Question of the day: How did Zaragoza pay for Roberto?

How did Real Zaragoza – that’s bankrupt Real Zaragoza, with debts of more than £100million – get the money to pay Benfica £7m for goalkeeper Roberto?

Zaragoza, who are currently in the Spanish equivalent of administration, said a private investment fund provided most of the transfer fee to sign Roberto from Benfica for a fee of 8.6 million euros. However, they declined to give the name of the investment fund.

Vlad hits back at the “media monkeys”

You didn’t think Vladimir Romanov would resist the opportunity to explain his decision to fire Jim Jefferies, did you?

Here’s his response to the departure of Jefferies and the hiring of new manager Paulo Sergio:

“Judging by the pre-planned squeals from the media monkeys, Hearts has hit the point with the move.

“I believe that with only one win in 15 games, only fools and idiots would not raise questions and suspicions.

“I now understand why Scotland is in 61st place in the FIFA rankings behind such poor football countries like Lithuania, Albania and Gabon.”

Goal of the day: Juan Mata

Juan Mata, whose future at Valencia remains in the balance, scored this goal for the Spanish club away to Hamburg in a pre-season friendly last night.

Hosts Colombia progress in Under-20s

Host nation Colombia have became the first team to reach the knockout stages of the Under-20 World Cup after beating Mali 2-0.

Colombia have two wins in their two games and even with one group game to go, they are guaranteed of finishing either in the top two in Group A or being among the best of the third-place teams.

Quote of the day: Luis Enrique

New Roma coach Luis Enrique taken a leaf out of J K Rowling’s book in an attempt to dampden down expectations of his team ahead of the new season.

“I’m not Harry Potter,” he said “I don’t have a crystal ball, I don’t know what this Roma team can achieve. We need a few more players. If there are people who don’t see themselves as part of this project, it’s best they leave. I’m optimistic based on what I’ve seen in training and I’m pleased with the attitude shown by the players.”

Luis Enrique is not the first coach to use the Harry Potter line. Jose Mourinho did a similar thing last September.

Transfter round-up: Jeffren on his way out of Barcelona

Jeffren is on the verge of joining Sporting Lisbon from Barcelona, telling Mundo Deportivo that he bears no grudges against anyobdy at Barcelona.

Last month’s signing of Alexis Sanchez pushed Jeffren further down the Barca pecking order.

Elsewhere, Milan Jovanovic is off Liverpool’s payroll, joining Anderlecht in a deal that will make him the bect-paid player in Belgium, with reports that he will receive 3.5million euros over two years.

Messi’s 2011 summer break: 28 days

If Barcelona get their way, Lionel Messi will have had just 28 days holiday this summer.  The Spanish and European champions want Messi to play against Real Madrid in the Spanish Supercup on August 14. That’s 28 days after Argentina’s exit from the Copa America.

Pastore deal not formally confirmed by PSG

Paris Saint-Germain have yet to officially announce their French record signing of Argentinian midfielder Javier Pastore from Palermo.

At the weekend, Pastore claimed that the deal was imminent, while Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini said that negotiations had been concluded.

But still nothing official from PSG.

Odense pull off ‘Miracle of Athens’

Danish side OB Odense are one step away from the group stages of the Champions League after a stunning 4-3 away victory over Panathinaikos in the third qualifying round.

Copenhagen, victors over Shamrock Rovers? and Belarussian side BATE Borisov, who beat Ekranas, are also through to the play-offs.

UEFA set date for Champions League draws

UEFA has confirmed the Champions League group stage draw will take place in Monaco on Thursday August 25. The draw for the play-offs will take place in Nice this Friday, August 5.