- Manchester United set sights on Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani
- Chelsea give José Mourinho permission to rest key names at Liverpool
- Glazers fly in for discussions on new Manchester United manager
- The forgotten story of ... Advance Australia Fair and the Socceroos
- Real Madrid 1-0 Bayern Munich | Champions League SF match report
United confident of landing Shaw and still want Fábregas
Manchester United intend to plough ahead with their transfer business during the potentially long process of waiting for a new manager to start almost three months in Louis van Gaal's case and their extensive inquiries include exploring the possibility of whether Paris Saint-Germain might sell Edinson Cavani.
United confidently expect to close a deal of around £30m for Luke Shaw, offering the teenage Southampton full-back a lucrative financial package that could be worth as much as £100,000-a-week over five years. The offer will be difficult for Chelsea to match bearing in mind their issues over keeping in line with Uefa's financial fair play rules. Ed Woodward, United's chief executive, has been made aware that Cavani might be available and is also tempted to look again at Cesc Fábregas's position at Barcelona, despite the unsatisfactory way it turned out when they tried to sign him last summer.Continue reading...
Manager, Rui Faria and Ramires facing FA charges
The Chelsea hierarchy have given José Mourinho the green light to field a team at Liverpool on Sunday that reflects the club's priority as being the Champions League semi-final against Atlético Madrid three days later. Yet the go-ahead may have only briefly brightened the manager's mood after he was one of three members of staff charged by the Football Association over events during the damaging home defeat to Sunderland.
Mourinho, who is still in the process of appealing against an £8,000 fine after being sent to the stands for the second time this season for re-entering the playing surface at Aston Villa last month, had offered a sarcastic appraisal of the performances of the referee, Mike Dean, and the general manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited, Mike Riley, after the 2-1 defeat to Sunderland that has left his team outsiders in the title race. His claim that the former had put in an "unbelievable" performance has prompted a charge of improper conduct, with the FA arguing he had questioned the integrity of both figures.Continue reading...
Glazers want a more hands-on role in choosing manager
The Glazers will fly in to Manchester to meet Ed Woodward on Friday for discussions with the executive vice-chairman about who is to replace David Moyes as United's manager.
Led by Joel Glazer, with whom Woodward talks on a daily basis, the owners want to ensure a clear strategy is established regarding how to pursue their prime target, thought to be Louis van Gaal.Continue reading...
Australia's football team worked with Gough Whitlam in the campaign to recognise the country's national anthem
On the fringe of the Western Sydney Parklands, about an hours drive south-west of FFA Headquarters, is a private museum dedicated to Australian football. The setting is appropriate. In the 15 square kilometre stretch that separates Cabramatta from Cecil Park and Bonnyrigg from Bossley Park is Sydneys forgotten soccer-belt home to Sydney United, Bonnyrigg White Eagles and Marconi. From this cradle sprang Christian Vieri, Mark Bosnich, Harry Kewell, Tony Popovic and Mile Jedinak, to name just a few. On the edge of it all, on the road to the Blue Mountains, is Rale Rasics personal collection of memorabilia spanning nearly half a century of involvement in Australian football.
The FFA should have it, says Rasic, but they arent interested. Rai estimates there are tens of thousands of photographs and newspaper articles, which are crammed into hundreds of scrapbooks. Club pennants from Morwell Falcons to Olympiakos to the New York Cosmos dangle from the roof, while Socceroos jerseys butt-up against flags and framed photos on the walls. A photograph of Bob Marley in an Adelaide City Juventus shirt overlooks the entrance. Kostya Tszyu wears a Marconi jersey in another. There is barely an inch of space to be found. Even the coasters scattered on the handsome wooden desk are football-themed. I place my glass on a brilliant blue example from Mexico 1970.Continue reading...
There was a moment in the fondo sur , where the most boisterous Madridistas bang their drums and orchestrate the loudest noise, when a huge banner was unfurled to read "Reyes de Europa".
The nine-time winners have not lived up to that "Kings of Europe" billing since Zinedine Zidane's volley at Hampden Park in 2002 but now, after the years of hard-luck stories, near-misses and under-achievement, the club of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale et al are only one more good result away from their first final in 12 years.Continue reading...
Perhaps appropriately, given the split of opinion provoked by his reappointment as the England coach, the manner of Peter Moores's departure from Lancashire could be viewed in one of two very different ways.
For a Moores knocker, it would be easy to mock the spectacle of his players scurrying for the pavilion when Warwickshire were strong favourites to inflict their second consecutive defeat, needing 25 runs from 27 balls with five wickets down. Despite hanging on for a draw here, he leaves Lancashire bottom of the Division One table, although these are very early days.Continue reading...
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"Yeah, yeah, so Pirlo looks like a film star, is one of the best footballers in the world, earns a fortune and I'm sure has a beautiful house, car, wife and family," says Simon McMahon. "But is he happy?"
Not as happy as us, that's for sure! Ha!
"If 'Let's talk about fashion' calls for all-time answers, then it surely is César Luis Menotti, all suit, hair and cigarette," says Guido Esser.
While we wait, here's Scott Murray on Juanito v Lothar Matthaus. Let's hope Pepe hasn't been reading the Guardian website today.
"Since Pep's in the spotlight this evening, and Ronaldo (sans his fancy ball cap) is back on the big stage, let's talk fashion for a moment," decides Jack Goodson. "Who do you think is the best-dressed man in football? Personally, I rate Cesare Prandelli, though I admit I may be blinded a bit by the man's exquisite hair."
