Thursday, 24 November 2016

Football sex abuse claims: NSPCC received more than 50 calls

David White
A hotline, set up after four ex-footballers spoke out about being sexually abused by coaches as children, has received more than 50 calls within its first two hours, the NSPCC says.
It said callers raised concerns about children now and in the past and it expected "many more" to come forward.
The hotline was set up after David White, Andy Woodward, Steve Walters and Paul Stewart all spoke out about abuse.
Sports Minister Tracey Crouch said the players had shown "incredible bravery".
Shadow sports minister Dr Rosena Allin-Khan has warned the scandal could "seriously damage the reputation of football" in the UK.
The Football Association is due to meet at Wembley later to discuss the allegations.
The hotline - which is supported by the FA - will be available 24 hours a day on 0800 023 2642.
It was set up after the four former players all waived their right to anonymity to speak publicly about abuse they suffered when they were children.
Ex-Crewe player Woodward, 43, initially went public last week about his abuse by former Crewe coach and youth football scout Barry Bennell, who was later convicted for sex offences against children.
Cheshire Police said 11 people had since come forward, including fellow ex-Crewe player Walters, 44, who says he was also a victim of Bennell.
The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) said it expects that number to rise.
Former Manchester City and England player White, 49, also says Bennell - who was jailed for nine years in 1998 - abused him between 1979 and 1980 while he was playing for Whitehill FC junior team in Manchester.
Stewart, 52, a former England international who started his career at Blackpool and also played for Manchester City and Liverpool, told the Mirror an unnamed coach abused him daily for four years up to the age of 15.
The four players to speak publicly have each waived their right to anonymity as sex abuse victims. Paul Stewart (left), Steve Walters (middle) and Andy Woodward (right) have also gone public with their ordeals
NSPCC chief Peter Wanless said there must be "no hiding place" for abuse, adding: "There may be many others who suffered through such horrors as young players but have never come forward.
"As this week's revelations have been laid bare, people must be able to speak out and get the help they need, and we know that can often be more difficult for men and boys," he added.
"We welcome the FA's commitment to helping those in the game get the help and support they need."
The children's charity said boys are more than five times less likely to speak up about sexual abuse than girls.
The FA's head of equality and safeguarding, Sue Ravenlaw, said the "courage and dignity" shown by the footballers who have spoken out was "immense".

Explained: Neymar's court case, jail sentence and what it means for Barcelona

Explained: Neymar's court case, jail sentence and what it means for Barcelona
A prosecutor in Spain has called for a two-year prison term for the Brazilian forward as supermarket chain DIS continue to claim monies in the transfer that took the player from...
It is the case that will not go away for Neymar and Barcelona. The 24-year-old is in the news once again after a prosecutor in Spain called for the player to be a handed a two-year jail sentence on Wednesday.
'Messi will help Neymar be the best'
It is the latest development in a saga that has dragged on ever since Neymar moved from Santos to Barcelona in the summer of 2013 and here, Goal takes a closer look at how the case started, what has happened now and what it means for both the player and the Catalan club...


The initial complaint was lodged against former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell by Blaugrana fan and socio Jordi Cases in December 2013, alleging misappropriation of funds and a lack of transparency over the €40m paid to the company owned by Neymar and his father.
Cases, a lifelong fan of the Catalan club, had criticised some of the side's other initiatives in recent times, such as the shirt sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways. Cases says he and other socios have a right to know how the money was spent, but claimed he would not have pursued the case had he received a civil answer from Barcelona in the first place.

"If they had told me there was no [specific] concept for that money, but that otherwise he wouldn't have joined, that would have been enough," he told reporters. "I would still think they were lying, but I just wanted a response."
And when no response was forthcoming, Cases decided to take his complaint to court. Ultimately, that led to Rosell's resignation in January 2014.


Last summer, Barcelona reached an agreement which exonerated the player and also Rosell, assuming complete responsibility for the alleged fiscal fraud and settling out of court with a payment of €5.5 million.
Mourinho: I hope Messi stays at Barca forever
And as part of that pact, it was established and accepted that the €40m payment from Barcelona was part of the player's wage packet, even though Rosell's successor Josep Maria Bartomeu revealed at his first press conference in January 2014 that the "total operation" to sign the Brazil forward had in fact cost €86.2m - well in excess of the original €57.1m quoted by the Catalan club.

However, Barca's financial vice-president Susana Monje caused controversy earlier this year by claiming that, with the €40m now considered to be wages, the transfer fee for Neymar was in fact €19.3m.
"Originally, the cost of the signing was €57.3m plus a €2m Ballon d'Or bonus," she said. "After the agreement with the public prosecutor's office, we have to remove €40m of the payout and categorise it as a salary. The cost of the transfer, therefore, is €19.3m, plus €24m gross salary per season.
"I would like to congratulate those who devised the operation and to congratulate the player for deciding to sign for Barcelona. Taking into account the player Neymar is, the deal is clearly below market value."


A Spanish prosecutor has now called for Neymar to be handed a two-year prison sentence for his part in a corruption case over the transfer from Santos to Barca involving supermarket chain DIS.
As part of this, judge Jose Perals has also demanded a five-year prison term for former Barca president Sandro Rosell and a fine of €8.4m for the Catalan club.
Ronaldo: I woke up with three blondes!
Meanwhile, charges against Bartomeu are to be dropped, with Rosell, Neymar and his father set to stand trial.


Brazilian supermarket chain DIS owned 40 per cent of the rights to Neymar prior to his sale from Santos to Barcelona and therefore believed they were in for a tidy sum of money from the transfer of the world's most sought-after attacker.
However, the low fee paid to Santos meant the firm pocketed only a small percentage of what they feel they were entitled to receive and the company claims Barca and Santos colluded to cut them out of the deal and pay as little as possible.

DIS received just €6.8m (40% of the €17.1m) and are still seeking the funds to which they claim they are entitled after Barca paid €40m separately to the player and his father and the overall costs of the transfer approaching €100m.


