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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Latest Chelsea News

The Gubbio AS 1910 announced that from 12 January 2009 to 16 January 2009, the London club Chelsea, has three young players to support a prestigious club with the Anglo-Saxon.This testimony to the work that the Gubbio football, with his youth, plays with the most famed clubs in Italy and in Europe.

These are the names of young people interested: Mattia Urbani, Class'91, a defender, Andrea Ferrato'92, defender, Lazzoi Louis, Class'93, attacker. In addition, the AS Gubbio Calcio 1910 with this invitation, intends to involve the clubs on our territory, for a midnight mass to be held on December 28 at 18.30, at the Church of San Francesco in Gubbio.

The celebration will be attended by the bishop, Monsignor Mario Ceccobelli, we invite all companies and citizens to participate actively.

On this occasion we renew the wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2009.

Chelsea tipped to beat Real Madrid for NEW ZIDANE

Chelsea Football Club are new favourites to sign Gabriel Obertan.The 20-year-old midfielder has been labelled as the ‘New Zinedine Zidane’ in his homeland following a string of fine performances for Bordeaux, which have caught the attention of Real Madrid.

However, reports in France now claim Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Blues are favourites to sign Obertan, although any move in January would involve the player remaining in Ligue 1 for the rest of the season.

"For the moment Bordeaux don’t want him to go out on loan,” said agent Karim Djaziri. “As far as we’re concerned, we have no intention at all. He’s under contract and the club will make a decision."

Drogba: Expect 'surprises' in 2009

Didier Drogba is not ruling out a move from Chelsea in 2009 which may lead to renewed interest from Inter.

The Ivorian striker is now back to full fitness and vying for a starting place with his rival Nicolas Anelka for the lone striker role, favoured by Blues' manager Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Reports abounded in November that Drogba had met with Inter sporting director Marco Branca, in a restaurant on the Fulham Road, but this has been vigorously denied.

“I’m going to let myself get carried by events,” Drogba told France Football. “I could plant myself here, but I have the impression that in 2009, good things will happen for me.

“Without doubt there will also be surprises.”

‘The Drog’ also revealed that he became disillusioned with football over the summer but now he is back firing on all cylinders, he is more concerned with forging a partnership with Anelka.

“For the moment, I just have to keep quiet,” Drogba added.

“It’s not because I’ve been here for more than four years that I have the right to have demands on a status of starter.

“At the moment there is a man who is scoring and who is piling up goals. I only have to wait my turn.

“I have always said that I was happy that Nicolas came to Chelsea. But I still don’t understand why coaches are scared to play us together.”

Chelsea Miss Their Key Man: Claude Makelele

Every great team requires a certain balance of players. It needs solid defenders, players who can pick a pass, someone who can get past players with pace, and someone to score goals.

However, the teams that have achieved most success in the world of football also have someone who can glue all these parts together to turn a great club into a great team.

Ronaldo commented back in 2003, when Real Madrid won La Liga, that of all the superstars in their team; the likes of Figo, Zidane and Raul, the most important player was one Cladue Makélélé.

Despite also helping Madrid to a Champions League win the year before, Chelsea took the chance to sign the well established midfielder.

Under Ranieri, Makélélé was played in a 4-4-2, but struggled to make a real impact; however, when Mourinho took over, he employed a 4-3-3/4-5-1 tactic Makélélé as his holding midfielder to allow Essien and Lampard to push forward more effectively, knowing that his back four was given sufficient cover.

Mourinho produced Chelsea's first League Tittle in 50 years and helped them win it back to back, adding a League Cup and an FA Cup.

Many football critics have since held Makélélé as the key to Chelsea's success. His experienced defending, and simple passing seemed to give the start for Chelsea's attacking moves, and it is impossible to doubt his effectiveness against the worlds top attacking players.

Not so long ago, Chelsea seemed almost unbeatable, Petr Cech kept a record of clean sheets in a row, by some margin and success seemed inevitable.

Even under Grant, despite not winning the Champions League last year, a 35-year-old Makélélé started the game, implying his importance to the club. He has even become synonymous with the defensive midfielder role, often referred to as the "Makélélé role".

Since he has left last summer to join Paris Saint Germain, despite having more adventurous attacking play, Chelsea look vulnerable at the back, especially in defense. Perhaps due to Carvalho's sustained absence, perhaps due to Essien's injury, but largely because they don't have a world class defender in the midfield.

The highly rated John Mikel Obi has been forced to step into Makélélé's shoes, which on the whole, he has done surprisingly well;s however, he is just 21, and plays naively, giving away needless fouls in dangerous areas.

Ultimately, Chelsea's so far disappointing season can be put down to a number of factors, Drogba's absence, missing out on Robinho and Essien also being injured, along with lots of more minor injuries, however, the role that Makélélé played in this Chelsea side cannot be disputed, and they do have a gap in the team, which needs filling for Chelsea to once again assert some dominance in the domestic game.

Lampard insists Chelsea have fighting spirit

Frank Lampard insists Chelsea have the fighting spirit required to mount a title challenge in the new year.

The London side drew three of their four games over the Christmas fortnight and head into 2009 three points behind Premier League pace-setters Liverpool.

Defending champions Manchester United will overhaul Chelsea if they win all three of their games in hand - making the Blues' trip to Old Trafford on January 11 a vital fixture.

Chelsea have dropped 11 points from their last available 21 but Lampard is confident they can rekindle the resilience that carried them to the title under Jose Mourinho in 2005 and 2006.

''There's three points in it and we've got a very good squad of players,'' said Lampard, after scoring both goals in Chelsea's 2-2 draw at Fulham yesterday.

''We have obviously lost a bit of ground now but there are big games coming up. We have Manchester United as our next game in the league so it's still all to play for.

''We will go to United wanting to win that game. If we can get real consistency going, we can win the league.

''You can only win titles with never-say-die in your team. That is what Chelsea are all about. We've had it for the last few years and we've still got it.''

Lampard, sporting the captain's armband with John Terry suspended, embodied that attitude at Craven Cottage where he was Chelsea's outstanding player.

''Frank is a man who never accepts defeat,'' said Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari. ''He scored two goals again and he works more chances than any other player. He played very, very well.''

Unfortunately for Scolari the same attention to detail was not evident at the back as Lampard's best efforts were undone by poor set-piece defending.

Clint Dempsey, who had put Fulham ahead after Chelsea failed to clear a Simon Davies free-kick, was left unmarked to score the last minute equaliser.

''Without a doubt we should have won the game,'' Lampard added. ''We managed to get our nose in front and we felt comfortable in the game. Then we managed to get done on the set pieces and obviously there's frustration in the dressing room after the game.

''We dropped points against Fulham so Manchester United have a chance to go above us if they win all of their games in hand so that brings a lot of importance.''

Terry's suspension will be over after the FA Cup third round tie against Southend on Saturday and he will be available for the United game.

Terry: We're behind Big Phil

Chelsea captain John Terry has moved to dismiss claims of dressing room unrest at Stamford Bridge by hailing the impact made by Brazilian manager Luiz Felipe Scolari in his six months at the club.

While The Blues go into Sunday’s game against Fulham just one point shy of Premier League leaders Liverpool, Scolari’s stewardship of the West London side has come under scrutiny in recent weeks thanks to some poor home form.

Whispers of dressing room unrest have also circulated in the national media although the club have been at pains to repeatedly deny that the tide of player opinion is turning against Scolari.

Now Terry has done his part to present a united front by claiming that Scolari is a popular figure at Chelsea’s Cobham training ground and that the squad are suuportive of the former Brazil boss.

“Felipe has been a great signing for the club as a manager — he’s actually been different class,” said Terry in the News of the World. “He’s a great man, he gets on with everyone.

“Away from the training pitch he’s like one of our friends but, on the training pitch, he’s got the respect of the whole squad.

“He has come in and encouraged us to play football a lot more. He has encouraged the two full-backs to get on and have an effect going forward.

