Emre admits racist abuse

Didier Zokora has accused Emre Belozoglu of racially abusing him during Trabzonspor’s clash with Fenerbahce in Istanbul on Sunday.

“Emre and I came face to face during the match. I’ll tell you what he said word for word. He called me: ‘A f*cking n*****’,” Zokora told Lig TV after the match.

“This is the first time in my life something like this has happened to me. Emre has Africans like [Joseph] Yobo and [Moussa] Sow as team-mates – I can’t understand why he’d say such a thing.

“We’re trying to get on with our jobs. What does the colour of our skin matter? Fans, FIFA, the press are all against racist statements.

“I hope something like this doesn’t go unpunished.”

This isn’t the first time that Emre has been accused of racially abusing an opponent. Five years ago, when at Newcastle, he faced an FA charge after he allegedly insulted Everton defender and his current team-mate, Joseph Yobo. Emre denied the allegation and was cleared of the charge.

However, on this occasion, the midfielder has admitted the offence, but claimed the matter was soon forgotten by both parties. Ah well, that’s alright then. Sepp Blatter would be pleased.

“In the heat of the moment in matches, you say bad things to one another. I used a stupid word, but he was also insulting me,” he claimed.

“We apologised to one another five minutes later, and hugged after the match. I’d like to apologise to everyone I know. For my part, I’d like to apologise for everything I said.”

Money can’t buy you everything

Carlo Ancelotti has criticised his Paris Saint-Germain side for throwing away two points against Auxerre yesterday.

PSG had seen Montpellier lose 2-1 away at Lorient earlier in the day, which gave the chance for Ancelotti’s men to draw level on points at the top of Ligue 1.

It wasn’t to be, as a momentary lapse of concentration late in the game earned Auxerre a point.

“We were too laid back, we took it too easy”, said the Italian.

“If we want to win the championship we need to play with more determination, with more character.”

“We must have a complete change of attitude. All the games are difficult and we stopped playing after we scored the goal.

 I am angry with the players. I am not happy.”

Money can buy you most things in football, but not, it would appear, character.

Anything you can do…

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi continue to reach new milestones with Saturday seeing the pair jointly set a record for La Liga goals in a season of 41.

Portuguese international Ronaldo, who set the previous best of 40 last season, scored Real Madrid’s second in a 3-1 win against Sporting Gijon, his 53rd goal in all competitions this term.

Messi matched him around two hours later by netting his and Barcelona’s second of the night from the penalty spot in a 2-1 victory at Levante. That’s an incredible 63 for the season for the Argentinian, leaving him just four short of the all-time record of 67 set by former Bayern Munich striker Gerd Muller in the 1972-73 season.

Ronaldo’s Real have now scored 107 leagues this season, to equal the record for goals scored in a season of 107 set under coach John Toshack in 1990. Mexican Hugo Sanchez, with 38 goals that term, was the stand out performer in that team.

“The team with 107 goals deserves to finish the season with the title,” Emilio Butragueno, who played in Toshack’s side and is now a club director, said in a television interview.

Goal-line technology on its way?

FIFA have announced that goal-line technology could be a step closer if the next set of testing proves favourable.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) is currently undertaking a second round of testing to see if several technologies are viable for introduction to football.

FIFA confirmed the testing in a statement, saying: “The latest planning meeting for test phase two was held on Friday, and the second phase of tests will commence before end of April, and will continue throughout May.”

The technology can’t come soon enough for Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, who watched his side concede a debatable goal in Sunday’s 5-1 FA Cup semi final defeat to Chelsea.

Redknapp argued that the introduction of technology was inevitable.

“We can’t keep going on like we’re going at the moment with important decisions not being correct,” he said. “The referees don’t make mistakes purposely. It’s a difficult job. He obviously felt it was a goal.”

Television pictures seemed to show that referee Martin Atkinson incorrectly awarded a goal to Chelsea when the ball had not crossed the line.

Interestingly, a still from that game appears to show that the ball may have crossed the line.

All of which goes to show that technology may have its uses, but it’s unlikely to resolve every disputed decision .

Quote of the day

“Ashley Young is an absolute DISGRACE. He’s the biggest cheat in the league. His antics are a joke”

Newcastle defender Ryan Taylor on Twitter (since deleted) after Manchester United’s Young fell theatrically to gain a penalty in the 4-0 victory over Aston Villa.

Sour Grapes?

Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness claims he will never consider Borussia Dortmund to be a genuine rival until they can replicate their Bundesliga form on the European stage.

Reigning champions Dortmund are on course to regain their title, while Bayern, the most successful and richest team in German football, are doing their best to pretend that it isn’t happening.

“They may have hungrier players, but they don’t have any world class players,” said. “Dortmund have played a super season, but they will only get honoured by me when they play a super season in the Bundesliga and in Europe too.

“Two years ago, they crashed out of the Europa League humiliated, and this year they did not even come third in a really easy group, but they came fourth.

“Only when they manage to harmonise these two things, and when they show that they can compete in Europe, then I will take my hat off to them.”

Hoeness was also critical of Dortmund’s claims to working on limited funds.

“It is always the same old story – the rich Bayern here and the poor Dortmund there,” said Hoeness on Sky television. “Now they have extended the contract of (Mario) Gotze, bought (Marco) Reus, and (Robert) Lewandowski will follow. Let’s just wait and see.

“The fairytales that (chief executive) Mr Hans-Joachim Watzke is telling, with his €45 million wage bill, he can tell to anybody who doesn’t have a clue about our business. We will see when their balance sheet is produced.”

He’s not taking this well at all, is he.

Goal of the day

Deft chip from Paulo Henrique Ganso in Santos’ 5-0 humbling of Catanduvense.

Dive of the day

Winning the Ashley Young I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down award, and earning his opponent a red card in the process, Brazil’s extravagantly gifted Neymar demonstrates the sublime followed by the ridiculous.

Attack of the killer bees

Remarkable scenes from a game in Brazil, at which the players and spectators sought refuge from a swarm of angry bees.

The Bahia match between Fluminense de Feira & Juazeirense saw the players instinctively lay on the ground to escape the swarm, whilst fans took shelter under a giant banner.


Italian football continues to pay tribute to Piermario Morosini who died after suffering a heart attack during a match on Saturday.

The 25-year-old Morosini, who was on loan from Serie A side Udinese, collapsed and died after suffering a cardiac arrest during a Serie B match at Pescara.

Morosini’s tragic death prompted the cancellation of all fixtures in Italy over the weekend.

Udinese captain Antonio Di Natale says he may retire at the end of the season following the death.

Di Natale said too much soccer is played in Italy and that ”last year I thought about retiring. … I’ll play these last six games for Mario and then we’ll see.”

The 34-year-old also confirmed that Udinese would take care of the disabled sister of Morosini.

The player’s sister relied on Morosini for financial support following the death of their parents, and Di Natale has assured that Udinese will now look after her.

“We know the situation of his sister and we as a team, the club, and Udinese for Life have decided to help her because she is in real need,” Di Natale said.

“It is essential to stay by the side of Piermario’s sister for her entire life. She needs us and we