Tag Archives: famous

Oscar Pistorius shooting: How the South African icon was driven by anger

Icon who fell to earth: Poster boy Pistorius had scars that ran so deep

During an interview with Oscar Pistorius in Pretoria last year, our conversation turned to how the South African’s prosthetic legs affected the way he runs. Pistorius had been training on the grass track at the city’s university and it was striking that he moved in an ungainly, fidgety way.

He shifted his weight from side to side when he was not running. Those 2,600 carbon-fibre blades defined him as one of the most iconic athletes on the planet, but they looked cumbersome; painful even.

Questions turned to how being a double amputee impacted on his training regime. How was he able to compete with rivals who were born with fibulae, the bones that connect your knees to your ankles

Historic: Oscar Pistorius in Olympic action in London last year

Historic: Oscar Pistorius in Olympic action in London last year

Pistorius’s oft-repeated argument for his inclusion in able-bodied athletics was ‘there are tens of thousands of people using the same prosthetics I use and there’s no-one running the same times’, but what made Pistorius different from the rest

When asked what it would mean to become the first double amputee to run at the Olympic Games, a remarkable feat he duly achieved some five months later, it was clear he was irritated. Suddenly, the mild exterior of one of sport’s most famous faces clouded over. Pistorius became fractious and prickly.

‘It’s pretty similar to any other athlete,’ said Pistorius. ‘I think it’s a reward for any athlete, after years of training, to progress to a competition like that.’

In the spotlight: Pistorius leaves the Boschkop police station, east of Pretoria

In the spotlight: Pistorius leaves the Boschkop police station, east of Pretoria

In the spotlight: Pistorius leaves the Boschkop police station, east of Pretoria

He was not being modest, just evasive. Pistorius, after all, was not just ‘any athlete’. He redefined what it is to run fast. He challenged the traditional perception of what a sprinter looks like.

Inspirational is a word too often attached to athletes, but it is a description that accurately reflects what Pistorius has achieved on a 400metre track.

His parents took the decision to have his legs amputated below the knees when he was just 11 months old, yet he became a symbol of battling against adversity, recognised across the globe.

No fear: Pistorius poses for Sportsmail's Andy Hooper last year

No fear: Pistorius poses for Sportsmail's Andy Hooper last year

The speed of Pistorius’s rise to prominence has only been beaten by the swiftness with which he has fallen since reports came in of the shooting in the early hours of Thursday morning.

In 2007, the IAAF, athletics’ governing body, said Pistorius’s prosthesic limbs gave him an unfair advantage but he fought the ruling and saw it overturned the following year.

He did not just challenge legislation, however, he transcended athletics and certainly Para-athletics, testing ideas and dividing opinion about what is right and wrong and acceptable in competitive sport.

Happier times: Oscar Pistorius had been with girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp for a couple of months

Happier times: Oscar Pistorius had been with girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp for a couple of months

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE BLADE RUNNER

Born November 1986 without the fibula, the bone that connects the knee to the ankle, in each leg. Has both legs amputated below the knee before his first birthday.

January 2004 Takes up athletics, initially to recover from a rugby injury.

June 2004 Receives his first pair of Ossur Flex-Foot Cheetah legs, Pistorius’ blades.

August 2004 Wins gold and bronze in the T44 200m and 100m at the Paralympics in Athens.

July 2007 Competes for the first time internationally against able-bodied athletes in Rome.

November 2007 Undergoes clinical tests and is then banned from IAAF competition. The organisation say Pistorius’ blades give him an unfair advantage.

May 2008 The Court of Arbitration for Sport over-rules the IAAF decision.

September 2008 Misses qualification for the Olympics by 0.7secs, but wins three golds at the Paralympics in Beijing.

January 2011 Wins three IPC world titles but loses for the first time in seven years over 100m.

August 2011 Qualifies for the IAAF World Championships in Daegu. Wins silver in the 4x400m relay, but misses out on a place in South Africa’s team for the final.

August 2012 Becomes the first double amputee to run at the Olympic Games, reaching the semi-finals of the 400m and the final of the 4x400m. Carries the South African flag at the Paralympic Opening Ceremony and then wins a silver and two gold medals in the 200m, 400m and 4x100m relay.

February 2013 Charged with murder after his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, is shot dead.

SOUTH AFRICAN GOLD MINE

Pistorius’ exploits made him the most famous Paralympic athlete on the planet and one of the sports’ top earners.

