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The Madrid "mob", Beckham's lunchbox

This was the week in Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson branded Real Madrid a "mob", AC Milan striker Marco Borriello said he couldn't wait to take a peek inside David Beckham's lunch box and Martin Jol insisted Aston Villa are better than Arsenal.

Man City to pay Buffon £250k-a-week - Friday 12 December

Manchester City chief executive Garry Cook may have promised to deliver some "surprises" in the January transfer window but a £250,000-a-week deal for Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon would be more like shock and awe.

That is what the Daily Mail claimed City would pay the Italian international to lure him to Eastlands, after paying his club a hefty transfer fee of £20 million, of course.

The deal would be all the more surprising given that only last month the 30-year-old keeper, who currently earns £90,000-a-week at the Stadio Olimpico, dismissed City as a fantasy football club.

"Manchester City? I played fantasy football when I was young, now I only like to think about real football," Buffon told

Raul: Messi better than Ronaldo - Saturday 13 December

Real Madrid captain Raul said this week that if he was forced to choose who was the best between Manchester United's Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona's Lionel Messi he would have to opt for the latter.

In a light-hearted interview with his former mentor, Jorge Valdano, for La Sexta, Raul said: "Man, if I choose one, then the other is going to say that... (laughs) I really believe that they are both good.

"Messi is a player who will become something incredible if he can stay away from injuries. The other day I saw one of his games. He was running with the ball at a 100% full speed, I don't know how many touches he took, maybe five or six, but the ball was glued to his foot. It's practically impossible!

"Of course, Ronaldo has other qualities but watching them both, I would have to choose Messi," El Capitan concluded.

Having picked Messi as the best player in the world in the morning Raul's Real Madrid team-mates then preceded to kick lumps out of the little maestro in 'El Clasico' in the evening. Despite the systematic fouling of Barcelona's Argentinian star the Catalans still beat their great rivals 2-0 at the Camp Nou and effectively ruled Los Blancos out of the title race.

Vucinic caught short - Sunday 14 December

Roma chalked up their seventh consecutive win, in Serie A and the Champions League, on Sunday with a fantastic come from behind 3-2 victory against a very good Cagliari side, but it was the post-match comments of Mirko Vucinic that proved most memorable.

The Montenegrin striker scored the winning goal for the Giallorossi in the last minute of the match and was booked for his understandably exuberant celebration - despite his fiendish masterplan to avoid a yellow card.

Vucinic said: "I told the referee that I had another shirt on so he shouldn't book me for taking it off, but he told me that the yellow card was for taking my shorts off, which annoyed me."

Some referees are just so petty aren't they, Mirko?

Real pursue new Beckham and Robben - Monday 15 December

Aston Villa winger Ashley Young is the new David Beckham and Real Madrid are eager to sign him, according to Monday's edition of Spanish based daily Marca.

Well given Real's new coach Juande Ramos has just left the Premier League and Villa manager Martin O'Neill described €30 million-rated Young, 23, as "world class" the other day than it all makes perfect sense.

What doesn't make sense is Madrid's apparent interest in Middlesbrough's English youngster Adam Johnson.

Who? You say. Exactly! I say.

And what makes even less sense are the comments made by the 21-year-old on the whole bizarre situation.

"It is a great honour that Real Madrid have set their sights on me - I play like [Arjen] Robben," said a completely serious Johnson. "I like to dribble with the ball, to go for goal and to look for one-on-one situations."

And what is most absurd about the whole nonsensical mess is that if Johnson is so like Real Madrid winger Robben then why has he played only one full match for Boro this season. Against Yeovil Town.

Jol: Arsenal won't finish in top four - Tuesday 16 December

On the same day that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insisted his fifth-placed team were still in the race for the Premier League title, former Tottenham Hotspur manager Martin Jol said he did not think his old rivals would even finish in the top four.

Aston Villa are one point above Arsenal in the league and in the build up for the Villans' UEFA Cup clash with Jol's Hamburg the big Dutchman said: "The first-team of Aston Villa are better than Arsenal and, next season, Villa will be playing in the Champions League."

"Arsenal are not so good now and are no longer automatically a top-four side," he concluded.

Strong words from Jol but he was not the only figure to tell the media that the Gunners have no chance this season.

Current Tottenham incumbent Harry Redknapp endeared himself to the White Hart Lane faithful by declaring the title out of Arsenal's reach and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand believes the same.

In fact, there are not many people outside of the Emirates that think otherwise.

Beckham's golden balls intrigue Milan star - Wednesday 17 December

It seems that David Beckham's imminent arrival at AC Milan is getting a few people a little too excited. Rossoneri striker Marco Borriello declared on Wednesday that he can't wait to run his eye over the LA Galaxy star and asses his golden balls.

"I must admit I have a dressing room curiosity over Beckham," Borriello said. "I want to see if he is equipped as he is in the Armani underwear adverts."

It is not the first time Borriello has hit the headlines due to a genital related incident. Last year he failed a drugs test and explained that the negative result was due to a cortisone lotion his girlfriend, Belen Rodriguez, rubbed onto his little fella before making love.

"Our sex session proved fatal," Rodriguez said.

Beckham is due to arrive in Milan for a medical at the weekend and he may have an unexpected guest.

Fergie blasts Real Madrid "mob" - Thursday 17 December

Sir Alex Ferguson might be in Tokyo for the Club World Cup but when news of Real Madrid's latest claim that they had agreed a deal to sign Cristiano Ronaldo, reported via the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, the Manchester United manager couldn't resists delivering a withering attack.

"Do you think I would enter into a contract with that mob?" Ferguson said. "No chance. I would not sell them a virus. That is a 'no' by the way. There is no agreement whatsoever between the clubs."

In an interview Real Madrid director Pedro Trapote declared that the Spanish giants already had a deal in place to sign Ronaldo in the summer but could not announce it officially because "there are some clauses that prevent us from announcing it now".

Ferguson disagrees and following on from the summer long saga earlier this year Ronaldo himself declared he was "very happy" at Manchester United.

"I don't care what people are saying," Ronaldo said. "But I am very happy playing for Manchester United."


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