1 Silent Stan lives up to his nickname
Stan Kroenke, the majority owner of Arsenal, lived up to his nickname of “Silent Stan” at yesterday’s club AGM.
The media-shy American billionaire spoke for just two minutes and 29 seconds and began by saying: “I’ve been asked to say a few things, I’m not quite sure why.”
2 Knee injuries hit hard in Spain
Spanish football has been hit by a spate of serious knee injuries in the past few days.
Giuseppe Rossi, Villarreal’s US-born Italian international striker is likely to miss the rest of the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee against Real Madrid on Wednesday. He faces a fight to be fit in time for Euro 2012.
Sergio Canales, on loan at Valencia from Real Madrid, and Athletic Bilbao captain Carlos Gurpegui both damaged ligaments in last weekend’s 1-1 draw.
Highly-rated Real Betis winger Alvaro Vadillo is out for at least two months with a serious knee injury, which could jeopardise a potential move in the January transfer window.
3 Brazil’s names new sports minister
Aldo Rebelo has been as named as Brazil’s new sports minister after his predecessor Orlando Silva resigned amid corruption allegations.
Both Silva and Rebelo are members of the Communist Party of Brazil, which is an ally of president Dilma Rousseff’s ruling Workers Party.
Rebelo, 55, now has the key task of organising both the World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. He is known as a critic of Brazilian FA boss Ricardo Teixeira, who is currently under investigation by federal authorities for corruption.
4 Sabella names foreign-based players for Argentina’s World Cup qualifiers
Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella has picked 21 foreign-based players for next month’s World Cup 2014 qualifying matches against Bolivia and Colombia.
Napoli’s Ezequiel Lavezzi and Roma’s Fernando Gago are recalled to the squad after missing the games against Chile and Venezuela earlier this month.
Porto defender Nicolas Otamendi and Newcastle’s Jonas Gutierrez were not included but there was a surprise call-up for Pablo Guinazu, who plays in Brazil for Internacional.
Sabella will add home-based players to the squad at a later date.
Goalkeepers: Mariano Andujar (Catania), Sergio Romero (Sampdoria)
Defenders: Nicolas Burdisso (Roma), Martin Demichelis (Malaga), Federico Fernandez (Napoli), Luciano Monzon (Nice), Marcos Rojo (Spartak Moscow), Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City)
Midfielders: Ever Banega (Valencia), Fernando Gago (Roma), Pablo Guinazu (Internacional), Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Javier Pastore (Paris Saint-Germain), Jose Sosa (Metalist Kharkiv)
Strikers: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), German Denis (Atalanta), Angel Di Maria (Real Madrid), Nicolas Gaitan (Benfica), Gonzalo Higuain (Real Madrid), Ezequiel Lavezzi (Napoli), Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
5 Feyenoord suffer cup upset
Feyenoord’s woes continue. The Rotterdam club suffered a humliating 2-1 defeat to over second division Go Ahead Eagles in the Dutch Cup third round last night.
Joey Suk put the home side ahead after seven minutes with a long-range strike before Marnix Kolder doubled the lead from the penalty spot just before the hour. Ron Vlaar pulled one back for Feyenoord a minute from time.
It was Feyenoord’s first cup defeat by a second division team since 1977.
League leaders AZ Alkmaar needed extra time to overcome second division Dordrecht when Adam Maher struck to seal a 3-2 win.
6 Defeat for Abramovich in Chelsea stadium vote
Roman Abramovich is used to having things his own way. But unlike the way he acquired his shares in Sibneft by buying up unwanted share certificates from oil workers in early 1990s, Abramovich has found Chelsea fans a harder bunch to win over.
The 700 shareholders of Chelsea Pitch Owners, the company set up to safeguard Stamford Bridge from asset-strippers in the early 1990s, rejected a bid by Abramovich to buy the 106-year-old stadium ahead of a move to a new ground.
The bid, which needed 75 per cent support to pass, was defeated after receiving 3,569 votes in favour and 2,227 against amid angry scenes at the shareholder meeting.
7 Trinidad boss ‘does a Warner’
Oliver Camps, the president of the Trinidad and Tobago football federation and a close ally of Jack Warner, has followed his mentor by walking away from the game after being charged by FIFA with ethics code violations.
Like Jack Warner, his long-time friend and colleague, Camps has ensured that he escapes further action from FIFA by resigning his positions ahead of an investigation by the FIFA ethics committee into the infamous meeting between Mohamed Bin Hammam and Caribbean football leaders in May.
But Camps, president of the Trinidad federation for 19 years, has not gone quietly. He launched an attack on Sepp Blatter and praised Warner for his “achievements” for the Caribbean region.
In a resignation statement, Camps said: “the current climate created by the FIFA” had left him with no choice but to resign with immediate effect.
He added: “I have truly enjoyed . . . the opportunities which have been given to me through football but when the price one has to pay includes the sullying of one’s name and the denigrating of one’s character without a justifiable reason then I must confess that this is not the place that I would want to be.
“For an organisation that claims to promote and practice fair play, the current situation has left me aghast because it represents a shift away from the values that the FIFA claims it espouses. It is certainly a sad day for me and this is far from what I had expected.
8 Goal of the day
A corker from the Romanian Cup, here.
9 Pele puts the boot into Messi
Pele must be feeling the heat from comparisons between himself and Lionel Messi. In London to promote his latest commercial venture, a clothing line (no, we not going to plug it by name), O Rei was asked about the Barcelona marvel, the odds-on favourite to win the end-of-year world player awards.
His response? “I would love to play with Lionel Messi. But Messi is an incomplete player because he can’t use his head. Also I played football for 20 years, Messi has only played for several years.”
Ouch. Wonderful player though he was, we can’t recall Pele scoring a header in a European Cup Final, as Messi did against Manchester United in Rome in 2009. And it didn’t take long for one bright spark to post an entire video of Messi’s headed goals on YouTube.
10 Henri Michel back in charge of Equatorial Guinea
French coach Henri Michel has returned to his job as coach of Equatorial Guinea, who co-host next January’s African Nations Cup finals, a week after quitting the post.
The Frenchman agreed a return after the departure of the oil-rich nation’s sports minister, according to reports by the BBC and L’Equipe.
Michel gave up the job last week after a tussle over team selection and in frustration with conditions in the former Spanish colony, ranked 155th in the world.
The country’s official government website www.guineaecuatorialpress.com confirmed the appointment of a new sports minister to replace Rustan Obiang, son of the president, who had been at loggerheads with Michel.
Michel was hired last December on a 13-month contract to build a team to compete at the Nations Cup, which Equatorial Guinea will co-host with Gabon from Jan. 21 to Feb. 12.