Estimated net worth: 3.2million

Estimated sponsorship deals: 3m (inc Nike and BT)

He is the highest-paid Paralympian in the world and last year was rated the eighth highest-paid Olympic athlete.

Yet, despite the countless awards and myriad appearances on chat shows and glossy magazines around the world in his crusade to be seen as a role model, the Blade Runner’s brand continued to be underpinned by his achievements on the track.

His attempt to break the 45-second barrier was set to continue this season before yesterday’s events. Pistorius had spent the last month training with British 400m runner Martyn Rooney in South Africa and was scheduled to contest two events in Australia in March.

He seemed calmer and more at ease than in the frenzied run-up to London 2012 but the burning desire to achieve, the drive that saw him lose 17kg in weight and change his body shape dramatically, remained.

Pistorius has never been afraid to set himself targets. He won three Paralympic gold medals in Beijing after failing to qualify for the Olympics and then told the world he would not miss out again in London. That he achieved that dream by reaching the semi-finals of the 400m is a testament to his self-belief and determination.

Seeing Pistorius swap race numbers with Kirani James, who eventually won 400m gold, after their semi-final provided one of the most touching moments of the Games, yet the South African’s participation was always going to be more significant than his performance.

It was not until the Paralympics that we saw the true sporting icon Pistorius had become. He was the poster boy of the Games; the good-looking South African plastered over adverts for Nike, Thierry Mugler, Oakley and BT in deals worth an estimated 3m a year, a figure that ranks him among athletics’ top earners.

When I visited him last February there was a copy of GQ magazine on the coffee table, heralding Pistorius as South Africa’s best-dressed man. The Blade Runner was the first and, possibly, only Paralympian whom many would have been able to name before the Games began. But then, suddenly, the halo slipped.

Pistorius lost his T44 200m crown to Alan Oliveira and claimed that the Brazilian’s blades were too long. His comments were not only ironic, given his continued insistence that blades did not give him an unfair advantage, but unsportsmanlike and deeply disrespectful. Yet, in the eyes of many, his outburst was the moment the Paralympics became relevant. This was elite sport we could relate to, argue over and dissect. And Pistorius was at the heart of it.

He comfortably retained his 400m crown and won another gold medal in the 4 x 100m relay, but he lost his 100m title in the stand-out race of the Paralympics. It was not Oscar’s name but that of 19-year-old Briton, Jonnie Peacock that was chanted by the sell-out crowd in the Olympic Stadium that evening.

Would there, though, have been a Jonnie without Oscar, the athlete Peacock has described as his ‘hero’ It was Pistorflius’s extraordinary sporting story that seemed to make it possible for a teenager from Cambridge who contracted meningitis when he was five years old.

And now the remarkable narrative of a quite extraordinary athlete has taken the most unimaginable twist.

A BLOODY HISTORY OF TALENT AND TRAGEDY…

Rugby star killed his daughter
Former Springbok rugby player accidentally shot dead his 19-year-old daughter when he mistook her for a car thief in 2004. Her Volkswagen Golf was being driven out of the driveway of their family home at 5am and he shot the driver from his bedroom window, thinking his daughter Marle was in bed.

Troubled end for Belcher
In December 2012, Jovan Belcher, a 25-year-old line-backer for the Kansas City Chiefs, shot his girlfriend dead before driving to the training ground and killing himself in front of his coach. The couple had a three-month-old child.

Life in prison for pitcher Ogawa
Japanese baseball pitcher Hiroshi Ogawa was convicted in September 2005 of killing a 67-year-old woman and was sentenced to life in prison. Deeply in debt, Ogawa stole $20,000 from the chairman of an industrial plant and pushed the housekeeper down the stairs before drowning her in a lake.

Did OJ get away with murder
In June 1994, NFL Hall of Famer OJ Simpson (below) was arrested for the murders of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman but was eventually acquitted. In 2008 he was convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping and is currently serving 33 years.

Rozier’s seven murders
Former American footballer Robert Rozier played for St Louis Cardinals before joining black supremacist cult ‘The Brotherhood’. He admitted to seven murders and was jailed for 22 years in October 1986 after agreeing to testify against other members of the organisation.

'Suicide bid’ went wrong
Jamaican fast bowler Leslie Hylton, who played in six Tests for the West Indies against England, taking 16 wickets, was hanged in May 1955 for the murder of his wife and remains the only cricketer to have ever been executed. Hylton claimed he had been trying to shoot himself but missed.

