Tag Archives: cameras

Wayne Rooney – 10 years at Manchester United

After 10 years of mixing red cards and snarls with goals and glory, Rooney is still the special one at Manchester United

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UPDATED:

07:03 GMT, 19 October 2012

On September 1, 2004, Wayne Rooney attended a press conference at Old Trafford at which he was introduced as a Manchester United player.

Rooney, 18 years old, spoke so softly it was difficult to hear him. To his right, hidden from view by the TV cameras and journalists without seats, his teenage girlfriend Coleen sat on a chair by a wall with her hands in her lap and stared hard at the floor.

Eight years on, much has changed. Rooney has just captained England in a competitive game for the first time and Coleen — now a wife and mother — was this week telling her 850,000 Twitter followers about a day modelling her clothing range.

The fundamentals haven’t really changed, however.

Wayne Rooney

Remember the name: Rooney celebrates his winner for Everton against Arsenal in 2002

What a difference a decade makes: Rooney in action for Manchester United earlier this season (left) and celebrating his famous winner for Everton against Arsenal (right)

Ten years to the day since Rooney scored his first Premier League goal — for Everton at home to Arsenal — he remains as bullish, headstrong and compelling as he was back in the days when he was making his way in English football.

There are those who would change him, those who can’t see beyond the occasional snarl, the barrel chest and the attitude. They are quite wrong. Rooney — who joined a team that contained players of the stature of Ruud van Nistelrooy, Cristiano Ronaldo and Roy Keane — has arguably been United’s most valuable and important player for much of his time at Old Trafford.

Turkish delight: Rooney scores one of his three goals against Fenerbahce on his debut

Turkish delight: Rooney scores one of his three goals against Fenerbahce on his debut

At times he has been bumptious and he has been belligerent but rarely has that masked the depth of his natural talent. There
have been significant contributions during this period from Rio
Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Ronaldo himself, of course. But as we look
backwards and forwards, Old Trafford’s favourite Scouser dominates the
view.

One respected
columnist bemoaned Rooney’s record with England this week and he has a
point. We have not seen the best of him at a major finals since 2004 —
his first. The same writer also questioned the striker’s hunger, though,
and that is baffling.

Rooney’s pursuit of the football on an average Saturday or Sunday afternoon is almost obsessive in its fury. At times United’s shape would benefit from some restraint from their No 10 but his manager Sir Alex Ferguson has long since given up trying to tell him.

Like Keane and, indeed, David Beckham before him, Rooney views losing as a personal affront. When performance levels dip at United it cuts nobody deeper. Having scored a hat-trick on his United debut — in the Champions League against Fenerbahce — Rooney has spent much of the time since looking bemused as to why it can’t work out like that in every game.

As we would expect, there is more sophistication to his football these days. He passes the ball better and adapts more easily to the many different roles Ferguson has asked of him in recent years. It is almost inevitable that he will end his days playing in the centre of midfield.

The DNA remains the same, though. Rooney is a street-fighter who operates best when his blood is up and those who seek to criticise the occasional moment of rashness or obsess about his exact weight rather miss the point.

Says it all: Rooney jokes with Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Says it all: Rooney jokes with Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

For those who love statistics, Rooney has scored 181 times in 371 United appearances. That ratio is substantially better than those of Sir Bobby Charlton, George Best, Mark Hughes and Andy Cole. Last season he scored 34 times for his club. The year before that it was a modest 16 (from only 36 starts) and the year before it was 34 once again.

England assistant manager Gary Neville said this week that his former team-mate must improve. Even the best must evolve. Nevertheless, United must improve, too. Those who refuse to believe Rooney was seriously tempted by a move to Manchester City two years ago are in denial.

During their courting of Rooney, City told him he would play ‘every week’ if he joined. It was some promise from the richest club in the world but it spoke volumes for his perceived worth.

Some dispute Rooney’s right to be labelled ‘world class’ but it depends on the parameters. Certainly he is not in the bracket of Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Xavi. Few are. He would, however, get in the France team, the Germany team and the Italy team. Does that make him world class Maybe. Take your pick.

What is important and indeed undeniable is that Rooney remains at the forefront of an increasingly magnetic domestic game and we should value him. He does need to do better in an England shirt, especially at major finals. The team do need to get to the next one first, though.

