Anorak

Sports | Anorak - Part 3

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Sports news, commentary and scores with wit and added value. We compare and contrast the best and worst sports reporting in the mainstream press, blogs, TV and online. We love the English Premier League (Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs, Manchester United and Manchester City) and all things football but we cover cricket, rugby, the Olympics, tennis, golf, F1 and highlights of the sporting year.

Sergio Ramos explains why Liverpool lost the Champions League final; ‘it wasn’t me’

A: Liverpool lost the Champion’s League final with Real Madrid because Mohammed Salah injured himself and Loris Karius is useless. B: Liverpool lost the Champions League final because Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos chucked Salah to the ground with a judo-style throw and collided with Karius’s face, causing the Egyptian to leave the field of play and the goalkeeper to lose his bearings and let in two soft goals.

Says Ramos to AS: “Bloody hell, they have given this Salah thing a lot of attention. I didn’t want to speak because everything is magnified.”

So he speaks and everything is magnified.

“I see the play well, he grabs my arm first and I fell to the other side, the injury happened to the other arm and they said that I gave him a judo hold,” says Ramos, getting in the sympathetic back story.

“After that the goalkeeper said I dazed him with a clash,” he adds. Karius went to Massachusetts General Hospital in the USA – a place where Liverpool owner J Henry has co-chaired a fund-raising campaign. The hospital says Karius most likely suffered concussion during the match. His two clangers that cost Liverpool two goals in a 3-1 defeat were the result of a brain injury? He’s not rubbish. He’s dazed and confused.

Ramos continues: “I spoke with Salah through messages, he was quite good. He could have played if he got an injection for the second half, I have done it sometimes but when Ramos does something like this, it sticks a little bit more. I don’t know if it is because you are at Madrid for so long and win for so long that people look at it a different way.”

Ramos talks about himself in the third person. Karius, if the medics are to be believed, likely sees both of them at once. Salah has had surgery for his injured shoulder. He might not play for Egypt in the World Cup.

The hospital that saw Karius has issued a statement:

We have received numerous calls today regarding the health status of Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius. With Mr. Karius’s permission, we are providing information about his medical situation in an effort to prevent, where possible, the dissemination of incomplete or erroneous information.

On May 31, 2018 Mr. Karius underwent a comprehensive examination by Dr. Ross Zafonte and Dr. Lenore Herget in Boston at Massachusetts General Hospital and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.

After carefully reviewing game film and integrating a detailed history – including his reported present and immediate post-contact subjective symptoms – physical examination and objective metrics, we have concluded that Mr. Karius sustained a concussion during the match May 26, 2018.

At the time of our evaluation, Mr. Karius’s principal residual symptoms and objective signs suggested that visual spatial dysfunction existed and likely occurred immediately following the event. Additional symptomatic and objectively noted areas of dysfunction also persisted. It could be possible that such deficits would affect performance.

We also note that Mr. Karius has reported significant and steady improvement since the concussive event, and we expect him to make a full recovery based on the results of the examination. We expect that with treatment and by following prescribed activity protocols he will continue to improve. We have encouraged vigilance and an emphasis on safety in his eventual return to full activity.

This is the only comment we will be making in relation to this matter. All future media inquiries should be directed to the Liverpool FC Press Office.

Dr. Ross Zafonte

Senior VP of Medical Affairs, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

Chief of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Massachusetts General Hospital

Not all that conclusive, then.

The NHS tells you what to do if you’ve experienced concussion:

When to go to hospital
Go to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department if you’ve injured your head and have:

woken up after being knocked out
problems with your memory
a headache that doesn’t go away
been vomiting since the injury
changes in your behaviour, such as becoming more irritable
had an operation on your brain in the past or are taking blood-thinners (like warfarin)
been drinking alcohol or taking recreational drugs

Concussion is a serious thing.

Former Northwestern goalkeeper Anna Cassell has described why she retired from football after multiple head injuries:

Unfortunately, the harm of these concussions extend beyond the field. I suffered severe headaches, bouts of anxiety and depression, and balance problems, which all contributed to my falling weeks behind in my pre-med studies. As I think about this sad trend, I am struck by two things. The first is the lack of convincing research regarding concussion prevention. … I am also bothered by the lack of consequences for the opposing players who commit fouls that cause concussions. While referees are instructed to “protect the goalkeeper,” neither of the players who gave me my concussions had any sort of meaningful consequences, despite the fact that both were flagrant fouls where neither of them made any contact with the ball. While their team merely lost possession of the ball, I was losing my soccer career.

And then there’s the damage caused by repeatedly heading the ball…

Posted: 5th, June 2018 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Arsenal: Papastathopoulos and Fellaini reject Manchester United; Lichtsteiner joins; Gunners go tall

Who will be Unai Emery’s first signing at Arsenal? If media chatter is any guide, it’ll be someone tall. The large Sokratis Papastathopoulos looks to be on his way. The centre-back should complete a £16m transfer from Borussia Dortmund very soon.

And the still larger Marouane Fellaini is also tipped to be become a Gunner, having rejected the chance to remain at Manchester United.

Papastathopoulos has also turned down an offer to play for José Mourinho’s team. The defender’s father, Charalambos Papastathopoulos, told Greek radio station 24/7: “There was interest from United but he had to wait until July for them. United have a very good relationship with Dortmund, the teams talked but Sokratis chose to go to Arsenal.”

 

Transfer-News-Arsenal-Stephan-Lichtsteiner

 

But wait a mo… Arsenal has just signed Stephan Lichtsteiner from Juventus. It’s been over a week since Wikipedia announced  Lichtsteiner was a Gunner. And now he is one.

Lichtsteiner is 6ft tall. Papastathopoulos is a hair under 6ft 2. Fellaini is closer to 6ft 5 than he is to 6ft 4. Arsenal are going big.

Posted: 5th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Spurs kill Pochettino’s dream to manage Real Madrid

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino has been talking about Real Madrid. He told us he’d have to listen if the Spanish club offered him the manager’s job. He gave Real a heads up about Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, saying the tough negotiator “bites”. Now the Mail says “Pochettino was, for all intents and purposes, offered the vacant manager’s job.” And: “He turned his back on his dream, knowing it would lead to questions over loyalty.”

That’s Pochettino who cut short his Southampton contract to manage Spurs.

The Mail then hammers home its point that Pottechino rejected Real not because he didn’t want the job, rather because he is principled:

Mauricio Pochettino rejected the chance to become Real Madrid’s next manager because he didn’t want to labelled a mercenary.

And:

Pochettino was offered the vacant position after Zinedine Zidane’s (right) departure.

Says who?

But sources claim the Argentine turned his back on a dream switch to Real, knowing such a move would lead to serious questions over his loyalty.

What sources? The Mail mentioned none.

Knowing chairman Daniel Levy would rebuff any approach from Spain, Pochettino knew he would have to force the issue if he wanted the Real job. It’s now apparent that Pochettino was unwilling to risk his reputation, fearing his integrity would suffer an irreparable blow.

