8 January 2005

FIFA & UEFA To Stage 'Solidarity Match' For Tsunami Victims

FIFA and UEFA will organise a solidarity match in February to help the victims of the
Indian Ocean Tsunami after being approached by several nations including Australia,
England, Germany, Greece, India, Malaysia, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Turkey.
FIFA have set up a solidarity fund with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
FIFA have pledged €2.86 million to the fund while the AFC have pledged €1.43
million. The aim of the fund is to rebuild the footballing infrastructure in the regions
devastated by the Tsunami and to donate footballs, shirts, boots, gloves,
goals etc, etc.

Morientes Moves Closer to Liverpool

Fernando Morientes' move to Liverpool appears imminent as the Spanish giants
are thought to have accepted a big in the region of €10 million. Real Madrid coach
Wanderley Luxemburgo was against the transfer but after failing to guarantee
Morientes first team football is now willing to let the striker, who was last season's
Champions League top scorer, leave. Real Madrid reserve goalkeeper Cesar is also
expected to join Liverpool as part of the deal.

Keegan Looking to Offload Anelka

Manchester City coach Kevin Keegan is open to offers for the incredible sulk
Nicolas Anelka :

"I don't think there is any doubt now that if someone comes in for Nicolas we would
sell him and use the money to strengthen other parts of the team. Everyone knows
we still owe Paris Saint Germain €7.16 million for him, so a club have got to add a
lot on to that figure and then we could talk."

Keegan spoke of his frustration following another of the strikers trademark mood
swings :

"At this point in time we need everybody fit. I put players out at Highbury who were
not 100% but Nicolas was not one of those. He didn't even feel he could take a
fitness test. I was a bit disappointed in that but if he says he is hurting there is
nothing I can do about it."

Unconfirmed reports suggest Fenerbahce met with Manchester City officials over
the transfer of the striker though a reported bid of €10 million seems far fetched.

Norwich Move in On Ashton

Norwich are set to seal the capture of Crewe striker Dean Ashton for a fee of around
€3.60 million. The extremely talented 21 year old striker, who has exceptional
technique, is strong in the air and can score with either foot had been linked with
Arsenal and Tottenham in previous seasons.

Milan Open Talks With Chelsea

Italian champions Milan are holding talks with Chelsea over the permanent transfer
of Argentinean striker Hernan Crespo. Chelsea are thought to be looking for
€14 million but Milan, who are still heavily in debt despite conservative spending in
recent seasons are offering Khaka Kaladze and Jon Dahl Tomasson in exchange.

Crespo has hit a rich vein of form, scoring 9 goals in his 16 games for Milan including
a hat-trick against Lecce on Thursday and developed into a World Class striker
under Ancelotti at Parma.

Ibrahimovic Backs Capello

Juve striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has backed coach Fabio Capello's continual
substitutions of Alessandro Del Piero :

"Alessandro cannot always be at the top of his game but the team still needs him.
Unfortunately there are three of us fighting for places and one will have to go on
the bench."

Meanwhile the Swedish international is looking forward to the return of David
Trezeguet. The duo developed an instant rapport at the start of the season before
the Frenchman's injury :

"Trezeguet is one of the best hitmen in the world and we really need him now more
than ever. I don't know if when he returns we'll have the best strike force, but it'll
certainly be one of the tallest.

Giggs Back in Two Weeks

Alex Ferguson has stated that Ryan Giggs, the teams best player this season, will
only miss two weeks of action and not six as first feared :

"It's not going to be six weeks as has been reported in the Press. He should be back
in two weeks. No-one from Old Trafford ever predicted that kind of thing. We know
the situation with Ryan. He gets these from time to and we have handled it really
well in the past couple of years and the time factor in his recovery is now much

6 January 2005

Co Adriaanse to go out on Top

Co Adriaanse will leave AZ Alkmaar at the end of the season. AZ are remarkably joint

top of the Eredivisie but the controversial coach, who last year was openly critical
of Netherlands coach Dick Advocaat, is looking for a move abroad :

"I don't think I can make this team any better next season. I always want to make

progression. We're in first place now and that's my goal. It can't get better than
this. Next season I will not be working as coach in the Netherlands. I prefer a club
abroad. Best would be a big team, or at least one that is willing to spend a lot of
money on me."

