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..... is exactly what it says on the label.

I come across a lot of stuff that seems interesting to me and that I would like to share, but not everything is worthy of its own thread.

So voila. Enjoy reading and feel free to contribute.

Yes, you!


July 9th 2008​

SCOLARI SPARKS LAMPARD ROW
http://www.football365.com/story/0,17033,8652_3796573,00.html

Luiz Felipe Scolari's claim during his introductory press conference that Frank Lampard would stay at Chelsea is reported to have sparked an extraordinary confrontation between the midfielder and chief executive Peter Kenyon that has seemingly made his departure to Inter Milan inevitable.

While Scolari's debut performance in front of the press was composed and confident, his announcement that Lampard would be staying at the club may prove a terrible error of judgement.

Far from settling the issue, the repercussions of Scolari's claim saw Inter Milan table a £8m bid for the midfielder last night and his departure is now depicted as merely a matter of time.

"He wants to stay and to play for Chelsea for many years. I was very happy because I think Chelsea needs Lampard and Lampard likes Chelsea. Now it's a minimum of questions to solve it and Lampard will be with us more time than one year," Scolari declared.

The announcement was immediately countered by Lampard's agent, Steve Kutner, stressing that while his client 'wanted' to stay, that didn't mean he would be staying. "He made it categorically clear that although he would love to finish his career at Chelsea, with the deal he has been offered that is not possible," Kutner's statement read.

Yet while Kutner was issuing his statement, Lampard's reaction is reported to have been even less restrained. According to the Times, 'Lampard, who watched the press conference at the training ground in Cobham, Surrey, between double sessions, confronted Peter Kenyon in the canteen when the chief executive returned from the nearby Hilton Hotel, where Scolari had been speaking.'

An irretrievable breach has apparently opened between Lampard and the club's hierachy, with Chelsea unwilling to meet his demand for a five-year contract worth approximately £135,000 a week. No doubt delighted at the unexpected turn of events, Inter Milan, now under the management of Jose Mourinho, made their first formal bid for Lampard's services last night and saw the odds on the player moving to Italy tumble.


SCOLARI PROMISES CHELSEA EXODUS
http://www.football365.com/story/0,17033,8652_3796665,00.html

Luiz Felipe Scolari has promised a massive overhaul of Chelsea's bloated first-team squad that is likely to see around ten players leave before the start of the new season.

While Scolari's assurances during his introductory press conference that Frank Lampard would remain at the club have seemingly rebounded to the extent of making the midfielder's departure inevitable, a host of other established names are expected to be told they can leave after Scolari indicated he wanted to radically trim the size of his squad.

"I want to work with 23, 24, or a maximum of 25 players," the new Chelsea boss confirmed. "Now I have 32 players. But now is the time to change the team. If I have 30 players I can't bring them in from the youth side, which is what I have always done and always will do.

"The players know this. When I spoke to them, I said this: 'There will be 23, 24 or 25 who will stay with me. That is the maximum I will need'."

Scolari is not short of candidates for the cull. Among those set to depart in the next few weeks are Steve Sidwell and Shaun Wright-Phillips, as well as Lampard. However, his remarks could also signal the exit of Andriy Shevchenko, Juliano Belletti, Carlo Cudicini and Claudio Pizarro. Claude Makelele, meanwhile, is thought to be interested in a switch to Paris St Germain.


O`NEILL MAKES BARRY PROPOSAL

http://www.football365.com/story/0,17033,8652_3796437,00.html

Martin O'Neill says Aston Villa have written to Liverpool to propose a deal for Gareth Barry.

Liverpool are desperate to sign the Villa captain and last week saw a new bid of £15million rejected.

Villa have already turned down multiple offers from their Premier League rivals, with manager O'Neill valuing his skipper in the £18million bracket.

Reports suggest that O'Neill would be willing to accept £17million, plus Reds full-back Steve Finnan in part exchange.

O'Neill has not confirmed his interest in Finnan, but has revealed that a proposal has been put to his Liverpool counterpart Rafa Benitez.

"Liverpool have come back to us and we have responded to their proposal with a letter," O'Neill told the Birmingham Mail.

"We're still waiting to hear back from Liverpool after putting that proposal to them.

"It's really up to Liverpool. I really don't know how it's going to work out at the moment.

"I'm sure there will be some sort of resolution at some stage or another."

Meanwhile, Villa striker John Carew is 'sad' about the prospect of Barry leaving, but is hoping the club bring in a quality replacement.

"What is happening with Gareth is part of football," said Carew. "I don't think anyone is shocked, although you don't want to lose someone who was one of our best players last year and for all the seasons he has been at Villa.

"That is football and that's the way things work and now we are just waiting to see who comes in to replace him - but I think it will be a good player coming in.

"It is sad that Gareth is going, but I don't use much energy on it. I am focusing on the team we have here, the players we have here, and not all the surroundings."


Crouch agrees Pompey terms
Striker to undergo medical before transfer is sealed

http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11661_3796809,00.html

Portsmouth have announced that Liverpool striker Peter Crouch has agreed personal terms with the club.

The Premier League duo struck an agreement over the England international's fee - believed to be in the region of £10million - on Monday.

Crouch is set to undergo a medical at Fratton Park in the next 48 hours before the transfer is sealed.

Manager Harry Redknapp worked with Crouch during a previous spell at Pompey and at Southampton, and will be hopeful that the towering forward will add firepower to his frontline for the forthcoming season.
Regular football

Crouch endured a frustrating last term at Anfield after he recorded just nine Premier League starts.

The 27-year-old joined Liverpool from Southampton in 2005 and initially struggled for goals.

However, in his second season on Merseyside he finished the club's top goalscorer in all competitions.

Crouch is likely to form a striking partnership with fellow England forward Jermain Defoe next campaign as Portsmouth look to continue their fine form that saw the club land the FA Cup trophy last season.


BENITEZ SORRY TO SEE CROUCH GO

http://www.football365.com/story/0,17033,8652_3795851,00.html



Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has admitted he wanted to keep Peter Crouch as the England striker prepares to complete his move to Portsmouth.

Crouch has completed a medical at Fratton Park and the finer points of his £11million move back to the south coast are almost complete with Pompey set to formally confirm the move soon.

But Benitez has pre-empted Crouch's final departure from Merseyside by saying: "He is a good professional and a nice person, and we would have wanted him to stay. We offered him a new contract.

"But sometimes you have to understand the player. He wanted to play a lot more, and with Fernando Torres now first choice, that was always going to be difficult.

"I can understand Peter's situation. But he did very well for this club and we always supported him when people doubted the decision to bring him to Anfield."

Benitez made it clear that he will now try to sign a replacement striker, and refused to rule out a possible move for Spanish star David Villa.

He said: "We have Torres, Andriy Voronin, Dirk Kuyt, Ryan Babel and Steven Gerrard, who can play as a second striker.

"But we will try to bring in another option. Villa is a player we know all about and he is on our list. But maybe it will be difficult."

Benitez now hopes to complete the drawn-out saga of Gareth Barry's move from Aston Villa, which the club still hope to have sealed by the weekend.

Whether that will be in time for Liverpool's first pre-season friendly at Tranmere on Saturday is debatable.

But Benitez would wish to have the midfielder on board for the training camp in Switzerland which starts on Sunday and includes three matches before a return to the UK ahead of the trip to play Rangers in Glasgow on July 26.
 

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July 9th 2008

Benitez targets Villa
Liverpool boss sets sights on Crouch replacement

http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11661_3796210,00.html

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has hinted he may target Valencia striker David Villa as a replacement for Portsmouth-bound Peter Crouch.

Crouch is poised to complete his summer transfer to Fratton Park after Pompey agreed a fee with Liverpool on Monday.

Spain's Villa has reportedly attracted strong interest from several leading European clubs after he finished top scorer at Euro 2008.

The 26-year-old has since insisted he is happy at the Mestalla; however Benitez could be set to test the forward's resolve.

Difficult

Benitez, who brought fellow Spaniard Fernando Torres to Anfield from Atletico Madrid last summer, said: "We have Torres, Andrei Voronin, Dirk Kuyt, Ryan Babel and Steven Gerrard, who can play as a second striker.

"But we will try to bring in another option. Villa is a player we know all about and he is on our list. But maybe it will be difficult."

On Crouch's expected departure, Benitez praised the England international's professionalism and character after he endured a difficult beginning to his career on Merseyside.

