Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Wet women football

Year by year January transfer window spending

Bale is No 1 on Google

Gareth Bale was the most searched for footballer on Google's top 100 list; the 27th most searched for person and the 62nd most searched for term.

Several other sports stars appear on the list, but there is no place for the supposed best two players in the world Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

GIF : Bad penguin tackle

Partick Thistle midfielder Fraser dons pink fairy attire in training as a forfeit for being 'worst trainer of the week'

Monday, December 30, 2013

Coutinho learns football cliches

Anelka agrees not to repeat controversial celebration

West Brom striker Nicolas Anelka has agreed not to use the "quenelle" gesture again when celebrating goals.

Anelka, 34, made the sign - described as an inverted Nazi salute - after scoring his first of two goals in Saturday's 3-3 draw at West Ham.

France's sports minister accused him of a "disgusting anti-Semitic" gesture.

A statement from West Brom said: "The club has asked Nicolas not to perform the gesture again. Nicolas immediately agreed to adhere to this request."

The French government is trying to ban comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala's shows over his use of the gesture and Anelka confirmed on Twitter  he did it in support of the performer.

But West Brom instructed Anelka not to use the gesture again after acknowledging "the goal celebration has caused offence in some quarters".

Mourinho gatecrashes Luiz interview

Sakho, Eto'o swap shirts at half-time

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Leicester City fans light up stadium with mobile phones after floodlights go out

Cristian Tello posts naked picture of Barcelona team-mate

Benfica-supporting girl not impressed with Porto Christmas present

Yaya winds up brother Kolo on Twitter

Friday, December 27, 2013

Suarez spotted celebrating new contract with Costco beer run

Ibrahimovic branded 'boring' and 'sad' for women's football remarks

Players in the men's national football team deserve to get more recognition than their female counterparts in Sweden and people should stop whipping up a gender storm about it, striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has said. His comments have sparked disappointment from Pia Sundhage, the coach of the Swedish women's national team, who branded them 'boring' and 'sad'.

Ibrahimovic spoke out after his country's FA was slammed for presenting midfielder Anders Svensson with a new Volvo for breaking Thomas Ravelli's record of 143 international caps. However, when women's midfielder Therese Sjogran failed to get similar recognition at the same football gala despite earning a record 187 caps, the move was widely criticised.

"With all respect for what the ladies have done, and they've done it fantastically well, you can't compare men's and women's football. Give it up, it's not even funny," the Paris Saint-Germain striker said in an interview with the Expressen newspaper published on Wednesday.

"When I come out in Europe they compare me to [Lionel] Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo. When I come home they compare me to a female player. With all respect for the ladies, they should be rewarded in relation to what they generate [financially].

"I was asked [by Swedish media] in the summer who was the better player, me or [Sweden striker] Lotta Schelin. You're joking with me, right? When I've broken all these records, this goal record, the goals in the national team, who shall I compare it to? Shall I compare it to whoever has the record, or the ladies?"

Sundhage responded by saying Ibrahimovic's viewpoint "betrays ... male football's values". She told STV that it was "boring and sad for Swedish football when a team captain puts it so. One time, he says that we are fantastic and then he thinks that we should have a bike … It feels like he is up and down in the article and it is unfortunately completely wrong, I think.

"I understand him when he says that [the men's] squad pulls in more money and exposure. But it's still about respect, we're doing the same stuff: it's football. Then, one should not compare men and women, it is quite impossible."

Brazilian beauty forced to cover up for Ballon d'Or awards

Football fans across the world have suffered a blow after Brazilian model Fernanda Lima says she will cover up for the FIFA Ballon d'Or gala in January.

The stunning 36-year-old garnered worldwide fame after hosting the draw for the 2014 World Cup Finals in Costo do Sauipe.

But she has been forced to change her dress style for the awards ceremony in Zurich on January 13 following thousands of complaints from Iranians after TV directors in the Islamic Republic cut the draw broadcast because her appearance was too sexy.

Ms Lima said: 'I am sorry for what happened. It was never my intention to offend any country, culture or people, or cause controversy.

'I have learned from this experience and will therefore be very careful in choosing my dress for the Ballon d'Or Gala so all can watch.'

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Pitch-invading Portuguese granny

Ribery open to a move to the MLS or Gulf region

Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery has said that he will not play for another club in Europe but is open to a move to the MLS or Gulf region before he retires.

Ribery, 30, joined Bayern from Marseille in 2007 and, although he had talked up a move to Spain three years ago, he said in a recent Sport Bild interview that he had opted to stay after receiving the club’s backing during a difficult time.

The France international has now ruled out any prospect of a future move to La Liga, Ligue 1 or any other European league, but he says he would relish the chance to play in the MLS or the Gulf once his "real career" is over.

"In Europe, there will be no other club, but it would be a bonus for me if there can be another continent after that," he said. "I could be tempted to go to a country like the U.S. or maybe the [United Arab] Emirates, but I would not count that as part of my real career.

"That would be something I would do to wind up my career and could not be compared to what I have experienced in Munich. I will stay in Munich as long as it is possible."

Ribery, who will be 34 when his current contract expires in 2017, says he is not dwelling on the matter of when that moment might come.

Suarez gets nutmegged

Scudamore wants player betting ban

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore wants players and managers to be prevented from betting on football.

Scudamore, speaking about match-fixing allegations that have surfaced in the last month, said he could not rule out the possibility that match-fixing had taken place in the Premier League.

"If a person is involved in football, they shouldn't be allowed to bet on football," he told BBC Radio 5 live's Sportsweek programme.

"The time has come for that to happen."

Match-fixing and spot-fixing allegations have surfaced at various levels of the English game, from non-league football to the Championship.

Blackburn striker DJ Campbell was one of six people questioned earlier this month - and then bailed until April 2014 - as part of a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation into spot-fixing.

Scudamore added: "We have had 8,393 matches so far in the Premier League, and I can't actually sit here today and say it has never happened in those matches."

He insisted the Premier League was doing all it could to target fixers, adding: "We are monitoring over 300 international betting markets and we have a whole system of things in place."

