Tag Archives: brussels

Romelu Lukaku fights to release father from prison

Lukaku fights for father's release after he's given 15 months in prison for assaulting lover and keeping her in his car boot

By
Declan Warrington

PUBLISHED:

10:37 GMT, 5 April 2013

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UPDATED:

12:49 GMT, 5 April 2013

Romelu Lukaku is fighting to release his father Roger from a Belgian prison after he was sentenced to 15 months in jail for assaulting a female and keeping her in the boot of his car.

The father of the Chelsea striker, currently on loan at West Bromwich Albion, was stunned by the verdict after failing to attend the trail and claimed that the woman, a former lover, had invented the story.

Lukaku Snr missed his trial after he moved to another part of Brussels and claimed that he missed his summons because he wasn’t registered at his new address.

Battler: Lukaku has made a big impact at West Brom this season

Battler: Lukaku has made a big impact at West Brom this season

‘My client was sentenced because he didn’t appear in court,' his lawyer said. ‘He doesn’t belong in jail. His wife is suffering, but his sons, Romelu and Jordan, are doing everything to get their dad free as soon as possible.

‘Mr Lukaku has lodged an objection to the judgement and the case will be tried again in the coming days. To this day, we still do not know the date of the trial.’

Promising: But the striker may not be able to help his father

Promising: But the striker may not be able to help his father

Portugal v Northern Ireland live

LIVE: Portugal v Northern Ireland – follow the World Cup qualifier from Brussels as it happens

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UPDATED:

20:59 GMT, 16 October 2012

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the World Cup qualifiers as the Home Nations and the Republic of Ireland continue their bid to reach Brazil 2014. Earlier in the night, England's match at Poland was postponed following heavy rain at the National Stadium in Warsaw. Send me your thoughts on the action at [email protected] or via Twitter @Ripinho.

World Cup 2014 qualifiers

Belgium 2-0 Scotland FT

Croatia 2-0 Wales FT

Faroe Islands 1-4 Republic of Ireland FT

Poland P-P England

Portugal 0-1 Northern Ireland

Click here for all the live scores from Europe's World Cup qualifiers

21.56: We are back underway in Portugal where the hosts have sent on Ruben Amorim for Miguel Lopes.

21.51: And if you really need cheering up get this, even the Germans are capable of caving in spectacularly.

Leading 4-0 at home to Sweden in Berlin, the hosts suffered a second-half collapse to draw 4-4 – even conceding an injury time equaliser.

21.46: To try and lift the spirits we will keep going here and focus on Northern Ireland's Group F match in Portugal.

They have taken a shock 1-0 lead in Porto, and if they hold on would it really reignite their qualifying hopes.

21.41: That result leaves Scotland bottom of Group A with two points after four games – eight adrift of leaders Belgium and Croatia.

Sadly it looks like the Scots' World Cup dream is over once again but at a desperately early stage.

21.38: Full-time: Belgium 2-0 Scotland

21.36: We are into three minutes injury time in Brussels, but the sting really has gone from this game since Kompany's strike.

21.33: It's the Chelsea midfielder that strikes it, but his effort comfortably clears the crossbar.

21.31: As Benteke goes off to a huge cheer from the hosts to be replaced by Ilombe Mboyo, Belgium win a free-kick 25 yards out. Hazard stands over.

21.28: Blimey, this is a painfully slow death for Scotland. The Belgium fans are chanting ole for every pass now and the Scots can hardly get possession. There ares five minutes left.

21.25: Final change for Scotland as Matthew Phillips replaces James Morrison. Nacer Chadli is booked following a foul on Shaun Maloney.

21.22: Well here is a potential shock on the cards for you. Niall McGinn has fired Northern Ireland 1-0 ahead at Portugal after 30 minutes of action at Porto's Estadio do Dragao – yes Cristiano Ronaldo is playing for the hosts.

21.19: Kenny Miller has been thrown on by Craig Levein for Steven Fletcher with just 15 minutes left in Brussels. Scotland look no closer to pulling a goal back.

