Amidst attempts to pass legislation that would destroy Internet freedoms and the U.S. Department of Justice's takedown of file-sharing site MegaUpload, Internet users around the world are rightfully worried about this wonderful thing that allows me to help you be less productive. And football fans are no different. They too have had enough of governments' attempts to trample our precious freedoms.

So during Brest's Ligue 1 match against Ligue 1 leaders PSG last weekend, fans held up banners warning those in power that there are just some lines they better not cross and certain websites they better not target. The banners read:

"MegaUpload OK ... YouPorn never!"

Brest lost the match 1-0 on a 6th minute goal from Milan Bisevac, but the result would be secondary to their point. After all, that is just football. This...is Internet porn.


All the stuff being covered outside the unfriendly confines of the award-winning Dirty Tackle...

DirecTV Colombia inserts Atletico Madrid's Falcao into 300/the way Pepe actually sees football matches. [YouTube]

Speaking of Pepe, here's Crackovia's fake Pepe singing a parody of Michel Telo's "Ai Si Eu Te Pego" about stomping Messi. [Brasil Mundial]

Liverpool accidentally included racist fan in official site's match highlights. [KCKRS]

The next Carlos Tevez trolls Man City after joining Man Utd. [FCF]

The destruction of WPS as explained by The Dark Knight. [Sporting News]

The savior of calcio. [IBWM]

Mario Balotelli best dressed? [Kickette]

Sebastien Le Toux forced out of Philadelphia. [Times Herald]

Shock as moron discovered in 45,000 capacity football stadium. [NewsThump]


When transfer deadline day rolls around, Sky Sports News' Jim White gets more excited than a puppy attached to a leash made of bacon. So excited, in fact, that sometimes his mouth is so overeager to spit out the latest transfer dealings that it creates a perfect sized opening for his foot.

So while recapping the day's moves as Big Ben ominously struck 11 p.m., instead of declaring that striker Bobby Zamora had joined Queens Park Rangers, it sounded like White announced that "Bobby Zamora has gone from Fulham to Coons Park Rangers." Clearly his Scottish accent and excitable nature conspired against him to produce a muddled combination of syllables, but it's still an unfortunate occurrence in his big moment. Especially given all the more intentional instances of racist slurs and behavior in English football of late.

Next time, just remember to breathe, Jim.


After turning down a move to Celtic last summer, playing just 78 minutes of first team football with Man City this season and having his manager suggest that he now spends his Saturdays playing golf, Wayne Bridge has joined Sunderland on loan until the end of the season. Presumably, he will actually play football there. The following is a transcript of the former England international's first meeting with new manager Martin O'Neill.

O'Neill: Wayne, welcome to Sunderland. We're glad to have you here. You got dressed up for the big unveiling I see.

Bridge: Actually, I haven't changed my clothes in about three weeks.

O'Neill: Well, we've got a new shirt for you right here if you want to change now.

Bridge: Do I have to?

O'Neill: Yes. If you're going to play for Sunderland, you have to wear the shirt.

Bridge: Play? Oh, like Call of Duty. I went to the launch of that game. I didn't have to wear a special shirt to play it, though. Pretty sure I was just wearing this.

O'Neill: No, like football. I know it's been a while for you, but you're here to play football, Wayne.

[Bridge tilts his head, mouth agape]

O'Neill: Oh come on. It hasn't been that long. West Ham, Chelsea, Southampton. You've played for a number of clubs, Wayne. Surely you remember something from all those experiences.

Bridge: I remember...not shaking John Terry's hand. I was great at that.

O'Neill: What about right after? You played a match for Manchester City.

Bridge:! Nope. No recollection of that. Just the no handshake thing. I have it on DVD if you want to watch it sometime. Put it on a loop with the Armageddon soundtrack over it.

O'Neill: I'll pass. But hopefully you'll make some new memories while you're here. We've got Norwich and Stoke coming up and we'll be needing you.

Bridge: OK. Where's the XBox?

O'Neill: No. Wayne. We've not brought you here to play Call of Duty. You're here to play football.

Bridge: Alright, alright. I understand now. Don't worry, boss. Although I have absolutely no memory of how to make my bodyparts play this game, I do have recordings of every match Andrei Arshavin has played this season. I will watch them and I will learn. You have my word.

O'Neill: Fine. Whatever. Just don't go out with Nicklas Bendtner.


A pitch invader managed to handcuff himself to Joe Hart's goalpost during Everton's match against Manchester City at Goodison Park. The match was halted for about five minutes as police had to bring out a set of bolt cutters to pry the agitated man off the pitch.

His reasoning for the protest didn't seem to have anything to do with the game or the clubs involved, though. He wore an anti-Ryanair shirt in reference to the Dublin-based discount airline and he seems to do quite a bit of protesting against them and their shady recruitment practices. Here's a video of the same man (apparently his name is John) pleading his case against the airline.

So it seems he chose the match only for its media spotlight and not because he wanted to force Man City to bury Carlos Tevez up to his chin in sand or make Marouane Fellaini cut his hair.


Thanks to Robert Mugabe's unique approach to democracy and socioeconomic policy, the Zimbabwe national football team doesn't get a whole lot of action outside of Africa and Asia. The Warriors are about to get a lot less action, as the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) has suspended 67 players following a match-fixing scandal. Reports ESPN:

A ZIFA probe last year led to a number of players admitting that they accepted money from an Asian betting syndicate to lose exhibition games on Far East trips from 2007-09.

The ZIFA report said the money was handed out by agents of Singaporean Wilson Raj Perumal, who is in jail in Finland for fixing activities in that country.

The controversial Far East tours were organized by ZIFA chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya, who sent the team out to play without the permission of the ZIFA board. In 2009, she also sent Zimbabwe club Monomotapa to Malaysia to play in a tournament, pretending that they were actually the national team. Unsurprisingly, she lost her job in 2010.

Players who have admitted to accepting money include awesomely-named former captain Method Mwanjali, along with Daniel Vheremu, Benjamin Marere, Thomas Sweswe and a few others you've also never heard of.


Freddie Veseli (left) out in Manchester city centre last night

United have snapped up 19-year-old City central defender Freddie Veseli in a shock transfer window deal.

The Reds tied up the Swiss starlet, who captained his country to Under-17 World Cup triumph in 2009, yesterday and Veseli headed into Manchester, dressed in a red jacket, to celebrate.

Veseli was seen as a good prospect at City, but he was frustrated at not making the breakthrough into the first team squad.

That frustration increased recently when the Blues lost skipper Vincent Kompany and drafted 17-year-old defender Karim Rekik into the squad as cover.

Veseli joined City from Lausanne in 2008 and is a composed, ball-playing centre back he was taken on the Blues summer tour of North America, playing in two of the three games.

Read all the latest Manchester United news here.


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During last weekend's Campeonato Pernambucano fifth round match between Sport and Nautico, Sport's Marcelinho Paraiba collided with Siloe and had a tooth fly out of his head as a result. So after Sport won the match 4-3, Marcelinho asked club officials to try and find the tooth. When they couldn't, he offered a R$1,000 reward to anyone who could find it since an implant would cost him four times that much.

And how does he know so much about the cost of dental implants? Oddly enough, this is the second time in two years that Marcelinho has had a tooth knocked out during a match. Maybe losing multiple teeth while playing is a sign that the 36-year-old should retire. Or wear a mouth guard.

Video via @andel0ng


Every transfer window comes to an end and that end is usually a tremendous, over-analyzed, mess of boring idiocy. There's reporters stretching guesses and rumors into a hostage situation worthy of live coverage, Harry Redknapp giving interviews through his car window like he's struggling to order a Whopper at the Burger King drive-thru, roving bands of street urchins loitering outside stadiums and, above all, mass confusion over player movements that often don't even happen. It's a day everyone wants to be face-meltingly exciting, but even when it delivers that last second monster deal, it only sets up months of disappointment until that overpriced desperation buy is finally sold again at an anti-climactic and heavily reduced fee. Here are several ways to improve on that.

Transfer fee cap.
Transfer fees have gotten out of control. It's money pissed back and forth at arbitrarily inflated rates that only serves as a ball and chain to the associated players. So, no transfer fee can exceed 15 million in cash. They can, however, include non-monetary add-ons. Like a few hundred bubble jet printers or 75,000 lbs. of ground beef. They'll be called "barter buys" and they'll be spectacular.

