Tag Archives: footballer

Premier League players continue to choose the MLS over mid-ranking European careers

Beckham sprinkled his stardust and more players are crossing the pond – so is the MLS booming or is the US just a place Premier League careers go to die

season – more than regularly pack in to watch Chelsea and not
far off the number who turn up at Anfield – you begin to
understand his excitement.

MLS crowds generally were up last
season. An average attendance of 18,807 made for the seventh-most
popular football league in the world in terms of bums on seats.

Biggest star in the Galaxy: Beckham moved to Los Angeles amid a blaze of publicity in 2007

Biggest star in the Galaxy: Beckham moved to Los Angeles amid a blaze of publicity in 2007

David Beckham

Hollywood ending: Beckham and his sons celebrate the MLS Cup win in his final game

Hollywood ending: Beckham and his sons celebrate the MLS Cup win in his final game

Paltry television viewing figures for MLS in the US remain a
cause for concern, however, as evidenced by a drop in the number who
watched the 2012 MLS Cup from the previous season’s final. Not even
David Beckham’s walk off into the sunset could save that one.

No talk of MLS progress is complete without referencing Beckham’s legacy of course. Having arrived at LA Galaxy from Real Madrid in 2007, the world’s most bankable footballer played a defining role in building the profile of the league.

Even when things weren’t going right on the pitch, Beckham was still selling the Galaxy brand and putting MLS in places it had never before been able to reach.

Beckham made everything to come possible. Seven new MLS franchises launched during his five years in LA, and the increased profile he generated for the league has helped lure the likes of Thierry Henry, Robbie Keane, Carlo Cudicini and Alessandro Nesta to bring their considerable reputations in his wake.

Keane to raise the profile: The Ireland striker (left) has followed Beckham to America

Keane to raise the profile: The Ireland striker (left) has followed Beckham to America

Republic of Ireland striker Keane has
won two MLS Cups in two seasons at LA Galaxy and was named in the
league's best XI for 2012.

Among the other ex-Premier League players to
be found in the US include former West Brom midfielder Giles Barnes, now
plying his trade at Houston Dynamo, and Wales striker Robert
Earnshaw, who arrived at Toronto FC this season.

Former Arsenal and Manchester United full back Mikael Silvestre is another recent arrival. The Frenchman signed for Portland Timbers this season, whose goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts will also be a familiar name to those who follow the lower reaches of the English game. And then there's Tim Cahill, the Australian who left Everton to join Henry at New York Red Bulls in 2012.

New York Red Bulls team-mates: Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill, respectively once of Arsenal and Everton

New York Red Bulls team-mates: Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill, respectively once of Arsenal and Everton

Tim Cahill

Tim Cahill

It’s not just the quality of players
arriving in the MLS that we should be looking as testament to progress.
There’s also the evidence supplied by MLS graduates able to adjust to
supposedly superior leagues when they leave.

Carlos Bocanegra, Clint
Dempsey and Michael Bradley are shining examples. Brek Shea is early in
his career at Stoke but already being talked about as a potential
Premier League game-changer. Meanwhile, American goalkeepers are
everywhere.

Could the
Premier League one day have enough faith in the MLS to use it as a
feeder league It may be a natural next step, especially when you
consider the desire of English clubs to market themselves aggressively
in the US market.

Premier League exports: Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts and Mikael Silvestre

Premier League exports: Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts and Mikael Silvestre

Everywhere you look there are signs the MLS is building slowly on its foundation — one laid on the back of the US hosting the 1994 World Cup.

We shouldn’t expect a league to compare with the best in Europe any time soon, but well-planned growth is pointing towards a product that will only get better in time.

Perhaps the biggest achievement of Beckham’s time in American will be seen if the MLS continues to grow without him.

Robert Earnshaw

Giles Barnes

In a land far, far away: Robert Earnshaw and Giles Barnes are both plying their trade in MLS

Paul Gascoigne back in Britain looking frail after a month in American rehab clinic

Gazza flies back for 'one last chance': England legend Gascoigne back in Britain looking frail after a month in rehab clinic

By
Emma Clark, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

05:20 GMT, 10 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

05:20 GMT, 10 March 2013

Paul Gascoigne thought he was going to die during his latest stretch in rehab to beat alcohol addiction, it has been reported.

The ex-England and Newcastle player returned to Britain on Saturday after more than a month at the clinic in Phoenix, Arizona, during which he was treated in intensive care.