But he admitted: "The one thing that scares you the most about this whole industry is the idea that integrity could be impugned in any way."

He said he was confident that match-fixing was not "entirely widespread and prevalent", but added that it was still a "serious issue".

Zlatan goal

Monday, December 23, 2013

Twirling backheel volley through the legs

Luis Suarez’s new Liverpool contract ‘includes exit clause’

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez’s bumper new contract includes the exit clause that he mistakenly believed was included in his previous contract.

The Uruguayan star’s non-existent buy-out clause led to Arsenal’s farcical £40,000,001 bid for him in the summer.

Although the Reds are rejoicing their star’s decision to sign a new four-and-a-half your deal, today’s reports claim that it will be easier for him to engineer a move elsewhere with his new contract.

Suarez is said to now have the right to negotiate if Real Madrid or Barcelona make an offer for him in the summer.

While he is likely to reject those advances if Liverpool were to mount a serious title challenge, he could still quit Anfield if Brendan Rodgers’ side drop out of the Champions League places before the end of the season.

NAC Breda players celebrate win by jumping in pitchside jacuzzi

Kolarov - ‘Santa Claus Is Coming To Town’

Total Premiership passes this season

Friday, December 20, 2013

Spanish third-tier club release version of 'Don't Worry, Be Happy'

Messi hits back at Barca VP Faus

Lionel Messi has accused Barcelona vice-president Javier Faus of being a businessman who "knows nothing about football", while also defending his father Jorge from continuing accusations of involvement in the laundering of drug money.

Faus said recently he saw no reason why Barca should improve "this gentleman’s" contract "every six months", amid speculation that the Blaugrana board were unhappy with Messi senior’s attempts to shake more money out of the club.

Messi junior told RAC1 that there had been no demand for a new contract, while suggesting that Faus and his fellow Barca directors were not up to their jobs.

"Mr. Faus is someone who knows nothing about football, and wants to run Barca like it was a business, which it is not," Messi said. "Barca is the best team in the world, and deserves to be represented by the best directors. And I remind him that neither I nor anyone from my camp have asked for a new contract -- and he knows that well."

The Argentina captain also said that media reports linking his family to criminal activity were upsetting, and that he trusted completely his father to look after his off the field affairs.

"I am very sorry about what they are saying, not just about me but about people I love like my papa and players who are friends," Messi said. "What we do in these games is 100 percent for charity. I am deeply united with my dad and my family, in the personal and the professional. I concentrate on playing football, and he concentrates on my off-field interests, and selecting the best professionals to help us."

Blues fans upset over Villa colours at £189m library

It is the newest landmark on the Birmingham skyline - and it has not taken long for controversy to hit the £189 million Library of Birmingham.

The building has stoked the fires of city rivalry after being given an Aston Villa makeover for Christmas.

Birmingham City supporters are less than impressed.

The prestigious new building in Centenary Square, which welcomed its millionth visitor just 100 days after opening, will be bathed in the famous claret and blue right up until New Year’s Eve, when a giant firework display will take place from the roof.

The makeover was agreed between club and library chiefs, in a deal which will include Villa providing numeracy and literacy workshops for visitors in the new year.

Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner, who is also a trustee of the Library of Birmingham Trust, said: "We’re delighted that the Library of Birmingham approached us about this collaboration and we were only too happy to agree.

"The Library of Birmingham really is a striking focal point in a burgeoning city landscape and we’re thrilled it will be even more eye-catching now as it adopts our famous club colours."

However some Birmingham City supporters took to Twitter to express their displeasure. James Cash wrote ‘Would have been better in blue & white - Birmingham library given Aston Villa makeover for Christmas’, while Gabriel Sutton posted ‘Just seen the Birmingham library has been painted claret and blue in Aston Villa theme. This stinks. #bcfc’.

Official Eintracht Frankfurt Pez dispenser

Ex-Newcastle defender becomes owner of non-league Durham City

As of yesterday afternoon, former Newcastle left-back Olivier Bernard has become the new owner and chairman of non-league Durham City after agreeing to buy the amateur club, who currently play on an artificial pitch in Northern League Division One, i.e, the ninth tier of English football.

Bernard, who played for Newcastle for five years between 2000 and 2005, stills lives in the Tyneside area and is hoping to establish Durham (who spent seven seasons as a Football League club in the 1920s) as one of the region’s top feeder clubs.

"I want to make Durham one of the best feeder clubs in the north east," the Frenchman told BBC Sport. "At the moment, I don’t think the area develops enough youngsters."

The first obstable Bernard will face is the fact that Durham’s plaggy pitch will prevent them from being promoted from the Northern League into the Football Conference as teams’ home grounds are required to adhere to certain standards, with a real grass pitch being one of many stipulations.

"At the moment, I am not thinking about the problem of the pitch because that is a few promotions away," Bernard said.

"I want to raise the profile of the club and get links with Sunderland, Newcastle and Middlesbrough.

"Look at the England team, how many of them are from around here? I’ll do everything I can to get players to Durham and help develop them."

Man Utd and Sunderland face two games in two days in January

Manchester United will play two matches within less than 50 hours early next month after the schedules for their cup matches were confirmed.

United’s Capital One Cup semi-final first-leg against Sunderland will be played on Tuesday, January 7, just two days after their FA Cup third round clash with Swansea.

The game against the Black Cats will kick-off around 49-and-a-half hours after their tie with the Swans has finished.

Sunderland will have just a couple of extra hours of recuperation time, with their FA Cup game at home to Carlisle kicking off at 2pm on Sunday, January 5.

In a strange scheduling decision, fellow Capital One Cup semi-finalists Manchester City and West Ham both have extra time to prepare for their first-leg on Wednesday, January 9.

City play on Saturday lunchtime, while the Hammers play on Sunday lunchtime.