Even if he is found guilty and given a two-year sentence, Neymar will not go to prison because he has no previous convictions. In Spanish law, any sentences for first offenders of two years and under are always suspended.
Earlier this year, Neymar's friend and team-mate Lionel Messi was handed a 21-month sentence for tax fraud, while Javier Mascherano was hit with a year's jail term for similar offences. Neither of those two will end up in prison, however, and Neymar will not serve time either.
Calm down, Internet - Neymar won't go to jail
In the meantime, Neymar's form on the pitch is unlikely to be affected. The Brazilian forward has been forced to deal with this case ever since he joined the Catalan club in 2013 and his performances have been largely impressive after a complicated debut campaign in 2013-14.
Could he now leave Barca? That is unlikely and he recently signed a new long-term deal, but if he and his father continue to be targeted in future, he may decide to move on, with clubs like Paris Saint-Germain and even Real Madrid keen to assure him that he would have no such legal problems if he were playing for them.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Henderson tops touches stats; Ozil & Sterling struggle

Sterling, Coutinho, Henderson & Ozil: Mixed news on the stats front
Arsenal’s dramatic escape at Man Utd is highlighted by the struggles of two of their key performers, while Liverpool may feel further cause for frustration when they see their dominance of the ball in the draw at Southampton.
The Gunners pulled an unlikely draw out of the bag on Saturday thanks to Olivier Giroud’s late header – and our analysis immediately after the match described the clash as showing Arsenal have the “mettle of champions”.
Sunderland’s 3-0 thumping of relegation rivals Hull saw three of their players make the top-five rated performances of the week, while at the other end, Liverpool lost top spot despite their domination at Southampton.
It is Chelsea, however, who took over in top spot after their hard-fought victory at Middlesbrough – our write-up after the game giving credit to Antonio Conte and Victor Moses.

Highest-rated players
Anichebe – 9.33
Antonio – 9.06
Pickford – 8.72
Mata – 8.68
Defoe – 8.57
Most shots on target
Sigurdsson – 3
Martial – 3
11 players – 2
Most successful dribbles
Eden Hazard: Could be heading for the Chelsea exit
Adama Traore – 12
Hazard – 7
Antonio – 6
Sterling – 6
3 players – 5
Most chances created
Charlie Adam: Midfielder has a year left on Stoke contract
Adam – 5
Hazard – 5
Capoue – 5
4 players – 4
Most touches
Jordan Henderson: A divisive yet under-appreciated figure
Henderson – 112
Coutinho – 108
Livermore – 105
Clyne – 104
Vertonghen – 102
Best pass completion (minimum 15 passes)
Glen Johnson – 100% (16 passes)
Matic – 97.1% (68 passes)
Hendrick – 95.7% (47 passes)
Marney – 95.5% (67 passes)
Azpilicueta – 95.2% (83 passes)
Most aerials won
Peter Crouch: Has struggled for opportunities at Stoke City
Crouch – 10
Benteke – 10
Anichebe – 8
Matip – 8
Mustafi – 8
Most tackles and interceptions (combined)
Pieters – 14
Gueye – 13
Cabaye – 12
4 players – 9
Most defensive clearances
Nathan Ake: Mobbed by Bournemouth team-mates
Ake – 15
Reid – 14
Kone – 14
Fernandez – 14
Rojo – 12
Worst pass completion (excluding goalkeepers)
Benteke – 32.3% (17 passes)
Deeney – 38.5% (26 passes)
Crouch – 38.9% (18 passes)
Bony – 43.8% (16 passes)
Bertrand – 45.2% (31 passes)
Most unsuccessful touches
Mesut Ozil: Went missing at Old Trafford
Ozil – 5
Rondon – 5
Mahrez – 5
11 players – 4
Most times dispossessed
Raheem Sterling: Enjoying his football under Guardiola
Sterling – 6
Ramsey – 5
King – 5
Mane – 5
7 players – 4

Isco wants new Real Madrid contract

Isco wants new Real Madrid contract
The midfielder has been strongly linked with a move to Tottenham, but he is keen to stay at the Santiago Bernabeu after breaking into the team
Isco is loving life at Real Madrid again after a difficult spell and is ready to renew his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu.
’I would reject Man Utd move’
The attacking midfielder recently suggested he might have to leave the Bernabeu in order to secure regular first-team football elsewhere, but he has developed into a key figure for Madrid again in recent weeks.
The 24-year-old is delighted with his new role and hopes to reach an agreement over a renewal sooner rather than later, with his existing contract due to expire in 2018.
"I still have one-and-a-half years left on my current contract," Isco, who has been repeatedly linked with a move to Tottenham, told reporters.
"But the club and I are both keen to renew. I hope we can sort something out.
The truth about Arsenal’s Cavani chase
"I am getting regular playing time now and I am happy to be able to help the team."
Isco has made nine LaLiga appearances this term - starting their last six games - and has two goals to his name.

Fans have their say on Yaya Toure’s Man City future

Yaya Toure: A shock inclusion
Yaya Toure’s return to the Manchester City side will not earn him a prolonged stay at the club, according to a fans’ poll.
TEAMtalk asked our readers what the future holds for the powerful Ivorian after he made his return to the starting line-up in Saturday’s 2-1 win at Crystal Palace.
Brought out of exile by Pep Guardiola after the manager had made the midfielder pay for sniping remarks made by his agent, Toure scored in each half to earn City a precious three points on the road.
Yaya Toure: Celebrates the first goal
Still, most TEAMtalk readers who voted in our poll believe Toure and Guardiola’s reconciliation will only be brief.
When asked ‘what does the future hold for Yaya Toure?‘ just over 1000 readers replied:
27% think he’ll be sold in January
59% still think he’ll leave next summer
14% think he’ll earn a new deal
Yaya Toure: Put months of frustration behind him
Toure is out of contract in the summer and looks set to earn a bumper pay-day abroad, unless he can take his fine form from Selhurst Park into the rest of the season and make himself indispensable to Guardiola.
The 33-year-old was offered some encouragement by his manager, who was impressed with Toure’s response to being left out in the cold.
“He’s a very special player,” said Guardiola.
“His performance was not about my decision, it’s about his quality. Yaya was, for the last two months, training really well. His physical condition is better than ever. I’m so happy for him and his family.
“He’s now a real part of the team and can help us achieve our targets. We need this kind of player.
'Guardiola has made Aguero world class - he never was under Pellegrini or Mancini'
Manchester City hero Shaun Goater has been thrilled by the improvement in the Argentina striker since he linked up with the Catalan in the summer

Sergio Aguero was never world class until he started working with Pep Guardiola this summer, according to Shaun Goater.
Why 'shy' Sane is struggling to make an impression
Goater, the former Manchester City striker and firm fan favourite, has hailed the influence Guardiola has had on Aguero across the past four months.
The Argentine has established himself as one of the most important figures in City’s recent history: his 150 goals have helped to deliver two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and two League Cups, and he is just 38 strikes away from becoming the club’s all-time leading scorer.

