Tag Archives: club

Juan Mata has played 117 games with no break since August 2011

Mega Mata's 117-match run (that's Juan-hundred and seventeen!) – Chelsea playmaker's incredible non-stop number of games with NO break

and the Olympics leading up to this season's lengthy campaign on the back of a year which saw Chelsea win the Champions League (below) and FA Cup” class=”blkBorder” />

Champion: Mata (centre) played for Spain at Euro 2012 and the Olympics leading up to this season's lengthy campaign on the back of a year which saw Chelsea win the Champions League (below) and FA Cup

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NON-STOP MATA'S 117 GAMES

Chelsea

Premier League (2011-2013) 62 games (26 goals)

Champions League (2011-2013) 17 games (4 goals)

FA Cup (2012,2013) 13 games (5 goals)

League Cup (2011-2013) 6 games (2 goals)

Europa League (2013) 4 games (1 goal)

UEFA Super Cup (2012) 1 game

Community Shield (2012) 1 game

Club World Championship (2012) 2 games (1 goal)

Spain

London 2012 Olympics 3 games

European Championship Qualifiers (2011) 2 games (1 goal)

World Cup Qualifiers (2013) 2 games

Euro 2012 1 game (1 goal)

International Friendly (2011-2012) 3 games

He joined up with Spain's squad for the victorious Euro 2012 campaign – scoring in the final – before competing for his nation at the London Olympics.

From there, he had just 11 days of pre-season training before this season's Community Shield against Manchester City.

If the last campaign saw some Chelsea players' legs grow weary, this one has been far harder.

With
both the Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup to contend with on
top of their usual commitments, they reached the
semi-finals of both the FA Cup and the Capital One Cup.

Chelsea still in
the Europa League, with a semi-final two-legged tie against Basle to come, and they are competing for a top-four finish in the Premier
League.

A win in Wednesday night's
west London derby at Fulham would go some way into achieving the vital
Champions League qualification, seeing them leapfrog Arsenal into third
place.

The match could add see Mata add to
his incredible tally, and the Spaniard fired his troops up to keep up
the pressure as the season heads into the home straight.

Impact start: Mata scored on his Chelsea debut in a 3-1 win over Norwich in August 2011

Impact start: Mata scored on his Chelsea debut in a 3-1 win over Norwich in August 2011

AVB

RDM

Benitez

Changing faces: Mata has played under Andre Villas-Boas (left), Roberto Di Matteo (centre) and Rafa Benitez

In action: Mata will have to recover from Sunday's FA Cup semi-final in order to face Fulham tonight

In action: Mata will have to recover from Sunday's FA Cup semi-final in order to face Fulham tonight

'We just arrived in the season's most important moment,' he told Chelsea's official website.

'It's been a little time since we played two Premier League games together but we now have the opportunity to get six points.

'It will be difficult against Fulham and at Liverpool as well, but we will try to finish the week with 64 points and in a strong position in the league.

'Hopefully the picture will be clearer after that. With six points it could help us make a gap to our rivals.'

Stiliyan Petrov says he is lucky to be alive following leukaemia battle

I’m lucky to be alive! Villa captain Petrov reveals he is on the road to recovery in leukaemia battle

By
Charlie Skillen

PUBLISHED:

12:47 GMT, 17 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:09 GMT, 17 April 2013

Stiliyan Petrov has revealed he is on the road to recovery following a battle with leukaemia after being diagnosed with the disease in March last year, saying he is lucky to be alive.

The Aston Villa club captain spoke about his experience with treatment for the disease and his appreciation of the fans who supported him at matches.

Defender Petrov, who has won 106 caps for his native Bulgaria, has not retired from the professional game and said he is lucky, due to the amount of people who die from the leukaemia.

Happy Birthday: Stiliyan Petrov has revealed he is on the road to recovery following his battle with leukaemia

Happy Birthday: Stiliyan Petrov has revealed he is on the road to recovery following his battle with leukaemia

'When it happened I knew what kind of
disease it was but I didn’t know anything about what kind of treatment
it was,' he told AVFC.co.uk

'While the treatment was going on I
was surprised how long things were dragging on, it kept dragging and I
kept thinking “when is this going to finish” but with a lot of patience
and a lot of support from family and friends and everybody I managed to
pull through. I had my hard moments but I had good moments as well.

