Friday, October 24, 2008
Becks heads to Milan, Drogba is a diver
This was the week in which David Beckham became the latest aging star to join the veteran ranks of AC Milan and Sir Bobby Robson brought some cheer to Newcastle when he labelled Dennis Wise a "spanner".
Friday 17 October: Platini laughs at the president
Portly UEFA president Michel Platini took a break from a lunch buffet at European football's headquarters this week to give short shrift to the "absurd" suggestion from fellow Frenchman Nicolas Sarkozy that international matches should be stopped if the national anthem is booed.
Sarkozy, who is only the president of a country after all, summoned French Football Federation president Jean-Pierre Escalettes to voice his suggestion after the French anthem was jeered by Tunisia fans prior to an international friendly.
"If you stop a match because the anthem is booed, you can also stop it as soon as a player is booed or a goalkeeper is jeered while kicking the ball out, it's absurd," Platini said between mouthfuls of fromage.
"And why not a policeman behind every fan?," sneered the former France playmaker and captain.
Saturday 18 October: Boca duo make love not war
Bickering Boca Juniors duo Julio Cesar Caceres and Juan Roman Riquelme put an end to their hilarious 10-day war of words in the Argentinian media to focus on the 2008 Torneo Apertura superclįsico against River Plate.
Paraguay defender Caceres said his club team-mate was "mentally saturated" and added that the Argentina midfielder, who is struggling for form, was only interested in playing for his country and went missing in big games.
The enigmatic playmaker, whose style can slow the pace of the game down but can also unlock defences, responded by suggesting that Caceres was two-faced because "he makes out that he's being friendly" and called for the Boca coach to take action against his colleague for breaching the sanctity of the dressing room and "breaking all the codes of football".
However, the duo kissed and made up ahead of the derby clash with Buenos Aires rivals River and it seemed to work a treat as Boca won 1-0 at the Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti the following day.
Sunday 19 October: Milan are a bunch of cheats, says Francheschini
Sampdoria midfielder Daniele Francheschini choked back the sour grapes following his side's 3-0 defeat at the San Siro to claim that Milan had only won the game because they influenced every major decision referee Antonio Damato had to make.
"We were dominating them and they couldn't score and it was at that point when they started to put pressure on the referee," Francheschini told Il Secolo XIX.
"Milan know Damato is an official without much experience and in the end they managed to condition him in the way they wanted."
Francheschini's comments follow on from the Calcio-gate match fixing scandal of 2006 when Juventus were demoted to Serie B and Milan were docked 15 points, reduced to eight on appeal, for misdemeanours that included interference with referees.
Struggling Sampdoria are in the relegation zone having picked up just four points from seven games thus far.
Monday 20 October: Wise is a "spanner"
Sir Bobby Robson might be one sandwich short of a picnic but even he can put his finger on why it has all gone so dramatically wrong at his beloved Newcastle United.
Speaking at the promotion of his new book My Kind of Toon the former Magpies manager said the appointment of London-based midget Dennis Wise, as executive director [football], was "a spanner in the works" and that Mike Ashley's biggest mistake as owner was bringing in people that weren't attuned to the club.
The 75-year-old also said he was shocked by the club's recruitment of players incompatible with the Premier League and was moved to ask who responsible for the "waste of money".
Robson concluded by suggesting that Newcastle legend Alan Shearer, who is currently stating the bleeding obvious as a pundit for the BBC, has the "clout" to turn the ailing club around. Well, three out four isn't bad for the old timer.
Tuesday 21 October: Drogba is a diver, says Mourinho
Having been out of the spotlight for almost 2.5 nano-seconds former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho restored his name to the headlines by launching an astonishing attack on the Premier League and labelling Blues striker Didier Drogba "a diver".
Drogba is a diver of course, but in 2006 Mourinho vigorously defended the striker against accusations of simulation during his tenure at Stamford Bridge, calling him a "fighter".
"He is the type of player I would say, 'With you I could go to every war'," Mourinho said.
But following Mourinho's appointment as Inter manager this summer he has changed his tune. "I am no longer Chelsea coach and I do not have to defend them any more," Mourinho said. "I think it is correct if I say Drogba is a diver."
"There is a diving culture in England ... " the Portuguese added. "English football criticises divers but it's the coaches' who teach the players to play this way."
Strong views from the man who presumably coached Drogba in diving whilst at Chelsea and infuriated Celtic manager Martin O'Neill due to the theatrics of his Porto side during the 2003 UEFA Cup final.
Wednesday 22 October: Milan seal Beckham publicity coup
He maybe 33-years-old and play for one of the worst teams in Major League Soccer but David Beckham still has a global appeal and AC Milan are eager to cash in on Golden Balls' marketability.
Earlier this week it emerged that the former England captain was seeking to train with a European club during the MLS off season to keep himself fit to play for the national side as he closes in on Bobby Moore's outfield record of 108 caps.
Arsenal helped out last year and Milan were keen to oblige this term. "If Beckham wanted to train with Milan, then I would have to ask coach Carlo Ancelotti, but from the club's point of view, there would not be any problem," Milan's vice-president Adriano Galliani explained on Sunday.
However, such was the level of publicity that accompanied the potential agreement that by Wednesday the terms had changed from simply training with Milan to joining them on loan with a view to playing for the Rossoneri.
"We are speaking with his agent but we believe he will arrive for some months on a free loan," Galliani said. "Our squad is ultra-competitive and it will remain this way, but Beckham is something different and intriguing."
Having just announced that they Milan's club shop has sold an impressive 18,000 Ronaldinho shirts, netting the club almost €1.2 million, in three months, they will be hoping Brand Beckham can do the same.
Thursday 23 October: Woody worried
Jonathan Woodgate seems to have an attraction to crisis clubs. Leeds United then Newcastle United - who are in a perennial state of flux - and he even managed to play for Real Madrid during their Galacticos nightmare.
And now the Middlesbrough-born central defender is out to help Tottenham lurch from one disaster to another - and amazingly he's come out and admitted the north Londoners are not too good to go down and could emulate Leeds United for farical comedy.
''I have seen it before at Leeds, and Leeds had a better team than we have got right now," stated Woodgate. ''They went down eventually and we really have got to roll up our sleeves without question, because I am telling you now it is going to be hard.
''Two points out of eight (Premier League) games - 100%, we're in a battle. We are good enough to get out of it if the players start concentrating, without a shadow of a doubt. If we don't then we will go down.
''A goal goes in and we start thinking 'here we go again'. We need to really stand up now. 'The senior players have got to stand up and start taking responsibility.''
Asked if it was comparable to Leeds, Woodgate said: ''Well we are bottom of the league, and it can't get much worse than that. We deserve to be where we are.''
It's good to see the club's senior players are in positive mood.