Jamie Carragher returns to Liverpool training as Brendan Rodgers says he almost quit in the summer

Still got a job to do! Carragher going strong in training as Rodgers reveals he had to persuade legend to give him one more year

By
Graeme Yorke

PUBLISHED:

15:22 GMT, 8 February 2013

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UPDATED:

15:33 GMT, 8 February 2013

Jamie Carragher returned to training today with the praise of some of world football's most famous faces still ringing in his ears.

And it was also revealed that Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers had to persuade the club legend to extend his career into this season.

The Liverpool defender announced yesterday that this campaign would be his last, bringing the curtain down on a 16-year professional career at Anfield.

Job to do: Jamie Carragher returned to training today a day after announcing his retirement

Job to do: Jamie Carragher returned to training today a day after announcing his retirement

Job to do: Jamie Carragher returned to training today a day after announcing his retirement

Bootle-born Carragher, at the club since
the age of nine, has so far made 723 appearances, putting him behind
only Ian Callaghan on the Reds' all-time list.

Rodgers said: 'He is irreplaceable, he's been a giant
for me since I came to the club.

'Jamie had thoughts about this last summer when I
arrived but we had some good conversations and I persuaded him to
stay on.'

Team-mates and managers, as well as wider faces from the game, were quick to hail the one-club man as well.

Former Anfield bosses, including Kenny Dalglish and Rafael Benitez, added their voice today.

Dalglish said: 'Jamie's decision was a surprise to me because he has just played as well as anyone against Arsenal and Manchester City.

'I thought he had a bit left in him yet but he knows himself better than anybody and if he thinks it is time to hang up the old boots that is totally his prerogative.

'It is always a difficult decision for a footballer – as hard a decision as you can face as a professional.

'It is more difficult because playing is the best part of your career – especially at the level he has played at and is playing at.

'We just have to be grateful that Liverpool has had a servant like Jamie. As a local boy it is always special and Jamie is a local boy who has never once got carried away with it all and who can relate to the supporters. That's really important.'

Speaking at his Chelsea press conference, Rafael Benitez also paid tribute.

'To play more than 700 games for any team in football is a really great achievement; more than 700 games for just one club is even better.

'Nobody can argue about the character, determination and professionalism of Carra. He was a key player for us. In 2007, John Terry, a very good centre-back, said Carra was one of the best centre-backs at that time.'

Here to help: Manager Brendan Rodgers was full of praise for the Liverpool defender

Here to help: Manager Brendan Rodgers was full of praise for the Liverpool defender

In with the new: Philippe Coutinho provided some fresher legs ahead of Carragher at Melwood

In with the new: Philippe Coutinho provided some fresher legs ahead of Carragher at Melwood

Sportsmail revealed this morning that Sky Sports looked set to win the TV battle for the services of Carragher.

All the major networks are keen to employ the Liverpool defender as a pundit but Sky are expected to pull out the stops to land him, with station boss Barney Francis desperate to see off any bid from new rivals BT Sport.

So while one man heads into the final months of his Anfield career, another is at the very start.

Philippe Coutinho was a January capture from Inter Milan, and could be in line to feature this weekend after overcoming an injury.

Rodgers added: 'He had been injured but trained this morning. He is a young player who is very exciting and I have high hopes for. He trained with group and we will observe him.

'He is a top young player and bringing him into the group adds great competition. It is important to have players trying to get in the side. We wanted to build a competitive squad.'

Jose Mourinho misses Ballon d"Or gala to watch son play in Madrid

So, why did Mourinho snub Spanish football's big night at the Ballon d'Or gala

By
Lee Bryan

PUBLISHED:

15:41 GMT, 9 January 2013

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UPDATED:

15:52 GMT, 9 January 2013

Amidst the glitz and glamour of the Ballon d'Or gala night, one of football's most famous faces was missing.

But Jose Mourinho's absence wasn't a calculated snub in protest at the Barcelona dominance, as many have been speculated.

The Real Madrid boss, who missed out on coach of the year to Spain's Vicente del Bosque, claimed initially that he would miss the event in order to swat up on Celta Vigo, his team's next opponents.