Stay

"He is a good professional and a nice person, and we would have wanted him to stay. We offered him a new contract," said Benitez.

"But sometimes you have to understand the player. He wanted to play a lot more, and with Fernando Torres now first choice, that was always going to be difficult.

"I can understand Peter's situation. But he did very well for this club and we always supported him when people doubted the decision to bring him to Anfield."


Real chief tells Wimbledon champ Nadal that Cristiano deal is 'done and dusted'

Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal was reportedly told that his beloved Real Madrid has signed Cristiano Ronaldo.

Real president Ramon Calderon, who watched Nadal's thrilling five-set victory over Roger Federer on Centre Court, told the 22-year-old tennis ace that the deal for the Manchester United ace was 'done and dusted'.

It confirms Real are not ending their £70million pursuit of Ronaldo despite the Premier League champions’ insistence they will not sell.

Nadal met Calderon in the grounds of the All England Club on Sunday night and a Spanish-speaking onlooker, according to The Sun, heard him ask: 'OK, president, where’s this Cristiano Ronaldo we’re supposed to be signing?'

The Real chief replied: 'Relax, Rafa, everything’s under control and we’ve got him done and dusted.'

Real are now hoping Ronaldo will bring the saga to an end by publicly saying he intends to quit Old Trafford.

The tabloid newspaper also reports that a fan who got to see the star in hospital as he recovered from an ankle op said Ronaldo told him: 'I hope I’ll be as good in Spain as I was in England.'


Bell earns a shot to win over Sir Alex

http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/sport/Bell-earns-a-shot-to.4268982.jp

A Havant teenager has booked himself a training session with Sir Alex Ferguson after topping a nationwide talent hunt.
Louis Bell scooped the honours at the London trials for Nike's Most Wanted on Saturday.

The UK and Ireland search has been launched in association with the Premier League to uncover 22 young talents capable of playing at a higher level.

And the 19-year-old, who last month joined Gosport Borough and was once on Pompey's books, beat off competition from more than 100 players at Westway Sports Centre, west London, to emerge as one of the stars.

As part of the challenge, players were tested on their shooting, ball skills, speed, passing and mental agility.

Bell amassed more points then any other player in his heat to qualify, while a Brighton competitor finished as runner-up.

The pair now head to Manchester next month for the finals, where all 22 regional champions will be coached by legendary Manchester United manager Ferguson.

The attacking midfielder was released from Pompey a season ago after 11 years at Fratton Park.

But now he's dreaming of the big time once again.

Bell said: 'I remember sitting in the car and watching all these players walking past.

'They all looked as though they could play.

'Most of them were from pro clubs like Fulham, Brentford, Charlton, Watford and the London area – so you can say I was surprised to win it.

'We had to do all sorts of tests. For the shot drills, if you hit the ball into the top corner you got 10 points while the bottom corner was five points.

'The top 25 scorers went through to the next round plus five wildcards – and I had the top score.

'They then added three goalkeepers and put us in three teams of 11 for three 15 -minute matches with the coaches assessing.

'Fortunately, I was one of the two to go through. The other lad came 11th in the tests but they liked the look of him. It's fantastic. Now I'm going to train under Sir Alex Ferguson.'

West Ham stars Craig Bellamy, Mark Noble and Anton Ferdinand were all on hand to watch Bell's triumph on Saturday.

Footage will be broadcast tomorrow night at 7.30pm in Premier League World on Sky Sports 1.

And he is hoping to catch the eye.

He added: 'Obviously I was a bit down after being released from Portsmouth. I had been there since I was seven and then was not kept on.

'I played at Newport IOW last season and have now joined Gosport, who are a really good club, but I really want to get back into the football league.

'The opportunity is there to train with Sir Alex Ferguson and hopefully impress a few people and get noticed.

'I'm keeping my fingers cross this can now kick me on.'


Keegan's Nephew Found Dead
Kevin Keegan's family have been hit by tragedy as the Newcastle manager's nephew has been found dead in a hotel room...

Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan and his family are coming to terms with the death of 27-year-old Craig Keegan, who was discovered dead by Metro Inns staff last Wednesday.

The office worker booked a three-night stay in the Doncaster hotel and reports suggest that the man died of a drugs overdose between checking in on Monday and the discovery on his body Wednesday morning.

Staff were concerned after a cleaner failed to gain access to Room 220 and manageress Melanie Butcher was the first on the scene, having intended to wake Craig Keegan. The Mirror reports that Butcher "immediately thought that [Keegan] looked dead".

However, it must be noted that the cause of death has not been officially determined and coroner Fred Curtis is still awaiting the results of the routine toxicology tests.

Craig's father is Michael Keegan, the younger brother of Newcastle boss Kevin. Michael said his son suffered from agoraphobia and was largely housebound. In fact, the man hadn't left his house for five months before the doomed hotel stay.

The inquest has been adjourned until a later date.

Liam Black, Goal.com
 

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RedForceRising said:
Keegan's Nephew Found Dead
Kevin Keegan's family have been hit by tragedy as the Newcastle manager's nephew has been found dead in a hotel room...

Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan and his family are coming to terms with the death of 27-year-old Craig Keegan, who was discovered dead by Metro Inns staff last Wednesday.

The office worker booked a three-night stay in the Doncaster hotel and reports suggest that the man died of a drugs overdose between checking in on Monday and the discovery on his body Wednesday morning.

Staff were concerned after a cleaner failed to gain access to Room 220 and manageress Melanie Butcher was the first on the scene, having intended to wake Craig Keegan. The Mirror reports that Butcher "immediately thought that [Keegan] looked dead".

However, it must be noted that the cause of death has not been officially determined and coroner Fred Curtis is still awaiting the results of the routine toxicology tests.

Craig's father is Michael Keegan, the younger brother of Newcastle boss Kevin. Michael said his son suffered from agoraphobia and was largely housebound. In fact, the man hadn't left his house for five months before the doomed hotel stay.

The inquest has been adjourned until a later date.

Liam Black, Goal.com
I don't like the guy, but I would never something like this on ANYBODY I disliked.

RIP to him.

But back to happier matters, great thread rfr. Looking forward to reading more ;)
 

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manutd004 said:
I don't like the guy, but I would never something like this on ANYBODY I disliked.

RIP to him.

But back to happier matters, great thread rfr. Looking forward to reading more ;)

Thanks fot the encouragement and I too hope that the all souls may rest in peace.
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Rooney agent to appeal

Stretford maintains his innocence and brands verdicts 'a travesty'

http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11661_3798956,00.html

Wayne Rooney's agent Paul Stretford is to launch an immediate appeal against his 18-month ban and £300,000 fine for breaking regulations when he signed the England striker.

Stretford continues to maintain his innocence after being found guilty by a disciplinary commission of seven out of nine charges brought by the Football Association.

The commission ruled the founder of Proactive Sports Management - which became the Formation Group four years ago - "muscled in" to persuade Rooney to breach his representation contract with previous agents Pro-Form in 2002, but a charge he had enticed the player to do so was not proven.

Some of the charges were for improper conduct, in relation to Stretford "making of false and/or misleading witness statements to police and giving false and/or misleading testimony to Warrington Crown Court" about the circumstances of how he came to represent Rooney.

The ban will not come into force until after the appeal or move to go to arbitration by Stretford. The second nine months of the suspension will not be invoked so long as he is not found to have not broken any other regulations.

But the agent has branded the ruling as 'a travesty' and confirmed he is set to appeal.

He said: "I believe the verdicts of the disciplinary panel against me are a travesty of the facts heard by its members during the hearing.
Immediate appeal

"I will be lodging an immediate appeal against the verdicts and continue to maintain my complete innocence of the charges brought against me.

"These charges came about as a result of my appearance at a criminal trial as a witness for the prosecution against men accused of blackmailing me with menaces.

"In pursuing their case against me, the FA seems almost wilfully to have cast me as the accused in the trial rather than a prosecution witness acting properly in the interests of justice."

He added: "It has always been my contention that the FA case against me should have been heard in public and by an independent panel. Had that been the case, I believe the verdicts would have been very different."

Italian Press: Casillas & Torres Favourites For Ballon D’Or
According to reports in the Italian press, Spain stars Iker Casillas and Fernando Torres are the two favourites for this year’s Ballon d’Or.

http://www.goal.com/en/Articolo.aspx?ContenutoId=769786



Prior to Euro 2008, Cristiano Ronaldo was believed to be the frontrunner to win the prestigious prize following a prolific season for Manchester United, during which he scored 42 goals in all competitions.

