International News - Issue 227



Wenger Refuses To Apologise
Arsene Wenger has brushed off his shoving match with Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho during Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. The Gunners boss clashed with the Blues manager on the touchline following Gary Cahill’s first-half challenge on Alexis Sanchez, which earned the Chelsea defender only a yellow card. After exchanging words with his counterpart, Wenger was captured pushing Mourinho away as the Frenchman attempted to check on the Chilean star nearby, before referee Martin Atkinson intervened. Wenger, however, admitted that he didn’t have any regrets about the incident. “What is to regret after that? I wanted to go from A to B and somebody confronted me without any sign of welcome,” Wenger said following his side’s loss. “B was get to Sanchez to see if he was injured. Was it a push? A little one. You can see when I really try to push.” Mourinho, meanwhile, tried to play the shove down – saying that sometimes emotions ran high during important matches. “It becomes heated because this is a big game, big clubs, big rivals, and important match for both teams. These conditions make a game of emotions,” he said. “I do so many wrong things in football. But not this time because this time I was just in my technical area and it was not my problem. Game over. Story over.”

Raheem Sterling is set to open talks with Liverpool about a new deal within the next two weeks. The Reds winger will begin negotiations with the Merseyside outfit in the coming fortnight – with a clause in his current contract forcing the two parties to hold fresh discussions once the 19-year-old made his 90th appearance for Liverpool. Sterling’s performance in his team’s 2-1 victory over West Brom on Saturday – a game in which the winger created Jordan Henderson’s winner – was the teenager’s 87th appearance for Liverpool. Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre, however, is believed to have approached Sterling’s agents two weeks ago to kick-start talks about extending the England international’s stay at the Anfield based outfit. Sterling has attracted the interest of Spanish giants Real Madrid in recent weeks after impressive performances for Liverpool in recent seasons. But, Reds boss Brendan Rodgers recently admitted that Sterling – whose current deal at the club runs out in 2017 – is keen to stay at Anfield.

Arturo Vidal has spoken out over speculating linking him with a big-money summer move to Manchester United – and hints he would have turned down Louis van Gaal had a concrete offer materialised. The Chilean midfielder was the subject of a long-running transfer saga throughout the summer window, but remained with Juventus despite reports. And now Vidal says he was never made aware of any serious interest from the Old Trafford side. “The truth is I was relaxed and calm this summer, focusing only on my knee. I never once asked my agent or Juventus if something was happening,” he told Tuttosport. “I have a pact with my agent: if there is something concrete, then he alerts me. He did not alert me. I don’t know exactly what happened during the summer, but I doubt it was anything truly important, otherwise he would’ve warned me.” And Vidal also hinted he would have turned down the opportunity to move to Manchester United had an offer been on the table. “I really don’t know… I can only say that I am happy in Turin. I am happy, my wife loves Turin, Alonsito and the little one are happy here,” he added.  “My family’s happiness is more important than money or anything else. At Juventus I am happy, it is my home. It’s always tough to leave your home, isn’t it?”

Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas said he bears no ill-feeling towards the Arsenal fans that booed him in his club's 2-0 win over their London rivals on Sunday. The Blues moved five points clear at the Premier League summit thanks to goals from Eden Hazard and Diego Costa at Stamford Bridge, with Arsenal now nine points off the pace. Fabregas, who teed up Costa's strike, said he understands why he was targeted by some of his former side's supporters. He told Sky Sports: “I have huge respect for Arsenal. They gave me everything when I was little without them I wouldn’t be here.  The fans – I take it in a positive way. I know they love me it’s all because we were together once. Circumstances means things like this can happen. I’ve always said it. I am not scared. They will always be in my heart forever. But now I am in this fantastic football club playing with a great coach, great players and great fans. I want to win everything I am hungry I want to do well for this club and I hope I can make it in the future.”