Sir Alex Ferguson appears on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire

Frimpong gets carried away with Christmas decorations

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Official Benfica condoms

AVB still listed in match programme two days after being sacked

European Super League

Eliseu’s swerver goal

List of 30 highest paid managers in world football

Arsenal Christmas party

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cristiano Ronaldo launches his own social network

The Real Madrid superstar released his own social network this week, as a present to his global fan base - so they can all talk about how much they him.

The network, that works a lot like Facebook, allows fans to share pictures, videos and host discussions about Ronaldo, while the advert also promises the opportunity to ‘play with Ronaldo’.

It’s available to use right now, with users simply needing to download an app called ‘Viva Ronaldo’ and sign up, and they’re minutes away from enjoying every Ronny-based.

The player himself is pretty happy with it, too.

‘It is a unique experience that we are offering my fans from around the world,’ he said.

The ex-Manchester United man, who has a fan base of around 90million across his Facebook and Twitter pages, promises to be ‘active’ on the network, allowing fans to get up close.

Football 'peace match' could mark end of Taliban war

David Cameron today joined international football stars calling for a "peace match" between England and Afghanistan at Wembley to mark the end of the war against the Taliban.
Premier League star Michael Owen, who touched down in Helmand with the Prime Minister this morning, said the memorial game would be a "fantastic" way to honour British troops' sacrifice over the past 12 years.

It came as he promoted a new partnership between the English FA, the Premier League and Afghanistan's rapidly-improving national football team.

The war-torn country's top players will be invited to train at England's new training centre, St George's Park, under the plan to boost Afghan football unveiled in Camp Bastion.

The Football Association's Robert Sullivan said the possibility of a peace match against England was a likely "long term ambition of the Afghan FA".

Asked about the prospect of a game as a nice way to mark the draw down, Michael Owen said: "Wouldn't it just, yes it would be fantastic.

"There could be a fully fledged game at Wembley one day that would be fantastic to mark the occasion.

"It would be great to mark the end of the conflict with a game certainly at Wembley that would be a great occasion."

Thierry Henry only joined Arsenal because he bumped into Arsene Wenger on a plane

Arsenal legend Thierry Henry has revealed that his historic Gunners career all came about because of a chance meeting with Arsene Wenger on a flight to Paris.

The Highbury hero tells the story of how he became the Premier League's greatest striker in a new Arsenal Media documentary titled: Arsenal Legends - Thierry Henry.

In it, the 36-year-old recounts how just four months after arriving in Turin at Italian giants Juventus, he had decided to leave the Stadio Delle Alpi - and that sharing a flight with his former mentor led to his arrival on English soil.

"After the game, the Juve game at the end of the season I went back to Paris. And who was on the plane....the boss [Arsene Wenger] was on the plane," recounts Henry.

"And that's when I told him that I would love to join Arsenal.

"And after it, that's what happened."

AVB in numbers

17 - Months Andre Villas-Boas spent as Tottenham Hotspur boss.

44 - Wins in all competitions (80 Matches).

16 - Defeats in all competitions.

72 - Number of points won by Tottenham during the 2012-13 league season - Spurs best during the Premier League era

54% - Villas-Boas' win percentage in the Premier League - the best of any Spurs boss during the last 21 years.

81 - Number of Premier League goals scored by Spurs during the AVB era. Less than Manchester City (113), Manchester United (111), Liverpool (110), Chelsea (107), Arsenal (105), and Everton (82) in the same period (54 matches).

68 - Number of Premier League goals conceded by Spurs during the AVB era. More than Manchester City (52), Manchester United (62), Liverpool (61), Chelsea (57) and Everton (55) in the same period.

£85,300,000 - World record transfer fee secured for Gareth Bale after his 26-goal season in 2012-13.

£107,250,000 - Figure spent on seven players - Erik Lamela, Roberto Soldado, Vlad Chiriches, Paulinho, Etienne Capoue, Christian Eriksen and Nacer Chadli - during the 2013 summer transfer window.

55% - Andre Villas-Boas' total win percentage as Tottenham manager - the best of any Lilywhites boss since 1899.

Mike Tyson disses Man City

Reus brings down linesman

Gattuso investigated for match-fixing

Former AC Milan and Italy midfielder Gennaro Gattuso has been placed under investigation for match-fixing, while four more people have been arrested in an early morning police sweep in Italy.

Cremon prosecutor Roberto Di Martino, who has been leading the Last Bet operation for three years, confirmed to The Associated Press that Gattuso and retired Lazio player Cristian Brocchi allegedly were part of a ring that fixed Serie A and other Italian matches at the end of the 2010-11 season.

The four people arrested are Salvatore Spadaro, Francesco Bazzani, Cosimo Rinci and Fabio Quadri; each of whom allegedly helped connect fixers to players.

Gattuso's agent has said his client is shocked by the allegations.

'Gennaro is stunned by the news,' Andrea D'Amico told Press Association Sport. 'I spoke to him and he is returning home (to Milan).

'We are remaining calm and we have to be patient and see how the investigation develops.

'However, just because he is under investigation does not mean anything, for all we know this could be just false allegations.

'Sometimes when you are a famous player, it is very easy for your name to appear and to be a target.

'We will wait and see how the situation develops.'

Brazil U17s give up against USA

Official CSKA Moscow rubber horse mask

Spurs striker Emmanuel Adebayor apologises over Liverpool photo

Harry Redknapp admits to being ‘compulsively’ addicted to feeding birds

The man, by his own admission, is completely and habitually addicted to feeding birds and has confessed that he spends thousands of pounds a year in order to satisfy his squalid ornithological dependency.

"I’m a compulsive bird feeder. You’ll see me out in the dead of winter at 5am, filling up our feeders and tables."

"We have about 30 and I can easily spend 80 quid on bird food a fortnight in the pet shop. I won’t leave for work until I’ve fed them - I hate to think of them going hungry. Bit mad, innit?"

The moment Man City’s players found out they were playing Barcelona

Balotelli wears boots with his own headlines

Monday, December 16, 2013

Walcott set to become a dad during World Cup

England’s World Cup schedule already includes a considerable amount of travelling, but it could involve even more for Arsenal striker Theo Walcott if he is selected in Roy Hodgson’s squad.