“But we also have in mind keeping clean sheets — at the minute we are doing both.”

Monday, December 22, 2008

Come On Chelsea ~ Singapore Woes

Congrats Man U Winning The World Club Championship but Vidic will be suspended for at least one game against Inter Milan and Up to 3 games depending on FIFA verdict on the incident whether it is a serious foul play / violent conduct.

While Arsenal And Liverpool Play out an Exciting 1 - 1 Draw With Adebayor IMO unfairly sent off ! Seems like Howard Webb have something against him and Arsenal fought hard to hold on for the draw.

Chelsea will face Everton Away From Home at Goodison Park with a Perfect Away Record and conceding only 1 goal Scoring 21 in 8 away games. The match will be shown Live on Football Channel at 4am a perfect chance for The Blues to overtake Liverpool at the Top Of The Premier League Table.

Diarra completed his €20million transfer to Real Madrid after successfully passing a medical at the Santiago Bernabeu on Monday.The 23-year-old has signed a four-and-a-half-year contract and set to move during the January Transfer Window.

Singapore Slump To a humiliating defeat to Vietnam not making most of their chances.

Singapore deserve to lose our finishing is really poor infront of goals and we were punish for that.

Alam Shah miss a few golden opportunity in front of goal where he should have really easily score.

The Vietnam Substitute Striker easily dances pass our defence with ease and show good balance before making an excellent deadly ball right into the danger penalty area to his teamate.

Singapore should learn to put in much better quality crosses and pass the ball around more smoothly and show some composure in the opponent half.

With such poor finishing we aren’t going to win any games.

By Jackson Ng Ghim Pheng

Saturday, December 13, 2008

FIFA announce World Player of the Year shortlist, Rafa doubts Liverpool title credentials

Arsene Wenger: No more slips in tight title race

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger heads to Middlesbrough for Saturday's lunchtime kick-off knowing that his side cannot afford another slip-up after getting themselves back in the race for the Premier League title.

Although the Gunners are eight points behind league leaders Liverpool, Wenger maintains that the strength in depth of the competition this season will ensure no-one runs away with the title.

Arsenal travel to the Riverside Stadium boosted by last weekend's win against Chelsea but they have already been beaten by the likes of Hull City, Fulham, Stoke City and Manchester City, as well as fifth-placed Aston Villa and that proves the intensity of the league, according to Wenger.

"The level of demands are higher from everywhere," Wenger told Arsenal's website. "You cannot have on one side the best Premier League in the world and on the other side have teams just to turn up and think you will win the game. You will have surprises."

The Gunners boss, though, is determined not to suffer another shock result on Saturday - and is expected to recall several first-team players who missed the midweek Champions League defeat in Porto.

He continued: "I believe we have come back into some consistency - we have beaten Chelsea and Wigan, also Kiev, and that the Porto result was a special game. When you get to a position where you can protect your Premier League game a bit, then you do it.

"You have a period now where you can completely focus on the Premier League and you can set yourself a target. If we can get to within a reasonable difference by Christmas, we still have half of the championship to play after to come back into the race."

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez agrees that it will be a very tight championship this year and speaking ahead of the Reds' clash with Hull City declared it would need the other big four to "mess up their season" to ensure a smooth path towards the title come May.

But, like Wenger, Benitez is fully focused on domestic matters now that the Champions League is on a winter break and has urged his side to knuckle down for the 10 league games before European football resumes.

"We now have almost three months to concentrate on the Premier League, and the FA Cup. We would want to go back into Europe next year still top of the table," Benitez said.

"We have qualified for the next stage in Europe, we are top of the Premier League, and now we can concentrate on domestic considerations. We do not want to give up top spot. If we are still there when we start up again in Europe, the chances of a really good season will be obvious."

Meanwhile, reigning champions Manchester United continue their defence of the title with a number of injury worries ahead of a tricky trip to White Hart Lane to face Harry Redknapp's resurgent Tottenham Hotspur.

Former Spurs striker Dimitar Berbatov is struggling with an Achilles injury, while defender Rio Ferdinand suffered a back spasm towards the end of Wednesday's Champions League draw with Aalborg.

Wayne Rooney and Patrice Evra are suspended and Cristiano Ronaldo (hip) and Michael Carrick (thigh) are also receiving treatment, which could leave Ferguson needing the full depth of his squad.

Chelsea coach Luiz Felipe Scolari must decide whether to stick with France striker Nicolas Anelka or recall Didier Drogba against West Ham United at Stamford Bridge.

Drogba is available again after completing a three-match ban for throwing a coin into the crowd against Burnley in the Carling Cup and Scolari has never started the Ivorian and Anelka together.

FIFA announce World Player of the Year shortlist

Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo is the favourite to win another major honour after being included on the shortlist for the FIFA World Player of the Year award.

The Manchester United double winner has been nominated alongside Barcelona duo Lionel Messi and Xavi, AC Milan playmaker Kaka and Liverpool striker Fernando Torres.

Ronaldo scored 42 goals and scooped the Premier League title and European Cup with United last season whilst Torres and Xavi won Euro 2008 with Spain.

Although Brazil international Kaka and Argentina forward Messi are both regulars on the awards circuit neither of them won any silverware in 2008.

The shortlist has been complied after coaches and team captains from around the world were asked to vote for their top choice and it is the first year five players, rather than three, have been named.

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez revealed his delight with Torres' nomination for the world award.

"I am pleased he has been nominated for the world player-of-the-year award - it is well-deserved. To score 33 goals in your first season in England and then to win the European title with Spain shows his quality," said Benitez.

"There are some very good players also nominated, but I feel Fernando has a good chance. Of course, Cristiano Ronaldo is also nominated - and he is a very good player, too. It could be him; it could be Torres - but I will always support Fernando.

"It is very positive for him and for us. He was doing very well, and his record last season is a massive achievement.''

The winner will be announced at a glitzy gala at the Zurich Opera House on January 12.

Buffon seeks £250k-a-week for Man City move

Manchester City will have to pay Gianluigi Buffon wages of £250,000-a-week to prise the world's best goalkeeper away from Juventus.

The Daily Mail claim that City would also have to pay a transfer fee of £20 million for the 30-year-old Italian international.

The super-expensive transfer is thought to be a 'statement signing' by the club's new billionaire owners, the Abu Dhabi royal family, who shocked football by signing Robinho during the summer transfer window.

City manager Mark Hughes is believed to have endorsed the transfer - on condition Buffon proves his fitness after missing a month of Serie A action with a groin injury - and would welcome the World Cup winner into his squad.

However, last month Buffon, who currently earns £90,000-a-week at the Stadio Olimpico, dismissed City as a fantasy football club.

"Manchester City? I played fantasy football when I was young, now I only like to think about real football," he told

Rafa doubts Liverpool title credentials

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez believes that his Premier League leaders can only win the title if Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal fail to mount a decent challenge.

Rafael Benitez

Speaking ahead of his team's clash with Hull City on Saturday the Spaniard also said he considered Liverpool to be a small club compared to the "bigger" clubs of England's established top four.

Benitez told The Sun: "For us to win the league we need Chelsea, Man United and Arsenal to mess up their season. It is very rare that three teams all mess up."

Liverpool are one point clear of second-placed Chelsea and six ahead of Manchester United, who have a game in hand, with Arsenal in fourth, eight points off the pace.

Prior to joining Liverpool in 2004, Benitez won the La Liga title with Valencia and the Spaniard can see parallels with the Reds' challenge this season.

"For me, Valencia and Liverpool are similar - for them to win, the bigger clubs have to do badly," Benitez said. "When I won La Liga with Valencia that's what happened, Real Madrid and Barcelona were in transition, so it was easier."

But Benitez has charged his team with building a lead at the top of the Premier League now that the Champions League is on a winter break.

With the group stage finishing this week - Liverpool comfortably qualified for the last 16 - there is now a lull in European competition until the knockout stage begins in February. And Benitez has urged his side to knuckle down for those 10 league games.

