Tag Archives: criticised

Nuri Sahin thanks God he doesn"t play for Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool anymore

Thank GOD I don't play for Rodgers any more! Ex-Liverpool midfielder Sahin (who wasn't very good) sticks boot into Kop boss

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

13:55 GMT, 14 March 2013

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UPDATED:

14:19 GMT, 14 March 2013

Nuri Sahin has criticised Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers following his failure to make an impression at Anfield and thanks God he isn't playing for the Northern Irishman any more.

The Turkey midfielder joined Liverpool on a season-long loan from Real Madrid last summer but he made only 12 appearances before the deal was terminated in January.

The 24-year-old claims he was played out of position without explanation by Rodgers and is now glad not to be playing under him.

Parting shot: Sahin exited Anfield in January after just five months at the club

Parting shot: Sahin exited Anfield in January after just five months at the club

Red alert: Rodgers enjoys a joke with his players during training at the club's Melwood training base

Red alert: Rodgers enjoys a joke with his players during training at the club's Melwood training base

Red alert: Rodgers enjoys a joke with his players during training at the club's Melwood training base

Sahin, now on loan at Borussia Dortmund, told Spanish newspaper AS: 'Brendan Rodgers wanted me to play as a 10. But I do not play behind the forwards.

'I spoke with him and asked him why I was playing there. It is not my real position. The boss could not answer me… still, I am not sorry about it.

'To play in the red jersey and be in Anfield is something marvellous.

Getting shirty: Sahin is delighted to be back at at Dortmund

Getting shirty: Sahin is delighted to be back at at Dortmund

Getting shirty: Sahin is delighted to be back at at Dortmund

'Maybe if I had not gone there I would not have been able to return to Borussia Dortmund. For that, I am happy.

'But I have left Brendan Rodgers, thanks be to God.'

Sahin made his name at Dortmund before joining Real in 2011.

He said: 'I feel well physically and mentally, everything is perfect. After returning to Germany, I feel much better.'

On the up: Liverpool and Rodgers (right) completed an impressive victory over Spurs at the weekend

On the up: Liverpool and Rodgers (right) completed an impressive victory over Spurs at the weekend

Samir Nasri and Carlos Tevez relax in Manchester City training

Nasri and Tevez take weight of expectation in their stride as duo relax in City training

By
Graeme Yorke

PUBLISHED:

19:20 GMT, 28 February 2013

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UPDATED:

21:06 GMT, 28 February 2013

Samir Nasri and Carlos Tevez appeared to be in high spirits today as Manchester City prepared for their trip to Aston Villa on Monday.

Fresh from beating top-four rivals Chelsea at the Etihad last weekend, Nasri, Tevez and the rest of the City squad were put through their paces at City's training base in Carrington.

And Tevez, who doubled City's lead over Rafa Benitez's visitors after Yaya Toure's opener, took the time to give the cameras a thumbs-up while he rested between training sessions.

Relaxed: Samir Nasri reclines in Manchester City's boot room at their Carrington training base

Relaxed: Samir Nasri reclines in Manchester City's boot room at their Carrington training base

Weight of expectation: Pablo Zabaleta puts a shift in as City prepare to take on Aston Villa on Monday

Weight of expectation: Pablo Zabaleta puts a shift in as City prepare to take on Aston Villa on Monday

No way: Joe Hart dives over a hurdle to keep the ball out as Costel Pantilimon (left) watches

No way: Joe Hart dives over a hurdle to keep the ball out as Costel Pantilimon (left) watches

Nasri, who made a late cameo appearance in the win which tightened City's grip on second place, but struck a pose for the club photographer while reclining in the bootroom.

City manager Roberto Mancini criticised Nasri's work ethic last week, claiming that the France midfielder only offers him 50 per cent.

In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Mancini said: 'I think Samir has fantastic qualities

'With his quality, he should always play well. Every game he could be the difference. A player of this quality could be one of the best players in Europe. But it's not happening.

'Sometimes a player thinks it's enough what they did the year before and doesn't understand that every day they should improve.'

He added: 'You win the title, then you think it's enough to play 50 per cent and you don't arrive the next year.'