Keeping it real: Jose Mourinho missed the Ballon d'Or gala to watch his son play

Keeping it real: Jose Mourinho missed the Ballon d'Or gala to watch his son play

Prize guy: Vicente del Bosque won coach of the year, while Messi was the player of the year for the fourth consecutive year

Prize guy: Vicente del Bosque won coach of the year, while Messi was the player of the year for the fourth consecutive year

Prize guy: Vicente del Bosque won coach of the year, while Messi was the player of the year for the fourth consecutive year

However, Spanish newspaper AS has revealed that Mourinho was in fact in Madrid, watching his son in action for CD Canillas.

According to the report, the former Chelsea and Inter Milan manager arrived at around 7.45pm and was accompanied by two bodyguards.

It was about that time in Zurich that Lionel Messi was being awarded his fourth consecutive Ballon d'Or, ahead of Barca team-mate Andres Iniesta and Real star Cristiano Ronaldo.

**Click here to see video of Mourinho at the match in Madrid

Pele should perform Mobot, says Mo Farah

Pele should be next to perform Mobot, says Farah after SPOTY disappointment

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UPDATED:

16:55 GMT, 17 December 2012

Mo Farah wants Pele to be the next famous person to do the 'Mobot'.

Farah went home empty-handed from last night's BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards despite becoming the first Briton in history to claim Olympic gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres this summer.

The Somalia-born long-distance runner was one of the favourites for the award, but he had to settle for fourth place behind winner Bradley Wiggins, Jessica Ennis and Andy Murray.

Had it been any other year Farah might have expected to win by a landslide. His determination to win two of the hardest Olympic track events and the famous 'Mobot' celebration which accompanied both his victories made him a popular, iconic figure of London 2012.

M for Mo: Farah's celebration is now world famous

M for Mo: Farah's celebration is now world famous

Usain Bolt, Lennox Lewis and Boris Johnson are just three of the many people who have attempted the pose and Farah now wants arguably the greatest footballer of all time to attempt it too.

'I'd like a football player to do it, someone like Pele,' the 29-year-old said. 'I would probably like to see someone like Pele do it. That would be good.'

Celebrities such as Robbie Williams, Suggs and Girls Aloud have been pictured mimicking Farah's signature pose, which was coined by James Corden and Clare Balding during Farah's appearance on television programme 'A League of Their Own'.

Farah, who was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, but grew up in London, beamed with pride last night as he recalled winning the two gold medals on successive Saturdays during the Games.

'As an athlete you dream of becoming an Olympic champion, but to do it like that was something I would have never dreamed of,' Farah added.

'To come back twice and do it in the 5,000 was so difficult because my legs were tired and the other guys were working as a team.

'There aren't many athletes who have done that (win 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres) so it's an honour.'

Oh what a night! Farah delivered one of the highlights of the Olympics

Oh what a night! Farah delivered one of the highlights of the Olympics

Success in London 2012 has had its drawbacks, however. Farah, who wants to compete in Rio 2016 – possibly in the marathon – thinks his rivals will now be more determined than ever to beat him.

For that reason he is looking to quickly forget about his double-gold triumph and start planning for 2016.

He said: 'This year has been a great year and hopefully 2013 will be the same again for me.

'As an athlete you have to forget about what you have achieved and you have got to move on.

'There are more people out there who want to beat me now so that's the way I have got to see it and I have to get back in to serious training again.

'My coach Alberto (Salazar) has got me back into training already and hopefully we will get a block of training together and then go to Kenya, because that's what we always do so I am quite looking forward to that.'

I'll do it! Farah wants Brazil legend Pele top perform the famous celebration

I'll do it! Farah wants Brazil legend Pele top perform the famous celebration

Manchester Derby: Five things you didn"t know about Roberto Mancini and Alex Ferguson

Fancy a spot of chess, Roberto Five quirky facts you didn't know about Manchester derby rivals Mancini and Ferguson

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UPDATED:

14:13 GMT, 6 December 2012

Manchester City’s specially chartered jet flew back from their Champions League defeat at Borussia Dortmund almost devoid of passengers after Roberto Mancini decided to keep his players at their hotel for an extra night.

While the plane carried a handful of journalists and a few VIPs back to Manchester airport, Mancini’s squad stayed in Dortmund and trained the following morning before finally returning home.

If the City manager’s late change of mind came as a surprise, it is not the only time he has raised eyebrows. Here, ahead of Sunday’s eagerly-awaited Manchester derby at The Etihad Stadium, Sportsmail unearths five quirky facts about Mancini and his United counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson.

