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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Latest Footy News

Rooney pledges never to play abroad

Wayne Rooney has expressed his love of English football and believes he will never play abroad.
The England forward is in his third year with Manchester United and is chasing the treble of Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup after the 1-0 defeat of Lyon took his side into the quarter-finals in Europe.
Rather than look to test himself in Serie A or the Primera Liga, however, Rooney insists he is happy at home and believes the Premier League eclipses all domestic competitions.
The 22-year-old said: 'The English game has improved so much in the past few seasons.
'We have proved we have the best league in the world which is why we attract the best players in the world.
'It is down to other English players if they decide to play abroad but, for me, English football is the best.
'I love playing here and I'm pretty sure that will never change.'

Real count cost of another European flop

Real Madrid's worst fears were confirmed on Wednesday when they exited the Champions League at the first knockout round for the fourth year in succession. The nine-times champions were ruthlessly exposed by a high-quality Roma side who beat them 2-1 at the Bernabeu, completing a 4-2 aggregate victory that will have major repercussions at a club that measures success in terms of European trophies.
'We didn't have that magic we've shown on other nights,' said skipper Raul, whose 61st Champions League goal was to no avail.
'It's a very heavy blow, a really big disappointment because the Champions League was one of our big objectives this season and now we are out of it.
'We were the better side in the first leg, but we came back with a very dangerous result and we weren't able to impose ourselves on opponents who showed themselves to be a very good team. We struggled to create any scoring chances.'
Real were simply not as sharp, as hungry or as skilful as Roma and although they can point to the sending off of Portugal centre-back Pepe as the turning point in the tie, the defeat revealed more serious weaknesses.
The absence of leading striker Ruud van Nistelrooy through injury exposed the team's lack of alternatives up front, while the midfield once again looked short of pace and ideas.
At the back Pepe gave further evidence of poor judgement in picking up two needless bookings, while his fellow defenders struggled to deal with Roma's sharp passing and running off the ball.
'We lacked intensity and tension, maybe because we were worried about their counter-attacks,' said centre-back Fabio Cannavaro.
'We weren't direct enough and we didn't win back the ball enough.'
Only two weeks ago, club president Ramon Calderon was talking up his side's chances of a European and domestic double, saying that the squad was the 'best in the world' and the team was 'playing like a machine.' Last night he was forced to change his tune.
'This is clearly a failure,' he said. 'When the season ends we will have to sit down and analyse the situation and if there are chances of strengthening the squad we will take them.'
Out of the King's Cup and out of Europe, Real's only hope of silverware lies in the league, where they are still five points clear at the top, but the team's recent form suggests that even that goal could be under threat.
Fabio Capello was sacked after delivering the league title and nothing else. Bernd Schuster can now do no better than the Italian.

Capello opens door for Beckhmam's century

Fabio Capello has confirmed David Beckham is 'in contention' to earn his 100th England cap against France this month and insists the former captain can be confident of achieving the landmark. Beckham missed the recent friendly at home to Switzerland due to a lack of match fitness but hopes to play his first England game under new manager Capello when they travel to Paris on March 26.
And Capello, speaking to England fans yesterday, admitted the Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder can be confident of playing at the Stade de France.
'Yes,' he said. 'Los Angeles Galaxy play in Dallas on March 14 and (assistant manager) Franco Baldini or I will go to see him and assess his fitness.
'He is in contention for France. We will check on him in Dallas and then we will decide whether he will be fit for that squad. He will get his 100th cap if he is fit and in form.
'I know Beckham very well from Real Madrid and I hope David will play the 100th game and get that cap.
'I understand from reading his last interview that at this moment his fitness isn't good and I will phone him because I want to know exactly what he thinks about his fitness.'

Jose: Back in Italy or Spain, then England

Jose Mourinho hopes to return to soccer management next year in either Italy or Spain, the former Chelsea coach has said.
The Portuguese tactician added that he wants to go back to England before finishing his coaching career as Portugal's national team boss.
'Now no, I am studying,' the 45-year-old told Thursday's Gazzetta dello Sport when asked if he wanted to return to coaching. 'From next year however, yes.'
He was sacked by Chelsea in September after a disagreement with club chiefs despite winning two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and two League Cups in three years at Stamford Bridge.
'Italy or Spain,' Mourinho said when asked about his future. 'Afterwards I want to go back to England and finally be national coach of Portugal.'
The colourful if controversial coach, who turned down the chance of managing England in December, has been linked in the media with Barcelona and AC Milan, whose respective coaches Frank Rijkaard and Carlo Ancelotti are under pressure.
Holders Milan were dumped out of the Champions League by Arsenal in the last 16 on Tuesday after the Premier League leaders won their second leg 2-0 at San Siro.
'I respect Milan and Ancelotti but Arsenal deserved to qualify over the two games,' added Mourinho, who won the European Cup with Porto in 2004.
There has been further speculation that Mourinho may be in line for the Inter Milan job despite Roberto Mancini guiding this season's leaders to the Serie A title last term. Mourinho played down the talk but said he admired Inter owner Massimo Moratti.
'I respect him very much as a person that loves football and his club deeply,' he said. 'However I have never talked with him.'