Live, public player auctions.
This was mentioned earlier in a post about the "icon" auction held for the new league in India, but I'll say it again because it would actually be worthy of an extravaganza. Instead of second hand reports of third hand rumors, live coverage of the auction house sale of all players on the transfer list is broadcast. You've got the fast-talking auctioneer, representatives of clubs all in one room, wild-card bidders on the phones, every bid known and some clubs driving up the price on one player to help their chances on the next. There's strategy, people yelling and, believe it or not, stuff actually ! happenin g. They can sell tickets to supporters and charge to watch on the Internet. Plus, it would serve as a more direct reminder of how unsettling and creepy this modern, socially acceptable form of humans buying and selling the rights to other humans can be when you actually stop and think about it.

Surprise deadline day.
Every morning a ball is drawn from a pot and if the "DEADLINE DAY IS F***ING NOW!" ball is drawn, then guess what? No more wasting time, no more will they/won't they stories in the media, it's just get it done. Right. Now. ... Or don't. For example, in the January window, 30 blank balls would be put in the pot along with one DDIFN! ball and each night at midnight, one is removed until that DDIFN! ball is pulled out. Then it's on.

Player/club names cannot be used when reporting rumors, only once a deal is done.
Transfer rumors are mostly terrible because 99 percent of them don't even come close to paying off and far too many are pure fiction for the sake of getting a lot of easy pageviews. They would, however, be a lot more fun if they were reported like blind items or riddles that can't be used just as SEO bait. So, instead of declaring that Club X will make a bid worth Y for Player Z, it would be have to be phrased as something like, "This Italian club owned by the (ex) Prime Minister of Perversion will bid less than the value of two headbutting Frenchmen for a man who once paired silver hot pants with crutches." And if it happens, well, only then can it be said that Milan paid 100 million for Cristiano Ronaldo.

All transfer requests must be honored...
This might sound unfair to clubs, but really, it's for the best. The last thing any club wants is to have a Carlos Tevez type situation play out on their bench after deciding to retain a player who once asked for a move. Plus, we're all tired of enduring months and months of a player moaning about wanting to leave only for deadline day to come a! nd go wi th no transfer. Then everyone has to pretend that they never really wanted to go in the first place. But players won't be guaranteed a move to their desired destination and they have to go wherever they're sold. That's the catch.

...but Carlos Tevez's transfer requests are never honored.
Because screw that guy. Whenever he asks for a transfer, he has to learn English and then teach it to people who want to learn it even less than he does until the end of his current contract.

End it.
Make a year-round transfer window that never has a deadline day or end transfer periods all together. Players would either stay with a club for the length of their contract, get sacked and be free to sign wherever they like or quit and have to sit out until their no-compete clause runs its course. Except for Carlos Tevez, who would be blasted into the sun when he inevitably tries to quit yet another club (he can teach his English lessons there, too).

Video via Fitba Thatba


Everton's 2-1 win over Fulham last week not only propelled the club into the fifth round of the FA Cup, but it also provided the first head-to-head showdown between U.S. national teammates Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey. The following is Landon's latest correspondence with his friends and family back home, where he reflects on that match.

Sup bilbro bagginses.

Been a minute since I last checked in. Round 2 in Everbronia actually hasn't been that legit up to this point. I'm not going to get all soft serve froyo on you but it definitely is not as lush as it could be. I've been doing my part but if it's possible these scrub-shows have been performing even worse ever since I came back on the scene. I try and tell them all the time that rolling with me means the eyes of America are transfixed on you like if you were a Kardashian or a wildebeest hunting down a rhino or something like that, and that you just gotta figure it out and simultaneously manage to elevate your general steeze to a much higher level. Anyway, clearly this advice is beginning to take hold after my consistently dank service from the wing finally started making it rain in the FA Cup this weekend.

You know what it is. Battle of the two biggest bromosapiens in the entire Premiership -- LD vs. CD -- aka the litmus test of lushness, aka the war of word up, aka the dankness regatta. The Deuce-ex-Machina has been putting on for his city all year so I gotta show mad love. He's been going absolutely ful-HAM over here dropping hat-tricks and mad glancing headers on kids for the better part of the year. But let's remember that I am L-Deezy, Mr. Go Go USA, and that my bag of dangles brautomatically renders my receding hairline to be considered distinguishing and not embarrassing. It was a hard fought game but I stepped up and did it, controlled most of the game an! d dished out two sweet helpers, one with the left one with the right. Both perfect dome-seekers that could only end up in the back of the twine castle. Haven't seen Hoodison Park bounce like that after Fellaini's winner in awhile. Toffees for life son.

Peace out. One love.

Previously in Landon Donovan's English Adventure of Epic Broportions.


Like an outdated fantasy league auction, the new Premier League Soccer featuring six teams based in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal bid for the rights to sign several "icon" players." Hernan Crespo, who scored nine goals for Parma last season, drew the highest bid and went for $840,000 (536,000) at the sprightly age of 36. For Robbie Fowler (also 36), however, the results were a bit more depressing.

From the Guardian:

Italy's 2006 World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro went to Siliguri for 530,000 [$830,000], while Robert Pires of France (511,000 [$800,000]), the Nigerian Jay-Jay Okocha (351,000 [$550,000]) and former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler (338,000 [$530,000]) went to Howrah, Durgapur and Kolkata respectively.

Five franchises collectively spent nearly 4.5m, each buying an "icon" player, two overseas footballers and a coach.

Each club also bid for a foreign manager to guide them through the perils of a six-week tournament, with inexperienced former Portugal international Fernando Couto proving to be the most expensive.

From the AP:

All teams also received a foreign coachFernando Couto of Portugal (Howrah, $240,000), Samson Siasia of Nigeria (Durgapur, $210,000), Teitur Thordorson of Iceland (Barasat, $210,000), Peter Reid of England ($200,000) and Marco Etcheverry of Bolivia (Siliguri, $200,000).

Teams have a salary cap of $2.5 million.

With the tedious droning of transfer deadline day a! pproachi ng, it's hard not to think how much more entertaining a public player auction like this would be as a proper grand finale to the transfer window. Sotheby's could run it, Arsene Wenger could skip it and Fernando Torres could slump down in his chair when his reserve price isn't met.


While Ivory Coast captain Didier Drogba is sequestered away with his teammates in a luxury hotel for the African Cup of Nations, his mother, Clotilde is preparing traditional west African meals in an outdoor kitchen for a group of 60 fans who traveled to Equatorial Guinea for the tournament.

Using portable gas hobs under a gazebo to cook for the supporters who made the 900-mile trip, Mrs. Drogba was at first reluctant to be interviewed by the AP when they approached her.

"The mother of Drogba cannot be seen like this," she protested. [...]

"Everyone has their thing and what they like to do," Clotilde told The Associated Press after preparing lunch on Monday. "This is what I like to do be helpful to people.

"I would support my son doing anything whether he was famous or not. This isn't about my son, it's about supporting my country."

This isn't the first time Clotilde has cook for fans of the national team, though. She also did it at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. And it's very clear that she passed this desire to help her countrymen on to her son.

Didier was named one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people in the world for giving all the money he makes from endorsements to build hospitals in the Ivory Coast. He also organized a team statement calling for peace during that 2006 World Cup which is credited with calming violence during a time of civil war.

Clotilde says she was a fan of German defender Franz Beckenbauer when she was pregnant with Didier and wanted him to be a phy! sically "big footballer" like him. Which, thanks in part to her cooking, definitely came true (and then some -- Didier is three inches taller). And though she enjoys preparing those meals for others, that's not entirely why she made the trip for the ACN...

"The best moment is when you make a good meal and people are satisfied," said Clotilde, sitting down for a rest after helping the handful of female kitchen workers serve the food. "But it's even better when Didier scores and the team wins."

Didier scored the only goal in the Ivory Coast's victorious tournament opener against Sudan.


Tom Cleverley
Manchester Unitedmay have seen one chance of silverware end on Saturday, but they have been handed a major boost as they look to win two others.

Sir Alex Ferguson will have three key players back for the Premier League run-in and Europa League campaign to help bolster his troops.

Midfielders Anderson and Ashley Young are expected to return to training this week.

And, even more crucially, Tom Cleverley will be only two weeks behind them which will give the Reds the lift they need as they battle City for the title.

I expect Ashley to start training in the middle of the week, so hes on his way back,said Ferguson.

Cleverley is two weeks behind that. Anderson will be ready this week, too.

Hell start training with us on Monday or Tuesday and then it gives me a collection of midfield players that should cope with anything that happens in the run-in.

United were without nine players at Anfield on Saturday and possibly only Rio Ferdinand could recover to add to the numbers against Stoke in tomorrow nights Premier League clash at Old Trafford.