'If you are a top player you know you can improve until the last day of your career but sometimes you get players who think it is not important to work and this is their worst mistake.

'Samir can do better than this year. He is a top player but he has not been playing at his level.'

Pablo Zabaleta and Joleon Lescott undertook some weight training in their bid to be fully prepared for City's visit to Villa Park next week.

Goalkeepers Joe Hart and Costel Pantilimon were also pictured putting in a shift. Hart, who made an outstanding save from a Frank Lampard penalty to keep the game at 0-0 last weekend, dived over hurdles to keep the ball out in this afternoon's session.

Mancini will be desperate for his side to take all three points, as league leaders and cross-city rivals United could be 15 points clear at the top come Monday, provided they beat Norwich at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon.

Having a breather: Carlos Tevez gives a thumbs-up to the camera

Having a breather: Carlos Tevez gives a thumbs-up to the camera

Focus: Joleon Lescott powers through his training session

Focus: Joleon Lescott powers through his training session

Game for a laugh: Javi Garcia (right) shares a joke with Zabaleta and David Silva (left)

Game for a laugh: Javi Garcia (right) shares a joke with Zabaleta and David Silva (left)

Danny Cipriani dropped from Sale Sharks squad

Cipriani the flop can't even make the bench for Sale as Mitchell shakes things up

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 21 December 2012


Axed: Cipriani's form is woeful

Axed: Cipriani's form is woeful

Danny Cipriani’s turbulent career took another severe hit on Friday when he was left out of Sale’s crucial Aviva Premiership trip to old club Wasps on Sunday.

The 25-year-old is the biggest casualty of a new regime imposed by the uncompromising John Mitchell, the former All Blacks coach, to try to lift the relegation-threatened club.

Cipriani joined Sale last summer and had hopes of an England recall, but has lost his place to Nick Macleod, who is seen as more reliable and sturdy in tight contests.

His demise has prompted talk of Sale trying to move him on, despite having signed a three-year deal.

Mitchell has decided Cipriani’s form is so poor that he cannot even gain a place on the bench. He prefers South African journeyman Corne Uys as back-up to Macleod. Cipriani’s undoing seems to be his oft-criticised tackling, which was exposed in the 62-0 trouncing by Toulon, the French big spenders, last Sunday in the Heineken Cup.

Mitchell, who joined last month as a consultant, made spiky comments after the game, questioning one or two of his new players’ attitudes.

‘Some of the characters have been revealed,’ he said of a squad who were expected to challenge for honours.

Now, after a disastrous first four months, Sale, six points adrift, must win their next two games against moderate Wasps on Sunday, and at home to Worcester next Friday to give themselves hope in 2013.

Sale watchers believe that Mitchell has decided Cipriani has been given every opportunity to prove his worth by starting 11 games, while injury-hit Macleod has begun only six.

Humiliation: Sale were hammered by Toulon in the Heineken Cup

Humiliation: Sale were hammered by Toulon in the Heineken Cup

Turbulent times of a rugby rebel

2006: Joins Wasps after glittering schoolboy career.

Mar 2008: Picked for England v Scotland in Six Nations but omitted for ‘inappropriate behaviour’ after attending a nightclub before match.

Oct 2008: Alleged training ground fight at Wasps involving Josh Lewsey.

Feb 2010: Complaints from management about behaviour on England Saxons trip to Italy. Joins Melbourne Rebels.

Feb 2011: Accused of taking a bottle of vodka from behind a bar. Docked match fee by Rebels and dropped for three games.

Aug 2012: Returns to Sale.

A hint of Mitchell’s thinking came 10
days ago before Sale played their home European pool game against
Toulon. Mitchell initially picked Rob Miller at fly-half only for
Cipriani, who had been ill, to be called up in a reshuffle the day
before.

Cipriani looked to have made a decent impression, and he appeared
optimistic after the narrow 17-6 defeat and talked about thriving in
Mitchell’s ‘new beginning’.

But that was before the trip to Toulon where Sale subsided after
half-time to concede nine tries in all. ‘I certainly know a lot more
about some individuals after that performance,’ added Mitchell.

Cipriani seems to have taken his omission from a return to his old club
philosophically, judging by tweets to his 270,000 followers.

