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Friday, March 5, 2010
ESPNsoccernet: March 6, 12:32 PM UK
Matterazzi has the last laugh

Dominic Raynor

This was the week in which Wayne Rooney attributed his headed goals to his bald patch, Zidane said he would 'rather die' than say sorry to Marco Materazzi, the new Nigeria manager embarrassed the old one, a Serie A coach was banned for blasphemy and German football provided the best own goal ever scored. Materazzi and Zidane renew hostilities It seems the great Zinedine Zidane is as good at holding a grudge as he was at retaining the ball. Four years ago the former France skipper was sent off for headbutting Marco Materazzi in the chest during the World Cup final and said this week he would "rather die" than apologise to the Italian. Zidane has always claimed Materazzi insulted his mother and, although he regrets being sent off (especially as Italy went on to win the World Cup in a penalty shoot-out), he will never forgive his provocateur. "More than once they insulted my mother and I never responded, but there ... and it happened. And to apologise for this - if it was Kaka, a regular guy, a good guy, of course I would have apologised, but to this one... To him I cannot. Never, never. It would be to dishonour me. I'd rather die." However, it was Materazzi who once again had the last laugh. The Italian prankster responded to Zidane's renewal of hostilities with an image on his personal website (see above) that mockingly thanked the Frenchman for helping Italy win the World Cup. Buyers launch Pompey bid from dad's house Portsmouth's troubled existence has been front and back page news for so long now that unfortunately most football fans have become desensitised to their plight. Umpteen owners, no wages, administration, blah blah... the brain switches off. But it seems things have now got so bad that the next potential owner of Fratton Park is running the takeover bid from out of his dad's house. Victor Cattermole's Endeavor Plan consortium insists they are interested in acquiring Portsmouth but a spokesman for the club's current owner, Hong Kong businessman Balram Chainrai, queried the consortium's credentials. "He [Cattermole] is represented by a 23-year-old," Chainrai's spokesman told The Guardian. "When we asked for a meeting at his offices he said he didn't have an office but we could meet at his Dad's home." Italian coach banned for blasphemy Chievo coach Domenico Di Carlo was handed touchline ban this week as he became the first victim of a new zero-tolerance approach in Italian football against taking God's name in vain. Di Carlo was deemed to have exasperatedly exclaimed 'God' in the second half of Chievo's 2-1 victory over Cagliari in Serie A and will be banned from the touchline for Sunday's match against Bari. The Italian federation president, Giancarlo Abete, declared Federcalcio would "intervene with official decisions to make clear that blasphemy is within the definition of 'offensive, insulting or abusive language' in the rules [that warrant sending-off]". The Verona club's coach can at least be thankful that midfielder Michele Marcolini escaped similar punishment after TV replays could not prove conclusively that he had taken God's name in vain when he was sent off. Rooney attributes headed goals to bald patch Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney won't be doing endorsements for Advanced Hair Studio anytime soon after he attributed his amazing streak of headed goals to his receding hairline. The 24-year-old has scored 28 goals this season, nine with his head, including the winner in the League Cup final on Sunday as United become the first team since Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest in 1990 to retain the trophy. In all, 33% of Rooney's goals this season have come from headers. Previously just 3.6% of all his goals went in off his bonce. But Rooney has a simple explanation for the dramatically increased strike rate: "I have worked on my heading in the last couple of years and, thankfully, I have a bigger [bald] patch on which to head it!" Lagerback: My predecessor was rubbish It emerged this week that new Nigeria coach Lars Lagerback unwittingly embarrassed one of his predecessors during the interview process when he accused the Super Eagles of lacking tactical knowledge, according to an insider. During his presentation the former Sweden manager spoke about his scouting and analysis of Nigeria for the 2002 World Cup and claimed that the team's main weakness was a lack of tactical depth from the sidelines. The insider said: "They identified that Nigeria had great, skilful and strong players, but lacked tactical organisation and the coaches did not respond to tactical changes on the field." Lagerback was unaware that former Super Eagles manager Adegboyega Onigbinde was sat opposite him, but fortunately the coach took it well. "Onigbinde said he had been wondering what he did wrong in 2002 and Lagerback finally explained it to him." VT of the Week TSV Wimsheim's clash with TSV Grunbach in lower levels of German football is not normally a fixture that would attract attention, but at the weekend it featured possibly the best own goal ever scored. With the referee holding the ball in position due to the windy conditions Grunbach took a goalkick and watched in horror as the ball looped up, travelled 15-yards backwards in the air and ended up in the top corner. Watch the comical own goal unfold thanks to our friends at 101greatgoals. Wimsheim eventually won the match 2-1. Best of the Rest • The reason why Andy Cole hates Teddy Sheringham • PSG stop ticket sales for away games • Ballack: Sneaky Argentina are full of tricks • Mario Balotelli will bet a dinner that he'll play at World Cup


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