Tag Archives: autographs

Alex Ferguson says Rafa Benitez should stand in front of him to shake hand

Rafa wants to shake my hand Well, he should stand in front of me next time! Fergie stokes new row with Chelsea boss

By
Graeme Yorke

PUBLISHED:

13:40 GMT, 15 March 2013

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UPDATED:

09:41 GMT, 16 March 2013

Sir Alex Ferguson has re-opened his feud with Rafael Benitez over their handshake row.

The pair, who have a history of fall-outs, didn't shake hands before their FA Cup clash at Manchester United on Sunday.

Benitez later claimed that Ferguson ignored him prior to kick-off in the 2-2 draw at Old Trafford.

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Clash: Sir Alex Ferguson (right) and Rafa Benitez on the touchline on Sunday

Clash: Sir Alex Ferguson (right) and Rafa Benitez on the touchline on Sunday

Hitting back: Sir Alex Ferguson (right) at the Cheltenham Festival with Paul Nicholls this week

Hitting back: Sir Alex Ferguson (right) at the Cheltenham Festival with Paul Nicholls this week

But Ferguson has now hit back, insisting that he did not refuse – before giving them Chelsea boss some advice.

He said: 'It is nonsense. Why would I refuse to shake his hand

'I was signing autographs and I never saw him. Why he has said that I have no idea.

Pointing the way: Benitez takes charge of Chelsea's training session on Friday

Pointing the way: Benitez takes charge of Chelsea's training session on Friday

'If he wanted to shake hands he could have stood straight in front of me. It is absolute nonsense.'

Ferguson and Benitez have had several run-ins in the Barclays Premier League – dating back to their United v Liverpool clashes.

The Spaniard famously held a press conference in 2009 where he ran down a list of 'facts' attacking Ferguson's record.

VIDEO “I didn't see him.” Fergie denies Benitez handshake claim

Absolute NONSENSE. Fergie rubbishes Benitez handshake claim

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Alex Ferguson on Rio and Reading

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Novak Djokovic suffers unusual injury scare at Hopman Cup ahead of Australian Open

VIDEO: Djokovic suffers unusual injury scare ahead of Australian Open as he was hit by a railing while signing autographs at Hopman Cup

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UPDATED:

15:10 GMT, 31 December 2012

Novak Djokovic endured a strange injury scare ahead of his Australian Open defence as a railing fell on his leg while he was signing autographs in Perth.

The Serbian was representing his country at the Hopman Cup and he limped away from court after his 6-3 6-4 win over Andreas Seppi.

But the 25-year-old recovered in time to play the mixed-doubles encounter with Ana Ivanovic.

Djokovic said: 'It was a bit of a shock and I'm glad that the children involved are OK. I am fine.'

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Injured: A barrier gave way while Djokovic was signing autographs

Injured: A barrier gave way while Djokovic was signing autographs

Injured: A barrier gave way while Djokovic was signing autographs

Unusual: The world number one hobbled off court in Perth

Hurt: The world number one hobbled off court in Perth

The Serbian was representing his country at the Hopman Cup and he limped away from court after his 6-3 6-4 win over Andreas Seppi.

It was a hectic day for the world number one as he arrived late in Australia after winning an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi.

'I arrived quite late last night and didn't get a lot of hours of sleep and I felt like I was dream-walking,' he said after beating Seppi.

'I broke the ice after the first set and felt a little bit better.'

Despite losing the mixed-doubles, Serbia beat Italy 2-1 as Ivanovic beat Francesca Schiavone 6-0 6-4 in the women's singles match.

Warm-up: Djokovic was representing his country at the Hopman Cup as part of his Australian Open preparations

Warm-up: Djokovic was representing his country at the Hopman Cup as part of his Australian Open preparations

Recovery: Djokovic came back to play the doubles match with Ana Ivanovic

Recovery: Djokovic came back to play the doubles match with Ana Ivanovic

Victory: Serbia beat Italy 2-1 in Perth despite losing the mixed-doubles match

Victory: Serbia beat Italy 2-1 in Perth despite losing the mixed-doubles match

VIDEO Watch Djokovic being hit by collapsing barrier

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Rafa Benitez is mobbed by Chelsea fans – in Japan

It's 6,000 miles from Stamford Bridge but Rafa is popular at last (while Chelsea stars get mobbed at Starbucks)

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UPDATED:

11:57 GMT, 11 December 2012

Rafa Benitez may be struggling to win over the Chelsea fans back in England, but over in Japan the Blues’ faithful can’t get enough of their interim boss.

