Tag Archives: influence

Aston Villa 1 Olympiakos 0 – NextGen match report

Aston Villa 1 Olympiakos 0: Burke fires dominant Villans in to NextGen semi-finals

By
Janine Self

PUBLISHED:

21:56 GMT, 20 March 2013

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UPDATED:

23:41 GMT, 20 March 2013

The present may be somewhat rocky for Aston Villa but the future is looking bright and rosy.

Graham Burke’s first-half goal was enough to see the U19s through to the semi-finals of the NextGen Series at Lake Como over Easter.

But it took a brilliant late save by Brad Watkins from a ridiculously long-range free kick by Leandro Pinto to make sure in a nervy finale.

On target: Graham Burke of Aston Villa (centre) celebrates after firing his side through

On target: Graham Burke of Aston Villa (centre) celebrates after firing his side through

Denied: Jack Grealish has his shot saved by Eleftherids Choutesiotis of Olympiacos

Denied: Jack Grealish has his shot saved by Eleftherids Choutesiotis of Olympiacos

Last year Villa went out at the quarter-final stage and the defeat against Marseille has clearly rankled ever since.

A season on, the side skippered by Sami Carruthers has come on in leaps and bounds. So much so that Sporting Lisbon, PSV Eindhoven and Ajax number among the Villa scalps.

Villa owner Randy Lerner is a big believer in the homegrown system so would have been delighted to see a healthy crowd in the upper tier of the North Stand.

Surprisingly there were also a fair few Olympiakos supporters too, who generated plenty of noise on a freezing night. Hardly Greek weather, though.

The visiting players did not give them much to cheer in the first half as Villa pretty much took control from the first moment.

Carruthers, who has already had a fleeting introduction to the first-team squad, was a steady influence while striker Callum Robinson made quite a nuisance of himself.

The Olympiakos fans even booed when he was in possession, a major compliment to any player.

It was Robinson who fired the first shot in anger, a routine effort which still had Eleftherids Choutesiotis scrambling to block.

A couple of minutes later and Villa were in the lead through Burke, who took advantage of a bouncing ball in the area to poke it past the keeper.

That signalled a spell of superiority when Villa could easily have increased their lead and should have. It would have saved a lot of worry later on.

Tussle: Jordan Lyden and Dimitrios Siopis of Olympiacos compete for the ball

Tussle: Jordan Lyden and Dimitrios Siopis of Olympiacos compete for the ball

Carruthers fed Josh Barton, whose shot was batted away by a less than sure-gloved Choutesiotis.

Robinson also had a couple of openings but had his first shot cleared for a corner and the second one, after a wonderful turn, rolled wide of a post.

Whether it was the temperature, the stadium or just nerves, Olympiakos took an age to get into the tie but, once they did, they caused a few scares.

It meant that an under-worked Watkins in the Villa goal suddenly had something to do. He did it well, too, gathering Dimitrios Siopis’s low shot and pushing the same player’s next attempt wide.

That set the scene for the start of the second half. This time it was Klodian Gino who twice held his head in his hands after clipping woodwork and seeing the ball drift just wide.

Midfield battle: Konstantinos Rougkalas fights for the ball with Burke

Midfield battle: Konstantinos Rougkalas fights for the ball with Burke

Just as the one-goal lead was beginning to look somewhat fragile, Villa’s Republic of Ireland U17 player of the year, Grealish showed what a prospect he could be.

One jinking run sliced through the Olympiakos defence and should have been capped with a goal. Sadly for Grealish, he hit the post instead.

Minutes later the previously uncertain Choutesiostis proved that when it comes to reflex saves he is a master. Somehow he kept out Grealish’s close-range header, which meant his team-mates stayed in the hunt.

With a minute to go Pinto from 40 yards out forced Watkins into a flying save and Villa were on the plane to Italy.

Leap: Villa's Callum Robinson is challenged by Leandro Climacci Pinto

Leap: Villa's Callum Robinson is challenged by Leandro Climacci Pinto

Real Madrid greats past and present: Alfredo Di Stefano awards Cristiano Ronaldo with trophy for La Liga"s best player

Real Madrid greats past and present:
Di Stefano awards Ronaldo with trophy for La Liga's best player

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La Liga's best Ronaldo was awarded the trophy based on his efforts in the 2011/2012 season

Frail: But Di Stefano is still treated with the respect he deserves

Frail: But Di Stefano is still treated with the respect he deserves

'In our neighborhood we used to hold major football sessions that went on until it got dark, with everyone playing against each other,' he said. 'Maybe the pope was one of the guys I played football with in the street.