Even so, Guardiola has made a point of asking Aguero to improve a number of areas of his game so far this season, and Goater believes he is now playing better than he has ever done.
"Aguero's work-rate is night and day compared to even last season,” Goater told Sportmasta.
"For all his great talent, he was not a complete player under Manuel Pellegrini, but Pep has turned him into one now.

Alaba should be Man City’s top target
“Pep told him in the summer what was expected of him and he has responded magnificently. He's now world class and I'm not sure you could say that before.”
Guardiola has urged Aguero to work harder without the ball, whether he is closing down opposition defenders or making better runs off the ball when City are in possession, and he has also told him to “realise his importance to the club”.
The 28-year-old has improved in recent weeks, and indeed his best game of the season may have come against Barcelona in the Champions League.
Aguero didn’t score against the Spanish champions, but there was a significant improvement in his work-rate and interplay with his team-mates, and Goater believes that game may have summed up his transformation.
"I've seen him in areas of the pitch that I had never seen him in,” the Bermudan added.
"Now you see him dropping deep, pulling defenders away to create space and getting involved in build-ups.

"Pep wants his players to be interchangeable and told Aguero that he almost has to add a midfielder’s mentality to his talents. I think the penny has dropped with Aguero.
"It was a huge match for Aguero [against Barcelona] because he is desperate to win the Champions League with City. He admitted he wouldn't leave until he has done so.
"He didn't score against Barca, but his performance was outstanding. He left the pitch with a huge smile on his face and I never thought I'd see him do that without getting on the scoresheet.
"As a striker myself, I know how we can be obsessed with scoring goals. After all, it is how we are judged, and that was Aguero's thinking, too.
"There was always huge pressure on Aguero to score, but Guardiola has freed him up a bit by saying that there is more to your game that just scoring goals.
"Pep values assists as much as goals because ultimately it's about results."

Tottenham dumped out of Champions League in Monaco

Dejected: Tottenham crash out of Champions League
Spurs saw their Champions League hopes ended at Monaco with a group game to spare as they slumped to a 2-1 defeat at the Stade Louis II stadium. 
The result means Spurs cannot progress from Group E and need a point against CSKA Moscow at Wembley next month to finish third and qualify for the Europa League.
Spurs stopper Hugo Lloris denied former Manchester United and Chelsea striker Radamel Falcao’s spot-kick in the first half and made a number of superb saves but second-half goals from Djibril Sidibe and Thomas Lemar gave Monaco a deserved victory.
Harry Kane offered Tottenham temporary hope when he equalised from the penalty spot but the visitors simply never found the spark required to resurrect their faltering fortunes in Europe.
Monaco, meanwhile, are now guaranteed to go through as group winners with Leverkusen, who had earlier drawn 1-1 with CSKA.
Pochettino took a gamble by leaving out Jan Vertonghen and replacing him with the largely out-of-favour Kevin Wimmer – a move perhaps reflecting the importance of Saturday’s match against Chelsea, when Vertonghen will be the last available option at left-back with Danny Rose serving a domestic suspension and Ben Davies out injured.
Dele Alli, however, was passed fit – although with his troublesome left knee heavily strapped – and there was also a first Champions League start for 20-year-old academy graduate Harry Winks, who had marked an impressive display against West Ham with a goal three days earlier.
It meant a 4-3-2-1 formation from Pochettino, his third different system in as many matches and symptomatic of the Argentinian’s dissatisfaction with his side’s recent form.
Son Heung-min could have given Tottenham the perfect start when he was played through one-on-one by Alli but as he tried to go around goalkeeper Danijel Subasic, the South Korean took a heavy touch and the chance was gone.
That was as good as it got in the first half for the visitors, who should have fallen behind five minutes later when Victor Wanyama and Eric Dier both took wild swings at the advancing Fabinho, with Dier connecting to concede a penalty.
Falcao has scored five goals in his last three matches but was unable to capitalise as Lloris guessed correctly by diving low to his right and palming the ball away.
Spurs were rattled. They were careless in possession and frantic at the back, as a rampant Monaco forced mistakes and broke through almost at will.
Lloris was called into action again to save Benjamin Mendy’s fizzing finish and then a feeble follow-up from Valere Germain, who was then guilty of failing to take advantage of a free header at the back post, instead heading straight into the midriff of Wimmer.
Germain was a constant menace in the channel between Wimmer and Rose, and he fired another shot narrowly wide of Lloris’ far post before Spurs traipsed off at half-time, relieved still to be level.
Whatever Pochettino said during the interval, there was little change after the restart as three goals flew in during a lively four minutes.
First, Sidibe headed home from close range after Mendy had left Winks for dead out wide but Tottenham were level almost immediately, as Alli was pulled back by Kamil Glik and, after a long hesitation, Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers pointed to the spot.
Kane converted, his low shot too powerful for the outstretched hand of Subasic – but no sooner had the visitors equalised than they found themselves behind again.
Monaco needed only four passes from kick-off to unlock their opponents and again it was both full-backs involved, this time Sidibe supplying the cross for Mendy to drive home at the back post. Pochettino swivelled on his feet in frustration.
If Spurs still harboured hopes of a comeback in the latter stages, it was only due to the brilliance of Lloris, who pulled off a superb reaction save to deny Glik from six yards and soon after was flying through the air again to stop Falcao’s stinging finish.
In between, Dier saw a header blocked on the line but while Pochettino introduced Christian Eriksen, Vincent Janssen and Moussa Sissoko from the bench, his side never looked like repeating Saturday’s late drama against West Ham.
Alli volleyed wide at the back post in the 86th minute in what was Tottenham’s last chance. After taking five years to get back into the Champions League, they are out of it within three months.