He wrote on Thursday: ‘If you got to over think, is it right If the
issue has to be forced, is it right If it falls on deaf ears, what do
you do #life.’

Philosophical: The former Wasps fly half has failed to live up to his potential

Philosophical: The former Wasps fly half has failed to live up to his potential

For Sale, the Cipriani issue is a sideshow to a terrible season that started with a 43-6 hammering at Exeter.

After they lost at home to promoted London Welsh three games later,
forwards coach Steve Scott was dismissed. Bryan Redpath, the new
director of rugby, was about to be demoted in a shake-up carried out by
chief executive Steve Diamond.

Diamond talked about bringing in a ‘yard dog’ to give Sale more bite and
recruited Mitchell, who was a player-coach at the club 14 years ago, to
help a new management team.

But the link-up might come to an end in February if Mitchell, who has
ties in South Africa, takes up television work for the Super 15 season.

Sale have had a round of cost-cutting while back-room officials were
embroiled in a row on Friday with supporters who complained they had
been abused by a staff member on Facebook for moaning too much. ‘Utter
shambles,’ retorted a fan.

Tomas Rosicky blames Arsenal form on possession

Rosicky blames Arsenal's slump on lack of possession as Gunner face crisis

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UPDATED:

23:48 GMT, 5 December 2012

Tomas Rosicky has blamed Arsenal's poor start to the season
on their inability to keep possession like Arsene Wenger's teams of old.

The Arsenal midfielder questioned his team's confidence and
said he could understand the fans' frustration after the club's worst start to
the season for 18 years. Arsenal lie tenth in the Barclays Premier League with
only 21 points from their first 15 games.

Rosicky, who started his first match this season and scored
in Arsenal's 2-1 defeat by Olympiacos in the Champions League on Tuesday night,
said: 'Sometimes we don't keep the ball as we used to. It is definitely a
matter of confidence. You can see there are more back passes than we used to
do. You have to gain confidence by winning the next game.

Lashing out: Tomas Rosicky (centre) criticised Arsenal's possession

Lashing out: Tomas Rosicky (centre) criticised Arsenal's possession

'I can understand the frustration as I am an Arsenal fan as
well. We all have to stick together. That is what we did last season when
everyone wrote us off and we came back stronger.

'It will be difficult, there is no doubt about it, but we
are OK to do it again. We have to sort it out quickly.'

The statistics back up
Rosicky's observations, with Arsenal averaging 59.3 per cent of possession in
the league so far this season compared to 60.1 per cent in their last campaign.
Wenger's side are making and completing more passes, too, but are less
clinical, with just one goal in their last three league games.

Rosicky impressed on his 45-minute comeback in Athens after
aggravating an achilles tendon problem while playing for the Czech Republic at
last summer's European Championships.

Gutted: Arsenal lost to Olympiacos to miss out on top spot

Gutted: Arsenal lost to Olympiacos to miss out on top spot

The midfielder said the injury was a particularly
frustrating setback and claimed he has to 'fight constantly' to avoid being
kicked by opponents during games.

'How can you defend yourself when someone kicks you,' said
Rosicky. 'It is frustrating for me to pick up another injury. During the season
I had already received a kick on my achilles and then I got finished off in the
Euros.

'For the position I play, I always have someone on my back
and with the position I have, I am often receiving the ball with someone behind
me. How can I defend myself 'It is part of the game and I have to take it. It
is difficult for me. I have to fight constantly and that is what I am able to
do.'

This is starting to hurt: Wenger hints at end of season exit as crisis deepens

This is starting to hurt: Wenger hints at end of season exit as crisis deepens

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UPDATED:

21:47 GMT, 1 December 2012

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted that he may consider his future at the end of the season after his misfiring team slumped to another defeat and he had to endure a torrent of abuse from fans.

The 2-0 home defeat by Swansea City made it the club's worst start to a Premier League season under Wenger – and it followed an angry protest by fans against what they claimed was the 'greed' of the Arsenal board.

Wenger, criticised in some quarters for Arsenal's seven years without a major trophy, has never even hinted that he might be close to quitting the club he loves.