Doctors said it was the worst detox they had ever seen when the shock of giving up alcohol sent his body into seizure, Gascoigne told The Sun on Sunday.

Thin but sober: Paul Gascoigne arriving at his home yesterday looking frail

Thin but sober: Paul Gascoigne arriving at his home yesterday looking frail

He said: 'Three doctors didn't think I would make it.

'It has got to inspire me to never let this happen again.

'I've come through that – death. I was dead.'

He added: “I thought I was on my way out. I looked like a corpse. I was a total wreck.'

The 45-year-old said he woke up in
intensive care strapped to the bed to stop tubes from falling out of his
arms and was repeatedly injected.

Emotional: The footballer has admitted drinking binges have almost killed him in the past

Emotional: The footballer has admitted drinking binges have almost killed him in the past

Rehab: Gazza is understood to be heading back to Britain after a month in a clinic in Arizona

Rehab: Gazza is understood to be heading back to Britain after a month in a clinic in Arizona

Gascoigne, who also played for Lazio
and Tottenham, said he feels grateful to be alive and is determined to
stay away from alcohol.

His latest stint in rehab was
organised by talkSPORT presenter and former England cricketer Ronnie
Irani and Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans, a long-term friend of
Gascoigne.

The move came following a charity
appearance in Northampton during which the star appeared unwell and
shaking, before breaking down and sobbing on stage in front of a room
full of fans.

Glory days: Paul Gascoigne was one of the best football players of his generation

Glory days: Paul Gascoigne was one of the best football players of his generation

The world of football has shown its
concern at the latest troubled period in the life of Gascoigne, one of
England's most naturally gifted players ever.

Gascoigne, who has spoken about alcoholism problems in the past, was sectioned five years ago under the Mental Health Act.

Paul Gascoigne health fears: Fans see former star struggle on stage at charity event

Fans fear for Gazza's health as former England star bursts into tears during event after slurring that he had been 'on the whisky for three days'The 45-year-old struggled to answer questions during charity appearance'Trembling' former England star ushered onstage by two security guards
He unleashed abuse before apologising to fans who had paid 100-a-headHis agent said Gascoigne 'wasn't very well' but had made a 'huge effort to straighten his life out'

By
Lee Bryan

PUBLISHED:

12:29 GMT, 2 February 2013

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UPDATED:

09:49 GMT, 3 February 2013

Struggle: Paul Gascoigne, 45, was said to have failed to answer questions during an appearance at a charity event in Northampton

Struggle: Paul Gascoigne, 45, was said to have failed to answer questions during an appearance at a charity event in Northampton

Football fans expressed their fears over the health of former England star Paul Gascoigne as they watched the him burst into tears during a rambling appearance at a charity event.

The 'trembling' 45-year-old had to be helped onstage for a question and answer session in which he slurred responses and muttered a slew of curse words.

Guests at the event, who had paid 100 to see the footballer, described how Gascoigne apologised to the crowd, blaming 'three days on the whiskey' for his performance.

The Newcastle-born footballer, widely
regarded as one of the most gifted English players, has battled
alcoholism and drug use since retiring from the game in 2004.

The 500 guests described the event as having the 'atmosphere of a
funeral' as they watched Gascoigne slurring through the exchanges with
his agent Terry Baker.

Gazza rose to national prominence during the Italia 90 World Cup, during which he famously broke into tears after being booked in
the semi-final against Germany.

Following
the breast cancer charity event, hosted by Northampton Town, a further 15 speaking
events were cancelled – some at former clubs where Gascoigne is
regarded as a hero.

Mr
Baker said that the former midfielder did not drink whisky and that the
comment had been a botched joke about being on a 'whisky diet'.

He said that Gascoigne 'wasn't very well' despite having made a 'huge effort to straighten his life out' but

He told The Sun: He probably shouldn't have gone out but he didn't want to let all those people down.'

Gazza

Paul Gascoigne

Struggles: The ex-footballer has long struggled with his alcohol addiction and drug use

Failed: The event's 500 guests described the event as having the 'atmosphere of a funeral' as they watched Gascoigne slurring through the questions with his agent Terry Baker

Failed: The event's 500 guests described the event as having the 'atmosphere of a funeral' as they watched Gascoigne slurring through the questions with his agent Terry Baker

One
attendee wrote an online account of the evening in which he described
how guests were told that Gascoigne was 'very ill' but had 'insisted on
appearing'.