Wayne Rooney, who sat out the match at Liverpool, could also have a fighting chance of a return against Tony Puliss side after suffering a foot injury against Arsenal last week.

But Nani could be out for longer amid fears he has broken a metatarsal bone in his foot. The Reds are now facing a crunch 24 days as they bid to ensure they claim some silverware this season after their FA Cup, Carling Cup and Champions League exits.

Following Stoke, they travel to Chelsea on Sunday and then host Liverpool a week on Saturday in two crunch Premier League clashes.

United then embark on the clubs first Europa League campaign, with a two-legged tie against Ajax st! arting i n Amsterdam.

Will United's squad cope with the run in? Have your say.




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In the second half of Real Sociedad's 5-1 win over Sportin Gijon on Sunday, Carlos Vela was tackled from behind by Alejandro Galvez right at the touchline, sending him barreling into the linesman. Everyone was alright and the linesman even helped Vela back to his feet (despite the fact that Vela took out his).

Galvez was booked for starting that little domino effect.

Video via 101gg


Like a cross between Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Nicklas Bendtner, Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan is very fond of his own abilities. There were questions as to whether he would play in Ghana's African Cup of Nations match against Mali after sustaining an injury in training on Thursday, but he did start and scored off a free kick in his side's 2-0 win.

Following the match, Baby Jet was eager to highlight his performance and speak in the third person. From the AFP:

"Everyone who plays against Ghana, comes out strongly to stop Asamoah Gyan," said the Al Ain striker, who is on loan from English Premier League club Sunderland.

"I have been the country's lone striker for the past six years, it shows how great I am."

Don't think Gyan is completely self-obsessed, though. He also gave credit to others and spoke of his sacrifice for his country.

"There was a doubt whether I will be fit for the match against Mali, but the medical staff did a fantastic job on me.

"I'm playing through a pain barrier. It was the same in 2008, but the team have confidence in me, they know what I am capable of.

"I'm a Ghanaian and I have to sacrifice for my country."

I wonder how hard it was for him to not say he's "Gyanaian."


There's been a story going around about how Liverpool bought 20-million underachiever Stewart Downing because the club's American owners were so impressed by the blatantly doctored viral video above produced by Aston Villa two summers ago. This, of course, is a ridiculous tale and beyond stupid and something no one could ever believe. Except, a number of people did and the story was reported by a great many outlets of varying reputations.

In fact, the story has become so popular that Liverpool's official website has now released a statement to debunk it:

Tom Werner today laughed off suggestions that Liverpool had bought Stewart Downing on the back of a YouTube video.

"Someone told me about this," said the Reds Chairman."It's a great story, but unfortunately for the person who wrote the piece, it isn't true. It actually comes from an interview I did five months ago withIan Ayre for our clubTV channel in whichIsaid that when we first talked about signing Stewart,we'd found a video of him kicking footballs into some trash cans.

"I explained in that interview back in August we knew the footage had been doctored but I guess that detail doesn't really help stand up the story.

"The amount of people involved and the work that goes into a signinga playeris hugesothe suggestion that we'd buy someone on the back of one doctored video is ridiculous."

Liverpool are, however, increasingly convinced that all footage they saw of Andy Carroll before signing him was tampered with by Newcastle*.

*Feel free to change that to Chelsea/Fernando Torres/Liverpool if you prefer.


Manchester United striker Michael Owen has launched a defence of team-mate David de Gea after the Spanish goalkeeper came in for criticism following the 2-1 defeat to Liverpool in the FA Cup fourth round at Anfield.

De Gea was criticised for Liverpool's two goals, failing to claim the ball when Liverpool defender Daniel Agger shot past him and then unable to get a touch on Dirk Kuyt's rising shot for the late winner.

But Owen has defended De Gea against criticism by TV pundits and from fans on Twitter.

Owen wrote on his Twitter account: "One comment on yesterdays game. Don't agree with all this negativity towards De Gea.

"Admittedly he has made a couple of mistakes this season but listening to some people you would think he had a nightmare yesterday.

"I'm not having either goal was his fault. The problem is, once you get labelled, mud sticks and now any tiny mistake is magnified. Other keepers make similar mistakes and nothing gets said.

"The ball was on the 6 yard box for the first goal. He has to go for it. He also needs to watch the flight of the ball. There is then 6 players in front of him. There is nothing he could do. The free header was the problem, not the keeper.

"He couldn't do much with the second goal either. Is the problem not just a case of us not winning the first ball and not picking up a runner?

"In my opinion two bad goals to give away but to blame everything on the keeper is totally wrong. The lad will be a top keeper, he is only young. Harsh to blame him for everything.

"Must say, as you will be quick to remind me, I've watched a lot of home games this season! The support from behind both goals for him has been brilliant.

"The fans know he needs their support, his confidence needs boostin! g. I'm s ure he will repay that support for years to come."

Owen, who is currently out of the United side with a thigh injury, added: "Apart from that, well done to Liverpool. We will dust ourselves down and go full steam ahead for the league."
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Manchester United have agreed to sell striker Mame Biram Diouf to Hannover 96 for an undisclosed transfer fee.

Diouf was undergoing a medical with the German club on Saturday, which should signal the end of his short-lived United career.

Signed from Norwegian club Molde in July 2009, Diouf has made only nine senior appearances for the Reds and his only three outings this term came in the Carling Cup.


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When pre-match handshakes become the subject of fervent debate and garner more analysis and predictions than the actual football match that tends to follow them, something has gone wrong. So in an attempt to help sidestep half the day's racial tensions, the FA decided that QPR and Chelsea should just avoid hand shaking situations at all costs. Said the FA:

Following discussions on Friday evening and Saturday morning involving senior officials from QPR, Chelsea and The FA, it has been agreed there will not be the usual team handshake before today's FA Cup with Budweiser Fourth Round Propertie at Loftus Road.

The FA agreed to the request by both clubs in an attempt to further diffuse tensions before the match.

In addition to moving kickoff up three hours to a noon start and increasing matchday security with more stewards and full searches on fans, the handshake skipping was all part of a design to avoid any trouble relating to the ongoing criminal case brought against Chelsea's John Terry brought on by an anonymous QPR fan that decided they heard him use a racial slur against QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, who was sent a bullet Friday as some sort of threat.

The only handshake that did take place before the match was b! etween t he two captains -- Terry and Joey Barton. The two clubs then diffused the situation further by playing a dire first half that would crush anyone's will to live, let alone commit violence over alleged racial slurs supposedly uttered between footballers.


Danny Welbeck

Andy Cole believes Danny Welbeck is the man to fire England to glory in this summers European Championships.

And the former Manchester United frontman has urged Fabio Capello to change his stale system to give the Reds ace a licence to thrill.

Longsight-born Welbeck is compiling an irresistible case to be included in Capellos side to take on France in the championships Group D opener in Donetsk on June 11, with Wayne Rooney suspended for the first two games.

The 21-year-old went into the FA Cup fourth round tie at Liverpool having scored three goals in the last three matches, including the winner at Arsenal last Sunday, beefing up his season tally to nine.

And United boss Sir Alex Fergusonhas warned that his striker is only going to get better.

People are talking about Bobby Zamora at Fulham and strikers like that, said Cole, who was part of Uniteds 1999 Treble-winning team. But football has moved on and target men are a thing of the past.

Danny has got great pace to get in behind defences. He should be given the opportunity to go there in the summer and be something a bit different.

I watch modern day football and a lot of strikers these days have become obsessed with coming short and wanting to get involved. But the goal is always in there behind you. If you are not going to stretch defenders they are going to have the comfiest afternoon in the world.

You have to run in behind to hurt people.

People say Javier Hernandezs success last season was down to his movement, but the main thing was he wanted to run in behind opponents. If you do that you cause problems and you get chances and score goals that way. Danny does that.

I think England have become stale. The team is alwa! ys XYZ, tried and tested and lets get on with it. Its 4-4-1-1 and if you dont fit into that then you dont get a chance.

Danny is different. We need to shake things up a bit. Now he is giving Capello a nudge. If he has a chance like a lot of people are saying then he needs to be given that chance and not just be given two matches.

Players are given a couple of games and then all the media experts turn round and say he is not good enough for England because they havent been an instant success.

What is good enough for England if you dont give someone time and a run to try and freshen things up?

I really do think he would be good enough and cope. I used to say when I was playing that if you are playing European Cup football every week you are playing the best defenders in the world and some of the best teams in the world.

If you could do that you should be good enough for the international stage.

