Hell hath no fury…

The wife of Chelsea midfielder Ramires has criticised the Brazilian football federation for omitting her husband from the squad for the forthcoming Confederations Cup tournament.

Islana Rose claims the squad picked by ex Chelsea manager Felipe Scolari is unjust and that Brazil will never again be the World Champions.

Scolari yesterday announced his squad for the tournament and warm-up matches, but there was no place for the midfielder, nor for Brazilian superstars Kaka and Ronaldinho.

Shortly after the squad was announced the Chelsea midfielder’s wife took to Instagram, to criticise the selection process for the national team.

Islana Rose: said “Today is just another mediocre and injust selection from the Mafia. Congratulations, CBF! Congratulations, Brazil. This is why we are not and will never be the best in the world!”

The Chelsea player has been a regular in Scolari’s teams since he became the manager of Brazil for a second time and it has been reported that he was left out of the Confederations Cup squad because of an injury to his thigh muscle. But try telling his wife that.

Paying the price

AEK Athens said they are preparing to declare bankruptcy and seek relegation to the third division.

AEK were relegated from the Super League for the first time in their 89-year history in the season just ended. They are in serious financial difficulties and reported to owe 170 million euros in taxes.

Almost the entire first-team squad was sold off to secure a licence and preserve their top-flight status at the start of the 2012-13 season.

At an emergency shareholders’ meeting on Tuesday, the club announced they would not play in Greece’s second tier next season and would formally begin the process leading to liquidation when their new board meets on June 7.

“Following today’s extraordinary general meeting of AEK a new three-member board of directors was elected,” the club said in a statement.

“The board will hold a new general meeting on June 7 to discuss the liquidation of the company and the appointment of liquidators.

“Also the club has decided to submit a statement to the Football League organisation that AEK will not participate in the Football League’s second division.”

Oil trader Dimitris Melissanidis is expected to take control of the club in a rebuilding project that could include the construction of a new stadium. Melissanidis, 61, served as AEK president from 1992-93 and 1994-95.

AEK were penalised five points for a pitch invasion in their penultimate match which was abandoned as a result.

Delusions of grandeur

It’s been a while since Joey Barton popped his head above the parapet, but the midfielder has broken his silence to tell the world that France will see him at his best next season should Marseille decided they want to keep him.

Never one to knowingly undersell himself, the controversy magnet, Barton, has chosen to expound on his favourite subject: namely himself.

“Honestly, out of ten, I would give myself a five or a six for this season,” he told French sports daily l’Equipe. “France is yet to see the best of me. I was chasing my best form after a long suspension, but I started to feel more myself after our matches against Lyon and Ajaccio [0-0 draws on March 10 and 15]. Then I got injured and found myself on the bench again. It was pretty frustrating. I still have to show Marseille what I’m capable of.”

Although his impact has been somewhat underwhelming this season, better times lie ahead, promises Barton.

“When I look at Ligue 1, I say to myself that if I can get back to my best form, there’s no-one like me in France,” said Barton. It’s difficult to argue that Barton is indeed a one-off. And for that, we should all be grateful.

“There are lots of good midfielders who can do one or two things really well, but not everything. Either they can pass well, or they’re imposing physically, but not both. I can pass, I can tackle and I can score.

“I haven’t scored enough here this season. A midfielder should be aiming for between five and ten goals a season.”

No goals in French football and a solitary strike in the Europa League would suggest otherwise.

“When I arrived, my aim was to be the best player in France,” he added. “I didn’t achieve that this season but I am yet to see anything to indicate that I can’t achieve that goal.”

You’ve got to admire his self-confidence, however misplaced it might be.

One club man

One of Europe’s longest-serving coaches, Thomas Schaaf, has parted company with Werder Bremen by mutual consent.

Schaaf, whose association with the club stretches back to when he was 11 in 1972, took charge of first-team affairs in May 1999. The announcement comes with one game remaining of what has been a disappointing season for Bremen, who have not won since 9 February.

Assistant coaches Wolfgang Rolff and Matthias Hönerbach will pick the team on Saturday for the final match of the season at Nürnberg.