Quirky facts: Sir Alex Ferguson

Quirky facts: Roberto Mancini

Head-to-head: Roberto Mancini (right) and Sir Alex Ferguson will meet at the Etihad on Sunday afternoon

SIR ALEX FERGUSON

1. He is a chess aficionado and beamed his approval when UEFA awarded a special decorative set to each United player to mark their participation in the Champions’ League final against Chelsea in Moscow.

He was less enamoured with the way his squad responded. On returning to Manchester, he discovered roughly half had left their prized memento either in the team hotel or on the plane, because they couldn’t be bothered carrying it. He apparently erupted, pointing out the most cerebral of sports would have ‘helped their education and kept their brains ticking over.’

2. He is an avid fan of Salford artist Harold Riley, who counts himself as a one-time friend of the city’s more famous painter LS Lowry.

If any of Riley’s work goes on offer at a dinner Fergie is attending, he is always likely to join the bidding.

No 1 fan: Ferguson poses with a picture of United's training ground painted by one of his favourite artists Harold Riley

No 1 fan: Ferguson poses with a picture of United's training ground painted by one of his favourite artists Harold Riley

3. His love of literature, art and fine red wine is well known, but he has also dabbled in music, as a performer as well as listener. He had a piano delivered to his Cheshire home and has had lessons.

4. An old bombsite, in the Govan district of Glasgow, was a favourite play area in his childhood, though he caused consternation in the Ferguson household one day after returning home and announcing he had found a grenade.

Fortunately, after finding it among the rubble and picking it up to show his brother Martin, he thought better of keeping it and left the World War ll relic on a wall.

5. He is a general knowledge fiend and regularly tunes in to television’s Countdown to widen his grasp of everything from trivia to world events.

It is then put to good use on away trips, where he regularly organises quizzes between players and staff. Without exception, the staff team win, however long it might take.

Hobby: Ferguson is a brilliant chess player

Hobby: Ferguson is a brilliant chess player

ROBERTO MANCINI

1. He is a nervous flyer. Though plane travel is an integral part of the job for any Barclays Premier League manager, he hates it and can only breathe easy when the plane has touched down and taxied to a standstill.

Keeping the players in Dortmund for an extra day may have spared him a night flight but was just delaying the inevitable.

Nervous Mancini is an anxious flyer

Nervous Mancini is an anxious flyer

2. He is very superstitious and insists on dabbing any spilt wine behind his ear to ward off bad luck. It is an old Italian superstition, but it led to puzzled looks being exchanged in one opposing manager’s office after a game last season when a drop of red splashed on to the desk.

Without any explanation, Mancini stepped forward, pressed his finger into it and started rubbing the back of his ear.

3. An act of defiance as a player cost him a place in Italy’s 1986 World Cup squad. He broke a curfew, along with Marco Tardelli and Claudio Gentile, and when he refused to apologise, manager Enzo Bearzot responded by excluding him from the finals.

Not the only one: Roberto Mancini was in trouble as a player for missing a curfew, like his striker Mario Balotelli

Not the only one: Roberto Mancini was in trouble as a player for missing a curfew, like his striker Mario Balotelli

4. His decision to recruit Italian physio Sergio Vigano was greeted with some trepidation among City’s squad after it emerged the fitness specialist’s dietary recommendations for players at Sampdoria, Lazio and Inter Milan included donkey stew.

Apparently, it goes particularly well with agnolotti pasta.

5. Away from work, he likes to unwind with his family at Senigallia, an idyllic spot on the Adriatic coast. It is just 30 kilometres from Jesi, where he was born, and is his favourite holiday spot.

Joey Barton says he"s too clever for football before Marseille league debut

Really, Joey I'm too clever for football, says Barton as he prepares for league bow after getting 12 match ban

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UPDATED:

11:47 GMT, 25 November 2012

Joey Barton believes believes he has a higher calling in life after claiming he is 'too intelligent to be a footballer'.

The QPR midfielder, who is currently on loan at Marseille after being thrown out of Loftus Road in disgrace, regularly uses Twitter to quote famous philosophers and musicians.

Brainy: QPR's outcast loanee Joey Barton believes he is too clever to be a footballer

Brainy: QPR's outcast loanee Joey Barton believes he is too clever to be a footballer

The 30-year-old has a chequered history
both on and off the field, something he continues to claim is behind him
despite his last act in English football – a red card at Manchester
City and subsequent attack on two players – earning him an 12-game ban.

However, speaking in France, Barton
said: 'Perhaps I shouldn't say it, but I'm maybe a little too
intelligent to be a footballer.'