If you play for England, how many teams are what you could class top six? It is rare you face those teams but if you can play Champions League or Europa League then you are proving you can do it regularly.

There is no reason why, if you are playing European football and doing well, then you couldnt do it at international level. Danny has had games in the Champions League this season and done well and should get some in the Europa League. Thats a big enough base to prove you can do it for England.

Cole, who played 15 games for England over seven years, describes playing for his country as mentally draining but insists that Welbeck has the capacity to take the strain.

I have seen and talked to him a lot in the last few years and he has always believed he could do it at United, said Cole.

Going to Sunderland was a big plus. He scored goals there in an average team and now he has shown he can do it for United.

To go away as a young man and do what he did at Sunderland and ! then com e back and do what he has done for United, it shows he has got it mentally.

I was more than good enough to play for England but you need about 10-15 games on the bounce to play well for them.

I scored goals in the European Cup against the best teams and defenders in the world and yet people say I wasnt good enough to play for England. I look back and have a chuckle now about that.

Whatever happened to me, happened to me, but that doesnt mean I dont want a player like Danny Welbeck to be given a go and see how he does.

I want him to get a chance and win 50 caps or so and not just one or two games here and there and not be handed a proper opportunity. Danny is as good as anyone out there.


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Artur Borucs Friday Rage List

Friday, January 27, 2012

AAAAHHHHHHHH I AM ARTUR BORUC AND THIS IS A LIST OF THINGS THAT MADE ME ANGRY THIS WEEK:

1. WHAT'S GOING ON -- THERE'S SOMETHING GOING ON OVER THERE BUT I CAN'T SEE IT?!?!??!??!?! WHAT IS IT?!?!??!?!??! WHAT IS GOING ON!?!??!!??!?!?!??! AHHHHHHHH I HOPE IT'S ON THE NEWS LATER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2. KEVIN-PRINCE BOATENG'S SEX INJURY -- PEOPLE THINK THIS IS RIDICULOUS BUT IT CAN DEFINITELY HAPPEN!!!!!!!! SINCE SEX INVOLVES SO MANY PYROTECHNICS AND TOASTER OVENS IT CAN BE EXTREMELY DANGEROUS!!!!!!!!! PLUS I IMAGINE THAT COMMITTING THE SIN OF PREMARITAL SEX WOULD ONLY MAKE IT WORSE WITH THE SMITING AND EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!

3. PAOLO DI CANIO'S RANT -- WHY CAN'T YOU BE MY UNCLE?!?!?!?!?!?

4. CORN -- THE CORN NOW HAS FUTURE WOMEN UNDER ITS KERNELED CONTROL!!!!!!!!!!!! HOW WILL WE EVER DEFEAT THIS OVERWHELMING THREAT TO OUR EXISTENCE WHEN IT HAS FUTURISTIC WOMEN WHO WEAR GEORDI LA FORGE GLASSES AND SILVER BODYSUITS THAT I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO WEAR!?!?!!?!?!?!??!!? AHHHHHHHHHHH THE CORN IS NOT PLAYING FAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!

5. RAY HUDSON'S REACTION TO LIONEL MESSI'S GOAL -- THIS MAN SCREAMS WAY TOO MUCH FOR MY LIKING!!!!!!!!!!! HE SCREAMS WAY TOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!

6. TEAMMATES FIGHTING OVER WHO TAKES A PENALTY -- HAHAHAHAHA AS A GOALKEEPER THIS IS THE MOST ENJO! YABLE SI GHT I CAN SEE!!!!!!!!!! AND IT MAKES ME ANGRY THAT IT DOESN'T HAPPEN MORE OFTEN!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHH I CAN'T FIND THE BOOKLET THAT GOES WITH MY LITTLE MERMAID SPECIAL EDITION DVD SET!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHERE IS IT?!?!!??!??!

7. BUBBLE FOOTBALL -- IT WOULD BE SO MUCH BETTER IF THEY WORE BOA CONSTRICTORS INSTEAD OF THOSE STUPID BUBBLES!!!!!!!!!!! ONE TIME I WRESTLED A GIANT BOA CONSTRICTOR NAMED LEON FOR 17 HOURS BEFORE WE BOTH GOT TIRED OF FIGHTING AND DECIDED TO WATCH THE MOVIE ANACONDA STARING JLO INSTEAD!!!!!!!! THAT MOVIE IS TERRIBLE!!!!!!!!! LEON FELL ASLEEP HALFWAY THROUGH!!!!!!!!!!! AND THEN I HEADBUTTED HIM INTO JUPITER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

8. THE COPA DEL REY'S LEADING SCORER ALSO BEING A BANK CLERK -- THIS IS A TERRIBLE DAY JOB!!!!!!!!!! IF I EVER HAD TO GET A SECOND JOB IT WOULD NOT BE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I WOULD PROBABLY BE AN ACCOUNTANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

9. MY IDIOT NEIGHBOR DAN WYKOWSKI -- SO I WAS AT THE MARKET HEADBUTTING A MELON DISPLAY TO TEST THEIR RIPENESS WHEN I FELT A TAP ON MY SHOULDER!!!!!!!! BEFORE I TURNED AROUND I WIPED THE MELON JUICES OFF MY FOREHEAD AND THOUGHT "AHHHHH I HOPE THAT ISN'T MY IDIOT NEIGHBOR DAN WYKOWSKI!!!!!!!!!!!!" BUT GUESS WHAT?!?!?!??!?! IT WAS ACTUALLY A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN NAMED ARTURA!!!!!!! NO IT WAS MY IDIOT NEIGHBOR DAN WYKOWSKI AND I ALMOST BLUDGEONED MYSELF WITH AN EGGPLANT RIGHT THEN AND THERE EXCEPT THE PRODUCE GUY JUST TOLD ME THEY WERE ALL SOLD OUT OF EGGPLANTS FOR SOME REASON!!!!!!!!!! ANYWAY DAN SAID "HEY ARTUR FUNNY SEEING YOU HERE" IN AN EFFORT TO BE FUNNY BECAUSE WE BOTH KNOW THAT IT WASN'T FUNNY TO SEE EACH OTHER AT A PLACE WE KNOW WE BOTH SHOP!!!!!!!!! SO I SAID "YES!!!!!! IT IS!!!!!!!" EXCEPT I SAID IT IN A WAY SO HE WOULD KNOW THAT IF OUR ENCOUNTERED HAPPENED IN THE CONDI! MENT SEC TION HE WOULD KNOW BE DROWNING IN THE MOST EXPENSIVE MUSTARD THEY HAVE!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHH I HOPE HE USED ALL THOSE COUPONS I GAVE HIM WHEN HE WENT TO PAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I AM ARTUR BORUC AND THIS HAS BEEN MY RAGE LIST. SEE YOU NEXT WEEK! GOD BLESS!!!!!!


There's a very popular YouTube video that shows one kid smashing a shot off the post that then hits his friend playing goalkeeper square in the face. Well, back in 2009, when Shaun Wright-Phillips was still with Man City, they recreated that Internet classic at the expense of the diminutive winger's face.

Wright-Phillips was messing around in goal during a training session when one of his teammates took a shot from outside the box that careened off the post and into SWP's unsuspecting noggin. Everyone laughed and then a gentle breeze blew him away.


We know that Wayne Rooney and Tiger Woods have a favored activity in common, but instead of making a game about that, EA Sports have once again digitally united the pair in the latest edition of Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf. Rooney was an unlockable golfer in the 2008 version of the game and in Tiger Woods 13, Rooney will be a part of a downloadable footballer foursome that also includes Chelsea's Petr Cech, Arsenal's Theo Walcott, and Man City's James Milner.

Judging by the photos EA released, all four footballers look pretty realistic. Except for Petr Cech, who is wearing a trucker cap instead of his usual protective headgear. Thus making the whole thing worthless. What a shame.

Carlos Tevez and Craig Bellamy sadly did not make the cut.


DOUBT: Wayne Rooney
Sir Alex Ferguson will take a late check on his squad before finalising his line-up forSaturday's FA Cup fourth round tie at Liverpool.

Wayne Rooney and Phil Jones (both ankle) and Rio Ferdinand (back) are amongst those who are thought to be causing concern.

Nani (foot) is expected to miss out, although there has been no official update on the winger's fitness since he limped out of last Sunday's win at Arsenal.

Boss Sir Alex Ferguson is hopeful the afternoon will pass off peacefully despite what will no doubt be a highly charged atmosphere.

"I am confident enough," he said.

"We want to be talking about a game of football.

