Jumat, 10 Februari 2012

Cleverley back to face Liverpool

Tom Cleverley is set to return to action for the first time since October in Saturday’s crunch Barclays Premier League clash with Liverpool.

The midfielder has been sidelined with a foot injury since the 1-0 at Everton on 29 October but is ready to make his comeback against Kenny Dalglish’s side.

Cleverley was due to play in the Reserves’ clash with Chelsea at the start of the week until the game was postponed, and he was not selected for Thursday’s Manchester Senior Cup defeat to Manchester City, leading to speculation he would be involved in the first team this weekend.

Sir Alex said at his Friday press conference: “Tom's training well. We were disappointed the Chelsea Reserves game was called off on Monday. But he'll be involved tomorrow.”

Chris Smalling could also take his place in defence after missing the Chelsea draw with a knock, but Phil Jones will only be back for the Europa League trip to Ajax next week.

“There’s not much change on the injury front for us,” Sir Alex added. “I think Smalling could be available, but all the rest is as it was last Sunday.

“Phil Jones got a knock against City, which he never quite recovered from, but he'll be fit for the Ajax game.”

RVP 20 Goals trophy - pictures

Robin van Persie was rewarded for his red-hot form at London Colney yesterday when he was presented with the 'First to 20 goals' trophy to celebrate the fact he is the first player in the Premier League to reach 20 goals this season.

The Arsenal captain scored his 20th league goal in the 7-1 defeat of Blackburn at Emirates Stadium on Saturday, before adding two more to his tally to reach 22 in 24 Premier League fixtures this term.

Van Persie was also the first man to reach 10 goals and he did that while scoring a hat-trick in the 5-3 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in October.

Van Persie's 22 goals put him six ahead of Newcastle United's Demba Ba, and seven away from Manchester City's Sergio Aguero and Manchester United's Wayne Rooney.

Agbonlahor desperate to win race to face Manchester City

Gabby Agbonlahor admits his stunning hat-trick against Manchester City three-and-a-half years ago is in his top three claret and blue moments - and he'd love the chance to face them again on Sunday.

Agbonlahor fondly remembers the treble he bagged for Villa on the opening day in August 2008.

The star striker scored what is considered the "perfect" hat-trick - bagging efforts with his head, right foot and left foot at Villa Park.

The triple treat was netted in the space of seven minutes, making it the second-fastest hat-trick in the history of the Premier League.

He's desperate to line up against the men from the Etihad Stadium again this weekend and admits he's been working hard to try and be fit for this latest encounter.

Agbonlahor missed out against QPR and Newcastle with hamstring/back spasms but he says the pain is relenting.

Agbonlahor had been receiving round-the-clock massage and physio to give him the best chance possible to be fit.

And now he's got his eyes firmly fixed on the date with Roberto Mancini's title-chasers.

He said: "It's been really frustrating being out injured. No player likes it and that's especially true for me because I love to play football, so I'm working hard to try to get back.

"You don't want to miss games. We're all very eager to get some wins and I love being in amongst it and helping the team.

"It's been annoying with the back and hamstring problem I've had. But it's improving.

"I've been staying behind after most players have gone for the day to do additional work to get fit as soon as I can.

"I'm getting plenty of physio and massage and I'm really eager to be back as soon as I can.

"Manchester City is going to be a big match and, if possible, I want to be involved. I'm working really hard to be fit.

"There are few bigger challenges than facing Manchester City but we're up for the challenge.

"I have really fond memories of facing them. It was an incredible feeling to score that hat-trick on the opening day of the season - and to score all the goals so close together was unbelievable.

"I would still say that 5-1 win over Birmingham City is the highlight of my time with Villa but the hat-trick makes up one of my top three, along with my debut against Everton at Goodison Park."

A look at the stories making the backpages today

Fabio Capello has emerged as a shock contender to replace Andre Villas-Boas at Chelsea - THE SUN

The Football Association have not ruled out Harry Redknapp becoming England manager just for Euro 2012 - then letting him return to his Tottenham job - THE SUN

Jermain Defoe believes that Tottenham Hotspur's players will be caught between club and country if the FA offers Harry Redknapp the job of England manager - THE TIMES

FA chiefs will have to pay Spurs £5m to make Redknapp the next England boss - DAILY MIRROR

Harry Redknapp is interested in taking charge of England for this summer's European Championship but the FA will have to persuade him to lead the team into the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign - DAILY TELEGRAPH

The cost of appointing Harry Redknapp as England manager will exceed £10m - before the FA pay him a penny in wages - DAILY MAIL

The FA were accused of hypocrisy over racism when they unveiled Stuart Pearce as temporary successor to Fabio Capello as England manager. Pearce was accused of racially abusing Paul Ince in his playing days - DAILY MAIL

The Football Association has dismissed concerns that it could be open to charges of hypocrisy over the appointment of interim England manager Stuart Pearce, who had to apologise for allegedly racially abusing Paul Ince during a Premier League game in 1994 - THE INDEPENDENT

Fabio Capello has signed a confidentiality clause to prevent him criticising his former FA employers again - DAILY MIRROR

Football development executive Patrick Vieira has accused referees and the FA of a conspiracy to undermine Manchester City's title hopes - DAILY EXPRESS

Fergie is on Wesley Sneijder red alert

Wesley Sneijder has dropped the biggest hint yet that he would move to United.