The claims in a French newspaper attracted derision from former Arsenal and Manchester United player Mikael Silvestre.

On Twitter, he wrote: 'The uneducated Joey Barton is fascinating for the degree of his stupidity, his ego and his megalomania!'

The former Newcastle and City man also revealed his move to Loftus Road was motivated by money.

'When I went to QPR it was a choice dictated by money,' he told the Sunday People.

'I didn't like what I had done, and I swore I'd never do that again.

'It was the first time in my life that I had taken a decision for money. I did it because my partner was due to give birth – but I did not feel good about it.

Poised: Barton is likely to make his debut against Lille this evening

Poised: Barton is likely to make his debut against Lille this evening

Exile: Barton was loaned to Marseille after being suspended for 12 games for QPR

'The more money you have, the more problems you have.

'When I was in prison I got €8.60 (7) a week and that [was] simpler – you'd use it to buy food and that was it.'

Barton is eligible to play in his first league game for the French side this evening.

The Englishman has only played in Europe for Marseille, but is set for a league berth when Lille visit on Sunday evening.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – how we missed him at Arsenal, reveals Arsene Wenger

Wenger reveals how Ibrahimovic slipped through the net at Arsenal as cocky 16-year-old kid (and so did Ronaldo!)

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UPDATED:

11:12 GMT, 16 November 2012

Arsene Wenger says he has no regrets about missing out on Zlatan Ibrahimovic when he came to Arsenal for a trial aged 16.

The Paris St German superstar made headlines this week when he scored four goals – one of which now sits among history's greatest – in Sweden's win over England.

Zlat trick: Arsenal missed on Ibrahimovic in 2000 when he refused to take a trial with the club

Zlat trick: Arsenal missed on Ibrahimovic in 2000 when he refused to take a trial with the club

Zlat trick: Arsenal missed on Ibrahimovic in 2000 when he refused to take a trial with the club

The subsequent clamour over Ibrahimovic bought back into focus one of his most famous quotes, in which he allegedly told Wenger that 'he doesn't do trials' after being invited to Highbury in 2000.

A young Cristiano Ronaldo is another to have been looked at by the club, while Yaya Toure enjoyed a lengthy trial while still plying his trade in Belgium.

Ibrahimovic eventually joined Ajax, and has gone on to win league titles with AC Milan, Barcelona and Inter, while commanding transfer fees in excess of 150million. He's also bagged three goals against the Gunners to knock them out of the Champions League.

Wenger, though, insists he doesn't look back ruefully on the day the Swede got away.

The Frenchman said: 'He was here at the training ground and went somewhere else. That has happened to many players – Ronaldo was here, Ibrahimovic was here. It does not mean they sign for you.

'The story is true I wanted to see him. I
did not know him, you cannot sign players you have not seen at all
because it is not serious.

'He was 16. I asked him to have a little training session with the first team and he didn't want to do it.

'Do I regret it No. I will continue to do that unless our scouts have seen the player and says, “look he is absolutely 100 per cent”. I trust them.

'But when somebody says he has some quality, you want at least to see, otherwise you would not be serious.'

Head over heels: Ibrahimovic scored one of history's greatest goals in Sweden's friendly win over England

Head over heels: Ibrahimovic scored one of history's greatest goals in Sweden's friendly win over England

Haunted: Ibrahimovic has since twice helped knock Arsenal out of the Champions League, with Barcelona and Milan

Haunted: Ibrahimovic has since twice helped knock Arsenal out of the Champions League, with Barcelona and Milan

Haunted: Ibrahimovic has since twice helped knock Arsenal out of the Champions League, with Barcelona and Milan

Reflecting on Ibrahimovic's stunning
acrobatic strike in stoppage time at the end of Wednesday's
international friendly, Wenger was stunned.

He added: 'I am more a fan of team goals than
of individual goals, but I must say it was exceptional. It was a
fantastic combination of flexibility, strength and skill.

Sometimes, when a guy has a
shot from 30 yards and puts it in the top corner, you say “it's a
fantastic goal” – but somehow you believe you can do that as well, even
if you cannot do it on a consistent level.

'But when he scores a goal like that,
you think it’s impossible for a normal athlete. You have to be an
exceptional athlete to do that.

Wish you were here: Cristiano Ronaldo could have ended up at the Gunners

Wish you were here: Cristiano Ronaldo could have ended up at the Gunners

'They
say he’s a master in kung fu. You could see that on Wednesday night.
You need some special flexibility, subtleness and physical strength to
do that, apart from the fact that you have to realise what you have to
do.

