Smug and smugger
Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has conceded that the German club wouldn’t have been able to appoint Pep Guardiola if money had been the only factor.
Paupers Bayern, only the 4th richest club in the world, (although if club president Uli Hoeness is to be believed it is only a matter of time before they become the world’s richest) announced on Wednesday that former Barcelona coach Guardiola had signed a three-year deal starting next season.
Rummenigge says “if it had been exclusively about money, we wouldn’t have had any chance at all.”
Rummenigge adds “the overall concept” played a key role in Guardiola’s choice and Bayern has a good image.
The smugness did not end with the Bayern chairman, and news of Guardiola’s appointment appears to have finally uncorked the hubristic genie that Germany has kept bottled up for the past few years.
“All of the top clubs in Europe were chasing the man, who embodies modern football more than anybody else – this is a signal for the Bundesliga, a signal to the whole of Europe,” Bild said.
“Bayern are now deadly serious, with the best coach in the world. This news was like a bomb, above all in England and Spain.”
And the Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper claimed Guardiola’s appointment means German clubs need fear nobody.
“Look here – German clubs have reached the zenith,” it says. “This transfer is a clear signal to the international football community.”
Out of the loop
One man out of the loop when it comes to Guardiola’s intentions was Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger, who was convinced that the Spaniard was heading to England.
Wenger’s sense of relief on hearing that Guardiola would not be managing in the Premier League next season was palpable, as it will have been at Chelsea’s and Manchester City’s training ground.
“He asked me a few times and told me a few times he would like to come to England, so I am bit surprised he has chosen to go to Germany,” the Frenchman said.
“Bayern Munich are an interesting club, Germany is an interesting league, well managed so it is defendable what he has done.
“I stayed here for such a long time because I feel this is the most interesting league in the world.
“I always encouraged him to come to England.”
Wenger, though, rather like the German press and the Bayern hierarchy, believes that tomorrow belongs to a youthful Germany.
“It is not a backward step,” he said. “In Germany, maybe along with Spain they are a country with the best young players.
“If you look at the results of Germany in the Under-17s, U18s and U19s, in the last three seasons, they beat everybody.
“It is the football of tomorrow. Tomorrow’s football will be played in Germany, certainly.”
Cheats never prosper?
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says Luis Suarez’s admission of diving is “unacceptable” and he will be dealt with “internally” by the club.
Presumably he has no problem with the diving, but is unhappy that Suarez has decided to let the cat out of the bag by telling the world that he does it.
“I think it’s wrong. It’s unacceptable. I’ve spoken to Luis and it will be dealt with internally,” Rodgers said.
“Diving is not something we advocate. Our ethics are correct.
“He has been totally understanding on where I am coming from as manager of the club. What was said was wrong, he takes that and we move on.”
Suarez had been speaking to Fox Sports Argentina and perhaps in an attempt to ingratiate himself with the interviewer, claimed that his reputation as a cheat was due to English prejudice against South American players.
“Let’s see: they said that when we played against Stoke, for instance, and in that case they were right. I invented a foul because we were drawing 1-1 against Stoke and I wanted to win.
“Sometimes on the pitch I say to myself: ‘What have I done?’ But after that everybody jumped out to talk – the Stoke coach and the Everton coach – but the name Suarez sells [papers].”
So, he does dive, but it wouldn’t be so bad if the press didn’t continue to point out that he did. I’m sure the apology to the respective managers is in the post as we speak, Luis.
“It’s complicated to play here in England,” complained the self-pitying Suarez. “As Carlitos [Tevez] and Kun [Aguero] have said, it’s complicated for a South American footballer to be here as we are treated differently to the local footballers. But they have their culture, they are like this, you know.”
It’s an interesting, albeit preposterous accusation to make: Tevez, considering he went AWOL last season, has been treated remarkably even-handedly since he returned, while you’re more likely to discover beef in a Tesco’s budget burger than find someone who has a bad word to say about Aguero.
Nonetheless, the u-turn by Rodgers, who previously complained about the “the vilification of Luis” is revealing. Something in the relationship has changed, and one can only assume that Rodgers values his own position and the reputation of his club ahead of his loyalty to a player who may not be around in 12 months time.
Goal of the day
Clever tee-up followed by a fantastic strike from Jason Puncheon to secure a point for Southampton at Chelsea.
Quote of the day
“It is very good to come back and see the people I used to work with. I have no problems with anyone. “I still like coming to London, I have a house here and I’ve been back a few times.”
Given the money he has taken them for, is it any wonder that Fabio Capello was prepared to bury the hatchet with the Football Association to celebrate their 150th anniversary.
Have boots will travel
A few years ago some enterprising football fan decided to track down a number of former football players to find out what they got up to after they had hung up their boots.
