Friday, January 22, 2010
Tevez is flipped the bird, Carlos takes down trio
This was the week when Sebastien Bassong was caught short at Anfield, Gary Neville flipped the bird at Carlos Tevez, Roberto Carlos made a memorable debut for Corinthians, Thierry Henry escaped FIFA sanctions and a Spanish fan chose football ahead of his wife.
Liverpool 'twit' enrages Rafa
Frustrated Liverpool substitute Ryan Babel tweeted his way into trouble this week when he used social network site Twitter to vent his fury at Rafa Benitez's decision to drop him from the squad for the trip to Stoke.
The part-time Dutch rapper wrote: "Disappointing news. The boss left me out the squad. No explanation. What happened after a first good season? Scoring 10 goals, being young talent of the year, and then second and this season don't play at all?
"Never had a fight with the manager... I always kept quiet. Where did it go wrong? You have people who support me and don't support me. And one day, you will see what I'm capable of at LFC or somewhere else. I'm not scared to share this with you guys. It's the truth.. And there r no secrets."
Babel, who has since apologised to Benitez and closed down his Twitter account, has been busy angling for a move away from Anfield to either Ajax or Birmingham City. Presumably he has finished carving his name and creating the perfect arse groove in the Liverpool bench.
Match made in heaven
Football fans are all too quick to describe themselves as 'die-hards' these days, but how many of those self-monikered supporters would miss their own wedding to watch a regional football match in the fourth tier of the league system?
That is exactly what happened in Spain this weekend when one brave man shunned his wife-to-be in favour of CD Eldense's clash with FC Torrevieja in the Tercera División, only to suffer such embarrassment that he'll probably never be able to show his face at the Valencia-based club again.
Unfortunately for the groom, at half-time his furious bride waltzed into the Estadio Pepico Amat, in full wedding regalia, in search of her man. After stalking around the ground she eventually found him in the main stand, gave him a very public dressing down and then stormed out again with her grovelling groom in tow.
To compound the poor fella's misery, relegation-threatened Eldense lost 2-1 to the league leaders.
Tevez respectfully taunts United
"It's normal for me to celebrate a goal, but if I score I will do so with respect to my opponents. I still respect the [Manchester]United fans and I hope they know that."
Those were the words of Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez prior to Tuesday night's 2-1 Carling Cup semi-final first leg victory against former employers Manchester United, during which he celebrated his two crucial goals by baiting the United contingent at Eastlands with provocative gestures.
It seems that the ex-United striker had been incensed by the musings of Red Devils defender Gary Neville in his column in the Times of Malta which suggested... and brace yourself for this... that manager Sir Alex Ferguson was right not to spend the £25 million required to retain the Argentina striker's services because the financial demands were "too big".
Tevez exacted his revenge by scoring both goals at Eastlands. Following his first, Tevez made the internationally recognised gesture for 'you mouthy git' towards substitute Neville, who responded by flipping the bird at his former colleague, and after the second goal he cupped his ears in the direction of the executive box that housed the United money-men at Eastlands.
Henry handed let-off
Almost two months after Thierry Henry's infamous 'Hand of Frog' cheated the Republic of Ireland out of a possible place at World Cup 2010, FIFA finally got around to doing absolutely nothing about it. Following a high-powered disciplinary committee meeting this week, football's governing body ruled that catching the ball and throwing it to William Gallas to score France's crucial extra-time equaliser could not be "regarded as a serious infringement".
Every fan that saw the incident is well aware that it was indeed a serious infringement, even described by FIFA supremo Sepp Blatter as "blatant unfair play", but common sense was overruled by fear of a legal dispute. After briefly considering taking disciplinary action against Henry, which could have included banning him from the Finals, the lawyers decided that "there was no legal foundation to consider the case".
Football lost out to bureaucracy yet again because Article 47 of the FIFA code only defines handballs that PREVENT goals as "serious", not those that help to CREATE goals. As it stands "there is no other legal text that would allow the committee to impose sanctions for any incidents missed by match officials", according to FIFA.
Zlatan 'the goose' Ibrahimovic to lay more golden eggs
The agent of Barcelona striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic seems eager to eke out the career of his biggest cash cow and reckons that his client will make a couple more moves before retiring in eight or nine years.
Mino Raiola, who helped to facilitate Ibrahimovic's €46 million switch from Inter Milan to the Camp Nou, claims the golden goose won't finish his career at all-conquering Barcelona (I mean, who would want to?) and can still make two lucrative transfers.
"He can play until he is 36 or 37 years old and go through a couple of more transfers. I do not think Ibra will finish his career at Barca," Mr 10% is quoted as saying by AS.
Ibrahimovic has already played for five teams; boyhood club Malmo, Ajax Amsterdam (€7.8 million), Juventus (€16 million), Inter Milan (€24.8 million) and Barcelona (€46 million), making a tasty transfer tally of €94.6 million.
Tottenham defender caught short
Premier League footballers are well known for having skivvies to do almost everything for them and it seems that the situation has become so farcical that Tottenham Hotspur defender Sebastien Bassong can no longer dress himself.
Spurs boss Harry Redknapp was left fuming during his team's 2-0 defeat against Liverpool at Anfield in midweek when he called on the Cameroon centre back to replace Ledley King only to discover he hadn't even bothered to put his shorts on.
"I don't know how you forget to put your shorts on," a bemused Redknapp said. "I'm still trying to figure it out. I've not seen that before. It's a new one on me and you do wonder, don't you? I don't know whether someone has to do his bootlaces up as well."
Minutes after readying himself for action, Bassong gave away the penalty that allowed Dirk Kuyt to score Liverpool's second goal of the game.
VT of the week
Roberto Carlos was reunited with former Real Madrid team-mate Ronaldo at Corinthians this week and marked his debut by taking out three players with one slide tackle in a 2-1 win over Bragantino. It was Carlos' first game back in Brazilian club football for 15 years.
Best of the rest:
• Man City send subtle message to £35 million misfit Robinho
• Lionel Messi scores goals 100 and 101 for Barcelona
• Buying West Ham makes 'no sense', say new owners
• Campbell to sue cash-strapped Portsmouth