PSG in for Beckham

Paris Saint-Germain have made an initial approach to sign former England captain David Beckham when his contract with LA Galaxy expires in December, reports the BBC.

PSG held a telephone conversation with the midfielder’s representatives but formal talks have yet to take place.

Several other clubs have also shown firm interest in Beckham, and the former England midfielder has not ruled out staying in Los Angeles, where the weather is good and the money is even better.

One manager whose ears will have started twitching at the mention of Beckham is Harry Redknapp. The Spurs boss appears not to want to sign Beckham, but he doesn’t half like talking about him.

“It’s difficult: I have Aaron Lennon coming back, Rafael van der Vaart playing off the right,” Redknapp said. “I have lots of options. I could play Gareth Bale on one side and Luka Modric on the other. Sandro is also looking like he could end up a top player. Then there’s Scott Parker.”

“So to bring David in and not play him would be a problem.”

I don’t know. He’s expensive, has no re-sale value, and you don’t actually need him? Sounds to me like the perfect Redknapp signing.

Rooney ban divides opinion

Reaction to Wayne Rooney’s three-match international ban has been swift, with most sober commentators noting that the length of the ban was commensurate to the offence and in keeping with UEFA’s disciplinary procedures.

There were, it has to be said, some dissenters. Pride of place among them goes to former England defender, Phil Neville, who tweeted: “Rooney banned for 3 games what a joke – if it was a Dutch, Spanish, Italian or German player they wouldn’t even get 1 game. #fact”

The BBC reports that Rooney is “shocked” and “disappointed” and no doubt looking into the possibility of an extended holiday in the Caribbean next summer.

The question now is whether it’s worth taking England’s talismanic striker to the finals at all, given that he will sit out the first three matches. The consensus seems to be that he is so important to the side that it is worth the risk. I’m not so sure.

What message does it send out to your other strikers if you are prepared to take Rooney even though he will miss the groups stages? More pertinently, is there any evidence to suggest that his presence will actually improve England’s chances. The last time he arrived late for a tournament was the 2006 World Cup which culminated in him being sent off for stamping on an opponent.

Rooney in waiting

While the England striker contemplates his moment of stupidity, a new contender for buffoon of the week emerges. Brazilian wonderkid Neymar demonstrated that when it comes to talented playmakers with a petulant streak, Rooney may have met his match.

If he does secure that move to Real Madrid next year, him and Cristiano Ronaldo are going to get on like a house on fire.

The truth, the whole truth…

Hearts manager Paolo Sergio has advocated the that referees are subjected to lie detector tests. Paolo Sergios still furious after his side had a ‘goal’ disallowed by Iain Brines during the League Cup defeat by Ayr United.

“For some particular matters, maybe it could be a good thing to introduce in football,” Sergio explained. “I can tell you what I have in my head, but I don’t want to.”

Asked if he was prompted by Brines appointment against Dunfermline Sergio added: “Now you understand what I have in my head before.

“I’m not happy with that. He told me the linesman said to him it was an elbow. Now he is saying he saw the elbow. I’m not happy and I am honest. I don’t see why I should hide my feelings.

“I’m not happy to have him at Hearts games. Believe me, you can bring the lie detectors to me.”

Hearts’ maverick owner Vladimir Romanov has already brought in lie detectors to ensure there is no chance of match-fixing.

“For seven years, I have talked about this sore in football,” he said.

“Hearts has a system that helps to explain all the make-believe.

“Coaches, players, agents, suspicious people. They have lie-detector tests.”

Goal of the day

An outstanding acrobatic effort from Fred in Fluminense’s 3-1 win over Coritiba.

Life and times of a legend

The UAE Pro League starts this weekend with an influx of well-known players and coaches raising the profile of the Middle Eastern nation. Most eyes though, will be on Al Wasl coach Diego Maradona, who remains a captivating presence wherever he goes.

There’s a interesting article about Maradona’s life in Dubai, with reports of his penchant for shopping trips, Lebanese cuisine, and his selfless capacity for dealing with the multitude of autograph hunters and well-wishers he encounters on his rare trips out.

He is, according to his local guide, learning the language, although to date, the only word he has picked up is  ta’al or “come”.

Which must limit the scope of team talks somewhat. Still, give him time, he’s only been there five months. This time next year, at the current rate of of progress, his repertoire should have extended to “come and collect your things”, which by then, should be all he needs to know.

Waiting for the chop

Nigeria’s coach Samson Siasia remains hopeful of keeping his job, despite his country’s failure to reach the African Cup of Nations. He should remember that it’s not the despair that kills you, it’s the hope.

Siasia has pleaded with Nigeria Football Federation to give him another chance.

“I will love it if I’m given a chance to continue,” he said. “I know that I’m a good coach and have good players we are in the process of building a new team.

“I do believe that in one or two years from now we would get a good national team.”