It all reads like a PR missive. Only yesterday Guillem Balague was talking. The Spurs manager had been on a trip to Spain to plug his new book, Brave New World: Inside Pochettino’s Spurs – by Guillem Balague. Balague said Levy had scuppered any hope Pochettino had of managing Real. Now we get “sources” telling us that Levy and the manager’s conscience ended Pochettino’s “dream”.

Words from Real Madrid: nil. Facts to support the sources claims: nil.

PS: Real Madrid usually get their man. 

27 Jun 2012: Tottenham’s Gareth Bale signs new four-year contract.

23 May 2013: “Gareth Bale to sign new Tottenham contract worth £150,000 a week” (Guardian)

1 September 2013:  Gareth Bale agreed a £300,000 per week to join Real Madrid.

It’s not over yet. Everyone has their price at Spurs.

Posted: 5th, June 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Manchester City star says Pep was jealous and will fight racism with a cake

Yaya Touré is joyously chippy about his time at Manchester City under Pep Guardiola. The man whose agent once complained about a lack of cake and singing at his client’s 31st birthday is upset. This is the Yaya Toure who signed a new one-year contract extension to continue playing under Guardiola. Pep praised Toure when it was announced the 35-year-old would be moving on. But Yaya expects more. Cake-friendly Yaya thinks Pep took the biscuit.

Pep and Yaya’s spat goes back to their time at Barcelona. Toure lost his place to Sergio Busquets. Now Toure is talking to France Football.  “I want to be the one who breaks the myth Guardiola,” trills the headline put through the language shredder that is Google Translate. Well, the other Premier League clubs failed to prick the Pep bubble as Man City stormed to the title. Maybe Yaya can succeed. Let’s read it through Google’s universal translator:

“I tried to understand. I even asked softly my stats to physical trainers. And when I realized that they were as good or better, both in training and match, as those who played and were younger than me, I understood that it was not question of physics… I do not know why but I have the impression that (Pep Guardiola) I was jealous, he took me for a rival. (…) As if I made him a little shade.”

Pep was jealous of Yaya?

“He was cruel to me. Do you really think Barcelona could have done that with Iniesta? I came to wonder if it was not because of my color… I am not the first to talk about these differences in treatment. In Barça, some have also asked the question. Maybe we Africans are not always treated by some in the same way as others. (…) When we realize that he often has problems with Africans wherever he goes, I ask myself questions … “

Hymned multi-million pound footballer was a victim of racism? Does Pep Guardiola have problems with black players?

“He pretends not to have any,” says Yaya Toure in his interview, because he is too intelligent to be trapped. He will never admit it. But the day he will align a team in which we find five Africans, not naturalized, promised I will send him a cake! In the meantime, it is possible that he who also admits in this interview not to be insensitive to the OM project receives in return for this speech some more bitter “sweets” from Manchester City.

One question, Pep: any regrets about cutting Toure from the first XI in the season when City won the title by a huge margin with the biggest points tally of all time?

Posted: 4th, June 2018 | In: Manchester City, Sports | Comment


Samuel Umtiti and the Manchester United transfer delivered in code

News that France international centre-half Samuel Umtiti has agreed a new five-year contract with Barcelona should disappoint tabloid-reading Manchester United fans. Umtiti, who joined Lyon for €25m in 2016, will remain at the club until 2023.

umtiti balls man united

 

But on March 4 2008, the Daily Star told readers: “Lionel Messi furious at Barcelona as Samuel Umtiti agrees deal with Man Utd.” The source for the Star’s total balls was Spanish website Diario Gol. Of it, the Star says in a story published on March 4 and headlined “Man Utd News: Messi ‘chooses’ Umtiti replacement”: “Diario Gol often make sensational transfer claims.” Many of them are repeated verbatim in the Star.

 

The Star:- repeating utter tosh

 

One month after Umtiti had “agreed” to join Man United in the Star, the Metro announced: “Samuel Umtiti sends clear message to Manchester United during Barcelona’s victory over Roma.” This “message” was delivered not by email, rather by a gaol for Barcelona. The story has nothing to do what Manchester United. These are its lowlights:

Samuel Umtiti sent an emphatic message to Manchester United during Barcelona’s comprehensive 4-1 victory over Roma in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final…

Umtiti, who has been heavily linked with a £53million move to United in recent weeks, appeared to double Barca’s lead in the 55th minute. However, replays showed it was another own goal from Roma..

Kostas Manolas got the final contact on the ball but this didn’t stop Umtiti wheeling away to claim the goal by grabbing and pointing at Barcelona’s crest on his chest. Sorry, United…

“Sorry United?” Sorry, Metro readers, more like.

 

umtiti balls man united

 

Over in the Sun, Umtiti was off:

Manchester United close in on Samuel Umtiti signing as Barcelona refuse to meet French international’s demands – March 26

SO LONG SAM – Barcelona already looking at replacement for Samuel Umtiti, with Manchester United closing in on French defender – March 29

umtiti balls man united

 

Meanwhile…in the real world:

 

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 4th, June 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Real want Spurs boss Pochettino; fans want Liverpool’s Klopp; Balague eats himself

The BBC says Real Madrid are no longer interested in Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino. Sky Sports adds a little more: “Real Madrid end interest in Mauricio Pochettino, says Guillem Balague.” Ah, him. Balague is the expert who told us Alvaro Morata had signed for Arsenal, Santi Cazorla would join Atletico Madrid, Juan Mata was joining Liverpool and Cristiano Ronaldo was returning to Manchester United. None of those things happened. In January, Sky reported: “Real have shortlisted the Spurs boss to take over at the Bernabeu, according to Guillem Balague.”

One enjoyable oddity to Sky’s latest reports is that Balague cites himself as the source of his own story. Balague’s source is Balague:

 

balague spurs real

 

Says Balague to Balague in a case of football reporting eating itself:

Real Madrid have abandoned their pursuit of Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, says Guillem Balague.

The European champions made Pochettino their number one target following Zinedine Zidane’s decision to quit on Thursday.

However, the lack of a release clause in the Argentine’s contract, coupled with the prospect of dealing with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy – who proved a tough negotiator for Real in the transfers of Luka Modric and Gareth Bale – resulted in them ending their interest.

Or as the Sunday Times puts it:

 

spurs real madrid

Spurs boss ‘keen’ to mange Real Madrid – Sunday Times

 

The Spurs manger was recently talking about Real Madrid on a trip to Spain where he’s plugging his new book, Brave New World: Inside Pochettino’s Spurs – by Guillem Balague! Pochettino told Radio Marca in Spain that Daniel Levy “bites“. And now Balague says Levy has scuppered any hope Poch had of managing Real. Coincidence?