He was not the only one to receive a warm welcome from the Japanese fans, as Petr Cech and Paulo Ferreira were mobbed as they waited in line at a local Starbucks.

The European champions are in Yokohama preparing for their FIFA Club World Cup against Mexican side Monterrey on Thursday.

Sign here please: Rafael Benitez signs autographs for fans as he leaves the team hotel

Sign here please: Rafael Benitez signs autographs for fans as he leaves the team hotel

Happy to be here: Benitez looked happy to take time out to sign autographs for the fans

Happy to be here: Benitez looked happy to take time out to sign autographs for the fans

And ahead of training on Tuesday the Spanish manager was greeted by fans wanting his autograph, which was a far cry from the boos and jeers that welcomed him at Stamford Bridge when he was unveiled as manager last month against Manchester City.

And the Chelsea players were happy to get to know the locals as Ferreira purchased a 'Yokohama Starbucks' coffee mug as a souvenir but goalkeeper Cech opted to save his money as dozens of fans in Chelsea shirts swarmed around them in a local Starbucks.

Fan crazy: Petr Cech signs autographs before he was later mobbed by fans in a Yokohama branch of Starbucks

Fan crazy: Petr Cech signs autographs before he was later mobbed by fans in a Yokohama branch of Starbucks

Fan fare: Paulo Ferreira was mobbed by Chelsea fans in Starbucks

Fan fare: Paulo Ferreira was mobbed by Chelsea fans in Starbucks

Picking up a small size coffee, Cech asked his team mate: ‘Do you want to drink here or go back (to the hotel)’

Closely watched by team security, the players patiently signed autographs and posed for photos with fans as they waited before Ferreira nervously replied: ‘Go back.’
Japanese fans were thrilled at the surprise visit by their idols.

'Brilliant!' 21-year-old student Shohei Tanimura said. ‘That was lucky. I only came in for a quick coffee. Cech was huge. He's even bigger than he looks on TV.’

Out on the town: Chelsea's Fernando Torres walking down the street and signs an autograph for a fan

Out on the town: Chelsea's Fernando Torres walking down the street and signs an autograph for a fan

Hello geezers: David Luiz signs autographs for fans who see him in Yokohama

Hello geezers: David Luiz signs autographs for fans who see him in Yokohama

Chelsea's jet-lagged players had just finished training ahead of Thursday's game.
The Premier League side, who last week became the first holders to exit the Champions League at the group stage, are under pressure to win the tournament in the Far East.

Chelsea are expected to meet Libertadores Cup holders Corinthians in the final on Sunday.

The Brazilian side play Egypt's Al-Ahly in Wednesday's first semi-final.

Keven Mealamu warns England that New Zealand are ready

All Blacks are over sickness bug and ready to leave England's series in tatters, warns Mealamu

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UPDATED:

15:16 GMT, 30 November 2012

New Zealand hooker Keven Mealamu has insisted that the illness which hit nearly all of Steve Hansen’s squad earlier in the week has had no adverse effect on their preparations for Saturday’s final autumn international against England at Twickenham.

Hansen revealed on Thursday that the vast majority of his All Blacks squad had been struck by a 24-hour sickness bug which has caused vomiting and diarrhoea.

But despite confirming that he was one of the players affected by the illness, Mealamu – who starts on Saturday – is confident that the world champions are over the worst of it and are fully prepared for the challenge of taking on Stuart Lancaster’s side.

Ready to roll: Keven Mealamu visited the West London Free School today to teach the Year 8 pupils

Ready to roll: Keven Mealamu visited the West London Free School today to teach the Year 8 pupils

Recovered: New Zealanders Mealamu, Adam Thomson and Tawera Kerr-Barlow sign autographs

Recovered: New Zealanders Mealamu, Adam Thomson and Tawera Kerr-Barlow sign autographs

‘Most of the team have been hit by a bit of a bug, but that is the sort of thing that happens on tour,’ explained the 33-year-old veteran of 101 Tests. ‘I think everyone is just getting over it at the right time though.

‘Everyone is well now and certainly feeling a lot better than we did earlier in the week.

‘I became ill with it for a bit on Tuesday night so it wasn’t a good start to the week, but you just have to get on with it, get on with the job and make sure we get the things we need ready for the weekend.

