International News - Issue 250

Advocaat Replaces Poyet At Sunderland
Sunderland have appointed Dick Advocaat as their new manager until the end of the season. The former Netherlands coach takes over a day after the sacking of Gus Poyet with the Black Cats one point above the Premier League relegation zone. Poyet was sacked after a run of just one victory in 12 league games, which left Sunderland 17th in the Premier League and one point above the relegation zone. They were thrashed 4-0 at home by relegation rivals Aston Villa in Poyet's last game and Advocaat's reign will get under way with a game at West Ham on Saturday. "Sunderland is a big club and I am very much looking forward to the challenge ahead," said the Dutchman. "We must now concentrate on Saturday as a priority." Advocaat has been out of work since resigning as Serbia coach in November. His previous clubs include Rangers, PSV Eindhoven and Zenit St Petersburg, while the Dutchman has also managed six national teams, including Belgium and South Korea. Advocaat has won domestic league titles in Netherlands, Scotland and Russia.

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has told SkySports he would not pick Steven Gerrard for the club's huge Premier League clash against Manchester United. Gerrard made his return from injury in the 1-0 win over Swansea City, playing the final 26 minutes, with Jordan Henderson hitting the winner four minutes after his introduction. Carragher says that despite the match being Gerrard's final match at Anfield against Manchester United, he would stick with the midfield which started at the Liberty Stadium. Asked if he would start Gerrard, he said: "No. The team’s playing well. They've been on a great run while he's been out. Unfortunately if you go out the team, and they continue on a great run it's hard to get back for him. It's unfortunate for him but the players here are playing too well, you can't leave them out." It was not the only controversial decision in Carragher's ideal team to face Manchester United, also omitting striker Daniel Sturridge. Carragher's preferred XI was as follows: Mignolet, Sakho, Skrtel, Emre Can, Moreno, Allen, Henderson, Markovic, Lallana, Coutinho, Sterling. For Liverpool the game is more of a must not lose, than must win, as a loss would put them six points behind their rivals in the race to finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League. If they draw, they are still in touch, and with United still to face Chelsea and Manchester City, there is time for them to slip up; and it is this scenario which could have affected his cautious recommendation to leave Sturridge on the bench.

Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has apologised after calling France a s**t country. The Sweden international was on target twice, yet ended on the losing side as PSG lost 3-2 to rivals Bordeaux in their Ligue 1 match-up on Sunday. The match was marred by a number of controversial referee decisions by match official Lionel Jeffredo, to whom Zlatan was caught hurling abuse towards after the game, calling him a “fu**in as**le”. The 33-year-old then slammed the officiating, saying, "In 15 years I've never seen a [good] referee in this s**t country. It doesn't even deserve PSG. You're not playing with amateurs." The well-travelled frontman has since apologised for his remarks, saying he did not mean to offend anyone in France. "Regarding my comments after tonight's game: they were not against France or the French people,” he said. “I spoke about football. I lost the game, I accept that, but I can't accept when the referee doesn't follow the rules. It's not the first time, and I'm sick of it. My sincere apologies if anyone was offended, or took it the wrong way." Ibrahimovic, who has just come off a two-match Ligue 1 suspension while also receiving a red card in PSG’s midweek Champions league draw against Chelsea, now faces further punishment and possible ban, should the French League decide to act on the matter.

Liverpool coach Brendan Rodgers has his sights set on second place in this year’s Premier League title chase. The Reds secured their fifth straight league victory in a 1-0 win over Swansea City on Monday night thanks to a second half ricocheted effort from midfielder Jordan Henderson, as they remain in fifth place in the EPL table but just four points adrift of second-placed Manchester City.  And although a top four position remains the ambition of all English clubs, Brendan Rodgers says he is aiming for more. "Our aim is to finish as high as we can, not just to finish fourth," the Liverpool coach told Sky Sports. "We go three points behind Arsenal, and obviously with Manchester City losing at the weekend it gives us an opportunity there for that, to push on." Liverpool are now unbeaten in their last 13 league matches, having won 10 of those fixtures, and kept their sixth consecutive clean sheet in last night’s win – a record dating back to 1972. "

Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher have finally revealed their much-anticipated starting line-ups ahead of the all-star charity match on March 29. Confirmed guest participants include Luis Suarez, Fernando Torres, Pepe Reina, Dirk Kuyt, Xabi Alonso and Thierry Henry. Gerrard unsurprisingly picked his old pals Henry, Torres and Suarez while former Reds defender Carragher opted for the more physical presences of Kuyt, Didier Drogba and Craig Bellamy.
Gerrard's Charity XI: Jones, Riise, John Terry, Warnock; Babel, Alonso, Gerrard, Nolan; Suarez, Torres, Henry.
Carragher's Charity XI: Reina; Arbeloa, Carragher, Kelly, Noone, Meireles, Shelvey, Bellamy, Luis Garcia, Drogba, Kuyt.

Marouane Fellaini says Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney gave an inspiring speech before the club's 3-0 victory over Tottenham on Sunday. The Red Devils, who moved five points clear of fifth-placed Liverpool, dispatched Spurs via first-half goals from Marouane Fellaini, Michael Carrick and Rooney at Old Trafford. "It was a very important speech," Fellaini told the BBC. United manager Louis van Gaal added: "I was aware of [the speech]. The players know this game was of massive importance so I think a captain has to do something to help the players or help the manager or help the club. I was very pleased. I was not in the meeting because the captain has his own privileges."

