THE WEEK THAT WAS

Silver-tongued president back at Madrid

June 4, 2009
By Dominic Raynor
(Archive)

This was the week in which Real Madrid president Florentino Perez laid out his "spectacular project" for the club, Florent Malouda revealed the tooth behind his amazing form, Sulley Muntari was robbed by Inter fans and World Cup winner Denilson headed to Vietnam.

Silver-tongued Perez sets out manifesto - Friday, May 29

GettyImagesNew Real Madrid president Florentino Perez (r) with his new manager Manuel Pellegrini

On Friday, Real Madrid President-elect Florentino Perez was up to his wily old tricks as he managed to infer that both Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo would be heading to the Santiago Bernabeu, while simultaneously claiming it wouldn't be right to talk about such things until the season was over.

From this tight-lipped, moral high-ground Perez said that his relationship with AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani might "make it easier that Kaka comes to Madrid", claimed that he was aware of an agreement with Ronaldo by "which he would come for £80m" and promised to deliver a "spectacular project" in his second term in charge.

By Monday, Perez, who signed the likes of Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham between 2000-2006, had strolled to victory in unopposed elections, installed a healthy stock of fall guys beneath him, and was presumably the source behind a story that Kaka had signed for £56m.

The Galaticos' mastermind also appointed a manager in Manuel Pellegrini who knows very well he will only be involved in coaching the players he is given and is already resigned to getting the sack some day. "It would be absurd to think that it isn't going to happen to me," the Chilean told Marca.

The tooth behind Malouda's form - Saturday, May 30

Florent Malouda's surprisingly excellent end of season form continued in Saturday's FA Cup final as the former Lyon winger dominated his flank in Chelsea's 2-1 win over Everton at Wembley; but even more extraordinary was the revelation of the reason behind his upturn in fortunes.

Following a season-and-a-half of teething problems in English football, the Frenchman finally got to the root of his troubles when he had his wisdom teeth removed in January, which helped to clear up some lingering niggles.

Following the successful operation, Malouda's performances began to justify the £13.5m lavished on him by former Blues boss Jose Mourinho and now more players are hoping that a quick trip to the dentist will do the same for them.

Arsenal's injury plagued striker Robin Van Persie revealed this week that he too will be going under the knife. "My osteopaths think there may be a connection between my teeth and the muscle injuries I suffer," Van Persie told The People. "I fear I'll be forced to drink porridge through a straw."

£17m Tottenham Hotspur flop David Bentley and Manchester United's £17m crock Owen Hargreaves may want to take note.

Ashley wants rid of Newcastle - Sunday, May 31

One of the basic maxims of business is to buy low and sell high, but hapless Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is so desperate to get rid of the club that he is willing to accept a cut price deal to rid himself of the albatross around his neck.

Since taking control of the Magpies in July 2007, the retail entrepreneur has seen the Magpies lurch from one crisis to another. He has been vilified by the fans for Kevin Keegan's departure as manager (an unforgivable crime in Newcastle) and the addition of Denis Wise to the club's 'Cockney Mafia' hierarchy made him so unpopular that he was advised not to attend matches.

Ashley's desperate gamble on 'Geordie Messiah' Alan Shearer keeping the club in the Premier League at the fag end of the season failed and now the Toon owner has put the club up for sale for a second time. After investing £240m at St James' Park he is willing to accept an offer of £100m and even that is optimistic given the club are now in the Championship.

When Ashley originally put the club up for sale in September 2008 he said: "I paid £134m out of my own pocket for the club. I then poured another £110m into the club, not to pay off the debt, but just to reduce it."

On Sunday he added: "It has been catastrophic for everybody.. I never said I was an expert in football clubs. I was just a fan - although a very wealthy fan. But I'm not so wealthy now." Presumably the Newcastle fans and owner will both be glad to see the back of each other.

Highs and lows for Muntari - Monday, June 1

Inter midfielder Sulley Muntari enjoyed mixed fortunes this week as his goalscoring exploits and Scudetto celebrations were soured when he became the victim of two separate crimes in the space of 24 hours.