21.16: GOAL! BELGIUM 2-0 Scotland

Scotland's hopes of reaching the World Cup are surely over now. Vincent Kompany shows tidy footwork on the edge of the box before blasting into the top corner – not bad from the Manchester City centre-back.

21.13: GOAL! BELGIUM 1-0 Scotland

Seventy minutes of spirited defending comes to an end as Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke, heads home a cross at the back post.

21.09: That doesn't quite end our involvement here as we will turn our attention to Scotland's Group A match in Belgium where it's currently 0-0. Stay tuned folks.

21.05: Roy Hodgson spoke to ITV over whether the roof should have been used:

'That's something which I can't answer. You will have to speak to the Polish authorities.

'I am rather hoping they will get it closed now and start to get some work on the pitch the water is lying on the surface and will need a lot of attention if we are going to play.'

21.00: And it's already been rescheduled. The match is set to take place tomorrow at 4pm (BST).

20.57: Poland v England: Match officially postponed due to rain

Singing in the rain: A Poland fan invades the pitch in Warsaw

Singing in the rain: A Poland fan invades the pitch in Warsaw

20.55: Full time in Croatia where the hosts have recorded a 2-0 win over Wales to top Group A.

20.52: We are back underway in Belgium, where the hosts have sent Eden Hazard on for Mousa Dembele, while Scotland have replaced Kris Commons with Jamie Mackie. It's 0-0 in Brussles.

20.50: It's all over in the Faroe Islands and the Republic of Ireland have won 4-1 to get their campaign to reach Brazil 2014 back on course.

20.48: It's a fourth goal for the Republic of Ireland as Darren O'Dea has put the icing on the cake at the Faroe Islands with just two minutes left.

20.45: Sadly it is, and nothing has changed as the ball still fails to bounce. This game isn't going to go ahead but the big question is when will it

20.42: Another pitch inspection coming up – I do hope it's not a referee throwing a ball around again.

20.38: There is action on the pitch in Poland but it's only two home fans performing Jurgen Klinsmann slides on the pitch – much to the delight and ironic cheers of those still in the ground.

Across Europe, there is alarming news for Manchester City fans as David Silva has been taken off injured after just 13 minutes in Spain's clash against France. His side lead 1-0 in Madrid through a Sergio Ramos strike.

20.35: Republic of Ireland fans can breathe a sigh of relief again as a Pol Justinussen own goal has restored their two-goal lead at the Faroe Islands.

20.32: It's half-time in Brussels and credit must go to the Scots who have held out Belgium to go into the break at 0-0.

The visitors really need a win but not conceding is a good way to start.

Deadly duo: Croatia's Mario Mandzukic (left) and Eduardo put Croatia 2-0 ahead against Wales

Deadly duo: Croatia's Mario Mandzukic (left) and Eduardo put Croatia 2-0 ahead against Wales

20.29: Contrasting scenes between the England and Poland players. Roy's boys are all set to board the team coach out of the ground in their tracksuits, while the Polish team are still in their match kit.

Another twist has emerged in that the Poles do not fancy playing the match tomorrow.

20.26: Just when the Irish looked home and dry (excuse the pun). The Faroe Islands have pulled a goal back through Arnbjorn Hansen with 22 minutes left.

20.22: From Sportsmail's Matt Lawton:

Second pitch inspection due at 8.45pm UK time. If it's a no, and it has to be, plan is to play tomorrow.

20.19: Poor marking from a corner allows former Arsenal strike Eduardo to tap home and double Croatia's lead over Wales to 2-0. There is 30 minutes left in that game.

20.16: Ian is referring to the France v Ukraine match of course. The only problem is it is still raining in Warsaw and the pitch still looks absolutely drenched.

20.15: From Sportsmail's Ian Ladyman:

I was at Donetsk game in Euros. Pitch looked just like this. As soon as rain stopped it drained in minutes. #dontgiveuphope

20.13: Republic of Ireland have finally woken up now as Jonathan Walters has doubled their lead at the Faroe Islands.

No bounce: Italian referee Gianluca Rocchi throws the match ball as part of his pitch inspection in Warsaw

No bounce: Italian referee Gianluca Rocchi throws the match ball as part of his pitch inspection in Warsaw

20.11: The message from FIFA is that they still want this game to try and go ahead in the next hour.

