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Messi snubs Ronaldo, Bayern boss mocks Milan

This was the week in Lionel Messi snubbed World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo, Bayern boss Uli Hoeness mocked Milan and Ashley Cole's wife labelled him "mentally immature".

Given wants out after "career low" - Friday, January 2

Soccernet's collective mind has often wondered why a world class goalkeeper like Shay Given is still at a ... let's be kind and say enigmatic ... team like Newcastle United and it seems that the Republic of Ireland international is finally starting to think the same way after concluding that he wants to leave St James' Park.

Given, who has spent the past 11 years at the Premier League club, reached the "lowest point of his football career" following last weekend's 5-1 drubbing at the hands of Liverpool in which he was Man of the Match and is now ready to move on, according to his lawyer Michael Kennedy.

"When he signed a new five-year contract in 2006 it was on the basis that the club would challenge for major honours, but on the present evidence all that he can see ahead with the turmoil on and off the pitch is a battle for survival," said Kennedy

"Shay feels compelled to consider his position in the light of the interest being expressed in him by Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham."

I think that can be interpreted as a come and get me plea.

Success numbs Henry's mind - Saturday, January 3

Barcelona's stroll to the Spanish Primera Liga title is becoming so easy that striker Thierry Henry can't even remember what happened when anymore.

The French striker scored his ninth goal of the season in Barca's 3-1 win over Mallorca on Saturday and talked up the importance of the goal as he attempts to win over the fans following a difficult first term at the Camp Nou.

"You don't win the league against Villarreal, Sevilla, Valencia or Madrid, but also against Getafe, Racing, Numancia and Mallorca," said Henry.

It seems the 31-year-old striker has forgotten that Barcelona lost against Numancia and drew against Getafe and Racing.

Still, Henry is now only three goals behind his final tally for last season and looks well set to win his first La Liga title so he can be forgiven for looking back through rose tinted glasses.

Capello: Don't be like Gerrard! - Sunday, January 4

England manager Fabio Capello couldn't resist taking a swipe at Steven Gerrard's off field antics when giving advice to Fiorentina starlet Riccardo Montolivo at the Viola's club's winter training camp this week.

England international Gerrard, who was recently charged with assault and affray after an alleged nightclub brawl, has been singled out by Montolivo as his idol and role model.

"Let's hope he doesn't want to imitate Gerrard in every way, especially with regards to recent behaviour," Capello told firenzeviola.it.

Capello's comment makes it obvious that he is unhappy with Gerrard and it will be interesting to see if the England boss excludes the Liverpool star from his next squad.

Ashley is "mentally immature", says wife - Monday, January 5

Everybody's favourite football villain Ashley Cole has been given a public dressing down by his wife Cheryl Cole, who claims that the Chelsea full-back is "mentally immature".

The Girls Aloud star explained that her sex cheat husband's dalliance with hairdresser Aimme Walton was due to the fact that Cole is not up to speed in the brains department.

"It was horrendous," Cheryl said. "Ashley's young, and he's got a young mentality for his age anyway."

Arsenal fans will surely agree with Mrs Cole and have never forgiven him for his wage stand-off with Gunners which eventually saw him dubbed "Cashley Cole" following a lucrative move to Chelsea.

The 28-year-old has also proven unpopular with England fans and was booed after his glaring error gifted Kazakhstan a goal at Wembley in October.

Messi leaves Ronaldo out of team of year - Tuesday, January 6

Cristiano Ronaldo may have scooped the World Player of the Year award but it would seem that it's not enough to win a place in Lionel Messi's 'Team of 2008'.

Messi finished as runner-up to Ronaldo for the Ballon d'Or and although Messi found space for Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney in his XI, their Red Devils' team-mate is nowhere to be seen.

Messi did not name himself in the line-up, and his omission of the Portugual international Ronaldo, who won a string of awards in 2008, could surely not be a mere oversight.

Messi selected his team of 2008 for UEFA.com and was full of praise for Rooney and Ferdinand and also selected Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson as his manager of the year.

Messi's XI: GK: Petr Cech (Chelsea); RB: Maicon (Inter), CB: Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), CB: Carles Puyol (Barcelona), LB: Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Feyenoord), RM: Javier Zanetti (Inter), CM: Xavi (Barcelona), CM: Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal), LM: Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), ST: Sergio Aguero (Atletico Madrid), ST: Wayne Rooney (Manchester United).

Munich chief mocks Milan - Wednesday, January 7

Bayern Munich chief Uli Hoeness has mocked Italian giants AC Milan for their unprofessional approach after the two club's shared facilities in Dubai during the winter break.

With Rossoneri new boy David Beckham making his debut against Hamburg the world's press turned the training camp into a media circus.

Hoeness said: "The difference between us and them is that we played football whereas Milan thought they were on a Hollywood film set. My job is to run a football club and not to make sure that Victoria Beckham has the best suite in the hotel.

"I don't know why Milan accepted all these demands. It was just one big scene and only Steven Spielberg was missing."

For the record Beckham's debut consisted of the first 45 minutes of Milan's 1-1 draw with Hamburg alongside Andrea Pirlo, Massimo Ambrosini and Ronaldinho in midfield. The Serie A side went on to win 4-3 on penalties.

Match-fixer Moggi sentenced to 18 months - Thursday, January 7

Former Juventus chief Luciano Moggi, the man at the centre of the 2006 Italian match-fixing affair, was sentenced to a year and a half in prison by a Rome court on Thursday for his part in the GEA Sports Management scandal.

The GEA agency was accused of manipulating the Italian transfer market through violence and threats and prosecutors had wanted Moggi to go to jail for six years.

Fortunately for Moggi, who is facing a separate criminal trial over the aforementioned Calciopoli scandal as well as a probe into Juve's finances during his tenure, the 71-year-old will escape going to prison because the evidence which found him guilty came from a period in 2006 when an amnesty had been declared.

But rather than thanking his lucky stars Moggi, one of the most controversial figures in Italian football, said that he would fight on to clear his name with an appeal.

This is the same man that investigators ruled was responsible for trying to pick favourable referees as general manager of Juve which resulted to in the club being demoted in 2006 and their 2005 and 2006 league titles wiped from the records.

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