The fan claimed
that guests were told the former Newcastle United and Lazio star would
be brought to hospital 'immediately afterwards'.

He said Mr Barker told guests that
his client had consumed two pints and that they should be 'patient' with
him, telling them to 'remember Gazza for the good times he gave us'.

Once ushered onstage, Gascoigne was asked who the best player he had played with was.

Paul Gascoigne

1990 World Cup

Fallen star: Gascoigne rose to prominence during the 1990 World
Cup, during which he famously broke into tears after being booked in
the semi-final against Germany

Career: Gascoigne has made 57 appearances for England and appeared for a number of clubs, including Everton, Tottenham and Newcastle

Career: Gascoigne has made 57 appearances for England and appeared for a number of clubs, including Everton, Tottenham and Newcastle

According to the account, he answered: 'Bryan Robson. But he's a ****. They're all ****s. You're all ****s.'

After apologising, Gascoigne broke down again as he struggled to answer questions.

The performance was said to have left 'a lump in everyone's throat'.

Gascoigne's manager Matt Jones today said the former footballer had been 'up and down' recently.

He added: 'Paul is getting the help and support that he needs. I am in regular contact with him and his counsellors and just giving him the support that he needs.

'The reality is that Paul is an alcoholic. He has been very good of late but every day is a battle not to have a drink.'

Having won 57 caps for England after a glittering career in which he played for Lazio and Everton, the star tried to address his alcoholism on several occasions and has spoken about his attempts at rehabilitation.

Manchester United and Chelsea players among those looking for extra-marital affairs on dating website

Dating website claims Manchester United and Chelsea players among 40 MARRIED footballers signed up for secret affairs

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

12:53 GMT, 25 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:02 GMT, 25 January 2013

A dating website for married people seeking extra-marital affairs claims that more than 40 professional footballers from the Premier League and Football League – including players from Manchester United and Chelsea – have joined the site in search of secret lovers in the past year.

UndercoverLovers.com claim a dozen top-flight players, 19 from the Championship, eight from League One and five League Two are among the members who have registered on the site since January last year.

The website claims to be the UK’s foremost extra-marital dating agency with more than 695,000 members, which represents almost two per cent of the UK’s entire married population.

Mystery: Premier League and Football League players are among those signed up

Mystery: Premier League and Football League players are among those signed up

The site was created to provide a safe, discreet and non-judgmental environment, where married women and men can meet.

Spokesperson Emily Pope comments: ‘There hasn’t been an unfaithful footballer expose in the tabloids for more than a year. Does this mean that the UK’s soccer professionals are suddenly behaving like saints Sadly, at least for the footballers’ wives, not. We’ve identified 44 professionals from the Premier League and Football League who’ve joined Undercover Lovers in the last year alone.’

‘We guarantee our members’ anonymity so of course we can’t name names. However we can reveal that at least one player on the books of Premier League leaders Manchester United and one from Chelsea are members of UndercoverLovers.com and that the best represented club, with three players signed up, is a Championship team from the Midlands.

‘The most active professional footballer on the site plies his trade for a South Coast club. He’s certainly no saint!’

Pope added: ‘Playing away from home with married women, who have as much to lose from exposure as they do, massively reduces the risk of our footballers being found out.

Undercover: The website that offers the chance to meet others interested in having affairs

Undercover: The website that offers the chance to meet others interested in having affairs

‘In a recent survey of our adulterous members we learned that 89% of them have never been caught cheating. Our ultra-secure dating platform is actually the perfect place for high profile players to discretely meet affair partners who won’t be straight on the phone to Max Clifford the morning after an illicit encounter.’

Wilfried Zaha steals the show for Palace as Manchester United close in on deal

Zaha steals the show for Palace as Fergie closes in on deal

By
Ian Ridley

PUBLISHED:

23:54 GMT, 19 January 2013

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UPDATED:

23:54 GMT, 19 January 2013

Manchester United
target Wilfried Zaha showed why Sir Alex Ferguson is leading the chase
for his considerable talents with a virtuoso display that nearly ruined
Dougie Freedman's return to Selhurst Park.

The Premier League giants are in
talks with Crystal Palace to try to force through a deal for the
20-yearold England international before the end of the transfer window.

Zaha is ready to travel north to
meet United boss Ferguson and discuss terms once the two clubs have
agreed a fee but so far negotiations have failed to produce a deal.