I love their optimism but it's still raining and the pitch is just as wet now as it was 45 minutes ago. I don't know how they are going to make this playable.

20.08: Finally a breakthrough for the Republic of Ireland, as Marc Wilson has scored a minute after the break to put the visitors 1-0 up at the Faroe Islands.

20.05: Good to see the PA announcer inside the ground has a sense of humour. U2's 'Beautiful Day' is being played over the speakers.

We are back underway in Croatia where Wales trail 1-0.

20.03: From Sportsmail's Matt Barlow:

The ref's thrown the ball nine times into puddles. That was the 9pm inspection. Still raining.

20.01: And here is that pitch inspection. The crowd are cheering every time the referee chucks the ball and it fails to bounce. Roy Hodgson can only look on and laugh – it's that farcical.

19.58: ITV have spoken to a press officer at the ground and they have confirmed there will be a final pitch inspection at 8pm.

There is still an option for the game to be delayed an hour but I really cannot see that happening. Other alternatives could be the game being played tomorrow.

19.53: Your full line-ups from Scotland's fixture in Belgium:

Belgium v Scotland
Belgium: Courtois, Alderweireld, Vermaelen, Kompany, Vertonghen, De Bruyne, Witsel, Chadli, Mertens, Dembele, Benteke. Subs: Mignolet, Hazard, Ciman, M'Boyo, Van Buyten, Mirallas, Defour, Lombaerts, Vossen, Simons, Guillaume Gillet, Jean-Francois Gillet.

Scotland: McGregor, Hutton, Berra, Caldwell, Fox, Maloney, Morrison, Darren Fletcher, McArthur, Commons, Steven Fletcher. Subs: Gilks, Mulgrew, Cowie, Adam, Miller, Mackie, Martin, Phillips, Webster, Marshall.

Referee: Mauricio Morales (Mexico)

More than spitting: England keeper Joe Hart tests the conditions at Warsaw's National Stadium

More than spitting: England keeper Joe Hart tests the conditions at Warsaw's National Stadium

19.50: And it's half-time in Croatia too where Mario Mandzukic's strike is the difference between the hosts and Wales. A fluke goal but Croatia have been dominant.

19.47: We are underway in Belgium though, as they have just kicked off against Scotland.

Meanwhile it's more bad news for the Republic of Ireland as it's half-time in the Faroe Islands and they are still being held 0-0.

19.44: Roy Hodgson has told ITV he doesn't think the game will go ahead. There isn't exactly much rush to get this game ready by the hosts. There isn't a groundsman and a pitchfork in sight.

19.40: Dare Roy Hodgson pull a Steve McClaren and put up an umbrella – not a chance!

I still can't believe that a roof closed throughout Euro 2012 has stayed open all day. Apparently the roof now cannot be closed because the rain is too heavy. Unbelievable.

19.36: To put this into perspective, when the ball is thrown in the air it simply doesn't even bounce after hitting the turf.

There will be an announcement at 8pm over whether this game will go ahead. For now it looks like they will close the roof. Stable doors and bolting horses come to mind.

19.33: Back to Warsaw though and the reason the game is in doubt is because torrential rain has made the pitch more like a paddy field.

The referee has declared the pitch unplayable but there is no official confirmation yet over whether this game is going ahead.

19.30: Bad news for Wales. They have gone 1-0 down to Croatia following an opportunistic strike from Mario Mandzukic.

19.25: Sportsmail's Matt Barlow:

A new 400m stadium with a closing roof and the game in warsaw appears in doubt.

Water pass: England boss Roy Hodgson tests the very wet conditions in Warsaw

Water pass: England boss Roy Hodgson tests the very wet conditions in Warsaw

19.20: There has been an early blow for England in Warsaw.

For the second time in 20 years the band that follows the team has been…well…banned.

They were of course shut out recently at Donestk for a Euro 2012 match but they have now been snubbed in Warsaw too.

It is believed stadium authorities took tonight's decision because the Polish FA have refused to sanction a Polish band, and would be open to accusations of double standards if they allowed their English counterparts in.