Edu Expects Future To Be Decided On Saturday

The future of Arsenal's Brazilian defensive midfielder Edu looks to be decided later
this week. Edu's brother, Amadeo Fensao, who acts as his representative, will meet
with officials on Friday or Saturday :

"My brother is due to come to London on Thursday. There is a meeting planned for
6 or 7 January to sort it out with Arsenal. Now I have a choice to stay or go.
I want to sort it out as soon as possible, that's in the best interests of both the club
and myself. I'm going to make my decision after the meeting later this week."

Arsene Wenger has frozen Edu out of the team this season in order to make him
commit his future to the club but the midfielder seems content to wait until the
end of the season when he will be available on a free transfer. Real Madrid,
Barcelona and Valencia have openly expressed their interest in the Brazilian

Birmingham Send Forssell Back to Chelsea

Birmingham have cancelled the contract of Mikael Forssell. The 23 year old Finnish
international's 17 league goals kept Birmingham in the Premiership last season but
after a poor start to the current campaign he suffered a season ending knee injury.

Luxemburgo Against Morientes Sale

Real Madrid's new coach Wanderley Luxemburgo appears to be against the sale of
striker Fernando Morientes :

"I don't like reinforcing the rivals. Morientes joining Liverpool will be like helping
an enemy. I want to speak with Morientes, to know what he is thinking. Later
I will meet the club and we will decide."

Gravesen Agent Reveals Real Interest

John Sivebaek, the agent of Everton midfielder Thomas Gravesen, has confirmed that
Real Madrid have made an approach for the player who has strongly been linked with
both Manchester United and Milan :

"'Yes, one person from Real Madrid has called. He said they are interested in Thomas
Gravesen and that they will get back to me later. That is what we are actually waiting
for. All the time we have been expecting for something to happen in the summer
because I don't expect Everton to sell but it is a possibility that he will extend with
Everton. I can't mention names but clubs from England, France, Holland, Italy and
Spain have all been in contact.''

Gravesen will be available on a free transfer at the end of the season.

Viduka Out For A Month

Middlesbrough's injury prone striker Mark Viduka is out of action for another month
with a hamstring injury . Coach Steve McClaren remarked on the Australian's
importance to the club :

"It is frustrating because we have looked at the stats and when they play together,
we win 75% of games. It's no coincidence we are fourth top scorers at the moment
when a year ago we were the lowest in the Premier League. Mark is out for a few
weeks and it is a huge blow for us. It is also difficult for him in his first season here.
He was just starting a run and scoring goals."

5 January 2005

Giggs Injury Blows Hole In United's Title Hopes

An injury to Ryan Giggs has almost certainly ended Manchester United's faint hopes
of winning the championship. Giggs, who has been the teams outstanding player
this season, is expected to be out of action for upto 6 weeks and could miss the
clubs crucial Champions League tie with Milan.

Jankulovski Denies Milan Deal

Udinese midfielder Marek Jankulovski denies that he has already agree to join
Italian champions Milan at the end of the season :

"I've read the stories that Milan are very close to my signature but I don't know
anything about them. Juventus, Milan or Inter? It is difficult to say that one team
is better than the other. If it was down to me then I would possibly choose Juventus,
so that I could play alongside my great friend Pavel Nedved."

Cagliari Retire #11 Shirt

Cagliari have retired the #11 shirt in honour of the clubs greatest ever player
Gigi Riva. Riva, who works for the Italian Football Federation, lead Cagliari to their
first and only championship in the 1969-1970 season and also Italy's all time leading
scorer with 35 goals in 42 games. Riva is the third Serie A player after Franco Baresi
(#6 at Milan) and Diego Maradona (#10 at Napoli) to have his shirt retired.