'I can say I’m lucky because some
people with this disease will die very quickly and I managed to keep
battling and still be here, still standing. It’s really good, that’s a
great thing.'

Salute: Petrov acknowledges the Villa Park crowd, showing their support by applauding in the 19th minute

Salute: Petrov acknowledges the Villa Park crowd, showing their support by applauding in the 19th minute

Villa

Villa fans hold an applause in the 19th
minute of every game – marking Petrov's squad number – and the
midfielder paid tribute to the supporters who have stood by their
skipper.

'Yeah, the 19th minute has been just
incredible. It’s just showing their appreciation and their support. I
don’t know how I can thank the fans because it’s been incredible.

'Sometimes I have a joke with some
friends when they text me saying, ‘You’ve still got that applause in the
19th minute, when are they going to stop!’ But it’s been incredible.

Touching: Young Villa fans hold up a message in support of their captain

Touching: Young Villa fans hold up a message in support of their captain

In action: Villa skipper Petrov playing last season before the diagnosis ruled him out of contention

In action: Villa skipper Petrov playing last season before the diagnosis ruled him out of contention

'I’ve got a great wife, a strong,
great wife and she’s been unbelievable, incredible in this journey. The
kids as well, my mom and dad, my brother, my wife’s mum, they’ve all
been so strong and close beside me. Other friends as well, I can’t start
naming names because there are so many, they’ve been so supportive
every single day.

'To have support every single day from
people who have their own problems and their own life but they keep
finding the time to send you a message or call you, it’s just
unbelievable.'

Thoughts: Tributes to Petrov were displayed by teams around the Premier League

Thoughts: Tributes to Petrov were displayed by teams around the Premier League

Petrov also spoke about the club's current form, and has backed his team-mates to stave off any relegation fears after seeing Saturday's 1-1 draw against Fulham.

'I was there at the game against Fulham and I’ve come to a lot of games this season when I’ve had the chance,' Petrov said.

Back on track: Petrov was watching Villa's 1-1 draw against Fulham, with Charles N'Zogbia's opener (above)

Back on track: Petrov was watching Villa's 1-1 draw against Fulham, with Charles N'Zogbia's opener (above)

'I needed to have clearance from the doctors to go around crowded areas, so I constantly needed to be feeling well in order for me to be around people.

'I was really impressed by the performance against Fulham because the boys kept going right until the last minute. There are still a lot of games to come, a lot of points to be picked up, so there’s nothing to worry about.'

Ferran Soriano, Manchester City chief executive, accused of "fraudulent administration" at former club Barcelona

City chief Soriano accused of 'fraudulent administration' at former club Barcelona

By
Pete Jenson

PUBLISHED:

21:58 GMT, 6 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

23:34 GMT, 6 April 2013

Trouble: City chief Ferran Soriano

Trouble: City chief Ferran Soriano

Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano may have to answer claims he authorised his former club, Barcelona, to spy on employees’ emails, after Catalonia’s senior prosecutor upheld a complaint by the Catalan club.

Barcelona have accused Soriano and his then fellow director, Joan Oliver, of ‘fraudulent administration and the disclosure of secrets’ and this complaint has now been upheld, meaning the City executive could be called to give evidence at the end of next month.

The case brought by Barcelona centres on accusations that Soriano authorised a cyber intelligence company, Cybex Experience, to embed a device in the server of the club’s internal computer, enabling all internal emails containing certain keywords to be monitored.

Derby: Roberto Mancini's side face Manchester United on Monday

Derby: Roberto Mancini's side face Manchester United on Monday

Barcelona also employed the services of the private investigation firm Metodo 3, who are alleged to have monitored other club directors and even first-team players.

The current Barcelona board’s motivation for the complaint appears to be to ensure the previous regime pays back about three million euros spent between 2004-09 on these services.

But their offensive action has also been seen as a tactic in an ongoing cold war between Manchester City and Barcelona because president Sandro Rosell believes a pledge not to target players from the Spanish side has been broken.

City face their rivals United in the Manchester derby on Monday with their hopes of retaining the Premier League all but gone.

Roberto Mancini's side are 15 points behind United with eight games remaining.