Band leader John Hemmingham said: 'It is very frustrating. We have travelled tens of thousands of miles following England are were looking forward to banging the drum for the Three Lions once more. It is massively disappointing to get such a bum note.'

19.15: Scotland make one change from the side who lost to Wales for tonight's World Cup qualifier against Belgium.

Wigan midfielder James McArthur is drafted into the starting line-up in place of Scott Brown.

The Hoops skipper was forced to withdraw from the squad with an ongoing hip problem that forced him out of Friday's clash in Cardiff at half-time.

The Scots head into the game in Brussels second bottom of Group A and know they needed a first victory of the campaign to keep their slim hopes alive.

19.10: England head coach Roy Hodgson hands 99th caps to skipper Steven Gerrard and defender Ashley Cole for the World Cup qualifier with Poland in Warsaw.

Gerrard returns after missing the 5-0 home win over San Marino through suspension while Cole comes back into the side after resting his ongoing ankle problem.

Hodgson makes a total of six changes with Glen Johnson, Joleon Lescott, James Milner and Jermain Defoe also back in the starting line-up.

Defenders Kyle Walker, Gary Cahill and Leighton Baines, midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, striker Danny Welbeck plus the injured Theo Walcott make way.

19.05: Back to the World Cup 2014 qualifiers – two games are already underway.

Republic of Ireland are trying to bounce back from their 6-1 defeat to Germany as they travel to Faroe Islands, while Wales will be looking to build on their 2-1 win over Scotland with their tricky trip to Croatia.

Job done: England Under 21s celebrate Connor Wickham's injury time goal

Job done: England Under 21s celebrate Connor Wickham's injury time goal

19.00: Serbian fans of course are not on good terms with UEFA following their disgraceful antics to have a Euro 2012 qualifier in Italy abandoned – I'm not holding my breath for any serious punishments though.

18.59: From Sportsmail's Dominic King:

Let's see how serious UEFA take this. Never seen anything like that before. Actions of neanderthals. Riot police around ground did nothing.

18.56: Awful scenes in Serbia. The good news is the England Under 21s scored in injury time through Connor Wickham to seal a 2-0 aggregate victory and a place at Euro 2013.

But the scenes that followed saw England players and coaches attacked by Serbians, with Danny Rose sent off for retaliation.

The full-back seemed to gesture that he was racially abused – but either way you haven't heard the last of this game and sadly it won't be because of the football.

18.51: And a quick update on the England Under 21s before we get cracking. We are in second half injury time in Serbia where Stuart Pearce's side are drawing 0-0.

Should it stay that way, they will advance to the Euro 2013 finals after winning the first leg 1-0 at Carrow Road on Friday.

18.48: England starting XI:

Hart, Johnson, Cole, Gerrard, Jagielka, Lescott, Milner, Carrick, Defoe, Rooney, Cleverley.

18.45: Was I the only one left a little subdued after England's 5-0 win over San Marino on Friday It certainly felt strange to be left feeling shortchanged after seeing the Three Lions record a five-goal victory.

It's a much tougher test for Roy Hodgson's side tonight though as they travel to Poland for the second time this year. No sunshine and major tournaments this time though – just a tricky night in Warsaw and hopefully three valuable points to take back across the Channel. Team news coming up.

Looking for more: England's Wayne Rooney (right) will hope to add to his brace scored against San Marino on Friday when he lines up against Poland

Looking for more: England's Wayne Rooney (right) will hope to add to his brace scored against San Marino on Friday when he lines up against Poland

Alessandro Del Piero: I declined Liverpool because of Heysel tragedy

Memories of Heysel made me turn down Liverpool offer, reveals Del Piero

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UPDATED:

10:26 GMT, 11 October 2012

Painful memories of the Heysel tragedy and Liverpool fans' involvement in it stopped Alessandro Del Piero from joining the club this summer.

It is 27 years since 39 Juventus fans were killed after a wall collapsed following rioting at the stadium in Belgium ahead of the European Cup final.

But both clubs have gone to great lengths to heal the wounds following that fateful day.