"We now have almost three months to concentrate on the Premier League, and the FA Cup. We would want to go back into Europe next year still top of the table.

"We have qualified for the next stage in Europe, we are top of the Premier League, and now we can concentrate on domestic considerations. We do not want to give up top spot. If we are still there when we start up again in Europe, the chances of a really good season will be obvious."

Chelsea rebuff PSV approach for Alex

PSV Eindhoven have confirmed launching a bid to take Chelsea's unsettled Brazilian defender Alex on loan.

Alex was reported to have handed in transfer request at Stamford Bridge this week but the Blues insisted "no transfer request has been received from any player" and have rebuffed PSV's approach for the player.

PSV director Jan Reker said: "We contacted Chelsea, but the answer was clear: they don't want to let him go under any circumstances."

Alex, who played at PSV from 2004 to 2007, has become discontented at Chelsea after being left on the sidelines for much of this season, with Branislav Ivanovic often preferred in place of the injured Ricardo Carvalho.

Speaking ahead of Chelsea's Premier League match with West Ham United on Sunday assistant coach Ray Wilkins said Europe's elite would have to pay big money to land any of their star players as they don't want to sell.

"If anybody was to come in for any of our players in January, knowing the quality of player we have, it is going to cost them a lot of money," Wilkins said.

"You want players at the club who are totally committed, but (manager Luiz) Felipe (Scolari) has not sat on the fence at all. He has actually stated that if players don't want to be at Chelsea then they will leave - but it will only be for a lot of money. "I expect Alex to be here at the start of February. The way he has trained as well has not given me the impression he wants 'off' in January.

"He has been a major part of the side in the last couple of games and he has done very well for us.''

UEFA to deliver Rooney verdict on Monday

UEFA will decide on Monday whether to charge Wayne Rooney over his clash with Aalborg's Kasper Risgard at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Wayne Rooney

Risgard claimed the Manchester United frontman deliberately stamped on him during the first-half and left marks on his chest.

Stand-in Aalborg boss Allan Kuhn also felt Rooney had overstepped the mark and UEFA have confirmed this morning they will assess the incident, which was missed by referee Laurent Duhamel.

Should UEFA concur with Risgard's view, Rooney would almost certainly be banned for the beginning of the knock-out rounds in February.

Sir Alex Ferguson was offered the chance to present his view ahead of tomorrow's trip to Tottenham - which Rooney will miss after collecting five bookings - but declined to offer an opinion.

However, he is unhappy at the reporting of the incident, feeling Rooney's case has not been helped by numerous reruns on TV and what he perceives as enthusiastic coverage of an event being described as another chapter in the 23-year-old's chequered disciplinary history.

"I am not going to discuss Wayne Rooney," he said.

"You press guys have created most of it. You are not getting anything from this club at all on Wayne Rooney. That is it, finished."

Barcelona eye revenge in "El Clasico"

Barcelona are itching to avenge last season's 4-1 defeat away to Real Madrid when they meet in Saturday's "Clasico" at the Nou Camp, defender Rafael Marquez said.

"A win would give us an important advantage over Madrid and a boost to help us make progress," the Mexican said on the club's website.

"Hopefully it will be a great game and we can convince people that the 4-1 is forgotten. It's something that I don't like thinking back to and I understand people want revenge."

Meanwhile, Real Madrid midfielder Ruben de la Red could become the third player from the Spanish champions to be forced to end the season early after his collapse on the pitch in a Copa del Rey match in October.

Club president Ramon Calderon said in a television interview late on Thursday the Spain international would not play again this season but officials said Real Madrid were still waiting for final test results.

Striker Ruud van Nistelrooy and midfielder Mahamadou Diarra are already out with serious knee injuries.

Source - Soccernet

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Chelsea deny Alex handed in transfer request. MU await UEFA decision over Rooney stamp

Chelsea deny Alex handed in transfer request

Chelsea have sent a blunt message to the club's players after rejecting speculation that Brazilian defender Alex has slapped in a transfer request.

The Blues defender claimed he had told Chelsea earlier this week that he wanted to leave Stamford Bridge in the January transfer window, saying in The Sun: "I told Chelsea a few days ago that I wanted to leave.''

"There are many options. But I have to think them through and see if Chelsea will let me leave in January.''

However, Chelsea have made it clear that none of their players will be allowed to move on until they decide it is right for the club.

A statement from the club read: ''Chelsea would like to make clear that no transfer request has been received from any player. Chelsea will decide the future of any contracted player in the best interests of the club.''

AC Milan and Seville have already expressed an interest in the £10million-rated defender, who is believed to be frustrated by his lack of first-team involvement

Alex fears he will fail to make his country's 2010 World Cup team because he is not playing regularly.

Brazil boss Dunga currently prefers Lucio and Juan as his central defenders and has already told Alex he needs to play more games to be considered.

With John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho firmly in place as first choice chances have been limited. Carvalho's injury problems seemed to clear the way for the Brazilian to stake his claim but Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovic has also been used alongside the England skipper.

The former Santos player has started 10 games this season with five of those coming in the Premier League.

MU await UEFA decision over Rooney stamp

Manchester United could be without Wayne Rooney for their Round of 16 tie if UEFA decide to take action after his tackle on Aalbord's Kasper Risgard in Wednesday night's Champions League tie.

The striker has come in for criticism after a robust performance which also saw Michael Jakobsen hit with a heavy challenge. He appeared to stamp on Risgard who stayed down in pain after the incident.

Risgard has claimed Rooney would have been sent off had the game been at any other venue than Old Trafford. If UEFA choose to take action the England international could be handed a suspension which would kick in when the knockout rounds begin at the end of February. United will hope he escapes with no more than a fine if a charge is brought.

Risgard was left with stud marks on his chest as a lasting reminder of Rooney's challenge as the pair fell to the ground late in the first half. Jakobsen then got the United player's studs down the back of his calf after the break. It provided a reminder of Rooney's questionable temperament.

"I do not think the referee saw it. Anywhere else but this place it would have been a red card,'' said Risgard. "I have some big marks and I do not think it looks good on television.

"There was also another incident with Rooney where he threw an arm and hurt one of our players. But these challenges happen in football and he did come and apologise to me after the game.''

Van der Sar agrees new one-year United deal

Edwin van der Sar's agent has said that the Manchester United goalkeeper is set to sign a new one-year contract extension with the double winners.

Despite speculation the 38-year-old could retire at the end of the season, van der Sar has previously insisted he is no hurry to hang up his gloves.

And the Dutchman's representative, Rob Jansen, has now announced he has been in discussions with United for "a couple of weeks" regarding fresh terms - and that an agreement has now been reached.

He told ANP: "Manchester will make it known officially on Friday. We have already been in talks about a new contract for a couple of weeks.

"Now we have reached an agreement. It is for one year. What will happen after that, I don't know."

Van der Sar joined United in a £5million deal in 2005 and helped the Red Devils to a domestic and European double last term, his penalty save from Nicolas Anelka securing the Champions League with a win over Chelsea.

The stopper has also played for Juventus and Ajax during his career and made 130 appearances for Holland.

UEFA fine Lyon players for deliberate bookings

UEFA fined Olympique Lyon players Cris and Juninho 15,000 euros ($19,790) and 10,000 euros ($13,190) respectively on Thursday for getting deliberately booked during a Champions League match last month.

UEFA's disciplinary panel decided that the pair had committed deliberate fouls during the Nov. 25 Group F match against Fiorentina in order to serve a one-match suspension during their team's meaningless final group stage match against Bayern Munich.

Aside from the fine, the tactic appears to have paid off for the two Brazilians who can now compete in the tournament's first knockout round with their disciplinary record wiped clean.

Cris and Juninho had each picked up two yellow cards in early Champions League matches going into the Fiorentina match and would have been ruled out of the first knockout round game if their third booking had come during the Bayern match.

