Cracks appearing?

Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas has hit back at coach, Jose Mourinho, for suggesting that some members of the team spent too much time relaxing over the winter break.

“Some use their holidays to rest, other use it for constant travel, having fun and eating at their father’s house, their aunt’s and their grandmother’s,” Mourinho said after Real had to come from 2-0 down to defeat Malaga 3-2 in Tuesday’s Spanish Cup tie.

Casillas, who speaks with the authority and confidence of a man who knows that he will be still at the club long after the Portuguese has departed, said his team-mates deserved a rest during the holidays

“It’s a time to relax, unwind, be with the family and not think about football,” Casillas told Marca.

“We want to go far in all three competitions. I ask that my colleagues all have a good season,” he added.

Pekerman returns

Former Argentina coach Jose Pekerman has been appointed the new coach of Colombia.

Colombia, who have not reached the World Cup finals since 1998 in France, began their 2014 campaign with an impressive 2-1 away win over Bolivia in October but Alvarez’s team then dropped five points at home in a 1-1 draw with Venezuela and the defeat to Argentina.

Pekerman, who led Argentina at the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany, ended his playing career in Colombia with Independiente Medellin at the age of 28 after a knee injury.

Back to work

Newly-appointed FC Twente coach Steve McClaren believes he can rebuild his reputation at the Dutch club, after claiming he ‘wasn’t given the tools to do the job’ at Nottingham Forest.

The former England coach, whose managerial record could best be described as hit and miss, returns to the club where he enjoyed his greatest success: the Eredivisie title in 2010.

“It was a good opportunity at Forest but I wasn’t given the tools do the job. I was not given what I was promised so that was unfortunate that I had to leave there,” he told Talksport.

McClaren is looking forward to returning to work at Twente and believes he will be immediately comfortable in his surroundings.

“I left, obviously, on a high with the title. I said at that time that I would be back. I didn’t know when, but I would be back,” McClaren told Sky Sports News.

“The club is still developing, still growing and I think this is an ideal opportunity for me to go back and finish what we were starting.”

Goal of the day

Valencia’s Jonas scored the only goal of the game in their Spanish Cup victory over Sevilla.

African Nations confusion

Burkina Faso could be kicked out of this month’s Africa Cup of Nations by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and be replaced by Namibia.

Namibia have protested against the use of Cameroon-born defender Herve Zengue in two Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against them, saying he was not qualified to represent Burkina Faso.

They went to CAS after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) threw out their protest on a technicality.

CAS said on its website on Thursday that it would be hearing the case with a decision expected on Friday.

Victory coach fired

Melbourne Victory says they will have a new A-League coach within the next 48 hours, after they decided to fire Mehmet Durakovic on Friday just seven months and 14 matches into his tenure.

Former Socceroo Kevin Muscat has been appointed interim coach, so Saturday’s opponents Newcastle Jets might be advised to don an extra pair of shinpads for that encounter.

Three successive defeats, eighth spot in the ten-team A-League and the inability to get the best out of Harry Kewell, all contributed to the decision to sack Durakovic.

“We gave Mehmet every opportunity to achieve success this season but we found we were inconsistent and without direction,” club chairman Anthony Di Pietro said.

“After 14 games, the club is in a position which isn’t acceptable, and change is required.”

Like Father like son

Romarinho, son of Romario, the former Brazil striker and now Congressman, showed he has inherited his father’s predatory instincts when he scored Vasco de Gama’s third goal in their 3-2 Sao Paulo Junior Cup win over San Francisco.

Good news for Switzerland

FIFA today confirmed the Swiss Football Association (SFV) will not be suspended, after it took action against Sion for breaking a transfer embargo.

The SFV docked the club 36 points – three for each game in which one of the six illegally signed and therefore ineligible players featured.

One consequence of the decision is that it finally ends any any lingering hope Manchester United might have retained of being reinstated into the Champions League. United were knocked out of the competition by Swiss side Basle, and FIFA’s statement has ensured that they will stay out.

End in sight?

Carlos Tevez is set to join Milan, according to the Argentinian’s agent, Kia Joorabchian.

Joorabchian held talks with Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani in Brazil.

“We’re here (in Rio) to finalise with Milan. We haven’t heard from Inter since August,” he said, when asked about a competing bid from the Serie A rivals.

“I’m confident that Milan and Manchester City will soon come to an agreement.”

Galliani is said to have described the offer made to the Premier League leaders as “fantastic”. Indeed, any offer to take the player off City’s hands would be regarded by some at the club as “fantastic”, but there remains the thorny issue of money. City, though happy to see the back of Tevez, do happen to be one of the few clubs in the world who can afford to bite their nose off to spite their face.


Amateur side AS Marck, with several players involved in a battle to keep their jobs at cross-Channel ferry operator SeaFrance, will be happy to take their minds off the day job when they job host top-flight team Nice in the French Cup on Saturday.

The Calais club’s president Didier Cappelle is one of the main union representatives trying to salvage the company, while coach Eric Vercoutre is also involved in union talks to save the company that employs several players of the fifth-division side.

“We don’t want to mix football with work but both are naturally intertwined,” Vercoutre told Reuters.

“Nowadays, football is a breath of fresh air for me, for the players involved.

“At the beginning of the week I was in Paris for SeaFrance, I’m back for the training sessions and I need Saturday’s game to find something to cheer about.”

A French court will decide next week whether SeaFrance should be put into liquidation or if the company will be granted a stay of execution in order for a rescue package to be arranged.

“It’s Monday that’s important,” said Vercoutre. “It’s Monday that matters. On Saturday it will only be football, just a game. On Monday some 2,000 people’s future will be at stake.”