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SHARES
16 June 2008
Just when Jose Mourinho thought that he had the orchard all to himself to pick the best of European talent, along comes Gene Hackman’s doppelganger Felipe Scolari to knock over the apple cart.The feeling in Italy is that Chelsea turned to Big Phil partially to ensure that either one of Deco or Ricardo Quaresma don’t pitch up at Inter and encourage Frank Lampard and Ricardo Carvalho to have second thoughts about swapping the Kings Road for Via Montenapoleone.It seems that Deco will follow his national team boss to England while the Milanese grapevine confirms that Inter are that ‘major club’ Quaresma was alluring to when he announced last week he would be leaving Porto.And what of Frank? Well, the Inter transfer chief Marco Branca has been spotted jumping on and off the London shuttle from Milan’s Linate airport more times than the water-swigging models who strut the catwalks in the mornings before returning to their south London digs by late afternoon.Again the ever-reliable rumour-mill around Inter’s Palazzo Durini headquarters verifies that English lessons have been in full swing to welcome the England international.
SHARES
16 June 2008
NOW it’s a tournament.
SHARES
12 June 2008
By FourFourTwo guest columnist Riccardo Rossi of Serie Aaaaargh!
SHARES
11 June 2008
There’s no need to explain to you British people how boring Brazil friendlies usually are. You’ve seen enough of them lately with London becoming the official capital of the samba boys' (drowsy) exhibition matches. Last weekend, however, I managed to stay awake during both games of the Seleção’s United States tour, because I couldn’t take my eyes off of the TV during the clashes against the mighty Canada and Venezuela. Yes. I was just anticipating the moment Brazil, playing as lethargic as allowed by the legal limits, would come unstuck against one of the above powerhouses. History-making was just around the corner.Against Canada, it was close. The courageous maple-leafed team missed a host of opportunities when the game was tied at 2-2 before self-destructing and gift-wrapping Robinho Brazil's third goal.
SHARES
11 June 2008
By FourFourTwo's guest columnist, Tim Stannard of La Liga Loca
SHARES
11 June 2008
The Netherlands’ astonishing dismantling of Italy highlighted one fundamental, underappreciated truth about football: the full-back may just be the most important person on the pitch.
SHARES
10 June 2008
They started the evening blasting out the Brothers of Italy and ended it the country’s orphans. No mamma to dry their tears and no papa to bring order. While Marcello Lippi took on both roles at World Cup 2006, Donadoni seems very much the missing parent.“Disaster Donadoni,” screamed Corriere dello Sport. “You are more to blame than the referee.”Yes, the referee may have had his own interpretation of the offside laws regarding Christian Panucci tumbling off the pitch after colliding with Gigi Buffon in the build-up to the opening goal but what of poor old Roberto’s reading of the game?
SHARES
10 June 2008
Real Zaragoza are beginning to get a teeny, tiny inkling of the footballing jungle they will have to hack their way through next season with seedy stories of unsavoury goings on dribbling out of the Spanish second division.  Adding to the ongoing reports of clubs in dire pecuniary positions (Salamanca), incompetent owners (pretty much everyone) and buying their way into the league only to flop like a Sevilla winger in sight of goal (Granada 74) is the murky business of match fixing. At the beginning of June slightly unhinged, Oleguer-hating Malaga striker Salva Ballesta accused promotion rivals Real Sociedad of having offered incentives to Malaga's opponents to try just that little bit harder during the final run-in. But this is Xavi standing next to Nikola Zigic compared to the allegations now being hurled back at the Andalusian club. An unnamed FIFA agent has sent a report to the Spanish FA saying that former Real Madrid president and current Malaga big wig, Lorenzo Sanz tried to buy two games for 250,000 euros each in the second division - namely Tenerife v Real Sociedad (1-2) and Sevilla Atlético v Malaga (0-1) - according to Tuesday's AS. "It's a brutal, sorry manipulation. There's nothing more to be said," was Sanz' immediate reaction.The organisation's competition committee is currently studying the evidence, which includes supposed recordings of conversations between Sanz and the agent. However, it seems that any skulduggery on Malaga's part may not have been required thanks to Real Sociedad's truly spectacular incompetence on Sunday afternoon.Winning 2-1 away to Alaves with 92 minutes on the clock, Sociedad let in a late equaliser. And two minutes later proceeded to gift their relegation threatened opponents a winner. A victory for La Real would have left them in prime position in second place with just one game to go. Instead, the club which have just announced debts of 25 million euros will have to beat Córdoba and hope that either Malaga or Sporting above them fail to win. It's popcorn at the ready, with Joan Laporta's increasingly entertaining war of words with the head of the referendum campaign to oust the King of Catalunya stepping up a notch or two.On Monday, Oriol Giralt responded to the publications of pictures of him alongside members of, Ultra group, Boixos Nois by saying he had no idea who they were.  "I didn't know any of them and it was the first time that I had seen them," said the cranky Catalan in his defence before launching a corker in Laporta's direction. "I don't know if he (presumably Laporta) has sat down on a plane with arms or drugs smugglers, or not." On Monday, Real Madrid continued their campaign of not unsettling Cristiano Ronaldo whatsoever - despite what nasty Man United's official accusations suggest - with big Bernando Schuster admitting that the Portuguese pouter would "clearly be a great signing and would adapt well to the side." AS' Tomas Roncero has already decided that Ronaldo would wear the number nine shirt - currently held by Roberto Soldado - so as not to offend the delicate sensibilities of Raul. The Madrid based press have also been continuing their policy of asking everyone on the planet for their reasons on why Ronaldo should move to Madrid. But Mundo Deportivo report that their latest target Simao refused to play their game. "I am an Atlético player and you know what it means... I cannot recommend this," asserted the prickly Portuguese player.
SHARES
9 June 2008
The presumptuous barra brava had the fireworks ready. And with 10 minutes to go, River Plate's jam-packed Monumental stadium erupted in flame.

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