The Dutch World Cup star has revealed that he would have considered a switch to Old Trafford during the January transfer window if Sir Alex Ferguson had made a firm bid. The United manager spent last summer tracking Sneijder, who he identified as the ideal successor to Paul Scholes. The Inter Milan playmaker’s wage demands – believed to be in the region of £250,000 a week – put a block on a £30m deal, but sources claim he would welcome a transfer to the Premier League champions.

Sneijder’s future will come under intense scrutiny again in the summer and he is refusing to rule out a switch to United. “There have never been any concrete contacts with Manchester United,” said the 27-year-old (right). “I see everything, I am not blind, but there is nothing concrete right now. “I am happy at Inter, but we will see. I currently have no contacts with other clubs and I am living day by day. “If, on the last day of the transfer window, an offer had arrived, maybe I would have left. “The truth is that I feel at home at Inter, but I do not know where I will play next season.” There still remain major question marks as to whether Ferguson would be willing to splash out so much money on a player who turns 28 in June.

The Scot prefers his new recruits to be under the age of 26 with potential sell on values. Tottenham’s Luka Modric is another target – but Spurs are expected to demand in the region of £50m for the brilliant Croatian international. Cristiano Ronaldo has been linked with a return to the Premier League and Old Trafford would be his first choice. But United, who this week slipped further behind Real and Barcelona in the list of the world’s richest clubs, could not hope to match the £80m they received for the Portuguese in 2009.

United’s year-on-year turnover grew by £45m in 2010-11, but next year’s figures will be hit by their early Champions League exit this season. Ferguson hasn’t come close to matching the club record £30.75m he spent on Dimitar Berbatov in 2008. Despite the retirements of Scholes, Edwin van der Sar and Gary Neville last year, he disappointed fans by failing to bring in a marquee signing last summer.

Suarez ready for Old Trafford return

Luis Suarez is preparing to run the Old Trafford gauntlet when the Liverpool striker faces Manchester United for the first time since his ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra.

The Uruguayan returned from his eight-match suspension when he appeared as a substitute against Tottenham on Monday but is expected to start for the Reds in the latest instalment of the northwest giants' bitter rivalry.

The two clubs met in the FA Cup at Anfield only a fortnight ago, with Liverpool winning a largely trouble-free game 2-1.

However the tie was soured by the relentless barracking of Evra by Liverpool fans, and the subsequent arrest of one fan on suspicion of making racist taunts to the French international.

Mindful of the potential for Saturday's fixture to turn ugly, both United and Liverpool officials have attempted to defuse tensions with calls for calm.

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish said Suarez had been instructed to shake Evra's hand in the pre-match ritual.

"I thought everyone involved in the FA Cup tie at Anfield played their part in making sure that the match was played in the right way, so let's make sure that happens again this weekend," Dalglish said.

"I'm sure people will want to talk about Luis Suarez but he accepted his ban, served his suspension and returned against Spurs on Monday.

"It's time for all of us to draw a line under what happened and move forward.

"People are already speculating on the pre-match ceremony, but from Luis's point of view we have spoken to him and I know he will shake the hand of Patrice Evra and the other Manchester United players before the game."

Ferguson meanwhile spoke this week of his surprise at the re-emergence of racist incidents in the English game.

"I don't understand at all where it's coming from," Fergusons said. "This is a moment where we have to take stock and we should do something about it if it's surfacing again, and be really hard and firm on any form or shape of racism.

"There have been a couple of examples recently which is not good. In 2012, you can't believe it. It was obvious maybe 20 years ago and the improvements have been for everyone to see."

While the animosity between Liverpool and United means Suarez is unlikely to be given an easy ride on Saturday, fullback Glen Johnson has backed his teammate to cope with the bearpit atmosphere.

"It is a tough place to go Old Trafford. Luis is a strong character and he will try to let his football do the talking," Johnson said.

"He has had a long break now and hopefully he will be fresh and ready to put in a performance."

A victory for United will see Ferguson's team inch one point clear of leaders Manchester City, who travel to Aston Villa on Sunday after beating Fulham 3-0 last weekend.

Although City demolished Villa 4-1 earlier this sseason, manager Roberto Mancini has said his team have been warned against complacency as they attempt to maintain their lead at the top.

"We will have a difficult game, but if we have the attitude that we had against Fulham, we will do well," Mancini said. "I think the all the remaining games are difficult."

Tottenham meanwhile will aim to celebrate a week which saw the acquittal of manager Harry Redknapp on tax evasion charges with a victory over Newcastle.

Redknapp, strongly tipped to take over as the next England coach following the resignation of Fabio Capello, is assured of a hero's welcome at White Hart Lane in his first match since the conclusion of his court case.

The 64-year-old insisted he had not "even thought about" the England job following his acquittal.

"I've got a job to do," Redknapp said. "I've got a big game on Saturday for Tottenham. Tottenham is my focus."