David de Gea was written off by some people before he had even made a save for Manchester United, after signing for the club from Atletico Madrid when he was just 20. Whilst his height was suitable for a goalkeeper in the Premier League, his build was not, so his ability to deal with aerial pressure was questioned. It didn’t matter that his shot-stopping and distribution were fantastic, the fact that he punched crosses instead of catching them and was bullied at corners meant the media and opposition fans dismissed his potential. United fans stuck by him though, confident that he would grow in to a fantastic goalkeeper once he had become accustomed to the physicality of the Premier League, and their patience has been rewarded. In his second season he was named the PFA Goalkeeper of the Year and last season he was voted as the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year. However, this season, he has been the target of some criticism. After the defeat against Leicester, where United conceded five goals, people were beginning to ask questions of the young Spaniard. In reality, there wasn’t much De Gea could have done about any of the goals, but that didn’t stop people doubting him. The problem for De Gea, as would be a problem for anyone, is that the victory over Everton was the first time the goalkeeper had the same back four in front of him. Injuries and suspension has meant that the players starting in defence, as well as the formation, has changed on a weekly basis. Then when you consider that the defenders being used have played hardly any Premier League games between them, it’s no wonder he has been more exposed. However, on Sunday he answered all his critics, with one of his best ever performances in a United shirt.

Roma boss Rudi Garcia was sent to the stands during his side’s 3-2 loss to Juventus on Sunday – for playing an air violin. In what has to be one of the most bizarre reasons for sending a manager to the stands ever, referee Gianluca Rocchi decided that Garcia’s gesture during the top-of-the-table clash was a sign of dissent. The Roma boss pretended to play the world’s smallest violin after Juve were awarded a controversial penalty – the first of three spot-kicks during the first half alone – for Maicon’s handball inside the area, which appeared to be outside the box. The referee deemed this to be a show of disrespect and swiftly sent the 50-year-old away from the touchlines, with Carlos Tevez successfully converting the resulting penalty. Rocchi then stole more of the headlines when he not only awarded Juve another penalty after Paul Pogba had gone down just outside the area, but also dished out two red cards in the closing stages of the match.

1990 Fifa World Cup winner Andreas Brehme is now having to clean bathrooms to make a living after being declared bankrupt. Brehme, 53, scored the winning penalty against Diego Maradona's Argentina that sealed West Germany's third World Cup trophy in Rome's Stadio Olimpico 24 years ago. Today, the former Bayern Munich and Inter Milan left-back has crippling debts and has been offered a job by a player he once managed at SpVgg Unterhaching – Olivier Straube – who has given him a chance to work for his bathroom cleaning business. "We are ready to take Andreas on in our bathroom cleaning business. He will learn that what really counts is proper work and real life. It would help him improve his image. To me, that’s help," said Straube. Brehme's manager from that 1990 World Cup-winning team Franz Beckenbauer has called for the football fraternity to assist his former player, saying: "We have the responsibility to try and get him out of this situation." South Africa has many stories of former pros falling on hard times after their playing careers are over, but this story further highlights the importance of players educating themselves about wise money management while their income is strong.

Billy McKinlay has been sacked as Watford manager after just two games in charge. McKinlay lasted just eight days at Vicarage Road after succeeding Oscar Garcia, making his reign the sixth shortest in English football history. Garcia's own spell in charge lasted only three weeks before health reasons led to his departure, and Watford are now looking for their fourth manager in six weeks. McKinlay quit his job as Northern Ireland No 2 last month to take over in Hertfordshire, securing four points from a possible six in his two games. Watford are currently third in the Championship and their next game is a trip to Sheffield Wednesday after the international break on October 18.

Gareth Bale has become the first player to be voted Welsh footballer of the year for a fourth time. The Real Madrid forward retained the trophy - which he has now won four times in the last five years - at the FAW awards dinner at Cardiff's St David's Hotel to cap a year which saw him win the Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the Copa del Rey for Real, while his performances for Wales also caught the eye. The former Tottenham man scored both goals in Wales' opening Euro 2016 qualifier last month, a 2-1 win in Andorra, and he has 10 goals in his last 11 internationals. Bale also picked up the Vauxhall fans' player of the year trophy for the fourth year in succession. Tottenham defender Ben Davies was named young player of the year while Swansea skipper Ashley Williams was again rewarded for his form at the the Liberty Stadium by winning the club player of the year award for the fourth straight year.