In other news, the Express says Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has emerged as Real Madrid’s new number 1 target. No. He hasn’t. The story tells readers: “Pochettino has given himself a five-day deadline for any approach by Real Madrid to be made… The Argentine is believed to be the favoured option of Real president Florentino Perez.”

Klopp is only mentioned because a poll of Real Madrid fans has Klopp as the one most of them would like to be the club’s next manager. The Express fails to say where this poll was conducted. We found out that it was conducted by Marca, the Spanish newspaper two days ago.

The German received 29 percent of the votes in a MARCA poll… This placed him ahead of the second favourite Mauricio Pochettino, who had 23 percent, while Castilla coach Guti was just behind on 20 percent. Joachim Low claimed 14 percent, while Michel had nine percent. The only other option on the poll was for none of the above, which took a share of five percent.

It was a poll of 6 choices. how many Barcelona fans voted for Klopp is not stated.

Posted: 3rd, June 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal have £88m for Dembele; Liverpool have tea with his mum

Arsenal are using Borussia Dortmund as a feeder club, chasing the German side’s former star Ousmane Dembele. The Gunners want the forward to play with his former teammates Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Ex-Dortmund chief scout Sven Mislintat is now head of recruitment at the Emirates. The Gunners have offered Dortmund £16m for their 29-year-old centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

Demeble joined Barcelona last summer for £97m. News in the Sun is that he ‘could’ be on his way to Arsenal for £88m. Arsenal fans will know huge money buys get mentioned around the same time season ticket renewal notices go out. Last season Arsenal wanted to splurge £90m for Monaco’s Thomas Lemar. The Liverpool Echo now says of him: “The demise of Thomas Lemar – from nine-figure bids to being on the fringes of the French national team squad.”

“I’m very happy to be here, said Dembele when he joined Barcelona on a five-year contract. “It has always been my dream to be at Barcelona and now I’m here I’m very happy. It is the best club in the world with the best players in the world.”

What’s he going to say when he joins Arsenal? And where were Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal scouts when Dembele joined Dortmund from French side Rennes on a five-year deal in May 2016 for £13m?

Liverpool also want him. Sky says former Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp “will attempt to meet Dembele’s mother to help convince the player his future lies at Anfield”. Dembele’s mother Fatimata “is who will decide Ousmane’s future,”, says the player’s agent.

To say nothing of Barcelona, who hold the player’s contract for four more seasons…

Posted: 3rd, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


England’s World Cup kit made by starving waifs in Bangladesh

The headline is roughly the story from the Telegraph, that the workers who make the England replica kit over there in Bangladesh are starving helots who deserve very much better. It’s also not quite true. Those garment factory workers have a pretty good deal – by the standards of Bangladesh that is. That’s why they flock to work in those factories. And yes, I have been there, I have seen it.

England’s World Cup football kit is being made in a factory in Bangladesh where workers are paid as little as 21 pence an hour, an investigation by The Telegraph can disclose.

The official England shirt and shorts, part of the most expensive England kit ever, are made at a factory inside a restricted government-controlled zone where employees are paid as little as £1.68 a day and described having to live “hand to mouth”.

The currency of Bangladesh is “taka.” The minimum wage in Bangladesh is 1,500 taka a month. The minimum wage in the garment factories is 5,000 and change taka. They’re doing pretty well by the standards of the time and place that is. That’s around and about £50 a month, true, which we’d think to be not very much at all. But then Bangladesh is a ery poor couontry still. It’s about as poor as Britain was back in 1700 AD or so.

No, really, that’s where they are and we were. That’s after we account for inflation. They’re 300 years behind us in economic development. Not their fault and all that but there’s the truth of it. And that’s why wages are shite – just as they were in England in 1700 in fact.

It’s also not much of a Telegraph investigation that uncovered this. For this is really a press handout from an NGO:

The Clean Clothes Campaign, which strives to improve conditions in the global garment industry, said: “With the minimum wage set at 5,300 BDT (£47), garment workers in Bangladesh are some of the most poorly paid in the global garment industry.

“Their wages do not even cover basic needs, much less enable them and their families to have decent lives.”

The group said that a living wage in Bangladesh would amount to 37,661 BDT (£335). This equates to £1.62 per hour.

The problem here is that that is higher than near all wages in Bangladesh. It’s about what a Commander (the same as a Major in the Army) gets per month. It’s about twice what a teacher preparing people for A Levels gets, four ties what a state school teacher does. The insistence is that the girl sewing zippers on a month after walking out of the paddy field should get that much?

It’s not a sensible demand, is it? As I’ve said elsewhere the last time this point came up, a year back:

What our doughty fighters for fashion equality are arguing is something very different. They’ve constructed an income that they think it would be nice if people had. This much food, that much leisure, this sort of housing and so on. It would undoubtedly be nice if we could guarantee a minimum quality of life for everyone. But people can only have that if production can support it. Which, in the still poor places of the world, it can’t. The demand is akin to insisting that people in 1800 should have had lives as rich in physical consumption as those in 1950 did.

The 30,000Tk demand is asking that garment workers in Bangladesh should be earning the same amount as garment workers in Malaysia, a country well over 10 times richer. This does not show a great deal of economic understanding.

Wages are lower in a poor country because productivity is lower. It’s a poor country because productivity is lower and, to complete the circle, low productivity means poor wages. They’re all different versions of the same statement of fact.

Frankly, they’re nutters and the Telegraph has been taken in by them. Wages are low on Bangladeshi garment factories because wages are even lower in Bangladesh in general. The reason for that is that it’s a poor country.

Oh, and the thing that’s making it richer? Richer about as fast as any place, ever, has become richer, at 6 to 8% a year? That we all buy those clothes made in those factories. If you’re really concerned about those wages the answer is clear. Check the labels, see where something is made. If it’s in Bangladesh then buy two, not just then one. Because that is what makes poor people richer, that we buy what poor people, in poor countries, make.

Posted: 2nd, June 2018 | In: Money, News, Sports | Comment


Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino flirts with Real Madrid

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino says he very happy to be with Spurs. He said that after stating that if Real Madrid came calling he would “have to listen”.  Pochettino said that in Spanish at the launch of his new book. Hours after Zinedine Zidane quits as boss at the Bernabeu, Pochettino in Spain talking about Real Madrid. What are the odds?

 

Mauricio Pochettino

Come and get me

 

Marca says “There is an agreement between Pochettino and Levy which should make talks easier if Perez [Real Madrid president Florentino Perez] were to make the call to London”.  The BBC says no agreement exists. But Marca says  Pochettino “has also made it clear that it is not impossible to say no to Real Madrid”. He did? Not exactly, no. He told Marca’s journalist:

“If I see myself on the bench of the Bernabéu? Someday, like any other team, of course, or the selection of my country They are teams that I’ve been following since I was little, in your head, logically, in the future, like any person who feels passion for this sport, I do not want to create any controversy, I would also like to direct Argentina, Newell’s, back to Espanyol, to Madrid. .. if someday if the possibility is given, why not? “

And of that decision to sign a new five-year deal to stay at Spurs? Says Pochettinho: “We all have dreams, but I’ve renewed ten days ago and I’m happy in London.” Not exactly settling minds at Spurs, is he?