Dazzling: Wilfried Zaha in action for Crystal Palace

Dazzling: Wilfried Zaha in action for Crystal Palace

He showed precisely why he is being
courted by the Premier League leaders, leaving former Palace manager
Freedman fortunate to escape with a point.

Zaha, born in Ivory Coast but raised
in South London, hit the post with a snap shot and laid on a host of
chances, the best of them sliced wide by Glenn Murray from 10 yards.

The chances came as a result of
Zaha's skilful, pacy wing play that Freedman did so much to develop
before he left Palace to take over at Bolton last October.

'Goodness gracious me, was he
exhilarating' said Ian Holloway, Freedman's successor as Palace
manager, before answering his own question.

Exhilarating: Palace boss Ian Holloway was full of praise for Wilfried Zaha

Exhilarating: Palace boss Ian Holloway was full of praise for Wilfried Zaha

'Yes he was. Some of the best teams
in the world are talking about him and it is difficult when you are not
used to the limelight and you are a nice kid as he is.

'But the boy can do all sorts of
things and is learning what being a good footballer is all about. He was
consistent today, which is not easy when you are a wide man.'

United have restricted their
valuation of Zaha to 7million, believing there are no other credible
bidders Palace can turn to in January.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has
also declared an interest in Zaha, who supported the Gunners as a boy,
but has not yet entered the race, prioritising Theo Walcott's new
contract, signed on Friday, instead.

Palace chairman Steve Parrish has
dropped his original asking price from 20m but is still looking for a
deal that would ultimately be worth 12m to his Championship club.

Big future: Wilfired Zaha looks to be on his way to the Premiership

Big future: Wilfired Zaha looks to be on his way to the Premiership

With time ticking down to the end of January, United are threatening to delay their interest until the summer but with both sides continuing to discuss the matter, a deal could still be struck in the next fortnight.

Palace would like Zaha to stay at Selhurst Park on loan for the season regardless of which club he joins, something the player is comfortable with, and United could use that as a bargaining tool, charging a 1m loan fee that would effectively be taken off the price of the transfer.

Palace survived early Bolton pressure when Chris Eagles looked lively and twice went close with shots, to extend their unbeaten home record to 13 matches but they should have gone on to take all three points to continue their push for promotion.

Instead, Adam Bogdan kept out Alex Marrow's late drive to send Freedman home happy with his day, but with just five win in 17 games in charge he would surely love to have a player of Zaha's calibre in his squad.

Matt Jarvis shows support for gay footballers in Attitude magazine interview

Coming out could help a gay footballer play better, suggests Jarvis as West Ham winger aims to tackle homophobia

By
Declan Warrington

PUBLISHED:

21:54 GMT, 3 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

23:29 GMT, 3 January 2013

West Ham winger Matt Jarvis has insisted it is time a gay footballer felt comfortable enough to come out and believes that doing so could aid an individual's on-pitch performances.

Jarvis has followed the leads of David Beckham and Freddie Ljungberg to become only the third footballer to feature on the cover of the UK's bestselling gay magazine, Attitude, and is confident that homophobia would not be a significant problem.

'It's everyday life,' said Jarvis, who is married. 'It's not something that's going to be a shock.

Supportive: Jarvis believes gay footballers need no longer fear a backlash

Supportive: Jarvis believes gay footballers need no longer fear a backlash

'I'm sure there are many footballers who are gay, but when they decide to actually come out and say it, it is a different story. It's one that I'm sure they've thought about many times. But it's a hard thing for them to do.'

When asked if being out could improve a player's performance, Jarvis responded: 'I'd agree with that. Because you've always got something you're worried about at the back of your mind.

'If you can let that go and then just concentrate on your one goal, which is whichever sport you're doing to the best of your ability, I think that would help. Definitely.'

Record: Jarvis, at 10.75m, is West Ham's club record signing

Record: Jarvis, at 10.75m, is West Ham's club record signing

The first 1m black footballer Justin Fashanu famously came out in 1990
but became the victim of considerable abuse and killed himself eight
years later, and the only player to come out since is Anton Hysen of the
Swedish lower leagues.

Jarvis, however, believes a modern player would receive greater backing and acceptance if he decided to do the same.

'There'd be support everywhere within the football community, whether it be players, fans or within the PFA [Professional Footballers' Association],' Jarvis explained. 'There would definitely be groups of people who would be supportive and help them through it.'