‘Obviously it is something that has come through the team as a bit of a surprise but we have had to put it aside for a second and make sure we are prepared.’

The All Blacks have not played against England since 2010 – when Mealamu was banned for four weeks for headbutting Lewis Moody – and for six of the starting XV it will be the first time they have played at Twickenham, but Mealamu insists that those who have played at HQ before are just as excited about running out at the iconic stadium on Saturday as the rookies are.

‘All the boys understand the magnitude of where we are playing,’ he enthused. ‘It is honestly one of the greatest places to play rugby. The home of rugby.

‘Whether it’s guys that have played there before or not, we all just can’t wait to get on the field and play.’

Top class: Richie McCaw and the rest of the All Blacks were in training yesterday

Top class: Richie McCaw and the rest of the All Blacks were in training yesterday

Illness: The New Zealand squad were struck down with a sickness bug earlier this week

Illness: The New Zealand squad were struck down with a sickness bug earlier this week

A stalwart of the Kiwi side for 10 years now, Mealamu has had to play second fiddle to Andrew Hore so far during this tour, but with his fellow veteran suspended for five weeks for striking Wales lock Bradley Davies in the 33-10 win in Cardiff last weekend, Mealamu is given the chance to start at Twickenham.

The Auckland Blues hooker – no stranger to controversy himself – sympathises with Hore, but he is understandably delighted to be pulling on the All Black No 2 jersey again.

‘There is nothing worse than watching on the sidelines so I am really looking forward to getting back out there and helping the team out,’ said Mealamu, who was talking after an impromptu kick about with budding rugby players from the West London Free School at Regents Park.

‘I think Andrew and the team understood what happened and what it looked like and we knew what was coming. We all have to take on extra responsibility without him and we have to support him as well.’

Challenge: Tom Youngs (centre) will line up against Mealamu

Challenge: Tom Youngs (centre) will line up against Mealamu

Having seen umpteen Red Rose hookers come and go over the last decade, Mealamu lines up opposite another new face on Saturday in the form of Tom Youngs, the 25-year-old Leicester star who’s performances have been one of the major positives for Lancaster this autumn despite defeats to South Africa and Australia in the last two weeks. Mealamu admits he has been impressed by Youngs’ start to Test rugby.

‘I have had a brief look at him over the last week and I know he has just recently converted from being in the backline, so it is quite a good effort from him to be able to play in the front row now,’ said Mealamu. ‘He has done really well.

Ready England will have to make special plans to stop Dan Carter from running the show

Ready England will have to make special plans to stop Dan Carter from running the show

‘I have been impressed with his work around the field and he is quite a physical player. He looks to hit a lot of the rucks and likes to have ball in hand, so for us we’re looking at him as quite an important player for them.’

Having seen several England sides come and go since his All Blacks debut in 2002, Mealamu – who infamously dislocated Brian O’Driscoll’s shoulder in tandem with Tana Umaga in the first Lions Test in 2005 – is a good judge of a Red Rose XV.

Lancaster’s troops have been criticised for lacking a cutting edge going forward, but Mealamu says he has been impressed with the attacking abilities of what he sees as a team breaking with English traditions.

Limbering up: Ma'a Nonu

Relaxing: Ma'a Nonu and Liam Messam (right)

Limbering up: Ma'a Nonu is put through his paces (left), as he relaxes with Liam Messam (right)

‘We will find out more about this England team in time,’ said Mealamu, who started in last year’s World Cup final over France, ‘I think at the moment they are a team that are still working to get that identity going and put a run of good performances together.

‘But for an England side they use the ball really well. They are quite an exciting side to watch and they look to counter really well and I think comparing to England sides in the past they seem more willing to attack.’

But as impressed as Mealamu may be with England’s ability to attack and counter-attack, there is no better side in the world at those two facets of the game than the All Blacks, who have cruised past Scotland, Italy and Wales so far on tour without ever really hitting top gear.

Bouncing back: Chris Robshaw will hope to end the series on a high against the world champions

Bouncing back: Chris Robshaw will hope to end the series on a high against the world champions

But there is no sign of the All Blacks letting up – illness or no illness.

Hansen has picked the strongest side available to him for Saturday’s game and Mealamu says the side are determined to end their tour on a high.

‘We are happy with what we have been able to achieve so far but the tour is not finished yet, we have got one more job to do so we need to make sure we finish well,’ he said. ‘It all comes down to this last game and how we finish.