However, Ronaldo may have harmed his chances of winning the prize after a relatively poor Euro 2008. The Portuguese attacker has also faced constant criticism that he fails to perform in the big games.

As a result, sections of the Italian press claim that Iker Casillas and Fernando Torres are the two main favourites ahead of Ronaldo.

Casillas had a stunning club campaign for Real Madrid, playing a key part in their La Liga success. He was also a major protagonist in Spain’s historic Euro 2008 triumph, particularly in the quarter final penalty shootout win over Italy.

Torres was also decisive in Austria and Switzerland, scoring the winner in the 1-0 final victory over Germany. The 24-year-old had a superb debut season for his club Liverpool, scoring 33 goals in all competitions.

Beneath Casillas and Torres, the three other players who are said to be in with a chance of winning the Golden Ball are Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Russia star Andrei Arhsavin.

The last Spaniard to win the Ballon d’Or was former Inter and Barcelona legend Luis Suarez, way back in 1960.

Anthony Sormani


Ronaldo's Girlfriend To Prevent Madrid Move?



Rumour has it that Cristiano Ronaldo's special lady, one Nereida Gallardo, could prevent his move to Real Madrid. Not only is the Mallorcan said to be eager to remain in England, but there may also be a nasty surprise awaiting them if they move to Spain...

Britain's classiest newspaper, the News of the World, claims that tensions could be immediately high if Ronaldo moves to the Bernabéu due to the presence of Sergio Ramos, with whom Nereida enjoyed a brief fling.

The paper gleefully squealed, "Cristiano doesn’t know Nereida’s already slept with one of Real Madrid’s top players.

"He’s a jealous guy and she’s kept it a secret from him because it’s something in her past. Sergio [Ramos is] a bit of a joker and the last thing she wants is him welcoming Cristiano to Madrid by announcing he’s already tackled his girlfriend."

Apparently the tryst took place after the two hooked up at the glitzy Madrid nitespot Joy Eslava.

"Sergio was there with two friends and they and Nereida’s mates all ended up back at his house. Sergio was all over Nereida and ended up leading her by the hand into his bedroom," concluded the article.

How much importance is actually to be placed on such gossip, even if true, is another matter entirely. As Cristiano and Nereida were not an item back then it hardly seems to be a make-or-break factor.

Ms. Gallardo's craving for the limelight, though, could be a considerably greater influence.

Steve Michaels, Goal.com
 

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Lol some interesting stuff there. Nice thread.

In summary:
  • Lamps on his way out
  • Ronaldo has his mother, sister and girlfriend indicating a stay in Manchester
  • Ronaldo might actually lose the Ballen d'Or again!
  • Louis Bell stands a chance at stardom with Sir Alex
  • Rooney's agent might not be a tosser
 

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July 10th 2008



Blatter says United should let Ronaldo go to Real


Alternative title:
Fat Swiss **** diverts attention away from the corruption charges FIFA are facing by stepping into the Ronaldo transfer saga

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2008/jul10/ronaldo.manchesterunited?gusrc=rss&feed=sport

Sepp Blatter has said Cristiano Ronaldo should be allowed to leave Manchester United for Real Madrid if he wants. "If the player wants to play somewhere else, then a solution should be found because if he stays in a club where he does not feel comfortable to play then it's not good for the player and for the club," said the president of Fifa, football's world governing body.

"There's too much modern slavery, in transferring players or buying players. We are trying now to intervene in such cases. The reaction to the Bosman law is to make long-lasting contracts to keep the players, and then if he wants to leave there is only one solution, he has to pay his contract."

When asked about the protracted wrangle over the 23-year-old Portugal winger's future, Blatter insisted players should be allowed to leave with impunity when they want to move clubs. "The important thing is, we should also protect the player," he said. "I'm always in favour of protecting the player, and if the player he wants to leave, let him leave."



Sagna Dismisses Gunners' Premier League Chances


http://www.goal.com/en/Articolo.aspx?ContenutoId=770319

Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna has admitted his side’s title dreams may be dashed before the season even starts, but hopes last season’s experience will give them an edge…

Arsene Wenger’s men appeared odds on to secure the Premier League crown going into February, a string of indifferent results against average teams saw them concede the lead to eventual champions Manchester United.

The Gunners look likely to be without at least three key players from the last campaign, as both Aliaksandr Hleb and Emmanuel Adebayor look set to follow Mathieu Flamini out the Emirates’ exit.

Combined with the injury concerns of Eduardo da Silva and Robin van Persie, the waning form of veteran Gilberto Silva (who could also leave) and the supposed lack of leadership within the squad, the north London club could start the new season in a worse state than they finished the last one.

And Sagna confessed there are big problems that need to be addressed before Arsenal can even contemplate the idea of challenging for their 14th league title.

“There is no point in planning ahead for next March because we cannot be certain that we will still be in the hunt for the title by then,” the French full-back said in The Sun.

“Obviously, we all have regrets about last season and are hoping to improve on third place.

“But we need to learn from those lessons and that is why I don’t think it is a good idea to set ourselves a definite target for the new season.”

Mike Maguire


United admit defeat as Queiroz prepares to exit

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2008/jul/10/manchesterunited

Manchester United will receive around £1m in compensation after reluctantly informing Sir Alex Ferguson's assistant, Carlos Queiroz, that he is free to leave the club and replace Luiz Felipe Scolari as Portugal's coach.

The deal was hammered out last night by United's chief executive, David Gill, and the president of the Portuguese football federation, Gilberto Madail, after Queiroz rejected a pay rise at Old Trafford and made it clear he could not turn down the chance to take Portugal to the next World Cup.

Queiroz, who has agreed a four-year contract, has been in Lisbon finalising the arrangements but is expected to fly to Manchester today to complete the formalities and say his goodbyes to the staff.

His departure presents Ferguson with an unwanted problem ahead of the forthcoming season, not least because Queiroz was supposed to play a major part in persuading Cristiano Ronaldo to resist Real Madrid's advances. Ferguson hopes to appoint a replacement before the start of the season, the likelihood being that he will headhunt someone from outside.




Other bits of juicy gossip courtesy of the Beeb


Middlesbrough striker Mido is determined to make his critics eat their words. The striker has lost two stone thanks to a gruelling summer fitness regime in a bid to be in tip-top shape for the start of the new season. (Various)

- Finally trying to earn his keep.


Phil Brown is in line for a 100% pay rise at Hull after the Tigers offered him a new three-year deal worth an annual £500,000. (Daily Mirror)

- Good for him. That would put him in the top 0.2% top earning people in the world.

Paul Ince's transfer kitty has received a £3m boost after Jack Walker's family, who still own the club, renewed their backing. (Daily Mirror)

Billionaire businessman Peter Cullum is in talks with Norwich owner Delia Smith to buy the club for £20m. (Daily Star)

The former Sunderland and Manchester City manager Peter Reid is to be appointed the new coach of Thailand at the end of July on a four-year deal, according to reports in Bangkok. (The Guardian)

Blackburn Rovers could be the next Premier League club to come under American ownership after a consortium from the United States registered its interest in buying the club. (The Times)



Blatter comments 'inappropriate'
PFA deputy chief executive McGuire questions Fifa president
http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11667_3802166,00.html

PFA deputy chief executive Mick McGuire believes Fifa president Sepp Blatter should operate in a 'more measured and controlled way'.

McGuire's comments follow Blatter's controversial comments on 'modern slavery' in football.

Speaking of Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo's future, amid interest from Real Madrid, Blatter said that no player should be held against his will.

McGuire feels that the Swiss' 'inappropriate' use of the word slavery rids his argument of all credibility.
Responsibility

"It is so inappropriate that he loses any credibility in his argument," McGuire told Sky Sports News.

"There are some words that should never be used in such a context. The word 'slavery' gets people wound up and destroys any argument that he has.

"I think he does it for effect. By focusing on the Ronaldo's future it creates the greatest interest.

"But I believe he does have a responsibility, considering his position, to look at things in a more measured and controlled way."



Ronaldo Shocker: Blatter Is Right
http://www.goal.com/en/Articolo.aspx?ContenutoId=771321

Cristiano Ronaldo is said to have told Portuguese station TVI that he agrees with Sepp Blatter's comments regarding the treatment of modern footballers, adding that he has not yet come to an agreement with Real Madrid...