'At that time I was the famous one because from a very young age I belonged to River Plate’s youth team, everybody knew me,' added Di Stefano, widely regarded as the finest player of his generation for his significant influence in leading Real to five consecutive European Cups, before revealing he had missed the pope's introduction.

Childhood friends Newly elected Pope Francis I, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, grew up in the same area as Di Stefano

Childhood friends Newly elected Pope Francis I, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, grew up in the same area as Di Stefano

'I must confess that while everyone else watched the white smoke live, I saw it later. I was, as always, watching a football game.

'[Ronaldo] He is a great player and a team player. I am very happy.'

THE REAL GREATS: ALFREDO DI STEFANO V CRISTIANO RONALDO

Alfredo Di Stefano

Alfredo Di Stefano

Date of birth: 4 July 1926
Place of Birth: Buenos Aires (Argentina)
Position: Forward

Clubs: River Plate (1945, 1947-49 ), Huracn (1946), Millonarios (1949-52), Real Madrid (1953-64), Espanyol (1964-66).
National Team: 31 matches (23 goals) with Spain; 6 matches (6 goals) with Argentina

Honours
5 European Cups (Real Madrid, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960)
1 Intercontinental Cup (Real Madrid, 1960)
1 America cup (River Plate, 1947)
8 Spanish leagues (Real Madrid, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1958, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964)
1 Spanish Cup (Real Madrid, 1962)
2 Argentinian leagues (River Plate, 1945, 1947)
4 Colombian leagues (Millonarios Bogot, 1949, 1951, 1952, 1953)

La Liga's best Ronaldo was awarded the trophy based on his efforts in the 2011/2012 season

Cristiano Ronaldo

Date of birth: 4 July 1926
Place of Birth: Buenos Aires (Argentina)
Position: Forward

Clubs: Sporting Lisbon (2001-2003), Manchester United (2003-2009), Real Madrid (2009-present).
National Team: 101 matches (38 goals) with Portugal

Honours
1 European Cup (Manchester United, 2008)
3 Premier Leagues (Manchester United, 2007, 2008, 2009) 1 FA Cup (Manchester United, 2004) 1 League Cup (Manchester United, 2006) 1 Spanish league (Real Madrid, 2012) 1 Spanish Cup (Real Madrid, 2011)
1 Spanish Super Cup (Real Madrid, 2012) 1 Portuguese League (Sporting Lisbon, 2002 1 Portuguese Super Cup (Sporting Lisbon, 2002) 1 Portuguese Cup (Sporting Lisbon, 2002)

VIDEO: REAL MADRID GREAT ALFREDO DI STEFANO AT HIS PEAK

Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano graces the Bernabeu

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Ferguson: Van Persie"s becoming my modern-day Cantona

Ferguson: Van Persie's becoming my modern-day Cantona

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UPDATED:

12:22 GMT, 24 December 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson has compared the impact made by summer signing Robin van Persie to that of Old Trafford icon Eric Cantona in the nineties.

The Holland international has scored 15 times in his first 22 games in addition to being a significant creative influence and proving the crucial difference in close games like the Manchester derby.

It was on the final day of last season and in cruel fashion that rivals Manchester City pipped United to the Premier League title but in the same way that Cantona proved the catalyst for years of success, Ferguson believes Van Persie's arrival will be definitive in avoiding similar disappointment.

Final piece of the jigsaw: Sir Alex Ferguson believes Van Persie's arrival to have been crucial

Final piece of the jigsaw: Sir Alex Ferguson believes Van Persie's arrival to have been crucial

'I reckon here at Manchester United we got our Christmas present early – right at the start of the season in fact, when Robin van Persie arrived at Old Trafford,' said the manager in his column for Wednesday's United Review for the fixture with Newcastle.

'I am reluctant to subscribe to the cult of an individual because I firmly believe that the essence of a successful football team depends on team-work, and neither are we a one-man team, but sometimes there really is a situation where you are lucky enough to find the last piece of the jigsaw.

'We did it when we brought Eric Cantona to Old Trafford where he proved to be the right player at the right club at the right time. He became the catalyst and springboard for our surge to success. It doesn’t have to be signing someone for a record fee; Eric was in fact a snip at a million.

'Cristiano Ronaldo was not a record buy
either but he certainly made a difference as he prospered with us to the
extent that he came to be regarded by a lot of people as the world’s
best player.'

Inspiration: Eric Cantona fired United to several trophies during his stay at the club

Inspiration: Eric Cantona fired United to several trophies during his stay at the club

Roberto Mancini should wash his hands of Mario Balotelli – Ash Wednesday

It's time Mancini and Manchester City washed their hands of Balotelli

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UPDATED:

00:01 GMT, 19 December 2012

Jose Mourinho isn't a bad judge of a player's personality.

