Money back guarantee

Milan will provide refunds to unhappy fans with season tickets following the departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva.

A lawsuit has been filed by some fans claiming that they had bought season tickets on the assumption the two players would be at the club next season.

The club has responded to the threat with a refund saying the offer was made because of “the need for style and love of the club towards its supporters and independent of any legal analysis,” adding that “the lawsuit is without any foundation.”

Milan will not be the only club to hope that’s the case. Surely, if the lawsuit was successful, all clubs who sell players would be vulnerable to similar action.

Meanwhile, the fallout from the astronomical salary being paid to Ibrahimovic refuses to go away, with Minister for Sport, Youth, and Community Life, Valerie Fourneyron, stating that Ibrahimovic’s salary was “a reflection of everything that is deplorable about football.”

Responding to these accusations was the man who – after Ibrahimovic – is expected to benefit most from the deal: his agent, Mino Raiola. He feels that France should be grateful for the Qatari investment.

“I believe that France and Ligue 1 should just be happy that the people of Qatar have invested in football. I understand that these gentlemen of Qatar want to invest in other major sectors.

“If I read correctly, they also want to invest by buying weapons and other things and Mr (Francois) Hollande would do well to be more open.

“Or if they do not want them as investors they should expel them from the country. But remember that the salary of Zlatan produces significant income taxes in France.”

Where has all the money gone?

While France continues its soul searching over the nouveau riche spending of Paris Saint-Germain, there are signs that elsewhere, the global transfer market is slowing down.

Transfer spending throughout the game is down by more than one-third on 12 months ago. A fall in total payments between clubs in transfer and loan fees of $294 million to $576 million, represents a decrease of 34% on the same period last year.

Obviously, the global downturn has played a part in the reduced activity, and quite possibly clubs have been cutting their cloth accordingly ahead of the introduction of UEFA’s Financial FairPlay rules.

There are some surprising facts buried amongst the figures.

In terms of the amount paid, Russian clubs were the biggest spenders, forking out a total of $64.4million, though Portuguese teams invested more per deal, spending an average of $3.4million on each move involving a fee.

With a combined outlay of $57.4million, France was third on the overall list behind Russia and Brazil – despite Paris Saint-Germain’s most recent high-profile deals coming after the six-month cut-off point. Brazilian sides were the biggest beneficiaries of the spending, with their clubs receiving $64.9million, the most money from transfer fees.

Perhaps the biggest surprise came with the figures for England, where clubs invested $55.43 million but brought in $58.83 million through sales. A net profit on deals during this period.

Full details of the latest round of transfer spending can be found here.

Footballers behaving badly

Valerenga striker Marcus Pedersen has come under fire after his goal celebration in the 3-1 away win at Stabaek was deemed homophobic.

After firing in the final goal, Pedersen allegedly started shouting “gays” at the Stabaek fans as he was filmed on camera simulating an oral sex act.

Samba boys

Bringing life and soul to a football ground near you, Brazil’s football team took time off from their Olympic preparations to stage an impromptu musical set in London.

Tottenham midfielder Sandro took centre stage on guitar, while his team-mates, led by Neymar, participated in an improvised dance.

Paying your dues

To compete a trilogy of video-based stories, David Beckham paid a surprise visit to a Team GB Olympic photo booth. Despite not being selected for the British football team, there was no stopping the LA Galaxy man attending the Games in his home city. Although, his appearance may in part be due to the fact that his sponsors, Adidas, insist upon him being there. And on the money they give him, he’s not really in a position to say no.

By the time he is buried – doubtless in a coffin bearing three stripes – Beckham will have been paid $160 million by Adidas. That was the deal he negotiated in the summer of 2003 and which ties him to the company in perpetuity.

Afterwards Beckham commented: “It was a unique experience for me and the people who took part and there were some great reactions when we surprised them in the photo booth. I always love coming back to London and the activity was a great opportunity for me to get involved in the adidas Take The Stage campaign and get behind Team GB.”

Generally, the reaction from the public was, as you’d imagine, one of disbelief, but for one young boy, it was all too much. Christian Lewis, who was with his mother Elaine, burst in to tears when he spotted Beckham come out of the darkness.

Not sure what the child psychologists would have made of that.

Quote of the day

“We have the objective of becoming German champions. Unlike a certain team from West-Germany, we are not afraid to express our ambitions.

 We are a bit more straightforward in that regard. We know that we have a good team.”



Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge make a snide dig at Bundesliga rivals and league champions for the past two seasons, Borussia Dortmund.

Alves unhappy with snub

One tends to assume that modern professional footballers are an arrogant, insensitive bunch, oblivious to criticism, but along comes Dani Alves to show that they too have feelings.