‘It is against another big foe of ours and who we enjoy playing against. To be playing England at their home, it is a game you have to come over here and make sure you do well.’

All smiles: Chris Ashton (left) shared a joke in training yesterday

All smiles: Chris Ashton (left) shared a joke in training yesterday

Known for playing with a swagger and verve not seen anywhere else on the planet, and as odds-on favourites, New Zealand could be forgiven for targetting not just a win, but a comprehensive one. But Mealamu is having none of it.

‘It is about winning,’ he said. ‘Whether it comes down to one point or whether it is a bigger margin it doesn’t matter, at the end of the day it is just about winning and that is what we are determined to do.’

England, you have been warned.

Eden Hazard, Victor Moses and Cesar Azpilicueta turn on Christmas lights at Fulham Broadway

It's a blue Christmas in Fulham as Hazard, Moses and Azpilicueta escape from Rafa to turn on the lights

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UPDATED:

20:49 GMT, 23 November 2012

In a week of turmoil at Chelsea, from the vicious sacking of much-loved manager Roberto Di Matteo to the appointment of public enemy No 1 Rafa Benitez, not to mention the Mark Clattenburg race case falling apart, three players took a break by turning to the one thing that everybody likes – Christmas.

Eden Hazard, Victor Moses and Cesar Azpilicueta, three of Di Matteo's summer signings, were at the Fulham Broadway shopping centre on Friday night to turn on the festive lights.

Taking a break: Eden Hazard, Cesar Azpilicueta and Victor Moses at Fulham Broadway

Taking a break: Eden Hazard, Cesar Azpilicueta and Victor Moses at Fulham Broadway

Busy day: The three players were also signing autographs for fans

Busy day: The three players were also signing autographs for fans

With Christmas just around the corner,
the Chelsea trio got in the spirit by assisting with the event described
as 'packed full of entertainment and fun for all the family' on the
shopping centre website.

They don't have far to go to get back to business, with Stamford Bridge only a minute's walk away.

Manchester City are the visitors on
Sunday afternoon, taking on Chelsea in Benitez's first game at the helm,
in what should prove to be a cracker.

Benitez said: 'It is a tough first game, at the top of the table. They are a very strong team physically, but they have pace, ability.

'The strikers they can change, they have two they can change in who are as good as the first two.

'They have Silva, Nasri, Toure, who are all very dangerous, they are strong in defence and have a strong goalkeeper, so it is a tough, tough team to play against but okay, this is the Premier League, and when you want to compete and to win, it has to be against these teams.'

Steven Gerrard delighted school kids when he posed for 100 caps picture

The pupils were starry-eyed! Gerrard's return thrilled kids from his old school

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UPDATED:

17:34 GMT, 13 November 2012

Steven Gerrard caused a stir when he returned to his old school for a picture to celebrate his 100th cap and the feel-good factor has continued following the release of the image.

Huyton-With-Roby Church of England Primary School has been abuzz all day and deputy head teacher Kath Whitehouse and spoken about the excitement and impact Gerrard’s visit has had on starry-eyed pupils.

Impact: The deputy head explained how excited everyone got when Steven Gerrard visited his old primary school, Huyton-and-Roby, Church of England

Impact: The deputy head explained how excited everyone got when Steven Gerrard visited his old primary school, Huyton-and-Roby, Church of England

‘It has been the talk of the school,’
she said. ‘The kids were bringing in copies of the picture all morning
and everyone thinks it is wonderful. It was lovely to be involved in.

‘We had done a lucky dip to see which children would be involved, so there was a lot of excitement but when Steven actually turned up on the morning, it reached fever pitch.

‘The whole experience has just created a lovely atmosphere around the school, it has brought people together and Steven could not have been any more helpful. He was so lovely with the children. He might be a superstar but he is so down to earth.’

The Liverpool and England captain was genuinely overwhelmed by the response he received and he took time to sign autographs, pose for pictures and chat with as many children as possible after the formalities of the photoshoot had been concluded. Mrs Whitehouse described him as an inspiration.

‘We have got a football team that is doing quite well at the minute,’ she said. ‘Steven had a quick picture taken with them before he left and as he had got the kit for them. He is a role model for them, as he is for everyone here.

‘Our school is in a deprived area and there are low aspirations and expectations for our children, so to see Steven back in amongst everyone, was really inspirational. He knows the community, he knows the children and they know him.'