Out-of-favour striker Yakubu, who has not played for his country since missing a sitter at last year’s World Cup finals, believes that Siasia’s time is up. The 28 (ish)-year-old believes the coach should accept responsibility for the country’s failure to reach the finals.

He said: “He (Siasia) failed to take the team to the Nations Cup. Unlike coach Christian Chukwu who took the team to the Nations Cup and still got sacked or Amodu Shuaibu who qualified for the World Cup and still got sacked. So he (Siasia) should go.”

Of that infamous miss against South Korea, Yakubu even had the gall to blame the coach for that. Which, when you see it, is a little harsh.

“I can remember when I lost that goal at the World Cup people were like saying why did you miss that,” he added. “We should be patient with the players. Even (Fernando) Torres too missed his own too. But it is still the coach that will go if any of this happens.”

Hanging up his gloves

After over 20 years as a professional football, United States keeper Kasey Keller is approaching the end of a groundbreaking career.

On Saturday, against San Jose, he makes his final regular season home appearance for Seattle Sounders, and with 60,000 tickets already sold, the match will mark the highest-attended MLS game since 2007.

Keller became the first American player to play in England on a U.S. passport after joining Millwall. He was the first American keeper to start in the English Premier League, Spain’s La Liga and the second American to captain a club in Germany’s Bundesliga.

On top of that there are his 102 caps for the U.S national team and three appearances at World Cups spanning 1990 and 2006.

A 60,000+ crowd for a football match is unusual in the United States, though not unprecedented. Below you can see the highest attendances in Seattle’s and MLS history.

Seattle Top 10 Attendances

67,052: Sounders FC v Manchester United (7/20/2011)
66,848: Sounders FC v Barcelona (8/5/2009)
66,830: Real Madrid v DC United (8/9/2006)
66,722: Manchester United v Celtic (7/22/2003)
65,289: Sounders FC v Chelsea (7/18/2009)
58,218: NASL Sounders v New York (4/9/1976)
56,416: Mexico v China (4/16/2008)
56,256: NASL Sounders v Los Angeles (8/25/1977)
50,305: Mexico v Ecuador (5/28/2011)
49,606: NASL Sounders v New York (8/9/1980)

MLS Top 10 Single Game Attendances

69,255: L.A. Galaxy v NY/NJ MetroStars (4/13/1996)
66,237: New York Red Bulls v L.A. Galaxy (8/18/2007)
62,703: L.A. Galaxy v New England Revolution (7/4/1996)
61,202: Colorado Rapids v Chicago Fire (7/4/2002)
60,500: Colorado Rapids v D.C. United (7/4/2001)
60,433: L.A. Galaxy v Miami Fusion (7/4/1999)
55,234: L.A. Galaxy v San Jose Earthquakes (7/4/2002)
53,844: L.A. Galaxy v Columbus Crew (7/4/2000)
53,655: L.A. Galaxy v Kansas City Wizards (7/4/1998)
53,250: NY/NJ MetroStars v L.A. Galaxy (6/9/1996)

Russian roulette

Four players in Russia are complaining they are being forced out of their team. The Rostov FC quartet, Alexei Rebko, Oleg Ivanov, Andrei Proshin and Alexander Khokhlov insist that they haven’t been paid for more than three months.

The All-Russian professional footballers’ union has taken up their case and are investigating allegations that the players were denied the opportunity to train with the squad despite all of them having long-term contracts with Rostov.

“They were basically banned from the gym, and offered an individual training schedule,” Alexander Zotov, the union’s general director, was quoted as saying by Gazeta.ru.

“I understand that management at Rostov has changed. [The new management] has its own understanding of which players they need, but they decided to get rid of those whom they no longer want using this, typically Russian method.”

The club’s intention appears to have been to rid themselves of the players and it appears to have worked as all four have asked to be released from their contracts. However, the fight for the unpaid wages as well as compensation, will g on.

Finally…

A rare piece of good news for FIFA. The organisation has been given a pat on the back for the way in which it handled the case of the five Mexican footballers who failed drugs tests at the Gold Cup.

Five Mexican players who tested positive for clenbuterol before the tournament will not face sanctions after FIFA determined the tests were caused by contaminated meat.

WADA said it accepted FIFA’s “compelling evidence” from the recent Under-17 World Cup in Mexico that the country has a “serious health problem” with meat contaminated with clenbuterol.

“WADA applauds FIFA for the further research it has initiated,” the anti-doping watchdog said in a statement.

FIFA gathered the evidence while working with the government of Mexico.

“The studies conducted by FIFA showed the correctness of the footballers’ claim that the positive samples were the result of meat they had ingested at a training camp ahead of the tournament,” the governing body of international soccer said.

The outcome is also good news for former Tour de France winner Alberto Contador, who is using the contaminated meat defence at his CAS hearing next month.

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