The winger is reported to have said that he agrees with FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who earlier controversially claimed that footballers were treated as modern day slaves, adding that Ronaldo should be allowed to leave if it is his personal desire.

The full TVI interview in which Ronaldo made this declaration, along with his desire to play for Real Madrid, was aired on Thursday evening during the 2000 BST bulletin.

Update: The interview was broadcast at 21:28 local time.

The Manchester United ace said, "I am optimistic - things have been going well, I have been undergoing treatments, everything is going ok.

"I have been progressing well, I am now focused on recovery.

"I will be back in 10-12 weeks. Training with the ball? That will start in around two months."

Talk moved towards the player's future.

"I am optimistic and tranquil about what's to come," he said.

"Blatter's comments? I agree with him. I have nothing else to say about that. What he (Blatter) said is correct.

"Have I already made a deal with Real Madrid? No - that's not true. There is no deal.

"I hope that my future will be decided as soon as possible but I do not know where I will start the season."


In conclusion he discussed Manchester United assistant coach Carlos Queiroz's chances of becoming Portugal manager.

"He is a great coach and would be a great solution for the Portugal squad," said Cristiano. "He'd be a great bet."

Deal Or No Deal

Meanwhile, Madrid-based sports daily As claims that Ronaldo himself is confident that his move to the Spanish capital will be completed sooner rather than later.

Apparently Ronaldo sought to allay the blancos' fears that his ankle operation and plans to return to Manchester would see to it that a move is in jeopardy.

The paper states that the player has communicated to Madrid his thoughts via his agent, Jorge Mendes, and an SMS text message. Translated, the text read: "Relax: I've taken care of everything."

(Additional reporting by Ewan Macdonald, editing by Sulmaan Ahmad, translation by Luis Mira)
 

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Barça's Henrique Move Smells Bad - Minguella
http://www.goal.com/en/Articolo.aspx?ContenutoId=770889

Former Barcelona presidential candidate and football agent, Josep María Minguella, has questioned the Catalan club's reasons for wanting to sign Henrique from Palmeiras.
The man who was mainly responsible for taking Diego Maradona to Camp Nou cannot understand why the Blaugrana would spend €10m on such an inexperienced player.

Barça have been in talks to sign the Brazilian, but Minguella hinted that there was something wrong with the whole deal without acutally making any accusations.

His statements on Catalunya Radio come at a delicate time for the club's hierarchy as they struggle to hold on to power after a vote of no confidence last weekend.

"It smells bad," Minguella said when asked about the move for Henrique. "It is very unusual that you would sign a player for €10m when he has played only five games for his team."

It is reported that if Barça were to sign the 21-year-old this summer, then he would be offered to other top flight clubs in Spain for a season-long loan spell and that also concerns Minguella.

"Villarreal signed Martín Cáceres just over a year ago for €1.5m and then loaned him out. If you pay €10m for Henrique, it would not make any sense if he were not to play in the first team," he added.

Lucas Brown, Goal.com
 

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JULY 11th 2008


Eight board members at Barca resign
http://www.teamtalk.com/football/story/0,16368,3033_3803250,00.html

Eight members of the Barcelona board have resigned following a meeting on Thursday, but president Joan Laporta will remain in charge.

However, Vice presidents Albert Vicens, Marc Ingla and Ferran Soriano along with club secretary Xavier Cambra and directors Antoni Rovira, Claudia Vives-Fierro, Evarist Murtra and Josep Lluis Vilaseca all tendered their resignations over what they deemed "differences in opinion over the best way to act following the result of the vote of confidence on Sunday".

Laporta lost the vote but was not forced from office as 60.6% of fans - short of the required two-thirds - voted against him.

The 46-year-old president insisted after the vote that he would not resign and was forced to reiterate his position on Tuesday after reports in the Spanish media suggested he would hand in his notice at Thursday's board meeting.

"We have to reveal to you that all my colleagues here present, Marc Ingla, Ferran Soriano, Xavier Cambra, Antoni Rovira, Claudia Vives-Fierro, Evarist Murtra, Josep Lluis Vilaseca and I have resigned from our posts on the FC Barcelona board," Vicens told a press conference following the meeting.

"The motives which have led us to this decision are borne out of the differences in opinion over the best way to act following the result of the vote of confidence on Sunday.

"For us, the result on Sunday expressed that the majority were unhappy with this board and, given that the motion (to oust the board) was unsuccessful, this result warned that a substantial and immediate change was needed in the governing of this club.

"This idea is not shared by the president nor the directors who have decided to continue with the board. We understand our proposal offers the club stability and tranquility immediately as well as in the medium term.

"We want to make it clear that we absolutely respect the legitimate decision made by the president and the members of the board that continue alongside him.

"We respect that and at the same time we wish them the best of luck in their task."

The resignation of the eight directors means that four more new board members will have to be appointed in order for the board to meet the requirements of the club statute.

This is the biggest resignation en masse during Laporta's reign, after five members of the board quit in one day in 2005 - among them former vice president Sandro Rosell who said he would stand in opposition to Laporta in the next presidential elections.

It also takes the total number of people to have walked out on Laporta during his five-year reign to 14.

However, despite the obvious problems the club has, Vicens asked the Barca support not to continue rocking an already unsteady ship.

"The members and fans of FC Barcelona have to be sure that the club is in an optimal and solid sporting, economic and social situation," he continued.

"We ask the Barcelona supporters that, above any differing opinions, they contribute to the stability and calm which are needed in order to govern FC Barcelona."


Beckham: Tough choice for Ronaldo
http://www.teamtalk.com/football/story/0,16368,2483_3804815,00.html

David Beckham believes Cristiano Ronaldo has a "difficult choice" to make between staying at Manchester United or joining Real Madrid.

Ronaldo, who has this summer spelt out his "dream" of playing for the Spanish giants, has agreed with Sepp Blatter's claim that there is "modern slavery" in the transfer market.

"I agree with the comments of the president of FIFA. What he said is right," the 23-year-old winger told Portuguese channel TVI.

Beckham, who swapped the North-West for the Spanish capital in 2003, believes United are every inch the equals of Real.

"When I left Manchester United the only other club I wanted to play for was Real Madrid," the England midfielder told Sky Sports News.

"Living in Madrid and playing for Madrid - there's not many better clubs than that apart from Manchester United, which is equal.

"But to have those two choices is good for him."

Beckham added in The Sun: "Playing for Manchester United was my dream but so was playing for Real. It was an incredibly difficult choice to make and I'm sure it is the same for Cristiano."


Beckham voted into MLS All-Star eleven
http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=554608&sec=mls&cc=4716

England's David Beckham is one of five players to make the Major League Soccer All-Stars for the first time after voting results were announced by the league on Thursday.

The first-eleven will be joined by seven other players to make up the squad for the July 24 match against English Premier League club West Ham United in Toronto.

Beckham's L.A. Galaxy team-mate Landon Donovan, was top of the selection, which was based on voting by fans, players, officials and the media, with Beckham and Chicago Fire's Mexican international Cuauhtemoc Blanco.

New England Revolution's Scottish coach Steve Nicol will be in charge of the All-Star team and has three of his club's players in the All-Star eleven.

All Star 'first eleven': Goalkeeper: Matt Reis (New England Revolution).

Defenders: Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Michael Parkhurst (New England Revolution)

Midfielders: David Beckham (Los Angeles Galaxy), Cuauhtemoc Blanco (Chicago Fire), Shalrie Joseph (New England Revolution), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew)

Forwards: Kenny Cooper (FC Dallas), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy)


Other Juicy Bits of Gossip

Sunderland keeper Craig Gordon says players look forward to five-a-sides as boss Roy Keane joins in and the squad see it as a "chance to kick the manager". (Daily Mirror)
 

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Crouch deal proves Redknapp's quality
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/philmcnulty/2008/07/crouch_confirms_portsmouths_ri.html



Harry Redknapp may be in the autumn of his career as a manager - but it is about time his achievements at Portsmouth started to be taken more seriously outside Fratton Park.

The revelation today that Portsmouth have had an offer of around £9m accepted by Liverpool for Peter Crouch, and he is desperate to go there, says everything about the job Redknapp has done.

Any critique of Redknapp's career is usually prefaced by a patronising "good old 'Arry" or a simple description of his ability as a "wheeler dealer" in the transfer market.

In other words, call him what you like, but don't call him an outstanding manager.

