The strict legal norms in force in the United Kingdom have largely restrained once frightening soccer fans. It is not entirely impossible that soccer players will one day be put under control as well. That additional legal and educational measures are indicated has been confirmed again by the bulk of the Liverpool squad that ran riot in Portugal.
Several days before their triumphant display at Nou Camp, 15 players took advantage of coach Rafael Benítez’s absence and left the camp in Vale do Lobo to have a little fun at a night club. The usual effects of alcohol did not take too long to set in and Craig Bellamy even beat up John Arne Riise with a golf club when the Norwegian refused his plea to sing caraoke.
Since not even the noble attempts of captain Steven Gerrard were enough to calm the naughty players down, the police were called to escort the squad to their training camp, but the trouble continued. The most intoxicated among the Togel players, Dudek, Fowler and Pennant, took it out on cars, power boxes and the interiors of their rooms with the help of golf clubs. The police have intervened again and Dudek had to be cuffed to be put under control. Liverpool fined all the 15 merry partygoers and ordered them to play better than usual against Barcelona, which they did, especially Bellamy and Riise who conspired to score the winning goal at a venue infrequently conquered by visitors.
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Lineker dissuades Cristiano from joining Barcelona
The former Barcelona striker Gary Lineker disappointed his one-time employers by giving unsolicited advice to Cristiano Ronaldo regarding his career moves.
“Although it is true that he could earn more in Italy or Spain, he would do best to stay in the Premiership. Camp Nou is a huge stadium, but unless Real Madrid play, it is mostly silent. Cristiano would miss the Old Trafford ambience every week,” said Lineker, explaining that his advice was only designed to keep the best players in the Premier League, rather than denying Barcelona a player the Catalans desire.
Barcelona and Real Madrid are two of the clubs linked with Cristiano Ronaldo and it has even been rumoured that Barça would be ready to sell Ronaldinho or Eto’o in order to raise funds to pay Manchester United for the Portuguese superstar.
Italy overthrow Brazil on FIFA’s chart
The world champions Italy have finally climbed to the top of the FIFA’s world ranking, replacing Brazil, who spent 55 months leading the bunch. There is a usual delay between the time a team achieves a result on the field and the moment the result is reflected on the FIFA’s chart. This explains why it has taken Italy seven months to overtake Brazil, eliminated in the quarterfinals of the last World Cup.
France, beaten World Cup finalists, have yet to see their achievement recognized by FIFA’s sophisticated mathematicians and statisticians, since they are currently ranked fourth, behind Argentina and ahead of Germany. England are sixth while their toughest rivals in Euro 2008 qualifiers Croatia climbed from 15th to 12th.
Lothar Matthäus awaiting Beckenbauer’s call to take over at Bayern
The unforgettable German international and a long-serving Bayern’s soldier Lothar Matthäus says he would like to return to the club with which he reaped much success.
“I feel completely ready to become Bayern’s coach and I only wait for chairman Franz Beckenbauer to give me a call. I follow events in Bundesliga on a daily basis and I plan to win the German championship as coach as well,” Matthäus told German tabloid Bild.
The current Salzburg coach has won seven German titles, all of them with the Bavarians (1985, 1986, 1987, 1994, 1997, 1999 and 2000).
The current Bayern coach, Ottmar Hitzfeld, agrees with Matthäus, foreseeing a great coaching career for his former player. “He will coach Bayern sooner or later,” said Hitzfeld. Seeing how he’s been doing in his second mandate in Munich, his prediction might just become reality sooner than he thinks.
Bolivia want to finish off Brazil with thin air
In order to defeat Brazil in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, to start later this year, Bolivia plans to entertain the five-time winners in the town of Potosí, at 4000 meters above the sea.
“If we are to play in Rio de Janeiro, at the temperature of 40° C and the humidity of 95%, then we have the right to chose the venue for our home game,” said the coach Erwin “Platini” Sánchez. The Brazilians believe that playing on 4000 meters above the sea level could be dangerous for unadapted players, and certainly detrimental for the sporting interests of the visiting teams.
Last week Flamengo played a Copa Libertadores game against the local Real in Potosí (2-2), swearing they would never return to such heights again, but Conmebol said they had no legal grounds to ban the Potosí ground with respect to its geographical location.
Capello misses help from the referees
Fabio Capello used strange words while making a comment on the refereeing of Real’s home game with Betis which ended goalless.
“We haven’t been receiving too much help from the refs,” said the Italian, more or less repeating the statement from two weeks earlier when his team were beaten 0-1 by Levante.
Real’s soccer director Predrag Mijatovic was even more direct in his condemnation of the men in black or whatever colour they wear.
“I have a feeling referees are against us. We are given calls and handed cards no one understands,” said the Montenegrin referring to David Beckham’s sending-off against Betis. Incidentally, Real used to be the one satisfied with refs’ calls, and the rival fans could only despair and chant the slogan “así, así, así gana el Madrid” (loosely, “that’s the way Madrid win”).
Pele dares Romario to prove his goals tally
The King of soccer and arguably the greatest of all time, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, also known as Pelé, is not all that convinced of Romario’s claims he has scored 990 goals in his career. Only goals in official games (which includes full friendlies) should count, but it is suspected Romario has put in goals of all sorts, while the Brazilian FA tolerate it because they do not keep accurate stats.
“I would like him to score a thousand goals, but to prove his count is correct. For instance, I keep all the reports from my matches and the records of each and every one of the 1282 goals I scored. I suppose Romario also has such documents,” taunted Pelé, not missing the occasion to remind his younger colleague that he scored his 1000th goal at 29, while Romario has yet to achieve such a feat at 41…even by his own calculations.
Ranieri put a foot with a killer metaphore
Parma, winners of four European trophies, is languishing deep in the Italian relegation zone. That’s the fate of the club whose gigantic sponsor, Parmalat, went down a couple of years ago.
When the experienced coach Claudio Ranieri was brought in as saviour, during the presentation he told the players they need to kill their rivals. “Wounding will not do, only killing will.” Since the words came only a few weeks after two deaths in the Italian soccer, the media objected to Ranieri’s rhetoric.
“I am sorry I used a wrong metaphor, which is common in international soccer. I just wanted to encourage the relegation threatened team,” a contrite Ranieri added later.
River’s stadium closed for five games after fan trouble
Argentina giant River Plate will have to play five home games behind closed doors because of violent clashes between two ultra groups in the club’s offices. Rival groups fought over the way money for fans should be shared, which incensed the country’s FA and led them to pass the severe punishment.
In the meantime, the club stripped six prominent ultra leaders of their membership, virtually banning them from coming to see the home games at Monumental – once the gates reopen for fans.
River’s chairman, José María Aguilar, rejected accusations he used to pay for ultra leaders’ trips and that he had given them a percentage of Gonzalo Higuaín’s transfer to Real Madrid, presumably to keep them quiet over losing a major star.
“All of this are lies, and River is the safest club in all of Argentina,” concluded Aguilar.