The Spanish paper recalls that when Gareth Bale and Luka Modric both made the move from Spurs to Real Madrid talks dragged on until very late August as Spurs chairman Daniel Levy made the Spaniards sweat. But doing that again could leave Spurs without a manager or with an unhappy one. “Daniel bites,” said Pochettinho of the chairman’s negotiating style. Is that come kind of heads up to Madrid?

“It would be disrespectful to Daniel for me to force a move,” he continues. “I’ve just renewed with Tottenham and I am happy. I live in the present – there is nothing more important than that. I enjoy what is happening and what has to be will be. The link now with Madrid is normal and I take it with all normality. I’m committed to Spurs and still have a long contract with them I just signed.”

Is he “ready for a challenge like Real Madrid”. Yes? No? “Right now I am ready to go to lunch. I’m looking forward to going back to London,” Pochettino replies.

This one’s going to run and run…

Posted: 2nd, June 2018 | In: Sports, Spurs | Comment


Media still gunning for Manchester City striker Raheem Sterling

Manchester City and England forward Raheem Sterling is a “great example” to us all, says England manger Gareth Southgate. His tattoo of a gun is no-one’s business but his own. The Sun and other media have been monstering Sterling for some time, focusing on how he spends his money and using his image to illustrate a story on crime. This week the paper linked his tattoo to the Vietnam War and children being stabbed to death.

 

daniloa taylor raheem sterling

Damiloa Taylor was stabbed to death when he was 10 – and Raheem Steling was 5.

 

raheem sterling m16 tattoo

Raheem and his part in the Vietnam War

 

raheem sterling the sun

And the Sun’s Star letter is… GET STERLING!

 

Sterling said the tattoo was about his father, who was shot dead.

Says Southgate: “”He knows what it [the tattoo] means to him and he’s comfortable he has done nothing wrong. He has always been a resilient boy from when I worked with him in the under-21s, to even younger than that He is tough and I have no doubts that he can more than cope and thrive in the environment we are going into…

“He knows he has our support. He understands how some people perceived the tattoo. In my view a tattoo is like any work of art – it’s a very individual meaning…

“The personal story of a lot of our players is quite remarkable. People highlight the issues and faults of all of the squad but for so many of them it’s incredible that they have got to the point they have. They are a great example to young kids of what you can achieve with your life if you are dedicated and focused. Of course they have talent, but there is so much more that is needed to become a professional and a top one. Raheem embodies that. Nothing is given to you in life and you have to fight all the way.”

 

raheem sterling drugs

The Sun tweets: Nothing to do with Raheem Sterling

 

And how does Sky Sports, which corrupted Sterling’s explanation, report on the player: “Sterling apologies to England team-mates.” About the tattoo?

 

Sterling

 

No. It;’ nothing to do with any tattoo. So why was he late?

“He was given off until the Tuesday night and he arrived on the Wednesday morning, so he was late,” Southgate said. “There was a mix-up on flights and a connection. In fairness to him he wanted to apologise to the group, explained his commitment to the team, and it’s done. That was accepted and everybody has moved on.”

Sterling had been given permission to return a day later than the bulk of the England squad to attend to a personal commitment in Jamaica.

However, a mix-up with his return flights – which included a stop off in Miami – saw him arrive 12 hours later than agreed.

In the Sun tomorrow: Why can’t Raheem Sterling get a private jet like everyone else?

Previously:

 

raheem sterling plane

 

More to follow…

Posted: 2nd, June 2018 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, Sports | Comment


Zidane leaves Real Madrid; Spurs fret over Pochettino; Wenger hopeful

Zinedine Zidane is leaving Real Madrid boss, going out on an almighty high after leading the to a third straight Champions League triumph. He says the club needs “a different voice”. Replacements are quickly pushed to the fore: Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino; Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri; out of work Arsene Wenger; and Maurizio Sarri, most recently of Napoli.

How hopeful must Wenger be that having turned Real down a few times, they now come for him? And what of Pochettino, who surely could not resist the chance to manage the world’s biggest club? Marca says Real want Pochettino. Spurs should worry.

The media did not see this one coaming. “Zinedine Zidane says he wants to stay as Real Madrid boss amid speculation over future,” said Sky Sports on March 30. “Zinedine Zidane has put his future firmly in Real Madrid’s hands by stating he wants to remain head coach at the Bernabeu next season,” readers are told.

“Yes, I would still like to stay as coach of Real Madrid,” Zidane told everyone. “Here we depend on the results, it has not changed, it will not change, it is the requirement of this club and I accept it. I’ve been here 18 years, I how Real Madrid functions. I do what I like doing, I do it thoroughly and if the question is, do you want to continue? Then yes I will continue. I do not feel tired, not at all.”

Real Madrid finished third in La Liga, well behind winners Barcelona and beaten into second by city rivals Atletico Madrid.  Just as beaten CL finalist Liverpool are only the fourth best side in England, Real are not the best side in Spain. The club wants better. Zidane told the Real Madrid website: “My future is independent of that (Champions League success).” It’s about being the best side in Spain. And Real aren’t.

 

Posted: 31st, May 2018 | In: News, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester United and Chelsea fight for Robert Lewandowski who dreams of Real Madrid

Chelsea are keen on Robert Lewandowski, who wants to leave Bayern Munich (Mirror). Manchester United are favourites to sign the Poland striker, says the Daily Star. Lewandowski’s a gem of a player. And for some time now he’s bene linked with other clubs. So can we believe the stories that he’s heading to the Premier League?

Robert Lewandowski has agreed to join Real Madrid this summer – The Metro, March 19 2018

Chelsea and Man Utd dealt transfer blow: Robert Lewandowski and Real Madrid agree terms – Daily Star, March 19, 2018

Real Madrid news: Robert Lewandowski ‘agrees deal’ after Harry Kane pursuit fails – Daily Express, March 17 2018

Lewandowski agrees Madrid move – Goal, March 16 2018

Real Madrid transfer news: Robert Lewandowski ‘dreams’ of signing for club – Daily Express, December 9 2017

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski has his heart set on moving to Real Madrid next summer – The Metro, September 17 2017

Robert Lewandowski to snub Manchester United, Chelsea and Man City by leaving Bayern for Real Madrid – The Independent, January 27 2016

WHERE TO, LEW? Robert Lewandowski latest: Arsenal, Liverpool, Man City, Manchester United or Chelsea? At which Premier League club could he end up? – The Sun, June 16 2016

Clickbait all the way.