'I knew he'd be better than Eusebio and Figo' - The man who launched Ronaldo's career

'I knew he'd be better than Eusebio and Figo' - The man who launched Ronaldo's career
Laszlo Boloni has spoken of the superstar's first steps into the professional world and said he was always confident he had the quality to make it to the very top

Laszlo Boloni will be remembered as the coach who launched the professional career of Cristiano Ronaldo at Sporting CP.
Tottenham's saviour: Kane can again prove his worth to Spurs in Champions League
Speaking to Sportmasta, the 63-year-old coach has recounted his part in the tale of the Goal 50 2016 winner. It was 2002 and no-one knew the Funchal native, yet it was the departure point that would eventually allow the Portuguese to enter the footballing hall of fame.
“He was already an exceptional worker with an incredible talent, so we cannot exaggerate. If he’s reached the heights he has today, it’s not thanks to me,” Boloni said.
“At the right moment, he had someone rigorous enough to push him quicker than expected into the first team, someone courageous enough to pull him from the youth system and throw him into the swimming pool alongside legends like Joao Pinto and Paulo Bento. He had the luck to have someone to modify his play, to work on his tactical discipline and to push him away from the centre a little bit to allow him to sparkle on the wing.

“But the talent he has, it’s something phenomenal that a coach can never give to a player. At the time, I spoke of Eusebio and Figo. In a certain way, I knew that Ronaldo would become better than both. With the absolute respect I have for them, I think he has achieved that with his club and with his victory for Portugal at Euro 2016. He has given something back to his country, and that is what he previously lacked. Now he’s put his nation at the top in Europe.
“With Ronaldo we immediately constructed a six-month program with extra training. There were weights and coordination work, in particular. That’s not to say he wasn’t coordinated, but this has allowed him to work on becoming a little more explosive than he was because he was a player a little tall and thin for his age.
“He did work in the gym so young because he was going to very quickly come up against very strong defenders who were going to try and kick him to Brazil.
'Pogba doesn't understand the game'
“Ronaldo, despite his talent, devoured the work. Away from the field he displayed a certain maturity. These qualities persuaded me to keep him in the first-team squad after he was only called up on a temporary basis.  He was someone, despite his young age, was already speaking through his play, his bravery and his maturity. He was not someone who spoke a lot, but his relationship with the players and staff reflected this maturity. He has something others didn’t have.
“Ronaldo was not someone who was really quick. He was very explosive, but physically he was not yet built as he is today. That’s the reason I decided to relieve him of the pressure of coming up against 90kg centre-backs and put him on the wing, where his speed and dribbling could be exploited more easily.
“At the beginning, I was not really convinced [about his decision to go to Manchester United aged just 18], but he quickly proved me wrong and I was very happy to see Alex Ferguson do the same thing as me by putting him on the wing.
“From time to time, I’m still in touch with him, but it’s a lot harder to speak to Ronaldo today.

“Who’s the best player in the world? It’s difficult to say... we can look at different statistics, count goals or titles, but we know that these are not true reflections. I’m strongly pro-Ronaldo, but that’s not to say I don’t have respect for Messi. He’s a genius, but let’s not forget that he plays between Neymar and Luis Suarez, without speaking of Andres Iniesta or the others around him.
Ronaldo already FIVE goals behind Messi
“At Real Madrid, Ronaldo does not have the same support. You can say what you want, but Gareth Bale will never be Neymar or Suarez, and neither will Karim Benzema. Luka Modric is the only Madrid midfielder to get close to Iniesta.
“So taking all that into account, I’d say Messi is better supported at Barca than Ronaldo at Real Madrid
“In Madrid, like with Portugal, everyone expects Ronaldo to make the difference. At Barcelona, there are many who can do that. It’s true that often Messi is decisive, but at Real Madrid it’s always – or nearly always – on the shoulders of Ronaldo.”

Lloris stars but Dier dire as Spurs crash out

Hugo Lloris: Only Spurs player to emerge with credit?
Spurs were dumped out of the Champions League in pretty dismal style in Monaco, and Michael Graham believes one man deserved better.

Hugo Lloris – 9

Frankly, did not deserve to be on the losing team. Saved a penalty and produced far more heroics on top.

Kieran Trippier – 6

Delivery into the box was generally very good and one of the steadier performers for Spurs, despite being up against the brilliant, on the night, Benjamin Mendy.

Danny Rose – 6

Some way short of his dynamic best on a night when little went right for Tottenham.

Eric Dier – 3

In a word – atrocious. Gave away the sloppiest of penalties and was generally statuesque throughout. He’s set far higher standards for himself than this.

Kevin Wimmer – 4

Not as poor as Dier by any stretch of the imagination, but only just and still not good enough.

Victor Wanyama – 6

He did ok, nothing more, nothing less.

Mousa Dembele – 6

Not at his best, but it was also a surprise when he was withdrawn on the hour given his greater attacking impetus.

Dele Alli – 7

Slipped a couple of seriously good passes through for Heung-min Son in the first half that deserved a much better outcome than they got. Also won the penalty, so a relatively decent night for Alli among poor company.

Harry Winks – 5

Seemed a little out of his depth on occasion but will be a better player for the experience.

Heung-min Son – 4

Just nowhere near the level required. Missed a huge chance early on and never really recovered.

Harry Kane – 6

Got his goal but will also probably be disappointed with a couple of other half-chances that came his way.

Vincent Janssen (substitute) – 5

Struggled to get into the game and never looked much of a threat.

Christian Eriksen (substitute) – 6

Always involved from the moment he entered the action, although still visibly struggling for his best form.

Moussa Sissoko (substitute) – 5

Carried the ball well and produced a couple of promising moments.

'Very different’ challenge for Barcelona at Celtic Park, warns Digne

‘Very different’ challenge for Barcelona at Celtic Park, warns Digne
The France international is looking forward to the opportunity of playing at Parkhead and has said that Barca will not relent after winning the first match comfortably

Barcelona left-back Lucas Digne has warned his team-mates not to expect a repeat of the 7-0 thrashing they gave to Celtic in Spain when the sides meet in Glasgow on Wednesday.
How Barca will line up against Celtic
The France international has regularly starred for Barca since signing in the summer, making 12 appearances already for them and featuring in nine of their last 10 outings. He is aiming for a third Champions League outing in Scotland but is wary that the one-sided nature of the first meeting will be difficult to replicate.
Luis Enrique’s side were on fire that September evening at Camp Nou, with Lionel Messi grabbing a hat-trick, Luis Suarez bagging a double and both Neymar and Andres Iniesta on target.
“We had a fantastic first game against Celtic and scored a lot of goals, but we know that it will be very different in the second game,” he told Sportmast.
“We are Barcelona, so of course we go into the game to win it. We are not arrogant, but simply because we always play like that - to win. But we also respect Celtic in their home ground, which is famous for an amazing atmosphere, so we know it is not an easy game.
“It is a special stadium, but we don’t fear the atmosphere. On the contrary, I am looking forward to that experience, because in football you always want to be in the best games in the best stadiums.”