Nacional unfurl world"s largest flag during Copa Libertadores win over Toluca

Now that is what you call a banner! South Americans unfurl giant 600m sign that needed an army of fans to march it into stadium

By
Matt Fortune

PUBLISHED:

14:58 GMT, 5 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:08 GMT, 5 April 2013

Three years after the first seeds of a world record idea were planted in the minds of Nacional fans, the Uruguayan club have made history.

On Thursday, during their Copa Libertadores tie against Mexican club Toluca, fans around three-quarters of the 25,000-capacity stadium were engulfed by a 600mx50m flag, the largest ever unfurled at a football match.

Record breakers: Fans of Uruguay's Nacional display the biggest flag ever seen at a football match during their Copa Libertadores

Record breakers: Fans of Uruguay's Nacional display the biggest flag ever seen at a football match during their Copa Libertadores

Record breakers: Fans of Uruguay's Nacional display the biggest flag ever seen at a football match during their Copa Libertadores

Record breakers: Fans of Uruguay's Nacional display the biggest flag ever seen at a football match during their Copa Libertadores

The white, red and blue banner swept down the steep banks of the Parque Central stadium in Montevideo, covering the Colombes, Olympic and Amsterdam stands, setting the tone for a pulsating match, won 4-0 by the hosts.

Festivities started earlier in the afternoon when fans gathered in the city to help carry the enormous flag, which took a year and half to make once a design had been decided upon, to the stadium.

Whole day's work: Fans spent much of the afternoon carrying the banner to the stadium through Montevideo

Whole day's work: Fans spent much of the afternoon carrying the banner to the stadium through Montevideo

Whole day's work: Fans spent much of the afternoon carrying the banner to the stadium through Montevideo

Whole day's work: Fans spent much of the afternoon carrying the banner to the stadium through Montevideo

Whole day's work: Fans spent much of the afternoon carrying the banner to the stadium through Montevideo

Paolo Di Canio denies having fascist beliefs

I'm no fascist: Sunderland boss Di Canio bows to pressure and denies having right-wing sympathies

PUBLISHED:

15:15 GMT, 3 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:59 GMT, 3 April 2013

Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has released a statement denouncing racism and fascism and vowed that he 'respects everyone'.

The Italian's political beliefs and background have come under close scrutiny in the days after his appointment as boss at the Stadium of Light on Sunday night.

The former West Ham, Celtic and Lazio striker had declined to answer questions over whether he was a fascist, but has now moved to draw a line under the matter.

Controversial: Do Canio's appointment has caused uproar among fans and those opposed to fascism

Controversial: Do Canio's appointment has caused uproar among fans and those opposed to fascism

Di Canio said in a statement: 'I have
clearly stated that I do not wish to speak about matters other than
football, however, I have been deeply hurt by the attacks on the
football club.

'This is an historic, proud and
ethical club and to read and hear some of the vicious and personal
accusations is painful. I am an honest man, my values and principles
come from my family and my upbringing.

'I feel that I should not have to
continually justify myself to people who do not understand this, however
I will say one thing only – I am not the man that some people like to
portray.

'I am not political, I do not
affiliate myself to any organisation, I am not a racist and I do not
support the ideology of fascism. I respect everyone.

'I am a football man and this and my family are my focus. Now I will speak only of football.'

Earlier today the Dean of Durham
wrote an open letter to Di Canio calling on the Italian to publicly
renounce fascism or risk being associated with 'toxic far-right
tendencies'.

Denounce fascism: The Dean of Durham has called on Di Canio to distance himself from toxic far-right tendencies

Denounce fascism: The Dean of Durham has called on Di Canio to distance himself from toxic far-right tendencies

Plea: The Dean of Durham has called on Di Canio to distance himself from toxic far-right tendencies

The Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove,
the son of a Jewish war refugee and a Sunderland supporter, said he was
struggling to stay loyal to the club and that he found Di Canio's
'self-confessed fascism deeply troubling'.

In his open letter to Di Canio, the Dean of Durham wrote: 'Your appointment raises very difficult questions. You see, I am the child of a Jewish war refugee who got out of Germany and came to Britain just in time. Some of her family and friends perished in the Nazi death camps. So I find your self-confessed fascism deeply troubling.

