23 February 2006

Kakha Kaladze's Brother Confirmed Dead

The body of a beheaded man found 4 years ago has been confirmed as that of 21
year old Levan Kaladze, the brother of Milan defender Kakha Kaladze, following DNA
tests carried out by the FBI.

Levan was  kidnapped in May 2001 by two men in police uniforms from the Georgian
State medical facility where he was studying medicine. The kidnappers demanded a
€500,000 ransom, which was paid, but he was never released. Levan's body was found weeks later at an unmarked grave.

Four men, using fake IDs, suspected of the kidnapping and murder have been arrested - Levan Tsintsadze in St Petersburg, Davit Asatiani in Switzerland, Merab Amisulashvili in Georgia and Temur Gagnidze in France.

Nelson Pip Arsenal To Madrid Crown - 50 Years Ago

"The result is in all the local newspaper records and in Real Madrid's official history. All I have heard since Tuesday night is that Arsenal were the first team to do it, but that's totally inaccurate. Santiago Bernabeu played against Nelson and was the president during the 1950s when they won all those European Cups. The story goes he dreamt up the idea of playing teams from all over Europe after losing to Nelson."
Nelson chairman Alan Pickering

Spanish Legend Dies

La Liga's all time top scorer Telmo Zarraonandia, more commonly known as Zarra, has died aged 85. In a 15 year spell with Athletic Bilbao Zarra finished top scorer 6 times (one more than Di Stefano) and won one championship (1942-1943).

In the 1950-1951 season Zarra set the record for most league goals (38). The striker also had a perfect record at international level, scoring 20 goals in 20 games including the goal that knocked England out of the 1950 World Cup at the quarter-final stages.

In total he scored an incredible 334 goals in 353 games (0.95 goals per game).

Rivals Condemn Ambulance Attack

Manchester United and Liverpool have issued a joint statement after Liverpool fans attacked the ambulance that was carrying Manchester United's Alan Smith to hospital :

"These people aren't real fans of football. Both clubs feel the mindless actions of a few idiots should not overshadow the efforts of all involved to make sure Alan received the best possible treatment as soon as possible. Manchester United would also like to point out they are very grateful for the speedy and efficient help of all Liverpool staff."

The midfielder suffered a horrific broken leg and dislocated ankle when blocking a shot during the club's FA Cup final defeat at Anfield. As Smith he was being driven to hospital Liverpool fans threw stones and bottles at the ambulance and tried to rock it from side to side.

Press Fury At FIFA Photo Blackout

The World Association of Newspapers (WAN) have threatened to take FIFA to court unless they lift ridiculous restrictions which will ban the use of photos from the World Cup on the Internet during matches, limit the use of photos after matches and in print publications.

WAN, which represents 18,000 newspapers and 11 news agencies including the heavyweights AP (Associated Press), Reuters and Getty Images wrote to FIFA president Sepp Bladder on Thursday :

'Your restrictions on our journalistic coverage of the 2006 World Cup not only deprive our readers and clients of access to important information on a public event but constitute both an interference in editorial freedom and independence.'

'We are truly saddened and shocked that in the name of maximising the commercial exploitation of these events FIFA should effectively turn its back on the news media which give life on a daily basis, to football in all its different manifestations all over the world.'

Butragueno Amazed by Woodgate's Injury Problems

Real Madrid vice-president Emilio Butragueno, who was largely responsible for signing Jonathan 'The English Patient' Woodgate from Newcastle has hilariously claimed he is surprised by the defenders continual injury problems :

'We must continue to help him and support him. He has had many physical problems, we could never have predicted it would reach these extremes. He is an exceptional case in the world of sport."

Prior to joining Real Madrid the defender had only managed to make 73 league appearances in five seasons, at an average of 14.4 games a season.

Midfielder Apologises for Sissoko Injury

Benfica midfielder Beto has apologised to Liverpool midfielder Mohamed Sissoko for accidentally kicking the player in the eye when challenging for a ball during Wednesday's Champions League match :

"My boot caught Sissoko in the face and it opened a big wound around the eye. I want to apologise. I did not mean to injure him. It was just a typical 50-50 midfield situation that happens all the time. It happened but I did not mean to harm him and I hope he recovers quickly."

22 February 2006

Barcelona Confirm Henry Interest

"Henry's an amazing player, anyone would want him, including ourselves. If one day he became available we would talk, but not now as he has a club and a contract. There are lots of rumours in this industry. There were rumours in the UK that we were going to sell Samuel Eto'o to Chelsea but we're quite happy with the players we have got." - Barcelona vice-president Ferran Soriano

Real 'Honour' Di Stefano

Real Madrid will apparently 'honour' the club's greatest ever player Alfredo Di Stefano by naming their brand new, state of the art... reserve team stadium after him, which will be used by mighty Castilla of the Spanish second division. What would they consider as an honour for one of their lesser legends such as I don't know, Hierro, name the toilets after him?