 

Posted: 31st, May 2018 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Raheem Sterling: Sky Sports joins The Sun in monstering the Manchester City striker (again)

Raheem Sterling’s tattoo continues to make news in the Sun (prop. R. Murdoch) and on Sky Sports (prop R. Murdoch). Manchester City striker Sterling has told everyone why he’s got a tattoo of a gun on his leg:

 

Raheem STerling apology guns

NEVER

 

Ot as Sky Sports put it: “…I would never touch a gun again.”

 

raheem sterling apology guns again sky

‘AGAIN’?

 

PS: Sky regrets the error.

 

To recap: it’s a drawing of a gun. Raheem Sterling is very much anti-guns. Here are pictures of England footballers with real guns:

 

 

Previous hatchet jobs on Sterling: here, here and here. No need for guns for a character assassination.

Posted: 30th, May 2018 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Alisson to Liverpool for £52m, to Manchester united for £88m and Karius to Italy

Loris Karius has been offered the chance to join Italian third-division side Rimini FC. The Italian club will provide a safe space for the Liverpool keeper. At Rimini the 24-year-old German will “rediscover calm and his self-belief”. Karius will “rediscover serenity, self-esteem and strength to follow his dream”. His departure will leave space for Alisson to arrive at Anfield. Maybe.

In other news, Roma will “demand” Liverpool pay 90m euros (£79m) for goalkeeper Alisson, says the BBC. And Roma will only listen to offers for the 25-year-old Brazilian after the World Cup. Well, so says the Guardian.

As ever, the media is guessing. In May, the Sun said Alisson would “snub” Liverpool and sign a new deal with Roma:

 

liverpool alisson

‘Snub’

 

On March 29, the Daily Star told us: “LIVERPOOL and Arsenal have been told to stump up £52m if they want to sign Roma keeper Alisson.”

And just this May the Sun told us how much Alisson would cost Man United and that Liverpool were no longer interested in the player: £88m.

 

aisson man united

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 30th, May 2018 | In: Liverpool, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester United have cool £120m for Bale who won’t laugh at Spurs

Two spots of Transfer Balls on the BBC’s clickbait football pages. First up the news that Manchester United “will offer” Real Madrid 140m euros (£121.8m) for the brilliant Gareth Bale. Oh, and the Spanish shopping trip does not end there because United are also in for Barcelona’s Spanish 29-year-old left-back Jordi Alba.

United are desperate. You realise just how needy the Red Devils are when the BBC also notes that Manchester City “believe” they can recruit Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez, 27, for a “knockdown fee of £60m – though it will still break their transfer record.” United spent more than that on Lukaku.

 

manchester united bale

 

Over £120m for Bale is a lot of money but just one day ago the Mirror was telling us the Welshman would cost United £335m. The advice must be to give it a week and get him for around £20m. Bale’s price is falling fast.

Spanish publication AS, however, backs up the BBC’s guesswork with the story that Bale is wanted by United, Bayern Munich and – get this – Spurs. This is what the Spurs link looks like when its puts through the wonder of Google Translate:

On Tuesday, the British newspaper Independent claims that Pochettino’s Tottenham has joined the bid for the Cardiff end. According to the English publication, Tottenham plans an operation to bring back the player who sold to Madrid for 101 million euros in the summer of 2013. This operation would include a salary cut for Bale…

This contractual data would be very similar to what is currently charged by Tottenham’s flagship player, Harry Kane, so Bale would not be the highest paid player in the London team. Of course, Tottenham is confident that despite these salary cuts, the desire of the Welshman to play all the minutes he does not have in Madrid and to return to the team in which he exploded as a player would be enough to convince the Welshman.

 

bale spurs

Bale ‘could’ in the Indy

 

Bale must be chomping at the bit to rejoin Spurs for less money and less chance to winning anything. So why not take an even larger salary cut and return to Southampton?

Worth checking out the Independent’s story, then. The Indy is now a cickbait factory. It says Bale “could” could Spurs. Just as he could join Millwall or could eat nine shredded wheat. The Indy says Spurs “may” bid for Bale. Spurs have a chance because “United are now cool on the player”. “Sources” says Bale thinks Spurs is an option. Or as Sky puts it:

 

spurs bale

Sky ‘understands’

 

Gareth Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett is set to meet with Real Madrid officials to decide the Wales star’s future – but he will not be returning to Tottenham, Sky Sports news understands.

 

And how “cool” are United on Bale? About as cool as a wasabi enema if the tabloids are to be believed:

 

united bale

 

Utter balls, then.

And we’ve been here before. The story of Bale to Man United returns each summer:

bale united

bale manchester united

 

bale manchester united

bale

 

n transfer talks for Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Raphael Varane

 

Bale never has joined a desperate Manchester United, preferring to remain at the mighty Real and win the Champions League year after year after year…

Posted: 30th, May 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


‘Role Model’ Raheem Sterling should stick to junk food, gay bashing and gambling

Some news that the FA has a Code of Conduct for England players and that Manchester City and England striker Raheem Sterling might have fallen foul of it on account of his M16 tattoo. The Sun cites the Code in its front-page news story on Sterling’s tattoo. The paper links Sterling’s tat to the Vietnam War.

 

raheem sterling m16 tattoo

 

raheem sterling m16 tattoo

 

raheem sterling m16 tattoo

 

 

You can read the full Code of Conduct which Sterling has not flouted here.

And you can read the list of FA ‘parters’ here, highlights of which are: Mars, Lucozade Sport, Emirates, Budweiser, Carlsberg, Walkers and Coca Cola. All the kind of stuff to get the kids fit, lean and healthy. And there’s Emirates, the airline that sponsors the FA Cup. It’s owned by the government-run Investment Corporation of Dubai. In Dubai, the NYTimes says “homosexuality is subject to the death penalty”. Grab your rainbow laces and run like hell.

In 2017, the Football Association ended all of its sponsorships with betting companies, including mutually terminating a long-term Ladbrokes deal. The BBC’s Dan Roan commented:

…it does at least finally address mounting concerns the governing body was being hypocritical and its role as a regulator of gambling was hopelessly compromised by a clear conflict of interest. However, there will still be concerns the football and gambling industries are too closely linked. It will be interesting to see if the clubs follow the FA’s lead.

The Premier League itself may not have an official gambling partner (like the FA), but last season 11 Premier League teams were sporting betting company logos on their shirts, and Sky Bet are title sponsors of the Football League.

Gambling. What harm does that do, eh? Former England player Kieron Dyer told the Mail in 2018:

We were gambling such large sums that we knew we couldn’t possibly do it in public. So we gambled in each other’s rooms, behind locked doors.

We were like clandestine drinkers, hiding ourselves to get wasted. Except the drug was gambling and there was a sizeable band of us that were addicted.

If you’re going to pretend that England players are “role models” to anyone but their nearest and dearest, why focus on a tattoo of a gun and not their employer’s profiteering from gambling, booze, gay bashing and junk food?

PS: Previously the Sun has gunned for Sterling:

 

Young man from working-class background buys house!

