Colombia coach sacked
The Colombian Football Federation (FCF) has terminated the contract of national coach Leonel Alvarez.
“The committee members have unanimously decided to terminate the contract of Leonel Alvarez. We need to change our path and immediately take the necessary steps to fulfil our main objective, which is to qualify for the 2014 World Cup,” the FCF statement read.
The FCF could certainly not be accused of dithering. Alvarez has only been in charge for three months, during which time the national side recorded a 2-1 win over Bolivia, a 1-1 draw with Venezuela and a 2-1 loss to Argentina.
Goal of the day
He may be unable to hit a barn door from six yards out when playing against Barcelona, but stick him up against a third tier side with a fumbling goalkeeper and the second best player in the world is unstoppable.
Cristiano Ronaldo strike in Real Madrid’s 2-0 Spanish Cup victory over Ponferradina should keep the critics off his back for a while – at least until the next time he fluffs his lines on the big stage.
Quote of the day
“I believe Sepp is like an eel, who you can never really grasp. It will be difficult to convince him to make room. For others or perhaps also for a new start…I find it a pity that there are such relics left which are led like a dictatorship.”
Bayern Munich Chief Executive Officer Karl-Heinz Rummenigge compares the FIFA president to an eel.
Player of the Year
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has admitted he has been surprised by the improvement of Karim Benzema in 2011 after the forward was voted French Player of the Year by France Football magazine.
“At the start of the year, we couldn’t imagine Karim would reach the level he’s at today,” the Portuguese coach told France Football.
“But thanks to his hard work, his efforts, his character, he’s managed to achieve this new status.”
There’s nothing like a vote of confidence from your boss to boost your self-confidence, and that was nothing like it.
The forward himself said he had set his sights un emulating the likes of Zinedine Zidane.
“When I see the former winners, the likes of [Zinedine] Zidane, [Thierry] Henry and other great players, it makes me proud,” he SAID.
“Every year I try and get closer to [winning] the Ballon d’Or. I want to walk in Zizou’s [Zidane’s] footsteps.”
Well, you’re certainly walking in his shadow. Which is a start, I suppose.
Dying a thousand deaths
Greuther Fuerth midfielder Edgar Prib has became an overnight viral sensation after his miss against Eintracht Frankfurt was uploaded to youtube.
“I died a thousand deaths,” Prib told reporters. “I could have decided that game but instead the God of football did not want it that way.”
Glass half full or half empty?
Good news if you like a drink; bad news if beer is your favourite tipple.
Lawmakers in Brazil have agreed to lift a ban on the sales of alcoholic drinks for the duration of the 2014 World Cup, as demanded by world football’s governing body FIFA.
That’s where the good news ends. Although beer will now be on sale at the grounds, your choice of drink will restricted to those produced by the official sponsors. So spectators will be spoilt for choice with either Budweiser or Budweiser Lite. Or, June 2014 could be a good month to detox.
First Europe, now the world
Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola has urged his players to grasp “the chance to become the best team in the world,” when they begin their FIFA Club World Cup challenge on Thursday.
Following last weekend’s Liga triumph at Real Madrid, Barca go into Thursday’s semi-final against AFC Champions League winners Al-Sadd Club in Yokohama eager to lift the trophy they last won in 2009.
“I told my players not to miss out on the chance to win this tournament as the opportunity to do so doesn’t come around very often,” said Guardiola.
“We are playing for the chance to become the best side in the world but we won’t be recognised as such until we win the cup and we have a responsibility to show our best here.”
Say what you like about Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, but since he bought the London outfit no self-respecting Russian billionaire would be seen dead without a professional football club in his portfolio.
Dmitry Rybolovlev is no exception. The world’s 93rd most wealthy man is poised to take over at struggling Monaco before the end of the year, according to club president Etienne Franzi.
Franzi told Nice Matin newspaper on Wednesday that “things are not quite finalized but are moving along very well” and that “we hope that he will be Monaco’s new majority shareholder before the end of the year.”
Rybolovlev, made his billions in fertilizer products, and differs from fellow Russian Abramovich, in that the source of his money is literally fishy.
Crespo to retire, MLS beckons
Parma striker Hernan Crespo has announced that he will retire from top-level football at the end of the season, but that doesn’t mean he has given up the idea of feathering his retirement nest one last time.
“This is the season of my goodbye,” the 36-year-old said. “In June I’ll quit playing football at the highest level. I will almost certainly be leaving Italy, but until then I will continue to work hard because I like doing that.”
On his next destination, he added: “I won’t rule out Dubai, Qatar or America. I’ll certainly choose something that will be interesting for me, that will make me feel happy. I want to end my playing days in a tranquil environment before returning to Italy.”
Basically, he’s not fussy, provided he gets paid.
Crespo, somewhat remarkably, is a year older than Brazilian legend Ronaldo. The two-time World Cup winner dragged himself away from the dinner table last night to participate in an exhibition match to raise funds for the Match Against Poverty charity.
Ronaldo didn’t exactly turn back the clock – not unless there’s a clock that turns at the speed of an oil tanker – but he did manage to get on the scoresheet.
“It’s very hard to leave something that made me so happy,” the Brazilian said when he hung up his boots earlier this year. “Mentally I wanted to continue but I have to acknowledge that I lost to my body.”
Never a truer word…