Walcott and wife Melanie Slade have announced they are expecting their first child - and the baby is due to arrive during the World Cup.

The couple said in a statement: "We are both very excited at such happy news just a few months after getting married. We are really looking forward to becoming parents."

If he makes the squad, Walcott will be expected to join England’s training camp in Miami shortly after the end of the domestic season.

He would then fly to Brazil for the tournament itself, which starts on June 12.

The 24-year-old faces the prospect of two Atlantic crossings in a short space of time if he decides to be present for the birth.

Mourinho laughs at rumours linking Chelsea with Rooney

GIF : Walcott goal

Drogba faces ‘two home games’ after Chelsea draw


"You can’t stop Yaya Toure. He’s galloping like a train" - MICHAEL OWEN

"This second half, Arsenal have come out like a house on fire" - OWEN AGAIN

"It was handbags at half-mast" - ALAN PARDEW

"Pantilimon saves again and immediately behorts his defence" - JOHN MOTSON

"It’s great to get that duck off my back" - GARY CAHILL

"Legs are very important in the Championship" - IAIN DOWIE

GIF : Newcastle's Sissoko floors ref

Defender breaks up attack by throwing another ball

Official Werder Bremen potato chips

Atletico Madrid plans to sell 85p tickets for unemployed fans

With adult unemployment currently hovering around the 25% mark in Spain and youth unemployment up around 56%, Atletico Madrid have announced that they are planning to release a batch of match tickets for their cup tie against Sant Andreu on Wednesday night priced at just €1 (roughly 85p), specifically for unemployed supporters.

The tickets would usually be priced at an already fairly reasonable €5 but Atletico are knocking tickets for 5,000 seats in their North Stand down to a single Euro for local fans who brandish their Madrid-issue unemployment card when purchasing them.

GIF : Spurs mascot gives Suarez handshake snub

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The all-time World Cup finals top 10

Mascot cries his eyes out as he walks onto pitch with Arteta

Official Fulham Plasters

Schwarzer makes Champions League debut aged 41

Adidas stops Ashley's Sports Direct from selling Chelsea kit

One of Newcastle owner Mike Ashley's key businesses has suffered a blow after adidas has stopped retailer Sports Direct from selling Chelsea replica kit next season.

The news, which has caused a major rift with the UK’s biggest sportswear retailer, Mike Ashley's Sports Direct after banning the retailer from selling the club’s replica football kit next season, comes as Sports Direct chief executive Dave Forsey refused to defend his company’s decision to employ 90 per cent of its staff on controversial zero-hours contracts.

Forsey said adidas’s decision to only sell the kits elsewhere - thought to be the Chelsea shop at its stadium and adidas stores - was 'impossible to understand'.

He added: 'We don’t believe with our football heritage that customers would be happy. We are still voicing our concerns to Adidas and Chelsea, telling them they are potentially alienating their supporters.'

An adidas spokesman told MailOnline Sport: 'Like all manufacturers, we regularly review, season by season, where our products are distributed.

'We determine distribution channels for all products based on criteria such as in-store environment and customer service levels.

'This is normal business practice and adidas has done this before. This season, we’re implementing a new distribution strategy across Europe for key products in football and other sports.

'We’d like to point out that Sports Direct continues to be an important retailer for adidas and their customers still have the opportunity to buy a great range of adidas products in their stores.'

Barcelona sign sponsorship deal to have logo inside their shirts

Barcelona have signed up with technology giant Intel, who will have their logo in an unusual place - on the inside of Messi and Co's shirts.

The computer chip firm has signed a partnership with the Catalan giants to be the club's official technology partner, with the 'Intel inside' logo becoming the first-ever placement inside the clubs' shirts.

Spain stars Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique showed off the new shirts at a launch event, along with Barcelona president Sandro Rosell.

The new partnership will also see Intel produce groundbreaking technology for the club's famous La Masia academy, which has produced a huge number of stars in the current squad - Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta.

Barcelona players and coaches will also snap up the latest Intel-based devices, while the firm will work with the club to improve training and performance through data.

'It is a huge satisfaction for FC Barcelona to be able to join forces and share the values of innovation and teamwork with a company of such worldwide prestige as Intel,' said Rosell.

'We are both trendsetters in our fields, and I am convinced the collaboration we are starting today will be very important. It will mean much more than a financial sponsorship.'

Ashley Cole insists he's not finished yet

Britain's football's rich list

Wayne Rooney tops the rich list for English footballers.

The usual suspects make up the top 10, with Rio Ferdinand, Chelsea pair Frank Lampard and John Terry and Steven Gerrard all in the top five, but West Ham's Joe Cole is the surprise inclusion, coming in sixth ahead of the likes of Ashley Cole, Michael Carrick and Ashley Young. James Milner is the youngest player on the list at 27.

Rooney, 28, is head and shoulders above his nearest rival, United team-mate Ferdinand, with an estimated net worth of a staggering £45million.

The man England are banking their World Cup hopes on earns approximately £250,000 a week before taxes on his current deal, and also earns through endorsement deals such as Nike.

Ferdinand, 35, is £8m behind Rooney with an estimated net worth of £37m, according to a rich list from Wealth-X.

The defender has numerous business interests including the Rosso restaurant and his #5 magazine.

Chelsea's Frank Lampard is third on the list, with £31m, while former England captain John Terry shares fourth spot with the current England skipper Steven Gerrard, both with £29m.

There is then a sizable drop to sixth place, where surprise name Joe Cole, worth £22m, sits.

Cole has his own business venture, Joe Cole Promotions, and owns various properties including in the Caribbean and Dubai. He earned £90,000 per week while at Liverpool, and the club also gave him a £3m pay-off when he exited Anfield.

Cole also received £2m from Hello! magazine for the wedding photos from his marriage to Carly Zucker in 2009, but donated the money to charity.

Chelsea's third player on the list, Ashley Cole, has an estimated worth of £20m.

The left back was previously higher on the list, but his divorce from Cheryl Cole in 2010 impacted hugely on his assets.

