THE WEEK THAT WAS

"It's not fair," bleat scoreless Barca

May 1, 2009
By Dominic Raynor
(Archive)

This was the week in which Barcelona complained it was "unfair" that Chelsea prevented them from scoring at Camp Nou, a WAG strain of Swine Flu hit the Premier league, Jurgen Klinsman got the boot and Emmanuel Aderbayor likened AC Milan to Beyonce.

Lampard slams DJ in live tirade - Friday, April 24

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard, who has been the victim of some terrible abuse in his time, hit back at a radio DJ who labelled him "scum" on a live broadcast, after accusations that he was a bad father following his bitter split from fiancée Elen Rives.

GettyImagesFrank Lampard's annual beration at Upton Park

The England and Chelsea midfielder called the phone-in show in a 15-minute rant to blast LBC presenter James O'Brien, after the DJ said that men who allow their children to live in inferior circumstances to them were "weak and scum".

Lampard's sister had been listening to the show and urged the England star to phone in. In an emotional and angry exchange, Lampard said: "Since I've had kids every penny I earn and every yard I run on the football pitch is for my kids. It hurts me every day when I wake up and my kids are not there."

The 30-year-old also called the presenter an "idiot" for upsetting his family on the first anniversary of his mother's death.

Undeterred by his public dressing down the DJ replied: "So you won't give us a quick rundown on your thoughts for the Champions League semi-final then?" You have to admire O'Brien's perseverance, if nothing else.

Kilnsman gets the boot - Saturday, April 25

Bayern Munich losing 1-0 at home to sixth placed Bundesliga side Schalke 04 might not be a spectacular piece of news in itself but when you consider the result followed a dreaded vote of confidence for troubled manager Jurgen Klinsmann you can guess what followed.

Saturday's result left third-placed Bayern in danger of missing out on qualification for the lucrative Champions League next season and Kinsmann looking for a new job.

The decision to axe the former Germany coach followed a meeting between club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, general manager Uli Hoeness and director Karl Hopfner, and presumably leaves Klinsmann free to resume sunning himself at his Californian home.

The former Internazionale, Tottenham Hotspur, Bayern Munich, Sampdoria and Orange County Blue Star player brought some new coaching ideas with him from the world of U.S sport and some of those did not sit well with the traditional football fraternity.

"He brought a new dimension to the Sabener Strasse (training facilities), only he did not get the results," Bayern Munich president Franz Beckenbauer explained. "He had lost the respect of the club's management and the team."

Vote Giggs! - Sunday, April 26

This season's PFA Player of the Year Award effectively turned into a life-time achievement award when Manchester United veteran Ryan Giggs scooped the trophy ahead of the likes of Steven Gerrard and team-mate Nemanja Vidic.

The 35-year-old, who made his 800th appearance for United against Arsenal in the Champions League semi-final, has started only 12 matches this season and although he has clearly not been the best player the award is seen as just reward for a glittering career which started 18 years ago against Everton at Old Trafford on March 2, 1991.

Last season the Welshman helped United win the Premier League and European Cup double and the midfielder is on course to do so again this term.

Critics might say that Giggs' victory devalues the award, but it is difficult to begrudge the twice Young Player of the Year winner his first full POTY gong as recognition for a career that has included 10 Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups and two Champions League medals.

Milan are Bootylicious, says Adebayor - Monday, April 27

Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor cleverly grabbed the headlines when he said that being courted by AC Milan last summer was like being told pop queen Beyonce Knowles wanted to be his girlfriend.

The Togolese forward conjured the metaphor in an exclusive interview with ESPN as he revealed his head was turned by the attractive offer of a £30m transfer to Milan before he finally committed to the Gunners and penned a new deal at the Emirates.

"I am happy playing for this club and to be honest I am happy AC Milan, one of the legendary clubs in the world, were looking at me," he said.

"For me that must be something special. It is like a boy being told Beyonce is looking for them."

"It's not fair," bleat scoreless Barca - Tuesday, April 28

The much-heralded Best team in Europe (TM), and the bookies' favourites to win the Champions League this season hit the wall on Tuesday, a big Blue wall, when free-scoring, record-breaking Barcelona were held to a 0-0 draw at Camp Nou.

Pep Guardiola's side had scored 93 goals in 29 games at their home ground before the visit of semi-finalists Chelsea, who became the first team to prevent Barca from scoring at Camp Nou this season - a feat previously thought near-on impossible.

The reaction from the La Liga leaders was not particularly dignified as the club's representatives questioned the "scandalous" referee and Chelsea's tactics, with Guardiola asking why both teams ended up with the same amount of yellow cards when his team played "cleanly" and Chelsea were fouling all the time.

"I don't complain about the referees," Pep said before going on to complain about the referee. "But I think the referee should see which team is attacking and which team is interrupting the play.

"We play clean; we foul as little as possible. And we have the same amount of cards as them. It's not normal, it's not fair."

Chelsea certainly played a defensive game, and it wasn't pretty at times, but could it be that in recent times Barca have simply struggled to play well against Premier League clubs?

The last team to leave the Catalans scoreless at the Camp Nou were Manchester United at the same stage of the same competition last season, with the Red Devils going on to win the Champions League. And worryingly for Barca, danger man Lionel Messi has failed to score in his last nine matches against English opposition.

WAG swine flu hits Premier League - Wednesday, April 29

GettyImagesChanelle Hayes: Boro WAG

Celebrity WAGs (well they were on Big Brother once) Chanelle Hayes and Chantelle Houghton sent a shiver through the Middlesbrough dressing room on Wednesday when it was reported by the Daily Star that the pair were being tested for Swine Flu after returning from a holiday in Mexico.

Hayes, who was described by The Spoiler as "slowly working her way through the Middlesbrough team", dates either Boro youngster Seb Hines or defender Matthew Bates, depending on which celebrity gossip magazine you read. If she is found to be carrying the flu, it is likely her partner will have it, and therefore the entire Boro squad would have to be checked out.

Manchester United are the next unfortunate team to head to the Riverside; fresh from a virus scare in Wednesday night's 1-0 Champions League victory against Arsenal, who had Mexican striker Carlos Vela in the squad that travelled to Old Trafford after he returned from a day of Swine Flu quarantine.

Vela, 20, was told to stay away from the Gunners' training session in the build up to the semi-final following a visit by some friends from Mexico, where a number of deaths have been blamed on the virus. He was given the all clear by doctors prior to the match.

The bleat goes on - Thursday, April 30

The passing of the days and the distraction of El Clasico did nothing to sooth Barcelona's sense of injustice following their scoreless draw at the Camp Nou and Xavi and Andres Iniesta continued the Spanish club's attack on Chelsea.

Xavi, who captained the Catalan club against the Blues, moaned: "In England they talk about fair play so much. It's a shame that they don't put that into practice out on the pitch."

Conveniently glossing over Daniel Alves' Oscar winning performance of faking injury and petulance Xavi continued: "There was no fair play from Chelsea at all. We played football; they did not play anything at all."

Midfield maestro Iniesta weighed and attacked the performance of referee Wolfgang Stark, insisting that he let Chelsea get away with strong-arm tactics.

"Chelsea had the freedom to make all the challenges they wanted," Iniesta said. "We know that referees allow more in European competition than they do in the Spanish league, but there is a difference between that and simply letting teams do whatever they want, which is what happened."

However, referee Stark defended his performance at Camp Nou and insists that UEFA president Michel Platini even congratulated him on his officiating after the match.