Saturday, April 7, 2007

Soccer News 4/7/2007

4/07/07

Weekly World News

English fans targeted in Italy and Spain

When English fans travel abroad, there is a likelihood of trouble, only they are not always to blame. At Stadio Olimpico in Rome truncheon-wielding police carried out a fierce intervention against Manchester United followers during the Roma-Manchester United Champions' League clash. The following day the police in Seville turned on Tottenham supporters with similar aggression on the occasion of the Sevilla-Spurs UEFA Cup duel.

Both English clubs claim their fans were unjustly targeted, and the supporters themselves say they are shocked at the police brutality.
"The Italian police attacked a group of Manchester fans. I tried to help a girl who fell when a policeman hit me with a baton," said one United fan.
A Tottenham official in the meantime said the Spanish police brutalized a disabled Spurs fan.
"We are aware that a disabled fan was hit with a stick with such force that he was thrown out of his wheelchair," Tottenham secretary John Alexander told the BBC.

Although the days of English thugs rioting on the continent are long gone, modern mostly well-behaved fans still seem to be a fair game for those who are supposed to take care of public order.

Roberto Carlos "wrecked by personal problems"

Real Madrid's longest-standing foreigner, Roberto Carlos, has confirmed he will leave Madrid for an unknown destination at the end of the season, but has also spoken about his personal turmoils in a rare interview about his private life.

"Nothing could keep me here anymore, but it is not Real that is kicking me out, since I am leaving by my own decision," said the Brazilian to As daily.

Over the past eleven years spent at Santiago Bernabeu, Carlos has endured a number of ups and downs.

"I came and I triumphed, I won three Champions' Leagues, my manager cheated on me, and my wife left me. Over the past few years my private problems wrecked me, because I was left alone. I have had a lot of difficult moments, but I didn't want to speak about them, because what a fan wants is for me to play well."

Well, now he will not be alone anymore because one of his seven kids will be joining him.
"My daughter Roberta has come to live together with me. But I also have six more children," said the Brazilian left-sided defender who has defined an era at the world's most famous club.

Mexican gay footballers denied FA support

The Mexican national team for homosexuals have complained of alleged discrimination by the Mexican FA on grounds they have been denied financial support for playing at the next World Cup for homosexuals to be held in Argentina in September.

The FA told gay team leaders that the World Gay Cup is not a FIFA event and that there are no funds for it in the budget. Still, the Mexican gay team have agreed sponsorship deals with a tourist agency and a sports equipment manufacturer.

Sunderland pay taxi fares for fans

Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn approved a payment of 11,600 euros to eighteen taxi drivers for the transportation of a group of supporters from Cardiff to Sunderland.
The fans were supposed to travel home by plane, but the airline refused to allow them on board claiming the would-be passengers were noisy and rude, the claim the club denies. The former towering Ireland forward saw to it that all the supporters were safely in their taxis, before hiring another cab for himself to undertake the 482 km trip to northern England.

Palmeiras celebrating their world title...56 years later!

Palmeiras of Sao Paulo have been declared world club champions by FIFA for their win in a tournament in 1951! After a thorough analysis, soccer's governing body decided that 1951 Taça Rio had all the characteristics of a world club championship and even though it was not organized by them, FIFA awarded Palmeiras the title equivalent to the one won by Internacional of Porto Alegre last December in Tokyo.

It was the Greens themselves who applied in 2004 to FIFA for the recognition of the title and the organization responded in "just" three years. A short time compared to the time elapsed since the Taça Rio was held with participation of clubs like Juventus Turin, Olympique Nice, Red Star Belgrade, Austria Wien and Nacional Montevideo – champions of their respective countries.

The King of football, Pelé, refuses to accept FIFA's ruling on grounds that tournaments like that particular Taça Rio were nothing special.
"I remember that tournament from 56 years ago. My Santos won plenty of such trophies in Argentina, Chile and Mexico. By the same logic, FIFA should award us with five or six world club championships," said Pelé, who won two Intercontinental Cups with Santos in 1961 and 1962.

Pelé also attacked Romário's quest for his 1000th career goal.
"Pity he didn't score it last Sunday, on April Fools' Day, because it is all one big joke."

Inter, the most convincing leader in Europe

With a 20 points advantage over second placed Roma, Inter Milan is the biggest leader in all European leagues. The nerazurri, skilfully coached by Roberto Mancini, need just two more wins in the remaining nine games to clinch the title – this time on the pitch, rather than in FA offices.

The second biggest advantage is Slovenia's Domzale with 17 points more than Maribor, while the third place goes to Austria's Salzburg with a 14 point lead over Mattersburg.

Top 8 Leads
Leaders 2nd placed Points
1. Inter (Milan) Roma (Italy) 79-59 (+20)
2. Domzale Maribor (Slovenia) 54-37 (+17)
3. Salsburg Mattersburg (Austria) 55-41 (+14)
4. Celtic Rangers (Scotland) 75-62 (+13)
5. Dinamo (Buc) Cluj (Romania) 59-49 (+10)
6.-7. Fenerbahce Galatasaray (Turkey) 54-45 (+9)
Crvena Zvezda - Partizan (Serbia) 51-42 (+9)
8. Dinamo (Zag) - Hajduk (Croatia) 65-57 (+8)

Espanyol gather the most points in Euro-cups

This season's UEFA Cup quarter finalist, Espanyol of Barcelona, have collected the most points valid for its national FA's ranking. By staying unbeaten for eleven games, winning nine and drawing two, the Catalans brought Spain a cool 21 points. The English and the Spanish teams dominate the table, with only Werder and Roma sneaking into the top ten.

Euro-cups ranking points for 2006/07

1. Espanyol 21 points - 11 games
2. Sevilla 19/11
3. Chelsea 18/9
4. Liverpool 18/9
5. Werder 18/11
6. Newcastle 17/9
7. Manchester Utd. 17/9
8. Tottenham 17/9
9. Valencia 17/9
10. Roma 17/9

Ronaldinho dreams of "staying many more years" in Barcelona

Linked with both Milan and Inter, Ronaldinho Gaúcho has encouraged Barcelona's fans by saying he wishes to stay put for a long time.
"I am happy at Barcelona and I dream of staying here for many more years," said the Brazilian virtuoso at a ceremony in Lloret de Mar, organized by the town council, which sponsors Ronaldinho's official web page.

If that is Ronaldinho's dream, then someone should tell him it is very easy to fulfill: he should just honour the contract linking him to the Catalan club until 2010, rather than listening to his brother and agent Roberto's suggestions to ask for even more money either at Barca or elsewhere.

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