Aussie rules: Del Piero chose Sydney over a move to Merseyside

Aussie rules: Del Piero chose Sydney over a move to Merseyside

On the 25th anniversary of the disaster, Liverpool unveiled a plaque at the entrance to the Centenary Stand in front of officials from both clubs.

But Del Piero has revealed he could not move to Anfield, despite interest this summer, after recalling those events in Brussels.

'Why I said no to Liverpool Negotiations with Sydney were already advanced and then I thought about what had happened at Heysel,' Del Piero told Gazzetta dello Sport.

'Juve and Liverpool were able to rebuild the relationship, but for many people that tragedy is an indelible memory. I thank all the clubs which wanted me, but I’m convinced of my choice.'

The Italy legend completed his switch Down Under soon after Liverpool made their move, and he has revealed he is finding it hard to adjust after 19 years with the Turing giants.

He said: 'One month is not much to make judgments, but the beginning is comforting from every point of view.

'The farewell to Juve still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. One year and a half ago I would not have imagined that this would happen, then things change.

‘I still have the great satisfaction of having given everything I could for Juventus.'

Building bridges: Phil Neal (left), Michel Platini (centre) and Ian Rush before the Champions League clash in 2005

Building bridges: Phil Neal (left), Michel Platini (centre) and Ian Rush before the Champions League clash in 2005

David Weir says Paralympians deserve to be respected as much as Usain Bolt

We deserve to put Bolt in the shade! Weir says Paralympians have shown their worth

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UPDATED:

22:48 GMT, 10 September 2012

Not many people can steal the limelight from the world’s fastest man and David Weir admitted the popularity of the Paralympic Games surprised even him.

Weir, who won four gold medals in London, said he smiled when he saw that the Paralympics trumped coverage of Usain Bolt’s 100metre win in Brussels last week.

He said: ‘It definitely surpassed my expectations. It made me laugh when Usain Bolt’s Diamond League was five or six pages back from us. So that just put a little bit of a smile on my face.

Proud: David Weir with his four gold medals

Proud: David Weir with his four gold medals

‘It’s been special. I’ve never experienced anything like it. When you see us (Paralympians) on the front of the papers and the back on the same day, it’s just amazing.’

The wheelchair racer, 33, added: ‘We’ve always said we’re world-class athletes and I think that’s shown in the last 11 days. We’re just as good as Olympians.

Not this time: Usain Bolt's coverage was a few pages back

Not this time: Usain Bolt's coverage was a few pages back

‘We’ve been banging on about it for years and years and it has taken this Games to show people we’re athletes and we’re world class like everyone else. We train as hard as everyone else and we’re getting the recognition now.

‘I think that will carry on to Rio. People are very interested in Paralympic sport. I think everyone’s attitude will change and has changed. It’s all for the good, so I’m happy.’

Changing attitudes: Thousands loved the Paralympics

Changing attitudes: Thousands loved the Paralympics

Weir also revealed Jessica Ennis had told him that her mother Alison said Weir was her favourite athlete of the summer — behind her daughter, of course.

‘I feel like a rock star,’ he said. ‘But I won’t change. I would be the same whatever I had done.’

Greg Rutherford considering 100m switch

Could Rutherford take a leap into the unknown Golden boy considering 100m switch

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UPDATED:

08:22 GMT, 15 August 2012

Golden boy Greg Rutherford is considering competing in the 100metres at a major athletics meeting following his heroics at the London Olympics.

Rutherford cemented his place in history after becoming the first British athlete to win the long jump in almost 50 years.

Leap of faith: Rutherford was crowned Olympic champion earlier this month

Leap of faith: Rutherford was crowned Olympic champion earlier this month

And according to the Sun, the Milton Keynes star is now considering a move from the sandpit to the track, with his eye om the 100m B race at the Diamond League meeting in Brussels next month.

Rutherford, 25, has a personal best of 10.2 seconds, but wants to trim down his time in a bid to land a place in Team GB's 4x100m relay squad or individual squads.

Rutherford is set for a return to the track at the end of the month when he goes head-to-head with Olympic triple jump gold medallist Christian Taylor at the Birmingham Grand Prix.