Messi was in a devastating mood when the teams met at Camp Nou, and back after a virus, he is tipped to be in the starting XI as Barca chase victory at Parkhead. Digne is full of praise for the Argentine superstar but stressed that the whole squad is of the highest order.
“Obviously Messi is from another planet, a pleasure to watch and to play with - but there are many top-class players. And the general level of the squad is sky high when we hit our best form,” he said.
Messi or the Loch Ness monster?
Commenting on his own promising beginning to life in Spain, he added: “My start in Barcelona has been perfect. I have been playing a lot and feel that I have adapted well to the Barca way of playing. There is a fantastic amount of talent in the team, and it is a true pleasure to play with such great players.”
Home striker Moussa Dembele is a figure to have gathered a good deal of attention for his exploits with the Scottish champions but also France Under-21, and 23-year-old Digne is well aware of the young attacker’s potential.
“He is young but already a very good player. He scores a lot and always creates a lot of occasions for his team - and that’s important,” he said.
Barca have won three of their four Group C matches to lead the group, but after losing last time out to Manchester City need to win both their remaining games to ensure top spot.

‘Ferguson let Rafa watch Man Utd train’, claims ex-Liverpool No 2

Sir Alex Ferguson: Allowed Benitez to watch United train
Rafael Benitez was given a unique insight into Manchester United’s methods after being given access to their training sessions in 2000 – four years before the Spaniard became Liverpool manager.
Benitez and Ferguson had something of a fragmented relationship during their time as opposing rivals in the Premier League – with tensions coming to a head in 2008/09 when the two sides memorably fought for the Premier League title.
But according to Benitez’s long-time assistant manager, Pako Ayestaran, the two met before they clashed in England.
Ayestaran, who served as the Spaniard’s assistant for 11 years, three of which came at Anfield, says the pair watched United train in 2000 while they were unemployed.
“We were between jobs in 2000, so we went to visit Manchester United,” he told MailOnline.
“Ferguson let Rafa and I watch his first-team training sessions with Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs, everyone in that great Treble team. At that time, it wasn’t as normal to let foreign coaches come over to observe. It was very kind.
“At Liverpool, I loved it from day one,” he added. “It’s the feeling of belonging to a club, to a community. I was in Liverpool Lime Street and people were coming up to me, saying thank you, thank you for coming. I’m thinking ‘f***!
“I was in Valencia for many years and I’m only stopped in the street to be criticised and then I come here and they are saying thank you before I have even started.”

The truth about Arsenal's pursuit of Edinson Cavani

The truth about Arsenal's pursuit of Edinson Cavani
The Uruguay international has been linked with the Gunners for several seasons but have never lodged a bid or taken up a concrete interest

Arsenal have been linked with Edinson Cavani for the last few seasons but that interest has never amounted to anything as concrete as many believe.
Dortmund & Legia make CL history
The Gunners scout hundreds of players every single season and Cavani has been on a transfer shortlist of forwards for several years. However, Arsenal’s pursuit of Jamie Vardy over the summer exemplified what kind of deal the club were looking to secure - value for money, combined with a reasonable salary and overall experience. Cavani only had one of those.
Cavani has never asked to leave Paris Saint-Germain, even when Zlatan Ibrahimovic eclipsed him as the pin-up boy of the French capital. The Uruguay frontman scored 19 goals in 32 league games last season despite playing much of the campaign out of position due to the Swede’s prominence as the main forward at Parc des Princes. It was a testament to the player himself that he could be so prolific even when things weren’t going totally his way, and that patience has now been rewarded.
Still only 29 years old, the decision not to make a bid for Cavani may be one that Wenger lives to regret. He would have arrived for a huge transfer fee in the region of £40-£50 million and demanded a salary of at least £200,000-a-week. The powerful striker has scored 20 goals in 20 games for club and country this season and continues to look like the kind of player who would fit in at a top flight Premier League club.

His goal against the Gunners in the opening Champions League group A match in Paris almost proved to be the nail in the coffin for Wenger’s side. It was another warning from a player who possesses all the qualities to play for any team in world football. While Arsenal stick with the fatigued Alexis Sanchez and a reinvigorated Olivier Giroud through the middle, you can’t help thinking that Cavani would have been exactly the player to bolster the club’s attacking options.
Barca want N'Zonzi as Busquets back-up
Indeed, the jury is still out on Spanish forward Lucas Perez whose 17 goals and 11 assists in La Liga last season make him an unknown yet exciting quantity in English football. While he makes his recovery from injury it is up to Chile star Sanchez and French striker Giroud to continue their excellent form. Arsenal have stuttered over the past few games and despite an unbeaten run of 17 games their performances have not looked convincing since the 3-0 win over Chelsea and 6-0 thrashing of Ludogorets.
Cavani meanwhile will have no better stage to showcase his talents on Wednesday night. Unai Emery’s men boast several world class talents and the striker that Arsenal have passed up on over the past few years will be desperate to do the damage and gain top spot in group A for the visiting Parisiens.

Spurs boss Pochettino in ringing endorsement of Europa League

Mauricio Pochettino: Ready to drop into Europa League
Mauricio Pochettino insists Tottenham dropping into the Europa League would be a ‘blessing and not a curse’ after their early Champions League exit.
Spurs’ hopes of progressing in Europe’s premier tournament were dashed after a 2-1 loss to Monaco left them three points adrift of Bayer Leverkusen, with whom they have an inferior head-to-head record.
Harry Kane gave the visitors temporary hope when he cancelled out Djibril Sidibe’s opener with a penalty but a third goal in four second-half minutes from Thomas Lemar sealed the French side’s victory.
Hugo Lloris, again his side’s stand-out performer, had earlier saved a spot-kick from Radamel Falcao.
Our ratings were praised the Frenchman’s display in goal – but sadly tore the dire Eric Dier to shreds.
While Monaco are now guaranteed to go through as group winners alongside Leverkusen, Tottenham can still secure third place and qualification for the Europa League with a draw at home to CSKA Moscow next month.
The competition has proven a nightmare to juggle with the Premier League in recent seasons, but Pochettino dismissed the idea that missing out might prove beneficial.
“It is good for the club to go into the Europa League and try to go further in the competition. I think it’ll be good,” Pochettino said.
“Remember last season we played against Borussia Dortmund and we struggled a little bit. That level was like Champions League.”
Dejected: Tottenham crash out of Champions League
Reflecting on the defeat in Monaco, Pochettino continued: “I am upset with that game and the way we conceded goals but in the same way I am quiet and calm because our project is not finished today.”