UEFA said the two players would have three days in which to appeal against Thursday's decision.

Scolari - We Play Anyone !

Credit - SkySports

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Wilkins: No unrest in Chelsea camp

Scolari: Swerved press conference

Wilkins: No unrest in Chelsea camp

Chelsea assistant boss Ray Wilkins dismissed suggestions of any unrest under Luiz Felipe Scolari following Saturday's 2-0 win at Bolton.

Scolari has now masterminded a new top-flight record of 11 away wins, with a 2-0 victory at Bolton helping Chelsea eclipse the previous mark set in 1960 by Bill Nicholson's Tottenham.

But there are claims the players are unhappy with his apparently lax training regime, and feel their play is becoming too predictable.

Skipper John Terry has also seemingly questioned the desire of his team-mates.

But at the Reebok Stadium there was little to suggest there are problems afoot, with the win keeping Chelsea a point behind leaders Liverpool in the battle for the Premier League title.

Scolari, though, did not attend the post-match press conference, with Wilkins insisting the Portuguese is currently feeling jaded and that it was time for him to have a day off from the media inquisition.

When asked whether there was any dissension in the ranks, Wilkins sternly replied: "None whatsoever.

"If you are looking for an angle then that team might have fallen apart, but the spirit and application in the camp is absolutely different class.

"You cannot perform like that if there is dissension about. They have performed to a very high standard."

After Kevin Davies shaved the crossbar with a free header in the eighth minute, he and Bolton were made to pay a minute later, with Nicolas Anelka on target.

Eleven months after his £15million move from Bolton to Chelsea, the France international netted the 99th Premier League goal of his career with a diving header inside the six-yard box.

Twelve minutes later and the points were sealed when Deco ended a 14-match drought with an exquisite scissor-kick from 15 yards.

Anelka and Deco should have added a third either side of the break as Bolton at least dug in and occasionally forced the issue, albeit without reward.

Instead, it was Chelsea left celebrating the continuation of their perfect away record, in contrast to their form at Stamford Bridge where they have dropped 12 points this season.

Wilkins added: "Our away results have been absolutely first class. We've a superb away record.

"At home, teams have come and blocked up the middle of the midfield against us and it's been a tad difficult to break them down.

"Sometimes they just come and play 10 players behind the ball and make it very difficult for us.

"Perhaps at times we've not tried hard enough to prise them open, but give credit to the opposition as well.

"They've worked out a plan to play against us, so it's up to us now to go against that.

"We will combat that and get back on track.

"But overall we are delighted with where we are at the moment, just a point behind Liverpool, so as far as we are concerned we're in a fantastic position."

If Howard Webb had awarded a cast-iron penalty on the hour when Terry clearly handled a Johan Elmander half-volley, then Bolton might have been given a lifeline.

But Webb, perhaps unsighted, turned away the vociferous appeals to the frustration of everyone in the home camp.

Bolton boss Gary Megson was also unhappy as he said: "I've said it before, and I'll reiterate it, but bigger teams get the decisions.

"I didn't think that that kind of decision would go our way.

"I have to admit I didn't see it properly. I just saw the shot and our players appeal, but it's no surprise it wasn't given.

"It would have been more of a surprise if it had."

Megson felt the problem, though, was that not enough of his players applied themselves in the first half, and by the time they did, it was too late.

"In the first half there were a few playing at the tempo we wanted and getting after the game in the right manner, but that was not enough," added Megson.

"The game was a bit tepid from our point of view when it needed to be intense.

"It was better in the second half, but we were 2-0 down, and that was the problem."

Gerrard: Enjoys being the main man

Gerrard: I won't be selfish anymore

Steven Gerrard has admitted to being selfish in his desire to be given a free-role and now vowed to play anywhere for the good of Liverpool.

Gerrard has complained in the past when moved away from the central role he has become accustomed to, saying his performances suffered as a result.

He admits he was wrong to be so stubborn but insists he is now happy to play anywhere to help the Reds in their quest for Premier League glory.

Rafa Benitez has asked Gerrard to play more defensively at times, while he has also had to switch out wide, but the 28-year-old maintains that he is only focused on the welfare of the team.

"I used to worry because I was selfish and wanted to be in my favoured position every game - like you do on the playground when you're a kid," Gerrard told the News of the World.

"But the game has changed. I have learned to understand I have a job to do for the team.

"You can't afford to be selfish. If I play out of position and we get a win I still get the same buzz.

"If the manager says to me I'm playing centre midfield or off the front man, there's no massive difference to me.

"But yes, I enjoy playing further forward, especially behind Fernando Torres.

"I'll play wherever the manager wants me to play and not worry about it."

Gerrard feels Benitez is one of the best bosses in the business and has saluted his man-management skills.

He said: "You have to take your hat off to him. He's one of the best managers there is.

"Rafa is the type that when you finish a game as man of the match having scored three goals, he won't even mention it. Instead, he'll mention that you never used your left foot at a certain point!

"But Rafa does it right. When I need a pat on the back I get it.

"I have had lots of 'well dones' from him, but when I need a kick up the backside I get it too."

Manchester United: Chasing third straight title

Fergie hopes to stay in touch at top

Sir Alex Ferguson says Manchester United must be within three points of their rivals by the New Year if they are to win a third straight title.

Nemanja Vidic's last-gasp strike allowed United to claim a 1-0 win over managerless Sunderland at Old Trafford on Saturday evening, keeping them five points behind leaders Liverpool with a game in hand.

Maintaining close proximity over the next three weeks will not be easy as the Red Devils miss a game due to their participation at the Club World Cup in Japan.

But if Ferguson ushers in 2009 with his team within a win of Rafael Benitez's side and their closest pursuers Chelsea, he thinks the championship will be in United's grasp.

"If we get within two or three points of the top two by the turn of the year, we will have a marvellous chance," he said.

"It has not been easy for us but we have coped very well. Our form has been very good."

United head to Tottenham next Saturday before leaving for the Far East.

However, they will do so without Patrice Evra and Wayne Rooney, who like the Frenchman is also suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the season for a foul on Teemu Tainio.

In addition, Cristiano Ronaldo is a doubt after suffering a heavy bang on his hip which eventually saw him leave the field in bizarre fashion, the Ballon D'Or winner booting the ball out of play and then walking to the touchline before Ferguson had a chance to even get a substitute stripped.

"He got real kick on the hip-joint, just like Wayne Rooney did last year when he was in pain for a while and missed a couple of games," said Ferguson.

"We will see what he is like on Sunday, although I was going to make changes for the Champions League game against Aalborg on Wednesday anyway."

Ferguson also revealed he had tried to explain his decision to omit Carlos Tevez to the South American, who might have expected to start having scored four against Blackburn on Wednesday.

"I had a long chat with Carlos," said the United chief.

"If the performance had not been as good against Manchester City last week he would have played. But I couldn't get him on quickly enough in the second-half.

"He brought energy to the front part of the pitch. It was a really good half hour."

Benayoun: Celebrates goal at Blackburn

Benitez: We can handle the pressure

Rafa Benitez reckons Liverpool proved they can handle the pressure of a title race after winning 3-1 at Blackburn day to cement their top spot.

Goals from Xabi Alonso, Yossi Benayoun and Steven Gerrard gave them a comfortable victory at Ewood Park - just the result Benitez wanted after successive goalless draws against Fulham and West Ham.

Benitez said: "We have shown we can manage the pressure. When you have a game like this, you know you might have problems.

"But we were more clinical than other days and that is important with the Christmas programme coming up.

"We are in a very good position so it is vital we play with confidence and that the players pass the ball well.

"We had plenty of possession in the first half and although we did not create many chances, Yossi could have scored.

"Then after we made the breakthrough, we created more space and had more options.

"It is important the strikers get goals and I am pleased when the midfielders do so as well. It does not matter to me who scores."