At the 2010 Champions League final in the Bernabeu, the Inter Milan coach made a substitution as the countdown to the European Cup began.

Inter were leading Bayern Munich 2-0 and Mourinho could easily have gone striker for striker after deciding to replace Diego Milito after his two goals.

Strained: Mario Balotelli's behaviour continually tests his relationship with Man City manager Roberto Mancini

Strained: Mario Balotelli's behaviour continually tests his relationship with Man City manager Roberto Mancini

On the bench was the 19-year-old Mario Balotelli, itching to come on and play his part in the success story.

Alongside him was Marco Materazzi, edged out of the Inter team by Brazilian defender Lucio and the Argentina international Walter Samuel.

It was deep into injury-time and with the game already won, Mourinho sent on Materazzi.

The substitution was reward for Materazzi's perseverance and dedication all season at a time when Mourinho believed Lucio and Samuel were the better bet.

Later, when Mourinho announced he was leaving the San Siro for Real Madrid, they hugged and cried in an emotional moment captured on camera.

Take a telling: Jose Mourinho tried to get through to Balotelli during their time together at Inter Milan

Take a telling: Jose Mourinho tried to get through to Balotelli during their time together at Inter Milan

Balotelli still got his medal, becoming a Champions League winner before he was even 20, but Mourinho had made his point.

He was pig sick of his antics and the disruption he caused at Inter Milan as Mourinho set about landing the big one for the third time in the club's history.

Balotelli scores high in nuisance value and his negative influence has no place in any dressing room.

This week he will swap the training ground for an FA tribunal after contesting 340,000 in club fines. He feels hard done by, as usual, and is refusing to pay up.

Perhaps there is justification, but boy does Balotelli know how to create a stir.

It is incredible to think that Manchester City won the Barclays Premier League title with a player who is capable of causing so many problems.

Entertaining: Balotelli has given us the odd giggle over the past few years

Entertaining: Balotelli has given us the odd giggle over the past few years

This time last year there were claims he dressed in a Santa outfit and was buying drinks and handing out 50 notes in Manchester pubs. It wasn't true, but no-one would be the least bit surprised if it was.

He is a magnet for trouble. When he crashed his Audi R8 police officers asked why he was carrying 5,000 in cash. He replied: 'Because I'm rich.'

In March last year it emerged that he had thrown a dart at a City youth team player at the training ground.

He was substituted in a pre-season fixture against LA Galaxy at the Home Depot Center after attempting to backheel the ball into the net. He missed.

In November 2011 the fire brigade were called to his home after a firework was set off inside his house. This is not normal behaviour.

It is nearly three years since he signed for Roberto Mancini and there is no sign of an improvement in his attitude.

How did they see it: Balotelli caused a stir in his camouflage car after the Manchester derby

How did they see it: Balotelli caused a stir in his camouflage car after the Manchester derby

He's a bad boy, no question. No-one doubt his ability, just his application after nearly three years in English football.

He scored 11 times in the Premier League last season, but his dismissal against Arsenal in April 2012 ruled him out of the title run-in.

This year his only contribution in 13 Premier League appearances is a goal at Wigan on November 28.

He should be someone else's problem, palming him off to the first club prepared to meet a transfer fee and match his wages.

Even in the Manchester derby, when he was handed his chance ahead of Carlo Tevez, it failed to elicit a response.

He was substituted after 47 minutes, heading down the tunnel in shame after failing to carry out Mancini's dressing-room instructions at the break.

Balotelli was besieged by supporters as he left the stadium and inched his way through the post-match traffic in a camouflaged Bentley.

There is no hiding place for Balotelli, but he wouldn't have it any other way.

INDIA v ENGLAND – DAVID LLOYD: Get on with the flipping game, India… You"re 2-1 down, says Bumble

BUMBLE TEST DIARY: Get on with the flipping game, India… You're 2-1 down! I was expecting someone to bring you tea and sarnies

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UPDATED:

14:53 GMT, 13 December 2012

AN INDIAN TEA PARTY

These unofficial breaks during play
are taking the absolute mickey. At one stage yesterday, the players took
about 10 minutes for drinks and there was another break when I thought
they were having an Indian tea party. MS Dhoni got a neck rub and I was
half-expecting someone to bring out a brew and some sarnies! Get on with
the flipping game! India are 2-1 down but they seemed to think it was
15 overs an hour maximum. Staggering.