Flying high: The 25-year-old is considering running in the 100m

Flying high: The 25-year-old is considering running in the 100m

Marouane Fellaini will be a tall order for England

Big hair. Big man. Big heart: Fellaini will be a tall order for England

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 31 May 2012

I rang David and the first thing I said was ‘Is he there’ and he replied ‘Yes’. So then I asked ‘What’s he like’ and there was a pause . . . then he simply uttered: ‘Big!’

— Everton owner Bill Kenwright, September 2008

David Moyes may have conjured up more imaginative descriptions during his career but never has a word been more apt than the one Everton’s manager picked for Marouane Fellaini when they met in a hotel near Brussels airport.

From the shock of frizzy, black hair to his giant 6ft 4in frame, those broad shoulders and his telescopic legs, everything about the Belgium midfielder is big — not least his talent and reputation.

A snip at 15million: Marouane Fellaini has made a big impact at Everton

A snip at 15million: Marouane Fellaini has made a big impact at Everton

But, then again, it always has been. It is why, on deadline day in the summer of 2008, Moyes had his chairman charter a private jet so he could fly to Belgium to seal a 15million deal for the Standard Liege midfielder that shattered Everton’s transfer record.

At one stage it looked impossible
but, with seconds remaining, the business was completed and now Moyes
and Kenwright smile when recalling that frantic night.

The real joy, though, stems from how Fellaini has blossomed into one of the Barclays Premier League’s hottest properties.

Inevitably,
all eyes will be on the Chelsea-bound Eden Hazard when Belgium stride
out at Wembley, but in a team that is crammed with the talent of Vincent
Kompany, Thomas Vermaelen and Mousa Dembele, it will become apparent
that Fellaini is the Rode Duivels’ standard-bearer.

‘People just tend to notice “Felli” for his hair,’ said England and Everton left back Leighton Baines.

‘But
there is so much more to him. He is a lovely lad and such a good
professional. He gives you everything that he has got and his work ethic
is second to none.

‘He
is versatile and does whatever you ask him. He is a great asset when we
defend and a total nuisance when we attack. You saw that when we played
Manchester United (and drew 4-4 at Old Trafford in April). He ran the
game and scored a great goal. Any team in Europe would want him.’

And they do. Chelsea have cast covetous glances at Fellaini, who signed a new five-year deal at Goodison last November. Paris Saint- Germain are known to be admirers, while Real Madrid have monitored his progress.

The life and soul of the party: Fellaini, Tim Cahill and Magaye Gueye get in the swing of things after Everton's victory over Sunderland in the FA Cup sixth round

The life and soul of the party: Fellaini, Tim Cahill and Magaye Gueye get in the swing of things after Everton's victory over Sunderland in the FA Cup sixth round

It is easy to see why. Fellaini, in many respects, is the perfect modern midfielder. He brings athleticism and power to Everton’s engine room, versatility and, as a record of 20 goals in 137 appearances shows, an attacking threat.

Above all, team-mates enthuse about his single-mindedness and ferocious will to win.

‘He never, ever cuts corners and never moans,’ said Everton captain Phil Neville. ‘He is first into training and loves his work. He is totally driven and a top, top player. He goes box to box and he must be a manager’s dream.’

Hair-raising: Fellaini and his famous barnet will face England on Saturday

Hair-raising: Fellaini and his famous barnet will face England on Saturday

Perhaps that has something to do with his upbringing. He was born in the town of Etterbeek and his father, Abdellatif, has been hugely influential and used to encourage him to run to school while his classmates used to make their daily journey by bike, bus or car.

Abdellatif, who played professionally as a goalkeeper for the Moroccan side Raja Casablanca, took early retirement to oversee his son’s career.

Marouane had spells at the academies of Anderlecht, Mons, R Francs Borains and Charleroi before settling in Liege.

When he broke into Standard Liege’s first team, word quickly spread about his talents and, after a highly impressive performance against Liverpool in a 2008 Champions League qualifier, it became inevitable Fellaini would be spirited away.