Injured Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick is worth £16m, while Ashley Young and James Milner, the youngest player on the list at 27, share the final spot both worth an estimated £13m.

Eight minutes of great players humiliating fellow great players

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

GIF : Nolan red card

Iran supporters apologise to Lionel Messi

Iran supporters have set up a Facebook group, to express their regret at recent abuse towards Lionel Messi.

The Barcelona man was the target of over 30,000 comments from Iranians, after uploading a routine post on his official page.

The comments came after Argentina were paired with the Asia qualifiers in Group F for next summer's World Cup - alongside Nigeria and Bosnia.

However, a new page has been set up, condemning those who abused Messi while also apologising for his treatment.

The page - aptly named 'Sorry Messi' - carries a header of the Argentina and Iran flags side-by-side - whilst the display picture shows Messi being kissed on the forehead by a supporter.

Keane makes dramatic U-turn over 2002 World Cup row

Roy Keane has dramatically owned up to his regret about not playing in the 2002 World Cup finals for the Republic of Ireland.

Asked during the ITV4 study ‘Keane & Vieira’ what would he do if he could do one thing again with Ireland, Keane admitted simply: ‘Play in the World Cup.’

‘It would have been nice to play. A lot of people were disappointed, particularly my family,’ added Keane, who was sent home after a bust-up with Mick McCarthy in Saipan.

‘Mick [McCarthy] said to me "if you don’t respect me how can you play for me?"

‘What I should have said was I wasn’t playing for him I was playing for my country.’

Keane fell out with McCarthy over the training facilities in Saipan.

Slovenian side use live cannons to train goalkeeper

Safety fears keep Arsenal players off the streets

Arsenal players and staff have had to stay in their hotel amid security fears ahead of the Champions League clash in Naples.

The Barclays Premier League leaders are desperate to avoid a repeat of the violence that marred Napoli’s visit to the Emirates Stadium in October and Gunners security chiefs have taken strong measures to ensure staff and supporters remain safe in Italy.

Likewise, Arsenal have arranged special coaches to transport the 700 travelling fans from a secret location to the San Paolo Stadium.

Mourinho gives his shirt to hard-working translator

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

De Feo team

An Italian football team has been founded by former Serie A player, Maurizio De Feo.

The club's founder, coach, secretary, doctor and all 12 sponsors of the "Team De Feo" club, in Serino, southern Italy, have the same name: De Feo.

Everyone in the playing squad also has the same name: De Feo.

Their home ground can be found on Raffaele De Feo street in the town.

Maybe he's playing the wrong sport

Hired and fired in ten minutes

Ex-soccer star Leroy Rosenior was appointed boss of a struggling club - then sacked after ten minutes.

The former West Ham and Fulham striker broke the record for English football's shortest managerial reign after being introduced with a fanfare by Torquay United, reports The Sun.

Sports journalists were summoned to a press conference which finished at 3.30pm. Then - at 3.40pm - Leroy was told by the chairman that the Devon club had been sold to a business consortium.

And that meant he was out. Leroy, 43 said, 'For it to happen ten minutes after I finished the press conference was a bit of a shock. But we had a good laugh about it afterwards.' Leroy smashed the previous record for the shortest time as manager - Dave [Harry] Bassett's 72 hours at Crystal Palace in 1984.

He joked, 'Obviously they thought I had done a fantastic job after ten minutes and let me go.'  The post was Leroy's second stint at Torquay, who will face next season in the Conference after finishing bottom of the Football League. He was boss between 2002 and 2006 when he left by mutual consent. Since then the club has been in a managerial crisis, with four different bosses in the hot seat. Leroy added, 'I wish them the very best of luck. They are going to sort me out a bit of compensation.'

GIF : Wrong ball

Ronaldo, Ribery & Messi on Ballon d'Or shortlist

Cristiano Ronaldo, Franck Ribery and Lionel Messi are on the three-man shortlist for the 2013 Ballon d'Or.

The trio were chosen from the 23-man list, which included Gareth Bale, and the world player of the year will be revealed on 13 January.

Barcelona's Messi has won four years in a row but Real Madrid forward Ronaldo is the favourite to win this year.

The women's final trio are Nadine Angerer (Germany), Marta (Brazil) and Abby Wambach (USA).

Fifa has also confirmed the final three for coach of the year - with former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson vying with ex-Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes and Borussia Dortmund's Jurgen Klopp for the award.

The winners, to be announced at a ceremony in Zurich, will be decided by a vote among the captains and head coaches of all Fifa-affiliated men's national teams, as well as by international media representatives selected by France Football magazine.

Collymore: Police investigate racist Twitter claim

Former footballer Stan Collymore has received "a number" of racist messages on Twitter, Staffordshire Police said.

The former Southend, Nottingham Forest, Liverpool, Aston Villa and Leicester striker contacted the force on Monday about "offensive" messages directed towards him.

A police spokesman said they had secured copies of the tweets and were investigating.

Ch Insp Carl Ratcliffe said the force would take action if appropriate.

Mr Collymore, 42, originally from Cannock, Staffordshire, now works as a broadcaster.

Writing on Twitter, he said: "Appreciate the support from players, fans of all clubs and @kickitout. Currently with @CannockPolice."

He added he was taking legal advice about social media sites "not enforcing hate speech rules" and said he was concerned Twitter had become a "free for all".

The booking that prompted DJ Campbell’s arrest for alleged spot-fixing

Barcelona calm over Neymar fee case

Barcelona’s board say they are "relaxed" about a court case being taken by a club member to clarify who exactly received the money paid to sign Neymar from Santos last summer.

The total fee paid for the Brazilian star, and the destination of all the money spent by Barca, remains unclear -- with Barca first claiming the fee was 57 million euros, then 65 million euros -- and blaugrana socio [member] Jordi Cases now maintains that the total outlay was 74 million euros.

It is widely thought that 40 million euros of the fee went to Neymar and his family as a ‘signing bonus’. This has led to investors who ‘owned’ a share of his ‘footballing rights’ complaining that they received less than expected, with legal action in Brazil also expected.