Pressure: Arsene Wenger hinted that he may consider his future at the end of the season

Pressure: Arsene Wenger hinted that he may consider his future at the end of the season

But after this defeat, asked whether it was crossing his mind to resign, Wenger replied: 'Not at all. You make your assessment at the end of the season. I know we've got unrest everywhere. It's a good opportunity to stick together and show we're a strong club.'

Although Wenger was clearly keen to dispel any thoughts that he might walk away in mid-season, his remarks were being interpreted as a clear indication that he will give his future careful thought when the last ball of the season has been kicked. And if he has not managed to turn Arsenal's season around, he may be ready to end his remarkable era in North London.

Asked if it hurt that a once-glorious club were languishing in 10th place, Wenger said: 'Of course. But I'm not as worried about the places. We need to get the quality of our game back.'

But Arsenal fans vented their fury at Wenger and he admitted: 'I can understand that.'

Magic Michu: Swansea's Miguel Michu celebrates after scoring against Arsenal

Magic Michu: Swansea's Miguel Michu celebrates after scoring against Arsenal

Arsenal have collected just 21 points from 15 games and only the 1994-95 season was worse for them since the Premier League began.

Asked if he needed new players, Wenger said: 'It's difficult to comment straight after a defeat like that but I can't say No. I believe the board are there for us to spend the money if we can find the players.'

But if Wenger's faith in the board is not rewarded with cash for players in January, and the club fail to qualify for the Champions League, the Frenchman could call time on his Arsenal career.

Certainly a hard-core army of fans believe that their money is not being spent by the club where they believe it should be – on players.

Making their point: Arsenal fans march prior to the game

Making their point: Arsenal fans march prior to the game

Around 1,000 angry fans called for the removal of what they claimed were Arsenal's 'greedy' board of directors and complained that profit had been put before trophies. The protest was directed at the board not Wenger. But he was not entirely spared criticism.

Dan Deamer, 27, explained: 'I've been an Arsenal fan for 20 years and I do have a gripe with Wenger. It's a joke that he is paid 7.5million and hasn't won anything for years.'

Wenger added: 'The quality of our game wasn't there. But I'm in this job to turn it round and I'm confident we will.'

Mark Clattenburg criticised by both managers on return

Welcome back! Ref Clattenburg slammed by Adkins and Hughton on return

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UPDATED:

23:47 GMT, 28 November 2012

Mark Clattenburg came under fire on his return to Premier League refereeing at St Mary's on Wednesday night.

The 37-year-old official took charge of his first game since being wrongly accused of racially abusing John Obi Mikel on October 28 in the 1-1 draw between Southampton and Norwich.

But Clattenburg ended up being criticised by BOTH managers after the final whistle

Back: Referee Mark Clattenburg returned to duty on Wednesday night

Back: Referee Mark Clattenburg returned to duty on Wednesday night

The Tyne and Wear official missed a Rickie Lambert's handball in the lead up to the striker putting Southampton ahead in the 32nd minute.

And Norwich boss Chris Hughton said: 'I have seen it again and the first impression of the players there were to appeal for handball.

'I spoke to a couple of players that were very close to the incident and they both said it was handball.

'Nothing has changed my mind since seeing it. I think it is a difficult one as there were a lot of bodies there but certainly it was a handball.

'But we showed enough character to get back in and we've done that. We have had two tough away games and we have done well.'

The decisions surrounding both goals may have left the managers frustrated but both were pleased to see Clattenburg refereeing again.

'He is an excellent referee,' Hughton
said. 'I think probably more than the actual performance itself, I
think I speak for most when I say we were absolutely delighted to see
him back.

Under fire: Clattenburg was criticised by both managers after the game

Under fire: Clattenburg was criticised by both managers after the game

'He has a real passion for what he does and he is very, very good at what he does.

'We need as many good referees and them performing week in, week out.'

Saints manager Nigel Adkins was not overly complimentary about Clattenburg on his return to the game.

The Liverpudlian was aggrieved that the referee awarded Norwich the free-kick that led to their goal, and said: 'I didn't think it was a free kick at the time and I still don't after seeing it again.

'I've spoken to [Nathaniel] Clyne who says he touched the ball. We are disappointed it has been given and he made some other interesting calls during the course of the night.