FA Open to Goal-line Technology

The English FA have said they are open to the use of video technology. A statement read :

"The FA is willing to discuss and consider any form of goal-line technology that would
improve decision making while not disrupting the game. The key factor is whether a message can be transmitted immediately to the referee allowing him to take an immediate decision without interrupting play."

Alex Ferguson said he has changed his mind on the issue, despite the fact that his
team benefited from the ineptitude of the officials last night, after reading an article
by Bologna's Carlo Mazzone :

"My contention has always been that football is a winter game and it would take too long for these decisions to be reached but allowing the referee 30 seconds to make
p his mind - there would be some sense in that because it can take that amount of
time to take a goalkick."

The problem however remains that FIFA President Sepp Bladder is against the use
of any form of technology in such incidents because he feels it undermines the

In a related note bookmakers William Hill made the unprecedented decision to
honours the bets of anyone who placed a bet on Tottenham midfielder Pedro Mendes
to score a goal at odds of 50-1. A spokesman for the company, Graham Sharpe, said :

This is probably the most bizarre incident ever to occur in the Premiership and we
feel that anyone who bet on Mendes to score first, or to score at all, is entitled to
feel hard done by because clearly both the referee and linesman were unsighted by
a one in a million fluke situation"

PSG Under Investigation

PSG are under investigated for 'misuse of corporate funds' over the transfers of Ronaldinho to Barcelona last summer and the Nicolas Anelka's move to Manchester
City in the summer of 2002. Investigators suspect feeds to agents were undeclared.

Kirkland Injured Again, Alonso Out for 10 Weeks

Liverpool's injury 'prone goalkeeper Chris Kirkland has been ruled out for three
months after it was revealed he would undergo surgery for a back injury. Midfielder
Xabi Alonso has now been ruled out for 10 weeks after breaking an ankle following
a challenge from Chelsea's Frank Lampard. Liverpool have been linked with Leeds'
England U21 goalkeeper Scott Carson and Oman goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi.

Mourinho - Ambition Is the Key

"Winning the Premiership or the Champions League is more important but we will
not turn any trophy down. I am happy so far. I came to Chelsea because of ambition,
to manage a big club with the chance to win major trophies on a regular basis.
I have to say I already feel like a Londoner but where I am really happy is with
Chelsea. What we have is a group of people so close in spirit, so strong and united
in ambition, that tiredness, little injuries and occasional setbacks cannot knock us
from our path."

Liverpool Sign Past it Pellegrino

Normally I wouldn't comment on transfers in the news but for the benefit for
Liverpool supports the club's 33 year old new signing, Argentinean defender Mauricio
Pellegrino, is well and truly past it and has no pace. Pellegrino only made 20
appearances under Benitez at Liverpool last season.

4 January 2005

Ronaldo's Wedding Postponed

Ronaldo's wedding to stunning Brazilian model Daniella Ciccarelli is on hold as his
first marriage to Milene Domingues has not been annulled. Daniella wants to get
married in a church.

Carragher Blasts Old Mother Riley

Liverpool's extremely scouse defender Jamie 'er' Carragher has blasted inept referee
Mike 'Old Mother' Riley after his failure to award Liverpool a clear penalty against
Chelsea on Saturday :

"He has got it wrong in the two big games he has refereed this season (Man United
vs Arsenal when he dreamed up a penalty for the Mancs) and those two decisions
could prove the difference between Arsenal or Chelsea winning the league. If Arsenal
had got the right decision at Old Trafford, who knows what might have happened
then? Top games need top refs and with those mistakes the FA have to ask whether
this referee should be up there.  He was in a great position to see what happened
in our game. He was putting his whistle into his mouth and I don't know if he lost
his nerve or what."

