THE WEEK THAT WAS

Fergie goes "senile", Inter starlet disowns parents

November 7, 2008
By Dominic Raynor
(
Archive)

This was the week in which Arsene "I didn't see it" Wenger finally saw it, but differently to everybody else, Manchester United and Real Madrid continued their war of words and Joey Barton tarnished his reputation ... again.

"Senile" Ferguson hits back at Real - Friday 31 October

Sir Alex Ferguson, Cristiano Ronaldo
GettyImages / MatthewPetersSir Alex Ferguson presents the bone of contention with a FIFpro award.

There is always one individual in every group that is happy to stir things up and then flee the scene at the first sign of trouble. At Manchester United that somebody seems to be Cristiano Ronaldo. His summer-long flirtation with Real Madrid may be over but the Spanish club's president Ramon Calderon and United manager Sir Alex Ferguson are still conducting their war of words.

After Ferguson likened Madrid to a spoilt child used to getting its own way because of the club's historical links to General Franco, Calderon retorted that the 66-year-old was losing his marbles.

"I won't waste time answering him," Calderon said before adding: "I admire his history but recently he has gone a bit senile."

Ferguson smiled at the comments and said "There is a lot of hot air comes out of that man."

"I am not getting involved but the nub of it is he is very disappointed he did not get Ronaldo. I am delighted to say he is still here and I will keep repeating that."

Levy launches Berbatov attack - Saturday 01 November
Buoyed by the arrival of new manager Harry Redknapp and a return to winning ways Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy felt sufficiently emboldened to launch and attack on "disrespectful" Dimitar Berbatov.

The Bulgarian international left White Hart Lane to join Manchester United for £30million on the last day of the summer transfer window after refusing to play in the Premier League matches against Sunderland and Chelsea.

"Nobody had ever heard of Dimitar Berbatov when we bought him," a surely misinformed Levy said of the then three-time Bulgarian Footballer of the Year and Bayer Leverkusen star. "We put him on the map."

"I don't think he treated this club with the respect that we honestly deserved," Levy added. "We offered him a new contract and he wasn't even interested in discussing it."

Schuster snaps as pressure mounts - Sunday 02 November
Real Madrid manager Bernd Schuster in not the most popular man at the Bernabeu and his team's 1-1 draw with newly promoted Liga side Almeria lowered his stock yet further.

Despite being only nine games into the Spanish season the abrasive German appears on the edge and is already expected to get the boot at the end of the campaign, if he even lasts that long.

Madrid golden-boy Sergio Ramos has already given an interview in which he was critical of his head coach and now Schuster also faces internal criticism from Jose Maria Guti following Sunday's disappointing draw.

"We lack quality," Guti said, although it was he who failed to track back for Almeria's goal. "We didn't know how to read the game. We didn't know how to hold the ball and stay calm."

With all the backstabbing going it is hardly surprising that Schuster has become increasingly curt during his press conferences and following the clash in Almeria snapped at one journalist.

"You cannot think as a coach because you're a journalist," Schuster barked. "You have to accept what I tell you. It is very easy to understand."

Materazzi accepts damages over Zidane claims - Monday 03 November
When Italian international Marco Materazzi goaded French legend Zinedine Zidane into headbutting him during the 2006 World Cup final we all wondered what he could possibly have said; but it certainly wasn't "you're the son of a terrorist whore" as the Daily Mail reported.

This week the Associated Newspapers group agreed to pay Materazzi substantial damages and costs for the settlement of his libel case against the Daily Mail in a London High Court.

The Inter defender's counsel, Jane Phillips, said that in the newspapers coverage of the notorious World Cup Final incident they published a series of items accompanied by photos, including one of Materazzi being head-butted by Zidane, captioned "Revealed: the insult that made Zidane see red".

She added that the articles stated quite wrongly that Materazzi, who scored one of the crucial penalties which secured an Italian victory, had used vile racist abuse during the match.

Materazzi, for his part, explained. "He said, "If you want my shirt so much I'll give it to you afterwards," and I answered that I'd prefer his whore of a sister."

So, that's alright then...

Hot-headed Barton at it again - Tuesday 04 November
After serving a jail term for assault and a six match ban handed out by the FA for an unconnected attack on a fellow player most people would keep a low profile, but not Joey Barton.

Only two full games into his rehabilitation the hot-headed Newcastle United midfielder decided it would be a good idea to raise his hand to the face of Aston Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor and give him a clip.

The headlines and column inches that followed such a reckless action proved that it was a very unwise decision from a player with a suspended six-match ban hanging over him and a history of violent conduct.

With Barton under such media scrutiny it was an incredibly stupid thing to do, although it probably wouldn't even make the top ten of Barton's most stupid acts, a list that includes stubbing out a lit cigar in the eye of Manchester City youth player Jamie Tandy.

Wenger chopped down to size - Wednesday 05 November

Adebayor: Limps off at Stoke
GettyImagesAdebayor: Limps off at Stoke

It would appear that Arsene Wenger's Arsenal are still yet to lose a match fairly and squarely under his stewardship, even if the Frenchman appeared to concede just that following Stoke City's 2-0 triumph in midweek.

Despite Wenger's gracious comments in the immediate aftermath of the match he later claimed that the Potters had set out to "deliberately injure" his players in an overly physical encounter.

"The only intention is to hurt you and I can show some tackles where I can prove what I say," Wenger said. "All the players have been injured deliberately."

Stoke City manager Tony Pulis was not impressed his opposite number's U-turn and issued a scathing response to the media in which he ridiculed Wenger for hypocrisy and trying to fool the public.

"He commended my team's organisation, my team's commitment and confessed that on the day Stoke City thoroughly deserved to win the game," Pulis said.

"In London 48 hours later and 150 miles away from Stoke-on-Trent, Mr Wenger changed tack and has tried to rewrite history.

"I and my Football Club have tremendous respect for Mr Wenger and Arsenal Football Club, but as Mr Wenger is such a learned professional and on a great day in American electoral history, I would like to remind him of Abraham Lincoln's great quotation, 'You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time'."

Inter starlet disowns parents - Thursday 06 November
Inter Milan striker Mario Balotelli has launched an astonishing attack on his birth parents after Thomas and Rose Barwuah made unwelcome comments to the press.

The 18-year-old starlet, who was put up for adoption at the age of three and legally entrusted to the Balotelli family, said of his Ghanaian biological parents: "They're strangers to me."

The Barwuahs infuriated Super Mario after they appeared in newspapers holding an Inter shirt and stating their sadness at being unable to play a part in the talented youngster's life.

But the Palermo-born player blasted: "For 16 years I didn't even receive a phone call on my birthday, but now they make contact after I have become a Serie A footballer.

"There is no bond between us and in my eyes they are just strangers," Balotelli concluded.