Tragic: The loss of Justin Fashanu may have discouraged other gay footballers from coming out

Tragic: The loss of Justin Fashanu may have discouraged other gay footballers from coming out

Attitude's editor, Matthew Todd, however, believes football has a problem with homophobia and needs to tackle it in the same way it is racism.

'It's ridiculous that there are no openly gay players in professional football,' Todd said.

'There's rightly been a focus on ridding the beautiful game of racism, but there doesn't seem to be much effort to tackle homophobia.

Lion: Jarvis on international duty with England's senior side

Lion: Jarvis on international duty with England's senior side

'We know there are gay players – and fans who support the game religiously – so I hope this starts a discussion and is a small step in the right direction.'

Harry Redknapp argues about Frank Lampard with a West Ham fan

You were spot on Harry! The moment Harry Redknapp backed Lampard to go 'right to the top' in 1996 row with West Ham fan

By
Sunni Upal

PUBLISHED:

14:18 GMT, 3 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:54 GMT, 3 January 2013

Harry Redknapp was spot on when he said that his nephew Frank Lampard would go right to the top.

In 1996, Redknapp had a row with a sceptical West Ham fan who thought Lampard wasn’t good enough and was being favoured for being family.

But how wrong could that supporter be…

Scroll down for video

Prospect: Lampard during his West Ham days

Prospect: Lampard during his West Ham days

Winner: Frank Lampard salutes the fans after Chelsea won the title in 2004/05

Winner: Frank Lampard salutes the fans after Chelsea won the title in 2004/05

Awesome: Lampard's best season was in 2009/10 when he scored 34 goals during Chelsea's double-winnning campaign

Awesome: Lampard's best season was in 2009/10 when he scored 34 goals during Chelsea's double-winnning campaign

What happened next: Frank Lampard…

Lampard moved to Chelsea in 2001 for 11million and hit double figures for goals scored every year since 2003.

He has won three league titles, a Champions League, four FA Cups and Football Writers' Footballer of the Year award in 2004/05.

Then West Ham manager Redknapp said: 'I’m telling you now, and I didn’t want to say this in front of him, but he will go right to the very top.

'He’s got everything needed to become a top class midfield player.

'His attitude is first class, he’s got strength, he can play, he can pass it and he can score goals.'

After watching the video, former West Ham team-mate and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand tweeted: 'Is the fella who was doubting Frank Lampards ability at a WHUFC Fans Forum yrs ago on twitter! Harry knows a player when he sees 1!'

Matt Holland…

Holland left West Ham for Bournemouth in 1995 before six-year spells at Ipswich and then Charlton. He then went into a career in media, appearing on Final Score and Talksport among others.

Lampard showcased his vast talent for nine years at West Ham before making an 11million switch to west London to join Chelsea in 2001 where his career scaled new heights.

He was ever-present in Chelsea’s dominant title-winning teams under Jose Mourinho in 2005 and 2006 and has gone on to become a club legend.

Scott Canham…

West Ham is as good as things got for Canham. He had spells at Brentford and Leyton Orient before dropping down even further to Woking, Farnborough, Grays and then Thurrock. Canham was also assistant manager at Leyton Orient but only for one season and he left in 2009.

For a midfielder, his goal-scoring record is imperious. Lampard has reached double figures every season since 2003 and he racked up 34 in the double winning season of 2009/10 under Carlo Ancelotti.

Lampard’s future may be uncertain but what he has achieved at Chelsea proves that Redknapp knew what he was talking about at a fans forum all those years ago.

Youngster: Lampard at the fans' forum in 1996

Youngster: Lampard at the fans' forum in 1996

Everton 1 Chelsea 2: Frank Lampard double helps Blues to victory

Everton 1 Chelsea 2: Lampard delivers again as Blues recover from early blow to move back into third place

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UPDATED:

21:50 GMT, 30 December 2012

Frank Lampard has made a habit of being in the right place at the right time over his years at Chelsea.

How peculiar, then, that from the end of this season, he will probably be somewhere else entirely.

Of all the bizarre events that have characterised Chelsea’s recent history, the apparent decision to jettison one of their most important players next summer is among the more perplexing.

