THE WEEK THAT WAS

Raul's record, Bendtner blast

February 20, 2009
By Jon Carter

This was the week in which Jose Mourinho said he'd return to Chelsea, Raul broke the Real Madrid scoring record and Nicklas Bendtner laughably said he was the best striker at Arsenal.

GettyImagesScolari cuts a lone figure in training.

Scolari lifts lid on Chelsea, Becks stays - Friday, February 13

Oh to be a fly on the wall in the Chelsea dressing room when this story came out. Big Phil, fresh from his sacking as Blues boss last week, had the excuses pouring out over why he was given the boot and they include: not having a relationship with the players, the form of Florent Malouda and the club's failure to sign Robinho. But who was to blame? Well, the boss could have made an effort off the pitch, which could have improved the players' form; while Scolari also had the whole of January to get a Brazilian [sorry], and ended up with Ricardo Quaresma. Only one place to point that big finger Phil.

The saga surrounding David Beckham's transfer to AC Milan played out on Friday, with the club failing to mount a decent enough offer to prise him away from the Galaxy. Given that the Friday deadline was simply a self-imposed one by the MLS, with more talks planned right up until the end of his loan spell on March 9, don't think we've heard the last of this one yet.

Jose to return, Honduran lip woe - Saturday, February 14
Jose Mourinho is coming back to Chelsea! Ok, not the shock news the title suggests, but if you're a Blues fan then at least you'll get to see the Special One slobbing around in his Armani jacket again before his retirement. With Scolari gone, and Avram Grant waiting in the wings, only Guus Hiddink stands in his way and he's already said he wants to go back to Russia. Jose back at the Bridge? The summer's biggest story could be just around the corner.

Think Honduran footballers and a few names leap to mind. Wilson Palacios, David Suazo and Maynor Figueroa have all come from CD Olimpia, who are the breeding ground for top talent; but the name Sergio Mendoza might be heard with less regularity as he has been banned for using a lip cream that did not fall under FIFA standards. A year-long ban means any hope of catching Steve Bruce's eye appears to have been crushed, although at least he doesn't have dry lips anymore.

Raul breaks record, Vidmar's p**ant rant - Sunday, February 15
To break any scoring record at a club is impressive, to do it at one of the most successful sides in the world is even more so. Congratulations must go to Real Madrid stalwart Raul who notched up his 309th goal against Sporting Gijon on Sunday to break Alfredo Di Stefano's record of 307. Unquestionably Raul is one of the finest strikers of his generation, but when you consider Di Stefano achieved the feat in under 400 appearances, compared to Raul's 685, you realise just how good Argentina's "Blond Arrow" was.

What a way to endear yourself to your club. Step forward Mr Aurelio Vidmar. The Adelaide coach's bizarre rant against the "p***-ant" town, which he inhabits, also saw him claim the club was fractured by people with "hidden agendas". Not the best way to prepare for Saturday's preliminary A-League final against the Queensland Roar, but at least he's apologised (and been forgiven) now, which makes it all ok.

Bendtner's ego and the save a billionaire fund - Monday, February 16

Speaking of bizarre rants, the best of the week has come from Arsenal's Nicklas Bendtner whose inflated opinion of himself extends to believing he is the best striker at the club. Not only should he ''play every minute of every match'', but the Dane is also not bothered by the arrival of Andrei Arshavin who lit up Euro 2008. Great timing given his miss against Cardiff proved he should actually be about fifth in the pecking order. He may think twice before opening his mouth next time.

Other Arsenal news on the day was that Alisher Usmanov appears close to submitting a takeover bid for the club, after raising his stake to over 25%. The Russian oligarch could be in control of the 'family run' side before long, ploughing his estimated $4.5bn fortune into bringing in a replacement for Nicklas Bendtner. It wasn't a great day for Russian money-men though, as Chelsea backer Roman Abramovich apparently lost around $9bn of his fortune to the credit crunch. Although some of it would have gone into the pocket of former boss Luiz Felipe Scolari after his huge payoff.

The death of football? - Tuesday, February 17

Many people have had their say about Manchester City's money, but leave it to FC Copenhagen coach Ståle Solbakken to really cut to the quick. Accusing the Middle-Eastlands outfit of ''destroying'' football with their big-money expenditure, he even singled out poor old Wayne Bridge (who only ever wanted to play some football), and claimed that they ''aren't a big club.'' Ouch.

Meanwhile, Roman Pavlyuchenko has said that England can't compare to Russia in food, women or even pronounciation. "I don't like English dishes," Pavlyuchenko told the Telegraph. "At the Spurs training ground, the food is modest. All they have there is a simple canteen." Pavlyuchenko added to his assualt on England when asked which nation possessed the finer women, replying, "Russia, of course - there can't be any comparison." He concluded by commenting on how English pundits butcher his surname. "I hear how all the English football commentators pronounce my last name - but I can't even reproduce it," he said. "It sounds so distorted. I can't even say it." That's Ra-man Pav-ria-chem-ka, for those that need to know.

GettyImagesArsenal's ''best striker'' contrived to miss an open goal.

Eduardo's apology, Fergie on Chelsea - Wednesday, February 18

It's always nice when a player recovers from a serious injury and celebrates his return with a goal, but unfortunately for Arsenal's Eduardo he's still intent on getting an apology out of Brummie defender Martin Taylor for the tackle which crocked him. Unable to put the incident behind him, the Croatian striker wants a face-to-face meeting and an apology, despite Taylor's insistence that he visited him in hospital. Taylor said the striker was ''on a lot of drugs,'' so maybe that explains why he didn't remember meeting him. Although it couldn't hurt to pop round again, especially now he's got a hamstring injury.

It was only a matter of time before Sir Alex Ferguson had his say on Chelsea. And the Scot was keen to tell everyone ''they've blown it'' - the title race that is. Fergie reckons that by sacking Phil Scolari the club have ''played into our hands'' and with clean-sheet records falling every week and a five point cushion over Liverpool at the top, few people can argue with him.

That internet will never catch on, it's a Jimmy thing - Thursday, February 19

Internet-run football clubs. It seemed such a great idea in practice. Thousands of people logging on, deciding the fate of a club and getting the final say over transfers. Shame then that nobody has seemed to go for it. The world's first internet club, Ebbsfleet United, wants to find more subscribers before it goes under. Although given that the majority of users decided to leave selection matters in the hands of the manager, that may not be such a bad thing.

If you had £5m how would you spend it? Probably not on an injury-prone 30-year-old with a dodgy knee. But Hull did, and ended up splashing £135,000 a minute on Jimmy Bullard, only to see him miss the rest of the season. The strangest thing about the situation is that Bullard has already suffered a season-ending knee injury before, in 2006, after a tackle by Scott Parker. He was sent to America for surgery by the reknowned Dr Steadman and has now gone back to the Denver doc for his latest operation. Oh, and the player who crocked him again? Scott Parker. By this logic a return to Gravesend & Northfleet is on the cards.

And finally, if you're going to fall asleep during a football match, make sure you're not sitting on a ten foot wall. Or this will happen.