'Fascism was nearly the undoing of the world. It cost millions of innocent lives. Mussolini, who you say has been deeply misunderstood, openly colluded with it. You are said to wear a tattoo DUX which speaks for itself. This all adds up to what I find baffling.

'You say that you are not a racist, but it needs great sophistication to understand how fascism and racism are ultimately different. I can promise you that this distinction will be lost on the people of the North East where the British National Party is finding fertile ground in which to sow the seeds of its pernicious and poisonous doctrine.'

Di Canio refused to confirm or deny whether he was a fascist at a news conference yesterday but has previously stated he is 'a fascist but not a racist'.

He has also been pictured giving a fascist salute to Lazio 'ultras' and photographed attending the funeral of a leading Italian fascist.

Di Canio, the former Swindon
manager, has the word 'Dux', the Latin equivalent of 'Duce', tattooed on
his arm – a reference to Il Duce, Benito Mussolini.

Down to work: Di Canio has taken charge of his first training session at Sunderland today

Down to work: Di Canio has taken charge of his first training session at Sunderland today

Down to work: Di Canio took charge of his first training session at Sunderland today

WHAT EXACTLY IS FASCISM

As the last few days have shown, ‘fascism’ is a word that comes with great political baggage but no simple definition.

In general terms, it evokes right-wing and nationalistic values – standing against the liberal ideals of socialism and democracy and promoting instead authoritarian figures who control the state.

Fascism is ingrained in the political make-up of Italy but is muddied by its links to Nazism, and particularly anti-Semitism.

While racism was a central ideology to Nazism, some historians argue Italian fascism is far more ambiguous – it focuses on conflicts of nation and race within any culture rather than defining status by class.

The first ‘fascist’ movement to gain real power was Mussolini’s Blackshirts in Italy in 1922 – before Adolf Hitler took over the term in the build-up to the Second World War.

Where this leaves Di Canio’s politics is anyone’s guess.

He told Italian news agency Ansa in 2005: 'I am a fascist, not a racist.

'I
give the straight arm salute because it is a salute from a “camerata”
to “camerati”,' he said, using the Italian words for members of
Mussolini's fascist movement.

'The salute is aimed at my people. With the straight arm I don't want to incite violence and certainly not racial hatred.'

At a news conference yesterday, Di Canio blasted the furore over his appointment as Sunderland manager as 'ridiculous and pathetic' and warned that he may not speak to media who continue to question him on the subject.

He said: 'My life speaks for me so there is no need to speak any more about this situation because it's ridiculous and pathetic.

'We are in a football club and not in the House of Parliament. I'm not a political person, I will talk about only football.'

His
appointment led to the resignation of the club's vice-chairman David
Miliband, Labour MP for South Shields and former foreign secretary, and
the Durham Miners' Association has asked the club to return a symbolic
banner which is kept at the Stadium of Light if Di Canio remains in his
post.

SO, HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THIS

Di Canio is yet to explain why he was at the funeral of fascist Paolo Signorelli in 2010, where mourners made the right-arm salute as the body was carried out of the church.

The Sunderland boss was a frequent visitor to Signorelli's home in the final years of his life.

Signorelli, who died aged 76, had been a senior member of the Italian Socialist movement which grew out of the collapse of Benito Mussolini's Fascist party after the Second World War.

Paolo Di Canio

He spent eight years in jail on remand after a bomb was set off killing 85 people at Bologna railway station in 1980.

Although he was initially convicted he
was cleared on appeal because of insufficient evidence. But he was
still found guilty of being part of an 'armed band' and a 'subversion
against democracy'.

Di Canio is understood to have been a frequent visitor to the far-right politician's home in the final years of his life.

Terrorist bombing in Bologna Railway station

'I will not talk about Fascist issue anymore' – Di Canio

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Hawk-Eye miss out on goal-line contract with FIFA after GoalControl seal deal

Germany 2 England 1 in goal-line technology saga as Hawk-Eye miss out on FIFA contract (but they could win Premier League deal)

” class=”blkBorder” />

Net gains: John Terry makes a controversial clearance in England's 1-0 win over Ukraine at Euro 2012

How will it work
Each goal has seven high-speed cameras which track the position of the ball in three dimensions to millimetre precision every two milliseconds.