The 79 year old Di Stefano, who recently suffered a heart attack, was gracious when hearing the news :

"I can't find enough words to express my thanks. When I was told of the news it brought me enormous satisfaction but as I have always said, the successes the team enjoyed in the 11 seasons I was at the club were not just down to me, but to all the lads who played during that time. I was just one of them, it was one for all and all for one."

Mourinho Praise Messi's 'Acting'

Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho has commended Barcelona midfielder Lionel Messi for his acting ability after he rolled around following a body check by Chelsea defender Asier Del Horno, who was then sent off :

"Can Messi be suspended for acting? Barcelona is a cultural city with many great theatres and this boy has learned very well. He's learned play-acting. I don't want to say too much because then I will be suspended but I am very proud of my team. The fact that we had to play ten versus 11 when it should have been 11 versus 11 changed everything. We had to face them again with ten players, not for a small period of time. You can have the energy to do it for ten or 15 minutes but to play for 50 minutes with one player less, it's difficult to close the door all the time. Sometimes doors open. That's the reality. It means you can't play a pressing game, you can't double up on the wing in defence, you can't defend deep. It means you are struggling but I prefer to say I'm very proud of my players and the spirit from the fans. I prefer to go to Barcelona in a positive frame of mind."

Mourinho however failed to praise Del Horno's acting during the incident - the defender also rolled along the turf clutching his throat. Messi insisted that Del Horno intending to injure him, citing a disgraceful foul, worthy of six red cards, by the defender minutes earlier :

"It was already obvious from his first attack on me that he went in really to kick me on the knee. So that by the time the second one happened he came in really hard and I could see that he was going over the ball with the intention of doing me. That was why I jumped and that is the only reason he did not do real damage to me."

21 February 2006

Liverpool Fans Arrested For Counterfeiting Money

Lisbon police have arrested 10 Liverpool supporters at a hotel on suspicion of using counterfeit money ahead of their champions league match against Benfica. Police spokeswoman Paula Monteiro said :

"The information we have is that they were here for the game."

FA Confirm Cardiff Cup Final

The vastly overpriced (costs have risen to over €1 billion) and totally unnecessary new Wembley stadium will not be ready in time to host this years FA Cup final which will now be playing in the Cardiff's Millennium Stadium :

"I can confirm today that this season's FA Cup final will be held at The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on May 13. I can also confirm that England’s pre-World Cup games against Hungary and Jamaica, previously scheduled for Wembley, will now be held at Old Trafford. The FA has taken these decisions after meeting with Wembley chief executive Michael Cunnah and Multiplex's managing director Martin Tidd, following a site visit to the stadium yesterday. The FA took the prudent step of booking the Millennium Stadium as a back-up option to Wembley last August, therefore allowing us to extend this decision as long as possible and giving Multiplex every chance of making the May 13 date. It is clear that while they have over 3,500 people working hard on the site, Multiplex and indeed WNSL are unable to give us 100% certainty that the stadium will be completed in time for the FA Cup final. Due to the magnitude of the cup final, we are not prepared to compromise or take any risks on the stadium
being unable to stage such a significant event." - FA Chief Executive Brian Barwick

Cavasin Sacked

Treviso, rock bottom in Serie A, have sacked coach Alberto Cavasin. A statement read :

"Treviso Football Club can confirm that Alberto Cavasin was dismissed from his position. Youth team Coach Diego Bortoluzzi will take over the running of the side for the time being with current assistant Coach Albino Pillon. The club would like to thank Cavasin for the hard work he has put in over the last months."

20 February 2006

Ronaldo Hints At Real Departure

"The fans have never accepted me and their reaction is something to take into account when thinking about my future. I've always said that I don't want to be where I'm not loved. I've never felt at home at the Bernabeu, the fans have never treated me with affection. I will make a decision at the end of the season. After all the effort I made to come to this club I don't understand why I'm treated like this.
I will decide on my future after the World Cup." - Ronaldo

19 February 2006

Gaucci Turns His Attentions to Juve

Fresh from his accusations against Fiorentina, Perugia's fat idiot president Luciano Gaucci now claims Juventus had a deal to 'buy' the scudetto in 2000 :

"That game (Perugia vs Juventus) had been fixed. Juventus were meant to win it. Director general Luciano Moggi had already made a contract with Mazzone (coach of Perugia) and our director Ermanno Pieroni so that they'd go to Torino the next season (as director and coach), which is where Pieroni ended up."

Despite dominating Juventus lost the match 0-1 on the 14th of May 2000 thus handing the scudetto to Sven Goran Eriksson's Lazio. The second half of the match was delayed for 90 minutes by a then relatively unknown Pierluigi Collina due to a waterlogged pitch.

Gaucci, under investigation for fraud, is now laughably claiming credit for ensuring fair play :

"The year before I had been threatened by Lazio fans because they lost the Scudetto when Milan came to Perugia on the final day and won 2-1. So I went to talk to the players, though Mazzone tried to keep me out. I told him he was an employee and had to step aside. I told the players that the game had been sold and that, if they did what had already been decided for them, then I would send the entire squad to China for two months to play meaningless friendlies. On their return, they would be relegated to the youth team so that everyone would know they had been bought off."

