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WhoScored: Cesc driving Chelsea on

Tactics And Analysis 1 day ago
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Mar 6, 2009

Foster and the innovation of the i-Pod

This was the week in which Rick Parry decided to leave Liverpool, Carling Cup winners Manchester United were linked with a move for Franck Ribery and their goalkeeper Ben Foster marvelled at the innovation of the i-Pod.

Parry to leave, high-tech Argentina - Friday, February 27

The wrangling over Rafa Benitez's future at Liverpool appeared to have come to a head on Friday as chief executive Rick Parry revealed that he would be leaving the club in the summer. Benitez has yet to sign a new deal at the club and his relationship with Parry had come under scrutiny, but only time will tell if Parry's exit is enough to make Rafa sign on the dotted line. Perhaps he needs more assurances, like two more high-profile exits from the boardroom.

Smacking of George Orwell's novel 1984, Argentine officials have decided to introduce ID cards and fingerprint scanners in a bid to get rid of the growing hooliganism problem in the country. Treading on dangerous ground, the AFA are desperate to stop the violence, but run the risk of alienating a number of fans with their high-tech approach. Still, credit to them for trying, although we draw the line at Thought Police.

Figo tells Ron, Berba branded ''snob'' - Saturday, February 28

As if Cristiano Ronaldo needs any more advice about where to go this summer, Portugal legend Luis Figo thought he'd have his say and claimed that the winger should go to Real Madrid. Figo said he had won everything at United and that ''Real Madrid are the most important club in the world, the best club in the world.'' No wonder he hasn't played for Inter Milan much this season.

Ahead of the Carling Cup final, Spurs striker Roman Pavlyuchenko stoked the fires by branding Dimitar Berbatov ''an arrogant snob''. To which everyone replied: 'Well, durrr' and carried on with their lives. The Russian added: "No one likes such people,'' but then no-one likes a four-goal, £14m striker who claims he wants to play for Man Utd just a few months after coming to England either.

Foster's amazed and A-League action - Sunday, March 01

With Man Utd predictably coming out on top in the Carling Cup final (albeit on penalties), the best bit of news came from goalkeeping hero Ben Foster's wide-eyed claims that he studied an i-Pod with Tottenham's penalty takers on it, moments before the shootout. ''It is a new innovation for us,'' Foster said. ''I have never seen anything like it.'' Given that almost everyone in England now owns some kind of mp3/i-Pod/video player, it was an odd moment. Next week Foster marvels at a magical talking box with people inside it and tries to work out where the bread goes when he makes his toast in the morning.

Over in Australia they were more interested in a rather exiting Grand Final, as two players were sent off in Melbourne's 1-0 win over Adelaide United. No talk of being a p***ant town, no 5-0 thrashings, just a good, competitive game of football; although the trademark brawl was still too hard to avoid.

Franck for United, Scots/Welsh bid fails - Monday, March 02

You know how it is. A manager says a player is good. Said player is then immediately linked with a world-record-breaking-super-intergalactic transfer-move-of-the-century to the club and nothing actually happens. Still, having been through this last week with Karim Benzema, it seems United fans are happy their next supposed target is Bayern's Franck Ribery. While it may never happen, if United sell Ronaldo for £100m, spending £50m apiece on Benzema and Ribery in the summer wouldn't be the worst piece of business. Although they are doing quite well without the pair so far.

While clubs can spend vast amounts of money on players, it seems countries aren't really able to compete as Scotland and Wales have been forced to drop plans to co-host the 2016 European championships. Financial constraints are the reason, but can anyone really claim they would have been enamoured by a competition held at the home of NEWI Cefn Druids or Hamilton Academicals? Seems like you can blame anything on the credit crunch these days.

Beckham inching closer, Jose hits out - Tuesday, March 03

It's close, it's so close we can just feel it. Tuesday provided the news that AC Milan are working on a deal to sign David Beckham on loan again until June, then let him go back to LA Galaxy, before signing him for free in January. Quite what Galaxy get out of this deal is unclear, as it would appear that their refusal to sell him for below £10m will ruin any chance they have of getting any money for him. But still, Milan are ''close'', Beckham is ''close'' and we're all on the edge of our seats.

It was only a matter of time before Jose Mourinho got under the skin of those in Italy. Managers, journalists it doesn't matter to Jose as he claimed that his title rivals ''will win nothing'' this year. Other great snippets from the one-man quote machine come from his ''intellectual prostitution'' rant against the media and that he does not ''manipulate reality,'' unlike some of his fellow coaches. The next edition of the Mourinho show features him calling Sir Alex a **** and desecrating some religious monument. Possibly.

Wenger wants fourth, Arshavin wants fitness and Barca want out - Wednesday, March 04

After months of being asked 'Are you still in the title race?', with the stock 'Yes, we'll keep fighting/battling/trying ever-so-hard' response, Arsene Wenger has finally admitted defeat and claimed that fourth place is his only target. Good to have some focus, but most people could have told him that when he didn't buy a defensive midfielder in January. Instead, Wenger went for £15m Andrei Arshavin, who nearly lost his lungs after playing 90 mins for the club against Fulham. Arshavin looks to have the talent to improve the Gunners' squad, but not until he's run a few hundred laps of the training ground first.

Yet more ''adverse market conditions'' and Barcelona's bid for an MLS franchise has also gone under. The Spanish club were going to try to get a piece of the MLS pie, but evidently bit off more than they could chew and if they can't do it then no-one can. Perhaps they could launch a bid for Miami FC, who are on the verge of dissolution, and rename them the 'Miami Messis'?

Cashley in trouble, Ronaldo's eye - Thursday, March 05

Nothing surprises anyone anymore when it comes to footballers' actions. On the field, off the field, there seems to be a growing number of incidents emerging and the latest came from everyone's favourite defender 'Cashley' Cole. The Chelsea star was arrested and fined for a foul-mouthed tirade against the police, although a paltry £80 really isn't enough for someone who evidently thinks himself above the law. Cole had the decency to apologise for his actions, but this type of behaviour is becoming far too common nowadays and someone needs to come up with a new punishment to make sure it doesn't keep happening. Forcing him to act as sherpa for his wife's trip up Mount Kilimanjaro could be a good start.

Of course, the media aren't exactly blameless when it comes to upsetting players and Ronaldo's debut for Corinthians proved that. The Brazilian managed to pick up a black eye from a media scrum after his thirty minutes for his new club and left without a comment. After such a long time out with a knee injury, the expectations were high for the former World Player of Year, although not from his coach. "He had a good debut, moved well and tried a few dribbles," Mano Menezes told reporters (presumably before the fighting began). Just imagine when he actually succeeds in a dribble, or even scores a goal.

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