No way Jose
Jose Mourinho has signed a new contract with Real Madrid which ties him to the club until 2016, the Primera Division champion has announced.
A statement on the Madrid website read: “Real Madrid and Jose Mourinho have reached an agreement to extend the coach’s contract with the club until June 30, 2016.”
Today’s announcement will put an to end speculation about the Portuguese returning to his former club Chelsea or becoming the next manager of Liverpool.
In effect, that’s five managers on the long list who have turned down the Anfield post following the earlier rejections by Brendan Rodgers, Jurgen Klopp, Didier Deschamps and Frank de Boer. Still, there’s always Pep Guardiola, hey?
The favourite for the post remains Wigan boss Roberto Martinez, who is set to hold a second round of talks with the Liverpool board this week. Bright, ambitious and charming he may be, but one can’t help wondering whether appointing a coach whose career highlight has been to avoid relegation, will be enough to satisfy the famously demanding Liverpool supporters.
FIFA has given Kosovo approval to begin playing friendly matches against its 208 member countries.
FIFA’s executive committee made the decision after previously blocking Kosovo’s ambitions because it is not recognized by the United Nations.
Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in February 2008.
However, FIFA and UEFA had repeatedly denied Kosovo’s demands for recognition for its national team and clubs.
Last year World Soccer’s Keir Radnedge wrote about Kosovo’s campaign to gain recognition and wondered whether the loyalty of UEFA president, Michel Platini, to a former team-mate, might have influenced the decision to block the Balkan country’s request to play friendly matches against other member states. Regardless of that theory, it would appear that Platini and UEFA remain implacably opposed to Kosovo’s admission to the football family.
“It’s (Sepp) Blatter who asked the executive committee and only one confederation opposed it,” FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke told The Associated Press.
UEFA’s eight votes on the 24-man FIFA ruling panel failed to uphold the block on Kosovo.
“It’s not recognition of Kosovo as a country, but it’s recognition that it’s a country where you play football,” Valcke said. “It gives them a credibility.
“They were concerned that their players were taken away by clubs in other countries.”
From Russia with love
Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala are pondering a £45m swoop for Arsenal star Robin van Persie.
The future of the in-demand Dutch striker has been the subject of much speculation, with Premier League champions, Manchester City, believed to be favourites to sign him should he decide to leave Arsenal.
However, Anzhi’s Dutch coach, Guus Hiddink, has not ruled out a move for a Holland international.
“Initially I was not going to put my eye on a Dutch player, but now I am not ruling out that this could take place,” he is quoted by the Daily Mail.
FIFA appoint first woman
FIFA have appointed the first female member of the world governing body’s executive committee.
Lydia Nsekera, president of the Burundi Football Association, has been elected onto the executive committee and will be formally installed at the FIFA Congress in Budapest on Friday.
Nsekera is a member of several FIFA committees – for women’s football, the women’s World Cup and the organising committee for the Olympic football tournaments.
Meanwhile, as part of the bid to tackle corruption in football, Domenico Scala has also been appointed as the independent chairman of the Audit and Compliance Committee.
In a busy day in Budapest, FIFA also confirmed the six venues that will be used at next summer’s Confederations Cup in Brazil. The six cities are Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Fortaleza, Rio de Janeiro, Recife and Salvador, although mindful of the delays that have plagued the 2014 World Cup preparations, FIFA has a contingency plan in place should any of the venues not be ready in time.
“Several match schedules including four, five and six cities have been worked out in order to adapt smoothly to the actual situation in due time at the latest in mid-November,” the statement read.
Coach faces deportation threat
Dutchman Rini Coolen fears he could be deported from Australia while pursuing court action against Adelaide United, the A-League club which sacked him.
Lawyers for Coolen claim the South Australian club misled their client, who was fired last December – 18 months into a four-year contract.
Coolen’s lawyers appeared in the South Australian District Court, arguing Adelaide United breached his contract.
But the club said Coolen wasn’t sacked but merely redeployed to a junior development role, which he opted not to perform.
Coolen remained in Australia on a visa sponsored by Adelaide United and his living situation was endangered by losing his job, Coolen’s lawyer, Andrew Short, told the court.
“It places at risk his ability to stay in the country,” he said.
Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has apologised for not shaking the hand of German President Joachim Gauck after the German club’s Champions League defeat to Chelsea on Saturday.
A disconsolate-looking Schweinsteiger, who missed one of the crucial spot-kicks in the penalty shootout, walked past Gauck’s extended hand without even looking at the President.
“It’s absolutley not the case, it’s a misunderstanding,” Schweinsteiger said. ”If you put yourself, even a little bit, in my situation and if you look at the photo, you can see I’m completely in my own world after such a dissapointment.
“I was shocked, dissapointed, like paralysed. I just didn’t see the President’s hand.”
