Tag Archives: guardian

Cesar Azpilicueta says Chelsea team-mates call him Dave

Alright, Dave Azpilicueta says Chelsea team-mates have given up trying to pronounce his name… just like Rodney and Trigger in Only Fools And Horses

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

10:52 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

11:49 GMT, 30 March 2013

Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta says his team-mates have dropped their attempts to pronounce his name – and instead simply call the Spaniard ‘Dave’.

The former Marseille full back moved to the Premier League last summer, but his colleagues at Chelsea have struggled to say his surname correctly ever since.

'Cesar’s not even that hard,’ he was quoted in the Daily Telegraph saying. ‘But I suppose Azpilicueta is. Some said my name was too difficult to pronounce and could they call me Dave. It’s stuck. It’s also done affectionately.'

Cesar Azpilicueta

Nicholas Lyndhurst

All right, Dave: Cesar Azpilicueta (left) says his team-mates have given up using his name and have decided to call him 'Dave' like Rodney Trotter (right, centre) was in Only Fools And Horses by the character Trigger

Adapting: Azpilicueta (right) believes he is getting used to the speed of the Premier League

Adapting: Azpilicueta (right) believes he is getting used to the speed of the Premier League

Although Azpilicueta may not know it, his nickname might have been borrowed from one of Britain’s best-loved sitcoms: Only Fools And Horses.

Rodney Trotter struggled throughout the hit TV series, as Trigger failed to use his name because – despite knowing Nicholas Lyndhurst's character well through his brother Derek 'Del Boy' Trotter – he earnestly believed his name was Dave.

Meanwhile, Azpilicueta believes he is adapting to the English style of play, and is beginning to get used to the lifestyle in London with the help of countryman and team-mate Juan Mata.

Azpilicueta told the Guardian: ‘He (Mata) is like a London tour guide,' Azpilicueta told The Guardian. “I say ‘Juan, I want to go out and eat’ and he knows just the place.’

Good friends: Azpilicueta says countryman Juan Mata (right) has helped him settle in London

Good friends: Azpilicueta says countryman Juan Mata (right) has helped him settle in London

Azpilicueta chose to sing Spanish song La Raja de Tu Falda by Estopa as his initiation into the squad. Although his team-mates enjoyed his rendition of the song about a driver who careers off the road because he was staring at an attractive woman, most of it was lost in translation.

He added: 'Some of them danced. But they had no idea what the song was about and they didn’t understand a word.'

VIDEO: Watch one of Rodney and Trigger's finest ever scenes

'My name is Rodney!' Classic Only Fools and Horses

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John Obi Mikel says David Luiz should play in defence for Chelsea

Luiz should play at the back! Mikel not convinced about Rafa's experiment

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UPDATED:

01:32 GMT, 15 December 2012

Although most people were impressed with David Luiz's attempt to play in defensive midfield as Chelsea beat Monterrey, John Obi Mikel wasn't so sure.

He was not expecting to be playing alongside the Brazilian centre-back but after Rafa Benitez sprung the surprise he was not stunned to see Luiz rampaging forward from the start.

Interesting: David Luiz played in a swashbuckling fashion from defensive midfield

Interesting: David Luiz played in a swashbuckling fashion from defensive midfield

'It was a bit of a shock to see David lining up there,' said Mikel as reported in the Guardian.

'I said to him as we got on to the pitch: “Where shall I play”

'He said he'd play the holding role and that I should go forward. I said OK but, when the game started, I looked up and he was already up their end of the pitch.'

Mikel did not think playing Luiz out of position should be a regular occurrence.

'David is a great player, but I don't know if this is going to be a long-term thing,' said the Nigerian.

'I think he needs to play at the back.

'It was a good performance from him – he kept the ball well and played it well – but when it's not your normal position you sometimes lose something.

Mixed review: Mikel said Luiz was a great player but also thought he should revert to his defensive role

Mixed review: Mikel said Luiz was a great player but also thought he should revert to his defensive role

'He is a great player and a strong character who can only get better for this club. He keeps going and doing his thing. Fair play to him.'