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has meanwhile said he is unfazed by the visit of the club's billionaire owner Roman Abramovich at training this week.

The Russian tycoon's appearance had been interpreted as a sign that support for Villas-Boas is wavering, but he Portuguese manager brushed off the suggestion as he prepared for this week's trip to Everton.

"You can speculate whatever you want, but for us it is fantastic to have him here," said Villas-Boas. "It is not distracting, not at all."


Saturday: Man Utd v Liverpool, Blackburn v QPR, Bolton v Wigan, Everton v Chelsea, Fulham v Stoke, Sunderland v Arsenal, Swansea v Norwich, Tottenham v Newcastle

Sunday: Wolves v West Brom, Aston Villa v Manchester City.

Kamis, 09 Februari 2012

Maradona blasts FA over Capello

Argentine legend Diego Maradona has lashed out at the FA in the wake of Fabio Capello's shock resignation.

Al Wasl's current manager made the comments in an Italian TV interview on Thursday night after a 1-0 win over Bani Yas in the UAE Pro League.

"The English FA used the Terry excuse to get rid of him," Maradona said.

"They were not happy with his performance and they saw this as the perfect opportunity to make him leave."

England will be managed by caretaker Stuart Pearce in their friendly against Holland later this month.

While it's unlikely that the man responsible for the infamous 'Hand of God' goal in the 1986 World Cup would ever receive the offer, the 51-year-old affirmed that he would 'absolutely not' accept the now-vacant England coaching position.

Maradona did, however, express interest in managing former Argentinian club Boca Juniors once current manager Juilo Falcioni steps down, while continuing to deny that he has been approached for the vacant UAE coaching position.

The top 15 richest clubs in world football

Manchester United are falling behind Barcelona and Real Madrid in the 'Money League' of the world's richest clubs, according to a new report.

The report by analysts Deloitte says although United's revenues continue to grow they have not kept pace with the Spanish giants, who have the advantage of being able to negotiate their individual TV rights deals.

United's failure to qualify for the group stage of the Champions League this season will see the gap widen further next year, say Deloitte.

Costly: Manchester United's failure to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League has had enormous financial repurcussions

Real Madrid remain top of the money league with revenues in 2010/11 of 479 million euros (£438m) with Barcelona second on 451m euros (£398m) and Manchester United third on 367m euros (£349m).

The report states: 'We are starting to see widening gaps between clubs at the top of the Money League.

'Manchester United's consistent on-pitch success has helped establish it as a continued fixture in the top three of the Money League, yet in recent years a gap has grown between themselves and the Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona, rising again to 83.7m euro in this year's edition.

'United's failure to qualify for the 2011/12 Champions League knockout phase will have a detrimental effect on revenues relative to the top two, which may result in this gap increasing to over 100m euro.

'In addition, there is a 70m euro gap between fourth-placed Bayern Munich and fifth-placed Arsenal.'

Chelsea remain sixth in the Money League, but Liverpool have fallen a place to ninth behind Inter Milan and the report states the Reds' lack of European football could see them drop out of the top 10 unless they at least qualify for the Europa League.

Flying high: Spanish, European and world champions Barcelona have seen revenues boom for another year 

'The club needs European football each year to maintain its status in the Money League top 10 in future editions,' says the report.

'In the medium to longer term, the Warrior Sports kit deal will underpin further commercial revenue growth, whilst formulating a viable plan to either redevelop Anfield or move to a new home is key in driving matchday revenue increases.'

Tottenham are 11th in the Money League, just in front of Manchester City thanks to last season's Champions League income, but the value of the huge Etihad sponsorship deal, which could total £400m, should see City break into the top 10 next year.

Alan Switzer, a director of Deloitte's sports business group, said: 'The club's heavy squad investment secured Champions League football for 2011/12.

'When combined with the groundbreaking 10-year partnership with Etihad, this will provide substantial growth across all three revenue sources and will see City break into the top 10 in the Money League next year.'

The top 15 richest clubs in world football

1. Real Madrid - R4.42-billion (438.6 million euros)
2. Barcelona - R4.01-billion (398.1 million euros)
3. Manchester United - R3.52-billion (349.8 million euros)
4. Bayern Munich - R3.26-billion (323.0 million euros)
5. Arsenal - R2.76-billion (274.1 million euros)
6. Chelsea - R2.58-billion (255.9 million euros)
7. AC Milan - R2.38-billion (235.8 million euros)
8. Liverpool - R2.27-billion (225.3 million euros)
9. Inter Milan - R2.26-billion (224.8 million euros)
10. Juventus - R2.07-billion (205.0 million euros)
11. Manchester City - R1.54-billion  (152.8 million euros)
12. Tottenham Hotspur - R1.476-billion (146.3 million euros)
13. Hamburg - R1.475-billion (146.2 million euros)
14. Lyon - R1.474-billion (146.1 million euros)
15. Marseille - R1.42-billion (141.1 million euros)

Vargas aware of poor form

Chile international Eduardo Vargas admitted his career at Serie A club Napoli has not started positively.

Vargas arrived in southern Italy at the beginning of 2012 following a spectacular year with Universidad de Chile.