 

Sterling-Social-Media-drugs

Spot the obscenity – the story had nothing to do with Sterling

 

raheem sterling PFA daily mail

The Sun: Man has car; eats breakfast; minds own business

 

sterling

Get Sterling

 

To recap: Raheem Sterling is a professional athlete and England footballer.

 

Posted: 29th, May 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, Manchester City, Sports | Comment


Raheem Sterling’s gun tattoo: Manchester City striker is the tabloids’ favourite target

It’s the lead news story on Sky News and the Sun: Manchester City and England footballer Raheem Sterling has a tattoo of an M16 assault rifle on his right leg. Sterling says the tattoo is a tribute to his father, who was shot dead. Sterling was two when his dad was killed. His tattoo has a “deeper meaning”.

 

raheem sterling tattoo gun

 

The Sun says Sterling “shoots himself in the foot”. The front page features someone saying “that tattoo is sick”. On page 5, the tattoo is an “absolute disgrace”. It’s “totally unacceptable,” says Lucy Cope of ‘Mothers Against Guns’. Cope says the tattoo is “disgusting” She says: “We demand he has the tattoo lasered off or covered up  with a different tattoo. If he refuses he should be dropped from the England team.” Get the right tattoo or else be labelled a pariah. Another voice says the tattoo is “disrespectful to young people who lost their lives.”

The Sun gives no space for Sterling to reply and stops shot of mentioned God, for as it says on Leviticus 19:28: ”You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord.”

So why Raheem Sterling’s tattoo front-page news in the Sun?

 

obscene-raheem-the-sun sterling

 

raheem sterling the sun raheem sterling the sun

And:

 

raheem sterling drugs

Story: Nothing to do with Raheem Sterling

 

The Sun guns for Sterling – commenting unfavourably on how he spends his money.

 

tattoo monkey gun

 

Is Sterling the only footballer with a gun tattoo? No. This is how the Sun reported on Liverpool’s Alberto Moreno and his tattoo (above):

Alberto Moreno’s new tattoo depicts a short-sighted monkey assassin.

At some point in our lives we’ve all considered getting a tattoo of a Beats-by-Dre-loving, short-sighted, pensive monkey assassin.

But most of us simply can’t find the time to get it done.

Alberto Moreno on the other hand, cleared his schedule and popped down the tattooists to get the *classic* design inked on his thigh. You can’t help but wonder what he’s listening to… The Monkees perhaps?

The Sun saw the funny side.

And what of Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi who celebrates his rare goals by strafing the crowd with an imaginary gun:

 

iwobi the sun guns

Here’s Alex:

 

 

Is it different for Raheem?

The Sun says the “FA Code of conduct  demands England players be role models even hen not on international duty”. Mad if it does. This is sport. Sterling and the rest need be only role models for their children. The code was introduced in 2012.

The Full Code:

Player Code of Conduct

A) Standards of conduct required at all times
B) Club England values while on international duty
C) Procedures in event of alleged breach of Code

——————————————————————————————-

Captaincy

The position of England captaincy is a privileged position which carries with it the additional expectations and responsibility (both on and off the field). The captain of each team is therefore under increased scrutiny and is expected to be a role model to the rest of the squad and is his or her compliance with the code. The captaincy may be removed from a player by the Club England Management Board in the event that his or her conduct does not meet the standards required for the role. The Head Coach retains the right to change the captaincy irrespective of any breach of the Code.

——————————————————————————————-

A. Standard of conduct required at all times:

Players representing England are ambassadors for their country and are role models for younger players. The highest standards of conduct and behaviour are therefore expected at all times, including when players are not on international duty.

Not role models for everyone of us.

It is an honour to play for England.

Avoid anything adverse that may have affect of the reputation of integrity of the England team.

Comment on Twitter/Facebook about opposition, management, individuals could result in disciplinary action by Board of inquiry and CE management board.

No use of drugs without doctor’s permission.

No violence, abuse or discrimination (all forms).

No disclosure of confidential information about any aspect of playing for England.

B. While on international duty; they must:

Respect opponents, officials and supporters;

When travelling to foreign countries, be respectful of their culture and traditions.

Always acknowledge the supporters at the end of the game and on the coach travelling to training and games.

Respect Uefa and Fifa officials at all times.

Respect drug-testing officers at post-match (they’re doing a job).

Respect hotel staff at all times.

Reputations and integrity, abide by FA, Uefa and Fifa rules, no drugs.

Reject and oppose violence, abuse and all forms of discrimination.

Not publish (on Twitter or Facebook) anything that may cause or embarrass a member of the FA, the England squad and management.

Professionalism:

Players should not react, however hard it is, to verbal provocation from the press or fans when in public places (photographers are allowed to follow players in public places, it is not against the law).

Follow directions of team management.

Follow individual team rules.

Wear official sportswear (except footwear).

No personal endorsements.

Not consume alcohol without the express permission of the manager.

Not use drugs or banned substances.

Not use room service.

Not bet on any football matches (this is against FA rules) (and immediately detail approaches with regard to inducements to give information for betting purposes).

Only use a sensible amount of time playing video or computer games.

Note that mobile phones in the meal-room, dressing-room and on the team bus is at the discretion of the Head Coach.

Not discuss team tactics or selection ahead of fixtures outside of the group.

Always be on time for team meetings.

Communication:

All media activity co-ordinated through press office.

All players should play a part in meeting media demands.

Go through mixed zones (guidance that no ear-phones etc worn).

No criticism on Twitter/Facebook.

No Twitter or Facebook comments on the day before the game or the day of the game unless authorised.

No media columns.

Be aware that texts, picture messages, and BBM messages, can become public.

Process:

Investigation carried out by CE.

All players must comply with investigation.

If breach found, then option of sanctions (oral/written warning, exclusion from selection for fixed or indefinite period).

Pending any outside investigation, (CPS etc) CE maintain right to suspend at their discretion.

If case not proven or dropped, players available for selection.

If non-custodial sentence, CE board decide on case-by-case basis.

Custodial – excluded until time to be determined by CE management board.

Serious allegations – captaincy may be removed at discretion of CEMB.

SANCTIONS

4.1: issuing an oral or written warning to the player.

4.2: determining that the player shall not be eligible for selection for a specific number of matches or specific period.

4.3: determining that the player shall not be eligible for an indefinite period.

Where an allegation of serious misconduct has been made, the Club England Management Board may suspend a player while the matter is investigated further and/or pending the outcome of any footballing regulations or criminal investigations.

Serious misconduct includes:

Theft, dishonesty, fraud, deliberate falsification of records.

Assault, battery, violence, deliberate damage to or misuse of FA property.

Breach of safety-security regulations.

Deliberate damage to FA property.

Being under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.

Any form of discrimination.

Deliberate misuse of confidential information.

Serious breach of FA rules/regs.

No conduct that significant, materially or adversely impacts on reputation or integrity of FA.

ANY decision of CEMB is final – There is no right of appeal.

CEMB have power to publish in the press.