Arsene Wenger’s decision not to re-sign Cesc Fabregas is looking more foolish by the day, as stats show that the Spaniard is more creative than the entire Arsenal team put together. The Chelsea midfielder grabbed his seventh Premier League assist in as many games to consign his old team to a 2-0 defeat at the weekend, and embarrassingly, it’s the same amount that the Gunners have managed between them. Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Nacho Monreal, Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck have all made only one league assist each, whilst Fabregas’ performances have helped steer Chelsea to the top of the table, nine points clear of the Gunners. The ex-Barcelona player didn’t make a return to Arsenal because they already had Mesut Ozil, but he is currently dwarfing the £42.5 million German and his Gunners team-mates when it comes to attacking contributions.

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has been given the all-clear following tests on the head injury he suffered against Arsenal. Courtois collided with Alexis Sanchez early in Sunday's game at Stamford Bridge and was later substituted and taken to hospital - apparently with bleeding from the ear. He confirmed this on twitter: “Thanks for all the messages! I'm already feeling better. Now I'm resting to be recovered and back on the pitch soon. Great victory yesterday”. Chelsea have now confirmed that blood came from a cut and say Courtois should be fit to join up with the Belgium squad later this week. A club statement read: "Chelsea can confirm Thibaut Courtois went to hospital during our Premier League game against Arsenal for precautionary tests on a head injury. Those tests came back all clear. Thibaut was treated for a minor cut to his ear and was released from hospital last night." The Premier League, meanwhile, says it is satisfied Chelsea complied with new rules governing the treatment of suspected concussion. Under the guidelines, which were brought in before this season, club doctors have the final say on whether players are substituted. One of the most senior medical officials in world football believes the rules were needed to help protect players.

Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane has taken another swipe at Sir Alex Ferguson, calling him a f**king pr*** in his latest book. The Northern Irishman has made no secret of his acrimonious falling out with Ferguson in 2005, which led to Keane leaving the club for Scottish side Celtic. Now, in his new book The Second Half, he explains his final days at Old Trafford. “I said to Ferguson, ‘Can I play for somebody else?’ And he said, ‘Yeah you can, cos we’re tearing up your contract’," he writes. "So I thought, ‘All right – I’ll get fixed up.’ I knew there’d be clubs in for me when the news got out. I said, ‘Yeah – I think we have come to the end.’ "I just thought, ‘F****** p****’ – and I stood up and went ‘Yeah. I’m off." Keane exposes a number of other issues, including a drunken fight with Danish goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel.

Diego Costa insists he has the biggest say when it comes to deciding his fitness, and says Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho did not urge him to snub his Spain call-up. Costa has struggled with a hamstring problem since arriving at Stamford Bridge from Atletico Madrid in July, but has nevertheless plundered nine goals in seven Premier League appearances. Mourinho recently stated he believes Costa should be rested for the international break to give him a chance to recover. However, La Roja coach Vicente Del Bosque has picked the 25-year-old for their upcoming Euro 2016 qualifiers with Slovakia and Luxembourg. "I don't want to be in the middle [of Spain and Chelsea]," he told Marca. "Mourinho has not told me anything. One has to take into account that many times I am the one that makes the decision depending on how I feel. Here I have the confidence of the coach, the technical team, and if there is a problem I tell them. If I'm here and I'm injured then I don't play because it would be worse." He added: "I'm here ready to play. I've had some problems but it's getting better. I've already played three games in a week and the coach [Del Bosque] knows that I carry some problems, but I will treat them during the week."


David Luiz claims to have turned down a new contract offer from Chelsea in favour of a move to Paris Saint-Germain. The 27-year-old Brazilian became the world’s most expensive defender when he left Stamford Bridge in a deal worth €51-million in the summer – a decision he is delighted he made. “Chelsea offered me a new contract to stay, but it was my choice to come here," he tells Globo Esporte. "I was happy with the plan PSG offered to me and I think it was exactly the right moment to move. I was so happy at Chelsea; I won two European titles and the FA Cup … it was great for me. I'm a lucky guy. I was playing for a big club like Chelsea and now I've got another opportunity to play for another big club. I'm enjoying it here." Luiz netted in PSG’s recent 3-2 UEFA Champions League win against Barcelona.