Still the main man: Rooney in action during United's 3-0 win at Newcastle earlier this month

Still the main man: Rooney in action during United's 3-0 win at Newcastle earlier this month

Wayne Rooney still the special one for Manchester United

After ten years of mixing red cards and snarls with goals and glory, Wayne is still the special one… for United

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UPDATED:

23:15 GMT, 18 October 2012

On September 1, 2004, Wayne Rooney attended a press conference at Old Trafford at which he was introduced as a Manchester United player.

Rooney, 18 years old, spoke so softly it was difficult to hear him. To his right, hidden from view by the TV cameras and journalists without seats, his teenage girlfriend Coleen sat on a chair by a wall with her hands in her lap and stared hard at the floor.

Eight years on, much has changed. Rooney has just captained England in a competitive game for the first time and Coleen — now a wife and mother — was this week telling her 850,000 Twitter followers about a day modelling her clothing range.

The fundamentals haven’t really changed, however.

Wayne Rooney

Remember the name: Rooney celebrates his winner for Everton against Arsenal in 2002

What a difference a decade makes: Rooney in action for Manchester United earlier this season (left) and celebrating his famous winner for Everton against Arsenal (right)

Ten years to the day since Rooney scored his first Premier League goal — for Everton at home to Arsenal — he remains as bullish, headstrong and compelling as he was back in the days when he was making his way in English football.

There are those who would change him, those who can’t see beyond the occasional snarl, the barrel chest and the attitude. They are quite wrong. Rooney — who joined a team that contained players of the stature of Ruud van Nistelrooy, Cristiano Ronaldo and Roy Keane — has arguably been United’s most valuable and important player for much of his time at Old Trafford.

Turkish delight: Rooney scores one of his three goals against Fenerbahce on his debut

Turkish delight: Rooney scores one of his three goals against Fenerbahce on his debut

At times he has been bumptious and he has been belligerent but rarely has that masked the depth of his natural talent. There
have been significant contributions during this period from Rio
Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Ronaldo himself, of course. But as we look
backwards and forwards, Old Trafford’s favourite Scouser dominates the
view.

One respected
columnist bemoaned Rooney’s record with England this week and he has a
point. We have not seen the best of him at a major finals since 2004 —
his first. The same writer also questioned the striker’s hunger, though,
and that is baffling.

Rooney’s pursuit of the football on an average Saturday or Sunday afternoon is almost obsessive in its fury. At times United’s shape would benefit from some restraint from their No 10 but his manager Sir Alex Ferguson has long since given up trying to tell him.

Like Keane and, indeed, David Beckham before him, Rooney views losing as a personal affront. When performance levels dip at United it cuts nobody deeper. Having scored a hat-trick on his United debut — in the Champions League against Fenerbahce — Rooney has spent much of the time since looking bemused as to why it can’t work out like that in every game.

As we would expect, there is more sophistication to his football these days. He passes the ball better and adapts more easily to the many different roles Ferguson has asked of him in recent years. It is almost inevitable that he will end his days playing in the centre of midfield.

The DNA remains the same, though. Rooney is a street-fighter who operates best when his blood is up and those who seek to criticise the occasional moment of rashness or obsess about his exact weight rather miss the point.

Says it all: Rooney jokes with Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Says it all: Rooney jokes with Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

For those who love statistics, Rooney has scored 181 times in 371 United appearances. That ratio is substantially better than those of Sir Bobby Charlton, George Best, Mark Hughes and Andy Cole. Last season he scored 34 times for his club. The year before that it was a modest 16 (from only 36 starts) and the year before it was 34 once again.

England assistant manager Gary Neville said this week that his former team-mate must improve. Even the best must evolve. Nevertheless, United must improve, too. Those who refuse to believe Rooney was seriously tempted by a move to Manchester City two years ago are in denial.

During their courting of Rooney, City told him he would play ‘every week’ if he joined. It was some promise from the richest club in the world but it spoke volumes for his perceived worth.

Some dispute Rooney’s right to be labelled ‘world class’ but it depends on the parameters. Certainly he is not in the bracket of Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Xavi. Few are. He would, however, get in the France team, the Germany team and the Italy team. Does that make him world class Maybe. Take your pick.

What is important and indeed undeniable is that Rooney remains at the forefront of an increasingly magnetic domestic game and we should value him. He does need to do better in an England shirt, especially at major finals. The team do need to get to the next one first, though.