"It is a big FA Cup tie. In my time there have not been many FA Cup ties between the clubs.

"It is something you want to look forward to. That is what I intend to do and the players should follow that."

If there was an attempt at mind games, it came through Ferguson's refusal to offer any injury updates, meaning Kenny Dalglish cannot know for certain whether Rooney, Jones, Ferdinand and Nani, whom it has been suggested could be out for a couple of months with the foot injury he picked up at Arsenal, will be involved or not.

Ferguson also declared that Liverpool's status as the home team makes them favourites.

However, United have beaten Manchester City and Arsenal in their last two away games, so have every reason for confidence themselves.

"We had quite a daunting programme, City, Arsenal, two games against Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham away, Stoke at home.

"But we're progressing through it and hopefully we get to the end of it and we've done well."

Dalglish has to assess the fitness of his players after their Carling Cup exploits again! st City in midweek, with forward Craig Bellamy seemingly the most unlikely to play three games in a week.

Midfielder Jay Spearing could be recalled to Liverpool.

Striker Luis Suarez, suspended for racially abusing Patrice Evra in the two club's league encounter in October, serves the seventh game of his eight-match ban.

Liverpool (from): Reina, Johnson, Agger, Skrtel, Enrique, Adam, Gerrard, Downing, Henderson, Kuyt, Rodriguez, Doni, Kelly, Carragher, Coates, Aurelio, Spearing, Shelvey, Bellamy, Carroll.

Manchester United (from): De Gea, Lindegaard, Amos, Smalling, Rafael, Ferdinand, Evra, Jones, Evans, Fabio, Fryers, Cole, Carrick, Scholes, Valencia, Park, Nani, Giggs, Rooney, Welbeck, Berbatov, Hernandez, Diouf.

Key opponent: Bellamy - winger in fine form and has the pace and skill to hurt any defence

Prediction: Liverpool 1 Manchester United 1 - both sides in decent form and always tough at Anfield, so a draw could be the outcome

Click
here for all the latest odds from Betfred.
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Sir Alex Fergusons hand looks to be forced over skipper Patrice Evra despite the race row

It certainly wasnt anything to do with mind games and more a statement of fact when United No 2 Mike Phelan admitted: Were not in the greatest state that we could possibly be in.

But for Sir Alex Ferguson, preparing for the undisputed tie of the FA Cup fourth round at Anfield tomorrow against Uniteds biggest inter-city rivals Liverpool, its a backs-to-the-wall situation that hell relish.

The Reds boss will be keeping his selection options even closer to his chest than normal but his hand looks to be forced over skipper Patrice Evra.

Fergie, who last season revealed he didnt play Wayne Rooney at Goodison because of the abuse he feared he would have endured, isnt likely to further weaken his injury-ravaged team.

Liverpools hierarchy wanted a joint approach with potentially an unprecedented combined United-Liverpool statement calling for calm in the wake of the now infamous Patrice Evra Luis Suarez race row that led to the FA banning the Liverpool talisman for eight games.

Casualty

Fergie opted instead to directly address Uniteds 5,000-plus travelling army, pleading for them to be calm although, of course, provide maximum support.

That is guaranteed with the tie being given additional spice as if any was needed with Liverpool looking for a unique double over Manchester after knocking City out of the Carling Cup on Wednesday at the semi-final stage.

As he surveyed their selection options, Phelan went on to say the Reds will summon up all their vast experience and resources.

And that is exactly what will be needed with Darren Fletcher and Nemanja Vidic already ruled out for the season ! with Nan i, Anderson, Tom Cleverley and Michael Owen highly unlikely to figure with late tests due on Michael Carrick and Rio Ferdinand.

Despite that lengthy casualty list, Fergie has resisted plunging into the January transfer market in a bid to beef up his resources.

And former United firebrand Gary Neville, infamous for his baiting of all things Scouse before he switched the pitch for the TV analysts booth, has praised Fergie for not panicking and splashing out in order to boost his depleted squad.

Ive never seen it work where a player comes in January, signs for big money and settles before the start of next season, insisted Red Nev.

To go into the market in January you never get full value, people think youre desperate so ask for more. Sir Alex has never been one to panic. Youre signing a player now and he needs to get used to the club.

Potentially if hes coming from abroad you need to get used to a new league.

You never quite get the players you want as all the top teams want to keep the best players.

Theyve had a lot of injuries, but thats not an excuse because the reason you have a big squad at a big club is youre able to cope with it.

Massive

They need to get some players back to get a consistent back four because I think problems at times have been caused by not having a consistent back four and a bit of uncertainty at the back.

Meanwhile, Liverpools in-form captain Steven Gerrard is starting to dream of a second Wembley final appearance this season.

After their 3-2 aggregate Carling Cup semi-final success over the Blue half of Manchester, Gerrard said: Weve got to dust ourselves down and get our recovery in.

In just over 48 hours weve got a massive game in the FA Cup and we want to do the same in that competition we want to go a long way.

Tomorrows rivals have won the FA Cup 18 times between them, an! d United hold the edge in meetings between these teams in this competition, having won nine of the 16 previous encounters.

Keep up to date with all the latest Manchester United news here.


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The tax evasion trial of Harry Redknapp has revealed the Spurs manager's admission that he can't work a computer, doesn't "know what an email is" and "couldn't even fill in a team sheet." He also said, "I've never wrote a letter in my life. I couldn't write a letter. I write like a two-year-old and I can't spell." The following is a transcript of Arsenal manager Arsene "The Professor" Wenger's generous attempt to teach Harry how to send an email.

Wenger: OK, Harry. I've shown you how to turn the computer on and we've signed you up for a free email account. Now, we will try sending an email.

Redknapp: What's an email?

Wenger: It is like an electronic letter.

Redknapp: And the elves inside that picture piano deliver it to whoever you want?

Wenger: Well, there are no elves inside the computer, but yes, it will go to whoever you want.

Redknapp: What if I want to send something to Ted in Liverpool. Do them elves know how to get to Liverpool?

Wenger: There are no elves, Harry. None at all. But yes, you can send a message to anyone, anywhere in the world. Here, try typing one to me.

Redknapp: Right. How do you know which button is which?

Wenger: Just look at them. Each one has a letter, number or symbol on it. Press the ones you need.

Redknapp: Nice try, Arsene. But I ain't falling for that one. Them's all French letters. Where's the English ones?

Wenger: Those are English letters, Harry. Just type "Hello." That's all.

[Harry randomly presses all the keys as fast as he can]

Wenger: You just pressed random keys, Harry. That didn't spell any words.

Redknapp: Stupid computer. I'll sell yo! u to Ast on Villa, computer!

Wenger: It's an inanimate object, Harry. It can't hear you.

Redknapp: Them elves inside it can! I bet it's Jermain Defoe in there. He never listens.

Wenger: There are no elves! How do you possibly make it through the day?

Redknapp: My accountant. He writes all my checks, pays my bills. He runs my life. Looks like I'm going to need a new one with this tax mess I'm in, though.

Wenger: So you need someone to run all your finances, which you have absolutely no knowledge of?

Redknapp: Pretty much.

Wenger: I will spend your money for you. I mean...I will be your accountant.

Redknapp: That's triffic, Arsene! You're a top man.

Wenger: [laughs maniacally]

Redknapp: It's funny. You know all these things about tactics, computer elves paying bills and spelling words. Yet, my side is 10 points ahead of yours in the table and in position to qualify for the Champions League. Football's weird, innit?

Wenger: Yes. Yes it is.


Recently winning his third consecutive Ballon d'Or award has earned Lionel Messi a headshot and the title of "King Leo" on the cover of the latest edition of Time Magazine. Well, every cover except the United States version, where a story about "The Power of (shyness)" was deemed more marketable. Then again, it's not entirely clear that this isn't just a more subtle portrayal of Messi.

Barcelona's official website claims that Messi is the first footballer to ever claim the cover of Time, but this isn't true. The 1999 Women's World Cup winning U.S. team became the first ever footballers to be featured on the cover that year. In 2010, the magazine's World Cup guide cover story had a drawing of a generic, faceless player, though Didier Drogba was featured along with Lady Gaga and Bill Clinton for that year's "100 most influential people in the world" issue. Still, the cover has never been wholly devoted to a male footballer before Messi, which is something of a feat, even though pictures on magazine covers are increasingly irrelevant.

This is far from the first instance of Time using a cover for the U.S. that is different from the rest of the world, though. Previously, the U.S. has gotten covers about the division of domestic chores, "the silent majority," and "the China bubble" instead of the rest of the world's covers on Islam, "why the U.S. will never save Afghanistan," and Tintin, respectively.