Both players have come in for criticism – Luiz because he plays with too much flair and attacking intent for a defender – and Mikel because fans complain he does not contribute enough going forward.

Under Roberto Di Matteo Mikel flourished – perhaps turning in his best performance for the club in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich.

Benitez is less keen on the midfielder and has played Spaniard Oriol Romeu in his stead recently.

But the former Barcelona player picked up a serious knee injury against Sunderland last Saturday and is out for several months while it is treated.

Rio Ferdinand considers China move

Ferdinand considers China move as United defender's contract nears end

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UPDATED:

08:36 GMT, 19 November 2012

Rio Ferdinand's 10-year career at Manchester United could end this summer when his contract expires after revealing to friends there is a 'big chance' he will be leaving.

The defender is weighing up his future, but has told friends he has no intention of retiring – with a move abroad the most likely option for the 34-year-old.

One option open to Ferdinand is to play in China where he could secure a deal which would improve on the 130,000-a-week he receives at Old Trafford, according to reports in the Guardian.

On the move Ferdinand's 10-year spell at Old Trafford could be ending

On the move Ferdinand's 10-year spell at Old Trafford could be ending

Sir Alex Ferguson is hopeful he will stay and intimated he believes Rio has plenty of football left in his before he retires.

'I think Rio can play for two or three more years,' the manager said. 'He is not as quick as he was but that is not a big issue for me. His experience is important and there is no reason he can't stay on. I didn’t even realise his contract was up.'

But Ferdinand has since told Inside United: 'The best thing I can do is to look at it at Christmas, and then again in the summer, to see how I'm feeling and go from there.

'But hearing the manager say things like that definitely puts the spring back in your step.

'I'll have a better idea of that in December or January time, when the games start coming thick and fast. That is when it really hits you and you know the hard work really has to start.

Still got t: Sir Alex says Ferdinand can compete at the top level

Still got t: Sir Alex says Ferdinand can compete at the top level

'I’ll probably get a better gauge of where I’m at fitness-wise and the benefit of having the summer off then.'

Ferdinand managed 38 appearances in all competitions last term and has been a regular again this season, despite the back condition which has hampered him in recent seasons.

Nicolas Anelka left Chelsea for Shanghai Shenhua in January for around 175,000-a-week, and Didier Drogba joined him in the summer on a two-and-a-half year deal worth a reported 195,000-a-week.

United regular: Ferdinand has battled back from injury

United regular: Ferdinand has battled back from injury

Simon Hughes, cricket pundit, on Guardian Soulmates website

Cricket pundit Hughes on a sticky wicket in love match

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UPDATED:

10:09 GMT, 16 November 2012

Simon Hughes

Channel Five cricket pundit Simon Hughes (right) is looking for love via newspaper internet dating site Guardian Soulmates.

'Yozzer 50-year-old male' announces himself as 'warm, passionate, good company, versatile, generous, imaginative and occasionally outrageous'.

The twice married broadcaster adds: 'My friends would say I'm bright, energetic, interesting, good fun and not a bad cook.'

However, prospective girlfriends should note that Wisden lists Hughes as having his 53rd birthday next month, in contrast to the Soulmates site.

Eriksson chasing his 10m in court

Former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson is due a High Court date next summer for his gross negligence case against the financial adviser whom it is alleged duped the Swede out of around 10million.

Eriksson has long been one of world football's highest-paid managers but it is claimed that he has lost the majority of his fortune in his dealings with Samir Khan.

Khan was given unlimited access to Eriksson's money after he started to act for him in 2003, when Sven was employed by the FA for around 4m a year. Court documents lodged in April 2011 allege that Khan 'misappropriated money for a variety of improper purposes' that included losing speculation on foreign currency markets and art.

Another rash investment saw Khan put Eriksson's cash into fellow manager Harry Redknapp's troubled luxury flats property development in Southsea, Hampshire which is reported to have losses of at least 4m.

Eriksson, at home in Sweden as he waits for his next managerial opening, is said to be 'knocked for six' by the unravelling of his dealings with Khan. The adviser has denied the claims, calling Eriksson an 'astute businessman' who is highly motivated by making money.

