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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Latest Football News

Cech stays at home but Lamps travels to Turkey

Petr Cech will not play for Chelsea in the club's Champions League quarter final first leg against Fenerbache after an ankle injury prevented the Czech goalkeeper from travelling to Turkey.Avram Grant had been sweating on the fitness of his first choice goalkeeper and Carlo Cudicini is expected to continue deputising in goal for tomorrow evening's fixture in the Sukru Saracoglu stadium.The game will be Cudicini's biggest since the Champions League semi-final second leg against AS Monaco in 2004 which Chelsea drew 2-2.Cech's ankle injury has forced him out of the last seven games and Grant confirmed that he did not make the flight to Istanbul.Meanwhile,

Frank Lampard has been declared fit for the game after overcoming a stomach bug that kept the midfielder out of England's friendly against France and the Premier League fixture against Middlesbrough on Sunday.Lampard's inclusion comes as a surprise after Grant admitted that he was too sick to train with the squad yesterday.But Chelsea's leading scorer has travelled to Istanbul and is expected to play some part as Chelsea look to secure a semi-final place against Arsenal or Liverpool.Fenerbache have yet to lose a European tie at the stadium this season and stand in goalkeeper Cudicini is likely to be tested by Zico's attacking style."My philosophy as a player and a coach did not change, the entertainment side of football is about scoring goals," the Brazilian legend said.

Pizarro: Ronaldo Is Just A Big Head

Roma midfielder David Pizarro has described Cristiano Ronaldo as big-headed following the 2-0 defeat to the Red Devils.
Ronaldo scored Manchester United’s opener and Rooney sealed the win twenty three minutes from time to leave the Giallorossi with some tough work to do in the return leg. Pizarro was disappointed with the loss and he has also branded Ronaldo as nothing but a big head. “We played our game and we are disappointed that we were not able to make the most of our chances,” the midfielder told Il Romanista. “It’s obvious that games are decided by certain episodes but we have to see how many shots they had.“It just went badly even though we created plenty, if we scored we would not have lost. “We still believe in both the Scudetto and Champions League, this team will never give up. “Ronaldo? He’s just a big head.” The Giallorossi have it all to do in Manchester. The Premier League side have one foot in the Semi Final and they are in a commanding position to go through.

Ronaldo Doesn’t Impress Me - Berlusconi

Milan President Silvio Berlusconi has sensationally declared that he is not impressed by the quality of Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo.
Berlusconi’s Milan have had a simply dreadful season, and are already out of the Champions League, and struggling to qualify for next season’s competition as they languish in sixth place in Serie A. The Rossoneri are expected to conduct a summer revolution, with a host of old players such as Cafu, Serginho, Giuseppe Favalli and Dario Simic, all to be released. A number of top-class players have been linked with a move to San Siro ahead of next season, and Berlusconi was asked about a few names. "Amauri? Drogba? These are good players, but my players are also my good,” he said. “Cristiano Ronaldo? He doesn’t impress me. We have our own champions.” Ronaldo will be looking to prove the former Italian prime minister wrong tonight during the Champions League clash with Roma at the Stadio Olimpico. The Portuguese wizard has been in stunning form this campaign, scoring 35 goals in 38 games in all competitions.

Stankovic: Things Not The Same Now

Dejan Stankovic has admitted that Inter are not the same team they were three months ago, and puts this down to physical problems and tiredness.
During the first half of the season the Nerazzurri looked like an unstoppable machine, winning 18 and drawing five of their first 23 Serie A games. This helped them open an authoritative 11 points advantage over Roma at the top of the table. However Inter have since gone on a dreadful run of form, and as well as being eliminated in the Champions League by Liverpool, they have won only two of their last eight league games. This has seen Roma close to within four points, and some are even predicting that the Giallorossi could go on to snatch the title. "The team is a bit tired and this can be seen,” Stankovic told Il Messaggero. “Some of us are forced to play with some physical problems and, therefore, are unable to give their best. “Certainly, we are not the same team that we were three months ago when we dominated the championship with victories.” Stankovic has been particularly criticised for his poor recent form, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has reportedly been carrying an injury, has also disappointed, and has not scored in open play since January 20.

We have quality to win UCL, insists Anelka

Nicolas Anelka believes Chelsea have the quality to win the Champions League this season and is ready to bide his time on the bench or the wing to start his trophy haul with the club.
Anelka, 29, returns to former club Fenerbahce as Avram Grant's men look to seize the initiative in their Champions League quarter-final, with the France striker having come full circle since he left Istanbul.
He joined Bolton in August 2006 before signing for Chelsea in the January transfer window earlier this year.
Now playing in the tournament he won with Real Madrid, Anelka feels he can achieve the same with Chelsea.
``Like Real Madrid we are a big club with a big squad and big players,'' he said.
``It's always difficult to win the Champions League but I think we have the quality to win this title because of the way we play and the number of big players we have.''
Anelka was bought to bolster Chelsea's chances of a first Champions League triumph, although Didier Drogba is the preferred lone striker and he has often been played on the flanks or left out.

When paired together recently against Arsenal the pair turned the match and inspired victory from the jaws of defeat, but Anelka is happy to play wherever Grant selects him.
``I'm very new at the club so I need to get used to my team-mates and learn the way we play,'' he added.
``It's not difficult, when the manager asks me to play I play, when he asks me to be on the bench I try to help the team when I go on.
``It will be the same until the end of my contract. I'm just pleased to be here and playing for Chelsea and will try my best all the time.
``When we have the chance to play together we will do it the best we can, it will be good. But you have a manager who decides what to do and I think he knows what to do.
``For the moment he wants to play three (forwards) and me on the left or right so I will do my best to play in that position.
``We have to work also in training. Chelsea play with one striker up front so first we have to do it in training and after we will do it in a game. As long as we are winning...''
Anelka has fond memories of Istanbul after winning the league title in his first season, although the manner of his departure means a mixed reception is likely when the first leg of the tie gets under way at Sukru Saracoglu Stadium.

``When we won the title we went to the city centre on the open-top bus and it took us four hours to do 500 metres,'' Anelka recalled.
As for tomorrow night he added: ``We have to stay focused. We know how to do it and the most important thing is to come back to London with something good.
``Our fans have to come and support the players and I think every time we've come away they have done that. The message I would say is to do the same like they usually do.''
Grant managed Maccabi Tel Aviv in the same stadium 11 years ago but only managed a 1-1 draw which meant they failed to progress, but he is confident of a better outcome this time.
With Fenerbahce undefeated at home in the Champions League this season, Chelsea could be relying on their stubborn defence to keep them on top.
A record of six consecutive clean sheets has been the feature of their European campaign, rather than entertaining in the manner Zico's Fenerbahce have.
``We try all the time to combine both of them but you cannot do it all the time,'' Grant said. ``In the Champions League it's more important to qualify.
``If you play good (football) you have a better chance to qualify.
``So we will try to do both but the most important thing after these two game is to be in the semi-finals.
``They play good football but we believe in our strength to win, even if we know it will be two tough games.''