There is so much more to Redknapp the manager than that and it is time it was acknowledged on a wider scale.

Just look at the team he has assembled at Fratton Park - and look at the players he is adding to it.

Redknapp is a manager who targets good players, has the powers of persuasion to bring them to Portsmouth, and then - rather importantly - gets them to play for him.

Crouch would have been a credible target for plenty of Premier League clubs, but the word on the grapevine since it became clear his days at Liverpool were numbered was that there was only one club and one manager he wanted to play for.

He is now going to get his wish in another statement of intent by Redknapp and Portsmouth - with more high-profile players to join him if other whispers are to be believed.

Redknapp's love affair with Pompey has been chequered, from resigning in November 2004 after the appointment of Velimir Zajec as executive director to an ill-fated spell in charge of rivals Southampton.

He was at Saints when they were relegated - not exactly something designed to hit hard at his popularity in Portsmouth admittedly - and was not welcomed by every supporter when he was re-appointed as manager in December 2005.

Redknapp showed his magic by guiding Portsmouth out of a seemingly doomed position - and since then it has been onwards and upwards, culminating in their FA Cup final win against Cardiff at Wembley in May.

Portsmouth's renaissance under Redknapp has been one of the Premier League's great hidden stories.

Redknapp has rejuvenated the careers of David James and Sol Campbell. He has attracted players of the calibre of Lassana Diarra to Portsmouth and pulled off a real coup by tempting Jermain Defoe away from Spurs.

There have been mistakes along the way - £6m for David Nugent anyone? - but the approach from Newcastle last season was an indicator of the respect Redknapp has among his peers in football.

Redknapp's latest foray into the market means he will have a likely front pairing of Crouch and Defoe next season - and this will be the envy of plenty of Premier League clubs.

Add to this a new 36,000-seater stadium overlooking Portsmouth harbour and Redknapp is going to leave a very healthy legacy.

Redknapp actually rates Pompey's Premier League survival in 2006 as a greater feat than winning the FA Cup - but now he has power to add.

Crouch is another top signing by Redknapp, a player who was under-used by Liverpool and arrives with a point to prove working with a manager who will put an arm around his shoulder and coax the best out of him.

Redknapp will have a few more new faces in place by the start of the season - just in time to make more of his critics eat their words.



Jordan warns Spurs-bound Bostock

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/teams/c/crystal_palace/7499205.stm

Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan has warned John Bostock he could be making a mistake by joining Tottenham.

Jordan is furious after the 16-year-old midfielder was allowed to leave the club for just £700,000 - a fee decided by a Football League tribunal hearing.

"I use the word scandalous. It's a panel of halfwits," he told BBC London. "And while I wouldn't want to waste my breath giving advice to John, look at Wayne Routledge. He took the chance to join Spurs, but where is he now?"

Routledge left Palace to move to White Hart Lane in 2005 for a fee of £1.25m, but made just five appearances in two-and-a-half years at Tottenham.

Since then, spells at Portsmouth and Fulham proved only marginally more successful, while he has made just one substitute appearance since joining Aston Villa from Spurs for £1.25m in January.

"When Spurs came knocking I told Wayne to stay and learn his trade at Palace," said Jordan.

"But he went, he grabbed the money, and now he's at Villa not getting in the first team, just like he didn't get in the Spurs team, just like he didn't get in the Portsmouth team and just like he didn't get in the Fulham team."

However, Bostock appears to be a different proposition entirely.

The midfielder made his Palace debut aged 15 and, according to Jordan, has been tracked by Barcelona "for a long, long time," while Chelsea had a bid of £900,000 for him rejected when he was just 14.

And Jordan revealed he had asked Tottenham for up to £4.5m for Bostock: "We thought about a valuation - a reasonable one in our eyes, having looked at the benchmarks - of £2m up front, £500,000 more when he signed his first professional contract, and another £2m when he had made 40 first-team appearances.

"If you make 40 first-team appearances for Spurs in midfield, you are a £15m-£20m player, not £4.5m so we were extremely reasonable and far from over-zealous.

"Look at Aaron Ramsey. He is 17, played 17 games for Cardiff last season, and Arsenal have just paid £5m for him.

"The tribunal valuation clearly doesn't reflect the transfer market. Their reasoning was that their previous highest valuation was £400,000 for Jermain Defoe seven years ago so, in terms of inflation, this is a decent fee.

"Well football doesn't run like inflation does it? The market now is 10-fold or 20-fold of what it was then.

"What this does is send out a message that academies and youth development policies are not worth investing in because perceived bigger clubs can come along at any time and do what the hell they like.

"It really is making me consider my position in football because the one thing that kept me focused in my time at Palace is producing my own players - but what's the point?"

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Queiroz set to be confirmed as Portugal manager today

Search for Ferguson's new assistant to begin
http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2008/jul/11/portugal.manchesterunited



Portugal are expected to announce this evening that Carlos Queiroz has agreed to become their new manager. Manchester United have reluctantly allowed the club's assistant manager to leave Old Trafford, giving Sir Alex Ferguson little more than a month to bring in a replacement before the new season starts. The news will be a further blow to United's hopes of keeping Cristiano Ronaldo at the club, with Queiroz regarded as a father figure to the Portugal winger.

Queiroz joined the club in 2002 and, even though United won the title in his first season, was widely criticised by fans, blamed for persuading Ferguson to deploy a seemingly negative 4-5-1 formation. However, in the past season his increasing influence over the team - in terms of coaching and style of play - has been recognised as United revelled in a thrilling brand of fluid attacking football, winning the Premier League and Champions League in the process.

Indeed, the significance of his role alongside Ferguson was felt when he left to manage Real Madrid in the 2003-04 season. While he failed to win a trophy in Spain before returning to Manchester, United underwent a similarly barren year, finishing third as Ferguson struggled without an assistant until he brought Walter Smith in for the final two months of the season.

United fans will therefore be eager to find out who Ferguson will bring in to help him, with Swansea City having already ruled out this week that their manager, Roberto Martinez, would leave for Old Trafford.

Queiroz had been one of the favourites to replace Ferguson as United boss, but the lure of managing his country for a second time was too much for him to refuse. His first stint between 1991 and 1994 was unsuccessful, with Portugal failing to qualify for the World Cup, but his stock has always been high in his homeland, having coached the so-called golden generation of Luis Figo and Rui Costa and the rest of Portugal's Under-20s to two world titles in 1989 and 1991.
 

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Beckham doesn't know what he's talking about.

Redknapp is a fantastic manager. No one can deny that. If United couldn't win the FA Cup then I'm glad it was a club like Portsmouth.
 

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ManUtd19 said:
Queiroz was infinitely more important to United than Ronaldo will ever be.
Don't know about infinitely more important ...

It took the whole squad and the team of coaches to succeed. Everybody is important. From a management perspective I agree that a strong leadership team is more important because players will come and go, but to say Queiroz is infinitely more important is exaggerated.

Anyhow....

Queiroz: I'll always admire United
http://www.manutd.com/default.sps?pagegid={B4CEE8FA-9A47-47BC-B069-3F7A2F35DB70}&newsid=6613704

Carlos Queiroz issued this statement after United agreed in principle with the Portuguese FA to release him from his contract:

"It is with a very heavy heart that today I leave the greatest football club in the world after five fantastic years. This has been a special period in my life both personally and professionally. I have been so lucky to have had the opportunity to work in first class facilities with a staff team who are at the top of their profession.

"Our players on and off the pitch make the difference and to them also I owe a great deal of gratitude for their hard work, professionalism and most of all their performances. I feel we have in place the basis for the next generation to follow in the tradition of such world class players as Sir Bobby Charlton and George Best.

"Of course our success as a family is based on strong leadership and in The Glazer Family, The Board, David Gill and not least of all Sir Alex Ferguson we have the support and skills to stay at the top. To Sir Alex, I thank him for his faith in me and his knowledge, spirit and desire from which I will take strength and have confidence in my new role.

"I will forever be a fan and admirer of the club and also thankful that I had the opportunity to be part of such a great institution, a vast organisation but with a unique feeling of family and community. This leads me finally to our fans - local, national and international. I thank them for their fantastic support and encouragement in my time at the club, always there when we need them to support us both home and away in huge numbers.

"In conclusion I wish everyone at our club, continued success in the years to come and to continue to enjoy a brand of exciting, attractive and winning football, admired and respected the world over."
 

