International News - Issue 176

Arsene Wenger and Aaron Ramsey have won the Barclays Premier League manager and player of the month awards for September in recognition of Arsenal's flying start to the season. The table-topping Gunners - who many tipped to miss out on the top four before the season started - won all four League games in September, beating north London rivals Tottenham as well as Sunderland, Stoke and Swansea. Wales midfielder Ramsey scored four League goals in the month, two coming at Sunderland, one at home to Stoke and one away at Swansea. It represents quite a turnaround for the 22-year-old, who had only scored three goals in the last two top flight campaigns combined.  - Full Story via Daily Mail

Dennis Bergkamp has revealed that he would love to come back to Arsenal one day as part of the coaching staff, while he thinks Mesut Ozil could be the missing link for the Gunners. Dutch legend Bergkamp spent 11 years with Arsenal before retiring in 2006 and he says the club still hold a special place in his heart. He is currently assistant coach at Ajax and has no plans to leave for at least a few years, but admits he would love to return to north London at some point in the future and perhaps work with some of his former team-mates such as Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry. - Full Story via Sky Sports

Wayne Rooney reveals reasons behind dispute with Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United.
Wayne Rooney says he was unhappy playing in midfield under previous manager but pleased to be working as a striker again for David Moyes. The reason for his discontent last season was that Ferguson did not field him in his optimum position, playing just off Robin van Persie. - Full Story via The Telegraph 

France and Portugal in a sweat over World Cup qualification. A tough draw for next year's World Cup in Brazil has put European superpowers France and Portugal on course for the lottery of the play-offs. The French and Portuguese would have accepted second place as a minimum requirement when the draw was made given their opposition. France need only to beat Finland next week while Portugal require only a draw with Israel on Friday to ensure they cannot be caught. - Full Story via The Telegraph

Jack Wilshere has attempted to diffuse his Twitter row with Kevin Pietersen over his view of eligibility for the England team. The Arsenal midfielder was involved in a series of exchanges with England cricket star Pietersen on Wednesday. Pietersen had taken exception to Wilshrere's comments on Tuesday that only English people should play for England. - Full Story via Sky Sports

Romelu Lukaku says he hopes his goals help Everton finish higher than Chelsea in England this season. The Belgian striker was controversially loaned out by Jose Mourinho, and has got off to a flyer for the Toffees – scoring four in three league matches so far – while the Blues strikers continue to struggle in front of goal. “I couldn’t do much about it.
Full Story via Sports Mole

Cardiff City have suspended their Head of Recruitment Iain Moody and replaced him with a 23-year-old Kazakhstani believed to be a friend of owner Vincent Tan’s son. Alisher Apsalyamov is believed to have taken over the role despite having no previous experience in football, in a controversial move that seriously undermines manager Malky Mackay. Full Story via Metro

Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery claims he "works much harder" on the pitch than his main FIFA Ballon d'Or rivals Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Ribery, who netted in the 3-1 midweek defeat of Manchester City in the Champions League last week, is in stellar form again this season, having played a key role in the Bavarians' historic treble last term. "Compared to them, I work much harder. I do a lot more defending than Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo and provide more assists," Ribery said. "It would be fantastic to actually win the FIFA Ballon d'Or when you have a shot at winning it. I have even more confidence in myself than before and that shows on the pitch. I am on top of my game and score a lot of goals. I am really enjoying myself on the pitch," concluded the 30-year-old Frenchman. - Full Story via Kickoff

Former Ghana Football Association president Dr. Nyaho Nyaho-Tamakloe has reportedly accused Black Stars goalkeeper Richard Kingson of being much older than his claimed age of 35. DR. Nyaho-Tamakloe bases his view largely on his experience as a medical doctor. He is quoted as saying on Radio XYZ’s ‘Sports Chat’ programme on Wednesday: “He’s not 35. Look don’t tell me Kingson is 35, I’m a doctor, I’m a medical doctor. Kingson is not 35. Where are those who have been promoting this kind of rubbish? He’s not 35. Don’t tell me Kingson is 35. Does he look 35 to you? Don’t tell me Kingson is 35 years old, he’s not. The man is definitely 40 years plus… Kingson cannot be 35 years old. What are you telling me? Do you know when Kingson got into football? Do you want to tell me that he was 10, 12 years old when he was keeping the goals for Olympics?” He added that age-cheating "should not be encouraged at all". - Full Story via Kickoff

Mozambican-born Portugal legend Eusebio is "saddened" to see Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo compared with him after he moved second in the all-time Portugal scoring charts. Ronaldo moved to within four goals of leading scorer Pauleta last month to 43 international goals, two above Eusebio's tally. Luis Figo says Ronaldo was not in the same League as the Benfica legend despite his achievement, and now the 71-year-old himself as dismissed the comparisons, pointing to weaker modern-day opposition and a greater number of games as proof that his record remains superior. "It saddens me because you can't make that comparison," he said. - Full Story via Kickoff

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez says he is trying hard to be a calmer player since returning from suspension. The Uruguayan striker has scored three goals in two matches after returning to the starting XI from a 10-match ban for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic in April. He has already formed a deadly partnership with Daniel Sturridge in attack, and says his newfound “tranquility” is helping him a lot. “I am aware that in recent matches that I played I’ve been calmer,” he told Uruguayan newspaper El País. “I am very self-critical and I realised that playing well, with more tranquillity, is helping me a lot. I realise and I prefer to continue and not be the same as before.”  - Full Story via Daily Mail

