Going, going, gone…
Twelve months after he signed a new five-year deal worth a reputed £35 million, Roberto Mancini has been sacked as Manchester City boss.
Does Financial Fair Play cover the pay-offs made to sacked manager such as Mancini or Roberto Di Matteo, or do we just file such amounts under ‘sundries’, and accept that bottomless money pits like Manchester City and Chelsea really do operate in a different world to the vast majority of football clubs?
Until the announcement confirming Mancini’s departure, City had not made any public comment since reports began circulating about the Italian’s future at the club. At least they spared him the indignity of a vote of no confidence.
The statement from City said: “It is with regret that Manchester City football club announces that Roberto Mancini has been relieved of his duties as Manchester City manager. This has been a difficult decision for the owner, chairman and board to make and it is the outcome of a planned end-of-season review process that has been brought forward in light of recent speculation and out of respect for Roberto and his extensive contributions to the football club.
“Despite everyone’s best efforts, the club has failed to achieve any of its stated targets this year, with the exception of qualification for next season’s Uefa Champions League. This, combined with an identified need to develop a holistic approach to all aspects of football at the club, has meant that the decision has been taken to find a new manager for the 2013-14 season and beyond.”
I suspect that this is the first time the phrase ‘holistic approach’ has been in conjunction with a football manager being fired. But, given its nebulous meaning, it probably won’t be the last time a club hides behind the term to justify a sacking.
Khaldoon al-Mubarak, the chairman, said: “Roberto’s record speaks for itself and he has the respect and gratitude of Sheikh Mansour [the owner], myself and the board for all of his hard work and commitment over the last three and a half years. He has clearly also secured the love and respect of our fans.
“He has done as he promised and delivered silverware and success, breaking the club’s 35-year trophy drought [winning the 2011 Cup] and securing the title in 2012. I would like to personally and publicly thank him for his dedication to the progress that he has overseen and for his support and continued friendship.”
In fact, he has done such a good job and proven to be such a popular manager that the only suitable reward for him is the sack. Oh well, it’s a template that seems to work well for Chelsea,
Another fine mess
FIFA President Sepp Blatter says he will protesting to the Italian football authorities over a decision to only fine Roma 50,000 euros after their fans racially abused Milan players.
Play was stopped for almost two minutes during the second half of Sunday’s game when visiting Roma supporters racially abused Milan players Mario Balotelli and Kevin-Prince Boateng.
Warnings issued over the stadium speaker system were ignored, leading to a Serie A match being suspended due to racism for the first time.
Blatter is unhappy that the disciplinary proceedings were wrapped up so quickly by Italian football officials, while stating ”small fines for racist abuse unacceptable.”
”What is surprising and is not understandable for me, is that the disciplinary committee of the Italian Football Federation has taken a decision, not even 24 hours after the event, by just imposing a fine,” Blatter said on FIFA’s website.
”They have not made any investigation of what happened. And just to give a pecuniary sanction is not valid, that is not acceptable. You will always find money.
”What is 50,000 euros for such an incident? I’m not happy and I will call the Italian Federation. That’s not a way to deal with such matters.”
No, Blatter’s preferred method would be the good old fashioned handshake.
Galatasaray striker Didier Drogba hit back at a Fenerbahce fan who waved a banana towards him and team mate Emmanuel Eboue during the weekend’s league encounter by highlighting some home truths about racism.
Ivory Coast players Eboue and Drogba were heckled during Sunday’s 2-1 league win by Fenerbahce fans in the volatile Istanbul derby.
Drogba, whose Galatasaray team have already secured the Turkish championship, made a point of mentioning that both Fenerbahce goals were scored by Cameroon striker Pierre Webo.
“You call me monkey but you cried when Chelsea beat Fenerbahce in 2008, you called me monkey but you jumped in front of your screen when I won the Champions League,” Drogba said on Galatasaray’s Facebook page.
“You called me monkey but you got mad when I became champion with Galatasaray and the saddest thing is you called me monkey and forgot that you jumped when my ‘monkey’ brother scored twice yesterday… and you call yourself a true fan? Check all the Galatasaray fans comments and learn from them.”
Drogba also posted an image on Instagram depicting humans evolving from apes.
A man claiming to be the supporter who waved the banana told a local television show that he had the fruit in his hand to eat but declined to give his name.
“I didn’t wave the banana with the aim of racism, I just joined a jeering against (Galatasaray goalkeeper Fernando) Muslera,” the man said during a phone-in.
“I am not like that. I apologise to Fenerbahce and Galatasaray fans,” he added.
Goal of the day
Manchester United-bound Wilfried Zaha clinched a place in the Championship play-offs for his current club, Crystal Palace, with a smart turn and finish against Brighton.
Quote of the day
“Arrogant, vain, self-centred no manners ignorant just some of the daily traits really made going into work a daily grind!! #karma…Not my style to come in here and start to bad mouth someone but this guy was really a piece of work!!!”… Fans don’t get to see what really goes on and day 2 day running 2 years there seeing him every day was hard work getting a ‘good morning'”.