'He was also in zone, where you have
no confidence problem at all. He had scored three goals before, and was
on a day where everything becomes easy. It happens in every sport.

'To get into that zone, you need to
have success before that in the game. Was it at 1-0 down or 0-0, in the
last minute of the game, would he have tried it Would he have scored I
am not sure.

'It shows you how important it is to
get that confidence in our sport, to just do things with a freedom of
spirit without any handbrake.'

David Beckham nearly joined Botafogo

Beckham wanted samba sabbatical at Botafogo, claims Alberto

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UPDATED:

16:48 GMT, 9 November 2012

David Beckham came close to taking a year-long sabbatical from LA Galaxy to soak up the samba style with Brazilian club Botafogo.

Becks penned a two-year contract extension with the Galaxy in January, but it has now been revealed he was on the verge of jetting to Brazil for a season.

Botafogo landed their top transfer target Clarence Seedorf, but were also negotiating the signature of the former England international.

Samba beat: Beckham came close to moving to Brazil for a year

Samba beat: Beckham came close to moving to Brazil for a year

Carlos Alberto was in Holland while the Seedorf deal was being finalised, and details of Beck's interest in the Brazilian club was revealed.

'When the negotiation was about to close, I spoke with the president – he and I have a pretty cool relationship,' Carlos Alberto told ESPN Brasil.

'I was in Amsterdam in May and an influential businessman, a famous player, came to me at the hotel, saying there was a player interested in playing for a year in Brazil: David Beckham.

Clearance, Clarence: Seedorf did make the move to South America

Clearance, Clarence: Seedorf did make the move to South America

'If it did not work with Seedorf, he had this player to come to Brazil.'

Botafogo president Mauricio Assumpcao later confirmed that Beckham was prepared to make the switch.

'That's exactly what happened, there really was this interest,' Assumpcao told Lancenet.

Michael Owen"s Movember compared with best moustaches in sport

Hogan, Hughes, Souness… Owen! Stoke striker shows off spectacular Movember effort

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UPDATED:

19:46 GMT, 9 November 2012

Real men can grow a moustache. From Hulk Hogan to the suave and sophisticated Tom Selleck, a thick wedge of hair above a man's top lip is a sign of power, though probably not style.

And now 'Movember' gives the rest of us a chance to try it for one month only. If we look ridiculous, so what Charity is the winner.

So step forward Michael Owen, the Stoke City striker who's managed to become the envy of wispy facial-haired men everywhere with a spectacular ode to the probably never fashionable 'handlebar' moustache.

Handle it: Michael Owen showed off his brilliant Movember effort on Twitter

Handle it: Michael Owen showed off his brilliant Movember effort on Twitter

The Movember movement has really gained mo-mentum in recent years and a number of celebs have jumped on board. Even Theo Walcott's giving it a go this year.

Owen's fantashtic effort puts him among some illustrious sporting company, including cricketer Merv Hughes, Olympic legend Mark Spitz, and Liverpool great Graeme Souness.

So here, Sportsmail pays tribute to the 'real men' of the sporting world… and Joey Barton.

Known for it: Merv Hughes, the Australian cricketer was famous for his tash

Known for it: Merv Hughes, the Australian cricketer was famous for his tash

Trend setter: David Beckham

Trend setter: David Beckham

Making his Mark: Lawrenson

Making his Mark: Lawrenson

Legend: Hulk Hogan had one of the most famous moustaches in showbiz

Legend: Hulk Hogan had one of the most famous moustaches in showbiz

Model moustache: Graeme Souness followed the trend of the 80s with his

Model moustache: Graeme Souness followed the trend of the 80s with his

Iconic: Mark Spitz poses with the seven gold medals he won at Munich

Iconic: Mark Spitz poses with the seven gold medals he won at Munich

A Ok: Rollie Fingers gave his a continental twirl for added style

A Ok: Rollie Fingers gave his a continental twirl for added style

But not all who try can pull it off, can they Joey

Wispy: Joey Barton did his bit for the Movember charity last year

Wispy: Joey Barton did his bit for the Movember charity last year

Mersey Beat: Goodison Park curse

Rodgers must overcome the curse of Goodison Park

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UPDATED:

09:31 GMT, 26 October 2012

The Merseyside derby. A game to stir the emotions, a collision that generates national fascination but a fixture that, for new Liverpool managers heading to Goodison Park, have proven to be nothing short of a nightmare.