Still the main man: Rooney in action during United's 3-0 win at Newcastle earlier this month

Still the main man: Rooney in action during United's 3-0 win at Newcastle earlier this month

Luis Suarez was "victim"… so stop vilifying him for diving – Brendan Rodgers

Suarez was 'victim' of a stamp… so stop vilifying him for diving, rages Rodgers

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UPDATED:

18:34 GMT, 8 October 2012

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has hit out at the unjust 'vilification' of striker Luis Suarez after more diving allegations were levelled at him.

Only a couple of weeks ago the Northern Irishman felt the need to not only to speak out publicly about the treatment the Uruguay international was receiving on the pitch but also raise the subject with referees' chief Mike Riley.

In Sunday's goalless draw at home to Stoke, Suarez went down theatrically in the penalty area which led to Potters manager Pulis called for three-match bans for players who dive.

Taken a tumble: Luis Suarez went down in the box against Stoke

Taken a tumble: Luis Suarez went down in the box against Stoke

Defender Robert Huth has, however, escaped punishment despite appearing to stamp on Suarez after the Football Association confirmed the incident was seen by officials at the time and therefore no further action can be taken.

That has left Rodgers outraged.

'As manager of this football club I find it incredible that in nearly all the coverage about Luis Suarez this weekend, very little focus has been placed on the fact that he was actually the victim of a stamping incident within the first five minutes of the game,' he told liverpoolfc.com.

'At this moment there seems to be one set of rules for Luis and another set for everyone else.

'Diving and simulation is obviously a
wider issue in football and one that we all agree has to be eradicated
from our game but there were other incidents this weekend that didn't
seem to generate the same coverage.

'No-one
should be distracted by the real issue here, both at Anfield and at
another game played on Sunday, when Luis and another player were hurt in
off-the-ball incidents that went unpunished but were caught on TV
cameras.

Dive: No Stoke defenders appeared to be near Suarez as he went down

Dive: No Stoke defenders appeared to be near Suarez as he went down

'I believe some people need to develop a sense of perspective and I also believe in this moment the vilification of Luis is both wrong and unfair.

'I will continue to protect the values, spirit and people of this great club and game while searching for a consistent level of results in order to make progress on the field.'

Suarez has earned a reputation, during his relatively short time in English football, for going down too easily but Rodgers has always insisted that was not the case.

Less than a fortnight ago the Reds boss raised his concerns about how referees were not giving decisions in Suarez's favour, having been frustrated by what he felt were clear penalties against Sunderland and Manchester United being overlooked.

Floored: Brendan Rodgers is furious about this 'stamp' by Robert Huth

Floored: Brendan Rodgers is furious about this 'stamp' by Robert Huth

'He hasn't dived – they have been legitimate,' he said at the time.

'He went down at Sunderland and it looked a clear penalty and he ended up getting booked for it.

'I'm not sure (whether Suarez's reputation is influencing officials). You'd need to ask the referees but he is a wonderful talent and, irrespective of whether he goes down, if it's a penalty, it's a penalty.

'What I have seen he certainly doesn't ever look like he is going to get a decision and that is something which would bother me going forward.'

Michael Owen watches burglar on home security system

Great TV! Stoke striker Owen watches burglar try and rob home on security system

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UPDATED:

10:51 GMT, 16 September 2012

Stoke striker Michael Owen watched on his home security system as a burglar trying to break into his mansion.

The 32-year-old former Manchester United and Liverpool star posted a picture of the crime scene on his Twitter account.

The England frontman wrote on his social networking account: 'Great TV tonight.

Good TV: Michael Owen posted pictures of a his home security system

Good TV: Michael Owen posted pictures of a his home security system

'Been watching some fella on my cameras for an hour weighing up what to nick!'

Police soon arrived at the home in Soughton, North Wales, which Owen shares with his wife Louise and their four children.

Owen watched from his living room as officers grabbed the thief who had been hiding in the boot of his van.

The striker added on his Twitter account:
'Watched it all laughing my head off as the police returned to drag him
out. Big thanks to police.'

Caught on camera: Owen posts pictures of his security system

Caught on camera: Owen posts pictures of his security system

Police turn up at Owen's house

Being Liverpool episode 1 teaser

Reina relaxes at home as Rodgers addresses his players… teaser clips from first episode of Being Liverpool

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UPDATED:

16:40 GMT, 14 September 2012

It’s been a while in the making but the long anticipated fly-on-the-wall documentary on life at Liverpool will finally hit our TV screens later this month.