'Role Model': Gerrard, with England manager Roy Hodgson (left), was described as such by the deputy head

'Role Model': Gerrard, with England manager Roy Hodgson (left), was described as such by the deputy head

Sports pictures of the day: Friday, September 28, 2012

Sports images of the day: Our picture editor's selection

UPDATED:

13:15 GMT, 28 September 2012

Each day, MailOnline sports picture editor Dave Muir will choose his favourite photographs from around the world in the past 24 hours.

Enjoy today's selection right here…

Here you go: Rory McIlroy signs autographs for fans during a practice round for the Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club

Here you go: Rory McIlroy signs autographs for fans during a practice round for the Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club

Take that: Female WBO junior flyweight champion Yesica 'La Tuti' Bopp (right) of Argentina punches Marisol Miranda of New York

Take that: Female WBO junior flyweight champion Yesica 'La Tuti' Bopp (right) of Argentina punches Marisol Miranda of New York

Leap of faith: Blake Aldridge of Great Britain diving from the 27.5 metre platform during the seventh and final stop of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Oman

Leap of faith: Blake Aldridge of Great Britain diving from the 27.5 metre platform during the seventh and final stop of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Oman

Ball's in your court: Angelique Kerber returns a shot to Agnieszka Radwanska during their semi-final match at the Japan Pan Pacific Open

Ball's in your court: Angelique Kerber returns a shot to Agnieszka Radwanska during their semi-final match at the Japan Pan Pacific Open

Crunch: Baltimore Ravens' Morgan Cox tackles Cleveland Browns' Josh Cribbs

Crunch: Baltimore Ravens' Morgan Cox tackles Cleveland Browns' Josh Cribbs

Crack: South African cricketer JP Duminy plays a shot against Pakistan

Crack: South African cricketer JP Duminy plays a shot against Pakistan

Andy Murray arrives in Dunblane for homecoming parade

Welcome home, champ! Murray arrives in Dunblane celebrate US Open title and Olympic gold medal

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UPDATED:

14:50 GMT, 16 September 2012

Andy Murray arrived in his hometown of Dunblane on Sunday to a hero's welcome.

The Scot clinched his first Grand Slam title on Monday by beating Novak Djokovic in a thrilling five-set final at the US Open in New York.

That followed an Olympic gold medal won earlier this summer by the British No 1, when he beat Roger Federer – the man who toppled him in an emotional Wimbledon final back in July.

Homecoming: Murray is welcomed back home by adoring crowds in Dunblane

Homecoming: Murray is welcomed back home by adoring crowds in Dunblane

Homecoming: Murray is welcomed back home by adoring crowds in Dunblane

Crowds lined the streets of Dunblane as Murray was paraded around the town, showing off his medals, meeting fans and signing autographs.

Six-time grand slam champion Boris Becker believes Murray could end up with a similar career haul after breaking his duck at the US Open.

Becker acknowledged a 'golden' period for Murray since taking on Ivan Lendl, who won eight grand slam singles titles in his own playing days, as his coach.

The German told BBC Radio Five Live's
Sportsweek programme: 'Andy is 25 and has matured, he has played for a
number of years at a high level, and the hiring of Ivan Lendl was
golden.

'They're making
a great team, he had a great Wimbledon final and won the Olympic gold
medal, beating Djokovic and Federer along the way.

'I
don't think Andy Murray played his best tennis at the US Open. He found
a way to win and he played his best tennis when it mattered most.

Champion: Andy Murray celebrates his US Open win in New York on Monday

Champion: Andy Murray celebrates his US Open win in New York on Monday

Champion: Andy Murray celebrates his US Open win in New York on Monday

'It's a life-changing moment for him, the monkey is off his back now and he can breathe a little bit.'

Becker's
grand slam haul included three Wimbledon titles and three further
successes on the hard courts of the United States and Australia, with
the French Open the only major to elude him.

The 44-year-old expects Murray's career to unfold along similar lines and can also see him challenging seriously for the world No 1 ranking as early as next year.

'I think he'll win a couple more grand slams and be challenging for the No 1 ranking in the world,' he said. 'He's always challenging, three of the four grand slams suit him, so I wouldn't be surprised if he wins two, three, four or five more.

'I think the ranking position is clear at the moment, Djokovic or Federer will be No 1 at the end of the year, but I wouldn't be surprised by May or June if it's awfully close.'

