If you’ve ever wondered what your typical Premier League footballer gets up to on his nights in, look no further. Most of them, it would appear, are clutching their smart phones waiting to update their Twitter pages while watching football on TV.
Last night, several players were glued to their sets watching Wrexham play Brighton in the FA Cup 3rd round replay, but the majority were tuning in to see Barcelona perform their ritual dismantling of a thuggish Real Madrid side in the Spanish Cup quarter-final first leg.
Madrid’s Pepe played the mandatory role of pantomime villain, unleashing his full repertoire of dirty tricks culminating in a stamp on the hand of Lionel Messi.
Meanwhile, on Twitter, Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, set the ball rolling, when he wrote: “Pepe. What an idiot. Sometimes people wind u up.”
When Messi set Eric Abidal up for the winning goal moments later, Rooney added: “Haha. That goal serves pepe right.”
Rooney’s international colleague Jack Wilshere was also less than impressed, adding: “Poor from Pepe!”
However, the Arsenal midfielder was enamoured by the performance of Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta.
“Iniesta’s a joke…..the best midfielder in the world! In my opinion…..the way he glides past players! Reminds me of Gazza [Paul Gascoigne],” Wilshere tweeted.
QPR’s Joey Barton was similarly taken with Xavi.
“How good is Xavi?,” he asked on his Twitter account. “Head is on a swivel at all times. As good as I’ve ever seen that fella……”
But, this being Joey Barton, he could not leave it at that, and added: “[Paul] Scholes was very good but for me Xavi’s better. All the biased Man U fans will go mad now, before u start u blerts, u can all **** ***!”
Spurs midfielder Tom Huddlestone, meanwhile, also brought up Scholes.
“Would love to see a few of these so called ‘hard-men’ take a scholesstevie-G tackle in the EPL,” he stated, for no apparent reason.
Final word goes to former Real Madrid midfielder Guti, who could not fail to see the irony of the famously short-fused Rooney calling anyone an idiot.
“I laugh at Rooney,” he wrote on his Twitter page. “But there are many saints in heaven, and if you want to be a saint you must lead by example. Making mistakes is human.”
Here’s the Pepe stamp that ignited the tweeting frenzy.
Mourinho gracious in defeat
Those of you expecting a typically graceless response to the defeat from Real coach Jose Mourinho will have been disappointed by the Portuguese’s measured post-match reaction. Indeed, there appeared to be an air of helpless resignation about Mourinho, almost as if the recurring Barcelona nightmare had finally begun to puncture even his legendary self-belief.
Having seen his side outplayed again and leave the pitch to jeers from frustrated fans, Mourinho accepted responsibility for the loss.
“I always understand [what is going on in the crowd] but I never listen, either before or after [a game],” the Portuguese coach mused.
“The responsibility is mine, especially when my team loses. Victory has many fathers; defeat only one. I’ve been in football a long time and I understand this.
“The cup final victory we all celebrated, but in defeat I am the only parent.”
Mourinho was also asked after the game how he would feel if his side managed to win La Liga, in which they currently have a five-point lead over Barca, without having triumphed at least once in a Clasico.
The Portuguese replied to reporters after the game: “I’d feel great.”
Indeed, we could be heading for an unusual scenario in Spain, whereby the team that finishes second in the league is universally acknowledged to be the best team in the division.
David Beckham has ended speculation about his future by agreeing a new two-year deal with LA Galaxy.
“This was an important decision for me,” Beckham said in a statement.
“I had many offers from clubs from around the world, however, I’m still passionate about playing in America and winning trophies with the Galaxy.”
The deal was welcomed by Galaxy coach Bruce Arena, who led the club to success in last season’s MLS Cup.
“I am thrilled that David has chosen to rejoin the Galaxy, especially as he had numerous options where he could continue his career,” Arena said.
“I felt that he was one of the best players in all of MLS last season and we could not have achieved the success that we did without him. We look forward to trying to replicate that success this season with David once again in a Galaxy uniform.”
Carlos Tevez’s advisor Kia Joorabchian will hold talks with French club Paris Saint-Germain today about a possible transfer.
Once Joorabchian shows him details of the renumeration on offer from the Qatari-backed club, the task of persuading the Manchester City forward to overcome a yearning to return to his home town of Buenos Aires should not prove insurmountable
Earlier in the week, Inter submitted a £20.7million offer for the 27-year-old Argentine striker, which was turned down by Manchester City. PSG, whose pockets are somewhat deeper, will have little trouble paying the asking price.
Maldini unwanted at Milan
If Tevez moves to PSG, he may be working under former Milan legend Paolo Maldini. The Italian would prefer to work at his former club, but has has received no encouragement, and may now set his sights on kicking off his coaching career at Paris Saint-Germain.