Barca’s board maintain that the case, which will be heard by Spain’s Audiencia Nacional court, was unfortunate due to the negative publicity involved. "This is a rash and unfounded complaint that affects the image of the club, but we are relaxed about it," sources said

The complicated Neymar deal has been controversial from the start, with club figures regularly claiming that a ‘confidentiality clause’ meant they could not disclose exactly who was paid what.

Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez decks Bjorn Ruytinx following horror tackle

Bale's Mother hails Cristiano's influence

Cristiano Ronaldo has been key to Gareth Bale's success following his record £86million move to Real Madrid... according to the Welshman's mum.

Debbie Bale was worried when her home-loving son Gareth, 24, moved to Spain three months ago, but has now revealed the team’s biggest star Ronaldo has helped her son move to the world's richest club.

Debbie, 50, said: 'Ronaldo has been absolutely brilliant - he's helped him settle in. When you feel good you start to play well - he's living the dream.'

Debbie and her retired school caretaker husband Frank, 54, still live in the former council house in Whitchurch, Cardiff, where Gareth grew up.

But the pair regularly fly to Spain with budget airline Easyjet to see their son play his home matches.

Mum-of-two Debbie told of her pride at seeing Gareth unveiled as a Real Madrid player in September.

She said: 'It was fabulous, all the family was there - it was like a dream.'

Real Madrid press conference hijacked by Greenpeace

Blatter could continue unopposed for fifth term

Sepp Blatter could be re-elected unopposed for a fifth term as FIFA president at the age of 79 now that his expected rival Michel Platini looks increasingly unlikely to stand against him.

The strong word inside the FIFA executive committee during their World Cup draw gathering in Brazil was that UEFA chief Platini would not mount a challenge to Blatter if he decides to stand yet again.

Platini, who also doesn’t want to relinquish his UEFA powerbase to a likely German successor, knows that he will not attract nearly enough votes outside Europe to beat Blatter in a ballot.

Official ‘His And Hers’ matching Atletico Madrid G-strings

Barcelona set to build new stadium

Barcelona have confirmed plans to build the third largest stadium in the world with a capacity of 105,000.

Spokesman Toni Freixa said on Monday that the club would hold a referendum next year on whether the new ground would be an extensive remodelling of the existing Camp Nou or a built-from-new ground on a site close to the city.

When complete, the new Camp Nou will be third in terms of capacity to only two stadia – the Rungrado May Day stadium in North Korea, which holds 150,000, and the Saltlake Stadium in Calcuta, which holds 120,000.

Shane Long busks at Christmas party in Dublin

Bale's mansion up for sale

Gareth Bale's £2.2million Essex mansion has been put up for sale with the Welsh star settled into his new life at Real Madrid.

The five-bedroom pad in Clarence Gate, Woodford Green, has been posted on property website rightmove.com, giving fans and potential buyers the chance to look inside Bale's former abode.

The house comes with three bathrooms, a detached triple garage and a 150-foot garden.

Carragher and Neville want Arsenal to win the league

Monday, December 09, 2013

Former Burton keeper Tomlinson quits football to become WWE wrestler

Former Burton Albion keeper Stuart Tomlinson has swapped goal posts for ring posts after joining World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in America.

Tomlinson, who began his career at Crewe Alexandra, has penned a developmental contract with the company as he looks to begin a new career as a professional wrestler.

The 28-year-old was forced to retire from football in July after suffering a knee ligament injury.

Writing to over 8,000 followers on Twitter, Tomlinson said: ‘Looking forward to a new job @WWE Swapping two posts and a net, with four posts & ropes – USA bound as of Tomorro'

The former Port Vale stopper had been working as a male model before moving to America to pursue a new life with WWE, the world's biggest and most successful wrestling franchise.

It is believed that Tomlinson met with WWE representatives during the company's European tour in November and impressed them enough to earn an opportunity.

Fellaini on his phone during Manchester United match

Swedish second division player wins ‘Pop Idol’ Show

Congratulations are due to GIF Sundsvall midfielder Kevin Walker, who last night won the ninth series of Sweden’s version of Pop Idol.

Walker, 24, who is of Irish decent but was born in Orebro was somewhat of a bit-part player last season when Sundsvall were relegated from the top flight but has become a regular in the side this season with several of the club’s Superettan fixtures having to be rescheduled to fit around the midfielder’s filming commitments.

Walker sang U2’s ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’, Jon Mayer’s ‘Say What You Need To Say’ and the Pop Idol single ‘Belong’ at the final of the show at the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, before duetting with Robbie Williams, alongside fellow finalist Elin Bergman, on the ex-Take That singer’s new single, Shine My Shoes.

After receiving more votes than Bergman for his performances, Walker was then crowned the winner, receiving a Universal Music recording contract as his prize.

Eto'o needs two hot water bottles to keep him warm in Stoke

Players arrested amid claims that top games this season have been rigged

Blackburn striker DJ Campbell is the biggest name yet to be arrested in the match-fixing scandal that has rocked English football.

Blackburn confirmed on Monday that 32-year-old Campbell, who has played in the Premier League with Birmingham, Blackpool and QPR, is one of six men arrested.

Five of the six - including Campbell - have been bailed until April next year.

A club statement read: 'Following reports in today's national media, Blackburn Rovers can confirm that striker DJ Campbell has been arrested. The club will be making no further comment on what is now an ongoing legal matter.'

Part of the investigation is focusing on Campbell's booking for a tackle on Ipswich's Aaron Cresswell in the Championship match last Tuesday.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Drogba and Eboue facing fines for displaying Mandela tribute vests

Didier Drogba and Emmanuel Eboue face fines from the Turkish FA after displaying vests bearing tributes to Nelson Mandela.

The two Ivory Coast internationals unveiled their personal messages after Galatasaray’s game against Elazigspor on Friday, their first game after the death of South African icon Mandela.

Chelsea legend Drogba peeled off his shirt at the 2-0 win to reveal a tribute which said: 'Thank you Madiba' and former Arsenal defender Eboue’s vest said: 'Rest in Peace Nelson Mandela'.