Benitez left Robbie Keane on the bench and then resisted the temptation to give him a run-out when Ryan Babel took a knock, instead drafting in Nabil El Zhar.

The Spaniard, though, stressed it was purely a tactical decision.

He added: "Dirk Kuyt was doing really well and I just needed a different option in wide areas. That is why I did not choose Robbie."

Alonso opened the scoring in the 68th minute with a low drive after Kuyt's mis-hit following a cross from Gerrard.

Benayoun extended the lead 11 minutes later with a superb solo effort. He latched on to a ball over the top from Kuyt, skipped away from Stephen Warnock before rifling a shot into the corner.

Although Roque Santa Cruz headed a consolation goal in the 86th minute, Gerrard had the final word in stoppage time after being set up nicely by substitute Albert Riera.

Cristiano Ronaldo: I Don't Like Manchester

Cristiano Ronaldo: I Don't Like Manchester

There are new quotes flying around which hint that Cristiano Ronaldo's time at the Theatre of Dreams is more like a nightmare...

XL Canal have quoted Manchester United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo as saying that he cannot get used to Manchester - a city he dislikes.

The Portuguese ace looked as though he was going to ditch the rainy English city for the bright sunshine of Spain and Madrid during the summer, but the Red Devils were able to fight off Los Blancos.

As far as football is concerned, Ronaldo has thrived at Old Trafford and United's Carrington training complex. In fact, the free-scoring winger was recently crowned European Footballer of the Year when he got his paws on the Ballon d'Or.

Still, the flamboyant Ronaldo has seemingly failed to settle, some five years after joining from Sporting.

He apparently said: "I know Manchester from side to side, whereas I spend most of my time at home.

"It is pretty much different from Portugal. I am missing the beach, the sun and the sea.

"I am used to living here, which does not mean I like it."

Ronaldo, 23, has also been linked with a move to Italian side Inter this week.

Ferguson Bemused By Ronaldo 'Self-Substitution'

Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson was left in the stands wondering what was happening as Ronaldo took himself off against Sunderland this evening.

Following being sent off for taking matters, literally, into his own hands at the City of Manchester Stadium last week, Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo left his manager bemused in the stands this evening at Sunderland as he appeared to substitute himself.

Having missed an open goal, the player was involved in a challenge with Sunderland's Andy Reid on 65 minutes. Following the tackle he was left clutching his ribs, and shortly afterwards, clearly unable to play on, he put the ball into touch and walked off the field.

Alex Ferguson, serving a touchline ban and not in his usual place in the dug-out, was immediately seen barking into his mobile phone as he desperately tried to find out what was happening.

As a replacement was not stripped or warmed up ready to go on, the incident was very strange and adds to recent controversy surrounding the way in which Ronaldo conducts himself on and off the pitch.

Two weeks ago Ronaldo was involved in a spat with Aston Villa supporters as he hobbled off the pitch at Villa Park during United's 0-0 draw in the Midlands. He responded to taunts by pointing to the number 7 on his shorts and then indicating he was 'number one' by holding his finger up to the sky.

A week prior to that, the Ballon D'Or winner was branded "a malicious guy" by Brazil's Thiago Silva, who was the victim of a spiteful tackle from Ronaldo during Brazil's 6-3 hammering of Portugal in Brasilia.

The injury was obviously genuine, and Ferguson did not seem angry when he spoke about the issue earlier.

"He got real kick on the hip-joint, just like Wayne Rooney did last year when he was in pain for a while and missed a couple of games," said the United manager.

"There was no need for him to come to the bench, though. The best thing is to get treatment straightaway. It was the sensible thing to do.

"We will see what he is like, although I was going to make changes for the Champions League game against Aalborg on Wednesday anyway."

If Nemanja Vidic hadn't popped up with a late winner for the Red Devils then Ferguson might not have been so even-tempered. The Scot does not suffer those who question his authority: just ask Jaap Stam and David Beckham, who were both quickly on their way out of Old Trafford once they'd displeased the boss.

Ferguson does not take kindly to those who perceive themselves as being bigger than the club, and this issue is bound to fuel speculation that Ronaldo is planning an exit from Old Trafford.

Cristiano Ronaldo Was Nearly An Arsenal Player - And Drug Addict!

It's all coming out now! Cristiano Ronaldo has admitted that he was metaphorical inches away from signing for Arsenal, while his mother has said his only viable lifestyle alternative was that of a drug addict...

Cristiano Ronaldo has confirmed previous rumours which suggested that he was close to signing for Arsenal in 2003, before eventually joining Manchester United from Sporting Lisbon.

"I was just an inch away from signing for Arsenal,” the reflective Ballon d'Or winner confirmed. "I saw Arsene Wenger three times with my mother.

"It was very close to being a done deal. Really, we were within touching distance.

"Wenger remains someone that I still have immense esteem for and my mum feels the same way. After I signed for United she and I were sitting watching a Premier League game on television and she yelled out 'I know that guy - I liked him!'"

It could all have been so different on the footballing front, clearly, yet Ronaldo's whole life could have been that of a no-good drug addict, according to mother.

Maria Dolores dos Santos Aveiro has said that her youngsest child was a troublemaker before hitting the big time and could have ended up wasting away, doing drugs.

"The teacher wanted me to tell him off," she remembered, referring to her son skipping school, "But I didn’t punish him. He had to practice a lot to be a great footballer.

"If Cristiano hadn’t have become a professional footballer, he would have been lost.

"He would have certainly become a drug addict or something terrible like that."

Carlos Tevez Mocks 'Old' Chelsea Squad

At a sprightly 24-years old, Carlitos admits that he finds it difficult to recover between midweek matches and the weekend fixtures. How must it feel, he asks, for Chelsea's Pensioners?

Manchester United forward Carlos Tevez has questioned Chelsea's ability to sustain a Premier League challenge over the festive period due to the age of the Pensioners' 'much older' squad.

Sir Alex Ferguson caused controversy over the summer when he suggested that Chelsea's average age would be a hindrance over a long season, and that particular avenue of abuse has been once again opened.

This time, Carlos Tevez is the man to chime in with the mocking words.

The Argentinean forward believes that the powers of recovery of the Chelsea squad would be diminished due to their respective ages, and he also questions the Londoners' strength in depth.

With four league matches in two weeks, starting December 14, Tevez believes that the Blues will be stretched to the limit.

He told Sky Sports News: "I think they are a great team. But I also think that as it is for me, at 24 years of age, it is sometimes very hard to recover and play Sunday and Wednesday.

"I would imagine that for some of the Chelsea guys that are much older it would be even harder.

"I think that the intensive Christmas schedule will take its toll on them because they have some great players but not so much strength in depth."

Tevez has been a shadow of his former self this season, as he has been squeezed out of Sir Alex's preferred starting line-up.

However, the diminutive attacker staked a claim for inclusion against Sunderland this weekend by smashing four goals past Blackburn Rovers in the League Cup midweek.

His manager admits that Tevez's performance has given him food for thought.

Ferguson told the press: "Without question, Carlos has given me a big selection problem and I have been doodling on my notepad over the last couple of days, trying to work out how I can fit all these players in.

"He gave a fantastic performance of energy, aggression and running. He is always a tryer and I admire him for that, but it doesn't make my job any easier!

"It's obvious that he doesn't enjoy not playing. He wants to play, but do I want players who don't like being left out or do I want players who are happy to sit in the stand?

"But I have to manage that as best I can. He wants to play and I understand that, but I want to pick a team that wins, so I have to be as fair as I possibly can. Performance matters and his performance on Wednesday gives me a big problem."

Anderson's Ferguson Bombshell: I Want To Play For Mourinho At Inter

Manchester United ace Anderson has admitted that he would like to play in Italy some time in the future.

The young midfielder signed for United in 2007 in an €18 million switch from Porto. Already, though, the 20-year-old Brazilian seems to be thinking about his next step.

"I am thinking about playing in Italy," Anderson is quoted as saying by Tuttosport.