PSG sporting director Leonardo revealed earlier this week that he is keen for his former Rossoneri team-mate to take up a role under the aegis of coach Carlo Ancelotti. Holding open the revolving door at the Parisian club is virtually a full-time job there at the moment, so there would be little trouble finding work for Maldini.
According to Maldini, Milan’s record appearance holder, no one at the club is even returning his phone calls.
“[Club president Silvio] Berlusconi had spoken clearly [about it] and even [board member] Barbara [Berlusconi] had mentioned my name but the reality is that I have not been offered anything,” Maldini told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“In these years I have asked to return before Leonardo [was coach] and then Allegri, but I always found a locked door at the club.
“Leonardo would have wanted me close to the team; I would have been useful for him in any role. For Allegri, I would be the meeting point between team and society.
“One explanation is simple – AC Milan do not want to take me back.”
When asked if he has been offered a position at PSG, Maldini replied: “For now, no, but this does not mean that it won’t happen.
“I met the president: there is great mutual respect with him as well as Leo and Carlo.
“PSG is a club that is restructuring. They have not won [anything] for some time in France but they want to start doing so at the highest level in Europe.
“There, everything is changing, everything.”
Beer must be sold at World Cup
Beer will sold at the 2014 World Cup finals, FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke has announced, as he attempted resolve the issue which is holding up the passage of the so-called ‘World Cup bill’ in Brazil.
Alcoholic drinks have been banned in Brazil’s stadiums since 2003 as part of the Supporters’ Statutes, aimed at preventing violence between fans.
“Alcoholic drinks are part of the FIFA World Cup, so we’re going to have them. Excuse me if I sound a bit arrogant but that’s something we won’t negotiate,” Valcke said.
“The fact that we have the right to sell beer has to be a part of the Law,” he said in an interview in Rio de Janeiro.
One of FIFA’s longest-standings sponsors is the U.S. brewer Budweiser, which pays tens of millions of dollars for the privilege of being associated with the World Cup.
One suspects that FIFA would prefer to cancel the World Cup than go against the wishes of one of their sponsors, so, expect them to get their way on this issue.
Wales appoint Coleman
Chris Coleman has been unveiled as Wales manager to replace the late Gary Speed.
Coleman said it was one of the proudest moments of his career but it was also a difficult situation.
“We’re still all shocked by what happened [with Gary Speed] and we’re still grieving,” said Coleman.
“And the only way we can put smiles on fans faces again is to continue to win matches but I’ll don’t think we’ll ever get over the loss of Gary.
“I think for any manager who was going to come in it was going to be difficult because of the situation and it’s more difficult for me with my relationship with Gary.
“I am excited but I am subdued because of the circumstances, it’s not going to be easy but it’s something I’m prepared for.
“On one hand it is the proudest moment of my career but on the other hand, with the circumstances I was very close friends with Gary for 30 years.
“It is the most difficult press conference I am ever likely to do.”
Goal of the day
Alexandre Pato’s winner in Milan’s 2-1 Italian Cup victory over Novara was a deft finish after a neat assist from Robinho.
New kit deal
Liverpool are reportedly perplexed at claims that their lack of on-the-pitch success was the reason they parted company with previous kit sponsors Adidas.
The club has unveiled a new £25 million a season deal with U.S. kit manufacturers Warrior Sports, amid claims from their former sponsors that they had priced themselves out of the market.
“The gap between their performance on the field and what the number should be is not in balance,” chief executive of Adidas Herbert Hainer said. “Then we said: ‘OK we will not do it’. That’s the end of the story. It all depends on the success and the effort and the popularity, the exposure on TV, revenue you can generate by merchandising.
“This all has to be brought in line between what you offer and what you get. We thought that what Liverpool were asking and what they were delivering was not in the right balance.”
Figures show that only Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid sell more shirts globally than the 900,000 shifted by Liverpool last year.
Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has revealed that he is considering handing coach Walter Mazzarri increased levels of autonomy at the club.
“It would not displease Mazzarri to become involved in the interests of the club beyond the role of coach,” De Laurentiis told Corriere dello Sport.
“If this were to happen, together we could choose a coach who could give continuity to his work.
In the sack-happy culture of Italian football, it’s refreshing to see a chairman striving for long-term continuity.
“Mazzarri will remain beyond June 2013? Why not? He does not have any issues with continuing and I have also worked in film industry for 10 years with the same people.
“I like Mazzarri as a person, because he is cold-blood like me, a hard worker and a morally impenetrable man.”
And there are not that many successful people in Italy you could say that about.