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SHARES
12 January 2009
Roll up! Roll up! it’s the pub quiz, triviatastic guide to the last 16 of the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League. Which is the only team Lionel Messi has scored against in the knockout stages?Celtic, in the last 16 in 2007/08. Since 2004/05, Messi has featured in eight knockout games but has scored just twice – both goals coming against Celtic when Barca won 3-2 win Glasgow.When the UEFA Champions League nears the business end, even great strikers struggle to do the business.Zlatan Ibrahimovic is yet to get off the mark in the knockout stages, a duck he would love to break against Manchester United. In four Champions League seasons with Chelsea, Didier Drogba’s knockout haul stands at just five goals.
SHARES
9 January 2009
SaturdayDeportivo (6th) vs Sevilla (4th)For the opening instalment of the weekend predictions, La Liga Loca must come over all early 90’s Ben Elton with a little bit of politics. There has been a fair smattering of coverage in Spain over Freddie Kanouté celebrating his midweek Copa del Rey goal against Deportivo by revealing a T-shirt featuring the word ‘Palestine’ in several languages. And on the whole, the reporting of his action, which resulted in a yellow card but could end up being quite a lot more, has been fairly supportive. “Freddie is someone who is very involved in such matters,” said, under-fire coach, Manolo Jiménez on the incident. “He’s only calling for peace and I think the authorities should bear this in mind and not punish him,” commented team-mate Diego Capel. Kanouté himself claims that “it’s something I felt I had to do...I am 100 percent responsible for my actions.” LLL Prediction - DrawValencia (2nd) vs Villarreal (7th)Players losing it big time! - Part One. First up in this week’s one-off special is Valencia full-back, Miguel, who took the Copa del Rey about 10 times more seriously than the Atlético squad by reportedly telling the linesman that he had waved his last flag. The referee’s match report of the 1-1 clash away at Racing claims that the Portuguese power keg responded to his second yellow card by informing the bemused assistant that he was a “son of a bitch. I’m going to kill you, you son of a bitch.” Miguel himself is a little unsure of whether he made such a threat, but is very, very sorry indeed if it turns out that he did. “I apologise to the referee and to his assistant for saying these things,” humbled the Mestalla Hulk. “I was angry because I felt powerless,” said Miguel as way of explanation. Unfortunately for the potty-mouthed Miguel, it’s an excuse that - like Rufete - is unlikely to wash with the stick-wielding school masters of La Liga who are set to hand out a hefty suspension for his toy-throwing tantrum. LLL Prediction - Home winSundayMallorca (19th) vs Real Madrid (3rd)And it was such a fiendish plan, as well. On Thursday, Real Madrid had their appeal to allow them to play both Huntelaar and Diarra in the Champions League turned down flat by UEFA’s dodgy-sounding Control and Discipline committee. The legal eagles at Castle Greyskull had come up with the brilliant strategy of “Look! Our suits are expensive! And we are Real Madrid! And, and, and IT’S JUST NOT FAIR (foot stamp, foot stamp).” But it wasn’t enough to change the minds of those pen-pushers in Nyon.The big floating head of Michel Platini boomed “it’s forbidden! it’s against the rules of nature,” like Superman’s father when Clark turned back time to save Lois. But this won’t stop the club taking the issue further, say both Marca and AS. LLL Prediction - Away winNumancia (16th) vs Getafe (10th)When El Pato signed for Getafe in 2006 an Argentine colleague of La Liga Loca advised that yes, Snr Abbondanzieri was the country’s No.1 and a fine keeper. But also warned that the he was capable of the odd mad moment from time to time. Fast forward two years and those crazy catastrophes are becoming more and more frequent - the latest of which was a tremendous striker-flattening rush out of the box last weekend against Deportivo. It seems that Getafe are looking to send El Pato quacking back to Boca Juniors for some cash and a couple of friendlies against the Argentine side. It’s a move that will give much chuffness to a section of the quick-to-boo fans at the Coliseum judging by the reaction to the keeper from some home supporters last Sunday. LLL Prediction - DrawRacing (11th) vs Recreativo (17th)The good people of a snug-indoors Santander formed just part of a large chunk of indifference concerning this week’s Copa de Rey games from the average Spanish football fan.
