AP names Tales Azzoni as Madrid sports writer

MADRID (AP) Tales Azzoni, an AP sports writer in Sao Paulo, Brazil, has been appointed as the AP's sports reporter in Madrid, responsible for covering Spain and Portugal.

Azzoni has been working for The Associated Press since 2002, covering general news and sports.

He started covering the Brazilian national team in 2004 and has helped the AP cover dozens of sporting events across the globe, including three World Cups and two Olympics. He became a full-time sports writer in 2011 and helped lead the AP's coverage of Brazil's preparations for the 2014 World Cup.

Azzoni graduated with a journalism degree from Ohio State University in 2000. He worked at the Vero Beach Press Journal in Florida before returning to Brazil, where he worked for the country's top soccer magazine, Placar, and was an editor at one of the country's biggest publishers, Editora Abril.

''Tales will bring creativity and multi-format planning to our coverage of sports in Spain and Portugal,'' said Global Sports Editor Michael Giarrusso. ''He understands the links between South America and professional sports in Europe as well as anyone, and he'll break news and produce enterprise that leverages that knowledge.''

Azzoni is fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese, crucial skills for any reporter covering the stars that play on the world's best soccer clubs. In Brazil, Azzoni covered the early career of Neymar, now one of biggest stars playing in Spain. Azzoni also brings a strong understanding of what mobile readers around the globe expect, and that will change the way AP covers sports in the two countries, Giarrusso said.

Azzoni has been heavily involved in our all-format coverage of the preparations for the 2016 Rio Games. The AP plans to fill his sports writer position in Brazil before the Olympics, and Azzoni will return as part of the AP's coverage team.

Follow him at on Twitter (at)tazzoni.

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