"Italian football is the best in the world and the most intelligent. Every player wants to play in Serie A, because Italians are the masters of football.

"I really like Inter. I have always liked them from when Ronaldo played there. [Massimo] Moratti has always assembled great teams and Inter can win anything with the players they have.

"I will not hide myself and in future I would love to play for Mourinho at Inter.

"My dream is to be coached by Mourinho."

Anderson's remarks could see Fergie bring out the hairdryer and tell his starlet what he thinks of his ambition.

Mourinho was one of the United boss' biggest rivals when Chelsea fought the Mancunians for Premier League supremacy during the Portuguese tactician's tenure at Stamford Bridge.

Man Utd's Anderson: I could've become drug dealer

Manchester United midfielder Anderson has revealed how his junior days were plagued by major setbacks.

Anderson said: “My father died when I was 10. Aged 11 I was already away from home to earn a living. I could've become a criminal or a drug dealer, as the area I lived in was very poor, but thankfully I was passionate about football and Gremio signed me.

“Then when I played against Benfica in 2006-07, Giorgios Karagounis came in with a horrible challenge and fractured my tibia with complications in the right ankle ligaments.

“I was out for eight months and I admit I feared for my career.”

I Could Have Joined Inter Milan - Torres

Liverpool star Fernando Torres reveals he was close to joining Milan and came back on last season's Champions League tie against Inter.
Anderson loves Italian football - Inter and their 'Special' coach in particular.

Liverpool ace Fernando Torres, who finished third in this year's Ballon D'Or voting behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, revealed he was very close to joining Milan before signing for the Reds in 2007.

"I know that Milan were interested in me and that the clubs talked between them, but never to me," he said. "[His former club] Atletico never told me they intended to sell me before ending the negotiations with Milan, but there was talk about me joining them. It's always nice when the top clubs are interested in you."

The Spanish international did get a chance to play at the San Siro stadium last season, as Liverpool faced Inter in the last 16 stage of the Champions League and Torres scored the winning goal at the 'Scala del Calcio'.

"I was impressed, I had never played in that stadium," he continued. "Everyone had talked to me about it, but playing there is something else. There's a very long tunnel, which added to the atmosphere, and we understood it would be even tougher than we thought."

The Euro 2008 winner also talked about defender Marco Materazzi's sending off in the first leg of last season's Champions League tie, which he admits made it easier for Liverpool.

"When he was sent off last season it was perhaps a bit excessive, they were two harsh yellow cards, and if Inter had remained with eleven men it would have been much harder for us to qualify for the quarter finals...," the 24-year-old said.

No New Chelsea Contracts For Cole And Drogba - Report

The credit crunch appears to have arrived in West London after Chelsea postponed contract talks with a couple of their star players.

Chelsea have reportedly shelved plans to offer Joe Cole and Didier Drogba new contracts due to the current economic situation, according to the News of the World.

The pair both have only 18 months left on their current deals yet according to the paper the players have been informed they must wait until the end of the season at the earliest before talks can begin.

The report is likely to increase the speculation surrounding Drogba’s future as the striker has already been linked with a Stamford Bridge exit, with Inter Milan reportedly interested in signing the Ivorian.

Cole, meanwhile, who has been at the club since 2003, is suffering an injury interrupted campaign which has limited his appearances for the West Londoners.

The paper goes on to quote a ‘source’ as saying that despite not being able to offer the players contracts, the Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari has been quick to attempt to talk his players into staying at the club.

The Chelsea source explains: “Scolari has been quick to realise the impact the dramatic change in the world’s economy will have on football

“And that’s why he had told his players they’d be mad to think about moving away from here. He reminded them that they are at a great club, a successful club and a sound club.”

“He told them they are unlikely to enjoy better times anywhere else – either in terms of competing for the big prizes of enjoying such generous contracts," the source continued.

“And he said he know from long experience in the game that the grass is not always greener anywhere else.”

Whilst the news suggests that finances are becoming an issue at Stamford Bridge, manager Scolari has reportedly insisted the club needs to sign a striker when the transfer window reopens in January, although they signs are he may not get his wish.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Latest Premiership News - Evra handed four-game ban and fine

Evra handed four-game ban and fine

Manchester United defender Patrice Evra has been banned for four matches after the FA ruled he attacked the Chelsea groundsman last season.

Chelsea have also been fined £25,000 because of Sam Bethell's own conduct during the altercation, following the Londoners' controversial 2-1 win.

However, an allegation that Bethell had 'engaged in racist conduct or language' was not proved and Chelsea were cleared of that charge.

Evra, meanwhile, has also been fined 15,000 for his actions at Stamford Bridge.

Scolari hails quality of the Premiership

Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari reckons the Premier League is tougher to win than the Champions League because of the tactics of away sides.

The Blues can set a new record for consecutive away wins in the top flight if they defeat Bolton at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday, but their formerly bullet-proof home form has deserted them this season, with three draws and two defeats in eight games at Stamford Bridge a damaging blight on Scolari's record so far.

Chelsea remain just a point behind leaders Liverpool, who while unbeaten at Anfield have suffered frustrating goalless draws at home to Stoke, Fulham and West Ham, and Scolari believes both sides' struggles on home turf highlight the difficulties of stringing together a successful title campaign.

"In England I think it is more difficult to win the Premier League than the Champions League," Scolari told Chelsea TV.

"We have had so far this season seven games away, and how many points have we lost away? Nothing, zero. And here [at Stamford Bridge]? Here it is too many.

"It is difficult because very good teams, when they play away, they have a good system that is difficult for us.

"Look at the other teams. Look at Liverpool, they are in in front of us by one point, but when they play...they have big problems.

"It's difficult to win in the Premier League."

Scolari added that he does not value either the Premier League or the Champions League higher than the other, and vowed to battle on all fronts to bring silverware to the London club in his debut season.

"When I came to Chelsea, I came to win all the competitions," he said.

"If we win the Premier League I am happy; if we win the Champions League, more happy, because it is two titles."

Agger doesn't want to do one - Rafa

Rafael Benitez insists Liverpool defender Daniel Agger does not want to leave Anfield - and says talks over a new contract are on track

The Reds manager has refuted suggestions contract talks have stalled because the 23-year-old wants a massive pay-rise.

Benitez revealed he held talks with Agger on Friday and was assured the player sees his future at Anfield.

The Spaniard said: "Agger is very happy here. I have spoken to him today about the things that have been said about his contract, and it was a very positive conversation.

"He is pleased and happy to stay here. He knows he has not been playing at the same level he achieved last season, but I am still pleased with him.

"He is not playing badly, but he knows he can do better. I have great confidence in him and he is a fantastic professional and he wants to stay with us."

Benitez added: "He is very competitive, and his only concern is how he can improve. His commitment to the club is 100% and he does not want to leave.

"His new deal is not a problem. He has an agent (to deal with that) and Daniel can concentrate on football.

"He was surprised about suggestions regarding his contract because when I spoke to him three weeks ago he was only thinking about his own game.".

Big Phil warns rivals off star Essien

Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari has issued a hands-off warning over Michael Essien, despite a whole host of top clubs coveting the midfielder.

Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho's current club Inter Milan have been the latest side to be linked with the player, with Sulley Muntari claiming Essien would be an ideal addition to their squad.

But Scolari insists he wants to keep Essien, who is currently battling to regain fitness after damaging his cruciate knee ligament while playing for Ghana in September.

The Chelsea boss said: "Inter, AC Milan, Barcelona and Real Madrid all want Essien but he is injured and he is at Chelsea.

"If I stay for three years I don't want him out, I want him to stay with me.

"This is because he is very good player who can play in five positions very well. He is young and dedicated. He is our player and I think he is happy here."

Despite rumours of a return in January, the 25-year-old is not setting a specific date for a comeback.

But Scolari believes it could be sooner rather than later as Essien, who had been expected to be out for most of the season, is working overtime to be fit.