India's Yuvraj Singh rides his motorbike that he recieved for his Man of the Match award with team mate MS Dhoni

Sandwiches

On yer bike, lads: MS Dhoni (driving Yuvraj on a motorbike in 2008, left) and his team have been ambling around on day one like they were at a picnic, rather than playing in a Test match which they must win

A RIGHT OLD FIFTIES THROW-BACK

What a grinder of a day. It was back to the 1950s when everyone scored at two runs an over and everything ended in a draw. The pitch is as dead as a doornail and it's not easy for the players or the spectators. India also set defensive fields and England's score of 199-5 might be worth a lot more than that. Paul Collingwood predicts this game will finish in three days as the pitch is as 'dry as a riverbed'. He might be right.

Bore draws: It's like being back in the Fifties... Ted Dexter (far left) is poised to field the ball on the first day of the final Test at The Oval during India's tour of England

Bore draws: It's like being back in the Fifties… Ted Dexter (far left) is poised to field the ball on the first day of the final Test at The Oval during India's tour of England

IT WAS COOK'S CALL TO ROOT FOR JOE

I believe Alastair Cook was a massive influence behind the selection of Joe Root. Just a reminder that Kevin Pietersen also came back into the team after Cook's intervention. The captain himself made his debut in India at 21, just like Root, and I think Cook thought “I will have the kid”. Graeme Thorpe is a massive fan of Root's and he played splendidly. England obviously want him in the team and he is a significant selection.

NEW BOYS ARE BORN WINNERS

England have had a problem with the No 6 position, basically since Andrew Flintoff retired. Samit Patel will have been terribly disappointed to be left out but he has not done enough. However, what does Root's selection say to Jonny Bairstow and Eoin Morgan The fact England have gone with a debutant when they are 2-1 up is a pretty decisive move. Nick Compton has also been given a new improved contract so they are obviously happy with him too.

Caught out... in dungarees: Tiny-tot Joe Root grew up to make a fine debut at No 6 today

Caught out… in dungarees: Tiny-tot Joe Root grew up to make a fine debut at No 6 today

Eoin Morgan

England's Jonny Bairstow

Overlooked: Root was selected for the final Test ahead of Eoin Morgan (left) and Jonny Bairstow (right)

I TRUST ENGLAND TO KNOW THEIR ONIONS

The other interesting selection was Tim Bresnan ahead of Graham Onions. Having seen the pitch, I would have gone with a wicket-to- wicket seamer like Onions but I can completely understand why the selectors went with Bresnan. He won't let you down and should also strengthen the batting.

CLASSY KP

Kevin Pietersen will always divide opinion but his innings of 73 was an invaluable knock. He showed great discipline and was ultra patient, batting well within himself. And he was unlucky to get out, the ball stopping on him as he looked to attack. England's other attacking batsman, Matt Prior, continues his fine form. He is just a wonderful player, well within himself.

Grounded innings: Kevin Pietersen hit a responsible - and potentially vital 73 - for England today (FILE IMAGE)

Grounded innings: Kevin Pietersen hit a responsible – and potentially vital 73 – for England today (FILE IMAGE)

Picture Dispute

We are unable to carry live pictures from the fourth Test in Nagpur due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

More from David Lloyd…

BUMBLE'S TEST DIARY: A billion reasons why India must improve… (and leave Samit alone)
09/12/12

BUMBLE'S TEST DIARY: It's a case of 'after you Claude' for captain Cook but England can rely on their attack
07/12/12

BUMBLE'S TEST DIARY: Cook and Compo are good neighbours (they have the perfect blend)… but Che Pujara won't revolutionise fielding
06/12/12

BUMBLE TEST DIARY: How I nodded off and woke up dreaming of Monty and Bruno (but Beefy's wrong, it had nothing to do with Timothy Taylor)
05/12/12

BUMBLE TEST DIARY: Rolling Stones fan Bumble says – It's only an England Test victory in India… but I like it, like it, yes I do!
26/11/12

BUMBLE'S TEST DIARY: Atherton is right, KP is a genius… but Monty and Co proved England can beat India at their own game
25/11/12

BUMBLE'S TEST DIARY: Why Monty bowling on this pitch is 'Satisfaction' guaranteed… but unlike that old rocker Beefy, 'Wild Horses' can't drag me away from the cricket

23/11/12

BUMBLE'S TEST DIARY: Drop Trott, it's time to wield the axe because India are having England for breakfast
19/11/12

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London Parlympics 2012: Mickey Bushell wins T53 100m sprint gold

One better for Bushell as Beijing silver medalist storms to London sprint gold

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UPDATED:

19:07 GMT, 3 September 2012

Wheelchair sprinter Mickey Bushell upgraded his Beijing silver to gold in London with victory in the T53 100 metres on Monday night.