The Brazilian is disappointed Barcelona did not publicly deny rumours he was set leave the club earlier in the close season.

Several reports suggested the Brazil international set to leave, with Manchester City and Anzhi Makhachkala rumoured to be interested in the attacking full back.

“It’s true that there were rumours that I would not be staying at Barca and I was upset that the club did not intervene,” Alves said.

“However, I am above that sort of thing and if the time comes when the club decide they don’t need me, I will just have to accept it.

On hearing of the player’s unhappiness, new Barca coach Tito Vilanova was quick to reassure the full-back that he was still wanted at the club.

“If I had known Dani Alves felt upset, I would have gotten in touch with him to assure him about his future at the club. Next time I will definitely do so,” Vilanova stated at a press conference.

“There have never been any doubts about his future, not by me and not by the club. He is the best right-back in the world in my opinion.”

Nice to see a happy ending.

Spend, spend, spend

Famed for a reluctance to open his wallet, Arsene Wenger is a changed man this summer, splashing the cash like it’s going out of fashion, which at Arsenal, it usually is. His latest signing looks set to be Spain international winger, Santo Cazorla, who has agreed to join the north London club.

After the earlier arrivals of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud for £10 million and £12 million respectively, the £16 million arrival of Cazorla takes Wenger’s spending spree to £38 million. Or, about the equivalent of two Robin van Persies.

Cazorla wants to leave Málaga, the club he joined for €19m last summer from Villarreal, after wages went unpaid during the campaign. The 27-year-old has told Málaga of his intention to quit and he has also spoken to Arsenal to tell them he is keen on joining them.

His former club, Villarreal, claim Málaga also owe the €3.5m outstanding on his transfer, while the Spanish tax authorities are demanding almost €7m.  Hence the need to generate cash quickly. The situation is a little perplexing, though, as the club is controlled by Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Al-Thani, who invested more than €150m into the club over the past two years – resulting in qualification for next season’s Champions League. Surely, for a man of his means, that kind of money can be found down the back of his sofa.

If Málaga do not settle their debts by 31 July they face relegation to Second Division B and the loss of their UEFA licence and Champions League participation.

But, despite their current cash flow problems, they remain adamant that the player is going nowhere.

“Cazorla is not for sale, we do not talk about rumours in the press and our plans are not to even negotiate his exit,” a source told Sky Sports.

Zlatan wants no. 10 shirt

Zlatan Ibrahimovic insists he will wear the number 10 short at his new club PSG, despite the shirt already being assigned to another player, last season’s leading scorer Nene.

The striker wears the 10 when playing for Sweden but has missed out on the accolade at a number of his former clubs, by the likes of Rafael van der Vaart at Ajax, Alessandro Del Piero at Juventus, Adriano at Inter, Lionel Messi at Barcelona, and Clarence Seedorf at Milan.

However, determined to show the world – or at least the French public – that he is indeed the man, the Swede has issued a strong hint that the club should take his request seriously.

When he was introduced to the press upon completion of his transfer to PSG, Ibrahimovic said: “Nothing has been decided regarding my number, but if the leaders want to please me, they know what to do.”

But the club’s sporting director Leonardo has admitted that no decision has yet been made as it could well involve the sale of Nene.

“We have not decided yet, it will take the departure of another player,” he said, according to Le Parisien.

PSG striker Guillaume Hoarau has attempted to act as a peacemaker by offering his No.9 shirt to Ibrahimovic, but on one condition.

“If he asks me in French, yes I will let him [have the No.9]. It is the condition,” Hoarau joked to L’Equipe.

Living within their means

Jordi Alba has increased speculation over the future of Javi Martinez at Athletic Bilbao by asking his Spain team-mate to stand alongside the Barcelona players for their official Olympic Games photo.

Martinez has been heavily linked with a move to Camp Nou but the €40m price tag slapped on him has made any interest academic. That figure was dismissed by another admirer of the player, Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes, as “indecent”.

“Javi, you here, with us, with the Barca players,” Alba was heard saying according to reports.

However, in the light of remarks made in recent days by Barcelona vice-president Javier Faus, the prospect of the Catalan club spending that kind of money on anyone this summer, is exceedingly remote.

“Last year we surpassed our transfer budget with the signings of Cesc Fabregas and Alexis Sanchez,” Faus stated in the end-of-year financial report.

“We cannot overspend our budget by €20 or 30 million (£15-23m) each year. It would put our business plan at risk. It would not be sustainable.

“The club needs to be cautious if it is to be able to take on ambitious future projects. We have to look to the medium and long-term stability of the club. Rational and austere measures need to be applied in order to secure a positive balance sheet.”

An admission which indicates that a degree of fiscal sanity is finally peeking through the curtains at even the most spendthrift clubs.

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