At the double: Lampard celebrates his second and decisive goal

At the double: Lampard celebrates his second and decisive goal

MATCH FACTS

Everton: Howard, Jagielka, Heitinga, Distin, Baines, Naismith (Vellios 76), Osman, Hitzlsperger (Barkley 78), Pienaar (Oviedo 80), Anichebe, Jelavic.
Subs not used: Mucha, Gueye, Duffy, Browning.
Goal: Pienaar 1.
Bookings: Distin, Pienaar.

Chelsea: Cech (Turnbull 46), Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Cole, Ramires, Luiz, Lampard, Mata (Oscar 85), Torres, Hazard (Moses 74).
Subs not used: Ferreira, Marin, Piazon, Ake.
Goals: Lampard 42, 72.
Bookings: Cole, Luiz, Cahill.

Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)

Lampard has made almost 400 Barclays
Premier League appearances for Chelsea as the club have established
themselves as one of the best in Europe. He has been a cornerstone of
all that has been achieved in the Roman Abramovich years. However, those
who suggest that Lampard should be rewarded for his loyalty with a new
contract miss the point.

He should be invited to stay at
Stamford Bridge not out of sentiment but simply because he still has
something to offer a squad that needs continuity more than most others.

Lampard’s two goals at Goodison Park
yesterday were certainly timely. They enabled his team to recover from a
second-minute Everton goal to continue their impressive recent
progress and they also provided a reminder of his enduring worth as a
footballer. At 34, Lampard may not be as mobile or as dynamic as he once
was. Time has inevitably diminished him.

Nevertheless, the England midfielder’s ability to pass and read and anticipate play remains undimmed.

One senses that Rafael Benitez
recognises this and it is a shame that it is someone else other than the
club’s interim manager who would appear to be making the decisions
about players at Chelsea.

Certainly, yesterday, Benitez will have been grateful.

Giving Everton the Blues: Lampard scores Chelsea's winner

Giving Everton the Blues: Lampard scores Chelsea's winner

Heads up: Frank Lampard scores Chelsea's first half equaliser

Heads up: Frank Lampard scores Chelsea's first half equaliser

Chelsea fell behind after only 63
seconds and then had to withstand something of a blitz from David
Moyes’s progressive Everton team.

That they did so says much for the
manner in which Benitez has organised his team and the confidence that
has come from recent victories.

Putting eight goals past a poor Aston
Villa team at home is one thing but moving forward to win at Norwich and
then here on Merseyside is arguably more impressive.

Get in there, Frank: Lampard is congratulated after scoring

Get in there, Frank: Lampard is congratulated after scoring

Are you listening, Roman A Chelsea fan holding up a special banner at Goodison Park

Are you listening, Roman A Chelsea fan holding up a special banner at Goodison Park

The first half-hour belonged to
Everton. Unfortunately for the home side, it brought them only one goal.
Ultimately, that proved critical.

A good goal it was, though, as Everton
took advantage of Eden Hazard’s misplaced early pass to sweep down the
right through Phil Jagielka.

The emergency right back’s cross was a
good one, and it enabled Victor Anichebe to climb above Cesar
Azpilicueta — with the help of a shove in the back — and head powerfully
against the post. If Chelsea thought the danger had passed, they were
wrong. Steven Pienaar was lurking 12 yards from goal and the technique
he showed in drilling the ball low past Petr Cech was exemplary.

What a start: Steven Pienaar fires Everton in front after just a minute

What a start: Steven Pienaar fires Everton in front after just a minute

Pure delight: Pienaar celebrates his goal

Pure delight: Pienaar celebrates his goal

A goal to the good so quickly, Everton
were effervescent and inventive. For a while, Chelsea had no answer.
The likes of Lampard, David Luiz and Juan Mata were slow into the game,
and they were almost invisible as the hosts swept forward.

Moyes’s players created chances but
couldn’t take them. Nikica Jelavic struck a free-kick against the post
with Cech stranded before Anichebe headed over after a throw-in was
flicked on from the right.

Perhaps the turning point arrived in
the 24th minute, though, as another Jagielka cross reached the
impressive Leon Osman and Cech somehow managed to smuggle a fierce low
drive past his left-hand post.

Had Chelsea fallen two goals behind at
this point, there might have been no way back. They really had offered
very little at this point.

As it was, though, Cech touched a
Jelavic cross-shot wide after a superb Pienaar pass, and Chelsea sprung
forward to equalise just before half-time.

The goal hadn’t exactly been coming, but Chelsea had been improving quietly as time went on.