‘Being Liverpool’ will be a six-part-series dedicated towards behind-the-scenes footage at one of the world’s most successful outfits.

Scroll down for videos

New man in charge: The first episode focuses on the newly appointed manager, Brendan Rodgers

New man in charge: The first episode focuses on the newly appointed manager, Brendan Rodgers

It will be the first time a Premier League side has opened its doors to allow cameras full-on access to the day-to-day running of a club.

The documentary will gauge the perspective of the players, coaches, management, and ownership through the back-end of a rocky 2011-12 under Kenny Dalglish to the beginning of this campaign under new boss Brendan Rodgers.

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Preview clips of the first episode have been released and focus on the end of last season and the appointment of Rodgers.

Under the watch of a new regime the team re-gathers at its Melwood training camp to prepare for pre-season. Luis Suarez, Lucas Lieva and new signing Fabio Borini travel to Boston to begin the Reds' summer friendly tour.

Also in the episode, goalkeeper Pepe Reina speaks at home with his family on his daily duties of playing for the Merseyside club.

Being Liverpool is exclusively on Channel 5 starting Friday 21st September at 9pm.

Why Swindon manager Paolo Di Canio"s humiliation of his goalkeeper Wes Foderingham is just the latest in a line of colourful incidents

Brilliant and bonkers: Why Di Canio's humiliation of his goalkeeper is just the latest in a line of colourful incidents

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UPDATED:

11:49 GMT, 3 September 2012

Twenty minutes in to the game, you’re not playing
especially well and you’ve already had to pick the ball out of your net twice.

Despite these setbacks, the last thing you expect is to be dragged off by your
boss and publicly humiliated in front of the whole stadium – after all, there’s
still 70 minutes for the team to turn it around, plenty of time.

Not if your manager happens to be a firebrand like
Paolo Di Canio. This was the fate to befall Swindon goalkeeper Wes Foderingham
on Sunday when his side found themselves 2-0 down in 20 minutes at Preston.

Humiliation: Di Canio dragged his goalkeeper, Wes Foderingham, off after 20 minutes of Swindon's defeat at Preston on Sunday, with the side trailing 2-0

Humiliation: Di Canio dragged his goalkeeper, Wes Foderingham, off after 20 minutes of Swindon's defeat at Preston on Sunday, with the side trailing 2-0

The stopper was hauled off and ranted at by the colourful
Italian as he walked unceremoniously back to the changing rooms. And the
embarrassment continued after the final whistle, with Di Canio launching into a
spectacular character assassination before the television cameras.

According to Di Canio, Foderingham was not only ‘one of
the worst players I have ever seen at a football match’ but also ‘the worst
professional… I have ever seen.’

As we all know, this outburst was just the latest
incident in the colourful career of Di Canio. Here, Sportmail looks at five
more of the Italian’s blood-boiling, temple-throbbing moments.

The Alcock
Incident

Just before half-time at Hillsborough and Sheffield
Wednesday against Arsenal is coming to the boil. An altercation between a dozen
players ends in Di Canio and Martin Keown being shown red cards by referee
Paul Alcock.

Understandably, both are aggrieved but at least Keown
leaves the field with a shred of dignity. Not so Di Canio, who, in one of the
most replayed moments in Premier League history, erupts like Mount Vesuvius and
shoves the official in the chest as though the protagonist in a slapstick play.

Alcock, who had been out of action with a bad back,
didn’t help himself by falling so theatrically he almost robbed himself of all
sympathy. A funny moment often overlooked – and pointed out by this video – is
how Nigel Winterburn, who clearly didn’t want to let the incident lie, flinched
like a petrified kitten at Di Canio’s inferno glare.

He was banned for 11 matches, fined 10,000 and moved on
at the end of the season, as Big Ron Atkinson reflected: ‘I have managed a few
nutters in my time, but Di Canio takes the biscuit.’

I want to go off!

One of the most bonkers games of the Premier League era,
so fitting that its maddest player should take centre stage. West Ham against
Bradford finished 5-4 as the Hammers fought back from 2-4 down to record a
breath-taking victory – but an amusing sub-plot involved Di Canio and his
frustrations with referee Neale Barry.

So annoyed was the Italian that Barry turned down not
one, but three, stonewall penalties he demanded manager Harry Redknapp sub him
off. After much gesticulation and finger jabbing, Di Canio broke down on the
half-way line, appealing to the dug-out to put him out of his misery.