Ashley Young

The England players' recently introduced code of conduct, which was rolled out to the Under 21 side as well this week, specifies respecting the media – with the expectation that the team will not wear headphones when they go through the interview zone after a match. The improved attitude was demonstrated by Ashley Young (right), the chief headphone culprit at Euro 2012, carrying his set through the media area after the Sweden game rather than wearing them.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is understood to have given an interview to ITV for their tribute programme in January to mark Jose Mourinho's 50th birthday. Documentary maker Gabriel Clarke is too good an inquisitor not to have taken the opportunity to ask Fergie whether he can see Mourinho succeeding him at Old Trafford.

Roy still a man of the fans

ENGLAND manager Roy Hodgson's encounter with passengers on the London Underground – in which he revealed Rio Ferdinand did not have an international future – has not put him off interacting with fans. Hodgson is speaking with FA clearance at a 75-a-head corporate dinner at Norwich tonight, organised by majority shareholder and celebrity chef Delia Smith. This should ensure the potted crab and boeuf bourguignon on the menu are of a certain standard. Hodgson is a friend of Delia and Norwich chief executive David McNally. Next Tuesday, Hodgson is also addressing the Oxford Union before taking questions from students. England's demolition at the hands of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and his wonder goal will still be fresh in the memory.

The FA have identified their preferred 2014 World Cup base in Rio. The hotel is situated on the sea front not far from the Copacabana and Ipanema beaches.

The Rio attractions should ensure there is little likelihood of the boredom factor that was a big problem with the team's isolated Rustenburg hideaway at the World Cup in South Africa. After their city-centre experience in Krakow during Euro 2012, the FA are happy to have their England headquarters in Rio.

Manchester City, West Brom, Aston Villa and Fulham – who have been the big opponents of financial fair play regulations – again voiced opposition at yesterday's chairmen's summit discussing introduction of the rules next season.

Roberto Mancini: Manchester City critics don"t bother me

What pressure Mancini insists he won't listen to his critics despite City's slow start

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UPDATED:

10:07 GMT, 2 November 2012

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini claims to have taken no notice of his recent critics.

The Italian came in for some heavy flak last week after a loss to Ajax in Amsterdam left City needing a 'miracle' – in Mancini's own words – to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League.

City failed to get out of their group in their maiden Champions League campaign last year, and their latest attempt has been another underwhelming one with just one point gained from the first three games.

Work to do: Roberto Mancini's (centre) Manchester City have been below par

Work to do: Roberto Mancini's (centre) Manchester City have been below par

And despite remaining unbeaten in the Barclays Premier League, the champions have also been below par at the start of their title defence.

With much made of Mancini's ultimately doomed decisions to continually change formation in Holland – and accompanying speculation that was unsettling players – the pressure appeared to be growing on the former Inter Milan boss.

But that eased slightly with a hard-fought win over Swansea last weekend and Mancini, whom The Guardian claim held talks last season about taking charge of Monaco, claims not to have been affected by recent pressure anyway.

Mancini said: 'I don't read the newspapers. I know my job and I know when I make a mistake or do the right things.

'For this I talk with my club, my chairman and my staff, the other situations are not important.'

Mancini has always remained confident in his ability to deliver and he famously guided City to title success last season after they had been eight points off the top with six games remaining.

But after what was a first league win in 44 years for the club, Mancini cannot understand where all the pressure and expectation for instant Champions League glory is coming from.

He said: 'I don't know but maybe there are some that are happy for this, and some others that push for this.

Point to prove: City are struggling in the Champions League and are third in the Premier League table after some less than impressive performances

Point to prove: City are struggling in the Champions League and are third in the Premier League table after some less than impressive performances

'I don't know who or for which reason, but we are a young club for the Champions League. It could be that we lose some games.'

Mancini also points out that for all Ajax's domination, City did lead 1-0 in the Amsterdam ArenA and had chances to score a second before eventually crashing 3-1.

He said: 'Maybe we should do better because we didn't play well against Ajax, but when we were 1-0 we had two incredible chances to score the second goal.

'I think in that competition, when you have a chance, you need to score and close the game.'

