The odd couple

Sven-Goran Eriksson will try to convince the former England captain David Beckham to join him at Al Nasr after joining the UAE club as a technical adviser.

“If he wants to come I’m sure they would open the gates for him,” Eriksson told reporters when asked about the possibility of signing Beckham, who is a free agent.

“I still speak with him, although I don’t know where he will finish up.”

Eriksson will oversee youth programmes and also work with the manager, Walter Zenga, and the club’s board to identify transfer targets.

If Beckham is one of them, it’s safe to say that reviving the club’s youth policy will not be part of Eriksson’s remit.

Eriksson held a similar role with the Thai club BEC Tero Sasana for a brief period last year but these days, he tends to stay just long enough to mutter the platitudes about not doing it for the money, before being relieved of his duties and collecting the pay-off cheque.

Do football clubs never learn? Apparently not.

“I can promise you the jobs with Ivory Coast, in Thailand and here are not for the money,” he said. “Absolutely not. It’s for a love of football, seeing new parts of the world and a new football league.”

Speed freaks

Former Juventus striker Alessandro Del Piero has created his own motor racing team together with American actor Patrick Dempsey.

The veteran player confirmed that Dempsey/Del Piero Racing has submitted an entry for the Le Mans 24 hour race in June and would run two cars in the American Le Mans Series from March.

The U.S.-based team will have three riders in the 24-hour race – Dempsey and American veterans Joe Foster and Michael Avenatti. Demspey has plenty of experience of motor racing having competed in the Le Mans race before as well as forming his own team to participate in US road races.

Del Piero, who now plays for Sydney FC in the Australian league, said he expects the team to be competitive and ”our central focus will be on winning world championships.”

Men behaving badly

An Argentine police officer was in critical condition after being shot during a clash with football hooligans which saw nine people arrested.

Judge Alejandra Rodenas told reporters that the violence took place during a confrontation between hooligans supporting Argentine clubs Rosario Central and Newell’s Old Boys.

Sunday’s match between the two rivals at Newell’s stadium – a practice game weeks before the regular season resumes – was called off before it started by security officials.

Perils of match fixing

Michel Platini believes match-fixing poses the greatest threat to the future of football as the UEFA president applauded the decision by Milan’s Kevin-Prince Boateng to walk off the pitch in protest at racist chanting.

Speaking to French radio station RTL, Platini said: “Racism and violence – it is a little beyond our control because it is not just about football but also affects the public.

“On the other hand we’re directly concerned by match-fixing. For me, this is the greatest shame.

“If tomorrow, we’ll see a game and we already know the result, football is dead.”

Football has been at the centre of a number of race-related incidents in recent months, most notably when Boateng made a stand by walking off the field with his Milan team-mates against Pro Patria.

Platini expressed his admiration, saying: “It’s great, I really liked it. It was very good, I also called to congratulate Milan.”

Falcao plays down reports

Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao has dismissed reports he has met with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez to discuss a move across the Spanish capital.

The Colombian striker has been tipped with a move to one of Europe’s big-name clubs, with Real thought to be one of the 26-year-old’s potential suitors.

Falcao, along with his agent Jorge Mendes, was this week reported to have had dinner with Perez, while the forward was also believed to have quizzed Real forward Cristiano Ronaldo at the Ballon d’Or event in Zurich earlier this month.

However, the prolific striker rubbished the speculation, telling Antena 3: “Everything is a lie.

“Lately there has been all kinds of reports about me. All those that say I ate with Florentino are false.

“Neither is it true that I travelled with Cristiano Ronaldo to the Ballon d’Or gala.”

So, there you have it.

Expecting too much?

Former Bayern Munich coach Felix Magath has attempted to play down expectations ahead of Pep Guardiola’s arrival at the Bundesliga club at the end of the season.

After the outpouring of Bayern self congratulation that followed the announcement of the Spaniard’s appointment last week, Magath has warned that there is no guarantee Guardiola will be able to replicate his Barcelona success at the Allianz Arena outfit.

“Guardiola’s being treated like a messiah before he’s even arrived at Bayern. He might have difficulties living up to the high expectations,” Magath said to Liga Total!

Magath makes a fair point; during his brief absence from the game, Gurdiola’s reputation has soared to levels that he will struggle to meet. Now that he is regarded more of a miracle worker than a football coach, anything less than a clean sweep of all available trophies, reinvention of Total Football, and a re-imagining of the region’s Schweinsbraten dish, will be regarded as a failure.

“We are all talking about all the titles that Guardiola has won in his career, but Jupp Heynckes could end up winning three trophies with Bayern this year. It will not be easy to surpass that.

”

Guardiola is an experienced coach, but German football should not adapt to him,” added Magath. “He will have to get used to the Bundesliga. He has all the qualities to become a success, though.”

Goal of the day

Athletic Bilbao’s Aduriz collects a perfectly-weighted through ball before executing a lovely chip over the advancing keeper.

Quote of the day

“If I were the president of a club, I would not entrust him with my team. What I didn’t like about him at Inter was how he introduced himself to the group. A great coach, like Jose Mourinho or (former Juventus and Italy boss) Marcello Lippi, used unwritten rules within the squad, while Benitez wanted to write down 10 or 12 rules. It was like the highway code, or being at school.”

Marco Materazzi, who’s made no secret of his admiration for former Inter coach, Jose Mourinho, has some harsh words for his successor Rafa Benitez (now in charge at Chelsea).

Foul of the day

Harold Schumacher-style assault by Ethiopia’s Jemal Tassew on Zambia’s Chisamba Lungu resulted in an inevitable red card for the keeper in Monday’s Group C game.

Finally…

Sampdoria president Riccardo Garrone has died aged 76, the Serie A club have confirmed.

The businessman bought Sampdoria from Enrico Mantovani in 2002 and oversaw a period of mixed fortunes which saw them compete in Europe but also suffer relegation to Serie B in 2011.

Tributes have been paid to Garrone throughout Italian football while a statement on the club’s official website read: “Reserved man, husband, father, grandfather.

“Public man, entrepreneur, businessman, sports manager.

“We just want to remember that…..with the scarf around his neck and arms to the sky. We want to remember from Sampdoria.”

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