The forward caught the attention of the football world as his skills helped the Chilean giants to back-to-back titles in 2011, as well as finishing top scorer in their winning Copa Sudamericana campaign.

The 22-year-old has barely played since moving across the Atlantic Ocean, however, and in his rare appearances has looked a shadow of the player he was in Santiago.

Vargas recognised that adapting to Italian football had not been an easy transition, but he trusted his companions to help him reach his best.

"Here the football is very different, they do not give you as much space and the biggest change is the extra physicality. I have struggled to get used to it, but I have complete support from my team-mates," Vargas told Chilean television outlet TVN.

"Something that has played in my favour is the presence of so many South Americans. They explain to me the things I do not understand (in Italian) and they tell me what the trainer is talking about."

Vargas was an unused substitute in Napoli's 0-0 draw with AC Milan last Sunday.

Etherington fires safety warning

Stoke winger Matthew Etherington says the Potters still have work to do to ensure they are safe from relegation.

Stoke are 10 points clear of Bolton Wanderers, who occupy the third and final relegation place and there is no way Tony Pulis' side should get sucked into a relegation battle.

However the winger is well aware that Stoke are still 10 points away from the magical 40 that is usually guaranteed to keep you in the league, and will not settle until they get there.

Last weekend's 1-0 defeat at home to Sunderland has got Etherington a little bit jittery and he says no-one in the dressing room is taking safety for granted just yet.

"The gap is slowly getting smaller and it's time to start picking up some points," he told the Sentinel. "You can never be complacent about these things, but I know we do have a good enough squad.

"There are a couple of games coming up that are winnable (Fulham and Swansea) and we've got to start picking up points."

Villa unable to extend Keane loan

Aston Villa have been unsuccessful in their attempt to extend Robbie Keane's loan period and he will return to the Los Angeles Galaxy after the clash at Wigan on February 25, Press Association Sport understands.

Keane has made a big impression at Villa, scoring three goals in two league starts, and Villa were hoping he could remain with them for a further week.

But the Galaxy want Keane to return after playing at the DW Stadium to prepare for the new Major Soccer League season which starts on March 10.

Keane will feature in Sunday's Barclays Premier League meeting with Manchester City but Villa's FA Cup exit means he will have a two-week wait before his final appearance against the Latics.

Chiellini accuses Ibrahimovic of slapping

Juventus defender Girogio Chiellini has accused AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic of slapping Juve's Marco Storari in their Coppa Italia clash.

The Serie A leaders beat Milan 2-1 in the semi-final first leg at the San Siro on Wednesday, and Chiellini said Sweden international Ibrahimovic was involved in a scuffle with the Juve goalkeeper at the end of the match.

Ibrahimovic recently made the headlines for all the wrong reasons when he received a red card for slapping Napoli defender Salvatore Aronica, and Chiellini insisted the striker lost his temper once again in Wednesday's game.

"What happened at the end of the game with Ibrahimovic? I wasn't involved, but the same thing that happened between Ibrahimovic and Aronica last Sunday happened with Storari now," Chiellini told Sky Sport 24.

"I hope that someone spotted the incident and that it will have consequences. Of course, things happen during a game, but you deserve to be punished if you make a mistake like this."

"Nothing dangerous happened, but the gesture he made was the same as what he did last weekend."

Ibrahimovic was handed a three-match ban for his dismissal against Napoli, but Milan have appealed the decision.

Bayern Munich Agree Xherdan Shaqiri Arrival

Bayern Munich have completed the signing of Swiss winger Xherdan Shaqiri from FC Basel.

The 20-year-old has agreed a four-year contract with the Bavarians, which will begin in the summer when the new transfer window opens.

Bayern have beaten off fierce competition for a player who is considered one of Switzerland’s brightest talents and who has shone with Basel.

Indeed, this season Shaqiri has helped the St. Jakob Park outfit to the last 16 of the Champions League.

Bayern are delighted, with coach Jupp Heynckes particularly pleased.

“Xherdan is going to strengthen our team in the coming seasons with his intelligence and dribbling skill”, said Heynckes.

“I’ve watched him for some time and I’m convinced he’ll become a key player for the club.”

The fee Bayern have paid has not been disclosed, but is believed to be around €13M.

The top stories from papers and websites - 9 February 2012

The Sun

  • Fabio Capello sensationally quit as England boss last night - finally paving the way for people's choice Harry Redknapp to take over.

  • Wayne Rooney last night called for Harry Redknapp to be appointed England boss - and was backed by senior players and fans from across the country.

  • Gareth Southgate and Trevor Brooking are being considered as emergency England managers.

  • Swansea have confirmed boss Brendan Rodgers has signed a new and improved contract.

  • Arsenal defender Johan Djourou has signed a contract extension until 2015.

Daily Mirror

  • Fabio Capello last night quit as England boss over the John Terry captaincy debacle, paving the way for Harry Redknapp to take over.

  • Harry Redknapp will be offered the England job - but on the FA's terms.

  • Fabio Capello has taken his massive backroom staff with him after they got a combined £1million pay-off to leave the England set-up.

  • Few England players were sorry or sad to learn of Fabio Capello's resignation and immediate departure.