But Adkins also said: 'Of course I am pleased to see him back.

'It was an unfortunate situation that arose and meant he was out for a month, but he is a fine referee and has a great career in front of him.'

Mark Hughes responds to criticism from Martin Samuel: QPR must beat Southampton

EXCLUSIVE: After being criticised in these pages by Martin Samuel, the QPR manager responds in his own words… 'I'm angry, the whole club's angry, so now WE MUST WIN

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UPDATED:

22:01 GMT, 16 November 2012

Make no mistake, Saturday's game with Southampton is massive for both sides and a potential launch pad for us in the Premier League.

Our chairman, Tony Fernandes, has called it a must-win game — and I can’t argue with that. As I said after the game at Stoke last week, we can’t keep simply playing well without being ruthless.

Only that ruthlessness will get us away from the foot of the table and only a consistent run of results is going to keep us out of trouble.

Under fire: Hughes side remain rooted to the bottom of the Barclays Premier League after 11 games

Under fire: Hughes side remain rooted to the bottom of the Barclays Premier League after 11 games

Martin Samuel on Mark Hughes

'Hughes was once tipped to follow Sir Alex into the United hotseat but now he's in a fight he can't afford to lose'

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

It would be easy to make excuses and point out the injuries to the likes of Andy Johnson, Fabio, Park Ji-sung, Jose Bosingwa, Armand Traore and Samba Diakite over the course of the season so far.

They’re not excuses but they have been a factor in where we find ourselves. The squad has been improved over the summer but we still can’t replace those guys like-for-like at the moment.

Through all that, we’ve shown we can play good football and that’s come out in games against Chelsea, Everton, Spurs and even at Stoke last weekend. Again, I come back to the need to be more ruthless when we’ve been on top.

Despite everything, if anybody thinks there’s a sense of panic among the players and the staff, they’d be wrong. There is a great potential at this club and we have to start realising that potential as soon as possible.

No joy: QPR have lost seven and drawn four of their league fixtures despite the number of new additions this summer

No joy: QPR have lost seven and drawn four of their league fixtures despite the number of new additions this summer

No joy: QPR have lost seven and drawn four of their league fixtures despite the number of new additions this summer

The players are angry. Angry they’ve
not got the results they think their football deserves. Angry they’ve
let down the fans, who’ve been superb. Angry the club is in this
position.

If there
wasn’t that anger there, I’d be worried. As a manager, you want the
players to have that fire, not to be moping around feeling sorry for
themselves. If that was the mood around the training ground, then I
would be worried and we’d be in trouble.

As
I said, I’m not panicking. Of course I’m upset, only a fool wouldn’t be
upset when you get to November and you are in the relegation zone and
there’s nothing in the victory column, no three points to our name.

But I’ve been here before when I
first took charge at Blackburn. We pulled out of that poor situation
and emerged a stronger group and a stronger club. That taught me time,
talent and hard work always pay off. I know we have all of those
qualities at Rangers. Last season when I arrived at Loftus Road it was
tough. We were charged by Tony and the board with saving QPR from
relegation and that’s what we did.

Yes,
it was tight but the home wins against the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool
and Stoke towards the end of the season were the key to our escape.
That’s the kind of form at Loftus Road we have to re-discover. Gritty,
tough, hard- working and disciplined, those are the qualities which will
see us right.

I read Martin Samuel’s column in these pages on Wednesday. I respect Martin’s views but if I had taken to heart half the things that have been said or written about me by him and others over the years, I would have walked away from football before I’d even started.

He talked about my track record and reputation being tarnished beyond repair by QPR’s current position. Firstly, it’s not about me at this stage, it’s about the players, my staff, the fans and the board. It’s about QPR. If I worried about my own reputation or about my ego being damaged, I wouldn’t have survived in football as a player or a manager for as long as I have.

Secondly, I truly believe every club I’ve ever managed I’ve left in a stronger position than when I arrived.

At Blackburn, we saw the club clear of relegation, finished sixth in my second season, 10th the next year and seventh in my final season. We also reached an FA Cup semi-final and regularly beat the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal.