Where Are They Now? was the title of the book and I think it could be due for an update – possibly entitled: Where Are They Now And How Did They End up There? There are growing numbers of players who, rather than call it a day when their bodies begin to show signs of ageing, continue to play professionally, albeit a lower level of football.
Brazil legend Rivaldo is one who steadfastly refuses to accept that his time is up and has signed for Serie B side San Caetano.
The 40-year-old has agreed a deal to join the São Paulo-based club and will make his debut in the São Paulo State Championship.
Club president Nairo Ferreira de Souza told the club’s website: “It is a significant reinforcement that will give a refined touch to our midfield. His technical quality is fantastic and he will greatly help the group with his experience and leadership.”
Rivaldo told reporters: “I thank God that for 40 years I have the opportunity to continue playing. I had offers from several clubs and I’m happy.
“To critics I would like to say that this is only a result of my dedication and I will be working hard to do my best on the pitch. I hope to be an example for many.”
Rivaldo returns to Brazil after a globetrotting career that has taken in a number of notable of European sides including Deportivo La Coruna, Barcelona, Milan, and Olympiakos as well as travelling to play further afield in Uzbekistan, Angola and Kenya.
Say what you like but one can only assume that at this stage of his lengthy career, Rivaldo is doing it for love, not money.
Paris in the springtime
Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao has praised the “ambition” of big-spending Paris Saint-Germain but also insisted that he remains happy with his current club.
Falcao suitors include the likes of PSG, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester City, all of whom rumoured to be willing to pay the €60 million release clause in his contract next summer.
The Colombia international, is certainly not ruling anyone out until he has seen the colour of their money, and he told French TV station Telefoot that he was impressed by the project being put together by the Ligue 1 side’s Qatari president Nasser Al-Khelaifi.
“France is a marvellous country,” Falcao said. “PSG have a very ambitious sporting project. They have invested a lot of money to put together a powerful team.”
Falcao, however, was quick to stress that he was not looking to leave Atletico or the Spanish capital.
“I am very happy [at Atletico], they love me a lot, they make me feel important,” he said. “I like it a lot in the city [Madrid].”
It’s not about the money, money, money…
Queens Park Rangers signing Loic Remy has revealed that a game of FIFA 12 with chairman Tony Fernandes was instrumental in him joining the side currently rooted to the foot of the Premier League.
It is understood that Fernandes spent four hours convincing the France international to move to Loftus Road and Remy said that the encounter on FIFA 12 sealed his move. That and the fact that the desperate Fernandes kept doubling his salary offer on the hour and every half hour.
“It was a special moment that followed our chat about QPR,” he told QPR.co.uk
“We just played a game of FIFA – it was good and showed to me what a good person Tony is.
“He showed his human side to me as an owner of the club I wanted to join. It was a special moment for us both.”
I have visions of Oliver Reed and Alan Bates post-wrestling match in the film Women in Love.
QPR CEO Philip Beard said: “They had great fun, but Tony told me he let him win!
“But in all seriousness, it was a great way for them to get to know each other better.
“Loic was Harry’s number one target and we’re delighted we’ve been able to pull this deal off.
“There was a lot of interest in him from other clubs, because he is one of the hottest properties in Europe, so the fact we’ve managed to sign him is incredible.”
Beard added: “This move isn’t motivated by money.
“Loic has a passion and desire to achieve in his career and similar to (Julio) Cesar, he wanted to be part of our project.”
Which shows you that Beard knows everything you could possibly need to know about running a business, and absolutely nothing about running a football club.
Men behaving badly
Italian football has been in the doldrums in recent years, what with the match fixing, the declining standards on the pitch, and the ongoing hooligan problems off it, but two players, Roma’s Dodo and Fiorentina’s Cuardado, are doing their bit to enliven a moribund product.
In a Italian Cup game that was struggling to catch fire, the pair did their bit to engage the attention of the crowd.
Read my lips…
Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani said on Wednesday that the club was highly unlikely to sign Kaka this month.
Quizzed about the return to Milan of the former World Player of the Year, Galliani said: “It’s impossible, it can’t happen. He costs too much, the problem is his wages.”
Fast forward 24 hours and the Serie A club have confirmed they are in talks with the Brazilian playmaker with a view to setting up a loan deal until the end of the season.
Perhaps the club hierarchy was persuaded to have a re-think on hearing Kaka’s plea for a return to the San Siro.
“I’m ready to do anything to return to Milan,” Kaka said as he left a restaurant, where he had dined with compatriot and Milan striker Robinho. “It’s not a happy situation for me at Real, I’ve already told Milan I’m ready to find a solution.
“I had really great times at Milan.”