As for the magazine's actual interview with Messi, the topic of media-enforced rival Cristiano Ronaldo proved to be a prime subject of discussion. And, unsurprisingly, it once again proved how little of a rivalry there is between Spain's top two scorers.

On whether his rivalry with Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo makes him a better player:
I don't think so. I never really fixated on him, or compared myself with another player. My mentality is just to achieve more each year, to grow both as an individual and as a team, and if he wasn't there, I'd be doing the same thing.

On what he thinks of Ronaldo:
I think he's a good person. I think he's a good player, who brings a lot to Madrid, and who, in any moment, can decide a game.

If Time really wanted to push this imaginary rivalry, they should've put Ronaldo on that U.S. cover.


Recently winning his third consecutive Ballon d'Or award has earned Lionel Messi a headshot and the title of "King Leo" on the cover of the latest edition of Time Magazine. Well, every cover except the United States version, where a story about "The Power of (shyness)" was deemed more marketable. Then again, it's not entirely clear that this isn't just a more subtle portrayal of Messi.

According to Barcelona's official website, Messi is now the first male footballer to ever claim the cover of Time -- an impressive feat consider the American-based publication has been around since 1923 (and that Pele played in New York for two years and David Beckham still does). The 1999 Women's World Cup winning U.S. team became the first ever footballers to be featured on the cover that year. Still, that U.S. cover remains elusive for male players, even if pictures on magazine covers are increasingly irrelevant. In 2010, the magazine's World Cup guide cover story had a drawing of a generic, faceless player.

This is far from the first instance of Time using a cover for the U.S. that is different from the rest of the world, though. Previously, the U.S. has gotten covers about the division of domestic chores, "the silent majority," and "the China bubble" instead of the rest of the world's covers on Islam, "why the U.S. will never save Afghanistan," and Tintin, respectively.

As for the magazine's actual interview with Messi, the topic of media-en! forced r ival Cristiano Ronaldo proved to be a prime subject of discussion. And, unsurprisingly, it once again proved how little of a rivalry there is between Spain's top two scorers.

On whether his rivalry with Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo makes him a better player:
I don't think so. I never really fixated on him, or compared myself with another player. My mentality is just to achieve more each year, to grow both as an individual and as a team, and if he wasn't there, I'd be doing the same thing.

On what he thinks of Ronaldo:
I think he's a good person. I think he's a good player, who brings a lot to Madrid, and who, in any moment, can decide a game.

If Time really wanted to push this imaginary rivalry, they should've put Ronaldo on that U.S. cover.


Is there any doubt that is Mario Balotelli's bag that Vincent Kompany trips over while running backwards?

Anyway, this is how the doomsday device that leads us to the apocalypse foretold by the Mayans was triggered.


When a club as big as Bayern Munich promises to announce a major signing near the end of dreadfully slow transfer window, it's going to attract a frenzy of attention. And when a club as big as Bayern Munich announce that that promise was just a fake-out so they could pitch you on a new Facebook application, it's going to go over about as well as giving adult diapers as a birthday present.

From the AP:

Bayern had said on its website that it would present a new striker at 2 p.m. local time, and directed fans to go Facebook to watch it live. Once they were logged in, the fans were made to "like" Bayern's page in order to view the proceedings.

But instead of learning who would be striker Mario Gomez's backup, they were instead presented with a promotion entitled "The New FCB Star."

"Dear fans, you probably already noticed that we did not sign a new player. This app is for our fans to show the importance of you for our club," Bayern said.

And that unleashed the backlash as thousands left messages of furious disapproval. This prompted Bayern to post an apology on their Facebook page a mere three hours later.

Sorry dear fans, as we see from your numerous comments, you are very upset about the today's action.

It was not our intention to disappoint you with the new app. Rather, we wanted to provide you with this action in the Center and thus show how important is each fan for Bayern Munich. In several following video clips on the app, the fan should be part of the team by for example the last name of fans on the Jersey is visible and the fan in the media is represented as a star. These personal videos to prepare you and your frien! ds fun a nd joy.

It wasn't their intention to disappoint? Then why get fans' hopes up about a new addition to their beloved football club and then deliver a useless Facebook app that no one asked for? They Bayern marketing department really needs to talk to Franck Ribery about how to pull off an enjoyable prank.


Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp isn't having a fun time at the moment as the subject of an ongoing trial into tax evasion at London's Southwark Crown Court. If you're not up to speed with English legal wranglings, 'Arry's arsenal of lawyers (no pun intended) are working hard to clear his name as the prosecution demands an explanation for payments made into a Monaco bank account, which they deem to be 'tax-free bungs'.

One would expect a person to possess a certain amount of savvy and adroitness to be involved in offshore banking let alone managing a high profile Premier League team but apparently this isn't the case. Redknapp has been pleading ignorance throughout the trial, and today jurors were informed that the cockney gaffer can't write or spell, and lacks the kind the organizational skills he might preach to his Spurs defence. The Sun reports:

Redknapp, 64, said: "I am completely and utterly disorganised. I am not going to fiddle taxes, I pay my accountant a fortune to look after me."

He added: "My accountant runs my life. I do not receive my wage slips, they go straight to him. I do not see bank statements. I've a big problem - I can't write."

He added: "I write like a two-year-old and I can't spell".

Dirty Tackle's Irony Detector recorded off-the-chart readings when the man who writes a regular column for The Sun was revealed to be almost illiterate by the very same paper. Yet the UK's favorite tabloid newspaper conveniently failed to report the part where he told the court he "hadn't been paid in 18 months" for his editorial services. Funny, that.

In addition to revealing that he can't even fill in the team sheet before matches, Redknapp also pointed out confused relationship with technology, reports FourFourTwo:

In tape recordings played at Southwark Crown Court, Redknapp said: "I can't work a computer, I don't know what an email is, I have never sent a fax and I've never even sent a text message.

Of course it's cruel to mock someone for poor literacy skills, but the jurors might have had trouble keeping straight faces when he said "I don't know what an email is" in a recording that he knew other humans would hear. (Either he's astoundingly out of touch with modern communication techniques, or he's confusing knowing what something is and how to use it. He probably knows what a Hadron Collider is, but that doesn't mean he knows how to work one.)

Whether disorganization, illiteracy and technophobia are deemed to be legitimate grounds for massive tax avoidance will remain to be seen as the trial continues.


Barcelona-happy paper Mundo Deportivo has published the photo above along with an account claiming that Jose Mourinho waited at match referee Fernando Teixeira Vitienes' car after Barca knocked Real Madrid out of the Copa del Rey at the Camp Nou.

Real Madrid were shown seven yellow cards and a red compared to Barcelona's one yellow during the second leg, which ended 2-2 to give Barca a 4-3 aggregate advantage.

So what did Mourinho allegedly say once the referee showed up? "Go artist -- how do you like to f*** with professionals?!" That's just his way of asking for a ride home without seeming too needy, though.


Ryan Giggs

United winger Ryan Giggs will carry on playing as long as he isnt making a fool of himself.

And the United legend believes there will be more Premier League players extending their careers into the late-30s and beyond due to the rapid advancement in sports science.

A long-time practitioner of yoga, Giggs is heading rapidly towards his 900th United appearance and, even though he has already passed his 38th birthday, there is an increasing likelihood he will sign another contract extension for next season.

Currently, Giggs former United team-mate Teddy Sheringham holds the record for the oldest outfield player in Premier League history, having made his final appearance for West Ham in December 2006, 95 days short of his 41st birthday.

And, a bit like manager Sir Alex Ferguson, Giggs gets that from the challenge presented by an ever-growing list of younger team-mates.

You have to remain motivated, otherwise you get swept away, he said. You have to raise your game or you are not contributing and become a waste of time. Its not just about performing in games but also in training.

Retirement

You have to keep going up a level, no matter what age you are.

It is one of the reasons why Giggs cannot put a date on his retirement, especially now Paul Scholes has returned to the fray, having decided coaching does not fulfil him in anything like the same manner as being on the pitch for real.

I dont know how long I can keep playing for, added Giggs.

As long as I am enjoying it and still contributing to the team, not making a fool of myself in training or games.

I still want to perform and I still want to enjoy it.

If you are not playing ! well or feel you are coming up short in training, that is the time to hang up your boots.

Additional research into nutrition, better management of injuries and greater emphasis on the quality of training all help to prolong careers.

I dont think 50 but you will probably find a lot more players in their late-30s or even their 40s if they look after themselves, the veteran Welshman said.

