David Beckham’s grand tour of the fashion capitals of the world could soon see him arrive in Paris.

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo has revealed he would like to bring Beckham to the club.

Leonardo told BBC Sport: “I coached him at AC Milan [where Beckham, 36, was loaned from MLS side LA Galaxy] and we created a good relationship.

When asked whether the Qatari-owned club would consider signing the former England captain, Leonardo said: “The door is open. He is more than a football player – he’s a brand, a pop star. I would always consider him.

“He respects the rules, listens to you and wants the best for the team. That’s why for me he is a big example. I worked with him and that’s why I talk about his name.”

At least his wife will be pleased.


Just as Manchester United have been cleared to launch a floatation on the Singapore Stock Market, news emerges of a possible takeover for the club.

The Daily Mirror cites top ‘Middle Eastern sources’, claiming an official approach is being made and a deal could be struck as early as next week.

United’s owners, the Glazer family, have consistently stated they are not interested in selling the club, and given that its profits provide them with the money to pay off the loans they took out to buy the club in the first place, then one can see why they would be reluctant sellers.

However, even the Glazers must recognise a gift horse when they see one and with the Qataris reportedly prepared to pay £1.6 billion, the desire to cash in now must be extremely  tempting.

Fact or fiction?

Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas has denied quotes attributed to him in Sport magazine claiming that he didn’t believe Arsenal would win a trophy in the near future. In a story reminiscent of the Johann Hari scandal, Fabregas claims the quotes are fabricated.

Fabregas reportedly told Sport that he left Arsenal because they were not challenging for honours.

“I needed a change in my life, that’s the truth,” he said. “We weren’t winning any titles and it was very frustrating for me. I didn’t feel like I was developing any more as I should do. I want to be in a club that is able to win the big titles year after year, and I don’t see that kind of future for Arsenal.

“I still have many feelings for Arsenal, but I fear that they won’t be able to push the other big clubs in England away. If you look at the team this season, I can’t see them finishing in front of teams like Manchester United or City. Or Chelsea. There’s just too big a difference between the squads.”

Fabregas then issued an angry response via his Twitter account, claiming he had not even given an interview.

“Id never speak 1 bad work abt AFC, here there’s once more prove that so many people put in newspaper wtv they want and its not professional.

“I want Arsenal to be succesfull as much as every single fan. Thats not why i left, it was never in my mind. AFC made me who i am today.

“And nobody will ever change that. I never gave any interview away since my press conference at my presentation and there i just said…

“…The truth and what came out of my heart. Great words abt this great football club cause that just what they deserve: succes and trophies.

“People can h8 me 4 leaving or remember that i gave my all for the club. But me talking 1 bad word or saying smthng against AFC will not seen.”

Sport magazine have yet to respond to Fabregas’ denial, but surely if the original quotes were genuine it wouldn’t be too difficult proving their veracity. I mean, they wouldn’t just print such incendiary remarks without first checking their authenticity, would they?

Presidential ambitions

When he retires from professional football, Barcelona defender Gerard Pique is determined not to be known simply as that bloke who used to go out with Shakira.

No, the ambitious Pique would one day like to become president of the Catalan club.

“If I hadn’t become a footballer, I definitely would have ended up in the footballing world in some other position,” Pique was quoted as saying by El Mundo Deportivo.

“When football’s your passion, you always want to be active in this world. I will not leave the footballing world when I retire. I’ve once said that I want to become Barcelona president and that’s still my ambition.”

Makes a change from running a pub, I suppose.

A bumpy ride

Enjoy it while it lasts, because Diego Maradona’s stint in charge of UAE club Al Wasl could be a short-lived but eventful tenure.

Maradona’s first match in charge ended with a 4-3 loss to league champions Al Jazira on Thursday with his team gave up the deciding goal in stoppage time.

Here he is prowling the touchline, living every kick, enduring every misfortune, berating every official. He remains a captivating, passionate presence, but not necessarily one you’d entrust with managing a football team. The players seem to like him though.