Jose Mourinho has hit out at media criticism targeted against him, insisting he is the best coach in Europe. Chelsea were knocked out of this year’s Champions League to French outfit Paris Saint-Germain, and with all the media attention focused on their decorated coach, the Portuguese manager has hit back, saying he is a cut above the rest of his counter-parts. “People are too worried about me,” he told reporters. “They don’t know what my happiness is. My happiness, first of all, is when I compare myself with the others. I see just a few that are with me in terms of success. “And the others I see a huge difference, a huge distance, with all the respect that they deserve, this is not a fight with them, I have lots of respect for all of them. But in the Premier League, who is European champion? Me and Van Gaal. Right? In the Premier League, how many won the Premier League twice or more than twice? Mr Wenger and myself. How many won every competition in this country? Community Shield, Capital One Cup, FA Cup, Premier League. How many? How many?” Mourinho continued to compare his CV with his fellow coaches, believing he is the best before waving off the recent criticism published in the media. “You go to Europe, how many won seven league titles? How many won two Champions Leagues? Ancelotti wins three, Van Gaal two and Pep [Guardiola] has two. I am not content with that, but you are too worried about myself. What makes me feel special is that I am above all of this. You think I care with some b******t I read? Do you think I care? I don’t care.”

Manchester City star Yaya Toure has named his current dream team, which includes five Spanish players and no Premier League stars. The Ivorian skipper, who led the Elephants to Afcon glory earlier this year, revealed his preferred starting 11 to his club’s official website, choosing a host of former teammates at previous club Barcelona, while excluding himself from his own starting line-up.
Yaya Toure’s Dream XI (3-5-2):
Iker Casillas – Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Matts Hummels – Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Dani Alves, James Rodriguez – Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi

Germany coach Joachim Low has extended his contract with the World Cup winners until 2018. The 55-year-old, who was appointed in 2006, has won the faith of the German Football Association (DFB), who have chosen to stick with the Fifa World Coach of the Year despite Germany’s stuttering form after their success in Brazil. Die Mannschaft have won just seven points from their four Euro 2016 qualifying matches, yet Low has still been backed for further success with a new contract that ends after the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Striker Carlos Tevez says Argentina have “unfinished business” in the Copa America. The losing 2014 World Cup finalists last won the continental showpiece in 1993, with Tevez being on the losing side in both the 2004 and 2007 Final, and the Juventus forward, who has been included in the national squad for their upcoming friendlies against El Salvador and Ecuador, says his side are out to claim to avenge their recent failures. “It’s definitely something that still pains the current generation of players,” he told “We all know that winning a trophy with the national team would be a fantastic way to round things off. It’s something that has eluded us for years, so it’s definitely unfinished business. The latest edition of the Copa America isn’t far away and we’ll have to prepare as well as we can to produce our very best.”

Jose Mourinho has questioned the support of some Chelsea fans this season, but it has been left to his son to really put the boot in. Jose Mourinho Jr., a youth-team goalkeeper with Fulham, was not happy with what he heard from the Stamford Bridge faithful on Sunday afternoon. The younger Mourinho was particularly annoyed at criticism of Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas, who has been singled out by some supporters as being particularly off-colour lately. Mourinho Jr. posted a picture of Fabregas on his Instagram page with the following message: Why is everyone hating and blaming Fabregas for Sunday's performance... It was a team effort. Fabregas might have not played as well as most expected but at least he kept fighting... Showed a lot of character, I've seen bad Chelsea fans but Sunday was the worse I've ever seen, Fans booing Cesc not singing at all, I completely agree with the chant "Mourinho's right, you're fans are s---e" Our fans are a disgrace!!!! Feisty words from young Mourinho. We wonder if he'll make a good manager some day. It now appears Mourinho Jr.'s Instagram page has been taken down but not before screenshots of his message were taken and shared.  

Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes says Chelsea are fooling themselves if they think they are a great team. The Blues are still reeling from their UEFA Champions League exit against Paris Saint-Germain, who progressed on away goals last Wednesday night, despite having had Zlatan Ibrahimovic sent off in the first half. Scholes was scathing of Chelsea and their manager Jose Mourinho, saying they have a long way to be considered among the best in Europe. “In the build-up to the first leg against Paris Saint-Germain last month, Jose Mourinho said that his Chelsea side could already be considered 'a great team', a remark that struck me at the time as premature, to say the least," Scholes wrote in the Evening Standard. "Great teams do not play away in Europe and create just one goalscoring chance in the course of a game, as Chelsea did in Paris. And great teams certainly do not fail to beat opponents reduced to 10 men at home, as Chelsea did on Wednesday. Even down to 10 men, PSG carried on creating chances, like the one in the second half that ended with Edinson Cavani hitting the post. That's what the top teams do, even away from home. Chelsea's failure to create chances in Paris, and then again this week, shows how far they have to go to be considered among the very best in Europe."

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has overtaken pop singer Shakira as the most 'liked' person on Facebook. The Ballon d'Or holder, who surpassed 100 million Facebook likes in October, currently has over 107 million fans on the website, 16,000 more fans than Shakira. Barcelona ace Lionel Messi is the second-most popular footballer on Facebook, with 78 million likes. Retired footballer David Beckham has just over 52 million fans on Facebook, with Neymar fast approaching a similar figure.