The Turkish FA (TFF) are planning to summon the Galatasaray pair to appear before the Professional Football Discipline Committee because they had not sought prior permission to display their messages.

Newcastle players in fancy dress ahead of their Christmas party

Kagawa has stomach pumped for eating too much

Manchester United manager David Moyes has admitted Shinji Kagawa had to have his stomach pumped after eating too much following their Everton defeat.

Kagawa was taken to hospital following the match on Wednesday when he complained that he was suffering breathing problems.

Speaking after United's latest loss, a 1-0 home defeat to Newcastle, Moyes said: 'Shinji was very sick after the [Everton] game and he did a bit of training on Friday but he was low.

'All of the stats that we look at were low so we felt we had better not take a risk in case we got an injury by playing him.

'It was a bad sickness. He thinks he ate too much, and he had to get his stomach pumped, but I think he is okay.'

On Wednesday the 24-year-old was substituted 58 minutes into the game, but later began to feel unwell on returning to his apartment in leafy Alderley Edge, Cheshire.

It is understood that concerned neighbours were alerted to the Japan international's distress and quickly called for an ambulance.

Ronaldo unveils waxwork of himself in Madrid museum

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo was left seeing double on Saturday as he unveiled a waxwork of himself.

Visiting the Spanish capital's wax museum, the 28-year-old posed for pictures with the new sculpture as hundreds of fans gathered to see their idol.

The former Manchester United No 7 was happy with the likeness of the model and thanked the musuem.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Kobe vs. Messi selfie shootout

Fathers and sons

Diego Forlán and Youri Djorkaeff were, respectively, members of the Uruguay and France squads that met in the 2002 World Cup, in Group A.

Their respective fathers, Pablo and Jean, featured in the match between Uruguay and France at the 1966 World Cup, which was also in Group A.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Premiership table without loan players

FA chief Dyke makes 'throat slit' gesture after World Cup draw

FA chairman Greg Dyke appeared to suggest England's chances of winning the World Cup could be dead already after making a throat-slitting gesture upon learning of the nightmare draw facing Roy Hodgson's side.

England will play Italy in their opening game of the World Cup in Manaus, the sweltering jungle city, and will also face Luis Suarez's Uruguay and Cost Rica in Group D.

Upon learning England's fate, Dyke moved a finger across his neck in a throat-slashing gesture that appeared to suggest he felt the Three Lions were in deep trouble.

Newcastle players 'screaming' during horror landing

As the North East was battered by 100 mile an hour winds on Thursday, Newcastle United players were subjected to a horror landing at the city’s airport in the early hours of the morning.

Several players were petrified by the turbulent flight from Swansea which followed their 3-0 defeat on Wednesday night, and at least two were heard screaming.

The Newcastle plane, which is used for every away game bar Sunderland and during last season’s Europa League campaign, was hit by high winds during landing.

Manager Alan Pardew revealed several players were unhappy with flying at the best of times and the last night flight had tested even the strongest nerves. But the modern footballer has to live with the inconvenience of flying.

He said: ‘We’ve had some hairy journeys in the past, a couple of fly-bys, as you do in the modern game.

It was a little bit hairy last night and there was a bit of applause at the back of the plane when we landed. But I didn’t hear any screaming from the players.

‘John Carver had a little bit of a wobble, he wasn’t so brave and looked a bit white when we got off.'

Fifa ranking points formula

Ranking points earned = M x I x T x C

M: Result of the match - win (3), draw (1) defeat (0)
I: Importance of the match - friendly (1), World Cup qualifier or confederation-level qualifier (2.5), Confederation level or Confederations Cup match (3) and FIFA World Cup match (4)
T: Strength of opposition - No 1 ranked team (200) down on sliding scale to 150th ranked team (50) and all teams below also 50
C: Strength of confederation of opposition - Europe/South America (1), North and Central America, Caribbean (0.88), Asia/Africa (0.86) and Oceania (0.85)

Middlesbrough players celebrate goal with wheelchair-bound fan

Premier League to pay Mandela tribute

There will be a minute's applause in tribute to Nelson Mandela ahead of all of this weekend's Premier League fixtures,

The Premier League will pay their respects with the gesture at seven matches on Saturday, followed by two on Sunday and the Swansea versus Hull fixture on Monday.

Feyenoord fan builds mini ‘De Kuip Stadium’ cot

Kagawa in 999 scare

An ambulance was called to the home of Manchester United star Shinji Kagawa on Wednesday night when the midfielder complained of breathing difficulties hours after his appearance in the champions' defeat to Everton at Old Trafford.

The 24-year-old was substituted 58 minutes into the game, but later began to feel unwell on returning to his apartment in leafy Alderley Edge, Cheshire.

It is understood that concerned neighbours were alerted to the Japan international's distress and quickly called for an ambulance.

After paramedic care the £17m signing did not need hospital treatment.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Dante nutmegs Schweinsteiger in training

Arsenal take corporate box holder to court bust-up over unsliced bread

Arsenal are suing a corporate box holder at the Emirates Stadium for £375,000 after an alleged bust up over unsliced bread.

The Premier League leaders have launched a High Court writ against Capstone Sports Management amid claims it stopped paying for executive seats after Arsenal staff refused to slice bread the company’s guests had brought into the box.

Gunners staff were also allegedly ‘reprimanded’ after guests in Box 48 were allowed to order in their own packed lunch for a match in December 2011.

Executive boxes at the Emirates start from £86,400 a season and promise guests ‘the ultimate VIP hospitality experience… watching football being played the Arsenal way’. 

It is claimed Capstone, founded in 2007 by barrister Samuel Okoronkwo, was due to pay £465,000 in instalments for its box until 2016 but stopped paying in April 2012 after saying Arsenal has ‘promised…but failed to take any proper action’ over the sandwich incident.

The club says it received a letter from Capstone’s lawyers stating the company had stopped payments because the club had ‘promised… but failed to take any proper action’ about the packed lunch incident that took place during a match in December 2011.

