THE WEEK THAT WAS

Zidane-Ronaldo reunion, Owen cracks a joke

March 20, 2009
By Dominic Raynor
(Archive)

This was the week in which Brazilian club Corinthians chased the "impossible dream" of signing Zinedine Zidane, Claudio Ranieri let David Trezeguet have both barrels and Michael Owen claimed he wasn't injury-prone.

Ranieri slams "childish" Trezeguet - Friday, March 13

GettyImagesDavid Trezeguet: Singled out at Juventus

Juventus' normally mild-mannered manager Claudio Ranieri shrugged off his nice guy image to tear a strip off useless striker David Trezeguet this week.

The French forward complained bitterly to the media at being substituted during the Bianconeri's Champions League exit to Chelsea and has consequently been labelled as a "spoilt child" by his Italian manager.

"I feel a bit betrayed by Trezeguet," said Ranieri. "It was as if we had nine men against Chelsea because he had touched the ball six times in the second half and few times in the first."

"We haven't talked to each other, we're doing it via the newspapers, seeing as that's what he's doing..."

We are happy to pass on any pithy remarks any time you like, Claudio.

Pellegrini backs Maradona over Riqueleme - Saturday, March 14

After Diego Maradona omitted sulking midfielder Juan Roman Riquelme from his latest squad the Argentina coach could find solace in the reminiscings of one of the temperamental playmaker's former coaches, Manuel Pellegrini, who kicked the player out of Villarreal.

Back in 2006 Riquelme had a disagreement with El Submarino's general director and Pellegrini, leading to his exile from the team at the start of 2007. And the Chilean coach still stands by the judgement.

"I made the correct decision at the time and it was irreversible," he told La Red.

Although Pellegrini said he did not want to get involved in Riquelme's latest run in he did appear to offer his support to the Argentina boss.

"I'm sure that Maradona took the decision for the well-being of the team," Pellegrini said.

Dutch dust-up at Real Madrid - Sunday, March 15

Real Madrid wouldn't be Real Madrid without somebody at the club bickering about something or other and despite the 5-2 thrashing of Athletic Bilbao on Saturday, Dutch duo Arjen Robben and Klaas Jan Huntelaar found something to disagree on.

Maybe it was the fact that with six goals in 10 games Huntelaar threatened to steal some of Robben's limelight, but both players were seen making 'shush' gestures at each other during the match and then refused to shake hands when sitting on the bench.

After the match Huntelaar gave an interview to Marca in which he hinted that some of his team-mates, or one in particular, may be playing more for themselves.

"I play for my team, not for myself," the former Ajax player remarked.

With Wesley Sneijder, Royston Drenthe, Rafael Van der Vaart and Ruud van Nistelrooy also at the Bernabeu the scope for a sterotypical Dutch dust-up is great indeed.

Tevez snore-fest - Monday, March 16

When West Ham United and Sheffield United agreed on out-of-court compensation package on Monday it appeared that the long and tedious Carlos Tevez affair had finally been brought to an end after almost two years.

And it had, for about five minutes.

Although the two clubs agreed to settle the row that centred on Tevez's eligibility to play for the Hammers towards the end of the 2006/07 season, when the Blades were relegated on the final day of the season, nobody else appeared willing to bury the hammer.

Former Blades boss Neil Warnock subsequently took legal advice over whether to pursue a personal compensation claim against West Ham for loss of earnings and Leeds chief Ken Bates considered legal action because his club missed out on additional payments for the transfers of three players to Sheffield United.

Will it ever end? If not, I might sue West Ham for mental anguish.

Zidane reunion with Ronaldo? - Tuesday, March 17

GettyImagesTogether again: Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo

Not content with signing up O Fenomeno, Ronaldo, ambitious Brazilian club Corinthians have set their sites on luring French legend Zinedine Zidane out of retirement to pair him up with his former Real Madrid team-mate in Sao Paolo.

Zizou, now 36-years-old, and Ronaldo, 32, were a key part of the galactico era at the Bernabeu and Corinthians director Mario Gobbi admitted that he wants to bring a slice of that glamour to the Paulista.

"Zidane is an impossible dream... but so was Ronaldo," Gobbi told Gazeta Esportiva. "I believe that it will be difficult to make two impossible dreams come true in the same year."

Corinthians fought-off several interested parties from Europe, as well as fierce rivals Flamengo, to sign Ronaldo and it has been reported that the Brazilian club are currently negotiating a sponsorship deal with French hypermarket chain, Carrefour, in the hope of facilitating a deal for Zidane.

Rafa completes hat-trick - Wednesday, March 18

After beating Real Madrid 4-0 and thumping arch-rivals Manchester United 4-1 Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez completed a sensational hat-trick by winning his 17-month power struggle with the club's board to sign a new five-year deal at Anfield.

The Spaniard rejected the club's first offer of a new contract back in January, due to a dispute over the club's recruitment policy, but after seeing-off chief executive and transfer nemesis Rick Parry the 48-year-old signed on the dotted line.

"My heart is with Liverpool Football Club, so I'm delighted to sign this new deal," said the Real Madrid target.

Benitez had been tipped to take over from Juande Ramos at the Bernabeu at the end of the season but he would not be given the same managerial control he will now enjoy at Liverpool and Rafa-fan Ramon Calderon has since been bounced out of the club's presidency.

Co-Chairman George Gillett, who endures an uncomfortable relationship with Benitez, said: "With Rafa continuing to manage the team, we can look forward to more great football and success on the pitch."

It's all smiles again at Anfield and the infamous Rafa Rant is forgotten... Oops! We mentioned it again.

Owen: I'm not injury-prone - Thursday, March 19

Injury-prone Newcastle United striker Michael Owen came out with a corker this week when he said: "People will probably laugh, but I know I'm not injury-prone."

And to be fair to the former England striker he is right. People will laugh.

The 29-year-old, who has just returned to action after a six-week lay-off following a knock picked up against Manchester City at the end of January, has started only 53 Premier League games for the Magpies in almost four years.

Owen puts his continued problems down to rushing back from a broken foot to play for England at the 2006 World Cup, which in turn contributed to the serious knee injury he suffered at the tournament.

"After being in plaster for so long, my leg was de-conditioned and with hindsight, I should never have gone to Germany with England," Owen told The Journal.

But the befuddled striker added: "If I had my time again, I would still have gone because it was a World Cup."