  • Luis Suarez has admitted for the first time that he "must pay" for the row that led to his eight-match ban.

  • Arsenal's Andrey Arshavin is holding out for a move to Zenit St Petersburg in the summer - not Anzhi Makhachkala now.

  • Neil Redfearn has been told the Leeds manager's job is his to lose.

  • Gareth Bale is ready to turn his back on Barcelona and stay at Tottenham.

  • Real Madrid have given hope to Manchester City after Raul Albiol was told he can leave the Bernabeu.

  • Bolton have called time on Robbie Blake, Paul Robinson and Sean Davis' careers at the club.

Daily Star

  • Furious Fabio Capello slammed the FA after quitting as England boss last night.

  • Dimitar Berbatov has hit out at his lack of game time and admitted his Manchester United future is in limbo.

  • Leicester, Peterborough and Doncaster are battling it out to sign Macclesfield defender Shaun Brisley.

Daily Mail

  • Fabio Capello resigned as England manager last night after an explosive meeting in the FA chairman's office, leaving the way clear for Harry Redknapp to succeed him.

  • Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany is back in training after recovering from a knee injury.

Daily Express

  • Fabio Capello dramatically resigned as England manager last night after refusing to accept the Football Association's decision to strip John Terry of the captaincy.

  • Harry Redknapp won the biggest fight of his life yesterday - and a few hours later saw the pathway to the England manager's job cleared by Fabio Capello's resignation from the national post.

Daily Telegraph

  • Fabio Capello last night sensationally resigned as England manager, capping an extraordinary day on which Harry Redknapp was acquitted of tax evasion charges, clearing the way for him to succeed the Italian at Wembley.


  • Fabio Capello last night quit dramatically as England manager over the governing body's decision to strip John Terry of the England captaincy.

  • Harry Redknapp was cleared of tax charges yesterday by a unanimous verdict, opening the way for the Tottenham manager to be appointed as Fabio Capello's successor with England.

The Guardian

  • Harry Redknapp is the overwhelming favourite to replace Fabio Capello as England's next manager after the Italian resigned because of the breakdown in his relationship with the Football Association over the John Terry affair.

Daily Record

  • Rangers were still sweating on their shock move for Daniel Cousin last night as they awaited international clearance to re-sign the striker.

  • Swedish club GAIS fear Rangers are trying to avoid paying up for January signing Mervan Celik. 


  • Hamburg hope to tempt Gylfi Sigurdsson back to Germany when his loan deal at Swansea expires at the end of the season.

  • Manchester City defender Aleksandar Kolarov is a transfer target for Juventus , according to reports in Italy.

Rabu, 08 Februari 2012

Capello's successor: The contenders

Fabio Capello's shock exit has created a vacancy for an England manager, just four months away from the start of Euro 2012.

Unlike when Capello was offered £6million a year to clear up the mess left by Steve McClaren, the Football Association do at least have options - and some of them are even English.


Ticks all the boxes; English, managed in the Champions League, won trophies, plays attractive football and has done so with Tottenham thanks to a core of English players, including captaincy candidate Scott Parker. Has to be the overwhelming favourite.


Was strongly fancied to replace Capello following the 2010 World Cup. However, before the FA made their decision, Hodgson plumped for an ill-fated spell with Liverpool. Now at West Brom, Hodgson has vast managerial experience and would be viewed as a safe pair of hands.


After difficult spells at Charlton and Southampton, Pardew has re-established his reputation at Newcastle. Overcome a lot of scepticism to re-establish the Magpies as a top-flight force and not yet out of contention for a Champions League place after an outstanding campaign.


Long-time coach of the England Under-21 side and confirmed as boss of the Olympic team later this year. Pearce's fierce reputation as a player took a knock when he failed to curb the excesses of Joey Barton at Manchester City. Lacks experience of the club scene but many other countries prefer to appoint from within.


Impeccable CV and perfect grasp of English. One man who would have no problem controlling the dressing-room egos. Tipped to leave Real Madrid in the summer, his fiery temperament might be a big problem for the FA, in addition to his salary demands, which are sure to be high.


Hugely respected in England and his knowledge of the domestic game clearly an advantage. In the middle of a vast rebuilding exercise at Arsenal, where some fans have turned against him, so not impossible to believe he could be prised away. Never shown any liking for the international game though.

Capello denies FA criticism

Former England manager Fabio Capello has denied saying he was forced to resign after the Football Association "insulted" him and damaged his authority.

Capello stepped down as manager of the Three Lions after meeting with the FA at Wembley on Wednesday, following a disagreement between the two parties about the decision to strip John Terry of the England captaincy while a court case continues to hang over the Chelsea defender's head.

Capello had earlier spoken to an Italian TV station to express his disappointment with the decision, but has denied making strongly-worded comments to Italpresse after submitting his resignation.

Capello had been quoted as saying: "They really insulted me and damaged my authority. What really hit me and forced me to take this decision was the fact the much-vaunted Anglo-Saxon sense of justice, as they are the first to claim that everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

"In Terry's case, they gravely offended me and damaged my authority at the head of the England side, effectively creating a problem for the squad.

"I have never tolerated certain crossing of lines, so it was easy for me to spot it and take my decision to leave."