Fergie is to receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Ulster for services to football.

US Open champion Rory McIlroy, the youngest winner of the competition for almost 90 years, will also be honoured.

Check out our other Manchester United stories here.


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Despite a valiant second-half comeback, Real Madrid could only manage a 2-2 draw in the second leg of their Copa del Rey quarterfinal against Barcelona, who advanced on a 4-3 aggregate score. The hot-tempered match was truly a clasico and leaves us to once again ask, "What if it continued?"

97' -- The ball takes an odd bounce off a Sergio Busquets shaped imprint in the pitch.

101' -- Inspired by Paul Scholes coming out of retirement to help Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo attempts to convince Zidane to do the same for Real Madrid. Ronaldo's offer of a lifetime supply of hair gel does nothing to sway the Frenchman.

106' -- Pedro's mustache is found to be in violation of several local indecency laws, yet no one has the balls to go after it.

112' -- Having scored in both legs, Ronaldo vows that anyone who accuses him of not performing in big games will get "Pepe'd into an ugliness coma."

118' -- Sitting on the bench after coming off in the 61st minute for Jose Callejon, Kaka realizes that he actually started in this match. He fears he is stuck in a dream state and is actually very late for a rehab session.

123' -- Eric Abidal gives his wallet to a child in the crowd. "But I didn't ask for this," the child says. Abidal gives him a second wallet.

129' -- Pepe gives his shirt to a different child in the crowd. "But I didn't want this, you #%@!," the child says. Pepe gives him a boot to the baby teeth.

134' -- To celebrate Xavi's 32nd birthday, Cesc Fabregas holds up a sign that reads: "I am not suffering." Xavi considers this the best birthday present he has ever received.

140' -- Confident that Real will not win, the Copa del Rey trophy weeps tears of joy, knowing that it is safe from the sadistic abuse of Sergio Ramos.

145' -- The match is abandoned when referee Fernando Teixeira Vitienes suffers a severe panic attack upon bein! g swarme d by both teams looking to get their opponents booked.

146' -- Jose Mourinho decides that winning La Liga and the Champions League combined with last year's Copa del Rey still counts as a treble.


Two years ago, Manchester City paid 14 million for Craig Bellamy before loaning him out to Cardiff after a season and a half then letting him return to Liverpool on a free transfer last summer. Naturally, the fact that Bellamy was the one to score the decisive 74th minute goal to send Liverpool to the Carling Cup final at City's expense was quite pleasing to Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish and turned him into a post-match press conference comedian.

From Sky Sports:

"He [Bellamy] was unbelievable. If Man City have anyone else like Craig that they don't want to keep, they know where we are," Dalglish said.

His humor wasn't just at Man City's expense, though. He also had some Liverpool material, as well. On the subject of Liverpool making their first trip to Wembley since 1996 (via LiverpoolFC.tv):

"I don't know when the last time (we were there) was, but we know where we are going. We've maybe forgotten the route because we've not been there for a while, but I'm sure the driver will remember!"

And finally, not wanting to leave his audience out of the fun, he zinged one of the congregated journalists when asked about the questionable handball penalty that led to Steven Gerrard's second successful penalty of the tie. Via @OliverKayTimes:

Reporter: "What did you think of the penalty decision?"
Dalglish: "What do you mean?"
Reporter: "The handball."
Dalglish: "Exactly."

That's it for Kenny, folks. He'll be appearing at the Ha-Ha Hut on January 27 and the Old Trafford Comedy Club in Manchester on the 28th. Goodnight!


Though Real Madrid looked as if they might turn things around early in the second leg of their Copa del Rey quarterfinal against Barcelona, it was Barca who scored first (and second) to add to their lead. Lionel Messi slipped a pass to a wide open Pedro as the Real defenders converged on him, setting up a relatively easy goal.

Even as an observer, it felt like a crushing moment for Real -- a theory that Cristiano Ronaldo confirmed with his stompy show of frustration in response to the goal.

Then, just two minutes later, Dani Alves made it a 4-1 lead on aggregate with this absolute blast into the far corner of Iker Casillas' net...

Alves and Eric Abidal do need to work on that "Ai Se Eu Te Pego" dance, though.


In an off the ball incident 69 minutes into Juventus' 3-0 Coppa Italia win over Roma, Giorgio Chiellini dragged Erik Lamela down to the ground. To Chiellini's surprise, this actually put Lamela in position to retaliate. And he did in the form of a boot to the crotch.

Lamela tried to run away while Chiellini rolled around, but the referee apparently spotted the young Argentine's retaliation and showed him a straight red. And 20 minutes after that, Simon Kjaer topped off Roma's miserable night with an own goal.

Counterbalancing that ugliness was Alessandro Del Piero's beautiful goal in the 30th minute, however. I suggest you watch it.


STILL GOING STRONG: Ryan Giggs

Evergreen Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs believes there will be more Premier League players extending their careers into the late 30s and beyond due to the rapid advancement in sports' science.

A long-time practitioner of yoga, Giggs is heading rapidly towards his 900th United appearance and even though he has already passed his 38th birthday, there is an increasing likelihood he will sign another contract extension for next season.

Currently, Giggs' former United team-mate Teddy Sheringham holds the record for the oldest outfield player in Premier League history, having made his final appearance for West Ham in December 2006, 95 days short of his 41st birthday.

Going further back, there have been odd instances of over-50s turning out, with Sir Stanley Matthews being the most obvious example.

Giggs feels it is stretching it a bit to believe that feat could be emulated.

However, additional research into nutrition, better management of injuries and greater emphasis on the quality of training all help to prolong careers.

"I don't think 50 but you will probably find a lot more players in their late 30s or even their 40s if they look after themselves," the veteran Welshman told MUTV.

"Even though the game is getting quicker, you still need players with a good brain. Yes, there are still quicker players around but that quickness of the brain gives you an extra yard."

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The great unknown for any player is their inner desire to keep pushing themselves through every pre-season, which even Giggs admits can be a struggle, and training session so they can deliver the best performances possible on matchday.

And, a bit like manager Sir Alex Ferguson, Giggs gets that from the challenge presented by an ever-growing list of younger team-mates.

"You have to remain motivated, otherwise you get swept away," he said.

"You have to raise your game or you are not contributing and become a waste of time.

"It's not just about performing in games but also in training.

"You have to keep going up a level, no matter what age you are."

It is one of the reasons why Giggs cannot put a date on his retirement, especially now Paul Scholes has returned to the fray, having decided coaching does not fulfil him in anything like the same manner as being on the pitch for real.

"I don't know how long I can keep playing for," said Giggs.

"As long as I am enjoying it and still contributing to the team, not making a fool of myself in training or games.

"I still want to perform and I still want to enjoy it.

"If you! are not playing well or feel you are coming up short in training, that is the time to hang up your boots."

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How long will Giggs carry on for? Have your say.


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Michael Owen
Manchester United'sfringe hitmen are at the centre of January transfer window interest.

Michael Owen and Mame Biram Diouf are being linked with exits from Old Trafford.

While injuries sweep through other departments, the Reds main attack contenders are currently unscathed.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Dimitar Berbatov and Javier Hernandez on call for the title run-in.

It leaves Owen, who is due back before the end of the month from the hamstring injury he suffered in November against Otelul Galati in the Champions League, and reserve Diouf surplus to requirements.

The champions have already allowed 20-year-old Italian Federico Macheda to go on loan to Queens Park Rangers and could now look to shift a further two goalscorers out either permanently or on loan.

Brighton have been linked with a move for 32-year-old former England front-man Owen.


Manchester United closing on Danny Welbeck deal

Phil Jones fitness boost

Best of the best: Pique compares Sir Alex Ferguson to Pep Guardiola


But he is also interesting Ipswich Town. Former Wigan boss Paul Jewell is a pal of the United! striker s and Owen is also said to know Ipswich owner Marcus Evans through horse racing connections.

Owens Old Trafford one-year contract runs out in the summer and his Reds career has been dogged by injuries.

Diouf has also been struggling for senior match time since he moved from Molde in 2009.

He spent last term on loan at Blackburn Rovers and has been recently linked with a half season switch to Wigan.

But Roberto Martinez is now in talks with Bristol Citys Nicky Maynard so might not pursue Diouf.

However, the Senegal striker has revealed that he could be destined for France.

I have many contacts but nothing is done yet, he said.

Brest can be interested but I have a contract with United until 2013.

I want to go and play week in, week out and try to impress Sir Alex Ferguson. If I can finish the season strongly, I can challenge for a position next season like Danny Welbeck has done this season.