So when West Ham did finally get a penalty and the chance
to reduce the deficit to 3-4, Di Canio wasn’t going to be denied. He snatched
the ball from Frank Lampard, who had already set it on the spot, and demanded
to take it himself.

Frank did the sensible thing – clearly a perceptive
reader of body language, and after getting a close-up look at Di Canio’s vocal
chords, he surrendered the ball and took cover behind three Bradford defenders.
Thank God the penalty went in.

The Salutes

A devoted Lazio fan as a teen, despite growing up in the
AS Roma hotbed of Quarticciolo, Di Canio sought solidarity with the club’s
Ultras – the feared ‘Irriducibili.’

In his autobiography, he recalled being tear gassed and
beaten by police, and pelted with bricks by rival fans, as he travelled around
Italy and Europe with the firm.

So when, in 2005, he scored for Lazio in the
Rome Derby he made a bee-line for his terrace comrades and greeted them with a
Fascist salute, his tattoos honouring Benito Mussolini on his shoulder plain to
see.

It confirmed many people’s assumptions that Di Canio’s
political view were more 'extreme' than most in the game.

Controversial character: Di Canio gives a straight-arm salute to the Lazio Ultras after the Rome Derby in January 2005

Controversial character: Di Canio gives a straight-arm salute to the Lazio Ultras after the Rome Derby in January 2005

Altercation with
Leon Clarke

After hanging up his boots and following the Samurai
teachings of Hagakure and Bushido in an effort to curb his brimstone
temperament, Di Canio took up his first managerial post in 2011. It’s fair to
say that most people did not expect that post to be with League Two Swindon
Town.

And it’s certainly not been dull. In the first month of
the season, Swindon went down 1-3 at home to Southampton in the League Cup and
fitness coach Claudio Donatelli decided the underperforming players needed a training
session the following morning as punishment.

Clarke, who had been at the club just 11 days, took exception
to the thought of sprint training and shooting practice, and mouthed off as he
left the field. A moment later, Di Canio was pushing him down the tunnel, the
pair at each other’s throats. Guess who won Clarke had a two year contract –
he played just two games.

Sent to the stands

There’s something about Macclesfield that brings out the
worst in Di Canio. Both matches against the Silkmen in Swindon’s promotion
campaign led to that legendary temper flaring.

In September, the Robins lost 2-0 at Moss Rose and in a
typically microphone-busting, ten to the dozen post-match interview, Di Canio
strayed into the murky waters of football philosophy with this bizarre dog
analogy:

‘With some players, if he has a Chihuahua character, I
can’t make a Chihuahua into a Rottweiler. He could be a proud Chihuahua but he
remains a Chihuahua. So many players at the moment are Chihuahuas away from
home. This is the truth.’ Indeed.

And in the return match in January, which Swindon won
1-0, he was banished to the stands for ranting when his side weren’t awarded a
free-kick which led to this wonderful, gabbling post-match interview.


P.S. But not forgetting the genius and the sportsmanship

Di Canio's best goals for West Ham

THAT goal at Old Trafford

A moment of great sportsmanship at Goodison Park

Celtic"s Dylan McGeouch returns home to surgery on broken jaw

Celtic pain eases as McGeouch returns home to surgery on broken jaw

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UPDATED:

21:59 GMT, 12 August 2012

Celtic winger Dylan McGeouch will undergo surgery on a broken jaw after receiving the all-clear to fly home from America following his horror collision with Real Madrid midfielder Nuri Sahin.

Team-mates looked on anxiously after the 19-year-old was knocked unconscious in a mid-air challenge in the 72nd minute of Saturday’s friendly in Philadelphia which the SPL champions lost 2-0.

It was initially feared he had swallowed his tongue and skipper for the night Joe Ledley described his alarm at seeing McGeouch’s eyes ‘rolling in his head’.

Worried Bhoys: Lennon and his players look on anxiously as McGeouch receives treatment

Worried Bhoys: Lennon and his players
look on anxiously as McGeouch receives treatment

Medics attended to the youngster for six minutes on the pitch before he was rushed to hospital, where he received messages of support from Sahin and Real coach Jose Mourinho.

Celtic boss Neil Lennon was able to make a reassuring call to McGeouch’s father Kevin, however, after being informed the teenager was not as badly injured as first feared — and welcomed the player back to the team hotel before a flight home to Glasgow via London.

‘I’ve not long spoken to Dylan and he’s coming out of the hospital,’ said Lennon. ‘Tim Williamson (Celtic physiotherapist) is out there waiting for him and he’ll be flying back with us.

‘We’ve booked him in to the Southern General Hospital tomorrow. It’s a similar fracture to the one Henrik Larsson suffered years ago and he’ll be having a plate put in. He has also damaged a tooth, which will probably have to come out. But he is OK and will have surgery. We believe he is going to be out four to six weeks.’

Broadcast live on ITV4, the McGeouch incident was watched by millions, including his anxious family in Glasgow.

Prostrate: Sahin checks on McGeouch

Prostrate: Sahin checks on McGeouch

‘I don’t think the TV cameras helped because they kept panning in on him,’ added Lennon. ‘Sometimes that exaggerates how bad it is. But I think he was out cold before he hit the ground.

‘Dylan was lying there flat and that’s always a major worry when you see something like that.

‘Thankfully, he is OK and he has had everything scanned and been given the all-clear. He has had a stable night. It’s a case now of getting his jaw fixed.

‘The boys were really concerned because they didn’t see any kind of consciousness with Dylan. But, once the medical team went out to him he was coming round.

‘I spoke to his father last night. We wanted to reassure him Dylan was OK. It must have been a worrying time for his parents.

‘After the game, Jose Mourinho was more concerned with how Dylan was than anything else.

Concern: Mourinho and Lennon have a chat

Concern: Mourinho and Lennon have a chat

‘But the fact Dylan is coming home with us is a big boost. He played so well against Real, he had a great first half.’

Travelling to America with just 16 players following treatment to Scott Brown, James Forrest and Paddy McCourt, the last thing Lennon needed was more injuries.

Gary Hooper and Anthony Stokes picked up ailments pre-match, while Daryl Murphy limped from the field injured, Lennon reporting: ‘Gary should be OK, his was precautionary.

‘Stokes is a slight concern as he suffered an ankle injury in the Inter Milan game and it’s still bothering him. The ankle keeps swelling up, so that’s bothering us. We’ll maybe have to rest him for four or five days to get it right again.’

For Ledley, captaining Celtic against Real was an occasion to relish. But the day looked to have taken a bleak, sickening turn after McGeouch’s misfortune.

‘We could see Dylan’s eyes rolling in his head and weren’t sure what was going on,’ revealed Ledley, skipper in Brown’s absence. ‘We wanted help to him as soon as possible and I thought the medical staff were brilliant.’

In the immediate aftermath of the incident, a friendly played with all the intensity of a training game slowed further still. For that much, Celtic could be grateful against a team of Spanish aristocrats worth an estimated 300million.

Mixing with the best: Kayal takes on Ronaldo

Mixing with the best: Kayal takes on Ronaldo

Real had beaten LA Galaxy 5-1 and AC Milan by the same scoreline, but contented themselves with two on Saturday. Jose Maria Callejon opened the scoring in 21 minutes before Karim Benzema fired a superb angled finish in 67 minutes.

Ledley himself had Celtic’s best — probably only — effort, with a first-half solo run before striking a 20-yard shot over the bar. With around a third of the crowd there to support Celtic, the result and performance was no worse, no better, than expected.

Manchester United aside, there is no bigger club on the planet than Real, Jose Mourinho’s starting XI boasting Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos, Xabi Alonso and Kaka.

In comparison, Celtic’s starting XI cost just over 4m and looked positively impoverished. In blistering temperatures, the SPL champions were glad of the final whistle.

The Real Madrid circus, staggering in its intensity, reduced Scotland’s champions to the status of mere interlopers, there to make up the numbers in Real’s American tour.

‘It was a fantastic moment in my career to lead Celtic out against Real Madrid,’ said Ledley. ‘Something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.’

Young subs Callum McGregor and Marcus Fraser will do likewise. For them, Philadelphia was quite an episode. Ditto Dylan McGeouch. Once the jaw heals, he will have quite a tale to tell.

London 2012 Olympics Boxing: Fred Evans beats Egidijus Kavaliauskas after brilliant last round

Evans produces brilliant final round to beat Kavaliauskas as Selby also progresses

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UPDATED:

22:35 GMT, 3 August 2012

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LIVE RESULTS |
EVENT SCHEDULE |
MEDALS TABLE

European champions Andrew Selby and Fred Evans extended Great Britain's fine start to the Olympic boxing competition at ExCeL with last-16 victories in their respective flyweight and welterweight divisions.

The Welsh pair each stand one more win from a medal after confident performances, with Evans producing a fine last round to beat Egidijus Kavaliauskas 13-11 and Selby carving a 19-15 verdict over tough Kazakh Ilyas Suleimenov.

Selby said of Suleimenov: 'He was a really tough opponent but I was a bit faster that him. I would have liked to have gone in a bit quicker but I did what I had to do. I've sparred him before so I knew what he was going to do, and I got better as the fight went on.'

He's done it: Fred Evans reacts after defeating Lithuania's Egidijus Kavaliauska

He's done it: Fred Evans reacts after defeating Lithuania's Egidijus Kavaliauska

Selby had nudged ahead by a single point at the end of the third round, but countered superbly in the second to increase his lead to four. In a gruelling third, Selby was given a two-point warning for holding, but his accuracy deservedly saw him through.
The 22-year-old from Barry is renowned for being nervous in front of the television cameras but admitted his own nerves paled into insignificance compared with those of his mother Frances, who was present to watch her son for only the second time.
Selby added: “I used to get properly nervous but I'm better now as I've got used to it. My mum hates it. The only time she saw me before tonight, she had to keep going in and out. But I'm sure she was delighted with what happened.”

On the attack: Evans gets on top of Kavaliauska

On the attack: Evans gets on top of Kavaliauska

Earlier, Evans pulled out one of the best last rounds of his career to claim a dramatic revenge victory over Lithuanian puncher Kavaliauskas and move closer to realising his dream of an Olympic medal.
Evans and his opponent were locked together at 5-5 after two rounds of an absorbing contest, but a spectacular finish saw the Welshman start with a succession of scoring rights and charge home for a comfortable 11-7 win.
The win was doubly sweet for 21-year-old Evans, who had been knocked down and stopped by Kavaliauskas in last year's World Championships in Baku, in the bout immediately following his qualification for the Games.

Nearly there: Evans is one win away from a guaranteed medal

Nearly there: Evans is one win away from a guaranteed medal

Evans, who started in a much more composed fashion than his wild and woolly first-round win over Algeria's Ilyas Abbadi, said while that particular loss had not played on his mind, the danger posed by Kavaliauskas made him a good man to beat.
Evans said: “This was the main fight I wanted to get away but I didn't really think about what happened before. I knew I had the beating of him and that kind of pressure has never been an issue with me.
“Sunday was a big shock in terms of the atmosphere but I knew what to expect this time. If anything maybe I boxed too cagey in the first two rounds. Then I told myself I had to switch on and do what I had to do.
Joy and despair: Evans celebrates his win over Kavaliauska

Joy and despair: Evans celebrates his win over Kavaliauska

“Winning an Olympic medal has always been a dream of mine and now I'm one fight away from achieving it. I'm the youngest on our team and younger than most of my opponents too, and it just shows me how much talent I've got.”
Suddenly Evans, who came to the Games relatively under the radar, finds himself one of the hottest boxing tickets in town. He will also have to get used to being a big medal favourite when he takes on Canada's Custio Clayton on Tuesday with a guaranteed medal at stake.
Squeezing through: Andrew Selby of edged out Ilyas Suleimenov of Kazakhstan

Squeezing through: Andrew Selby of edged out Ilyas Suleimenov of Kazakhstan

Meanwhile, Olympic boxing humiliation was complete for the United States' men in London after last-16 defeats for Raushee Warren and Errol Spence left the country with no fighters left and no medals.

Flyweight third seed Warren lost 19-18 to Frenchman Nordine Oubaali in a nail-biting finish while Spence, a Dallas-based 22-year-old, went down at least with some spark against third-seeded Indian Krishan Vikas in the welterweight division.

London 2012 Olympics: Nicola Adams ready to fulfill dream at Games

Adams to fulfill lifelong dream after women's boxing is added to Games

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UPDATED:

18:11 GMT, 25 July 2012

Olympics 2012

Nicola Adams once worked as an extra in
Emmerdale and Coronation Street to support her Olympic dream but now
stands less than two weeks away from completing a story the most
audacious scriptwriters couldn't muster.

Adams fought for years with no funding and little acclaim and the list of casual jobs she took in order to support her boxing included spells in front of the television cameras as well as a short stint as a tiler.

Even Adams' belated ascent to the world of a fully-funded, full-time athlete was threatened when her sport's elevation to the Olympic Games came at a time when she was laid up with a career-threatening back injury.

Long way round: Nicola Adams fought for years without funding, but is set for an Olympic bow

Long way round: Nicola Adams fought for years without funding, but is set for an Olympic bow

For the Leeds 29-year-old – Great Britain's most decorated female boxer with three world silver medals to her name – it makes her arrival at the Olympic village with the rest of the 10-strong host nation boxing team all the sweeter.

Almost: Adams says she was close to giving up boxing

Almost: Adams says she was close to giving up boxing

Adams said: 'It was always my dream to compete in the Olympic Games but whether it was ever going to come true or not was another matter.

'There were plenty of times when I thought it was never going to happen.

'I was really close to giving up. It's hard to be able to train full-time and earn enough money to live as well. It's only because of my friends and family and sponsors that I was able to keep boxing and get where I am today.'

'Over the years I had to take quite a few jobs to pay for my sport. I loved being an extra – I've been in the Rovers and in the post office in Emmerdale. It's something I'd like to do again in the future after boxing.'

Adams is one of Great Britain's history-making trio of women's boxers, with reigning world champion Savannah Marshall also tipped for gold at middleweight, and world bronze medallist Natasha Jonas at lightweight.

The sport's introduction is also good news for the medal favourites in the men's team like Luke Campbell and Thomas Stalker, who have found much of the focus of the media attention switched elsewhere.

Stalker said: 'I think the spotlight deserves to be on the women because they can fight. If you win medals then you deserve to be in the spotlight.

'They are great fighters and they have won medals at the highest level.'

Sir Alex Ferguson says Kenny Dalglish lost Liverpool job over Luis Suarez race row

Fergie takes swing at rivals Liverpool and Dalglish: The way you handled Suarez row cost you job

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UPDATED:

10:01 GMT, 20 July 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson has re-ignited his rivalry with Kenny Dalglish by telling the former Liverpool boss that his handling of the Luiz Suarez race row cost him his job at Anfield.

Suarez, who was banned for eight games and fined 40,000 over the incident involving Patrice Evra last season, raked up the controversy earlier this week when he accused Manchester United of wielding too much political power in English football.

But Ferguson has hit back at the Uruguay striker and claimed that Dalglish's staunch support of his player – which included wearing a pro-Suarez T-shirt in front of the television cameras – helped convince Liverpool’s American owner John Henry to sack his manager in May.

Coming out swinging: Ferguson has launched an attack on Dalglish's handling of the Suarez affair

Coming out swinging: Ferguson has launched an attack on Dalglish's handling of the Suarez affair

'I wasn’t surprised at Kenny leaving,' said Ferguson. 'I think that the Suarez incident … John Henry has obviously looked at that and felt it wasn’t handled in the right way. It certainly wasn’t a nice thing to happen you know. I think that must have been part of it.'

Ferguson criticised Suarez for re-opening the controversy in an interview in Uruguay this week, and insisted that the Liverpool player was wrong to blame United for the punishment handed out by an independent regulatory commission.

The Old Trafford boss claimed that it was Liverpool’s decision to call on a linguistics expert to try and explain Suarez’s use of the word 'negro' towards Evra that proved their downfall.

On tour: The United squad are currently in South Africa

On tour: The United squad are currently in South Africa

'I've seen he's gone back and talked about it,' added Ferguson. 'It's not going to go away if Suarez keeps on making headlines out of it.

'I don’t think that is anything to do with Manchester United. I think that was to do with Patrice Evra. But it wasn’t Evra’s contribution, it wasn’t Suarez’s contribution, it was the expert they called in to explain the cultural differences. He was the guy who killed Suarez.’

Ferguson also refuted Suarez’s claims that Evra was at fault for their failure to shake hands before the two teams met again at Old Trafford in February.

Flashpoints: Suarez and Evra clashed last season with damaging effect

Flashpoints: Suarez and Evra clashed last season with damaging effect

Flashpoints: Suarez and Evra clashed last season with damaging effect

He said: 'The handshake was disappointing. He came out and said Evra’s hand was low. There is no doubt Evra put his hand towards him. I think Evra expected him not to shake hands. Evra actually said that to the lads.

'He just felt that he wasn’t going to shake his hand. He was sort of embarrassed to put his hand there.

'It's Suarez, he’s the one who should be making the effort to do something about it.'