Scholes in line for Wigan job

RUMOURS: Scholes in line for Wigan job
The former Manchester United and England midfielder has yet to obtain his coaching badges but could be tempted back into football with a part-time role in the Championship

Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes is set to join Wigan Athletic's backroom team, according to The Sun.

Wigan manager Warren Joyce previously worked at United and, having axed coach Joe Parkinson, is keen to find a part-time role for Scholes, who retired for the second time in 2013.

Scholes has yet to gain his coaching badges but could be tempted back into football in the Championship, as he is unlikely to be allowed to work at Manchester United should a role be offered.

Man Utd eye £70m defensive duo; new Sturridge link

David Alaba: Linked with Man Utd move
There’s a surprise new suitor for out-of-favour Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge, while Manchester United have been linked with two defenders, rated at £40m and £30m apiece, according to Wednesday’s papers.


Southampton want to take Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge on loan in January with a view to a possible £25m summer move, according to surprising reports on Wednesday.
The Liverpool striker has struggled for game time this season, with Jurgen Klopp preferring Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane in attack and a January exit for Sturridge has been widely mooted. Last week the player was linked with Tottenham, Stoke and West Ham.
Although our piece recently tipped Sturridge to play a vital role for Liverpool in January, the Daily Express today says Southampton are ready to make the enquiry to the Reds to check on the striker’s availability.
Saints have been monitoring Sturridge’s situation for some time, and are ready to table a loan offer in the mid season transfer window, with a view to a permanent summer deal.
Southampton manager Claude Puel wants a regular partner for central striker Charlie Austin, having seen front men Graziano Pelle and Sadio Mane both leave in the summer .
As well as West Ham, Stoke and Spurs, the player has also been linked with a move to AC Milan.
Liverpool could prefer to do business with Southampton, however, if a deal for Sturridge works as a sweetener for Virgil van Dijk, with whom they were linked on Tuesday.


David Alaba
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho wants to sign two defensive players in the January transfer window – with Southampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk, 25, and versatile Bayern Munich defender David Alaba, 24 the men in his sights.
Mourinho wants assurances from United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward that significant funds are available to go for the players he has targeted.
And the top of that list is Austria defender Alaba, who can play across the defence and can also slot in at the base of midfield.
Alaba is also wanted by Man City boss Pep Guardiola, who managed him while at Bayern.
But the Daily Mirror claims Mourinho had Austria international Alaba watched twice by United scouts during the international break, with a view to making a January bid for the versatile 24-year-old.
Alaba plays as a left-back for Bayern, which has been a problem position for United this season, but can also operate in midfield.
Bayern are likely to rebuff any attempts to prise Alaba away from them in January, with Arsenal also said to be keeping tabs on the player who looks set to spark a huge bidding war.
United chief Woodward backed Mourinho to the tune of £150million in the summer, bringing in world record £89million signing Paul Pogba from Juventus, defender Eric Bailly from Villarreal, Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Borussia Dortmund and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Mourinho wants the same backing again in January, believing he needs to add two defenders of stature if United are to make the top-four and stand any chance of an unlikely title push.
It was claimed on Tuesday that Mourinho believes he needs two transfer windows to sort out the mess at United.
Sam McQueen, Virgil van Dijk & Dusan Tadic
United are also keen on Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, but the Reds are likely to have to fork out at least £30million to prise him away from the south coast club.
Van Dijk, who was also linked with Liverpool on Tuesday, has become a man in demand on the back of a series of impressive displays at Southampton.
Mourinho has made new defenders his priority in January, with the United boss also set to lose centre-half Bailly – currently out injured – to the African Cup of Nations, while also questioning the mental toughness of Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw.


Gelson Martins: Linked with United and Barcelona
Manchester United are keeping tabs on Barcelona youngster Carles Alena, who has been dubbed the “new Andres Iniesta” (Daily Mirror)
Chelsea are confident of sealing a £2m deal for Exeter’s 16-year-old wonderkid midfielder Ethan Ampadu – even though his dad, Kwame, works as an academy coach for London rivals Arsenal (Daily Mirror)
Manchester United face new competition from Real Madrid to sign Sporting Lisbon and Portugal winger Gelson Martins (Daily Mirror)

Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen says he will not be cutting short his loan spell at Borussia Monchengladbach to return to Stamford Bridge in January (Daily Mirror)
Everton are preparing to swoop for Ajax teenage sensation Kasper Dolberg in the upcoming January transfer window (Daily Mirror)
Leicester have lodged a £16m bid for Genk midfielder Wilfred Ndidi (Daily Mirror)
Republic of Ireland legend Robbie Keane is a target for Australian club Brisbane Roar (Daily Mirror)
Germany forward and long-time Arsenal target Julian Draxler could be allowed to leave Wolfsburg next summer, according to the German side’s general manager Klaus Allofs
Arsenal face having to stump up £200,000-a-week each if they want Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez to sign new deals with the club (The Sun)
Jose Mourinho says Manchester United need to dip into their pockets in the next two transfer windows to fix their broken squad
Manchester City star Jason Denayer wants to make a permanent £10m switch to Sunderland (The Sun)
Chelsea have moved into pole position to land AIK whizkid Alexander Isak (The Sun)
Juventus have offered to sign Branislav Ivanovic on a free in the summer if Stephan Lichtsteiner leaves the Italian giants (The Sun)
Branislav Ivanovic Chelsea
Wigan boss Warren Joyce has axed coach Joe Parkinson, paving the way for Paul Scholes to join his back-room team (The Sun)
Phil Neville is ready to begin his managerial career by taking over at home-town club Bury (The Sun)
Serge Aurier’s career could be wrecked after he was banned from entering Britain to face Arsenal (Daily Star)
West Brom’s players are uniting behind troubled striker Saido Berahino in his fight to save his career (Daily Star)
Danny Drinkwater is set to be charged with violent conduct by the Football Association, dealing another blow to Leicester City’s Premier League title defence (Daily Telegraph)