What do you think? Have your say.
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On Tuesday night, the Copa del Rey quarterfinal involving the other club from Barcelona and a team that most definitely is not Real Madrid nearly made the bitterness of El Clasico and the actual cup irrelevant. CD Mirandes of the Segunda Division B, Group 2 -- a club that has a budget of less than 1 million and plays in ground with a capacity of 6,000 -- beat Espanyol 2-1 in front of their small but overjoyed home crowd to advance on a 4-4 aggregate score.

The man who scored Mirandes' first goal of the second leg and set up the injury-time winner was 31-year-old captain Pablo Infante, who is the top scorer in the competition with seven goals -- three more than the next best. And when he's not scoring buckets of goals to lead his team into the unexpected glory rounds of the Copa del Rey, he's doing something far more mundane than you would probably guess.

From SpanishFootball.info:

Infante leads another life; he's a bank clerk by day. The wily midfielder commutes some 30 miles to get to his job in Quincoces de Yuso working at Caja Crculo bank. After the victory at El Sardinero he was up for work the next day at 7am he travelled in his car too, that has 90,000+ miles on the clock. This sort of details, you just couldn't make up.

More details you can't make up: Infante has a degree in business administration from the University of Burgos -- the province where he has played his entire footballing career. He has also turned down offers from bigger! clubs to keep his job at the bank branch and vowed to even reject first division sides to continue helping the club where he's grown over the last seven years.

He also says stuff like this:

"You have to stay happy in life, I feel happy in this job" Infante said in the lead up to the game, as the TV crews descended upon his bank.

In short, Pablo Infante is a heart-warming character who happens to be fantastically real. Whenever the eye-poking, diving and general, never-ending cynicism of Real Madrid v Barcelona gets to be too much, just think of him.


All the stuff being covered outside the unfriendly confines of the award-winning Dirty Tackle...

RVP with a timeless love ballad. [Fitba Thatba]

There might be a Shakira and Gerard Pique sex tape. Filmed by Shakira's former employee. [Kickette]

Jose Mourinho has been compared to that disgraced Italian cruise ship captain. [TFB]

If Carlos Tevez won't even play for Man City, there's no way he's paying their fines. [Guardian]

MLS All-Star Game will be in Philly. But who will the MLSers play? [KCKRS]

AS Roma and the 1942 Scudetto: A gift from Mussolini? [IBWM]

Andrei Arshavin is not a goat. [SB Nation]

Football clubs as periodic tables. [TBG]


After being whistled and jeered by fans at the Santiago Bernabeu during Real Madrid's 4-1 win over Athletic Bilbao on Sunday, Jose Mourinho has issued a public warning to the club's supporters that he could walk out to prove how good they currently have it with him in charge.

"If first place in the league is not good enough for the fans, then I can leave," Mourinho said, crossing his arms in defiance. "Rafa Benitez can come. He can replace me here like at Inter and you can see how bad it can get. And since Rafa is fat hurricane of destruction, it will get bad. Everything will be sweaty."

Madrid native Benitez started his managerial career as Real's youth coach before leading Valencia to two La Liga titles and winning the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005. Following several seasons with diminishing returns, he was dismissed and began a doomed stint as Mourinho's replacement at Inter in 2010.

"Look at Inter," Mourinho continued. "I win Scudetto, I win Champions League, I win domestic cup. And then I leave. Rafa comes in and boom -- fat hurricane with goatee ruins club and is sacked in six months. If Madridistas want that, I can leave right now. They can have Rafa. I'm sure he is bored wearing just underpants and talking about facts in the mirror anyway."

To Mourinho's shock, Benitez then rushed into the room and vehemently denied growing bored of doing that.


Public displays of dissent from your home fans and your captain during a loss to Manchester United are one thing, but we know Arsene Wenger's position at Arsenal has truly soured when the president of Rwanda tweets that he should leave the club. And that nightmare has now come true, surely causing a great deal of pain for Wenger if he at all cared. Which he probably doesn't.

In a series of tweets directed at Kenyan journalist and fellow Arsenal fan Philip Etale, Kagame made his call for change using more exclamation points than you might expect from a head of state.

From the AFP:

"I very much support Arsenal - but to be honest Wenger needs to coach another team now and Arsenal needs another coach," Kagame wrote. [...]

"When a good team (players) and a good coach fail for long to deliver, one of them has to change, or even both!!," said Kagame, who came to power in the small central African nation in 1994.

"The real/main danger is for anyone to get used to mediocre/lacklustre performance and/or results and accepts to live with it or keeps finding excuses for it!!!," Kagame wrote.

Making this outburst all the more hurtful is the fact that Wenger once sent Kagame a birthday present and letter thanking the former rebel leader for his backing.

At a bash for his 50th birthday in 2007, Kagame was handed an Arsenal banner signed by the entire squad and a letter in which Wenger told him of his pride at learning that the Rwandan head of state was a keen supporter.

For Kagame's next birthday, Wenger! will se nd him a Spurs banner signed by Ashley Cole and a drawing of a giant middle finger.


Neymar may only be 19-years old, but Santos have confirmed his legendary status with a tribute in their club museum. The young striker has been immortalized with a display commemorating his rather excellent goal against Flamengo, which won the FIFA Pusks Award as the most "beautiful goal" of 2011.

Also added to the museum was a bizarre metal statue, complete with flaming robotic orange Mohawk and incredibly sinister scowling eyes. Dirty Tackle cannot confirm who created the tin man tribute or why it looks the way it does, but we're going to assume it's made from cat food cans and that it also smells of cat food.

We wouldn't want to suggest that Santos has rushed out some Neymar memorabilia before he makes his inevitable move to a European club, but, well... actually that's exactly what we want to suggest.

Check out Neymar's museum-worthy goal after the jump...


Neymar may only be 19-years old, but Santos have confirmed his legendary status with a tribute in their club museum. The young striker has been immortalized with a display commemorating his rather excellent goal against Flamengo, which won the FIFA Pusks Award as the most "beautiful goal" of 2011.

Also added to the museum was a bizarre metal statue, complete with flaming robotic orange Mohawk and incredibly sinister scowling eyes. Dirty Tackle cannot confirm who created the tin man tribute or why it looks the way it does, but we're going to assume it's made from cat food cans and that it also smells of cat food.

We wouldn't want to suggest that Santos has rushed out some Neymar memorabilia before he makes his inevitable move to a European club, but, well... actually that's exactly what we want to suggest.

Check out Neymar's museum-worthy goal after the jump...


Nathaniel Clyne

With just seven days now to the close of the January transfer window the doors also appear to be shutting on possible ManchesterUnited late swoops.

A trio of injuries picked up at Arsenal on Sunday has further decimated Sir Alex Fergusons squad but the Reds boss has continued to insist there will be no new faces brought in during this transfer window.

Phil Jones could be out for three weeks with possible ankle ligament damage suffered at the Emirates, Nani is under treatment for a right foot injury that saw him leave Arsenal in a protective boot, and Wayne Rooney is sweating on making Uniteds FA Cup fourth round tie at Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime after limping away from Sundays match.

But boosting the squad numbers seems unlikely with long-term Reds target Wesley Sneijder today insisting he is staying put with Inter Milan in Italy.

He has suffered injuries this season which have restricted the playmaker to just eight matches, but he says: I am in good shape and I feel well. The future? I stay at Inter, I feel good here.

How much is left until the end of this transfer window? A week? Im staying here.

With Jones possible absence, United could step up their interest in Crystal Palace right-back Nathaniel Clyne as reported in Saturdays M.E.N. Sport.

The 20-year-old impressed the Reds in Palaces shock Carling Cup win at Old Trafford in November and they have been alerted to the fact he is out of contract at Selhurst Park in the summer.


Gossip: Brighton in for Michael Owen

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Wesley Sneijder - My future is at Inter Milan


Clyne is back in the shop window again tonight in the second leg of the Carling Cup semi-final against Cardiff City but Palace boss Dougie Freedman says there has been no move for the right-back.

There has not been one single approach for one of my players, so far so good, Freedman said.

Professionally, young Nathaniel is fine and our relationship is fantastic.

If he is fit and he is on form then he will play as he has contributed to the teams defence.

We have kept many clean sheets this year and he has been involved in them.

The future of young midfielder Ravel Morrison is still up in the air.

Newcastle United have had an initial bid for the 18-year-old, who helped the Reds win the FA Youth Cup last season, turned down by Fergie.

However, they are expected to improve their offer before the end of the transfer window.

What should United do between now and the end of the transfer window? Have your say.


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