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Friday, January 30, 2009
Rafa loses the plot, Zlatan slam Ronaldo award

Dominic Raynor

This was the week in which a club legend returned from the dead, Rafa Benitez said he didn't know what was happening to Liverpool, Real Madrid's opponents embraced the Madridistas boo-boys and Zlatan Ibrahimovic slammed Ronaldo's award. Now a minute's silence.. actually he's still alive - Friday, January 23 Eighty six-year-old Tommy Farrer was dead. At least that is what the footballer's ex-employers thought when they held a minute's silence for their former great before a match, only to be informed he had popped down to the shops when the club rang his wife to offer their sympathy. Non-league Bishop Auckland held the tribute for Farrer, who helped the 123-year-old club reach the FA Amateur Cup at Wembley three times during his eight year stint at the club from 1945 to 1953, and were left red faced when they discovered he was alive and kicking. On realising the mistake the County Durham club expressed their delight that "Tommy is still with us". While Farrer himself, who won 20 amateur international caps for England and played in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, said: "I think it's hilarious." Veloso doth protest too much - Saturday, January 24 When highly-rated Portugal international Miguel Veloso found himself linked with a move to unfashionable Premier League strugglers Bolton Wanderers this week he couldn't express his commitment to current club Sporting Lisbon profusely enough. "This news is unfortunate," Veloso said. "I have always been happy to serve the club .. I started at Sporting. It was Sporting who created me.. I am happy at the Alvalade .. I am committed," said the one time Arsenal and Juventus target. But the true test of the 22-year-old's commitment will come when one of his former suitors, or their peers, come calling with the 12m transfer fee that Sporting are demanding. Opponents utilise Real Madrid boo-boys - Sunday, January 25 Following Real Madrid's 1-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna, a match described by Marca as "unbeatable boredom", one of the opposition players let slip that Depor had actually utilised the almost clockwork booing of the Madridistas as part of their game plan. If Madrid are not winning comfortably after 15-20 minutes the impatient fans invariably turn against their own team and rival teams now play on this "weakness" and do their best to stifle the game and get the crowd on Real's back during the opening part of the match. Unfortunately for Madrid the trouble doesn't end there as the Bernabeu boo-boys have also stepped-up their goading of individual players. Dutch youngster Royston Drenthe was giving a dressing down before even setting foot on the pitch as a replacement for goalscorer Raul and revealed after the match that his confidence had been shattered. "It's tough when you go out to play and they boo you before you even touch the ball," Drenthe said. "I'm very down." Milan: We are ready to buy Becks - Monday, January 26 L.A. Galaxy loan-star David Beckham scored his first goal for AC Milan in a 4-1 win against 10-man Bologna on Sunday and by Monday the Italian club were already declaring that they wanted to turn the 33-year-old's short stint into a permanent move. Rossoneri lawyer Leandro Cantamessa said: "The loan ends in March. After that, anything can happen. He will have to tell Galaxy that he wants to stay here; at that point, we will put a real offer on the table." And given Beckham's renowned diplomacy the Englishman's declaration that "the possibility to play at Milan is something special" is the equivalent of handing in his resignation to the MLS. A randomly generated fee of 5m has been bandied around as enough to persuade his American employers to allow him to stay in Serie A. Ibrahimovic slams Ronaldo award - Tuesday, January 27 Fresh from his coronation as Italian Player of the Year Zlatan Ibrahimovic branded the prestigious Ballon d'Or as nothing more than a popularity poll. The Inter Milan striker was nominated for the award, voted for by sports journalists around the globe, but got nowhere near eventual winner Cristiano Ronaldo, who also went on to scoop FIFA's top gong, and let his bitter feelings be known. "Now the Ballon d'Or has become a publicity stunt. It all depends on what people see in order to judge," Ibrahimovic sulked. "For me it is more important to win with the team rather than anything else." Serie A winner Ibrahimovic may have forgotten that Ronaldo's team, Manchester United, won the Premier League and the Champions League, and later went on to be crowned world champions, while Ronaldo himself scored 42 goals. Bitter birthday for Buffon - Wednesday, January 28 The fact that the downward career slope will soon be looming is usually enough to sour any player's 31st birthday but Gianluigi Buffon suffered a particularly bad one as Juventus were beaten by lowly Udinese and their title hopes went up in smoke. The Bianconeri went down 2-1 in Udine and lost ground to Inter who extended their lead at the top of Serie A to six points with a win in Catania. "The candles weren't blown out, Juventus never lit them," said a despondent Buffon after his annus horribilis. "We got everything wrong and I committed a big error." As his birthday wish Buffon might request the speedy return of Alessandro Del Piero as without him Juventus simply didn't turn up at the Friuli. Rafa: I don't know what is happening at Liverpool - Thursday Jan 29 After conceding more ground in the title race with a 1-1 draw against Wigan Athletic increasingly befuddled Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez declared he didn't know what was happening to his club anymore. Since the Rafa Rant the Reds have failed to win a single Premier League match, slipping from top spot into third place, and the Spaniard expressed his frustration at the situation with another set of cryptic utterances. "I don't know what is happening," Rafa said. "Actually I do know, but I can't say anything about it. It is just crazy." "The past three games have something in common I don't like," said the conspiracy theorist. "You can't control what you can't change. It could be like this for years." Hmmm.. any psychologists out there?


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