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I didn't intend to put any transfer news on this thread, but I'll sneak in one, because it's juicy and actually quotes Berba's agent.

Utd 'show Berbatov interest'

Spurs striker's agent makes claim amid offer speculation
http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11095_3811434,00.html

Dimitar Berbatov's agent is 'certain' Manchester United are interested in signing the Tottenham Hotspur striker.

Berbatov's future at White Hart Lane has been the subject of conjecture for some time, with the 27-year-old linked with a move away from North London for much of last season.

United have been strongly linked with Berbatov in the past; however a move in January failed to materialise.

Fresh reports in Saturday's press claimed that the Premier League and UEFA Champions League holders had offered £20million for the Bulgaria international.

Speaking of the rumours linking the Red Devils with a bid for Berbatov, the forward's agent has claimed United are monitoring his situation at Spurs.

"I know for certain Manchester United have shown interest in signing Dimitar Berbatov," agent Emil Danchev told Bulgaria's Darik radio. "But I'm not entitled to make any more comments."
 

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JULY 13th 2008
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United losing a great coach who can't manage

http://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/united-losing-a-great-coach-who-cant-manage-1432111.html

By DUNCAN WHITE

Sunday July 13 2008

Alex Ferguson's assistant Carlos Queiroz's has left to become Portugal manager, but what are the ramifications for United?

His loss will be felt in two areas: on the training field and in the transfer market, where Portuguese speakers are coveted. However, the idea that he has jeopardised his long-term chances of succeeding Ferguson in 2011 should not be bleak tidings for United supporters. Queiroz is a great coach but he can't manage. He has built his career on the foundations of success with the 'golden generation', the group of Portuguese footballers -- including Luis Figo -- he helped unearth at the end of the Eighties and moulded into world youth champions in 1989 and 1991.

Yet his subsequent work was far from convincing. In his first spell as Portugal coach (91-93) he failed to qualify for either Euro 92 or the 1994 World Cup.

With a glittering Sporting Lisbon (94-96) side he failed to win the Portuguese league. There was some degree of rehabilitation as he coaxed World Cup qualification out of South Africa in 2002, only to resign before the finals.

He seemed to discover his vocation when he became Ferguson's No 2, only to lose it again with a disastrous short tenure at Real Madrid. He never had full control of team affairs and was sacked after 10 months.

That is not to underplay Queiroz's huge contribution to the building of this United team. He facilitated the signing of Anderson and Nani and was influential in the development of Cristiano Ronaldo. He's a natural foil to Ferguson. But, unlike Martin O'Neill or Mark Hughes , he lacks the presence to fill Ferguson's shoes.

- DUNCAN WHITE



Kaka backs Ronaldo to be crowned world's best
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_sports/view/360023/1/.html

ROME : Brazilian superstar Kaka believes controversial Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo will succeed him as the world's best player.

The AC Milan midfielder cleaned up in 2007, winning both the FIFA World Player of the Year award and the European Golden Ball, following a year in which he guided the San Siro side to the Champions League, scoring 10 goals on the way to victory.

Now he feels the Portuguese winger's exploits in helping the English side to succeed Milan as European champions warrants him lifting the various trophies.

"I believe that the number one candidate is still Cristiano Ronaldo, above all for what he did and won in the Champions League with Manchester United," Kaka told La Gazzetta dello Sport's Sportweek magazine.

However, he isn't entirely ruling himself out of the race.

"For me there's still half a season, so we'll see," he said.

The 2007/2008 campaign was a disappointing season for Milan.

Having set the FIFA Club World Cup as their target, they were unable to refocus on the remainder of the season once they had won it in December.

They were also undone by an atrocious home record and as such will now play in the UEFA Cup having finished fifth, outside the Champions League qualifying positions.

Kaka remains excited by the upcoming challenges.

"It will be a different season with lots of new inpsirations," said the 26-year-old.

- AFP/vm


Mexico ready to step up in 2010
http://www.teamtalk.com/football/story/0,16368,3033_3810955,00.html

Mexico is ready to host the 2010 World Cup should South Africa be unable to host the event, according to football chief Decio De Maria.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter recently claimed three countries were in line to step in should South Africa not be ready for the tournament in two years' time.

Fears over South Africa's preparations have arisen since it emerged the new stadium in Port Elizabeth had fallen behind schedule and would not be ready in time to stage Confederations Cup games next summer.

The Mexican Football Federation (FMF) won the rights to host the 2011 Under-17 World Cup and De Maria, general secretary of the nation's governing body, said with work well underway to improve the nation's stadia they would be equipped to host FIFA's showpiece event if required.

"We have said it more than once. We enjoy being hosts, we have the stadiums and, if it happens, we will be ready to the call," said De Maria.

"We have already raised our hand. They gave us the organisation of the Under-17 World Cup and now we have to wait FIFA's final decision.

"We have always mentioned that we are a country with infrastructure, with resources and with great fans.

"For that we made a huge work to host the Under-17 tournament in 2011. Mexico's credentials are there."

Mexico has hosted two World Cup tournaments previously - in 1970 and 1986.


Passport company being probed
http://www.teamtalk.com/football/story/0,16368,3033_3811663,00.html

A company that helps Argentinian players obtain Italian passports is being probed, with federal judge Norberto Oyarbide ordering 120 raids.

On Saturday, Argentinian Oyarbide ordered 120 raids as part of an investigation into an international network that, according to an Italian consulate report, allegedly falsify Italian passports.

The raids led to 40 arrests, all of whom were Argentinian nationals and included lawyers, accountants and solicitors.

"Some of the persons who are being investigated were aware of the irregularities. Signatures were falsified and also stamps," Italy's general consul in Argentina, Sergio Barzola, told local newspaper Clarin.

Last year's Apertura winner Lanus were raided but club president Alejandro Maron moved to play down any wrongdoing by the club.

He said: "The club is not implicated. We have always co-operated with justice, but we don't meddle in the personal procedures of the footballers."

Spokesmen for River Plate and Boca Juniors said their clubs were not part of the investigation.




Other juicy bits of gossip

Chelsea's new signing Deco has left with a less than glowing reference from Barcelona president Joan Laporta, who said it was "great business. In the previous two seaons Deco was one of the players with the lowest level of performance."

Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson has pulled out of planned showdown talks with Cristiano Ronaldo in Lisbon and will instead push ahead with plans to sign Dimitar Berbatov. (Mail on Sunday)

QPR manager Iain Dowie will get sacked, even if he guides the club to Promotion. Dowie has agreed a £1m pay-off if the west London club reach the Premier League as billionaire owners Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone would want a high profile manager. (The People)

Ferguson is targeting Tottenham coach Gus Poyet as his new assistant manager after Carlos Queiroz left the club to take over as the new manager of Portugal. (The People)


New Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari has admitted he was scared when he arrived at the club's training ground for the first time. (News of the World)

Everton manager David Moyes has started talks on a new contract at Goodison Park thought to be worth around £3m-a-year. (News of the World)

Uefa president Michel Platini wants to ban all transfers involving players under 18 years of age to stop Premier League clubs poaching players from academies. (Various)

Former Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd is close to finalising a £20m takeover of Spanish side Real Mallorca. (Sunday Mirror)


AND FINALLY

Wayne Rooney and new wife Colleen have upset family and friends by scrapping plans for a second wedding in the UK after getting married in Italy last month. (News of the World)

Liverpool striker Fernando Torres has proposed to his girlfriend Olalla and the pair will wed next summer. (News of the World)
 

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Pre-season friendlies roundup

Everton and Aston Villa both suffered defeats on their pre-season tours of Switzerland.

Making their first outing since returning to training, the Toffees went down 1-0 to FC Sion, with Villa beaten 2-1 by FC Zurich on the final match of their trip.

Everton were missing a number of big names through injury, while goalkeeper Tim Howard and the club's African contingent had yet to return from their summer breaks.

An inexperienced line-up was second best throughout, the hosts deservedly winning through a 58th-minute goal from Didier Cretterand.

The midfielder played a neat one-two to open up the Everton defence before calmly finishing past Iain Turner.

Everton substitute Kieran Agard should have restored parity straight away but his header glanced wide.

Villa, who begin their Intertoto Cup campaign next week, were made to pay for conceding two penalties in Zurich.

Steve Sidwell made his debut following his move from Chelsea but otherwise it was an unhappy afternoon for the tourists, who fell behind early on when Martin Laursen felled Florian Stahel in the box and Almen Abdi converted the penalty.

