Thursday, February 12, 2009
ESPNsoccernet: February 16, 11:57 AM UK
Madrid prepare £64m bid for Ronaldo
This was the week in which Real Madrid prepared a £64m swoop for Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo, Diego Maradona revealed how his troubled life could have been so different and Bryan Robson was linked with the Newcastle United job.
Rossoneri: Shevchenko our biggest disappointment - Friday, February 6
Andriy Shevchenko should never have left AC Milan. Since his doomed £30m move to Chelsea in 2005 the former favourite of the Rossoneri has seen his career slide down the slippery slope of decline quicker the a bar of soap smothered in grease and now even the Milan fans that once loved him have declared him their biggest disappointment.
When Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi reached out his fatherly arm to bring Sheva back the San Siro in 2008 great things were expected from the prodigal son. In his first stint with the club the Ukrainian international scored 127 times in 208 matches but his return has been seriously underwhelming.
In a recent Milan-based poll 46% of the voters believed that 32-year-old, who has failed to hit the back of the net in 12 Serie A matches, was by far the biggest disappointment of the season to date. To put that into context, Arsenal flop and generally dodgy centre-back Philippe Senderos only received 17% of the vote at the spiritual home of great defending.
Meanwhile, David Beckham's unexpectedly glorious start to his AC Milan career must make it all the more galling for Sheva. And Golden Balls won over even more fans this week by claiming "Milan is more important to me than money" as his lawyers attempted to extricate him from his lucrative contract with LA Galaxy.
Toon to turn to Robson - Saturday, February 7
No sooner had the siren of the ambulance taking Newcastle United manager Joe Kinnear to hospital faded into the distance than the names of his potential successors were being rolled out by various media outlets.
As it later turned out the unfortunate Kinnear, who suffered a heart attack while manager of Wimbledon in 1999, required heart bypass surgery and with his return to football looking very unlikely the rumours regarding his successor have increased.
The Newcastle fans will be hoping that relegation expert Bryan Robson is only being linked with the club because he was a Magpies fan as a boy and was born in nearby Chester-le-Street. If the former Middlesbrough boss, who has since struggled at Bradford City, West Brom and Sheffield United, is appointed then a few brown ales will be sunk on Tyneside - and not in celebration.
However, hope springs eternal and Wigan Athletic manager Steve Bruce has also been linked with the job. Every finger and toe the Toon Army possess will be crossed hoping it is the impressive Latics boss who gets the job, not Manchester United ambassador Robson.
Giggs makes his mark - Sunday, February 8
It wouldn't be right to let the week pass without paying homage to Manchester United veteran Ryan Giggs, who became the only player to score in every season since the beginning of the Premier League in 1992 with his winner against West Ham, but when everything has already been said what do you do?
Vote him into the European team of the week of course! La Gazzette Dello Sport made the veteran one of 35 candidates for their weekly honour and after describing the veteran as "class personified" he fair romped into midfield with 79.6% of the vote against his rivals for a place on the wing in Europe's best IX.
Although, James Milner did get 81.1% against his rivals for a place on the other flank and he doesn't even have a "magical left foot".
The final eleven were: GK Mandanda (Marseille); DEF Alves (Barcelona), Luisao (Benfica), Ferdinand (Manchester Utd), Lahm (Bayern); MID Milner (Aston Villa), Aimar (Benfica), Iniesta (Barcellona), Giggs (Manchester Utd); ATT Giuly (PSG), Rossi (Villarreal)
The Premier League sack race - Monday, February 9
Lasagne-loving cat Garfield never liked Monday's and now Luiz Felipe Scolari and Tony Adams have reason to dislike it too as they were both sacked by their clubs after poor results over the weekend.
For some reason Chelsea's Russian owner Roman Abramovich deemed that the last 16 of the Champions League and a place in the top four of the Premier League was not enough to keep Scolari in a job; the final straw came after the 0-0 draw at home to Hull City and so Chelsea sacked the man who had won the World Cup with Brazil and reached the final of the European Championships with Portugal.
Who did Roman bring in to replace Scolari? Russian national team coach and bezzy mate Guus Hiddink... of course, nothing was worked out before ousting Scolari just six months into the job.
Adams on the other hand was just rubbish. He was terrible as manager of Wycombe Wanderers and as Pompey boss he managed just two wins in 16 league games. Although, to be fair to the ex-Gooner, the 3-2 defeat to Liverpool that preceded his demise was a thriller in which his team took the lead twice and if his defenders could kick a ball straight, or at all, he would probably still be in the job.
Madrid pose £64m question - Tuesday, February 10
It's the story that just won't die: Ronaldo to Real Madrid. The latest episode in this epic saga emanates from radio station Cadena Ser, who claim that the Liga giants have secured £64m of funding from Spanish bank Santander to finance their next attempt to prise the FIFA World Player of the Year away from Old Trafford.
Apparently, Madrid officials have all the necessary paper work in place so that when interim president Vicente Boluda steps down at the end of the season the club's new chief has access to funds to sign the 23-year-old-winger.
All this may seem a little far fetched given the global financial meltdown is predicted to get even worse but Madrid have a strange habit of stumbling upon new funds.
In 2001 Real sold their training ground to the City of Madrid for €480m, sparking a European Commission investigation into why so much was paid for so little.
The deal allowed Madrid to wipe out crippling debts of €270m, build a new state-of-the-art training complex on the city's outskirts and paved the way for the galactico era that brought Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham to the club.
At the time a spokesman for the EC, Tilman 'state the bleeding obvious' Lueder, said: "We believe the City of Madrid may have overpaid."
The day of El Diego's destiny - Wednesday, February 10
It could all have been so different for troubled Argentina legend Diego Maradona. The World Cup winner revealed at a press conference that he signed for French club Olympique Marseille back in 1989 in a deal that could have changed the course of his career.
It was at this time that the Napoli star was struggling to cope with the attentions of the Italian media and the pressures of Serie A. Maradona began to use cocaine, which quickly led to addiction, which eventually saw him banned from the game for 15 months and booted out of Napoli in disgrace in 1992.
"I was a Marseille player," Maradona said. "Napoli president Corrado Ferlaino didn't want me to leave, but I had signed a contract with [then Marseille president] Bernard Tapie."
Tapie added: "It wasn't just Maradona that had signed, but Mr. Ferlaino, the Napoli president had signed as well. I had the player and the club's official accords."
"The negotiations were leaked and Ferlaino asked me to go back on the transfer. I had all the signatures but I decided to let it go."
"The transfer fee was FF60m, the equivalent of less than ¬10m today. It really was a great deal, a bargain, Tapie continued. "Since we couldn't have Maradona, we signed Chris Waddle for FF45m."
Spanish TV goes all ITV - Thursday, February 11
ITV's dire coverage of Everton's mammoth FA Cup replay against Liverpool will go down in history as an example of how not to broadcast a football match but seems Spain's TVE1 attempted the emulate the channel with their coverage of Spain's 2-0 win over England in Seville.
Although they never missed the winning goal due to an unscheduled advertising break the inclusion of intrusive banners, verbal advertisements during key points in commentary, SMS competitions and anything else they could flog while the captive nation watched Spain go 29 games unbeaten ruined the spectacle
But while ITV were flogged from pillar to post in the UK press TVE1 escaped attack by their Iberian counterparts.
How did they escape ridicule of such shoddy coverage? Well the editors of both Marca and AS were invited to show their faces on the post-match discussion show. The result of these tactical invites was that both newspapers hailed TVE1's coverage as "brilliant" and "exhaustive".