However, Capello told ANSA: "I did not say anything and will not say anything. All statements attributed to me are false."

The top stories from papers and websites - 8 February 2012

Daily Mirror

  • England manager Fabio Capello is set to tell FA chairman David Bernstein he will not back down over John Terry.

  • Manchester United's Patrice Evra will be told to shake hands with Liverpool's Luis Suarez when they meet on Saturday.

  • Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger could become the next France manager after Euro 2012.

  • Tottenham winger Gareth Bale heads a Barcelona summer wishlist that also includes Jordi Alba, Thiago Silva and Neymar.

  • Bayern Munich are eyeing a cut-price summer deal for Blackburn's Junior Hoilett.

  • The two Manchester clubs are battling to sign Benfica winger Nico Gaitan.

The Sun
  • Fabio Capello will be read the riot act on Wednesday over his public stance that John Terry should have remained England captain.

  • Luis Suarez is still refusing to apologise for sparking the Patrice Evra race storm.

  • Steve Kean's hopes of ending the bitter rift with Blackburn skipper Chris Samba have hit another setback.

  • Nicolas Anelka has laid bare the nightmare end to his Chelsea career, and pointed the finger at Andre Villas-Boas.

  • Carlos Vela wants a permanent move away from Arsenal.

  • Andrew Johnson is on collision course with Fulham after the latest twist in his contract saga.

  • Adel Taarabt said a one-to-one with Mark Hughes convinced him his future lies with QPR.

Daily Star
  • Fabio Capello will tell his players to like it or lump it over the John Terry affair.

  • Chelsea could offer £50million flop Fernando Torres as bait in a bid to land Atletico Madrid striker Falcao.

  • Stoke will not stand in Matt Upson's way if he wants a cash-laden move to China.

  • Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain insists he won't let the hype go to his head.

Daily Express
  • Fabio Capello is set for showdown talks with FA chairman David Bernstein that will decide his future.

  • Barcelona are looking at ways to fund a £50million summer bid for Tottenham's Gareth Bale, with the possibility of Spurs being given first option on a number of Barca youngsters.

Daily Mail
  • Andre Villas-Boas has been ordered to improve Chelsea's results after another round of talks with Roman Abramovich.

  • Fabio Capello will meet furious FA officials on Wednesday for showdown talks that will determine if he remains England manager.

  • Arsenal are lining up a shock summer swoop for Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge.

  • Arsene Wenger is lining up a summer move to bring Fiorentina's 18-year-old defender Matija Nastasic to Arsenal.

  • Matthew Upson's proposed move to Shanghai Shenhua may be put on hold after Stoke failed to get Robert Huth's red card - and subsequent three-match ban - overturned.

The Times
  • Fabio Capello is determined to go on the offensive when he meets the Football Association chairman on Wednesday for showdown talks that will determine his future as England manager.

Daily Telegraph
  • Rio Ferdinand is adamant that John Terry's ongoing desire to play for England will not affect his own international ambitions, leaving Fabio Capello with a major selection dilemma for the match against Holland this month.

Daily Record
  • Rangers boss Ally McCoist is considering a shock bid to re-sign Daniel Cousin.

  • Neil Lennon has warned his Celtic players that the SPL title is far from secured.

  • Former Rangers star El-Hadji Diouf has dismissed the SPL as a "Sunday morning league". 

Senin, 06 Februari 2012

No FA charge for United boss

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will not face a FA disciplinary charge over his criticism of linesman Darren Cann.

Ferguson was fuming with the performance of the match official during Sunday's 3-3 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
The Scot questioned Cann's decision not to flag for a foul by Gary Cahill on Danny Welbeck after the United striker raced through on goal in the first half.
Ferguson insisted Chelsea debutant Cahill should have been sent off as he was the last man, and made his feelings known after the game.

"They should have had a man sent off, but there was nothing, no decision," he said.
"That linesman has given a penalty kick against us from 40 yards away last year against Liverpool, this year against Arsenal - and he can't see that?
"He is all too happy to flag at Old Trafford for penalty kicks."

Mascherano: Barca will fight for title

Javier Mascherano has declared that Barcelona will be back in contention for the La Liga title as soon as Real Madrid drop points.

The Camp Nou outfit have fallen off the pace in the title race, as they find themselves seven points behind Madrid with 17 matches left to play in the competition.

Mascherano acknowledges that the distance between the two clubs is considerable but insists that Barca will remain focused on their games, waiting for Madrid to slip up.

"It is obvious that this is a big difference (between the two clubs), but we will fight until the end," the Argentine told reporters at a press conference.

"A draw for Madrid will put us back in the race if we win our matches."

"What we have to do is win our matches and wait for a slip up from Madrid, although this will not be easy because they have a great team."

"But we have to keep in mind that the most important thing is what we do."

The Argentina midfielder claimed there will be no bad blood between the two clubs if Madrid end up winning the title.

"If Madrid win all of their matches, we will obviously applaud and congratulate them for their great campaign," he explained.

"They will have deserved to win if that happens."

Mascherano said Wednesday's Copa del Rey semi-final second leg with Valencia will be 'a hard match' and warned his side against complacency after last week's 1-1 draw at Mestalla in the opening leg.