Players are to advise either their national team coach, team administrator or a CE official when they are guilty or have been accused of any criminal offence.

What’s Sterling done wrong?

Posted: 29th, May 2018 | In: Manchester City, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Liverpool beat Arsenal and Manchester United to Fabinho

fabinho

 

Liverpool have yet to sign a new goalkeeper. But they have recruited midfielder Fabinho from Monaco for £40m. The 24-year-old Brazil heralds the imminent departure of Emre Can and the arrival of Naby Keita from RB Leipzig on July 1. Arsenal tabled a late bid for Fabinho but Liverpool got their man.

“This is something that I always wanted – this is a giant of a team,” says Fabinho. “I am really excited.” Or as the Sun put it in April 2018: “Midfielder Fabinho is keen on forcing through a summer move to Manchester United.”

Says Jurgen Klopp of his new player: “He has ability and mentality to play at the highest level in a number of positions. He can play ‘six’, ‘eight’ and ‘two’. This is cool.”

Klopp than harps on about all manner of stuff. “We have signed a fantastic player, but someone who is an equally fantastic person I think,” adds Klopp. “He has a lovely family also – adding a person like this to our dressing room only makes us even stronger. What we have – in terms of our environment at Melwood and in the team – means anyone coming in must be of that build. They must be the highest quality person and player.”

Not that team spirit was much in evidence when Loris Karius was being comforted by Real Madrid players after the final whistle in last weekend Champion’s League final. Karius’s culpability in two Real goals in the Spaniards’ 3-1 win was plain. So too was the lack of support he got from his Liverpool team-mates after the final whistle sounded. Former Everton player Kevin Campbell tweeted: “Karius should have got supported by his team mates! Bang out of order leaving him alone and only got consoled by the Madrid players.” Although they night have been thanking the hapless German.

Liverpool are also chasing Alisson Becker, the Roma goalkeeper, and Lyons midfielder Nabil Fakir. Doubtless Klopp is checking out both players’ families before endorsing any bids.

Anyhow, no-one saw Fabino coming to Liverpool. Not one newspapers said a deal was imminent. But this is what the Press has been telling is readers:

 

fabinho man united

 

“United, City miss out as Fabinho agrees shock La Liga move” – TEAMtalk, July 2017

“Atletico Madrid agree deal for Man Utd target Fabinho: Real Madrid to profit too” – July 2017, Daily Express

“Manchester United reach agreement to sign Monaco star Fabinho” – The Metro, June 2017

 

 

PSG sign Kylian Mbappe and Fabinho in stunning record-breaking deal as summer spree continues – The Monaco duo will join PSG and Fabinho is set to be replaced by Anderlecht midfielder Leander Dendoncker. –  Duncan Castles, Daily Record, August 2017

The press missed Fabino to Liverpool. He looks like a good signing.

Posted: 29th, May 2018 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal move to sign Sokratis Papastathopoulos

Arsenal are closing in on Borussia Dortmund centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos. The fee for the 29-year-old in the final yea of his Dortmund contract: £16m. With the imminent arrival of Stephan Lichtsteiner, 34, on a free transfer from Juventus, Arsenal finally look like adding defensive nous to the side.

If Papastathopoulos arrives at the Emirates, he will the third former Dortmund player to join Arsenal since Sven Mislintat became head of recruitment. Under Mislintat, the formerly chief scout at Dortmund, Arsenal have already bought former Dortmund players Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. It also means Arsenal will have seven first-team players – including Granit Xhaka, Mesut Ozil, Shkodran Mustafi and Sead Kolašinac – who played in the Bundesliga. Why is that? Is it simply the players coming for the money? And Arsenal knowing their money will tempt the players to join?

Papastathopoulos was AEK Athens’ youngest-ever captain, at 19, and his country’s Young Player of the Year in 2008.

In January, Arsenal bought centre-back Konstantinos Mavropanos, 20, from PAS Giannina. The future is looking promising – although not everyone will be delighted:

Posted: 28th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Klopp sings about luck, fans wish death on Karius and unusual views from Kiev

Not every Liverpool fans reacted to defeat in the Champions League final by wishing death on Loris Karius and his family. Although these vile tweets getting traction on twitter might be from Chelsea fans:

 

 

 

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was singing aft the match. Sure, he’s lost six finals in a row, but for the Premier League’s fourth-best side to reach the Champions League final was not too shabby. “Madrid had all the fucking luck,” sang Klopp. If ‘luck’ is shorthand for Real having the better team, better players, a better game plan and a better ‘keeper (who doesn’t?), then yep, they did:

 

Not that everyone saw the game:

 

Posted: 27th, May 2018 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Joe Hart to Manchester United unless Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea get there first

Spare things are not as good as the first choice stuff: second homes, the assistant manager, that old spare mobile with the crack in the screen that might be useful should the lovely new iPhone break. So should the superb David Dea Ge get injured, Manchester United will call up their spare goalkeeper: Joe Hart. The 31-year-old former England goalkeeper still sat on Manchester City’s books, the anti-dandruff campaigner who plays with all the calm authority of a drunk on the night bus and is as mobile as said bus, has “emerged as a contender to join Manchester United as back-up to David de Gea” says the BBC. Jose Mourinho is “resigned to losing current reserve keeper Sergio Romero”.

The Sun agree that Hart to Man United is being considered. But fans of the club can quell the rising panic in the knowledge that neither the BBC nor the Sun come up with single fact to support their claim. After season-long loan spells at Torino and then West Ham United, Hart and his agent are scouting round for a club to take him on. A year go, the Mail told its readers that Arsenal were going to pay £15m for Hart. The Mail reported:

Arsenal are interested in Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart as they consider replacements for Petr Cech. It could lead to a tug-of-war with Liverpool, who have long been linked with the England international. The Gunners are going to look for a new goalkeeper after this season, with 34-year-old Cech to become their No 2 if he stays.

Cech stayed as Arsenal number 1. Liverpool went with Loris Karius. And Hart went to West Ham, who paid half his £130,000-a-week wages. There he spent much of the season on the bench.

Hart’s contract at City lasts until June 2019. The Star tells us: “Joe Hart not waiting forever for Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea to set up summer move.” That story is rooted in an anonymous source, who told the Sun:  “Joe will do what is right for him and his young family. He long accepted his Man City career is over and values playing above everything else. There is still some chatter Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea could be interested but he’s been around long enough not to be waiting by the phone.”

If the media is to be believed, the player who was Number 2 at West Ham and Number 3 at Manchester City is wanted by Man United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. Five of the top 6 Premier League clubs, then, are all after Hart. And the only top six club not interested is Spurs – which, oddly enough, pay their top performers much less than Hart earns.