Stephen Aziz, the former kit man at Manchester City, has criticised Roberto Mancini following his sacking as manager.
Job for life
Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has advised David Beckham to stay at the club even if the former England captain decides to hang up his boots at the end of the season.
Beckham, 38, signed a five-month deal when he moved to the French capital during the January transfer window.
French media reports last weekend suggested the ex-Manchester United, Real Madrid and Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder would retire when his contract expires in June.
Al-Khelaifi, 39, however, hopes to keep Beckham at the Parc des Princes in whichever capacity he chooses.
“We’ll see what David wants to do,” the PSG boss told L’Equipe. “We’d like him to continue with us. He’s a man of great quality.
“If he decided not to continue his playing career, I hope he’ll stay at the club in another role. To have him among us, on the pitch or off it, is very important. It’s up to him.”
Getting carried away
A ceremony scheduled to celebrate Paris Saint-Germain’s league title has been cancelled, a day after rioting overshadowed festivities in the centre of the French capital.
“Thirty people were injured, three of them members of the police forces,” Paris chief of police Bernard Boucault told a news conference. “Twenty-one people were also arrested for questioning after throwing projectiles or causing damage.”
Boucault said “hundreds, maybe thousands of troublemakers” spoiled the celebrations, adding “we did not underestimate the means needed to tackle such a situation. Some 800 police officers were called up”. He said nobody had been seriously hurt.
Interior Minsiter Manuel Valls responded by summoning representatives from PSG, the French league, the police department, the mayor’s office, and anti-hooliganism officials for a meeting.
”I obviously assume my part of responsibility in this fiasco,” French league president Frederic Thiriez said in a statement, referring to the fact that the LFP had given the go-ahead for the presentation to be held at the Trocadero plaza, rather than at the Parc des Princes stadium this coming Saturday against Brest.
”The party was ruined and could have had dramatic consequences because of a bunch of thugs … who have nothing to do with football but take advantage of it to take part in criminal activities,” Thiriez added. ”Paris didn’t deserve this.”
Riot police fired tear gas to try to disperse the crowd after up to 15,000 people had gathered to celebrate PSG’s first league title since 1994.
Bus shelters were destroyed during the episode with some of the people involved covering their faces.
A PSG players’ cruise on the Seine river, which was part of the scheduled celebrations, was also cancelled.
Here’s footage of the disorder.
Ronaldinho and Kaka were both left out of the Brazil’s squad for the Confederations Cup, named by coach Luiz Felipe Scolari on Tuesday.
Scolari had been expected to include at least one of the experienced pair in his squad for the competition which Brazil hosts in June.
Chelsea midfielder Ramires was another surprise exclusion.
“We could lose out in terms of experience but we will make up for that with the enthusiasm which the young players bring,” Scolari told a news conference.
Goalkeepers: Julio Cesar (Queens Park Rangers), Diego Cavalieri (Fluminense), Jefferson (Botafogo).
Defenders: Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Jean (Fluminense), Filipe Luis (Atletico de Madrid), Marcelo (Real Madrid), David Luiz (Chelsea), Rever (Atletico Mineiro), Dante (Bayern Munich), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain).
Midfielder: Paulinho (Corinthians), Fernando (Gremio), Luiz Gustavo (Bayern Munich), Hernanes (Lazio), Oscar (Chelsea), Lucas (Paris Saint-Germain), Jadson (Sao Paulo).
Forwards: Neymar (Santos), Fred (Fluminense), Hulk (Zenit), Leandro Damiao (Internacional), Bernard (Atletico Mineiro).
End of the road?
Bayern Munich coach coach Jupp Heynckes has hinted that he might retire after Saturday’s Bundesliga match afainst Borussia Moenchengladbach.
The 68-year-old, who won the Champions League with Real Madrid in 1998 and had a long playing and coaching career at Gladbach, will make way for Pep Guardiola after the end of the season following two years in charge at Bayern.
“Saturday will be my last Bundesliga game as a coach,” Heynckes, who coached Bayern in three stints in his career, told reporters.
“What will happen after that, we will have to wait until after our two finals. I will probably say something in June after the German Cup final.”
His team have clinched the Bundesliga title and could win an unprecedented treble of titles for a German club with the Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund on May 25 and the German Cup final on June 1 still to come.
Heynckes, who has coached teams in 641 Bundesliga matches, second only to Otto Rehhagel, hinted he could even call it quits after the season.
“If I was 15 years younger I would seriously think about a job abroad but I am not the youngest any more and clubs want to do a generation change and you cannot really do it with a 68-year-old.”
Tackle of the day
RKC Waalwijk midfielder Jeff Stans took out the referee with an sliding tackle during an Eredivisie match against NEC Nijmegen.
The referee saw the funny side of it, patted Stans on the back, but the player appeared more concerned with catching up with the play.