"We have to enter the match with a winning mentality; we must not rely on the result of the first leg," he said.

Frimpong sent back to Arsenal with season-ending injury

Wolverhampton Wanderers' on-loan midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong will return to his parent club Arsenal after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the Premier League match at Queens Park Rangers last Saturday.

Frimpong limped off in the 24th minute of Wolves' 2-1 win at Loftus Road – and a scan has revealed the worst for the 20-year-old, who was on a season-long loan with the Molineux club.

Statements on both club websites confirmed the player will see specialists in London over the next few days before having surgery and starting a programme of rehabilitation.

The midfielder, who suffered the same injury to his left knee in 2010, had made an impressive start to his temporary spell at Wolves, catching the eye during his five appearances in gold and black.

Wolves' statement said: "Emmanuel is expected to be out for a number of months and will therefore miss the remainder of this season.

"Everyone at Wolves would like to thank the midfielder for his efforts whilst at the club and join Arsenal in wishing him a swift recovery."

Frimpong tweeted on Monday: "I wanna thank all the wolves fans for their support since I've been here and really Hope wolves stay up this season."

Dalglish excited by the prospect of pairing Suarez with Gerrard

Liverpool have never walked alone thanks to a series of successful collaborations. St John and Hunt; Keegan and Toshack; Rush and Dalglish; and Rodgers and Hammerstein, among the most notable.

Even their less glorious recent history has not been without flourishing partnerships. Fernando Torres was at his most prolific when working in tandem with Steven Gerrard.

The toils of Torres in a Chelsea shirt are less difficult to comprehend since he no longer benefits from such a talismanic figure dutifully seeking to create so many goalscoring opportunities.

It is both a source of frustration and encouragement that Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has been unable to forge a similarly effective attacking pairing over the last 12 months.

Whether it is Luis Suárez alongside Andy Carroll, or the more tantalising combination of Suárez and Gerrard, circumstances have prevented the kind of experimentation that could provide explosive results.

Monday night's visit of Tottenham Hotspur is the first time in 10 months Dalglish can argue he has a full-strength squad to choose from, aided by the end Suárez’s ban. Gerrard has been injured for most of Suárez’s time on Merseyside, his return to fitness coinciding with the South American’s eight-match suspension.

Dalglish delighted as Carroll ends goal drought 01 Feb 2012.

“At the moment, it looks as if we’re going to have almost a full squad to pick from for the first time,” said Dalglish. “We will have to wait and see if Steven and Luis are available together, but certainly the two of them are fantastic footballers, who have a great understanding. We’d better put them together in training to see if we can play them all together!

“I don’t want anybody to play individually. Within the team there has always got to be understanding and partnerships, and as long as the individual bit comes second, we’ll be OK. I look forward to the two of them having a run in the team together.

“I didn’t know Stevie, Luis and Andy have played so infrequently together, but they have been injured at different times. It is positive for us that we have that to look forward to, if you take injuries out of the equation.

"Certainly they are looking better. Andy is looking strong now at the end of games, he was running strong at the end of the Wolves game. We can play several ways, we’ve got different personnel to change the way we play, and that is what we are looking for.”

Naturally, the focus will fall upon Suárez at Anfield. Whether the rest of the country finds it tasteful or not, he will receive a hero’s welcome back. Dalglish is seeing the comeback in terms of a fresh start rather than

lingering on the issues which kept the Uruguayan on the sidelines.

“It does give you a lift when you get your players back, and to get Luis back is fantastic for everybody around here. I think he has learned something over the time he was out.

"I think you learn something every time you go to your bed, whether it’s good, bad or indifferent is open to conjecture.

“We are just glad to get him back, we are not going to go over old ground. He’ll want to play. But there is a lot to be taken into consideration as well.

"The way the other boys have played without him and the fact he’s not played for a month will also be taken into consideration.”

Fabio Capello 'highly unlikely' to be sacked

Manager's criticism of FA’s decision to strip John Terry of captaincy not expected to result in dismissal.

The England manager has spoken out against the FA by expressing his disapproval of stripping Terry of the armband as he awaits trial for alleged racial abuse.

Former FA chief executive, David Davies, has claimed Capello is in breach of contract by making his feelings public and has therefore jeopardised his position.

But some legal experts believe if the Italian was dismissed on such a basis, it would suggest the FA was looking for a chance to replace him before Euro 2012.

Richard Nicolle, a specialist in employment law at SNR Denton, said: “An employer could jump at the chance if they wanted an opportunity to dismiss an employee, but I would consider it highly unlikely in this situation.

“Perhaps if we were in the immediate aftermath of the World Cup in South Africa it would be looked upon differently.

"There are compensation issues to consider in the last year of Fabio Capello’s contract and it is only four months before another major tournament, so I would be amazed if this was the course the Football Association wished to pursue even if there was a breach.

“In relation to the issue of Capello expressing an opinion on the captaincy, it depends on his contract and whether it allows him the provision to comment publicly on any matter which contradicts the approach of his employers at the FA.

