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Apr 3, 2009

Messiah back in Toon, Vieri quits football

This was the week in which Toon legend Alan Shearer finally decided to ride to the rescue of Newcastle United, Diego Maradona went from "perfection" to being "stabbed in the heart" and fan power forced Christian Vieri to quit Serie A.

JT's mum feels long arm of the law - Friday, March 27

If it ain't one thing it's your mother... and mother-in-law in John Terry's case. The unfortunate England skipper headed to his pre-Slovakia match press conference on Friday only to face a barrage of non-football related questions after Sue Terry, 50, and Sue Poole, 54, were arrested by police for shoplifting.

The duo were allegedly caught loading £800 worth of stolen food and clothing from Tesco and Marks & Spencer into a car at the Brooklands shopping centre in Weybridge and were taken to Staines police station where they accepted a police caution - meaning they formally acknowledged their guilt.

The whole incident was hugely embarrassing for Chelsea captain Terry, who would have presumably handed over one hour's wage (£803.57) of his £135,000 a week salary had the golden girls simply asked. I'm sure the Newcastle fans will have some chants prepared for the defender when they clash with the Blues this weekend.

Beckham keeps on going - Saturday, March 28

David Beckham finally set a new record for the most England caps for an outfield player when he came on as a substitute against Slovakia at Wembley and marked the occasion of his 109th cap by setting up Wayne Rooney for England's second goal in the 4-0 win.

He added his 110th Cap against Ukraine a few days later and, like all Beckham-related stories, this one is set to keep on running. Firstly, because the 33-year-old's detractors point out that there were no substitutes, or a very limited amount, when the men he surpassed, Bobby Charlton (106) and Bobby Moore (108) played their football. So despite making 99 starts, Beckham's achievement is belittled.

And secondly, goalkeeper Peter Shilton holds the record number of appearances for the national team with 125 caps and until Beckham either retires or surpasses that record - England have seven matches before the 2010 World Cup, probably a couple of warm-up friendlies before the tournament, and five games in South Africa before an inevitable quarter-final exit that could leave Beckham just one short of Shilton - the count will keep on going.

Argentina "perfect" without Riquelme - Sunday, March 29

When playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme announced he would never play for Argentina under Diego Maradona, the Albicelestes boss was labelled a traitor by the fans of his favourite club Boca Juniors, but Sunday's 4-0 win over Venezuela may have gone some way to winning them over.

The Argentina boss compensated for the absence of Riquelme, who threw his toys out of his pram when Maradona made public comments about his playing style, with a three pronged attack featuring Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero who all got on the score sheet.

No wonder then that Maradona, who has his own box at Boca's La Bombenera Stadium, said Argentina had team played "the perfect game" as he marked his first competitive outing with victory in Buenos Aires.

But redemption lasted a mere three days for Maradona as Argentina were humiliated 6-1 by Bolivia at altitude in La Paz on Wednesday. "I suffered with them (the Argentine public)," Maradona said. "Every Bolivia goal was a stab in my heart."

Sneijder unhappy with Dutch action - Monday, March 30

There is never a dull moment in the Holland camp and despite a comfortable 3-0 win over Scotland in Amsterdam, Real Madrid midfielder Wesley Sneijder still found reason to get upset.

Sneijder, who came on to replace Robin Van Persie after 65 minutes, refused to join in with the Dutch team's celebrations at the final whistle because he was furious at being left out of the starting line-up in the first place.

"Was that wise? Well, I am who I am - and I was very angry and disappointed," the 24-year-old said on Monday as he refused to apologise for his petulant reaction.

"I understand the Oranje have a lot of good players... but that doesn't mean that I like sitting on the bench in a packed stadium," Sneijder added. "Twenty-five minutes against Scotland isn't enough for me. I want to show more. That's why I was angry."

Hopefully his place in the starting line-up for the 4-0 win over Macedonia on Wednesday, in which he provided the assist for Dirk Kuyt's opening goal, will give Sneijder reason to be cheerful.

£150k-per-week Lamps blasts pampered starlets - Tuesday, March 31

Chelsea and England midfielder Frank Lampard has accused the next generation of Premier League starlets of having it too easy and living pampered lifestyles.

Lampard, whose apprenticeship at West Ham United included cleaning the boots of Julian Dicks, said that clubs had gone soft on their youngsters and should return to the old-school system to give them grounding.

"The lads are forgetting the hard work that needs to be done to earn this sort of lifestyle," the £150k-per-week earner said. "Not enough of them have the same dedication and it's something I feel very strongly about. They think they have made it already."

Shearer is nobody's fool - Wednesday, April 01

Newcastle United dropped a bombshell on April Fool's Day when it emerged that Toon legend Alan Shearer would be taking over as manager until the end of the season.

This was, in fact, not a joke - certainly not to the Geordie fans that had dreamt of the Messiah's return - and the club decided to leave Shearer's official unveiling until April 2nd in order to avoid any cheap April Fool's related gags like the one we've just made.

It will be the 38-year-old's first job in management, and presumably means convalescing Magpies boss Joe Kinnear will not return to St James' Park, while Shearer will be charged with the small matter of saving his beloved club from relegation.

But if his first day on the job is anything to go by he is certainly on to a winner. In less that 48 hours, the former Newcastle No.9 has engineered the expulsion of Geordie hate figure Dennis Wise form his role as Executive Director (Football) and forced a clear-the-air apology from the club's unpopular owner Mike Ashley. Not bad going.

Fan power forces Vieri to quit- Thursday, April 02

Atalanta fans never forgot how Christian Vieri abruptly ended his second stint with the club to head to Fiorentina and exacted their revenge this week when the 35-year-old striker stormed out of training and quit the Nerazzurri amid their jeers.

The former Italy striker, who scored 23 goals in 49 appearances for his country, joined Atalanta for his third stint at the beginning of the season but never won back the trust of the Bergamo-based club's supporters.

Injuries and poor form didn't help his cause and, after having his contract torn up on Thursday, it is thought the veteran striker, who became the world's most expensive player when he joined Inter Milan from Lazio in 1999, will now retire.

"I think he was pushed to this decision by a number of things," Atalanta president Alessandro Ruggeri said. "We have to take into account the negative welcome by the fans. As regards the recent jeers, if he had scored two or three goals more people would have behaved differently."

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