When I arrived at Manchester City, the club wasn’t in anything like a sound financial state and in my first month we were tasked with selling to raise cash.

Ruthless: Hughes is angry his team have dominated games but failed to win them

Ruthless: Hughes is angry his team have dominated games but failed to win them

Ruthless: Hughes is angry his team have dominated games but failed to win them

Ruthless: Hughes is angry his team have dominated games but failed to win them

Martin Samuel's column last Wednesday

Martin Samuel's column last Wednesday

But we oversaw a huge change in
structure and culture once Sheik Mansour arrived and leaving them with
the likes of Vincent Kompany and so many others remains something I take
real pride in.

I was only at Fulham a year but we
identified talent such as Mousa Dembele who they sold for a club record
in the summer at a huge profit as well as finishing eighth and being
profitable.

None of
this buys QPR three points, I know that. But what it does do is
underline the work I and my staff put in at different clubs and why
there is still so much self-belief at QPR.

With
the help of Tony and the shareholders — who’ve been nothing short of
magnificent in their support — I feel QPR are a stronger, better club
than it was when we arrived.

There’s been a huge overhaul of the
scouting structure and we’re identifying top-class talent from across
Europe, bringing in players of real pedigree and character.

The academy has made huge strides in the nine months we’ve been here and I honestly believe QPR will never be in a position where they nurture somebody like Raheem Sterling but lose him to Liverpool for just 500,000.

As one of the board said to me the other day, we’re not building something at QPR for six weeks or six months, the work we’re doing here will see the club survive and thrive for the next six years and beyond.

Obviously what counts more than anything, though, is getting that elusive first win against Southampton today. That’s what matters, that’s what will lift the whole club and the supporters.

The belief is there. The character is there. The determination is there. We know we’re better than the league table tells us.

We just have to start proving it.

Must-win: Hughes is under massive pressure to secure to secure the first three points of the season against the Saints

Must-win: Hughes is under massive pressure to secure to secure the first three points of the season against the Saints

Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Wondergoal v England proves I"m as good as Lionel Messii

I'm as good as Messi… and now my English critics can shut up, boasts Zlatan

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UPDATED:

09:34 GMT, 15 November 2012

The greatest goal ever scored

VIDEO: Watch Zlatan's incredible propeller-kick (then watch it again… and again…and again)

Jamie Redknapp: I'd love to see Ibra head to the Premier League

Neil Ashton: Cocky Hart was an accident waiting to happen

Sweden 4 England 2 – Read Matt Barlow's match report from the Friends Arena

Zlatan Ibrahimovic hopes his wonder goal against Roy Hodgson's men will see him at last compared with the likes of Lionel Messi in England.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward showed audacious flexibility with a 30-yard propeller kick to score his fourth goal in Sweden’s 4-2 victory.

He has often been criticised for his performances against English clubs in the Champions League — but four goals in 70 minutes showed his true class.

Have you ever seen anything like it Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored an incredible 25-yard overhead kick against England

Have you ever seen anything like it Zlatan scored an incredible 25-yard overhead kick against England

Afterwards he said: ‘That’s the way it is with the English. If you score against them you’re a good player, if you don’t score against them you’re not a good player.’

‘I remember Lionel Messi before the 2009 Champions League Final. Then he scored against Manchester United and suddenly he was the best player in the world.

‘Maybe now they’ll say something like that about me.

‘Hart was a long way out and I was just trying to get it into the goal. I was on the ground when it was on the way in.

‘I saw a defender sliding in to try to get rid of it and I wanted to scream “No” but the ball went in.'

Sweden boss Erik Hamren said Ibrahomovic’s fourth goal should not even be possible.

Getting shirty: Ibrahimovic celebrates his 'Goal from the Gods'at the Friends Arena in Stockholm

Getting shirty: Ibrahimovic celebrates his 'Goal from the Gods'at the Friends Arena in Stockholm

‘I don’t know if you will see another like it in your life. It was like watching a video game. Sometimes, when he’s doing these things, in training or in matches, you don’t think it’s possible. Because it’s not possible to do that – the fourth goal, for example.’

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, who won his 100th cap in the match, said: ‘I have mixed emotions. Obviously I am very proud for myself, getting to 100 caps and really pleased with the lads for large parts of the game.