He said: "Michael Essien is good news for me everyday. He is recovering quicker than we thought.

"He comes here at 10.30 in the morning and doesn't go until four in the afternoon. He tries to come back early. It is good for us. He is a fantastic example for other players.

"I don't want to put pressure on him but I think we will have good news sooner than we expected."

Scolari has been handed another injury boost with the news that Ricardo Carvalho should be back from a knee injury just after Christmas.

"The doctor says to me maybe 14 days more minimum. Maybe Ricardo will be fit for the games over Christmas on December 26 or 28," Scolari added.

Casillas denies mega-bucks City talk

Real Madrid keeper Iker Casillas insists he is happy at the Bernabeu despite reports linking him with a £129million move to Manchester City.

Reports in Spain on Tuesday suggested City, backed by the Abu Dhabi United Group, have already taken steps to sign Casillas and are willing to pay the massive 150million euro buy-out clause in his contract.

It has also been suggested that City will try to tempt the Spain international away from the Bernabeu with an annual wage of around 13 million euros.

But in an interview with the Real Madrid website Casillas moved to put an end to such reports.

"I don't want to talk about it because I'm very happy in this team," he said. "I've been here (in the first team) for nine years and this is bigger than anything else, this is where I'm happy."

The 27-year-old Casillas has been at Madrid since he was eight and earlier this year revealed he would like to become president of the Spanish club once he retires.

He also penned a new contract with his hometown club in February that ties him to Madrid until the end of the 2016/17 season.

I almost joined Arsenal - Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo admits he came "within a whisker" of signing for Arsenal before eventually joining Premier League rivals Manchester United.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger met the Portugal winger three times in a bid to bring the player to north London.

But United gazumped the deal by entering negotiations and bidding three times what Arsenal offered for the recently-crowned 2008 Ballon d'Or winner.

This was confirmed by Ronaldo, who signed for United in August 2003 for just over £12million pounds in an interview he gave with France Football.

"I came within a whisker of doing it," he said. "Wenger is someone I respect a lot. He is very intelligent."

Jorge Mendes, Ronaldo's agent, added: "That is what happened. Everyone wanted Cristiano; Real (Madrid), Juventus, Barcelona.

"But only Arsenal and Manchester United attempted to take him from there (Sporting Lisbon) that season. The others wanted to leave him at Sporting at least a year."

It is widely believed Ronaldo's sensational performance in Sporting's 3-1 win over United in a friendly on August 5, 2003 convinced the English club to sign him.

But Mendes revealed a deal had been agreed before that friendly, adding: "Everything was in place before, since an agreement had been reached the day before the match."

Ronaldo has gone on to become arguably the world's greatest player.

Under Sir Alex Ferguson, who Ronaldo labels 'The Master', the 23-year-old has added deadly finishing to his repertoire of skills and tricks.

After five years at Old Trafford, it looked as if he was going to sign for Real Madrid last summer but he ended up staying at United.

"I don't want to return to that. I have already spoken a lot about it," he said.

"I am at Manchester United and I feel very good at this club. I don't want to create other problems.

"For two or three months, people have spoken more about this than about football and I don't want to talk about it any more."

Another uncertain period for Ronaldo at United came after the 2006 World Cup.

His Portugal side knocked England out of the tournament on penalties in the quarter-finals, but during the match he was involved in getting Wayne Rooney - his team-mate at United - sent off.

Ronaldo was seen asking the referee to dismiss Rooney and as a result he was given a hard time by the English press and fans the following few months.

But Ronaldo said: "If I had to do it again, I would do it again. I was defending my colours, my country.

"What I did on the day was normal. When I came back to England after the World Cup, there were all these people booing me. That made me stronger.

"It was a test of my character. I learnt a lot because of this."

Ronaldo was named Ballon d'Or winner in the early hours of Tuesday morning and will lift the trophy at an awards ceremony in Paris on Sunday night.

He admits it was a childhood dream to win that accolade and feels Ferguson has made it all possible.

"I am a great professional thanks to him," he added.

"It's him who took me from Sporting and brought me to Manchester. He is a great man. A great manager. His record of achievements speaks for itself. Most important is his personality - I love working with him.

"My concentration has changed. I have become a winner. Here, you always have to win and I know the pressure of winning matches, trophies. And it is here, with Alex Ferguson, that I started to believe I could win the Ballon d'Or."

Ince tips Rovers to stop the rot

Paul Ince insists Blackburn can end their poor run of form against Liverpool on Saturday, despite admitting the Reds look like title winners.

Defeat on Saturday would increase the pressure further on Ince, who saw his former Manchester United team-mate Roy Keane resign as manager of Sunderland.

Ince expressed his disappointment at Keane's departure and blamed the media for forcing him out.

The Rovers boss said: "There are certain people out there who want to put you down and it's more so the young managers and that's the annoying thing, they don't want to give people a chance.

"Sometimes they can drive you out of a job and that's probably what they've done with Keano.

"I was very disappointed because Keano's an excellent young manager and we've been clamouring for new managers for years. We've had the same managers for the last 20 years doing the rounds.

"People forget what he did for Sunderland last season taking them from near the bottom of the Championship into the Premier League; not many managers could have done that."

The meeting with Liverpool follows on from Blackburn's 5-3 defeat by Manchester United in the Carling Cup on Wednesday, but Ince believes facing the top four could provide just the opportunity Rovers need.

"We're under no pressure to win the game," he continued. "It's a funny old game; our form's not been the best and we're desperate for a win so why can't it be against Liverpool?

"They're a good side; they've started off really well. They're not actually playing fantastically well but they're grinding out results, which is the sign of a side that can go on and win the Premier League.

"They're a team full of confidence and it's good to see them up there. But it's another chance to kick-start our season because we know after tomorrow we've got five or six games where we should be picking up points."

Ince could be without Brett Emerton and Roque Santa Cruz after both picked up knocks against United while Zurab Khizanishvili (groin) is definitely out, but Chris Samba and Keith Andrews will return.

One player who will be desperate to impress is former Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock, and Ince has lavished praise on the England hopeful.

"He's been awesome," added Ince. "Every game, every training session, he comes and gives 110 per cent. He's a top-class player and we need everyone to be like Stephen Warnock."

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Man Utd SG Lack Of Sportsmanship

7 Played and 7 Lost Conceded 27 goals in 7 games and scoring only a mere 9 goals that is Average Conceding 4 goals per match and scoring only 1 per match. That means getting trashed in almost every single game.

MUFCS is nothing like the club they support with such poor performance and the worst part is their lack of sportsmanship.

Lack of sportsmanship

A walk-over from Man Utd Sg gave GFN a breezy 3 points. We would like to reiterate that the management of D2D will not condone team/s that do not comply to the Rules and Regulations and actions would be taken against them accordingly.

Source -

Table -

Latest Chelsea News


United Nations Ambassador and Chelsea midfield maestro Michael Ballack has teamed up with Arsenal's Emmanuel Adebayor to fight AIDS.

It is World AIDS Day today (Monday, December 1) and the pair combined at Stamford Bridge recently to raise the profile of the campaign.

Ballack has worked with the UNAIDS campaign in his role as Goodwill Ambassador since 2006 to raise awareness on HIV prevention.

'I have been the ambassador for them for nearly two years now, they asked me and it has been a pleasure to work with them. It is a big honour and it is always good to do something in this kind of problem which everybody is involved in, and to make a statement and show that in my position as a famous football player I can help to make people understand more and think about this problem every day,' Ballack said.

'AIDS is still around and I think that we should all work together to help others. I am proud to a part of this campaign and happy that such a star like Emmanuel wants to help, as he is a big star in Africa', added the 32-year-old. 'The World Cup in 210 is in South Africa and it is a big thing, not just for young people but everybody.'

It is not the first time Ballack has been involved in advertising work, and he can be currently seen on 'Target Practice' in an adidas commercial. There have also been adverts for Samsung and others back home in Germany.