Gabriel Agbonlahor looked to have levelled almost instantly but his volleyed effort from Marlon Harewood's right-wing cross was offside.

Agbonlahor got one that counted in the 17th minute, powering his way into the box and slotting a low angled drive beyond Johnny Leoni.

Villa wasted more than one chance to take the lead, partly thanks to some excellent goalkeeping from Leoni.

And they were made to pay when Zat Knight brought down Admir Mehmedi with 11 minutes remaining and Abdi slotted home the winner.
 

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RedForceRising said:
Chelsea's new signing Deco has left with a less than glowing reference from Barcelona president Joan Laporta, who said it was "great business. In the previous two seaons Deco was one of the players with the lowest level of performance."
Wow that's uncool. Why would he say that?

RedForceRising said:
Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson has pulled out of planned showdown talks with Cristiano Ronaldo in Lisbon and will instead push ahead with plans to sign Dimitar Berbatov.
Surely Ronaldo needs to report to training as soon as he can to begin rehabilitation? Can't Sir Alex do both anyway? :confused:

RedForceRising said:
Uefa president Michel Platini wants to ban all transfers involving players under 18 years of age to stop Premier League clubs poaching players from academies.
What a fool. If the academies offered better deals to their players they wouldn't want to move. It's not like they're being kidnapped by English clubs. If all transfers of players under 18 are banned things would get retarded. Kids would have to choose clubs carefully lol.

RedForceRising said:
Wayne Rooney and new wife Colleen have upset family and friends by scrapping plans for a second wedding in the UK after getting married in Italy last month.
Not sure how true this is. Surely the families were all at the wedding in Italy? Why the hell do they want another one? Can't blame Rooney, it's such a chore doing it all over again.


Thanks RFR.
 

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ManUtd19 said:
Wow that's uncool. Why would he say that?


Surely Ronaldo needs to report to training as soon as he can to begin rehabilitation? Can't Sir Alex do both anyway? :confused:

- Absolutely! I always wonder how the papers know the going-ons and intentions of people they don't have access to.

What a fool. If the academies offered better deals to their players they wouldn't want to move. It's not like they're being kidnapped by English clubs. If all transfers of players under 18 are banned things would get retarded. Kids would have to choose clubs carefully lol.

- - they would have to choose very well and this law cannot not possibly enforced.


Not sure how true this is. Surely the families were all at the wedding in Italy? Why the hell do they want another one? Can't blame Rooney, it's such a chore doing it all over again.

- As a guy who is being bugged by his fiiancee to plan our wedding, I can tell you that it is more than a chore.


Thanks RFR.
- Thank you for the interest

JULY 14th 2008
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Villa learn Intertoto opponents


Aston Villa will travel to Denmark next weekend to face Odense BK in the first leg of their Intertoto Cup third-round tie.

On Sunday, the Danes made it through to a two-legged meeting with Villa after beating Finnish visitors TPS Turku 2-0 on the day and 4-1 on aggregate.

Villa are set to face Odense, known as OB, at their Fionia Park ground on Saturday July 19 (8pm kick-off local time) before the second leg at Villa Park on Saturday July 26 (5.15pm). Eleven places in the UEFA Cup second qualifying round are up for grabs to the third-round winners.

OB, who finished fourth in the Danish Superliga last season, are managed by Lars Olsen, who captained Denmark to their Euro 92 triumph.

Among their current squad are former Norwich defender Thomas Helveg, one-time Derby midfielder Morten Bisgaard and young striker Mads Timm who began his professional career at Manchester United.

On Sunday, Odense took a stranglehold on the tie with TPS after 21 minutes of the second leg when Baye Djiby Fall swept home Bjorn Runstrom's pass.

And the Senegalese striker grabbed his second goal six minutes after the interval following a neat lay-off from veteran former Denmark international Helveg to seal a 4-1 aggregate win.

Olsen is relishing the visit of Villa to Fionia Park on Saturday.

"We had the chance to score more than two goals against TPS, but I'm really pleased," Olsen told the club's official website.

"We now have to build on that. We like to be in possession of the ball but this time we'll be the underdogs. We won't get as many chances so we have to score with the chances we do get.

"We'll have to see. They're an English Premier League team but why can't we take them by surprise?"


Big Phil: I'll make gamble pay off

Luiz Felipe Scolari admits Chelsea "gambled" by making him their new boss - but insists he will bring world-class football to Stamford Bridge.

The Brazilian coach was named as Avram Grant's successor midway through Portugal's Euro 2008 campaign and despite a glowing CV, which includes victory at the 2002 World Cup with his native country, there were some concerns about his lack of experience in top-level European club football.

Scolari agrees that there was an element of risk in his appointment but has backed himself to deliver the results - and the style - owner Roman Abramovich wants.

"Chelsea gambled on my ability but I believe in myself," he said. "I had two meetings with the owner Roman Abramovich (before getting the job). He said to me 'I want Chelsea to play well, beautiful and win'. I said 'yes, I agree with you'.

"I am not afraid of my job. All over the world coaches need to win competitions, not only in Chelsea."

Jose Mourinho brought home back-to-back Premier League titles during his stint with the Blues but failed to capture the Champions League, while Grant got to the final of the competition before losing to Manchester United on penalties.

But Scolari denies his focus will be on European success, instead choosing to cast his net wider.

The 59-year-old continued: "My pressure is the desire to become world-class, not just to win the Champions League.

"If I say to my players that the Champions League is more important than another competition, I think the players might only prepare for the Champions League. I don't think that's the correct way to look at it.

"I need to prepare my players for the Carling Cup, the FA Cup, for the Champions League, for the Premier League.

"If I say to my players all competitions are important for Chelsea, then I think that is the way."

Scolari also sought to clarify his position with Abramovich, insisting he has full control of all on-field decisions.

"I also told him that when it comes to the pitch it is all mine, no-one interferes. He was happy with that."


Ronaldo looks Flamengo bound


AC Milan look to have lost Brazilian striker Ronaldo to Flamengo, who have an agreement with the player's agent.

Marcio Braga, the president of the Brazilian club, has announced an agreement with the agent of Ronaldo, who is now out of contract with the Italian giants.

Ronaldo has been out of action since suffering a knee tendon injury while jumping for a cross in AC Milan's 1-1 Serie A draw with Livorno on February 13.

His subsequent battle for fitness prompted Milan to opt to wait before committing to another season.

But this policy seems to have back-fired, with the Brazilian now set to sign for Flamengo.

Braga told Globoesporte newspaper: "We have a deal with the player's agent.

"As soon as he has recovered from the injury, we will sit around a table and complete the paperwork."

He added: "Flamengo's medical staff are personally following his physical progress.

"Ronaldo will be this club's top priority."

The 31-year-old striker has played for a host of top European sides - PSV Eindhoven, Barcelona, Inter, Real Madrid and Milan - since leaving Brazilian outfit Cruzeiro in 1994.

While his career has been blighted by a series of injuries, he has still won the coveted FIFA World Player of the Year title a joint record three times.


Klinsmann content with Bayern win

Jurgen Klinsmann declared himself satisfied after his first game in charge of Bayern Munich ended in a 7-1 win over SV Lippstadt on Sunday.

Bayern were without the likes of Luca Toni, Lukas Podolski, Philipp Lahm, Miroslav Klose, Bastian Schweinsteiger and the injured Franck Ribery.

But Thomas Muller bagged a hat-trick, Andreas Ottl scored twice and Toni Kroos and Deniz Yilmaz also netted as Klinsmann gave his youngsters a chance to impress against the German sixth division side at the Stadion Am Waldschlosschen.

"It was interesting for us to see today how, after two weeks of training, the team puts a few things into practice, how the boys are, how their play without the ball is, how they look for and support each other," Klinsmann said after the game.

"From that point of view, it was actually a really top game."


Inter may use Adriano as bait


Adriano's agent has remained tight-lipped on reports saying the Inter Milan striker could be used as bait in a bid for Chelsea's Frank Lampard.

Inter are hoping to sign Lampard and have already seen a near £8million offer for the England midfielder rejected.

The Italian champions' president Massimo Moratti stated on Saturday that it is now up to the player, who has yet to agree a contract extension at Chelsea.

The latest speculation claims Inter will offer Brazilian striker Adriano plus cash in a bid to tempt Chelsea into a sale.