The Ghanaian international scored the opening goal in Inter's 4-3 win over Atalanta on the final day of the Serie A season and then took part in the title celebrations at the San Siro before being targeted by some of Milan's more unsavoury characters.

Sportal.tv reported that, whilst on the way home, Muntari stopped at a traffic light on the Via Monte Rosa and had his €17,000 Big Bang Hublot watch stolen by two men on a scooter. The perpetrators approached wearing Inter scarves and reached through Muntari's open window to steal the watch. Despite the player punching one in the face, the two thieves escaped.

Having reached home a few thousand of Euros lighter, the 24-year-old was woken in the early hours of Monday morning when a Hungarian man tried to break into his Dodge Challenger car, which was parked outside his house in via Circo, by smashing the window with a ceramic pot.

According to La Repubblica, the Nerazzurri star chased him down the street and made a citizen's arrest before calling police to take him down to the local station. Muntari has never been one to back away from a challenge on the pitch and it seems he is equally capable off it.

Adams claims stuns Celtic - Tuesday, June 2

GettyImagesTony Adams: Talked himself up

Tony Adams' career as a player, pundit and manager is strewn with gobbledygook but the former Gunners skipper took it to a new level on Tuesday when he gave himself the Celtic job and handed the role of technical director to Dutchman Wim Jansen.

The failed Portsmouth boss linked himself to the vacant managerial post in an interview with talkSPORT when he said: "My good friend Wim Jansen is probably in at Celtic. It would be him as technical director and me as manager. I've not applied for the role. I know Wim Jansen, who has put me in there."

Celtic quickly dismissed the link as "complete garbage", presumably before the fans revolted, and former Bhoys boss Jansen, who knows Adams from their time together at Feyenoord also suggested his good friend was talking out of his Arsenal.

Jansen said: "I can honestly say I don't know anything about it. Sure, I worked with Tony in Holland when he was coaching there and I know him well. But it's a little while since we have been in contact with each other. And I have never suggested anything about Celtic."

World Cup winner heads to Vietnam - Wednesday, June 3

Imagine for a moment you are a 31-year-old former Brazil international, with 69 caps and a World Cup winners' medal in the trophy cabinet; you once commanded a world record transfer fee of £22m when you joined Real Betis from Sao Paulo in 1998 and now you're looking for one last pay day. Where do you go?

Maybe you follow in David Beckham's footsteps and head to the MLS, or possibly tread the path of fellow Brazilians Juninho and Romario and head to the A-League? Or you could do what Denilson did this week and sign for Hai Phong Cement FC in Vietnam.

Well for those of you who aren't familiar with Cement FC here's the lowdown: nobody knows who they are.

Even after signing for the club Denilson admitted that he ''didn't know anything about Vietnamese football" and that simply adds to the mysterious motivation behind his move to a league that does not even figure in the 70+ that feature in Soccernet's live scores page.

At least when former World Player of the Year Rivaldo headed to the Uzbek League to play for Bunyodkor in 2008, the multi-million pound contract that awaited him helped us understand his bizarre move. The V-League doesn't strike me as one flush with cash.

England fan shot ahead of qualifier - Thursday, June 4

Failing to know the difference between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan proved to be a painful mistake for one England fan.

Fabio Capello's Three Lions are due to play Kazakhstan in a World Cup qualifier on Saturday and over in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan an England supporter, who was presumably due to travel over the boarder for the weekend clash, was shot in the leg after a local took exception to the chanting of him and his friends.

The Kyrgyzstanian in the bar asked the England contingent to stop singing and then pulled out a pistol and shot one of them in the leg when they carried on.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that a British citizen was shot in the leg in a bar in Bishkek. The British honorary consul is liaising with those involved and with the local authorities."

The Sun newspaper reported that the fan, in his 30s and from Rochdale, Lancashire, was back with his friends after discharging himself from hospital, where the bullet was removed.