Capstone denies Arsenal’s claims, while Arsenal’s lawyers refute the service provided ‘was deliberately compromised’ or that it ‘failed to take any proper action in relation to Capstone’s complaint’.

A club spokesman said Arsenal would make no further comment as court proceedings are on-going.

Band banned from World Cup

A six-strong brass band from Sheffield have been banging their drums and playing trumpets at the Three Lions' internationals since the mid-Nineties.

The band regularly play what they hope are crowd-rousing renditions of the national anthem and other tunes at Wembley and on the road.

But they will have to leave their instruments at home next summer if they are planning to go to the World Cup.

World Cup managing director, Ron DelMont, confirmed that musical instruments will be banned from venues at the tournament next summer.

"Brazil doesn't need instruments to enhance what you are going to experience in the stadium," he added, at a press conference in Salvador, where the World Cup draw takes place on Friday.

The band were allowed into England's opening match of Euro 2012, but then had their instruments confiscated.

The decision ended up causing something of a diplomatic incident.

The Football Association complained to UEFA and it allowed the band to play on for the rest of the England's stay.

The band also planned to perform at 2008 Olympics in China, but were banned from taking their instruments into the Bird's Nest Stadium and played on the streets outside instead.

More problems in translation

A reporter filing copy from a Wales away game in the late 1980s was perturbed to see the strike force of Ian Rush and Mark Hughes referred to as "Russian Jews".

Problems in translation

There was the reporter at the 1998 World Cup, whose dictated report read "the trouble makers dispersed when a police van drew up containing a dozen armed John Barnes" (Gendarmes).

Germany to consider goal-line tech

The German Football League (DFL) is to make a fundamental decision on the introduction of goal-line technology in March 2014.

The DFL has so far resisted to introduce any systems to aid officials in ruling whether the ball has crossed the line or not, but announced at Thursday's general meeting that the matter would be seriously considered over the winter.

In the light of recent events in the Bundesliga, the DFL announced that the 36 clubs of the Germany's top two divisions are to contemplate the new technology, already used in the Premier League and FIFA tournaments.

Bayer Leverkusen striker Stefan Kiessling scored a controversial "ghost" goal in his team’s 2-1 win at Hoffenheim earlier this season, which sparked a new discussion about whether to use goal-line technology or not.

Should the top 36 German clubs agree on the introduction of the new technology, it could be introduced as early as the 2014-15 Bundesliga season, according to DFL executive Andreas Rettig.

DFL president Dr. Reinhard Rauball announced that the clubs will be provided with the pros and cons of the technology, according to the Associated Press.

The DFL will have four licensed systems and two currently unlicensed systems to choose from, meaning they could install a system other than Hawk-Eye, which is used in the Premier League, or GoalControl, which was tested at the 2013 Confederations Cup and will also be used at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Offbeat setting for the World Cup draw

The draw tomorrow for the 2014 World Cup will be held in a 100,000-square-foot tent within a resort complex within a wildlife preserve within a national park.

To the north, west and south, there is nothing but coconut trees and forest, with no permanent residents -- except for indigenous wildlife -- in a 30-mile radius.

To the east are distinctive white sand beaches and the Atlantic Ocean.

The closest city is Salvador, some 50 miles away.

Best players not going to the World Cup

Ronaldo has his legs insured

Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez has recently renewed the insurance policy the club has in place, covering them to the tune a of €103 million valuation for Portuguese star, Cristiano Ronaldo.

According to reports in Spain, this latest insurance valuation has risen 3% on last season.

Although it’s common practice for clubs to insure their players, protecting their investments, particularly in the case of the biggest names, the policy for Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the highest in world sport.

Such cover protects the club against serious injuries, particularly if the player was forced to retire.

Adidas launches The Brazuca

FA fear lowest turnout at tournament in years

The FA believe England will be cheered on in Brazil by the smallest number of official supporters seen at a tournament for years.

Foreign Office officials were told at their last briefing with the FA that it is estimated only around 1,100 members of the official fan club, the same number who travelled to Rio for the  2-2 draw against Brazil in the Maracana in June, would make the World Cup trip next summer.

England have been allocated eight per cent of the tickets available for their games. But the take-up is expected to be so low that the FA are offering fan club membership, which includes immediate access to World Cup tickets, at £37.50 - half the normal price.

This contrasts with previous tournaments when the demand for tickets was such that  England fans had to have a certain number of points from attending previous England games to guarantee their allocation.

And the FA believe more than 2,000 supporters will choose to watch the friendly warm-up match in Miami rather than follow Roy Hodgson's team to Brazil.

England fans have been put off by the complicated logistics of following the team, not to mention the price tag of £7,000 just for travel and accommodation.

FIFA said yesterday that 27,000 World Cup tickets had been bought from England in the general sale, though many of those would have been multiple purchases.

Ronaldo opening museum dedicated to ... Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo is planning to use to create a museum dedicated entirely to himself.

Ronaldo's Ronaldo shrine is scheduled to open in the town of Funchal on the Portuguese island of Madeira (his birthplace) on Dec. 15 and will showcase his "individual football trophies along with other memorabilia associated with his career".

Ronaldo himself is due to attend the grand opening and is currently spending a few days in Madeira with his mother and his young son, Cristiano Ronaldo Jr., to smooth over a few final details with the museum's organising committee.

Eintracht Frankfurt own goal

Official Bayern Munich barbecue spice marinade

Platini would like sin bins

"I would make it like rugby, punishing the offender with 10 or 15 minutes out of the game," Platini said. "It is an idea. Now it needs to mature and see if it really is good for the game. It is a proposal to be explored."

The fundamental kernel at the centre of Platini’s idea is actually fairly sound, with UEFA’s grand poobah pointing out that, as things stand, when players are suspended for accumulating a certain number of yellow cards they are suspended for future games, meaning that the club they actually picked up the booking while playing against don’t receive enough of an advantage.

Platini reckons sin bins would be fairer as, in his words, "that way, the benefit goes to the team he is playing against, in the same match, instead of a sanction by cards which is carried out against a third team, the next on the calendar."

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