SHARES
9 January 2009
There’s an old saying that the only way to make a small fortune in football is to start off with a big one and then buy a club.
SHARES
9 January 2009
David Beckham is in for a bit of a shock this weekend.While AC Milan and the Becks circus have been living it up in the balmy climes of Dubai, Italy has been gripped by the icy fingers of mid-winter.All the major airports in northern Italy have been either shut down or worked on reduced capacity, for once, not due to a strike but a good dose of the white stuff.
SHARES
8 January 2009
The Rich List has caused its usual flurry of excitement – we’ve barely had time for a cup of tea, and that’s very bad news.
SHARES
8 January 2009
Recession is coming to get football, says Professor Tom Cannon. And he’s right.
SHARES
8 January 2009
If QPR investor Lakshmi Mittal wants something, money is no object.
SHARES
7 January 2009
It's a time for reflection in Argentina. The season has ended and now is the time to uproot, leave the stinkingly hot city and head to the beaches of Uruguay.
SHARES
7 January 2009
Town fan Nick Judd on the new County Ground guv'nor...
SHARES
7 January 2009
Help, we’re in the midst of an all-out transfer frenzy. With two England internationals already on the move and things bound to get busier, this looks like being a credit crunch (and common sense)-defying window packed with big-money moves and muchos, muchos speculation.Fortunately our sister site FootballTalentspotter.com is on hand to give you the skinny on all the players linked with your club – be they lower-league journeymen being brought in on the cheap or multi-million foreign types your manager is pinning your club’s hopes and financial well being on.Here as a taster are a few unknowns who could be on Match of the Day before the month’s out (find more in Talentspotter's Ones To Watch section):St Etienne’s Blaise Matuidi is the man Portsmouth are said to be looking to bring in to replace Bernabau-bound Lassana Diarra, and that looks a pretty good shout given that, like his compatriot, Matuidi is an industrious and fearless little chap who’d run his jaffers off and allow Richard Hughes the time and space to work his magic...or maybe not.The sticking point for Pompey is, unsurprisingly, the dollar. St Etienne won’t be letting Matuidi go on the cheap (Director of Football Damien Comolli is insistent he won’t be sold at all – but we know he’s all chat) and a price tag of upwards of £10 million is likely to mean Pompey will need to set their sights a little lower.Perhaps, then, they should make a move for Ghana midfielder Stephen Appiah, who is a free agent having negotiated the termination of his contract with former club Fenerbahce in the summer. They’ll need to steal a march on former boss Harry Redknapp, however, as Appiah is this week training with Spurs and could be set to help bring a bit more balance to Arry’s squad.Speaking of Tottenham, having already paid way over the odds for Darren Bent and David Bentley in the last 18 months, Daniel Levy is looking to make it a hat-trick of terrible deals for young(ish) English players, with up to £14.5 million on the table for Middlesbrough winger Stewart Downing. The pursuit of Downing is a flashback to the Martin Jol era – during Juande Ramos’s tenure, Sevillaw’s Diego Capel was the man linked with the left-wing vacancy.That ship has most likely sailed now, not least because Ramos, Capel’s old boss at Sevilla has bitten the bullet at Levy Towers, but also because Spurs are now pony, and Barca and Real Madrid (yes, Senor Ramos again) are said to be sniffing around the flaxen-haired flyer.One possible alternative for Redknapp could be Celtic’s Aiden McGeady, who is said to be unsettled at Parkhead having been fined and suspended by the club for ‘breaching club discipline’ last month.BLOGS: Ibrox hero Johnston hopes McGeady stays at Celtic

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