Cristiano Ronaldo gets his way as Real Madrid back down over "Beckham law"

Ronaldo gets his way as Madrid back down over 'Beckham law'

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UPDATED:

21:12 GMT, 8 September 2012

Real Madrid are preparing a joint
statement with Cristiano Ronaldo that should put an end, at least
temporarily, to the uncertainty over his future.

The declaration being compiled by the
club, but expected to be signed by the player as well, will affirm
Real’s commitment to eventually extending Ronaldo’s contract beyond 2015
and will also give the club’s full support to his candidacy for the
Balon D’Or prize awarded at the end of the year.

Goal machine: Cristiano Ronaldo scored for Portugal in Friday's 2-1 win over Luxembourg

Goal machine: Cristiano Ronaldo scored for Portugal in Friday's 2-1 win over Luxembourg

The reaction addresses the two main reasons behind Ronaldo’s current unhappiness — the failure of the club to extend his current deal and a perceived lack of institutional support towards him in his battle to beat the likes of Leo Messi and Andres Iniesta to football’s top individual prizes.

There had also been leaks from the player’s camp that he had grown unhappy because he is not universally loved.

Yet while he is said to be peeved that his name is not greeted with thunderous acclaim pre-game at the Bernabeu — and has even been jeered by a voluble minority — it does not square with claims that his unrest is because he has no social life as he cannot get respite from adoring fans.

Ronaldo had been portrayed as a lonely figure whose daily routine of driving across Madrid, from his home at the exclusive La Finca in Pozuelo de Alarcn to the club’s Valdebebas training complex, was only occasionally broken by an ill-fated attempt at enjoying life in the city.

Insiders told newspaper El Mundo that Ronaldo had taken Russian girlfriend Irina Shayk to the theatre to see The Lion King, entering wearing sunglasses when the lights had been dimmed, only to leave before the interval because he had been swamped by fans demanding photos and autographs despite his requests to be left in peace.

Uncertain future: Ronaldo refused to celebrate his two goals against Granada

Uncertain future: Ronaldo refused to celebrate his two goals against Granada

It also reported that constant pestering
in public prevents him going to his favourite restaurant and he now has
food delivered to his home.

His unhappiness was also said to extend to the Real dressing room, where
he was once part of a band of Portuguese-speaking players. He has
fallen out with Brazil full-back Marcelo who, allegedly, said Iker
Casillas would be a worthy Balon D’Or winner. And while Ronaldo’s
Portugal team-mate, Pepe, made a point of congratulating his Madrid
clubmates in the Spain team after their European Championship semi-final
win, the former Manchester United hero did not.

Ronaldo feels his relationship with many of the Madrid fans is not what
it should be. After scoring 150 goals in his first 150 games for the
club (151, according to Ronaldo, after a referee awarded a deflected
effort to Pepe) one might expect unwavering adulation. But while the
80m attacker’s name is still sung by his former United supporters at
Old Trafford, at the Bernabeu there is no special treatment.

The cheers when his name is announced before kick-off are no louder than
for any other player … and usually less than those for his manager,
Jose Mourinho. There have even been isolated incidents of whistling from
a disgruntled minority.

Defiant: Florentino Perez

Defiant: Florentino Perez

Not just that, in Madrid he is constantly reminded that he earns around
21,800 a day — 1.5 times what the average Spaniard (if he is not one of
the five million unemployed) gets in a year.

‘If he wants a pay rise he
should at least ask less publicly,’ has been the common sentiment.

Ronaldo’s next home game comes in nine days’ time against Manchester
City in the Champions League, and the Real Madrid hierarchy will be
listening for the reaction to the player from the stands.

The first thing Real president Florentino Perez did when Ronaldo told
him he was unhappy, in a meeting he had requested last Saturday, was to
make sure there were no imminent bids for their superstar in the dying
days of the transfer window.

However, the ears of City, Chelsea, PSG, FC Anzhi and even United will
have pricked up, and the potential suitors will have been encouraged by
tales of the player’s tormented goldfish-bowl existence and Real’s
struggle to pay him what he wants.

Yet things might not have come to a head had Real managed to free
themselves of Kak in the summer. They are obliged to pay him 7.2m net a
year but, relieved of that expense, they may have been able to go a
long way to meeting Ronaldo’s demands before things got public.

