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Marcotti: Platini's missed opportunity

FIFA 13 hours ago
Read
Jun 12, 2009

Real record breakers

This was the week in which Newcastle United's online sale sparked a joke bidding war, Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard got merked, and Real Madrid broke the world transfer record. Twice.

Berlusconi: I'd have won the Scudetto - Friday, June 5

We got another glimpse into the often bizarre world of Silvio Berlusconi this week when the AC Milan chairman, who also finds time to be Prime Minister of Italy and oversee a media empire, told La Gazzetta dello Sport that the Rossoneri could have won Serie A this season if only he'd been in charge of team tactics.

With former manager Carlo Ancelotti safely packed off to Chelsea Berlusconi said: "We lost the league this year because in the closing minutes of some games, they didn't use the tactics that I recommended. The only time was the last game (against Fiorentina) which we won and it was decisive for the Champions League."

Getting into the minutia of his masterplan it seems Berlusconi was disgruntled by the fact that Ronaldinho was not used enough by Ancelotti and if he had played more it would have helped to shift a few shirts in the club shop... sorry, help power Milan to the title.

"Ronaldinho was played for just a few minutes and this didn't do the player's morale any good either. Just think how good it would have been to have Ronaldinho for 90 minutes, people buy tickets to see players of his calibre."

Troubled Mexico struggle for excuses - Saturday, June 6

Mexico may have rid themselves of former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson but their poor form in World Cup qualifying continued under new boss Javier Aguirre, as did the excuses.

Aguirre, who recalled 79-year-old striker Cuauhtemoc Blanco for Saturday's 2-1 defeat to El Salvador, claimed Mexico's poor run of form was not the fault of the players, or indeed himself, but all down to a raw deal of a fixture list.

"It's difficult for anyone to win away from home," Aguirre explained. "So the design of the fixture list and lack of wins at home have put us in the hangman's noose."

Mexico are in danger of not qualifying from the CONCACAF section and Aguirre, who hauled Mexico out of a similarly sticky situation in 2001/02, now has three home games to save El Tri, and no more excuses.

Belgian footballer comes back to life - Sunday, June 7

There was an incredible incident in the Belgium Jupiler League promotion/relegation play-off between Roeselare and Antwerp on Sunday when Anthony Van Loo suddenly collapsed after suffering a heart-attack and then miraculously sat up again seconds later.

The 20-year-old Roeselare defender's amazing recovery was all down to a defibrillator implanted in his body. The device is designed to restart the heart in case it stops beating, kicking-in a few seconds after the heart stops.

Last year Van Loo was diagnosed with a heart condition, but was allowed to resume his playing career after having the defibrillator fitted. That technology certainly did its job but it's unclear whether Van Loo, who was taken to hospital, will be able to continue with his.

After the amazing incident, which you can see here, the club doctor said: "There was a moment of panic but the device saved his life."

Toon sale sparks joke bidding war - Monday, June 8

Just when the Toon Army thought things could not get any worse for Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley put the Championship club up for sale, at the ludicrously high price of £100m, and invited anyone interested in buying the Magpies to make contact via email at admin@nufc.co.uk.

This was an opportunity too good to miss for the thousands of gloating Sunderland fans already revelling in their arch-rivals relegation for the Premier League who embarked on joke bidding war for ownership of their fallen foes.

The emailed comedy offers included the following:

"I would like to lodge an official bid to buy NUFC. The amount I am offering is £10. Should I be successful, I will be appointing myself as team manager, as I am currently in a management role in the Peterlee Sunday League."

"The amount I am offering is 2 x upper concourse seats for the Oasis concert at the Stadium of Light and a Curly Wurly."

"I'd like to bid £325 to buy Newcastle. Thanks, Jimmy Nail."

Reluctant Kaka signs for Madrid - Tuesday, June 9

With Florentino Perez back in control at Real Madrid it wasn't going to be too long before his trademark mega-money signings followed and in the early hours of Tuesday morning he spent a world record £59m transfer fee on AC Milan star Kaka.

But unlike the previous stars that agitated for 'dream move' to Madrid, Kaka seemed somewhat reluctant to head to the Santiago Bernabeu and claimed he only did so in order to help the Rossoneri overcome their financial difficulties.

"I wanted to stay on at Milan, but the world (financial) crisis affected a lot of clubs, especially those like Milan which are businesses," the Brazil international said. "So then, I spoke with the Milan directors and we reached the conclusion that the best thing for everybody would be to sell."

Those words are not those of a man who has always wanted to play for the fabulous Real Madrid but of somebody with his heart elsewhere - in Milan. However, his £200k-a-week wages should help smooth things over.

Premier League trophy prompts Gerrard jibe - Wednesday, June 10

Your average Premier League footballer can't go a day without his regular fix of banter and it seems that just the sight of the famous Premier League trophy can bring out mockery of the highest quality in your everyday civilian.

League sponsors Barclays have dispatched the trophy to Katine, Uganda, for a charity football tournament and upon seeing the silverware 19-year-old local Daniel Okei said: "I'm so happy. I thought that trophy only existed on TV. But now I've been closer to it than Steven Gerrard ever has!"

A low, but amusing, blow from young Daniel there. It might be worth pointing out that none of the on lookers got to actually touch the trophy and Liverpool skipper Gerrard could get his hands on it if the Reds end their long wait for their first Premier league title.

A Real record breaker - Thursday, June 11

It is quite possible that Real Madrid President Florentino Perez has more money than sense. Not 48hrs had passed since he completed a world record £59m deal for Kaka than he was on the phone to Manchester United to offer a whopping £80m for Cristiano Ronaldo.

United happily accepted what UEFA president Michel Platini described an "excessive" fee and although you could buy 93 Bugatti Veyron cars or a Big Mac for the entire population of Canada for the £80m transfer fee the Red Devils' owners will probably have the more mundane task of servicing a £700m debt in mind.

All that stands between Ronaldo and donning the famous white strip of Real Madrid is a signature on a contract that will reportedly net the World and European Player of the Year £180,000-a-week.

With Franck Ribery still on Perez's shopping list and Kaka and Ronaldo in the team it's just as well that there won't be enough room in the starting eleven for any defenders, as Madrid don't have any, at least none to match the quality of their attacking talent.

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