Savage Hands in Transfer Request

Birmingham midfielder Robbie Savage has handed in his transfer request. Savage
has been the subject of speculation ever since former Wales coach Mark Hughes
took charge at Ewood park and is thought to want to move closer to his sick
parents in Wrexham.

3 January 2004

Wenger And Ferguson Predict Chelsea Crash

Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson are banking on Chelsea slipping up as the second
half of the season gets underway. Wenger alluded to his side throwing away the
title in 2003 :

"They are only five points ahead and that is not a lot with 17 games still to play.
Things can change so quickly in the Premier League and that is why I do not feel
any team is untouchable at the moment. I know from experience many teams
have been in front in January but not won the Championship. When you are in front
and everyone says that you have already won the title you have to face up to the
prospect that you can only lose it from there. If you watch Chelsea's recent games
it looks as though it has not been so easy for them. They had the decisions going
for them at Liverpool on Saturday but I am surprised to see many people have
already declared them as champions."

Alex Ferguson claims Chelsea have rode their luck :

"Chelsea have been carrying a bit of luck. They survived two penalty kick claims
at Liverpool the other day. When you are at the top you get those kind of breaks.
They have also not suffered the injuries like ourselves and Arsenal have but over
a season these kind of things tend to even themselves out."

Jarosik Flies in For Chelsea Talks

CSKA Moscow midfielder Jiri Jarosik and his two agents, Pavel Zika and Viktor Kolar,
will meet Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho with a view to a transfer. Mourinho wants
to strengthen his squad following a serious of injuries. Jarosik said :

"I only know I'm supposed to have a personal talk with coach Mourinho. I can't
say anymore at this time but the interest of this kind of team would delight
every player."

Alonso Questions Lampard Tackle

Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso has suggested that Frank Lampard tried to injure
him during the new year's day clash at Anfield :

"The tackle was hard and late. I want to think it was not deliberate but what
surprised me was he protested to the referee when it was a clear foul. I've
seen sendings-off for a lot less. I thought there was something broken and when
I couldn't walk, I realised it was serious."

Lampard apologised for the tackle in a post match interview :

"I'm disappointed Alonso broke his ankle, which is horrible. I didn't mean to do that
and hope he'll be back soon."

Bladder's Empty Gesture

Months after failing to take strong against Spain following the racist chanting during
the country's friendly against England and national team coach Luis Aragones'
racist comments, FIFA president Sepp '50 idea a day, 51 of them bad' Bladder has
appointed Arsenal's Thierry Henry as one of FIFA's ambassadors against racism.
Worryingly Bladder claims he will stand for a third term as FIFA President in 2007.

Lok Takes Charge At NEC

NEC has appointed Cees Lek as coach after the departure of Johan Neeskens. Lek
won his first match in charge as caretaker coach prompting the club to give him a
2.5 year deal.

2 January 2004

Maciel's Brother Shot?

According to rumours the brother of Porto winger Maciel has been shot. Maciel was
due to arrive back from his Christmas holiday's along with Diego, Derlei and Pepe
on year's eve but three players returned late while Maciel remains in Brazil.

Everton Win Race to Sign Beattie

James Beattie has agree personal terms with Everton and will undergo a medical on
Monday. Southampton had accepted bids of €9.20 million from both Everton and
Aston Villa but following talks Beattie opted for Everton who are currently fourth
in the Premiership.

Gazza Admitted to Hospital With Pneumonia

Paul Gascoigne is in hospital suffering from pneumonia and a possible collapsed
lung. Gazza collapsed at home on New Years day and was taken to London's
Princess Grace hospital.

His agent Alex Armitage told the news of the world :

"Paul began feeling very unwell two or three days ago. He has pneumonia and a
possible collapsed lung. They're testing for other problems. He's serious. It's a
possibility he's got 101 thing wrongs with him. It's bloody awful, pneumonia but
he's in hospital and being very well looked after with his loved ones all around him."