Within a second of the ball completely crossing the line, the referee is alerted by a vibration and a flashing light on his watch. All camera footage is stored and can be replayed at any time.

How much will it cost
It costs around 170,000 per stadium to install and 2,800 per match to operate

What does it mean for fans
Besides no more missed goals, an instant replay can project a 3D view of the ball’s movement on a virtual pitch to TV viewers at home or to supporters in the stand via the big screen.

PS…

But despite all that technology, referees still retain the authority to make the final decision.

It will cost around 170,000 per stadium to instal and a further 2,800 per match to operate.

GoalControl uses 14 high-speed
cameras to track the 3D position of the ball and promises to alert
referees within a second of the ball completely crossing the line via a
vibration or flashing light on a watch.

FIFA said the German company was
chosen owing to its ‘ability to adapt to local conditions’ in
Brazil. The bids were also ‘judged on cost and project management
factors such as staffing and time schedules for installation’.

The contract, however, is subject to
independent ‘installation tests’ at each of the six stadiums due to be
used for the Confederations Cup – three of which have still not been
completed.

Match officials will also carry out
their own tests before each game, just as they did during the FIFA Club
World Cup in Japan last year.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has urged using goal-line technology in Brazil after Frank Lampard had a clear goal disallowed against Germany at the 2010 World Cup.

Ball-tracking: FIFA hope this system will be a success

Ball-tracking: FIFA hope this system will be a success

Putting it on the line: Hawk-Eye goal-line technology is trialled at Southampton's St Mary's Stadium last year

Putting it on the line: Hawk-Eye goal-line technology is trialled at Southampton's St Mary's Stadium last year

Inconclusive: Chelsea were awarded a dubious goal in the 2012 FA Cup semi-final when the ball was adjudge to have crossed the line

Inconclusive: Chelsea were awarded a dubious goal in the 2012 FA Cup semi-final when the ball was adjudge to have crossed the line

HAWK-EYE REACTION

'Sport teaches us many lessons, including accepting defeat graciously and having confidence in your ability to bounce back strongly. Hawk-Eye wishes FIFA and the appointed GLT supplier every success at The FIFA Confederations Cup 2013.'

Statement released by Hawk-Eye

A FIFA statement said: 'While all
four companies had previously met the stringent technical requirements
of the FIFA quality programme, the final decision was based on criteria
relating more specifically to the tournaments in Brazil, including the
company's ability to adapt to local conditions and the compatibility of
each goal-line technology system in relation to FIFA match operations.

'The respective bids were also judged
on cost and project management factors such as staffing and time
schedules for installation.

'The use of GoalControl-4D in Brazil
is subject to a final installation test at each stadium where the system
will be installed.'

Goal-line: GoalControl-4D's magnetic field system

Goal-line: GoalControl-4D's magnetic field system

In black and white: Geoff Hurst scores England's controversial third goal in the 1966 World Cup final against Germany

In black and white: Geoff Hurst scores England's controversial third goal in the 1966 World Cup final

VIDEO GoalControl in action

Coventry City deducted 10 points

Sky Blues falling down! Crisis club Coventry deducted 10 points by Football League

By
Paul Collins

PUBLISHED:

15:54 GMT, 28 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:54 GMT, 28 March 2013

Coventry City have been deducted 10 points after entering administration.

The deduction leaves the Sky Blues in 15th place in League One.

A statement from the Football League read: 'The Football League can confirm that Coventry City Football Club have been deducted 10 points, in accordance with its rules and regulations.

Tough task: Steven Pressley (left) recently took over as Coventry manager

Tough task: Steven Pressley (left) recently took over as Coventry manager

'This Sporting Sanction has been implemented with immediate effect. Coventry City have seven days in which to appeal.

'The League has now begun discussions with the administrator aimed at achieving a sustainable future for the club within The Football League.'

Coventry had earlier reached a short-term agreement to play their three remaining home games this season at the Ricoh Arena.

Amid an ongoing row between the Sky Blues and Arena Coventry Limited (ACL), who manage the stadium and claim to be owed over 1.3million in unpaid rent stretching back 12 months, the npower League One outfit last week placed a non-operating subsidiary of the club into administration.