Samuel Eto’o admits the physical nature of the Premier League has caught him off guard since arriving at Chelsea in the summer. The Cameroonian, 32, joined on a free transfer from Anzhi Makhachkala and is yet to score despite being given three successive starts by Jose Mourinho. Now Eto’o has told Chelsea magazine that he’s slowly starting to adapt to the rough and tumble of life in England. He said: “Already I have noticed that English football is very physical – more physical than other types of football. It hasn’t been too much time yet, so I need to continue working to make sure I keep improving my level. Every game here is important and I realise that – I have come here to enjoy playing for Chelsea and to enjoy the football. - Full Story via Metro

Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini looks set to start for Belgium in their World Cup qualifier against Croatia on Friday despite suffering from a wrist injury. The injury saw the former Everton midfielder sit out United’s 2-1 Premier League win at Sunderland on Saturday, with the Old Trafford club subsequently saying on their Facebook page that the problem could keep the 25-year-old out for ‘at least a few weeks’. After training with the Belgium squad wearing a protective cast on the wrist, Fellaini is now expected to play. A statement on the United website on Tuesday said: “Marouane Fellaini has trained with Belgium wearing a protective cast on his injured wrist.  - Full Story via Metro

Sunderland AFC have announced the appointment of Gustavo Poyet as head coach. The 45 year-old has agreed a two year contract at the Stadium of Light and will take charge of the Black Cats with immediate effect. Speaking about the appointment, Sunderland AFC Chairman, Ellis Short, said: “We analysed a wide range of candidates and believe that Gus's track record, experience, commitment and passion make him the right man to take us forward. We welcome him to Sunderland.” - Full Story via Sunderland Official Website

Gus Poyet wants to make it a family affair at the Stadium of Light by making son Diego his first signing as Sunderland manager. The former Brighton boss inherits a squad that is bottom of the Premier League and short on confidence, but he will have £30million to spend in January to turn it around. And Poyet is already plotting who he wants to buy – with his 18-year-old old son Diego Poyet a top target. The youngster is a midfielder at Championship side Charlton, where he is regarded as a star for the future. Arsenal and Manchester United have previously tried to sign him, but Poyet junior now looks set to link up with his father in the north East. According to reports, Sunderland will make a £2million bid to lure him away from Charlton, with the opportunity to work with his dad likely to prove too tough to turn down. Diego, who has been compared to Cesc Fabregas, is an England Under-18 regular and has already vowed to snub approaches from Uruguay to continue his Three Lions career. - Full Story via Metro

Former Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp has revealed that he once feared Gareth Bale was too preoccupied with his hairstyle to make it as a leading footballer. Bale left Tottenham for Real Madrid last month for a reported world-record transfer fee of £85 million ($137 million, 100 million euros), but Redknapp says he used to have doubts about the Welsh forward’s strength of character. “He drove me mad in training,” wrote Redknapp in his autobiography, which is being serialised in British newspaper the Daily Mail. “Technically, he was outstanding, but he always seemed to be playing with his hair." - Full Story via

Wales forward Craig Bellamy has confirmed he is to retire from international football. The Cardiff City player will bow out after the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Macedonia and Belgium. Bellamy, 34, has won 76 caps for Wales and scored 19 goals during a 15-year international career. "Players come and go and my career has definitely come and gone," the former Coventry, Newcastle and Liverpool striker said. "I have to do what's best for the national team and this group of players are the future. The next qualifiers, two-odd years, I'm not going to see it." - Full Story via

Everton forward Romelu Lukaku says he is determined to show that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho's decision to send him out on loan was a mistake. Having impressed while on loan at West Brom last term, Lukaku hoped he might get his chance at Chelsea this season, but he ended up heading to Goodison Park. Lukaku has already scored four times for Everton, while none of the strikers who have remained at Stamford Bridge have managed a Premier League goal yet. "I want to score more goals than the strikers of Chelsea. We will see at the end of the season who made the best choice." - Full Story via SkySports

Leighton Baines is in line to help England secure their World Cup finals berth with Ashley Cole poised to miss his country’s decisive qualifying double-header. Cole is expected to sit out the Wembley showdowns with Montenegro on Friday and Poland next Tuesday after suffering a rib injury during Chelsea’s win at Norwich City over the weekend. And that will open the door for in-form Everton defender Baines to stake his claim for a permanent left-back role over the next week.  Roy Hodgson’s England currently lead Group H and know that victory in both of their final two games will guarantee a spot in the World Cup finals in Brazil next year. Baines has won 19 caps since making his debut against Egypt in March 2010 but has previously started only four competitive matches for his country. The 28-year-old would likely be joined by centre-back Phil Jagielka in defence with fellow Goodison team-mate Ross Barkley expected to be among the substitutes. - Full Story via Daily Post

Pictures of Arsenal’s new Puma-designed kit for the 2014/15 season appear to have been leaked online by sprint king Linford Christie. The Gunners have agreed a giant sponsorship deal with Puma for the next five years, with their current agreement with Nike expiring at the end of the season. A few suggestions of what Arsenal’s new shirt might look like have already been doing the rounds, with Puma said to be drawing up ideas. But 1992 Olympic 100metres champion Christie, who is also sponsored by Puma, appeared to show off the real deal after posting a photo of himself with Arsenal legend Thierry Henry and current Gunners duo Olivier Giroud and Bacary Sagna on his Twitter feed. In the snap Henry is wearing what looks like a classic Arsenal home shirt, complete with a Puma logo, while Giroud is modelling a Puma and Arsenal training top. Sagna appears in an Arsenal hoodie, although with no branding. The image was quickly deleted from Christie’s page. - Full Story via