‘I thought we controlled the game and did not look like losing it – but sometimes you have to hold your hands up to an individual special performance.

‘This was a world-class performance from a world-class player in Ibrahimovic. It (the fourth goal) is the best goal I have seen live.

Awesome foursome: Ibra scored four goals in the friendly win over England, including a piledriver of a free-kick

Awesome foursome: Ibra scored four goals in the friendly win over England, including a piledriver of a free-kick

‘I think the best goal I have seen before that is Wayne Rooney’s (against Manchester City).

‘Everyone knows how special that was but this one tonight – an overhead kick from 25 yards when the ball is six feet in the air – only certain players can do that.

‘He is a special player.’

Gerrard was happy to pay compliments in person to Ibrahimovic.

He said: ‘I congratulated him after that. He said some nice things about me before the game which was really nice.

‘If I could return the compliment I would say that was one of the best individual performances I have seen.

‘He is not everyone’s cup of tea but he is certainly mine.’

All hail Zlatan: Ibrahimovic proved himself a player of the highest class with his four-goal salvo

All hail Zlatan: Ibrahimovic proved himself a player of the highest class with his four-goal salvo

Gerrard received warm applause from the home crowd in recognition of his century of caps but is now focusing on helping England qualify for the next World Cup.

He said: ‘That was really touching. All the support I have had from you lads (in the media) my family, friends and people in the game has touched me.

‘All eyes were on me and there was extra pressure and excitement.

‘Now I am glad it is out of the way and I focus on getting us to the next World Cup. That is the big challenge.’

P.S. And Ibra might just have a point…

On the night that Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored four brilliant goals against England, including perhaps the greatest goal ever scored, Lionel Messi was firing blanks against the might of… Saudi Arabia.

A side that included Messi, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria could not break down the stubborn Saudi defence, which has been more notable in the past for leaking eight goals to Germany in the 2002 World Cup than keeping clean sheets.

So, who's the best player in the world now, Leo

Tough night: Lionel Messi (centre) could not inspire Argentina to victory over Saudi Arabia in Riyadh

Tough night: Lionel Messi (centre) could not inspire Argentina to victory over Saudi Arabia in Riyadh

Tough night: Lionel Messi (centre) could not inspire Argentina to victory over Saudi Arabia in Riyadh

... but these Messi fans did not seem to care that the Barcelona superstar was not at his best on the night

… but these Messi fans did not seem to care that the Barcelona superstar was not at his best on the night

See the wonder goal here…

Rio Ferdinand refuses to wear Kick It Out t-shirt

Ferdinand refuses to wear Kick It Out t-shirt… 24 hours after Fergie said United players would back anti-racism campaign

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UPDATED:

14:39 GMT, 20 October 2012

Rio Ferdinand did not wear the Kick It Out t-shirt before Manchester United's match with Stoke despite manager Sir Alex Ferguson saying all his players would support the anti-racism campaign.

United defender Ferdinand was known to have reservations about wearing the top because he is unhappy with the way the recent John Terry saga was handled by the football authorities.

Terry was fined 220,000 by the FA and banned for four matches for using racist language towards Ferdinand's brother Anton during a Premier League match a year ago. The former England captain was also fined by his club.

In the red: Rio Ferdinand did not wear the Kick It Out t-shirt before Manchester United played Stoke

In the red: Rio Ferdinand did not wear the Kick It Out t-shirt before Manchester United played Stoke

We're in: Anderson and Wayne Rooney (right) wore the anti-racism t-shirts during the warm-up

We're in: Anderson and Wayne Rooney (right) wore the anti-racism t-shirts during the warm-up

Many observers believe the punishment was too lenient and Reading striker Jason Roberts urged his fellow professionals not to wear the tops, citing a lack of action in combating racism from the anti-discriminatory body.

Ferguson criticised Roberts during Friday's press conference and said the Royals forward was taking the wrong approach.

Roberts carried out his vow not to wear a Kick It Out t-shirt in the warm-up at Liverpool. While the rest of his team-mates – and all their Liverpool opponents except goalkeeper Brad Jones – donned the tops for the pre-match drills the 34-year-old went without, although Gareth McCleary and Jem Karacan removed theirs soon after entering the field.