Not surprisingly Juventus were furious with Gaucci's accusations. Director Luciano Moggi said :

"I'm starting to get fed up of this man. We lost the Scudetto at Perugia and did not go crying to anyone. What does Gaucci want? He should shut up instead of lying there with his belly in the air getting a tan in Santo Domingo."

18 February 2006

Perugia President Accuses Fiorentina of Match Fixing

Perugia's president, Luciano 'the crook' Gaucci has accused Fiorentina owner Diego Della Valle of buying their promotion play-off victory against Perugia in 2004 :

"I rejected that proposal, but considering their performances, I am sure that five or six players sold the two games for far smaller sums than that offered to me by Della Valle (€20 million)."

Diego Della Valle has ridiculed the claims and vowed legal action :

"Gaucci's claims are so false that they can be considered ridiculous and would not warrant any comment were it not for the fact they offend the good name and the dignity of Fiorentina, their fans, players and the entire city. It is only out of respect for these values, which have always been at the centre of our project, that we will ask Gaucci to settle this matter in court."

Gaucci, who is currently on the run in Santo Domingo over fraud and has had an international warrant issued for his arrest, claims players Marco Di Loreto (Fiorentina), Ze Maria and Salvatore Fresi took money to fix the match. Gaucci's sudden revelations are not being taken seriously because of his part in Fiorentina's promotion.

In 2003 Catania, Genoa, Cosenza and Salernitana were relegated from Serie B. However Catania, who were owned by Luciano Gaucci (rules at the time didn't prevent people from owning more than one club) claimed that Siena used an ineligible player in a 1-1 draw, a result that meant they were relegated, had Catania won they would have remained in Serie B. Following a series of legal challenges Catania were awarded the match 2-0, had the result rescinded then re-instated. The Italian FA (FIGC) eventually decided to expanded Serie B to 24 teams, earning Catania, Cosenza and Salernitana a reprieve but as Cosenza had been declared bankrupt they could not compete in Serie B so Fiorentina, who had been promoted to Serie C1, jumped a division and took their place in Serie B (on historical grounds). Following protests from the other 19 Serie B clubs this number was reduced to 22 the following season with Serie A, regrettably, increased to 20 teams.

During the 2003-2004 season Perugia sold striker Zisis Vryzas to Fiorentina, who were struggling at the time. Vryzas helped turn the clubs fortunes around thus earning them a six placed finish in Serie B. The top 5 clubs were automatically promoted to Serie A and Fiorentina faced the team that finished 15th in Serie A that season in a two-legged play-off to decide which team played in Serie A and which team played in Serie B, in a sweet moment of irony that happened to be Perugia. Fiorentina won the play-off at Perugia's ground 0-1, having drew the first leg 1-1. Perugia's relegation forced Gaucci to sell Catania. Perugia finished third that season but were relegated due to financial irregularities.

17 February 2006

Mihajlovic to Retire in May

Inter defender Sinisa Mihajlovic has announced that he will retire from football at the end of the season. The 36 year old dead ball specialist enjoyed early success at Red Star, winning the European Cup in 1991, before joining Roma. He has spells with Sampdoria and Lazio before linking up with former Lazio team-mate Roberto Mancini at Inter :

"The time has come for me to announce I will retire in a few months. Perhaps I could have prolonged my career for another season but I want to walk away remembered as a great player. Inter will be my last club and I am definitely calling it quits in May. I have a coaching licence in my country and I plan to obtain one in Italy too. I want to be a manager and working as (Inter coach) Mancini's assistant would be a perfect start. Roberto and I are great friends and we have talked about it for a while. Now is the time for me to say yes."

Benfica Midfielder Suspended

UEFA has suspended Benfica midfielder Nuno Assis from all matches with immediate effect. The player testing positive for norandrosterone on the 3rd of December after a league match against Maritimo.  UEFA stepped in because they were unhappy with the provisional ban handed out by the Portuguese league.

Mourinho Hits Back in Pitch Row

"We know the pitch is not good, the criticism is fair but only stupid people can think a
team like Chelsea with its quality can be happy with a pitch like this. Do we have no
technical players? No skilful players? Just players who kick the ball and run? Because we have no technical players we need a potato field, so we play on a potato field."
Jose Mourinho

"Our pitch is not good. You don't need to tell us the pitch is not good. London does not have Mediterranean weather. Stamford Bridge is not an open pitch. It doesn't see the sun often but it's not possible to improve. The only thing we can do is take care of it the best we can. This season we have not had one single training session at Stamford Bridge apart from one for photos and an open day for supporters. We were afraid to change the pitch because last season when we did it we had some problems, especially the Scott Parker problem, where there was a very clear relationship between the injury and the pitch." - Jose Mourinho

Barcelona's Sylvinho, responding to idiotic claims made by the tabloid press said :

"I cannot believe it, but I have heard they are making the condition of their pitch worse. I played in England for two years and I have heard many complaints about the pitch."

Prompting Mourinho to retort :

"Maybe you should ask Barcelona why they have so many injuries. They have a lot of knee problems. Maybe their pitch is too good."