Roman Abramovich will fight to keep Steve Holland at Chelsea as Gareth Southgate lines up a full-time role for the highly-rated coach with England (Daily Mail)
Crystal Palace insist Alan Pardew’s job as manager is safe despite his team having won only once in seven league matches (London Evening Standard)
Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has dismissed reports linking Argentina striker Lionel Messi, 29, with a move to Manchester City (The Guardian)
Mario Mandzukic: Linked with West Ham
Juventus and Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic, 30, is a target for West Ham (The Sun)
Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City are interested in 22-year-old Atalanta defender Mattia Caldara (Gazetta dello Sport)
The brother and agent of Swansea striker Fernando Llorente says Bob Bradley’s appointment as manager was “fatal” for the 31-year-old Spaniard (Daily Star)
Marc Muniesa is prepared to leave Stoke City in January – on loan or permanently – in search of regular first-team football. The central defender, 24, has not started a league game this season (Stoke Sentinel)

Ronaldo has closed Ballon d'Or debate with Atletico hat-trick - Zidane

Ronaldo has closed Ballon d'Or debate with Atletico hat-trick - Zidane
The Real Madrid coach feels his star man's match-winning performance at the Vicente Calderon on Saturday has cemented his position as the best player in the world
Zinedine Zidane feels Cristiano Ronaldo's hat-trick in the derby victory over Atletico Madrid has decided the 2016 Ballon d'Or.
Ronaldo scored all three goals, one in the first half and two in the second, including a penalty, as Real Madrid claimed the bragging rights in the final La Liga derby at the Vicente Calderon before Diego Simeone's team leave their historic home at the end of the season.
Ronaldo is vying with 2015 winner Lionel Messi and the likes of Atletico's Antoine Griezmann for the biggest individual prize in world football.
And Madrid coach Zidane, who claimed the accolade himself in 1998, believes the Portugal star will be awarded his fourth Ballon d'Or on January 11.
"I've never had doubts that Cristiano is the best and tonight closes the debate," he said.
Zidane, who guided Madrid to Champions League glory with a penalty shootout victory over Atletico in the final at San Siro in May, was reluctant to describe the comprehensive victory on Saturday as the highlight of his brief career in the dugout so far.
"I do not know if [it is] the best, but we played a huge game against a difficult opponent and in a stadium where it is difficult to win," he said.
"In the second half it was logical Atletico's pressure [increased] in those first 15 minutes, but we produced the necessary intensity against a complicated opponent.
"It is an important victory for us, on a difficult pitch and with a rival that gives you a war. We played a very good game from the beginning. There are not many teams that can win on this pitch and we did well."
Asked if he will miss the Calderon when Atletico move to a new ground for the 2017-18 season, Zidane said: "Yes, sure. The players, fans... they are going to miss it. We're happy about this victory because there are not many teams that win here."

Liverpool man tops list of Europe’s 10 best signings

Kerem Demirbay, Miralem Pjanic, Iago Falque: All in top 10
Plenty of cash was spent this summer – but which of those players have had the biggest impact? Sportmasta'sblog reveal Europe’s top 10 summer additions…
With a third of the season now complete, it’s worth looking back at how the summer signings have performed in Europe’s top five leagues. There’s some surprising names to make the list….

10. Christian Benteke – Crystal Palace Sportmasta'sblog Rating 7.44)

Christian Benteke became Crystal Palace’s club record signing the summer when he left Liverpool for £27m, which could rise to £32m.
The Belgian has made a positive impact for the Eagles having scored four goals in 10 league games and has won more aerial duels per game (9.4) than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues this campaign.
Manager Alan Pardew has tinkered his approach to play to Benteke’s strengths and the player is profiting having enjoyed a good start to life at Selhurst Park.

9. Thomas Meunier – PSG (7.45)

Benteke’s Belgium team-mate comes in just above the powerful frontman with Thomas Meunier one of the surprise packages at Euro 2016.
PSG forked out just €7m to bring the right-back to Paris from Club Bruges and he’s proved a shrewd signing for the French champions as competition for Serge Aurier.
He’s got forward well with an average of 1.3 dribbles per game and is an effective creative outlet from deep as evidenced in his average of 1.6 key passes per league match, the second best return of all PSG players.

8. Fernando Marçal – Guingamp (7.46)

Fernando Marçal was an commendable performer for Gaziantepspor, but that did not convince Benfica that he deserved a first team spot.
Instead, the Portuguese giants opted to send the Brazilian on loan, with Guingamp the happy recipients. The left-back is currently the club’s highest rated player for the French side with a rating of 7.46.
Marçal has three assists to his name, all of which have been from open play, highlighting the attacking threat he carries for the Ligue 1 side. Given a majority of the team’s offensive moves come down the left (40%), this only reinforces the 27-year-old’s importance for Antoine Kombouare’s side.

7. Iago Falque – Torino (7.53)

Like Marçal, Iago Falque also secured a loan move in the summer, joining Torino from Serie A counterparts Roma.
He’s impressing as well for the Turin side as his rating (7.53) suggests. Only a handful of players have been directly involved in more goals than Falque (8 – 5 goals, 3 assists) in Italy’s top tier this term as he looks to establish himself as one of Serie A’s most consistent attacking performers.

6. Paul Pogba – Manchester United (7.55)

Paul Pogba: Not as bad as made out
It was the longest running transfer saga of the summer and Manchester United fans were understandably ecstatic when Paul Pogba’s record breaking return to Old Trafford was confirmed. While many may feel the Frenchman is yet to live up to his hefty price tag, the 23-year-old is performing capably in the United midfield with 3.1 shots, 1.9 key passes and 2.6 dribbles per game ranking highly for Jose Mourinho’s side.