“We thank Thomas for everything he has done as player and coach in more than 40 years as a member of this club,” said sporting director Thomas Eichin.

“With him the club celebrated extraordinary success – he put his stamp on Werder Bremen. After the huge effort that was staying in the league, we were of the opinion that parting company by mutual agreement would be best for a planned fresh start.”

Schaaf, who won the Bundesliga twice as a player with Bremen as well the 1992 European Cup Winners’ Cup, led the  to the domestic double in 2004, two other German Cups and to the 2009 UEFA Cup final where they were beaten by Shakhtar Donetsk. Under the 52-year-old, Die Werderaner featured in the UEFA Champions League group stage on six occasions.

“I had an extraordinary time, with lots of positive experiences and big success here,” said Schaaf, whose tenure amounted to 644 competitive games. “I want to thank everyone who walked this road with me and supported me. I wish Werder Bremen a successful future.”

Sound effects

Swiss broadcaster SRF has apologized for adding fake crowd noise to try and liven up its coverage of Sunday’s Zurich derby, which kicked off in a near empty stadium.

Viewers of the edited highlights were perplexed to hear chanting at the start of the FC Zurich-Grasshoppers game even though it was clear from the pictures that almost nobody was present in the Letzigrund stadium due to a protest by fans.

“In order to make the report as attractive as possible, the chants of the fans were subsequently edited into highlights of the game,” SRF said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The decision was taken under great time pressure. It was wrong, we apologize for it. Manipulation of sounds or images is not allowed.”

Fans of both teams agreed to enter the stadium 10 minutes after the start of the match in protest at tighter security measures aimed at combating hooliganism

Goal of the day

An absolute howitzer of a strike from Fernando Arce for Tijuana in their shock Libertadores Cup win over Palmeiras.

Blunder of the day

From the same match, Palmeiras goalkeeper Bruno’s blunder gifted Tijuana forward Duvier Riascos the softest of goals.

Quote of the day

“I don’t know what Rooney would bring to the Bundesliga. I can’t answer that. I can answer that we have great respect for Wayne Rooney but there has been no contact with him. There is no contact and he’s not on the agenda. No, no. Absolutely not.”

Bayern Munich’s sporting director, Matthias Sammer, confirms that the club have no interest in signing Wayne Rooney.

His name is Rio…

England defender Rio Ferdinand has retired from international football to focus on his Manchester United career.

The announcement was greeted with widespread indifference, as Ferdinand, a former stalwart of the much-derided Golden Generation, had not actually played for England for two years.

The 34-year-old was recalled to the England team in March by coach Roy Hodgson, but withdrew from the squad citing fitness concerns, and was criticised by supporters when he then flew to the Middle East to commentate on England’s World Cup qualifying matches.

The Manchester United player, 34, who won 81 caps, said he wants to concentrate on his club career.

“After a great deal of thought, I have decided the time is right to retire from international football,” he said.

“I feel it is right for me to stand aside and let the younger players come through, which allows me to concentrate on my club career.

“The team looks in great shape and there is an influx of young, talented players coming through the ranks, which bodes well for the future.

“I regard it as a great honour and a privilege to have represented my country at every level from Under-17s upwards.

“I have always been very proud to play for England. I would like to wish Roy and the team all the best for future tournaments.”

Hodgson said he had been informed of Ferdinand’s decision in a telephone call from the player.

“It is important to pay tribute to someone of Rio’s stature and the achievements he had in a senior international career with England over 14 years at the highest level,” added Hodgson.

“I appreciated the call from Rio to inform me of his decision, which clearly he had spent much time considering before reaching this point.”


A man who set off to dribble a football from his home city of Seattle to Brazil in time for the 2014 World Cup has died after being struck by a car in Oregon less than two weeks into his trip.

Richard Swanson was struck as he walked on the shoulder of a road on the outskirts of Lincoln City just east of the Oregon coast, according to Lincoln City Police Sergeant Randy Weaver. Swanson’s ball was found nearby.

Swanson wrote on his Facebook page that he planned to dribble the ball from Seattle to Brazil and sought donations for the trip, which would take him through countries such as Mexico, Nicaragua and Colombia.