“In usual circumstance, if a senior manager publicly undermines the collective decision of a board it can still be debatable whether it is grounds for dismissal. Unless it is specified under the terms of a contract that if a board makes a decision, no senior manager will make any public comment, there may be no basis for disciplinary action.

“Fabio Capello has clearly spoken to the Press in Italy, but there are grey areas in employment law. It would be very surprising, for example, if Fabio Capello has not been informed in advance of the decision to change the captaincy and not given the reason for it.

"It would be understandable he would wish to express a view on it as it impacts on his job, but the technicalities of whether there has been a breach or not on the basis of him answering a question in the Press could be difficult to establish.

"Unless there is a specific provision in the Italian’s contract forbidding him to publicly utter any contrary opinion to those of the FA board, a sacking is highly unlikely. Only if there is would he be in any jeopardy.”

Mr Nicolle believes the issue of what managers and players have a right to say publicly has become more complicated in recent years with social media removing the boundaries between the once highly sanitised comments of high profile stars and the public.

Numerous sporting personalities have fallen foul of Twitter, for example, which can also lead to breaches of employment law.

“There may be more examples of clubs making provisions warning their employees to make any inappropriate remarks,” said Mr Nicolle.

“We have seen this with players using Twitter, but managers are also having to be more aware in how they speak to the Press. Any comments which can be deemed derogatory, particularly against their own employers, can be seen as a breach of discipline and be grounds for action.”

Earlier, ex-FA Chief Executive Davies said he understood Capello’s criticism of the Terry decision was a cause for concern at Wembley.

"It is being taken very seriously by the FA because it may be that Fabio Capello has breached his contract," Davies told BBC's Breakfast Time show.

"You have to ask what his motive is. You have to suspect he wants to prevent John Terry retiring as a player before Euro 2012, but there are wider issues.

"You could have what some of the media are calling a morality circus while England are trying to win the second major tournament in football.

"A contract may have been breached, there is strong leadership now at the FA from David Bernstein. Last week he wasn't slow to take things forward and he may not be slow to do so now."

Speaking in Italy, Capello was asked whether he was in agreement with FA's decision.

"No, absolutely not,” he said. "I have spoken to the chairman and I have said that, in my opinion, one cannot be punished until it's official and the court - a non-sporting court, a civil court - has made a decision to decide if John Terry has done what he has been accused of."

Blues deny claims of showdown between owner and manager

Chelsea insist talks between owner Roman Abramovich and manager Andre Villas-Boas were 'normal' ahead of Sunday's pulsating 3-3 draw with Manchester United.

The Blues confirmed Abramovich spoke to Villas-Boas during a rare visit to the club's training ground on Saturday before attending Sunday's Premier League game at Stamford Bridge.

But they insist the Russian billionaire - who has sacked almost every manager who has failed to win the title during his nine years as owner - remains fully behind the 34-year-old's project, after a report he had become frustrated with results under the Portuguese.

The fourth-placed Blues now lie a massive 14 points behind leaders Manchester City and just a point ahead of fifth-placed Newcastle.

A spokesman said: "Roman likes to get down to Cobham and watch training whenever he can.

"He was able to visit on Saturday and he and Andre had a good chat after the training session, which is normal."

It is thought Saturday was the first time Abramovich had watched Chelsea train this season, with the 45-year-old's focus having been on his high-profile court case with former associate Boris Berezovsky.

He spent 35 minutes casting his eye over the session before spending another 20 speaking with Villas-Boas.

He also spent half an hour talking to players in the dressing room after Sunday's game, which saw Chelsea held to a draw having led 3-0.

The match provided just the kind of entertainment Abramovich is believed to demand, but represented more points lost from a winning position by the Blues at home this season.

Juan Mata, who scored a stunning volley and also set up the third goal, told Chelsea TV: "After that, the game was crazy. It was so fast, without midfielders, and it was box to box."

The winger, who joined from Valencia last summer, added: "Here, it's faster than Spain. Until the 90th minute, you haven't got the three points. Man United is a very, very good team and they always try to win and to draw."

Senegal international claim more goals to come

Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse marked his debut with a breath-taking volley - and then warned Premier League defenders there is more to come.

The 26-year-old was signed from Freiburg for £10million in January and immediately showed the Toon Army why he was rated so highly in Germany.

Boss Alan Pardew handed him the iconic number nine jersey and his rocket-propelled volley past Shay Given was the perfect way to introduce himself to the club.

Cisse is yet to fully acclimatise to life in the North East after returning from the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal, and he believes once he does, more goals will flow.

He told The Chronicle: "I feel that this can be the first of many to come for me at Newcastle United. It was a really good goal for me.

"The aim from now is to keep working hard in training. If I do that I would like to think that I can get more goals like that.

"Firstly, I have to work hard and get to know my team-mates. The aim is to obviously add more goals to the team. And then more goals should come."

The presence of Cisse's fellow Senegal international Demba Ba has helped him to settle at the club, but he paid tributes to all the efforts his other team-mates have made to make him welcome.

He added: "I'm happy with my first goal. But I have a lot of thank-yous to give out.

"Firstly, the club for signing me, my team-mates for supporting me since I came here and thanks to all of the supporters who made it so memorable."