"Pep Guardiola is obviously preempting Mourinho on the mind games front, with an eye on a final against Chelsea," says Justin Kavanagh. "While you Blues have to bring on the geriatric Schwarzer, he is saying, we have two keepers ready to go. Either that, or he's about to bring parking the bus to a whole new level."
One of them will obviously come on in midfield.
Further team news: Pep Guardiola has named two substitute goalkeepers on the bench - I presume we'll be seeing one playing in midfield at some point tonight (alternatively it's because Manuel Neuer is feeling a calf strain). What an innovator. Though I'm sure that Harry Redknapp will have done that before.
He is fit to start for Real after passing a late fitness test, but He is only ready for a place on the bench after a bout of flu. It means that Isco starts instead of Him in midfield, with Angel Di Maria pushed into the front three. Meanwhile Pep Guardiola has emulated Jose Mourinho by selecting as many defenders as possible selects Phillip Lahm in midfield, with Mario Mandzukic preferred to Thomas Muller up front.
Real Madrid: Casillas; Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrão; Alonso, Modric, Isco; Di Maria, Benzema, Ronaldo. Subs: Diego López, Varane, Bale, Marcelo, Casemiro, Morata, Illarra.
Evening. I always find it weird, and a little bit insulting frankly, when television producers feel the need to put a graphic underneath someone explaining who they are, what they do, what their star-sign is, what allergies they have, just to make absolutely sure you don't mistake them for someone else.You know what I mean. Jose Mourinho pops up on the screen and graphic pops up that says: "Jose Mourinho, Chelsea manager". Peter Beagrie, Former England Under-21 international, Piers Morgan, Eedjit. That sort of thing. I understand why they do it, I really do hard to believe, but some people aren't as clever as me, and wouldn't be able to pick Marcelo Bielsa out of a police line-up if there was a placard above his head saying GET YOUR MARCELO BIELSA RIGHT HERE but some things need no introduction. You don't, for example, really need me to introduce this semi-final; you don't need me to tell you that Real Madrid have won the European Cup nine times, that Bayern Munich are the European champions, that Carlo Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola have both won this competition twice, that Cristiano Ronaldo is the best player in the world and that wearing trainers and a baseball cap with a suit is a crime against fashion. You know all of this; you're not simple folk. It's Real Madrid. It's Bayern Munich. It's a Champions League semi-final. It's Real Madrid versus Bayern Munich in a Champions League semi-final.
But I'm too goddamn excited to finish here, especially after last night's diabolicalo between Atletico Madrid and Chelsea. In fact, my mood mirrors that of Ruud Gullit in the BBC studio before England's semi-final against Germany at Euro 96. He'd been forced to sit through the torture that was France v Czech Republic (0-0, no chances, the Czechs go through on penalties) during the afternoon and when Des Lynam asked Gullit for his thoughts on the match they were about to watch, he rubbed his hands, took a deep intake of breath and said: "You know, after what I've seen this afternoon I'm ready to see this clash of titanics (sic). I hope!" After last night, Europe knows how Gullit felt 18 years ago. But hope springs eternal, tonight's clash of the titanics proving that good things come to those who wait. It's Real Madrid. It's Bayern Munich. It's a Champions League semi-final. It's Real Madrid versus Bayern Munich in a Champions League semi-final. It has to be good. It just has to be.Continue reading...
Yorkshirewoman retains run of form in women's World Cup
Lizzie Armitstead's stunning run of form in the UCI women's World Cup this spring continued with a second place in Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday behind France's former junior world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot. This was Armitstead's best performance in a one-day Classic, which favours pure climbers rather than a cyclist with the all-round skills that are her hallmark.
In the first four World Cup rounds of the total nine, the Yorkshirewoman has landed one win and three second places. With her closest overall rival Emma Johansson of Sweden finishing 11th at the finish atop the "Mur" in the town of Huy a climb Armitstead terms the most painful in women's cycling she strengthened her lead in the season-long competition.Continue reading...
LMA say manner of sacking was unprofessional
David Moyes has taken a parting shot at Manchester United's players by stating the squad requires "fundamental rebuilding", while the League Managers Association chief executive, Richard Bevan, has claimed the manager's sacking was done unprofessionally.
Moyes was told he would be removed early on Tuesday morning at United's Carrington training complex. Yet he believes he was treated in a shabby manner as news of his probable removal broke in the media on Monday afternoon.Continue reading...
Yorkshire win by an innings and 120 runs
Yorkshire's captain, Andrew Gale, responded to his side's maiden County Championship victory in their second outing of the season by contemplating dropping himself for their third.
After witnessing his bowlers wrap up a comfortable win against newly-promoted Northamptonshire in less than two hours of the fourth day, Gale revealed that Joe Root's anticipated return from a broken thumb against Middlesex at Lord's on Sunday could lead to his omission.Continue reading...
Prosecutors have impressive track record in recent cases
Bernie Ecclestone goes on trial in Munich on Thursday and for the next five months Formula One will hold its breath. The man who transformed the sport into a billion-pound business and who has run it for four decades in his idiosyncratic and controversial way, faces the possibility of 10 years in jail if found guilty of bribery. The sport could face an even longer term of uncertainty, even decline.
The judge Ecclestone will be up against does not take any prisoners; or rather, he does. Peter Noll convicted the former German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky, a central figure in the Munich hearing, and sent him down for eight-and-a-half years in 2012. In his concluding statement, Noll said: "In this process we assume the driving force was Mr Ecclestone."Continue reading...