Making an impression: Fellaini battles with Fernando Torres, then of Liverpool

Making an impression: Fellaini battles with Fernando Torres, then of Liverpool

He was named young player of the year at the end of his first season at Goodison Park but it is during the past 12 months his influence has told. No Everton player covered more distance than the 130 miles Fellaini devoured last season, completed more passes (821) or made more tackles (87).

‘The fact that we signed him for such a big fee was a big deal,’ said Baines. ‘It meant that there was pressure on him straight away but he just came in and got on with it. It was quite unusual, really. In his first week, he kept going around smashing into people with these wild tackles.

‘Some of the lads did not know what to make of it and wouldn’t go near him. The last thing you want in training is to get a volley off someone, but Tim Cahill definitely received a few. I think he just wanted to show that he shouldn’t be taken lightly.’

One of the lads: Fellaini celebrates the fourth goal in Everton's 4-4 draw at Old Trafford with scorer Steven Pienaar, Johnny Heitinga and Nikica Jelavic

One of the lads: Fellaini celebrates the fourth goal in Everton's 4-4 draw at Old Trafford with scorer Steven Pienaar, Johnny Heitinga and Nikica Jelavic

Occasionally impulsive but always fiery, Fellaini, 24, has been criticised for lacking discipline — he was booked 10 times in his first 17 Everton appearances — but the traits that have shaped him as a player are not evident off the pitch.

‘He has immersed himself in Everton’s culture,’ says Neville. ‘A couple of years ago we went on a mid-season break to France and the plan was for us all to travel in tracksuits. But I told Felli he needed to come in his club suit, complete with shirt and tie. When he turned up, he knew straight away he’d been stitched up and everyone burst out laughing but he took it brilliantly.

‘The lads love him and we know the fans do, too, because we see them wearing those Afro wigs for him everywhere we go. When we bought him, we got a 15million snip.’

Eden Hazard heads to England with Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City all looking to sign him

Next stop, England for Eden after United, City and Chelsea target Hazard strikes for Belgium

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UPDATED:

09:17 GMT, 26 May 2012

Eden Hazard showed just why Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City are desperate to sign him as he scored for Belgium against Montenegro on Friday.

The playmaker stepped up to take a penalty, which he coolly slotted past the goalkeeper – only to be told to take it again after the goal was ruled out for encroachment in the area – and the second time he rolled the ball the other side of the keeper. The game in Brussels ended 2-2.

Where will he end up Eden Hazard in action against Montenegro

Where will he end up Eden Hazard in action against Montenegro

Hazard heads to London next week for Belgium’s friendly with England in Roy Hodgson’s first home international and the highly rated player has said he will reveal where he will play next season.

Speaking before Friday’s game, Hazard said he will move to the club that guarantees him the most playing time and the position he will be played in.

Cool as you like: Hazard scores from the penalty spot - twice

Cool as you like: Hazard scores from the penalty spot – twice

He said: ‘I also had the most assists in the League, and I never believed I could possibly come up with such a fantastic set of statistics.

‘Certainly, I could not have made such a decisive contribution, had the coach at Lille not changed my position.

Hot property: Hazard will say which club he will join next month

Hot property: Hazard will say which club he will join next month

‘It is all down to that. I have always dreamed of playing the number 10 role, and wearing that number on my back, and you can see what a difference it makes from how many goals I have scored and set up for others. That will be a consideration when I decide on my club. Where I will play will influence my thinking on who I should join.’

Belgium vs Montenegro 2:2 GOALS HIGHLIGHTS by maidb7abc

LONDON 2012 OLYMPICS: Beth Tweddle pulls out of European Championships

Setback for Tweddle as she pulls out of European Championships

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UPDATED:

22:02 GMT, 25 April 2012

Britain's Beth Tweddle has pulled out of next month’s European Championships after keyhole surgery on a knee.

The 27-year-old gymnast is a London 2012 gold medal hope in the uneven bars and her withdrawal from the event in Brussels was said to be a precaution.

Injury: Beth Tweddle will not compete at the European Championships

Injury: Beth Tweddle will not compete at the European Championships

Tweddle said: ‘It’s much better for this to happen now rather than later in the year.’