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Horncastle: The end of the "Rafalution"?

Serie A about an hour ago
Read
Apr 30, 2010

Platini claims French are no-hopers, Jose gets his revenge

This was the week in which Roma fans plastered Totti's face on the walls of Lazio's training ground, Andrei Arshavin was forced to dress up as a cub scout, "two-bit psychologist" Jose Mourinho humbled Barcelona, Michel Platini said France had no hope at the World Cup and Kansas City Wizards striker Kei Kamara produced the miss of the century.

Underhand tactics backfire on Barca

If "two-bit psychologist" Jose Mourinho, as Barcelona president Joan Laporta referred to the Portuguese this week, is to be believed the Blaugrana tried every trick in the book, as well as some that weren't, to unsettle Inter Milan ahead of their Champions League semi-final at Camp Nou.

According to Mourinho, the Nerazzurri players were kept up all night by fans throwing fireworks at Inter's hotel room and were unsettled by an unexpected visit from the Spanish police to interview striker Samuel Eto'o over alleged tax discrepancies dating back to his spell with Barcelona.

The underhand tactics didn't work of course, instead they galvanised Inter. The Italian side booked their place in final with a 3-2 aggregate win, despite Sergio Busquets' play-acting, and subsequent game of peekaboo with the referee, resulting in the sending off of Thiago Motta after just 28 minutes.

The Pièce de résistance came as Inter celebrated reaching their first European Cup final since 1972 on the Nou Camp pitch and the sprinklers were turned on the visitors. An act that showed a distinct lack of class.

Joey Barton lives like a monk

Bad boy Joey Barton claimed this week that he now lives "a monk-like existence" and is well on the way to removing the need for the obligatory pre-fix to his name.

Abstention of alcohol is key to his new squeaky clean image, as the Newcastle United player explained: "Some people can handle their ale. I can't do that. The reason I can't drink is because I cannot legislate for what is going to happen."

"A wise man once said to me, 'Keep going to the barbers and you'll eventually get a haircut'. That's true, so if I'm not out drinking in nightclubs, the risks of getting into bother are greatly reduced."

"I live a monk-like existence flitting between the training ground and the golf course and have a bit of interest in horse racing."

We're not sure how many monks are also professional footballers, play golf and have the occasional flutter on the horses but here's hoping he starts every post-match interview with "a wise man once said to me" now that the Magpies are back in the Premier League.

Platini: France are World Cup no hopers

Eric Cantona, Christophe Dugarry, Emmanuel Petit and now Les Bleus legend Michel Platini has joined the star-studded line-up eager to crush French hopes of doing anything at all at the World Cup this summer.

Raymond Domenech's side struggled in qualifying, scraping through their play-off with the Republic of Ireland thanks to Thierry Henry's proficiency at volleyball, and UEFA president Platini will be happy if France make it out of their group, containing Mexico, Uruguay and hosts South Africa.

"I don't see them winning, I see them passing the first round, after they will play either Argentina or Nigeria," Platini said. "There are good individuals in the group, but let's be clear, there's no great individual. Simply put, I think France have lost a great generation."

A nice slap across the face there for star man Franck Ribery, who was valued at €100 million by Champions League finalists Bayern Munich in the summer.

Arsenal unveil new chief scout

This week Arsenal forward Andrei Arshavin took time out from telling everybody how much he wanted to play at the Nou Camp and pitched up at scout camp instead.

The Russian, who said that just one season at Barcelona would be the "pinnacle" of his career, got dressed up as a scout to promote a night of camping on the Emirates pitch this summer and was slightly baffled by his selection for the job.

"I'm not one for singing around the campfire, that is more Nicklas Bendtner's style," Arshavin said.

Could it be that having a 28-year-old millionaire parade in front of the media dressed up as a scout was Arsene Wenger's idea of a mild punishment for Arshavin fluttering his eyelashes in the direction of Barcelona?

Roma fans give Lazio thumbs-down

Having already beaten Lazio in the Rome derby, triumphant Roma fans rubbed salt in the wound this week by plastering their rivals' training ground with posters of Francesco Totti making his controversial thumbs-down gesture.

Totti was fined €20,000 for taunting the fans during the Giallorossi's 2-1 win at the Stadio Olimpico and with Lazio then just three points above the relegation zone his gesture was thought to be suggesting they were heading out of Serie A.

The flyers pasted on the walls of the Biancocelesti's training complex helpfully reminded the players that they faced an uncertain future. Under the smiling face of Totti the flyers insinuated Lazio will be spending next season in Serie B.

VT of the week

This short clip from the MLS is entitled "Worst Miss of the Century" and, unfortunately for Kansas City Wizards striker Kei Kamara, it might just be so.

With the ball on the L.A. Galaxy goal line, Kamara completely misses the ball with his foot, falls over and, when he accidently prods it into the net, the referee has to rule it out for hand-ball.

You can view Kamara's miss of the century here.

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