5. Naby Keita – RB Leipzig (7.55)

A summer arrival from RB Leipzig’s partner club RB Salzburg, Naby Keita has been one of the star players in Germany’s top tier this term.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side currently top the Bundealiga and are one of two teams yet to be defeated in the league this season. Keita has been a key player in the middle of the park, breaking up play effectively with an average of 2.4 tackles and 2.6 interceptions per game.
The Guinea international is also more than capable of bringing the ball forward with a success rate of 71.4% the second best of all Bundesliga players to attempt 15 or more dribbles this season.

4. Miralem Pjanic – Juventus (7.60)

It’s little shock that Juventus have soared to the summit of Serie A given their quality in depth. Summer signing Miralem Pjanic has helped them achieve a better start to the season than they managed last time around, with his rating (7.60) the third best of all players for the Old Lady. A vital strength of Pjanic’s game remains his set piece taking ability and he’s exhibited this trait on numerous occasions this season having made more key passes from dead ball situations (16) in Italy’s top tier this term than any other player.

3. Marcos Alonso – Chelsea (7.71)

 Marcos Alonso, David Meyler
It took time for Marcos Alonso to establish himself as a key man for Chelsea, but after Antonio Conte’s switch to a 3-4-3 formation, the Spaniard is now a star performer for the Blues.
A rating of 7.71 is the seventh best in the Premier League this season, while 3.4 tackles per game is better than any other Chelsea player.
He’s become increasingly important for the west London side and their recent winning run that recently saw Conte’s side move to the Premier League’s summit for the first time since they last won the title.

2. Kerem Demirbay – Hoffenhem (7.71)

Hoffenheim are yet to lose a league game this season with Kerem Demirbay playing a starring role in the middle of the park.
A rating of 7.71 is the second best in the Bundesliga this season, with the youngster creating five clear-cut goalscoring opportunities, the second best return this term.
Three goals and three assists is an impressive return for Demirbay, who joined Hoffenheim from Bundesliga counterparts Hamburg over the summer.
If he can maintain his stunning start to the campaign, Hoffenheim have a much stronger chance of securing a European finish, which would be all the more notable given their close shave with relegation last term

1. Sadio Mane – Liverpool (7.76)

Sadio Mane: Boasts impressive stats
Sadio Mane’s big money move to Liverpool raised a few eyebrows over the summer, but the Senegal star has certainly lived up to the billing at Anfield. His rating (7.76) is the fifth best in England’s top tier this term as the Reds strive to secure their first Premier League title.
Six goals and two assists is a fine return for Mane, while his partnership with fellow frontmen Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho has seen the Reds score more Premier League goals (30) than any other team.
Indeed, Mane’s excellent start to life on Merseyside means he is at present the highest rated summer signing in Europe’s top five leagues this season.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Mourinho in fresh jab at Wenger after bragging about his success

Jose Mourinho: Another day, another pop at Wenger
Jose Mourinho claims he is under far more pressure than Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger because he is far more successful at winning trophies and more is expected of him.
The Manchester United manager has a long-running feud with Wenger and said in the build-up to Saturday’s game with Arsenal that the Frenchman “gets more respect in the media despite not winning a title in 18 years”.
And Mourinho was left feeling further frustrated after Wenger’s Arsenal side “showed the mettle of champions” and pinched a point in Saturday’s 1-1 Old Trafford draw.
And in another bitter blast at his nemesis, the Manchester United boss claimed he is held to a higher standard than his Arsenal counterpart and the top flight’s other managers.
He said: “The Arsenal manager hasn’t won a championship in 14 years. I haven’t won a championship in 18 months. He, in 14 years, failed to build a team to be champion.
“I’ve been here for four months. And the demand is only for me and not for others.”
Wenger last lifted the Premier League in 2004. While he has since won three FA Cups, Mourinho has – in that time – clinched three titles at Chelsea, two at Inter Milan, along with the Champions League, and the Spanish league with Real Madrid.
The Portuguese added: “It must be because of the career I’ve made. Because I got to the clubs and always won right away.
“And this is a more difficult reality, because it is an extremely difficult competition, with teams being prepared for a lot longer, with excellent players, with excellent coaches.
“Manchester really live in a period that needs stability.
“A stability that the club wants to give me, a stability that the club gives me, a stability that the fans give me, but that the press does not accept very well.”

Capello: Ronaldo's not a genius like Messi but he deserves Ballon d'Or

Capello: Ronaldo's not a genius like Messi but he deserves Ballon d'Or
The former AC Milan and England manager has tipped the Real Madrid forward to claim the award, especially after his Euro 2016 triumph with Portugal
Fabio Capello has backed Goal 50 winner Cristiano Ronaldo to lift the Ballon d'Or trophy, claiming he has outperformed "genius" Lionel Messi in 2016.
The former AC Milan and Real Madrid manager admitted that he prefers the Barcelona forward overall, but that the two are not comparable over the last 12 months.
Goal 50: The best footballers of 2016
Ronaldo helped Real win their 11th European Cup title with the winning penalty in the shootout victory over rivals Atletico Madrid, and then scored three goals at Euro 2016 as Portugal won their first ever major trophy.
The 31-year-old has eight goals in nine Liga games for Zinedine Zidane's side this season, having scored 35 in the previous campaign.
Capello believes that Ronaldo's achievements in 2016 make him the prime candidate to lift the Ballon d'Or, but revealed that he still has a certain fondness for Barcelona attacker Messi.
“He deserves to win the Ballon d’Or this season," Capello told Fox Sports Italia.
"He’s the best player of Real Madrid and Portugal, he has won everything this season. He’s been scoring bags of goals and has great personality.
"He’s not a genius like the other one [Messi], but he’s a great player. I prefer Messi, but Ronaldo deserves to win the Ballon d’Or.”

Deployed as a central striker, Ronaldo scored a hat-trick against Atletico Madrid in the derby on Saturday, surpassing Alfredo Di Stefano's tally of 17 to become to highest scorer in the history of the fixture.
Zidane has said, however, that he was not confident that the Portugal international will continue in the No.9 role going forward.
"It's not definitive. He was comfortable, we know that, but we'll see how things are for every match," he told reporters.
Ronaldo mocked…by his own son
Capello is already looking forward to the next meeting of Ronaldo and Messi - on December 3 - and is intrigued as to whether the Portuguese will play up front.
“It will be important to see how Zidane prepares the next game against Barcelona," Capello said.
"He may require his strikers to help the midfield or leave them up front."