That subsidiary, Coventry City Football Club Limited, held the lease and licence for the Ricoh Arena, covering permission to play home matches at the stadium as well as the rental of the club shop and offices, which have already been emptied, with all staff having moved to their Ryton training ground.

Up against it: The Sky Blues have been deducted 10 points

Up against it: The Sky Blues have been deducted 10 points

It sparked speculation and uncertainty over where City would play their remaining home fixtures this term, starting with tomorrow’s visit of league leaders Doncaster.

But a statement released this morning read: “Coventry City Football Club Holdings Ltd are pleased that an agreement has been reached with ACL and the administrator that enables us to play our last three remaining home matches at the Ricoh Arena.

'We apologise profusely to our fans about the confusion surrounding these fixtures and are delighted that this has now been resolved.

'We can now look forward to playing current league leaders Doncaster on Friday 29th March in the hope of doing the double over them.

'Moving forward we hope that we can continue a constructive dialogue with ACL with the aim of securing a sustainable future for the club at the Ricoh Arena.'

The final line of Coventry's statement suggests the club's long-term future may still lie at the venue, which is jointly owned by the Alan Edward Higgs Charity and Coventry City Council.

The lengthy row centres around Coventry's refusal to pay an annual rental fee of 1.28m, the highest in both League One and the Championship by some considerable distance, while also bemoaning the fact they do not get access to 100 per cent of matchday revenue.

After negotiations collapsed, Coventry and hedge fund owners Sisu found themselves in the High Court in London last Friday battling against an application for administration submitted by ACL.

That initial hearing was adjourned, just hours after City placed their non-operating subsidiary into administration – although insisting it is business as usual as Coventry City Football Club (Holdings), which they claim holds the crucial 'golden shares' which provide membership to the Football League and FA, operates as normal.

ACL on Tuesday returned to the High Court and asked for their own application for an administration order to be dismissed.

They claim to have it on good authority from the Football League and the Football Association that Coventry's 'golden shares' do in fact still lie with Coventry City Football Club Ltd, which has already gone into administration, hence the withdrawal of their application.

All eyes are now on the Football League, who are yet to make an official verdict on the matter, with Coventry appearing to face the prospect of a 10-point deduction.

The Sky Blues are currently 10th in League One, five points off the play-offs, with a 10-point penalty certain to end their promotion hopes for this term.

Ricky Van Wolfswinkel joins Norwich City

Hughton hails 8.5m Van Wolfswinkel capture as Norwich strengthen frontline

By
Steve Martyn

PUBLISHED:

23:53 GMT, 22 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

18:57 GMT, 23 March 2013

Norwich City are to smash their club
record transfer fee with the 8.5million signing of sought-after Holland
striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel from Sporting Lisbon.

The 6ft 1in Van Wolfswinkel has agreed a four-year contract following three days of negotiations between the clubs.

The 24-year-old, a one-time transfer
target for Liverpool and Tottenham, will arrive at Carrow Road on July 1
after seeing out the season with the Portuguese club.

On the move: Norwich City have signed Ricky Van Wolfswinkel (centre)

On the move: Norwich City have signed Ricky Van Wolfswinkel (centre)

Norwich manager Chris Hughton said: 'Ricky's profile is a perfect fit for us – he's young, ambitious and a proven goalscorer.

'He has an excellent goalscoring pedigree and he is very keen to continue his personal progression and play in England.

'He's already an exciting talent but he still has more development as a player ahead of him.

'I'm delighted we have been able to agree a deal with Sporting Lisbon and with Ricky.

'Now we look forward to welcoming him to the squad in July, once all of the paperwork gets sorted out.'

Great name: Van Wolfswinkel has scored 13 goals in Portugal this term

Great name: Van Wolfswinkel has scored 13 goals in Portugal this term

Van Wolfswinkel has so far scored 82 goals in 188 appearances for Sporting and his Dutch sides Utrecht and Vitesse Arnhem.

He netted 25 goals for Sporting last season and has added another 14 so far in the current campaign.

Sporting were reluctant sellers but massive club debts have forced them to part with their prized forward.

Van Wolfswinkel's only senior cap for Holland came in August 2010 for a friendly against Ukraine.