Another problem for Real is the abolition of the so-called ‘Beckham
Law’, under which they agreed to pay Ronaldo 8m a year net, with the
club meeting his 24 per cent tax obligation. Ronaldo’s current contract
still benefits from the ‘Beckham Law’. But any new contract would, from
2015, be subject to a 52 per cent tax.

Paying Ronaldo his 8m a year has been costing the club just under 10m a
season. Now, by giving in to his 30 per cent pay increase demands, his
new 10.35m take home pay would see them shelling out more than 20m a
season.

Fabio Borini ready to impress at Liverpool

Laid-back Borini ready to unleash his inner beast on the pitch for Liverpool

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UPDATED:

21:39 GMT, 25 July 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Fabio Borini was lying on a beach in Italy this summer when the realisation dawned that the quiet life he craves would no longer be possible.

Recharging his batteries after a month with the Azzurri at Euro 2012, Borini was savouring the tranquillity when a group of excited children scampered over to him and started mimicking the ‘hand in the mouth’ celebration which has become his trademark.

‘I’m just a normal person who likes to go on my holidays, be with my friends and do what they do,’ said Liverpool’s new 11million striker. ‘I play football but I don’t like the celebrity side. I just like to be at home and chill with my friends, doing the normal things like going to the beach.

A man of simple pleasures: Liverpool's latest signing Fabio Borini enjoys the quiet life off the pitch

A man of simple pleasures: Liverpool's latest signing Fabio Borini enjoys the quiet life off the pitch

‘But it was on the beach when these kids started coming up to me and doing my celebration. It was nice, funny too but also different. A friend of mine said he was watching a Roma game on television one morning with his kids and they started doing it when they saw me.’

There is little doubt Borini is one of life’s more laid back souls but that should hide the fact he is ferociously driven and, in many ways, the way the 21-year-old marks scoring a goal is befitting his on-field character.

‘In Italy we say when one person wants something so much it is like he has a knife between his teeth,’ said Borini, who left home at 16 to join Chelsea, harbouring dreams of becoming a top- flight footballer.

Meeting the locals: Borini signs autographs for fans at Fenway Park

Meeting the locals: Borini signs autographs for fans at Fenway Park

‘As a warrior, as a person, you never give up. I am quiet off the pitch. But the pitch is like when you can bring out a side in yourself that’s maybe the opposite.

‘I just want everything the quickest way possible, I don’t know whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. But when I want something I want it straight away. That is the way I take it. It only took five seconds to decide I wanted to come to England. It wasn’t a hard decision.’

Nor was it difficult to decide he wanted to leave AS Roma for Anfield. The big lure was the prospect of working with Brendan Rodgers again, as the Northern Irishman has been a guiding light in his career, first at Chelsea, then more recently in Swansea.

Getting to know you: Borini watches Stewart Downing in action as he becomes acquainted with his new team-mates

Getting to know you: Borini watches Stewart Downing in action as he becomes acquainted with his new team-mates

Talk to Rodgers about the impact he anticipates Borini making alongside Luis Suarez and his eyes light up and Liverpool’s number 29 is similarly enthused about the prospect of furthering his career under such an innovative manager.

‘We have followed each other and we have a good relationship,’ said Borini. ‘We have trust for each other. He helped me at Chelsea when I was young. I had a few problems settling into the environment and the English system.

‘Then he helped me at Swansea when I’d been out of the Chelsea team. He gave me the chance to play. He has really helped me, both as a player and a person. He recognises when people have a problem inside. He’s a good person to talk with. He knows when others have problems.

‘He doesn’t play typical English football. He wants to play with the ball on the ground, lots of movement. ’

Getting to know you: Borini relaxes with Steven Gerrard and Andy Carroll

Getting to know you: Borini relaxes with Steven Gerrard and Andy Carroll

It had appeared that Borini would spend this season in Serie A, after Roma – who shared him with Parma – took full ownership of his contract in June but once the opportunity came to link up with Rodgers, he was happy to leave the beach behind.

‘When I had been bought by Roma, my thought was to stay there,’ he said. ‘I didn’t expect Liverpool would come and buy me. But then Liverpool came with an offer, Roma thought about it and they asked me what I wanted to do. We agreed I should go to Liverpool.

‘I ended my holiday early because I felt it was important to be with the team. I’m a new player here and I didn’t play at the European Championships. I don’t want to move every year. I want to be a focal point of the team at some stage of my career. Maybe it can be now.’