'Over the last few years I am used to it because in Germany there are a lot of commercials, so for five or six years it is something I have done. I dressed up as a mountaineer once with the national team,' he smiled. 'It was fun. It's all good fun, and in this case it is for a good cause.'

According to latest UNAIDS figures, there are an estimated 33 million people living with HIV in 2008 and 2.7 million new HIV infections. Sport plays an important role in empowering young people and is a key arena for raising awareness on AIDS.


Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon is not expecting to make any major new signings during the January transfer window.

Talking at a press conference celebrating the four-year extension of our sponsorship deal with Thomas Cook, Kenyon spoke about his objectives for the new year and long-term aims for the Blues.

'Traditionally, we have never done a lot in January, and this January is no exception,' explained Kenyon.

'We have not finalised whether we will do anything or not, but it is all about what we want to do and whether those players available?

'Short term fixes won't really work for a club like Chelsea, so I think we'll see little or no activity, because the players we would want to bring into Chelsea for the long term probably aren't available. But it is only first December.

'He [Scolari] wants to work with 24-25 players and that's the squad we've got.

'We all have to recognise that six of the regular starters are not available, through injuries. We still have those players to come back.

'So I think from January onwards we will see a slightly strengthened Chelsea from within.'

Rather than signing new players, Chelsea's aim is to produce the next generation of footballers through our own Academy, with developments on that front as Miroslav Stoch made his first team debut against Arsenal yesterday.

'The Academy is and continues to be at the heart of our future development of Chelsea players,' continued Kenyon.

'We saw Stoch last night, and [Michael] Mancienne is out at Wolves as part of his development and our youth team played against Manchester United last week, and there were nine British boys in that group.

'This is about taking young boys and progressing them into the first team, in any club, that is a major achievement, at Chelsea you have to be that much bigger and that much better, so it is a long-term project.'

So with the current financial status resulting in companies tightening their belts globally, today's announcement is a refreshing break to the current national news agenda.

'There is so much doom-and-gloom around that not many people are expecting partnership/sponsorship deals to be done and we are delighted that we are able to announce that this morning,' said Kenyon.

'Clearly you are going to see us working closely with a few brands in exclusive categories and Thomas Cook, in travel, represents everything we are after.

'They are a top brand, clearly leading in their field, and they are international, which is exactly where we are.

'So for all sorts of reasons, on every level, we think this is a very good deal for both parties, and we are delighted to announce it now because it does buck the trend a little bit.'

Thomas Cook chief executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa has been a Chelsea fan since coming to England at the age of 11, and, after following the Blues through thick-and-thin, understands the importance of being associated with the club.

'Thomas Cook is a global brand. We have businesses in 23 different countries, ranging from northern Europe all the way down to India, where we have the biggest travel company in India.

'The Premier League is well watched, well loved and talked about and for us to be associated with a leading brand like Chelsea, it just helps us to meet our business objectives, so it is a fantastic association.

'But at the heart of this particular deal is providing travel for Chelsea fans in the UK and overseas to watch Chelsea play wherever.

'That is whether they are playing away in the Premier League, where we provide Match Break tickets and of course Champions League and hopefully all the way to Rome next year,' added Fontenla-Novoa.


There was plenty of action at Cobham today as Luiz Felipe Scolari and his men put Sunday's defeat at Arsenal behind them.

The manager and his staff were out on the pitches at our Surrey training base, working with the players who did not start yesterday's match, going through a series of attacking routines and passing drills.

They were watched by Juliano Belletti, who is on the road back to recovery following his injury picked up against Burnley. The Brazilian utility man stepped up his work for the first time today, jogging around the field and keeping a close eye on his team-mates' work.

Inside the main building, those players that were involved from the kick-off worked on physical recovery either in the gym or the swimming pool.

After the workout, the players were greeted in the dining room by I S Kim, the president and CEO of Samsung Electronics Europe, who was there to meet some of the stars and hand out Christmas presents to the squad and staff.


The post mortem of Sunday's defeat at home to Arsenal is well underway. Salomon Kalou has given his thoughts to

The 23-year-old started on the right wing in the absence of Joe Cole and could have doubled our narrow lead in the first half, but for an offside flag raised against him.

It was a decision that he accepted at the time, but having had a second look, believes it wrongly cost us.

'I don't think I was offside, there was one ball and I was in and was onside, it should have been a goal normally. I ran that way across the line and curved my run. It's strange how a football game can go like that, from one way to another,' he said.

In the second half, things got worse as Arsenal equalised and then took the lead, benefiting from another offside call.

'Then they get the goal that was offside, I have seen it on TV, and it was big time offside,' Kalou said. 'I think we had a very good first half and Arsenal came back into the game after the goal.

'I think we didn't get the second goal and kill the game which didn't help, because they would have been done for, but they scored and got back into the game. For the second goal they won the header and when you don't win this first ball you have to win the second. We didn't win that and in front of goal it is too dangerous with Van Persie and Adebayor.

'I don't think it was a bad game from Chelsea. I think they managed to come back in the game and score two goals.'

We now have a midweek with no game, which allows Luiz Felipe Scolari to properly prepare his side for a visit to Bolton at the weekend, looking for an 11th straight away league win.

Kalou insists it is at Stamford Bridge where we must begin to show our best football again.

'We have to show how strong we can be even with losing games at home and dropping points,' he reasoned. 'We are still in front and we have a good balance in the team. Now we have to take more points at home if we want to be champions.'


It was a new Luiz Felipe Scolari who spoke following the 2-1 home defeat to Arsenal - a Luiz Felipe Scolari who most of all wanted to talk about the match officials.

Primarily it was the decisions of one linesman that occupied his thoughts having watched a 1-0 lead approaching an hour of the game gone turned rapidly into a deficit his shocked players could not retrieve.

'I have never spoken about the referee in 15 games in the Premier League, five games in the Champions League and others in the Carling Cup. I say nothing!

'But today it is different,' announced an agitated Chelsea manager.

'I want only that the referee and linesman tomorrow or after tomorrow look at the television and say sorry. Only this, no more, because they make mistakes and I understand. I don't want three points. I want only one time sorry.'

It was a decision to let Robin van Persie's equaliser go when replays suggested the Arsenal striker was offside by a notable distance that was the obvious source of Scolari's discontent. However he also highlighted decisions by the same official in the first half that had brought an end to Salomon Kalou attacks.

'The first half, the linesman made the same mistake but against us [attacking]. The second time, their first goal, big mistake against us, more than one metre offside. And my team after this lost concentration.

'Sure we did not play well. The first-half we played a normal game.

'I am not a coach to say anything about referees and in this league, many managers say about referees. And in the last five games we did not play well, we didn't shoot the ball as many times at goal as before and that is my and my players' mistake.

'But I lost today because one goal is not a goal. I don't think they came here to deliberately make two mistakes against us. I don't want to say anymore about the referee but tomorrow or after tomorrow, I listen for some words. Offsides killed my team.'

Having identified shortcomings in his own team as well as the controversial decisions, Scolari will attempt to remedy them with work on the training pitch, beginning with a look upwards following a goal conceded to a header in Bordeaux and Emmanuel Adebayor's aerial presence involved in both Arsenal goals.

'In England, many teams play with high balls and we need to win these balls,' he said, before reporting:

'Today now when they arrive in the dressing room, and when they look at the first goal, the players are very angry.

'After we say something, they discuss and say look, this is one goal that we received but we did not play well enough to win.

'They know this, they understand this. Now I need to say okay, finish this game, we lost three points and now I have one week to learn from this game. I put maybe the same team against Bolton because I don't have injuries from today which is very good.

'I try to work in this week better than the weeks before and we will try to arrive many times in front of goal, as when we played three, four or five weeks' ago.'

Looking at the wider title race, with one point taken from home matches against Arsenal, Liverpool and Man United, Scolari's message will be a simple one.

'I need to say to my players that when we play them away, we need to win. But first I need to work this week.'

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