Cruyff to join Guadalajara

Dutch legend Johan Cruyff is to join struggling Mexican side Guadalajara as a consultant.

Cruyff recently quit the Ajax board over the proposed appointment of Louis van Gaal as CEO and has made the decision to head to ‘Chivas’ who are lying bottom of the Mexican Clausura championship.

“Consistent with our constant search for innovation and excellence, Chivas invite you to welcome one of the best players and coaches of world football, who is coming to join the club,” a statement from Guadalajara said.

“With his arrival, we will continue to push the development of the club … to make the Chivas the best team in the world.”

A bold statement indeed and one echoed by the club’s owner Jorge Vergara, who

“We have to be honest and realise that this is a great chance for us, and for Mexico. This is like bringing the Pope of football to the club,” Vergara told Medio Tiempo.

It’s difficult to know which of the two would be most offended by that comparison. The Pope who sees himself as God’s mouthpiece or Cruyff, who sees himself as God’s gift?

AVB asked to explain performance

The drip drip drip of negative publicity surrounding Andre Villas-Boas shows no signs of abating. The latest phase of the Chelsea water torture he’s enduring at Stamford Bridge, comes with the admission that he was asked to justify his team selection for the 3-1 defeat to Napoli in midweek to owner Roman Abramovich.

The club’s technical director, Michael Emenalo, spoke to Villas-Boas to pass on the Russian billionaire’s concerns.

“He [Abramovich] was disappointed with the result and asking questions about how we set up the team, which were duly explained,” said the manager. “I spoke to the people close to the owner to transmit the message, people like Emenalo. That is the normal way we communicate. He just wanted to know the thought process. It was the selection I felt was right, so there are no regrets.”

Villas-Boas admits that he understands the concerns of Abramovich.

“The problem is results lead you into doubt,” he added. “Are you able to live with that climate of doubt and believe in the person or the project? Or do you think the person is not the right one?”

An unforgiving British press pack, scenting blood, moved on to the subject of former Liverpool boss, Rafa Benitez, who is the latest out-of-work manager touted as a replacement should the Portuguese be sacked.

To his credit, Villas-Boas handled the question of Benitez with aplomb.

”It would be an honour for me (to meet him),” he said. ”I have no problem with that. We share a common friend but I have never met him.

”We were going to have dinner three or four months ago but we didn’t. It would be fantastic to have dinner with him. He is one of the most successful managers in world football.”

European clubs snub FIFA

The European Club Association has refused to join FIFA talks on creating an international calendar after another breakdown in their working relationship.

“It’s a response to the discussions we held with FIFA over the last couple of weeks,” ECA spokesman Marc Schmidgall said. “The board decided that, until further notice, no ECA executive will participate in FIFA meetings.”

Clubs want the calendar to include six double-header dates for international matches in a two-year tournament qualification cycle, while FIFA and UEFA prefer nine. The clubs would also like to abolish one-off-dates for international friendlies in February and August. The governing bodies, sensing that this could be the thin end of the wedge, have thus far resisted.

Wolves appoint new boss

Wolves have announced their new boss and…cue drum roll… it’s Terry Connor, the fairly nondescript character who sat on the bench alongside predecessor Mick McCarthy.

Connor is not the glamourous name many Wolves would have liked, although having been turned down twice by Alan Curbishley most will now realise that the prospect of taking over a relegation-threatened team with only 12 games of the season remaining, was not a great career move for any would-be manager.

Wolves chairman Steve Morgan put a brave face on the appointment of a man, for all his qualities as a coach, has no experience whatsoever of management.

“Having spoken to a number of people, we have drawn that process to a close and myself and the board are unanimous that Terry is the right man to lead the club for the remainder of the season,” Morgan said. “This is a decisive step, which creates certainty, and the players are fully behind it.”

Goal of the day

Carlos Araujo’s curled effort for Lanus levelled the scores against Olimpia, but it was not enough to prevent his side going down to a 2-1 defeat to their Paraguayan rivals.

Boom time in the Bundesliga

Borussia Dortmund have announced revenue of €101.4 million for the six months to December 2011, breaking the €100 million mark for the first time in the club’s history.

Dortmund says revenue rose more than €30 million compared to the first half of the year, and that pre-tax profit for the period from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2011 reached €16.7 million.

Dortmund, who won the Bundesliga for the first time since 2002 last season, claim that strict financial control along with sporting success and qualification for this season’s Champions League, helped boost the figures.

Blunders of the day

Daniel Vaca gifted Juan Aurich the lead when he failed to hold a straightforward free-kick. Fortunately for The Strongest keeper, his side overcame the deficit and emerged 2-1 victors in their Libertadores Cup tie.

In a similar vein, Steaua keeper Ciprian Tatarusanua handed possession to Twente’s Luuk de Jong, who sidefooted for Nacer Chadli to score the only goal of the Europa League encounter.

Quote of the day

“He is a lad we appreciate a great deal and it pains me to leave him out but I wanted to be fair.”

Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque explains his decision to omit Fernando Torres from the Spain squad for next week’s friendly international against Venezuela.

Serie A tile decider

All eyes in Italy this weekend will be upon the top-of-the-table clash between Milan and Juventus. Only one point separate the two sides although second-placed Juventus do have a game in hand over their rivals.

Inevitably, given his defection last summer to Juventus after a decade at Milan, much of the attention will focus on Andrea Pirlo.

Juventus director general Giuseppe Marotta is hoping Pirlo will make the difference in Saturday’s clash.

“I dream of winning at Milan with two goals from Pirlo,” the official told the Gazzetta dello Sport on Friday.

“We contacted Pirlo as soon as the rules allowed us to,” Marotta added. “Aside from his technical qualities, Andrea is also fundamental in the changing room given his charisma and experience.”

So fundamental in fact, that Carlo Ancelotti a former coach of both clubs, says he would not have let Pirlo join Juventus if he had been in charge at Milan.

“I would never have let him go,” Ancelotti told Mediaset Premium. “Or at most, I would have let him join Chelsea or PSG, where he could play under me.

Ancelotti also revealed that his most significant day as a coach was the 2003 Champions League meeting between his Milan side and his former club Juventus.

“My most important day was the 2002-03 Champions League final against Juventus at Old Trafford,” he said. “It allowed me to remove the ‘loser’ label that the two years at Juve had given me.”

Keeping it in the family

Paraguayan side Olimpia were grateful to Lionel Messi’s cousin for their Copa Libertadores Cup victory over Argentina’s Lanus.

Argentinian forward Maxi Biancucchi popped up 10 minutes from time to condemn his fellow countrymen to defeat.