Gareth Bale would leave Tottenham to move abroad

I could quit Spurs to move abroad, admits in-demand wing wizard Bale

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UPDATED:

07:52 GMT, 29 September 2012

Tottenham midfielder Gareth Bale is keen on playing abroad at some point in his career.

The 23-year-old Wales international signed a new four-year contract with Spurs this summer preventing speculation of a move overseas, but it is something he would consider in the future.

Hot property: Gareth Bale is on the radar of Barcelona and Real Madrid

Hot property: Gareth Bale is on the radar of Barcelona and Real Madrid

'I'd never be scared of it,' he told The Guardian. 'It's something I'd like to experience. It's in the future but if something did come up I would obviously look at it with interest.'

Bale also gave his backing to new Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas, who replaced the popular Harry Redknapp this summer.

Backing: Andre Villas-Boas (right) is the right man for the job, says Bale

Backing: Andre Villas-Boas (right) is the right man for the job, says Bale

'He's very approachable,' said Bale. 'If there is a problem, or something we feel is not right, his door is open. He wants us to work that way: together, the players and staff, and if there is a problem we can always share our ideas with him and he will take it on board.

'For example, if we feel we are working too hard in training, if we say that to him, then he'll ease it off. He's still learning as well as a manager but he does all the coaching and everything himself, which is great.'

F1: Grand Prix of America under threat, says Bernie Ecclestone

Bernie fires warning to New Jersey race as F1 chief claims circuit doesn't hold a contract

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UPDATED:

18:17 GMT, 25 September 2012

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has again warned the Grand Prix of America is under threat.

Just under four months ago Ecclestone raised doubts as to whether the race in New Jersey, with the Manhattan skyline serving as a backdrop, would take place.

Ecclestone stated then the organisers were late with payments and were attempting to resolve issues internally regarding funds.

Making his point: The F1 supremo has warned the Grand Prix of America is under threat

Making his point: The F1 supremo has warned the Grand Prix of America is under threat

Phil Duncan F1 blog

A further complication arose in August when Tom Cotter, serving as president of the race organisers, resigned from a post he had only occupied for a few months.

Last week, with the release of the 2013 provisional calendar, the GP of America was handed a date of June 16, a week on from the event in Canada, but asterisked as it remains subject to confirmation.

With the calendar due to be finalised at a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council on Friday, at this stage the race is poised to be axed.

Ecclestone said: 'The organisers have not complied with the terms and conditions of the contract, which is now gone anyway. They don't have a contract.'

The door is, however, still ajar for promoter Leo Hindery Jr ahead of the WMSC meeting, but the clock is ticking.

Speaking to The Guardian, Ecclestone added: 'We are pretty close to the final deadline. We have a world council meeting coming up.

'I think if somebody got behind them it could happen in 2013 because they have come a long way with the circuit.'

Maicon is 4.7m Manchester City target

Mancini aiming to reinforce defence with 4.7m Inter star Maicon

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UPDATED:

07:36 GMT, 30 August 2012

Manchester City will increase their efforts to bring Brazilian defender Maicon to the Etihad Stadium at the behest of manager Roberto Mancini.

The Italian is keen on the 31-year-old Inter Milan right-back as he looks to consolidate his squad, with Pablo Zabaleta the only option at the moment thanks to Micah Richards' ankle injury.

Target: Maicon (right) could re-join his old boss at Manchester City

Target: Maicon (right) could re-join his old boss at Manchester City

City might be able to pick him up for around 4.7million because he only has a year remaining on his contract, according to the Guardian.

Mancini was his manager for two season until leaving in 2008 and likes the versatile Brazil international's ability to attack.

Maicon’s agent, Roberto Calenda, confirmed Mancini’s interest last week.

He said: 'There is interest from Manchester City, Real Madrid and Chelsea in the player. There is no possibility that he goes to Milan or Juventus.

'He has worn the Nerazzurri shirt for six seasons and has too much respect for the fans to betray them in that manner. He could also yet remain at Inter.'