Not on: Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott (centre) had no intention of wearing the t-shirt

Not on: Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott (centre) had no intention of wearing the t-shirt

After high-profile incidents involving Reds striker Luis Suarez – banned for eight matches – and Terry in the last year, Roberts was particularly unhappy with the latter punishment.

'The four-match ban was, for me, not a heavy enough sanction for what happened,' Roberts said in the week.

'I'm totally committed to kicking racism out of football but when there's a movement I feel represents the issue in the way that speaks for me and my colleagues, then I will happily support it.

No way: Fabian Delph of Aston Villa got rid of his t-shirt... as his team-mates backed the campaign (below)

No way: Fabian Delph of Aston Villa got rid of his t-shirt… as his team-mates backed the campaign (below)

Support: Aston Villa players wore Kick It Out t-shirts

Red in black: Luis Suarez

Red in black: Luis Suarez

'I think people feel let down by what used to be called “Let's Kick Racism Out of Football”.

'People don't feel like they have been strong enough.'

Swansea and Wigan players did not warm up in the Kick It Out anti-racism t-shirts at the Liberty Stadium.

Sportsmail understands several players on both sides did not wish to wear the t-shirts. As a result their team-mates decided, rather than isolate their colleagues, that no players would wear the shirts.

At Upton Park there were two players that warmed up without the Kick It Out t-shirts on.

West Ham substitute Leo Chambers did not wear one and neither did Matthias Fanimo, who prepared with the Hammers team despite not being part of the matchday squad.

The Hammers later confirmed that the reason their two players did not wear the T-shirts is because they ran out.

At The Hawthorns West Bromwich Albion players were wearing Albion Foundation T-shirts and a Manchester City spokesman confirmed that next weekend's home game against Swansea would be the champions' designated Kick It Out day.

Officials stance: Referee Mike Jones and his assistants warm up wearing the anti-racism t-shirts at Swansea

Officials stance: Referee Mike Jones and his assistants warm up wearing the anti-racism t-shirts at Swansea

Manchester City defender Joleon
Lescott had already revealed he would not be wearing the t-shirt, having
boycotted the campaign since 2007.

Lescott has not worn a Kick It Out
top since Newcastle’s Emre Belozoglu escaped punishment at an FA inquiry
for allegedly directing racial abuse at Everton’s Joseph Yobo during a
game in December 2006.

Mark Lawrenson slams Being: Liverpool documentary

Shankly would be turning in his grave! Lawrenson slams Liverpool documentary

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UPDATED:

08:59 GMT, 8 October 2012

Criticised: Brendan Rodgers

Criticised: Brendan Rodgers

Former Liverpool defender and Match of the Day pundit Mark Lawrenson has hit out at the ongoing fly-on-the-wall documentary detailing life behind the scenes at Anfield.

Being: Liverpool, currently being aired on Channel 5, takes a behind the scenes look at the club with manager Brendan Rodgers featuring prominently.

And Lawrenson was critical of the Northern Irishman's participation in his column for the Daily Mirror – claiming that Anfield bosses of old would be 'turning in their graves'.

'What on earth is Brendan Rodgers doing in this programme Being: Liverpool', writes Lawrenson, who was also critical of the club's American owners.

'I’m sorry, I just think this show comes across as American schmalz. It’s totally ill-advised and some of the stuff that I have seen so far in the first three episodes is cringeworthy.

'I think everybody shares that point of view. The problem is, once you get American owners intent on doing it and intent on getting everyone involved it’s extremely difficult.

All smiles: Rodgers oversees Liverpool training last week

All smiles: Rodgers oversees Liverpool training last week

'Well, at the moment the club isn’t doing particularly well. The soundbites are great but it’s plain for everyone to see that there is a lot wrong.'

Lawrenson, who made 241 appearances as a defender for the Reds in the 1980s, added: 'One other thing. The show I saw on Saturday ended up with Ian Ayre, the chief executive, jumping on his Harley Davison and riding through the city.

'Come on!! Shankly would be turning in his grave. So would Paisley and Fagan and all of those Liverpool legends.'