Making his point: Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez (right) and Everton boss David Moyes on the sidelines

Making his point: Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez (right) and Everton boss David Moyes on the sidelines

Battle: Sylvain Distin clashes with Fernando Torres

Battle: Sylvain Distin clashes with Fernando Torres

In the 34th minute, Ashley Cole had
been an inch away from diverting a low Azpilicueta cross into the net at
the far post, and they equalised when Fernando Torres ran the ball down
the right, fed Ramires and watched the Brazilian drop a right-foot
cross on the forehead of Lampard eight yards from goal. He simply wasn’t
going to miss.

No doubt relieved to be level, Chelsea
began the second half the stronger, even though they had lost
goalkeeper Cech at half-time to an ankle injury.

With Luiz, Mata and Ramires now
looking more like themselves, a Luiz chipped pass deserved better than a
poor Torres touch while Chelsea’s centre forward found a much better
contact in bringing a superb save from Tim Howard in the 67th minute.

At the other end, Everton’s threat was
by now more sporadic, but they remained very much in the game and
superb work from Leighton Baines down the left enabled Jelavic to head
against the bar as the game hung in the balance with 20 minutes left.

Moyes was later to rue his team’s failure to follow up rebounds.

It was pertinent, then, that Chelsea
won the game just minutes later when a superb move involving Ramires,
Torres, Mata and Hazard ended with Lampard bundling the ball in from
close range after Howard had saved.

Still there was time for Jelavic to
dawdle over a late chance after another Baines cross, and perhaps
Everton would have deserved a point.

Chelsea, though, are threatening to become as ruthless on the field as they are off it.

Frank Lampard knows this well.

Fan-tastic: Everton supporters watch the action unfold on the final Sunday of 2012

Fan-tastic: Everton supporters watch the action unfold on the final Sunday of 2012

Frank Lampard can match David Beckham"s 4m wages if he moves to LA Galaxy

Lampard can match Beckham's 4m wages if he makes summer LA Galaxy switch

|

UPDATED:

12:17 GMT, 30 December 2012

Frank Lampard will bag up to 4million a year in wages if he moves to LA Galaxy.

The Chelsea midfielder has been told to find another club and could now pocket the same salary as David Beckham if he moves to the MLS, according to the Sun Sunday.

Lampard could also bank an extra $1m (619,000) in merchandise sales, and has been touted as the perfect replacement for Becks. Accepting the deal would make him the highest-paid footballer in MLS.

Yanks for coming: Lampard has been sidelined this year at Chelsea

Yanks for coming: Lampard has been sidelined this year at Chelsea

A source said: 'The club feel Frank is what they’re missing now David has left.

'He has the profile to fill Beckham’s role as the face of the club globally.'

The 34-year old will be considering is future swiftly, since Chelsea advised him he can leave from January 1.

Lampard and his fiance Christine Bleakley thought to have arranged their June wedding in her native Northern Ireland, but a State-side move in 2013 could be an exciting one for television presenter Christine.

End of an era: Beckham's playing days in the US have come to an close

End of an era: Beckham's playing days in the US have come to an close

The new Messi? Cassiano Bouzon- the latest South American wonderkid to catch the eye of Barcelona

VIDEO: The new Messi Here's the latest South American starlet to catch the eye of Barcelona

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UPDATED:

00:12 GMT, 29 December 2012

The resemblance is striking. Boasting a magic left foot, a diminutive frame and the ability to ghost past defenders, he could be mistaken for a young Lionel Messi.

And Brazilian prodigy Cassiano Bouzon could soon be teaming-up with Argentina forward Messi at Barcelona.

YOUTUBE_Cassiano Bouzon

Wonderkid: Brazilian Cassiano Bouzon

The 11-year-old was invited to
Europe for a three-week trial after a video was posted on YouTube of the
youngster showcasing his skills in a youth team game.

And Bouzon impressed on trial with the Spanish giants, according to reports in Brazil.

Bouzon must wait for his dream move because of his age and he is expected to join Brasileiro outift Fluminense to continue his development.

Watch the video

'Barcelona made me very comfortable to review the proposal,' explained
Bouzon's father, and former footballer Tiquinho. 'Doors not closed, he
can go there when you are at 13, 14 years.

'But now we have decided, he'll be here at Fluminense. On day 4 or 5 January I will be in Rio de Janeiro to sign the contract.'