 12th-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia, respectively, in the first round of the Rogers Cup.
Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka beat Argentina's David Nalbandian 6-1, 6-4 in the first round of the Rogers Cup in Montreal. The top eight seeded players drew first-round byes.
Triathlon hit with more deaths: Two competitors died Sunday after problems during the swim portion of the Nautica New York City Triathlon, leading organizers to consider demanding more documentation of athletes' training and experience. The deaths were the second and third within three years.
Michael Kudryk, of Freehold, N.J., died after he was pulled out of the Hudson River unconscious. Police say he was believed to have suffered a heart attack. A 40-year-old woman from Elmhurst, Ill., died Monday. She was believed to have gone into cardiac arrest twice after Sunday's swim. NEWS SERVICES