Should he stay or should he go?
Carlos Tevez is staying at Manchester City for the time being (not in a physical sense of course) after Milan confirmed that they would not be signing the Argentinian striker.
Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani said the move was off following the decision of Brazilian striker Alexandre Pato to stay at the Serie A champions.
“The whole operation was connected, in that one would leave and the other would arrive,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.
There was no hint of rancour from Galliani, who said he respected the right of Pato to make his own decisions.
“I should say that I’m happy, it’s a good omen,” he continued. “I think the player should have the right to choose his life.
“I’m not talking about a “no” from Pato to PSG, it’s been his desire to stay at Milan. He was thinking about it for several days and that’s fine.”
Ronaldinho threatens to quit
Ronaldinho has threatened to quit his Brazilian club Flamengo unless he receives more than £1 million in unpaid wages, his agent and brother Roberto de Assis has revealed.
“I want to reach agreement and then he can compete in the Copa Libertadores. But I don’t know if that’s going to happen,” de Assis told the newspaper Extra.
Three-quarters of Ronaldinho’s salary is paid by marketing group Traffic, who have not paid in five months, amounting to £1.3 million.
“Someone has to take that on, they have to pay. We’ve been waiting for five months now. They (Flamengo and Traffic) have to reach agreement but that seems difficult to me. Five months have gone by and there has been nothing,” de Assis continued.
De Assis added that if the 31-year-old former World Cup winner is not paid immediately he could take up one of several offers he has received from teams in Italy, Spain and South America.
Few though, will be prepared to pay him as much as he (should) receive from Flamengo.
Maradona could be in the dock
On the subject of unpaid money, a second hearing has begun in Naples into the estimated 40 million euros Diego Maradona owes to the Italian government in unpaid taxes.
The case relates to the Argentinian’s seven-year spell with Serie A outfit Napoli between 1984 and 1991. Unless, the figure of 40 million euros includes punitive damages or he is being taxed on the cocaine he consumed during that period, it’s difficult to establish how the authorities have reached such a colossal figure.
It first emerged two years ago that Maradona owed a huge sum of money to the state but the first trial collapsed because of a conflict of interest involving one of the appointed judges. It is Italy after all.
The 51-year-old, who is currently coaching in United Arab Emirates with Al Wasl, has repeatedly protested his innocence and argued that he is the victim of a witch hunt by the Italian tax authorities.
If so, they can take their place at the end of the growing queue of people who have it in for him.
FIFA withdraw stadium funding
FIFA is expected to withdraw a 20 million Swiss francs (£13.8 million) funding towards the building of a new stadium in Zurich because of plans to include standing areas for fans.
“In principle, FIFA does not support any project which does not correspond to its philosophy,” football’s governing body said in a statement sent to Reuters.
“In respect to the planned stadium construction in Zurich, that means that if the plans are maintained to reserve some places for standing fans, FIFA must rethink its commitment to the promised 20 million Swiss francs.
“FIFA is convinced, that all-seater stadiums guarantee more comfort and, above all, more safety. Therefore, FIFA argue for stadiums which exclusively for seated fans.”
The city government is planning to build a new stadium to open in 2017 which would have a capacity of 16,000 for international games and 19,000 for domestic matches and would be used by FC Zurich and Grasshoppers.
Goal of the day
Athletic Bilbao cruised to a 4-0 Spanish Cup victory over Albacete, with the opener coming midway through the first half when a fine pass from Iker Munian picked out Markel Susaeta, who chipped the ball over the advancing keeper.
Spanish civil war
Barcelona will meet Real Madrid in the Spanish Cup quarter-finals after coming from behind to beat Osasuna 2-1 on Thursday to secure a 6-1 aggregate victory.
The two games will take the number of “clasico” matches in the last nine months to nine.
One person unconcerned that familiarity might breed contempt, is all-conquering Barca boss Pep Guardiola.
“Real Madrid are a great rival. The quarter-finals will be great and exciting for the spectators. Both Barca and Madrid are teams that, no matter what competition we are playing in, always try to win,” he said.
However, the Barcelona boss stressed that the outcome of the cup tie won’t have any bearing on the La Liga title race, in which Real currently lead their rivals by 5 points.
“It seems as though whatever the result is, the world will end,” he added somewhat mischievously. “However, whether we progress or not, the games in La Liga are assured. When you play against rivals like Madrid the possibilities of winning or losing are always there.
“If we were five points ahead, we’d go into this tie to win it just as we will go to win it being five points behind, just like Real Madrid would.”
Super Mario strikes again
Mario Balotelli continues to do his bit liven up the quiet news days. The Italian’s latest antic occurred on Thursday when he parked his Bentley outside a Manchester school and wandered in to find a toilet. As you do.
The Manchester City player arrived at the Xaverian College with friends and spent 20 minutes on the premises.
“Balotelli parked his Bentley outside then came in and was asking where the toilets were, then he went to the teacher’s staff room,” student Edward Gasson told the Manchester Evening News.
“After that he was just walking round campus like he owned the place and everyone was following him around. It was amazing to see him but it was a bit ridiculous for him to come here – you would never expect it to happen.”
A spokesperson for Catholic Xaverian College, which is located just a mile from City’s former Maine Road ground – confirmed the player had visited the college.
They said: ‘Xaverian was delighted to receive a surprise visit from Mario, who chatted to some of the students at one of Manchester’s most successful colleges.
“We weren’t able to enrol him on any courses, but he is welcome back anytime.”
Never been happier
Samuel Eto’o is enjoying life in Dagestan, revealing that he intends to stay at Russian Premiership club Anzhi Makhachkala until the end of his playing career.
“I’ve never thought about leaving Anzhi since I came here. Not a single second,” he said.
“Moreover, I’m intended to play with Anzhi until the end of my career.”
That’s provided a better offer doesn’t come in from a more appealing location, somewhere like Outer Mongolia perhaps.
“I’m happy to play in Anzhi and I’m set to win something serious with my club. Maybe in the Champions League if we’ll have enough luck. And I hope I’ll be able to play five or six more years here before hanging up my boots.”
Goalline technology latest
Goran Pandev’s winner in Napoli’s Italian Cup victory over Cesena, has reignited the debate on goalline technology.
Pandev’s free-kick was scrambled away by the Cesena keeper, and although he ended up in the back of the net it was impossible to determine whether the ball had followed him. Impossible that is, unless you were an unsighted referee whose view of the incident was obscured by several players.
Partizan Belgrade have confirmed that Avram Grant will be their new coach.
Grant led Chelsea to its only Champions League final. He was fired from relegated West Ham last May and has not worked since
Partizan says on its website that coach Aleksandar Stanojevic was fired following a clash with club management over personnel issues.
Local media says Grant will receive $1.1 million for a one-year deal, plus a $500,000 bonus if the team qualifies for the Champions League next season. Which considering they lead the Serbian standings by 10 points from Belgrade rivals Red Star, shouldn’t be that difficult. Nice work if you can get it.