It’s going to be busy few weeks for Hart’s agent…

Posted: 27th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Gareth Bale gives Liverpool and Spurs fans something to remember

gareth bale 4 champions leagues

 

Liverpool tyro Mohamed Salah was injured in the Champions League final against Real Madrid. Talks is of a suspected dislocated shoulder. He was hauled down by Real captain Sergio Ramos in the 26th minute. Real are merciless. Liverpool had nine shots with Salah on the pitch. After he left the pitch they had no more in the first half. Then after the break: goals. Benzema scored in the 51th minute. Mané equalised for Liverpool in the 55th minutes. And then – and then – Gareth Bale scored a belter. There were four former Southampton players on the pitch for Liverpool when the one former Saint on the Real team scored. Bale then scored another.

Bale has now won four Champions League titles since leaving Spurs for Madrid.

Worth repeating, then, what the experts said of Bale when he made the move:

Former Spurs manager David Pleat says Bale, 24, was too young to work abroad: “I think he’s a little bit young to go abroad. I doubt he’d find it easy. Many have failed when they have moved overseas. One or two have succeeded, but not many. Most have had a difficult time.”

Former Spurs manger Harry Redknapp told us: “He’s not an over-ambitious lad. He wants to be successful obviously but he’s not someone I can see moving to Real Madrid at this stage in his life.”

Former Spurs great Glenn Hoddle offered: “He’s had a new baby and I’m not sure if he’s ready for a move abroad.”

And this is what the mighty Bale said in 2011: “I’m not afraid to leave the country. I left home at 15 [to join Southampton’s academy]. If I leave the Premier League, I’ll learn another language … I will grow as a person.”

Gareth Bale: Number of regrets – nil.

Posted: 26th, May 2018 | In: Key Posts, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal sign Stephan Lichtsteiner (on Wikipedia)

Arsenal are making moves to sign Juventus right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner. The 34-year-old Swiss is out of contract very soon. Lichtsteiner, who joined Juventus from Lazio in 2011, has played 250 times for the Italian champions, winning the league title every season. is Lichtsteiner the player who will show current Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin how to defend?

Who else wants  him?

Lichtsteiner has said he will never play for Borussia Dortmund, who wanted him, nor in China –  “I definitely never go to China,” he said earlier this month. “I do not run after the money and also need next to the place quality of life. My wife and children need to feel good, that would not be the case in China. And I do not need more money.” Arsenal sound like the right fit.

 

asrsenal Stephan_Lichtsteiner_(2)

 

So Lichtsteiner is likely to be Unai Emery’s first signing as Arsenal manager, right? Well,  according to Wikipedia, the DIY online encyclopaedia the deal is done. “He signed for Arsenal on a 2 year deal,” says Wikipedia.

 

Stephan Lichtsteiner arsenal

On Wikipedia – Stephan Lichtsteiner already plays for Arsenal

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 26th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Manchester United balls: Paul Pogba’s hair goes it alone

When Denmark’s football coach Åge Hareide talked about facing France in the World Cup and mentioned one of their players, Manchester United’s Paul Pogba, the Press mangled his words. Hareide was speaking with Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. The paper headlined the story: “Åge Hareide designates the Danish World Cup quarterfinals as a target.” The full story is behind a paywall. But the Mirror has read it, apparently, and tells its readers:

“Man United star Paul Pogba slammed by national team boss – ‘Damn it, he cares so much about his appearance’ – Denmark boss Age Hareide has stuck the boot into the French international midfielder

The story tells us:

Paul Pogba has been mocked by Denmark’s coach before they meet in the World Cup next month. And Age Hareide claimed Didier Deschamps’ team are not “anything special” with no outstanding players… Hareide, who will face the French in Moscow on June 26, claimed the Manchester United midfielder is not a leader – and is obsessed with flashy haircuts. “He played against Manchester City with his hair dyed blue and white, maybe he’ll have it red and white to play us,” said the 64-year-old.. “Damn it, he cares so much about his appearance…”

That what he said? Not quite.

What he said was – and this through Google Traanslate:

“One day he [Pogba] is good, another bad. He played against Manchester City with his hair dyed in blue and white, maybe he’s red and white when he meets us.
Does he just think of his hairstyles?”

In other news from the Premier League football season just gone:

“Paul Pogba reveals latest haircut” – August 23 2017

“Garth Crooks took aim at Paul Pogba’s haircut” – September 11 2017

“Paul Pogba has unveiled another crazy hairstyle as he eyes a return to action” – Sep 26, 2017

“BBC pundit Garth Crooks has a weird obsession with footballers haircuts” – Nov 20, 2017

“‘Hair is burning!'” Paul Pogba shows off new outrageous hairdo” – December 15 2017

“Paul Pogba shows off striking new haircut” – February 26 2018

“Manchester United supporters slam Paul Pogba after he takes to Instagram to post picture of his new hairstyle” –  March 19 2018

“Paul Pogba’s latest haircut provokes priceless reaction from Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud” – March 28 2018

‘”It’s ridiculous” – Gary Neville slams Paul Pogba for dying his hair”‘ – April 7 2018

You can read all those stories in the Daily Mirror. Damn it – they care so much about his appearance!

Posted: 25th, May 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Costa’s £39m reasons to join Manchester United

Douglas costa bayern manchester united

 

Did you know Manchester United are “willing” to splurge £79m on Douglas Costa, the Bayern Munich forward? The BBC says they are. That’s a lot of money for a player Bayern farmed out on loan to Juventus last season. When Costa joined the Italians on a season-long loan last July, terms of the deal were written across the newswires. Juventus would pay Bayern €6m (£5.3m). There was an additional €1m (£885,000) in performance-related add-ons. Crucially, there was an option to buy Costa outright for a further €40m (£35.4m).

So Costa would cost Juventus around £40m were they to sign up. But Manchester United are “willing” to pay £79m for the same player. Really?

Over in the Sun Manchester United are “ready” to pay £79million for Costa. In the insane world of football transfers – and the twilight world of football reporting – Juventus would buy Costa for £40m and the next day be able to sell him to Manchester United for double that. Agree to give Costa two signing-on fees, and the Brazilian and his agent are happy.

 

douglas costa bayern munich juventus manchester united

The Sun

 

douglas costa bayern munich juventus manchester united

The Daily Star

 

The tin lid is places on this absurd story when the Sun tells its readers :”Presently, the chances of Costa ending up at Old Trafford stand at 40 per cent.”  Says who? Dunno. The Sun doesn’t bother to show us the maths. But it works at 1% for every million a desperate United will are ready and willing to pay over the odds to get their man.

Of course, it’s all true. And United had best move quickly. That fee for Costa rising fast. Just two days ago, United were ready and willing to pay £40m to get Costa, said the Mirror:

 

douglas costa bayern munich juventus manchester united

 

Of course, if you believe everything in the papers and on the BBC, Douglas Costa joined Chelsea in 2015:

 

douglas costa bayern munich juventus manchester united

Daily Star: Costa to Chelsea. It was Costa’s “dream move”. “I’ve realised a dream,:” said Costa when he signed for Bayern Munich for £21m.

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 25th, May 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment