Tag Archives: campaigns

VIDEO: Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina stars as Roman soldier in new film

VIDEO: All hail Reina as Liverpool keeper stars as Roman soldier in new film

By
Dave Wood

PUBLISHED:

13:15 GMT, 19 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:35 GMT, 19 March 2013

Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina took time out from preparing for crucial World Cup qualifiers to show off his acting skills.

The Spaniard, who is in line to make a rare appearance for the Roja after first choice Iker Casillas was ruled out of the upcoming matches against Finland and France, donned classic Roman garb to star as a soldier in a new short-film called 'Invictus, el correo del Cesar.'

Scroll down for video

Film star: Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina

Film star: Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina

Hot seat: Cesc Fabregas (centre) and David Villa (right) were at the premiere

Hot seat: Cesc Fabregas (centre) and David Villa (right) were at the premiere

The film is directed by Javier Fesser, who has won three Baftas including Best Director and Best Original
Screenplay for 'The Way' in 2008 and Best Live Action Short Film for
'That ritmillo' in 1995.

The film's premiere was held in Madrid on Monday and Spanish stars David Villa, Xavi, Cesc Fabregas and Jordi Alba were among the audience.

The film is being bankrolled by insurance company Plus Ultra Seguros, who also use Reina to front their advertising campaigns.

Reina also used his trip to Spain to reiterate his commitment to Liverpool after being linked as a potential replacement for wantaway Victor Valdes.

'[A move to Barcelona] is not in my hands and the rumour mongering is part of that,' Reina told Spanish newspaper AS. 'They're such a great club, but I'm happy at Liverpool.'

Video: Reina the actor

Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina dons Roman gear for advert

DM.has('rcpv2236587363001','BC',
'renderConfig' :

'css' : “videoplayer-large”,
'autoplay' : false,
'muted' : false,
'title' : “Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina dons Roman gear for advert”,
'videoId' : 1002840,
'adsEnabled' : true,
'playerId' : “1989148206001”,
'playerKey' : “AQ~~,AAAAAFSL1bg~,CmS1EFtcMWELN_eSE9A7gpcGWF5XAVmI”,
'objId' : “rcpv2236587363001”,
'videoPlayer' : “2236587363001”,
'width' : 636,
'height' : 358,
'linkBaseURL' : “http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2295723/VIDEO-Liverpool-keeper-Pepe-Reina-stars-Roman-soldier-new-film.html”

});

David James presented with MBE

James receives MBE at Buckingham Palace for services to football and charity

|

UPDATED:

14:58 GMT, 25 October 2012

David James was presented with an MBE on for services to football and charity on Thursday.

The former England goalkeeper, who now plays for League One AFC Bournemouth, received the accolade from HRH The Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace.

James, 42, has won 53 caps for his country and has played for Watford, Liverpool, Aston Villa, West Ham, Manchester City, Portsmouth and Bristol City in a 23-year career.

Honour: David James was made an MBE for services to football and charity at Buckingham Palace

Honour: David James was made an MBE for services to football and charity at Buckingham Palace

David James is awarded his MBE by the Prince of Wales

David James receives his MBE from the Prince of Wales

Hold still! James receives his MBE from HRH The Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace

The stopper is second on the Premier League's all-time appearance list, with over 500 matches, and holds the record for the most clean sheets with 173.

He has also been recgonised for his work with the David James Foundation, which helps communities in Malawi improve their food supply by farming the land they live on.

James is also involved with the Special Olympics Charity and Access Sport, which offers sports provision to deprived areas of the UK.

An unorthodox back four: James poses for a picture with some Buckingham Palace regulars

An unorthodox back four: James poses for a picture with some Buckingham Palace regulars

Receiving his award, James said: 'I am extremely honoured to be receiving an MBE today. It is not an award that one sets out to achieve, making me even more appreciative to those that put my name forward.

'I have had many years playing football, years that have given me tremendous enjoyment. They have also allowed me to get involved in many charitable campaigns, for this, I am very grateful.'

David James says anti-racism campaigns in football are causing unnecessary trouble

James starts backlash against anti-racism campaigns in wake of Terry case

|

UPDATED:

18:52 GMT, 11 October 2012

David James has accused football’s anti-racism campaigners of making too much of the issue, insisting he no longer saw a problem in the game.

Former England goalkeeper James, one of the most high-profile black players of the last 20 years, claimed certain groups had 'an agenda to keep themselves in existence'.

Racism has been one of the biggest topics in football over the past year, with John Terry and Luis Suarez both banned by the Football Association for abusing opponents.

Criticism: David James says too much is being made of certain issues

Criticism: David James says too much is being made of certain issues

But, speaking at the Leaders in Football conference at Stamford Bridge, James said: 'I think the organisations which have done so good on the terraces are still employed looking for stuff to be shouted about.

'And a lot of the issues that we’ve gone on about in the last season or so, it’s more about people driving the issue than the issue being a real focus.'

Asked to elaborate, James added: 'Well, some people get paid for doing certain jobs and certain jobs involve bringing stuff to public notice.

'The JT thing, it could’ve been dealt with quietly and done. He could’ve served a ban if he was going to serve a ban, rather than it being a six or eight-month thing.'

Pressed on whether he was criticising anti-racism groups, James said: 'I think that some people have an agenda to keep themselves in existence and, as a player, I don’t see the racism issue – anywhere, personally.

'Maybe people just don’t want to aim it at me – I don’t know. But I don’t see it.

'But you read about stuff that maybe you don’t need to read about all the time.'

James also disagreed with those who have
suggested there was institutional racism at the top of football because
of the lack of black managers in the game.

The 42-year-old, who hopes to embark on
his own career in management after completing his UEFA Pro-Licence,
said: 'I struggle with the racist issue in football because I don’t see
it, and that’s not because I’ve got my head in the sand.

Fuss: James says the John Terry case has gone on far too long

Fuss: James says the John Terry case has gone on far too long

'In the earlier days, yes, but the game’s changed.

'There are some wonderful organisations out there which have helped football become a much more enjoyable game for everyone.

'Stuff in the crowd being aimed at players – that’s gone, or pretty much gone. I don’t hear it any more.

Star names: Popular Italian and former referee Pierluigi Collina spoke at the summit

Star names: Popular Italian and former referee Pierluigi Collina spoke at the summit

'With regards to the playing side of things, I don’t look at myself as any different from the guy who gets changed next to me, and I’m not going to fly anyone’s flag in order to join some “gang”, which doesn’t need to be joined.

'If you want to go on a coaching course to become a manager then give yourself a chance.

'If you don’t want to go, and moan about not getting jobs, well, probably because you haven’t been on the course is the reason why you haven’t got a job.'

John Terry: Chelsea save seat for captain in team photo

Hurry back! Chelsea show support for captain Terry by saving seat in team photo

|

UPDATED:

08:47 GMT, 28 September 2012

John Terry may be facing an uncertain future after being found guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand by the Football Association but his Chelsea team-mates are in no hurry to cast him adrift.

The Stamford Bridge captain was handed a four-match ban and fined 220,000 on Thursday despite being cleared by a court in the summer.

Terry has already retired from international football but his club side showed they will welcome him back with open arms after leaving a space for him in a team photograph.

In our thoughts: Chelsea pose for a team photograph but leave a set for the absent John Terry

In our thoughts: Chelsea pose for a team photograph but leave a set for the absent John Terry

A seat was left empty next to manager Roberto Di Matteo as the Chelsea squad posed for Dolce & Gabbana.

The FA’s independent four-man panel meanwhile left a significant stain on an already battered reputation when they made their decision. Terry has lost the England captaincy, chosen to retire from international football and seen major sponsors desert him.

As Sportsmail revealed at the time, Umbro were quick to remove Terry from their major advertising campaigns last season and had no intention of renewing a multi-million pound deal that expired in the summer.

The verdict will be followed by a written report in the next week. It took 10 days to issue the report on the Luis Suarez case, but the FA hope to be faster on this occasion.

Back in action: John Terry arrived for Chelsea training at Cobham on Friday

Back in action: John Terry arrived for Chelsea training at Cobham on Friday

In their statement, the FA made it clear the 31-year-old had been punished for using racist language towards Ferdinand at Loftus Road last October.

They said: ‘The Football Association charged Mr Terry with using abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards Queens Park Rangers’ Anton Ferdinand and which included a reference to colour and/or race contrary to FA Rule E3[2] in relation to the Queens Park Rangers FC versus Chelsea FC fixture at Loftus Road on 23 October 2011.

‘Mr Terry has the right to appeal the decision of the Independent Regulatory Commission to an Appeal Board. An appeal must be lodged within 14 days from receipt of the written reasons for the decision.’

John Terry race case: FA find Chelsea captain guilty

The pariah: Terry faces uncertain future after FA find him guilty in Ferdinand race case

|

UPDATED:

23:11 GMT, 27 September 2012

John Terry's future was shrouded in uncertainty after he was banned for four matches by the FA and fined a record 220,000 for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.

Terry expressed his 'disappointment', claiming the verdict went against his acquittal at Westminster Magistrates Court in July.

But the FA’s independent four-man panel left a significant stain on an already battered reputation. Terry has lost the England captaincy, chosen to retire from international football and seen major sponsors desert him.

Day four: Terry received a four-match ban

Day four: Terry received a four-match ban

Day four: Terry arrived at Wembley with a verdict imminent

As Sportsmail revealed at the time, Umbro
were quick to remove Terry from their major advertising campaigns last
season and had no intention of renewing a multi-million pound deal that
expired in the summer.

The verdict will be followed by a written report in the next week. It took 10 days to issue the report on the Luis Suarez case, but the FA hope to be faster on this occasion.

In their statement, the FA made it clear the 31-year-old had been punished for using racist language towards Ferdinand at Loftus Road last October.

Back in action: Terry featured against Wolves on Tuesday night

Back in action: Terry featured against Wolves on Tuesday night

They said: ‘The Football Association charged Mr Terry with using abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards Queens Park Rangers’ Anton Ferdinand and which included a reference to colour and/or race contrary to FA Rule E3[2] in relation to the Queens Park Rangers FC versus Chelsea FC fixture at Loftus Road on 23 October 2011.

‘Mr Terry has the right to appeal the decision of the Independent Regulatory Commission to an Appeal Board. An appeal must be lodged within 14 days from receipt of the written reasons for the decision.’

The fine for using the words ‘f****** black ****’ is the highest ever levied on an individual by the FA. It may be no coincidence that it corresponds to Terry’s weekly wage at Chelsea. Suarez was fined 40,000 for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra last season and in setting that figure, the independent panel said they ‘took account of the information that was placed before us about his weekly salary’.

All parties concerned stressed last night that they would wait for the written report before considering their next move.

Ferdinand, who was among those who gave evidence over the three-day hearing at Wembley this week, will not respond until he has read the full report. The FA have adopted the same position. They could appeal, arguing that four matches is not enough, but that is considered unlikely.

Chelsea, who ban for life any fan who uses racist language at Stamford Bridge, also want to see the report. A statement read: ‘Chelsea Football Club notes and respects today’s decision. We also recognise that John has the right to appeal that decision. It is therefore inappropriate for us to comment further.’

Precedent: Suarez (left) was banned for eight matches last season

Precedent: Suarez (left) was banned for eight matches last season

Cleared: Terry faced a court case earlier this summer regarding the same incident

Cleared: Terry faced a court case earlier this summer regarding the same incident

A spokesman for Terry said the player
was ‘disappointed’ the FA had reached a ‘different conclusion’ from the
‘not guilty verdict of a court of law’.

The
FA also came in for criticism. Why was Terry’s ban only four matches
when Suarez received eight for racially abusing Manchester United’s
Patrice Evra

And why,
once again, has a verdict been issued without a simultaneous written
explanation that removes any questions about the punishment.

Old pals: Jose Mourinho has defended his former captain, saying he is not a racist

Old pals: Jose Mourinho has defended his former captain, saying he is not a racist

Twitter on Terry

On the latter point, the FA will
argue that it is part of their disciplinary process. Some mitigation has
to follow the verdict before a written report is then submitted by the
QC leading the panel.

The
identity of the panellists — beyond former England winger Stuart
Ripley, now a sports lawyer — remained a closely guarded secret last
night because they wish to limit the personal abuse they might receive
in such a high- profile case.

In
the eyes of many, the length of the ban does seem bizarre. For that
particular FA charge the statutory punishment is four matches and Suarez
received more because he repeated the word ‘negro’.

But a four-match ban for the use of racist language does seem lenient. Last season Ruesha Littlejohn, at the time a player for Liverpool Ladies, received a six-match ban for tweeting a joke that made reference to sexual orientation.

As Gary Lineker tweeted: ‘The FA find John Terry guilty and give him a 4 match ban and 220K fine. Just one game more than a regular red card’

Lord Ouseley, the chairman of football’s anti-racism body Kick It Out, said he hoped football could learn from this case.

'This isn’t about John Terry being a racist and clearly no-one should be accusing him and nobody has accused him of that,' he said. 'But we’ve all got to pull collectively to move forward in a way that makes football a better place where the sort of language that is used every day and on the field of play has to stop.'

JOHN TERRY – HIGHS AND LOWS

HIGH – Makes Chelsea debut against Aston Villa in October 1998.

LOW – Is one of four players fined two weeks' wages by Chelsea after their behaviour at a Heathrow hotel is criticised on the day after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

LOW – In 2002, Terry and Chelsea team-mate Jody Morris are cleared after being charged with assault and affray in connection with a nightclub incident. Terry, uncapped at the time, is ruled out of the World Cup by the FA until the legal case is completed.

HIGH – Makes England debut as substitute against Serbia and Montenegro in June 2003.

HIGH – Appointed Chelsea captain as the successor to Marcel Desailly in August 2004.

HIGH – Succeeds David Beckham as England captain in August 2006.

Moscow tears

LOW – Misses crucial kick in a penalty shoot-out to decide the 2008 Champions League final against Manchester United, who go on to lift the trophy.

LOW – In December 2009, Chelsea are forced to defend Terry after allegations he took secret cash payments to lay on a behind-the-scenes tour of the club's training ground.

LOW – In January 2010, Terry is named as the sportsman behind a gagging injunction involving his private life. A court order had previously been in place, covering an alleged relationship between married Terry and French model Vanessa Perroncel, a former partner of team-mate Wayne Bridge.

LOW – Is axed as England captain in February following a meeting with Fabio Capello.

LOW – Bridge refuses to shake Terry's hand before Chelsea's match with Manchester City on February 27.

HIGH – Is restored to the role of permanent England captain by Capello in March 2011.

LOW – In October 2011, Terry is accused of making a racist slur against Anton Ferdinand during Chelsea's defeat at QPR. A police investigation is launched which culminates in the Crown Prosecution Service announcing that charges would be brought. In February 2012, West London Magistrates' Court rules that Terry should stand trial in the week beginning July 9.

Snub

LOW – Terry is stripped of the England captaincy for a second time on February 3. The decision was taken by members of the 14-strong FA board, without consulting Capello. Capello resigns as England manager on February 8, two days after criticising the decision to strip Terry of the captaincy.

HIGH – Terry captains Chelsea to a famous 1-0 victory over Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final encounter at Stamford Bridge on April 18.

LOW – A week later, Chelsea's hopes in the second leg at the Nou Camp are hit when Terry is shown a straight red card for inexplicably kneeing Alexis Sanchez from behind in the first half.

HIGH – Is cleared at Westminster Magistrates' Court on July 13 of making a racist insult to Ferdinand, but two weeks later is charged by the FA with using abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards the QPR defender. It is further alleged that this included a reference to the ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race of Ferdinand. Terry denies the charge and requests a personal hearing.

LOW – Announces his retirement from international football on September 23, shortly before the start of his personal hearing to answer the FA charge.

LOW – Banned for four matches and fined 220,000 by an FA independent regulatory commission.

DM.has('rcpv1729050278001','BCVideo');

Pepe Reina must prove he"s safe hands

Reina must prove he's safe hands as Liverpool stopper's form begins to raise questions

|

UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 21 September 2012

For a man who is a creature of habit and exceptionally superstitious, the demolished petrol station on the road to Anfield will be troubling Pepe Reina.

Liverpool's goalkeeper follows a bizarre pre-match routine that involves him stopping at the same garage before every home game, regardless of whether he needs one litre or a couple of gallons, to ensure his tank is full to the brim.

This summer, though, the forecourt that has been as vital psychologically to Reina's preparations as any warm-up drill has disappeared.

Questionable: Pepe Reina's form has been erratic in recent weeks

Questionable: Pepe Reina's form has been erratic in recent weeks

Sadly for the Spaniard, so has his form. Mistakes against Hearts and Arsenal have highlighted the problem, but he would be the first to recognise that standards have slipped in the last two years.

Given Reina's iconic standing among Liverpool supporters and the outstanding reputation he holds within the game, that appraisal may seem harsh but just consider this self-assessment he gave during an interview with Sportsmail in December 2010.

'I'm not happy at all,' he said. 'I can be better in many ways. I'm disappointed because you always want to be really consistent and helping the team. I want to improve.'

Managers have changed since then but were you to ask him for a synopsis of how he has started this campaign, the answer would be the same.

As much as Liverpool need to beat Manchester United on Sunday, Reina needs a big performance in a big game.

Only a couple of years ago Reina,
whom Rafa Benitez signed from Villarreal for 6.5million in 2005,
smashed a club record for keeping 100 clean sheets in less than 200
appearances and crowned his first three campaigns by winning the Golden
Gloves.

So what has gone amiss There are a
number of theories.

The first is that there is a lack of competition for
a starting place as Reina's deputies Brad Jones and Peter Gulacsi are
not up to playing regularly in the top flight.

Come on! Some believe the frequent changes of coaching staff at Liverpool could be a factor

Come on! Some believe the frequent changes of coaching staff at Liverpool could be a factor

Secondly, there is a perception that he has become frustrated by Liverpool's inability to compete.

Perhaps the most significant point, though, centres on the coaching he is receiving.

Reina had a close bond with Jose Ochotorena when he first arrived and the rapport continued with Xavi Valero.

Any chance Although first choice at Liverpool, Reina is behind Iker Casillas and Victor Valdes in the Spain pecking order

Any chance Although first choice at Liverpool, Reina is behind Iker Casillas and Victor Valdes in the Spain pecking order

Since then he has worked with Mike Kelly – Roy Hodgson's long-time ally – and, currently, the former Tranmere keeper John Achterberg.

Many wonder whether the changes are impacting on Reina. There have been stories that the 30-year-old will be moved on but he has no desire to leave.

Just as importantly, Brendan Rodgers wants him to stay. 'I've never had a problem with Pepe,' said Rodgers. 'He's a key member of the squad.'

But until he recaptures his top form, questions will keep being asked. What better place to start answering them than in the biggest game of all.

Sir Chris Hoy named as 2014 Commonwealth Games ambassador

Most successful Olympian Hoy named as ambassador for Glasgow Commonwealth Games

|

UPDATED:

09:36 GMT, 13 September 2012

Britain's most successful Olympian Sir Chris Hoy has been announced as the first official ambassador of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Organisers believe the six-times Olympic gold medallist will inspire people to get behind the Glasgow games over the next two years.

The cyclist's new role will see him appear in high-profile promotional campaigns and lend his support to the organising committee.

New role: Sir Chris Hoy has been named as an ambassador for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow

New role: Sir Chris Hoy has been named as an ambassador for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow

The city's new velodrome, which opens to the public later this year, is being named in his honour.

He said: 'The Commonwealth Games is a special event for me.

'I have fantastic memories of competing for Scotland in the Games on three separate occasions, especially winning my first major championship gold medal at the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games.

'Following an incredible Olympics in London, I'm proud to lend my support to the next great sporting event on home soil.

'Making sure that people from all walks of life, especially young people, feel inspired to be a part of the Games will be a big focus for me.

'London 2012 was the perfect way to end my Olympic career.

'The Commonwealth Games are two years away and I haven't made any decisions yet, but to be able to compete in Glasgow in a velodrome bearing my name would be the dream ending for me.'

Keep going! Hoy, who won two golds at London 2012 to take his tally to six overall, has signalled his desire to compete in the next Commonwealth Games

Keep going! Hoy, who won two golds at London 2012 to take his tally to six overall, has signalled his desire to compete in the next Commonwealth Games

Games bosses said the Edinburgh-born sportsman is the first of a 'select group of high-profile sporting and celebrity figures' who will work with the organisers to promote the Games and make sure as many people as possible get involved in Scotland's largest-ever sporting and cultural event.

Further details of Hoy's new role will be announced in the coming weeks.

Lord Smith, chair of the Glasgow 2014 organising committee, said: 'We could think of no person more appropriate than Sir Chris to be our first official ambassador.

'I have no doubt that his success, his support and his passion for Scotland will inspire people – spectators, volunteers and athletes – to get behind the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

'We are delighted to have the support of Britain's greatest Olympian.'

Impressive: An artists' vision of the velodrome for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow

Impressive: An artists' vision of the velodrome for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow

Hoy won two gold medals at the London 2012 Games, taking his Olympic gold medal total to six. He also has 11 world championship titles under his belt.

In 2008, it was announced that a new velodrome in Glasgow, said to be a landmark venue for the Commonwealth Games, would be named in his honour. The arena, in the east end of Glasgow, is due to open to the public later this year.

The announcement of Hoy's new post comes ahead of a busy few days for the sportsman.

He is expected to attend a homecoming parade through the streets of Glasgow on Friday to celebrate the achievements of Scottish Olympians and Paralympians.

On Sunday, he will be awarded the freedom of Edinburgh after joining other sportsmen and women on an open-top bus tour through the city.

Ravi Bopara in England Lions squad to face Australia A

Bopara set for quick return with Lions after mystery exit from England squad

|

UPDATED:

18:15 GMT, 5 August 2012

Ravi Bopara is due to return to action for England Lions this week, after his last-minute defection from the squad to face South Africa in the ongoing Headingley Test.

Bopara was widely expected to bat at No 6 for England against the tourists in Leeds but pulled out of contention hours before the selectors announced their squad last weekend.

The England and Wales Cricket Board cited unspecified 'personal reasons' for Bopara's absence, and debutant James Taylor took his place.

I'm out: Ravi Bopara withdrew from the England squad for the second Test

I'm out: Ravi Bopara withdrew from the England squad for the second Test

But the ECB announced on Sunday evening that 27-year-old Bopara has been added to the Lions squad which will take on Australia A in an intriguing four-day fixture, starting at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

The Australian team contains several players expected to be in England again next summer for the Champions Trophy and Ashes – two campaigns in which Bopara too will still be hoping to be involved.

Petr Cech signs new four-year deal at Chelsea

Champions League hero Cech rewarded with new four-year deal at Chelsea

|

UPDATED:

16:37 GMT, 28 May 2012

Chelsea's Champions League hero Petr Cech has signed a new four-year contract.

The Czech keeper, who joined the club in 2004, has already played more games for Chelsea than any overseas player – 369 appearances which has seen him win three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and two Carling Cups plus the Champions League after a penalty shoot-out.

Cech said: 'I am really happy to be part of this great club for another four years.

Influence: Petr Cech helped Chelsea win the Champions League this month

Influence: Petr Cech helped Chelsea win the Champions League this month

Hands on the big one: Cech finally managed to get his hands on the Champions League trophy

Hands on the big one: Cech finally managed to get his hands on the Champions League trophy

'I hope the next four years will be as successful as the last eight years I have been at the club.'

Cech, 30, made a series of crucial saves in Chelsea's victorious FA Cup and Champions League campaigns last season.

He saved Arjen Robben's penalty in extra time in the European competition final against Bayern Munich and two more in the shoot-out.

Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay said: “Chelsea fully appreciates the highly significant contribution Petr has made to the most successful period in the club's history, and it is very important to our aim of continuing this level of achievement that he has committed himself to the club until 2016.

'It is clear to anyone who watched the climax to the season just completed that Petr continues to perform as well as any goalkeeper in the world.'

Over the course of his Chelsea career Cech has kept 178 clean sheets, an astonishing 48 per cent games he has played in.

Edinburgh launch double raid on Cardiff for Blues stars Richie Rees and John Yapp

Edinburgh launch double raid on Cardiff for Blues stars Rees and Yapp

|

UPDATED:

12:10 GMT, 12 April 2012

Edinburgh coach Michael Bradley has hailed the club's 'bright future' after the Heineken Cup semi-finalists swooped to sign Wales internationals Richie Rees and John Yapp.

Both players will move to Murrayfield from Cardiff Blues in time for next season's domestic and European campaigns.

Scrum-half Rees, 28, has won nine Wales caps, while 29-year-old prop Yapp's Test career comprises of 21 appearances. Neither player featured in the Wales World Cup squad last autumn.

Capital gains: Coach Michael Bradley has overseen a revival in Edinburgh's fortunes

Capital gains: Coach Michael Bradley has overseen a revival in Edinburgh's fortunes

'We are delighted that quality players are becoming increasingly aware of the bright future being pieced together here at Murrayfield,' Bradley said.

'John brings a wealth of experience with this performances for Wales during a very successful period for the national side.

'And Richie is a very talented, international scrum-half. He's a quality player who possesses a natural ability to make breaks.'

Rees has made close to 100 appearances for the Blues following spells at the Ospreys and London Irish.

Style issue: Richie Rees says Edinburgh's system excites him

Style issue: Richie Rees says Edinburgh's system excites him

'Edinburgh are a team that really excites me,' he said. 'Their style of play was a big factor in wanting to sign.

'It really suits how I approach the game, and I think I can bring something to an already very talented squad that is being boosted by some quality players.'

And Yapp added: 'I am used to stiff competition in the front-row, having competed with Gethin Jenkins at the Blues for a number of years.

'It only serves to bring out the best in the individuals. It's good for the team to have a number of strong players across all positions, and I think it can help us push on to achieve great things.'

International pedigree: John Yapp has represented Wales 21 times

International pedigree: John Yapp has represented Wales 21 times

The signings have been announced just 16 days before Edinburgh contest their first Heineken Cup semi-final.

Bradley's team will face Ulster in Dublin on April 28, having booked a last-four place courtesy of a memorable quarter-final victory over multiple European champions Toulouse last weekend.