London 2012 Olympics: Tom Daley claims Qiu Bo is a robot

British diving hope Daley believes 'robot' Bo could buckle under pressure in London

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UPDATED:

09:28 GMT, 21 July 2012

Tom Daley hopes the pressure of competing at an Olympic Games will affect diving rival Qiu Bo, whom the Briton has labelled a 'robot'.

Daley is one of Great Britain's hopes for gold in London and will compete in in two events this summer, starting with the men's 10metre synchronised platform alongside partner Peter Waterfield on July 30.

Nearly two weeks later, on the penultimate day of the Games, he will aim for gold in the individual 10m platform – a standard he reached in the European Championships in May.

Head over heels: Tom Daley has two chances of winning gold in London

Head over heels: Tom Daley has two chances of winning gold in London

He will come up against tough opposition in both events, none more formidable than Qiu of China.

Even Daley's coach Andy Banks revealed he had never seen a diver as consistent as strong or consistent as the reigning 10m platform world champion.

But Daley told the Guardian: 'The Chinese have got a different way of working. They're taken out of school and away from their families. There's just this conveyor belt of Chinese divers and they work them until they break and then the next one comes along and trains.

'So it's completely different. I train five hours a day, six days a week, which is a lot. But the Chinese guys are maybe doing seven hours of training, and working so hard. But they don't have a life. I do. I'm not constantly thinking about diving.

Rivals: Qiu Bo (centre) will be the favourite for gold in London

Rivals: Qiu Bo (centre) will be the favourite for gold in London

'He's (Qiu) like a robot. Or he has been known to be like a robot.'

However, Daley has pinpointed a weakness in the 19-year-old, adding: 'Pressure sometimes gets to him. You have to be able to dive as well as him to put pressure on him. Because if you don't put pressure on him he's not going to buckle. So it's tough.

'But when I won the worlds [in 2009] he did buckle. On the last dive I scored 10s and he dived after me and didn't do his dive very well. But we've been up against each other a lot.

'He beat me by two points at the junior worlds [in 2008] but I beat him at the senior worlds. I also beat him in world series events in 2009 and 2010. I've beaten him four times but, otherwise, he's been pretty dominant.'

Bradley Wiggins: Why I won"t take drugs

Wiggins: I would rather stack shelves in Tesco than take drugs to win Tour

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UPDATED:

12:31 GMT, 13 July 2012

Bradley Wiggins has spelled out exactly why he will never take performance-enhancing drugs.

He currently wears the yellow jersey in a bid to become the first British rider to ever win the Tour de France.

But he has been regularly asked about drugs given the frequent scandals that have dogged cycling.

Centre of attention: Bradley Wiggins is photographed on Friday

Centre of attention: Bradley Wiggins is photographed on Friday

Writing for the Guardian, Wiggins has opened on on why cheating has never crossed his mind.

He said: 'The question that needs to be asked is not why wouldn't I take drugs, but why would I I know exactly why I wouldn't dope.

'To start with, I come to professional road racing from a different background to a lot of guys. There is a different culture in British cycling.

'Britain is a country where doping is not morally acceptable. I was born in Belgium but I grew up in the British environment, with the Olympic side of the sport as well as the Tour de France.

'If I doped I would potentially stand to lose everything. It's a long list. My reputation, my livelihood, my marriage, my family, my house. Everything I have achieved, my Olympic medals, my world titles, the CBE I was given.

Leading the way: Wiggins is desperate to keep the yellow jersey

Leading the way: Wiggins is desperate to keep the yellow jersey

'I would have to take my children to the school gates in a small Lancashire village with everyone looking at me, knowing I had cheated, knowing I had, perhaps, won the Tour de France, but then been caught.

'My wife organises races in Lancashire. I have my own sportif, with people coming and paying 40 each to ride. If all that was built on sand, if I was deceiving all those people, I would have to live with the knowledge it could all disappear just like that.

'My father-in-law works at British Cycling and would never be able to show his face there again. Their family have been in cycling for 50 years, and I would bring shame and embarrassment on them.'

Wiggins added: 'If I felt I had to take drugs, I would rather stop tomorrow, go and ride club 10-mile time trials, ride to the cafe on Sundays, and work in Tesco stacking shelves.'