As the man who takes Liverpool across Stanley Park on Sunday, Brendan Rodgers – who has been saying all week how he is looking forward to his first experience – can be assured of a hot reception when he steps out at Goodison but what can he expect at full time

If history is a pointer, then he will have to endure the sound of Evertonians celebrating. Of the 18 previous managers in Liverpool’s 120-year history, only one – Kenny Dalglish – has managed to make his first trip to Goodison a winning one.

Curse: Mikel Arteta strikes to help beat Roy Hodgson's Liverpool in October 2010

Curse: Mikel Arteta strikes to help beat Roy Hodgson's Liverpool in October 2010

At first glance, that statistic seems wholly improbable. But flick through the record books and you will see that some of Liverpool’s most famous names, with the notable exception of Dalglish, have all suffered some kind of frustration at the hands of the Blues.

Take Roy Hodgson and Rafa Benitez. Both men underestimated the power and significance of the fixture, losing 2-0 (October 2010) and 1-0 (December 2004) respectively after overseeing displays that were way below what was expected.

Those men, of course, followed Gerard Houllier. The Frenchman had a fine record against Everton but his first trip to Everton’s home in sole charge of Liverpool (April 2000) ended with them benefiting from extreme fortune and a 0-0 draw should have been a 1-0 defeat.

That game was memorable for little other than Liverpool goalkeeper Sander Westerveld smashing a free-kick into Everton’s forward Don Hutchison in the final minute then watching in horror as the ball trickled goal-wards. Referee Graham Poll spared his blushes by controversially blowing for time before the ball had finished rolling.

Nothing so dramatic could save Roy
Evans in November 1994 when Joe Royle unleashed Everton’s ‘Dogs of War’
and Duncan Ferguson’s efforts ensured that Royle’s first game in charge
of Everton ended in a 2-0 win.

Clash: Sander Westerveld (left) and Francis Jeffers come to blows in 1999

Clash: Sander Westerveld (left) and Francis Jeffers come to blows in 1999

Removing Dalglish – more on him later
– from the equation, the next four Liverpool mangers escaped with
draws. Graeme Souness (1-1 December 1991), Joe Fagan (1-1 March 1984),
Bob Paisley (0-0 November 1974) and Bill Shankly (2-2 September 1962)
all took something from behind the old enemy’s lines.

Going back into the 1950s, neither Phil Taylor nor Don Welch had the opportunity to manage a Liverpool side at Goodison as both clubs spent that decade in different divisions but the men who preceded them in the main suffered misery.

George Kay, manager of Liverpool’s title winning side of 1946-47 He lost 2-0 in September 1936. What about his predecessor George Patterson Lost 1-0 in September 1928. And it goes on and on.

Matt McQueen saw his team beaten 1-0 in October 1923, Dave Ashworth secured a 0-0 draw in December 1919, while Tom Watson (1-2 October 1896) and John McKenna, the first man to cross Stanley Park with Liverpool, (0-3 October 1894) also suffered defeat.

It is remarkable, then, that the first time Dalglish set foot on Goodison in both his spells in charge of Liverpool, he ended up victorious. If the 3-2 win in September 1985 was dramatic – a game that is still spoken about on Merseyside – last October’s 2-0 success was more comfortable.

Old foe: Dalglish (right) has enjoyed success against Everton

Old foe: Dalglish (right) has enjoyed success against Everton

So what must Rodgers do on Sunday if he
is to stand alongside Dalglish and not suffer the fate of so many other
Liverpool managers It sounds simple but he cannot afford to
underestimate how significant this meeting is.

He will be coming up against the best Everton team of David Moyes’ era, one that can play elegant football but one that also has the ability to fight, battle and dominate opponents. If Liverpool don’t want to do the dirty work early on, it is quite possible the events of October 2010 will be repeated.

After Everton demolished Liverpool that day, Hodgson infamously suggested it had been his side’s best performance of the season and they were unlucky to lose. Not a bit of it. Everton dominated from start to finish and 2-0 did not reflect their superiority.

There has been a sense on Merseyside that the balance of power has started to shift ever so slightly and it is Everton who will be the most realistic contenders for a European place via a place in the Barclays Premier League next spring.

For the moment that is all conjecture. Only at 3.30pm on Sunday afternoon will see whether that is true – or if Rodgers has managed to lift the Goodison curse of the new Liverpool manager.