Goals of the day

Difficult to separate three wonderful efforts from last night’s round of Europa League games.

Firstly, Leonardo scores an excellent individual goal in Anderlecht’s 4-1 win over AEK.

Secondly, Mathieu Godmer produces an emphatic volley for PSG against Red Bull Salzburg.

Finally, there’s this cracking effort by Joey Altidore for AZ against Malmo.

Form an orderly queue

The number of managers linked with the Inter coaching position continues to grow and the queue now snakes outside the San Siro, runs along the Navigli canals and extends into the smart Brera district. Where, if you’re lucky, you might find a quiet spot away from the hordes of out-of work coaches looking to fill a vacancy that doesn’t even exist yet. Gian Piero Gasperini may still be in charge at Inter, but the rush to replace him has already begun.

Former Atletico Madrid boss Quique Flores claims Inter have contacted his agent about a coaching position at the club.

“There has been an approach with [agent] Jorge Mendes,” he told Marca TV. “If Inter call me, even though [Diego] Forlan is there, of course I will go.”

Somewhat disingenusously, former Palermo boss Delio Rossi insists he knows nothing about the rumours suggesting that he could replace Gian Piero Gasperini at Inter, but nonetheless is delighted to be mentioned in them.

“It’s pleasing to be linked with such an important club, the world champions,” Rossi told Sky Sport Italia.

Former West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola let his agent to do his talking.

“Inter? We are talking about an abstract possibility, especially as I don’t think Gasperini is going to be sacked,” Zola’s agent Fulvio Marrucco told Il Sussidiario, before adding: “Who wouldn’t be happy to come to Inter?”

Others linked with the post include Claudio Ranieri and Fabio Capello, although the current England coach did at least have the decency to offer his backing for the beleaguered Gasperini.

“Inter do not need me,” he said. “Let’s give their coach the time he needs to do his work.”

The saga continues

To no one’s surprise Mohamed Bin Hammam’s appeal against his lifetime ban from football has failed.

That’s the end of that then. All done and dusted. At least we can now get on with the much more interesting business of discovering whether delegates were bribed to vote for … Oh. Hang on a minute. What’s that you say? Something about the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Bin Hammam intends to appeal again.

A statement from his lawyer, Eugene Gulland, read: “As expected, the FIFA appeals panel, which met in Zurich today, upheld the 23 July ruling by the FIFA ethics committee, and we will therefore be taking our appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).”

So, there you have it. This will end up where we always suspected. In the court of law, where it will stay for years, until the main protagonists have either died, retired, been jailed or got bored of the whole saga and moved on. We can but hope.

Money wasters

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has branded Manchester City “money wasters” and urged UEFA to strictly enforce its new financial fair play regulations.

City and Napoli shared a 1-1 draw in the Champions League game at Eastlands on Wednesday night, though De Laurentis, a filmmaker by trade, understandably saw the encounter from the underdog’s perspective.

“Does Michel Platini want to make this financial fair play rule or not?” De Laurentis said. “Is it going to be respected? In any case, I have fun challenging money wasters.”

I wonder then, what he made of his uncle, Dino De Laurentis’, film Dune.


You can start ticking the days off on your calendar. One thousand days from today the 2014 World Cup kicks off in Brazil. Or at least that’s the hope. Given the slow rate of building work both on the football stadiums and the country’s infrastructure, the possibility of the final being a Beach Soccer affair cannot be discounted.

The latest concern for FIFA is that strike action by workers might delay the project further.

Workers, not unreasonably in a booming economy like Brazil’s, are requesting a health plan, better food service as well as increased safety measures, and say they will continue the strike – already two weeks old – “indefinitely” unless their demands are met.

“Naturally we are concerned about any delays in the construction of the stadiums and infrastructure for whatever reason,” a FIFA spokesman said.

“The delays for sure pose a risk for Maracana to be excluded from the [2013] FIFA Confederations Cup if they cannot be completed by end of 2012 with the renovations.”