“I’m sorry I gave another impression at that time. I want to apologise to the President for that.”
Quote of the day
“On a individual level I give my season a 10 and collectively [the squad] a 9 because we want to win more – the Champions League for example. My goal is to do even better next year. “
The ever-modest Cristiano Ronaldo assesses his performance over the course of the 2011-12 season and looks ahead to a Spinal Tap-style 11 next season.
Germany to deal with fan trouble
On the day that Hertha Berlin failed in their appeal to have the second leg of their relegation play-off final against Fortuna Dusseldorf replayed, the German football league (DFL) is planning to take steps to deal with crowd trouble.
The Berlinners felt they had a case to replay the return leg, which had been halted for 20 minutes towards the end of the game when first Hertha supporters threw fireworks onto the pitch before Fortuna fans invaded the pitch.
In the wake of that and other incidents last season, DFL president Dr Reinhard Rauball is seeking ways to deal with the growing hooligan problem.
He has suggested stronger security checks outside the stadium, video surveillance and professional stewards, and also believes it may help if players no longer applaud the supporters at the end of games.
“I think that taking this show of affection away from these so-called fans would have an effect,” Rauball said. “We have got to do something. The near abandonment of the game in Dusseldorf was something new in the recent history of the Bundesliga.
“There is a new kind of intensity which has emerged in recent weeks.”
“Fans who are keen on causing trouble have got to get used to us strengthening our rules for stadium bans. We have got to make the stewarding more professional.
“Before next season starts, we will bring together all of the presidents of teams in the first, second and third divisions and draw up a catalogue of measures.”
As for Hertha, they are not taking the failure of their appeal lying down.
“This is not a judgement that we can accept,” Hertha’s solicitor Christoph Schickhardt said on the club’s website. “It is not acceptable for all those interested in sport.
“Everybody saw that it was an irregular game. It was not a football game in the end. The judge spoke of it being a positive pitch invasion. That is quite a funny term for what we all saw.
“For Hertha BSC, it is fully inconceivable that the result of a game can only be overturned when a player is actually physically injured.”
He does have a point.
Value for money
Premier League champions Manchester City have come top of the league of value for fans, according to the ING Direct Value table.
The bank chart compares club season ticket costs with Premier League performance and entertainment value and getting the most points for your outlay.
Using that criteria, City come top, while lesser lights Wigan and West Bromwich Albion finished second and third respectively.
At the foot of the table are QPR whose rating suffered because of the high cost of watching them last season and somewhat surprisingly, Liverpool who despite winning one Cup competition and reaching the final of another, were deemed to be the second worst value for money club in the Premier League.
The most discontented supporters were those of Blackburn Rovers, 56 per cent of whom said they would not be renewing their season tickets next season; presumably the other 44 per cent spoilt their ballot papers.
Overall, the survey found that less than half of fans surveyed felt they received good value for money last season (49 per cent), and as a result nearly one in three (29 per cent) are seriously thinking about whether or not to renew their season ticket next year.
Two out of three fans thought that a salary cap would be a good idea, although most would probably making allowances for Robin van Persie, the player deemed to be the best value for money in 2011-12.
Au revoir Drogba
It would appear that Chelsea’s Didier Drogba has played his last game for the club after telling France Football that he broke down while saying farwell to his team-mates.
In the wake of Drogba’s Champions League heroics, there was talk of the Ivorian striker being offered a new deal by the London club, but he revealed he was not prepared to accept a diminished, bit-part role in a new-look Chelsea side.
“We [he and his team-mates] will not be together next season,” he said. “As I have decided to leave, I wanted to tell them to their faces.
“They made me break down. I found it hard to admit that it was finished with me and the club. But I don’t envisage sitting on the bench watching others play at a time when the club is looking at putting together a new team. So there we go, I am readying myself for a great leap into the unknown. It will be another adventure.”
Drogba is expected to join the big-spending Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua, where he will be reunited with former Chelsea colleague, Nicolas Anelka, assuming the French forward has not carried out his threat to quit the club.
The obvious beneficiary of Drogba leaving would, of course, be Fernando Torres, the man who said he was unhappy with his peripheral role at the club in recent months.
Ron Gourlay, Chelsea’s chief executive, in an interview with Sky Sports News, attributed the Spaniard’s remarks down to the emotion of winning the Champions League – or in Torres’ case the emotion of sitting on the substitutes’ bench watching your team-mates win the Champions League, while you come on in the closing minutes to stretch your legs.
“Everybody wants to play and I would be very surprised if Fernando [hadn’t],” said Gourlay. “I’m sure he wanted to play more games, and more time on the field as every professional player does. But it’s the emotion of the time as well, the biggest day in our history. You’ve got to take these things into account.”