Adriano's future at Giuseppe Meazza is uncertain after talks with new coach Jose Mourinho and his representative Gilmar Rinaldi did not confirm reports he could swap places with Lampard.

"Mourinho and Adriano have met and talked, but I can't say how this meeting went," Rinaldi told Observer Sport. "The player is flying back from Rio de Janeiro to Milan next week as the pre-season starts on Wednesday.

"I will neither confirm nor deny that he will be exchanged for Lampard."

Meanwhile, Inter midfielder Patrick Vieira says Lampard would be welcome at the club and believes the 30-year-old would improve the team.

Vieira told the Sunday Mirror: "It will be a big challenge for him, but at the same time it will be a fantastic one.

"Would he be welcome at Inter? He is a fantastic player and you want to play with players of that class. It will be one more good player.

"If Frank comes here then we will be stronger. The better players you have then the better chance you have."
 

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Carrick To Take Ronaldo's Penalty Duties?
http://www.goal.com/en/Articolo.aspx?ContenutoId=775360

Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick has admitted we would relish the chance to become the club's spot-kick specialist should Cristiano Ronaldo depart…

Carrick opened the scoring in United's 2-0 win over Aberdeen at the weekend, stroking home from 12 yards after Wayne Rooney was hauled down in the area.

Ronaldo is usually the designated penalty taker, but the Portuguese winger was absent after recently undergoing surgery on a foot problem that troubled him throughout EURO 2008.

The position may soon be up for grabs full-time, however, should Ronaldo fulfil his childhood dream of moving to Real Madrid, who have been relentless in their pursuit of the 23-year-old.

And Carrick insisted he would be thrilled to take the reins as United's spot-kick king: “It's always nice to score and get off the mark and I'm more than happy to get on the penalties. I'll take a few more of them if they become available!â€

The England international is not renowned for his contribution on the score-sheet but has nonetheless become a vital cog in the United machine over the past two seasons.

Although oft maligned by press and public alike, the former Tottenham man has forged a highly effective partnership with Paul Scholes in central midfield despite strong competition from Owen Hargreaves and Anderson.

Now with three medals under his belt since moving to Old Trafford, the 26-year-old is eager to begin the new campaign after an unusually lengthy off-season.

“The season seems to have come around pretty quick but it's the longest break I have had for a number of years,†Carrick said in The Sun. “So it's nice to come back and start all over again.

“We have to earn it all again and we know it's going to be a long, hard season, but we're ready for the challenge.â€

Mike Maguire

Newcastle: Poached Italian Youngster Tipped For Greatness
http://www.goal.com/en/Articolo.aspx?ContenutoId=775664

Newcastle United teenager Fabio Zamblera has been tipped for greatness by Italy and Fiorentina legend Giancarlo Antognoni.

Zamblera is widely regarded as one of Italy's most exciting young prospects, and he was expected to soon make the step up from Atalanta's youth team into the senior side.

However, the 17-year-old, who was still too young to sign a professional contract with the Nerazzurri, was ‘poached' by Newcastle United in January of this year, with the Bergamo-based outfit receiving just a miserly £300,000 in compensation.

Atalanta's loss could be Newcastle's gain, as Zamblera has been tipped for great things by none other than Fiorentina and Italy legend Giancarlo Antognoni, who is currently Italy U19 assistant manager.

"Zamblera is an important player for us,†said the 1982 World Cup hero ahead of the U19 European Championships, in which Zamblera will be taking part.

"I obviously cannot reveal if he will be in the starting XI yet but he is very talented.

"He is one of our best players and can be a star for Newcastle."

Anthony Sormani



FERDINAND LIKELY TO ESCAPE SANCTION

http://www.football365.com/story/0,17033,8652_3817335,00.html

Rio Ferdinand seems certain to escape any formal sanction over his part in last season's fracas that followed Manchester United's clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last season.

Reports have emerged of a possible four-match ban for the Manchester United defender - which could rule him out of England's friendly with the Czech Republic on August 20 and scupper his chances of being appointed as Fabio Capello's new captain.

Given Ferdinand has already suffered the misery of serving an eight-month ban for a missed drugs test in 2004, it would be the worst kind of news possible for the 29-year-old Londoner and somewhat bizarre given it was United's complaints about the treatment of their players that led to the inquiry in the first place.

Ferdinand apologised after accidentally kicking a female steward in frustration following his side's defeat.

However, sources close to the investigation into events that took place at Chelsea immediately after the key showdown, which finished in acrimony as the home side won thanks to a hotly disputed late penalty, have been left bemused by the speculation surrounding Ferdinand.

For, while the official report is still being compiled, there has been no suggestion Ferdinand will face any penalty, let alone miss the opening four matches of the season.

And, although such a move would be bad news for United, who are already without Cristiano Ronaldo for an extended period following the winger's recent ankle operation, even in the unlikely event of Ferdinand being punished, it would not affect his availability for England.

It has been pointed out that Alan Smith, Lee Bowyer, Jonathan Woodgate and Ferdinand's major rival for the captaincy, John Terry, have been deliberately overlooked for selection by England in recent times.

However, in those instances, it was a policy decision taken by the FA until police or court action against the individuals concerned had been concluded.

Similarly, there is no link with Ferdinand's own lengthy ban because it covered all football, both for club and country.

It means that whatever the outcome of the FA's investigation Ferdinand will be available for the Czech Republic game, before which Capello intends to name his new skipper, having tried out four men for the post.

The FA meanwhile are continuing their own investigations into the Stamford Bridge clash, although as yet, no timescale for a definitive decision has been reached.


WINTERBURN HANDED ROVERS ROLE

Nigel Winterburn is to join Paul Ince's backroom team at Blackburn to work as defensive coach.

The former Arsenal full-back will travel with the team to their pre-season training camp in Germany on Wednesday.

Rovers chairman John Williams said: "Pulling together a new backroom team with the right balance of skills, experience and ideas across sports science, recruitment and coaching is clearly important and we are nearly there now."


MOYES CONFIRMS CONTRACT TALKS
Everton boss David Moyes has started talks over a new long-term contract at Goodison Park.

Moyes' future has been the subject of constant speculation with the Scot having just over a year to run on his current deal.

Everton are keen to tie down Moyes to a lengthy new contract as they look for the former Preston chief to continue his impressive work at Goodison Park.

Moyes held talks with Toffees chairman Bill Kenwright over the weekend and the boss is hopeful a deal will be concluded quickly.

"We've started talks and we're hoping things will be wrapped up quickly," Moyes told The Liverpool Echo.

Drogba campaign amuses Marseille
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/africa/7505202.stm

Marseille president Pape Diouf claims to be "amused" by an appeal launched by his club's fans.

They are aiming to raise the 44 million US dollars they believe necessary to buy Chelsea star Didier Drogba.

New Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari claims Drogba, 30, is still "200% in his plans" but the striker is said to be headed for the Stamford Bridge exit.

Barcelona, AC Milan and Inter Milan are all reported to be interested in the Ivory Coast international.

But Marseille fans have launched an audacious bid to bring the striker back to the club he left four years ago.

Despite suffering a setback when their website crashed, the new appeal reached 1.5 million US dollars on Sunday.

The fans behind the initiative admitted that it would be impossible to raise the money to buy Drogba, instead insisting that the point of the project was to alert Diouf to the fans' wishes.

"I'm surprised and amused. It shows the true passion of our supporters," Diouf told regional newspaper La Provence.

However, he joked that even if the fans could raise the money for the transfer, that alone would not be enough.

He added: "I know what Drogba earns at Chelsea!"


Other juicy slivers of gossip courtesy of the beeb's grapevine


Cristiano Ronaldo's future at Old Trafford has been thrown into further doubt after Manchester United fans demonstrated against the Portugal winger at a reserve friendly match against Burscough at the weekend. (Daily Mirror)

Real Madrid defender Fabio Cannavaro has told Ronaldo he should honour his contract and stay at United. (Daily Star)

Portsmouth fans have handed in a 2,000-name petition to 10 Downing Street calling for manager Harry Redknapp to be awarded a knighthood. (Various)

Everton will hope for good news on their plans to move to a 55,000-seat stadium in Kirkby this week when they will discover whether or not the £400m project will be called in for a public inquiry. (The Times)

And finally...

England defender Micah Richards has been banned from having a girlfriend by his mum as she thinks that wannabe WAGs are just after the Manchester City player's money. (Daily Star)
 
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