His arrival easily beats Norwich's
previous record transfer fee, the 5.5m paid to Tottenham for Cameroon
central defender Sebastien Bassong last summer.

Ledley King backs Tottenham to win Premier League

Spurs can be Kings of England in two years, says former skipper Ledley

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

07:59 GMT, 21 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:49 GMT, 21 March 2013

Ledley King believes Tottenham could win the Premier League within two years.

The former Spurs defender, who works as an ambassador at the club following his retirement through injury, is impressed with manager Andre Villa-Boas and his squad.

And King has forecast exciting times ahead for the north London club.

On the up: Tottenham are enjoying a successful season at home and abroad

On the up: Tottenham are enjoying a successful season at home and abroad

'I rate the current Spurs team very highly,' he told the BBC.

'I think we've got a young and ambitious manager who's great and is going to do well for the club.

'I think we've got a great group of players at a good age where they're improving all the time and reaching their peak.

'The way the team are progressing at the minute, hopefully in the next year or two they will be really challenging for the Premier League.'

Heady heights: Ledley King (right) believes Spurs can challenge for the title

Heady heights: Ledley King (right) believes Spurs can challenge for the title

Tottenham are currently fourth in the Premier League as they fight for a place in next season's Champions League.

'It's a big club and you've got to make sure it's not just a one-off, you've got to keep doing it,' King added.

'Hopefully we can qualify this season and continue doing that for the future.'

Liverpool won"t sell Luis Suarez this summer

Suarez is going nowhere, vow Liverpool despite hitman warning he would 'welcome' talks with Champions League clubs

By
Charlie Skillen

PUBLISHED:

20:04 GMT, 20 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:19 GMT, 21 March 2013

Liverpool have 'no desire' to sell Luis Suarez, according to managing director Ian Ayre.

Suarez’s future at Anfield has made headlines this morning after it was reported he would be willing to talk with other clubs following an interview in his native Uruguay.

Ayre has, however, played down any notion the striker may be about to leave the Reds after signing a four-year deal last August.

VIDEO: SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH THE LATEST LUIS SUAREZ NEWS

Club and country: Suarez (left) in Uruguay training under pressure from Liverpool teammate Sebastian Coates

Club and country: Suarez (left) in Uruguay training under pressure from Liverpool teammate Sebastian Coates

Shaping up: Suarez admitted he would consider a summer move to a club in the Champions League

Shaping up: Suarez admitted he would consider a summer move to a club in the Champions League

Table

'You can read into the comments – it was given in his native language so I think maybe it was a bit lost in translation,' Ayre told BBC Radio Five Live.

'We’ve been consistent with Luis. Last summer he signed a new four-year contract and we have no desire to sell Luis. He is a fantastic player and a great contributor to our team.

'We’ve been very honest with him and he’s been very honest with us.
Suarez is under contract at Anfield until 2017, but in the interview hinted he could be tempted by a big-money move at the end of the season.

Disappointing: Suarez played in Liverpool's 3-1 defeat by struggling Southampton on Saturday

Disappointing: Suarez played in Liverpool's 3-1 defeat by struggling Southampton on Saturday

'I am very happy at Liverpool but you
never know in football,' Suarez said ahead of his international side's
World Cup qualifier with Paraguay, as reported in the Liverpool Echo.

'If another team comes around with
more prospects of competing in international club competition games,
which is willing to have me, they are welcome.

'We would talk to the club, we would see if I want to go, if I don’t want to go.'

Philosophy: Manager Brendan Rodgers has tried to implement his possession-based style at Liverpool

Philosophy: Manager Brendan Rodgers has tried to implement his possession-based style at Liverpool

However, Suarez also recognised
Liverpool's strengths, including manager Brendan Rodgers' footballing
philosophy, which he hopes to see propel the club further next year.

Rodgers won plaudits for his Swansea
side's passing style last season, and has attempted to implement the
same structure at Anfield.

'A player’s ambition is always there, the ambition of wanting to play in elite teams is always there,' said Suarez.

'I’m in a world-class team, an elite team like Liverpool.

'We have to realise we have a new
manager who is imposing a philosophy and a way of playing that the
players are adapting to as best we can.

'We hope that it will bear fruit next year.'

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