The 22-year-old, the world record holder, got off to a flying start and raced away from the field to win in a new Paralympic record 14.75 seconds.

Bushell was 0.34secs clear of the field as he convincingly claimed Great Britain's fifth gold medal in the Olympic Stadium.

Victory roar: Mickey Bushell celebrates his 100m sprint gold

Victory roar: Mickey Bushell celebrates his 100m sprint gold

He was born with seven vertebrae missing from the lower part of the back.

Bushell, whose win took Great Britain's athletes' total medal tally to 12, revealed he had been inspired by watching David Weir's 5,000m victory.

He said: 'Gold was the only thing I wanted. I know I had to work for it, it's been a long, hard four years.

'Last night I watched Dave Weir and as he crossed the line I was bouncing off the walls in my room. I didn't know what to do.

Charge: Bushell bulleted home in a new Paralympic record of 14.75s

Charge: Bushell bulleted home in a new Paralympic record of 14.75s

'He's been a massive influence – just
as a team-mate, he's been there for me. He was there for me in Beijing
as well, even with all the stuff he had to deal with as well.

'He's a fantastic guy, a great role model to look up to.'

On the race, he said: 'It was fantastic. It went a lot better than I
thought. The crowd were fantastic, they definitely pushed me on.

'I nearly cried coming through the line.'

Bushell will go for a second gold in the 200m, but admitted this was the
title he had been craving, saying: 'This is my stronger event. This is
the one I wanted.'

More to follow.

Charge: Bushell bulleted home in a new Paralympic record of 14.75s

Charge: Bushell bulleted home in a new Paralympic record of 14.75s

Upgrade: Bushell won silver in Beijing

Upgrade: Bushell won silver in Beijing

Julio Cesar exclusive: I dream of winning Premier League with QPR

EXCLUSIVE: I dream of winning the Premier League title with QPR, says new boy Cesar

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UPDATED:

21:45 GMT, 29 August 2012

It was a good year for Queens Park Rangers, 1967. They won the Third Division title and beat First Division West Bromwich Albion 3-2 in the first League Cup final to be held at Wembley. Alec Stock was the manager, Peter Springett was in goal and Rodney Marsh was among 11 Englishmen in the starting team. It was their most successful season.

Standards are somewhat higher in 2012. On Wednesday, they completed the signing of Julio Cesar from Inter Milan. A player who has won five League titles, eight cups and one Champions League at his last club is entitled to have great expectations. And QPR's new goalkeeper is not afraid to feel optimistic.

'I have many dreams at QPR,' said the smiling Brazilian, sitting down with Sportsmail for an exclusive chat about his move.

Family guy: Julio Cesar is bringing his wife Susanna and their children Giulia and Cauet to London

Family guy: Julio Cesar is bringing his wife Susanna and their children
Giulia and Cauet to London

'To play well for the fans, the manager, the chairman and myself. And eventually finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League and then one day win the Premier League.

'It is possible. A few years ago nobody believed Manchester City would ever win the Premier League. So we have to dream. When you dream, things can happen. That's the reason I came here.'

He has been watching clips of QPR on YouTube and has seen a video of the 5-0 defeat to Swansea on the opening day of this season.

Brazilian blend: Goalkeeper Julio Cesar will add to the South American influence at Queens Park Rangers

Brazilian blend: Goalkeeper Julio Cesar will add to the South American influence at Queens Park Rangers

And he should know they have won only five trophies in their history, but he's here and he's ambitious. And he knows how to stop goals.

Cesar, 32 and Serie A goalkeeper of the year twice in the past four seasons, watched Tuesday's Capital One Cup win over Walsall and now he is nervously testing out his English which, by the way, is not bad at all for a beginner.

'I watched the game on Tuesday and it was good to see us win,' he says. 'We have a saying in Portuguese – pe quente. It literally means ''hot food'' but it's a saying that we use to mean a good omen. So I think I was that on Tuesday night.

'When I arrived at the ground there were lots of children all excited to see me. It was great. Loftus Road is of course a lot smaller than the San Siro but I walked around the ground and I liked it. I like that in England the fans are a lot closer to the pitch. The stadiums in England are much better than in Italy. The pitch at Loftus Road is perfect, it is unbelievable.'

Unbelievable is how many Rangers fans will view having a keeper of Cesar's calibre at the club. At Inter, under Jose Mourinho, Cesar was voted the third-best goalkeeper in the world (Iker Casillas and Gianluigi Buffon were first and second) and a flick through his best clips on YouTube will tell you why. His reactions are lightning quick and he looks comfortable on crosses, a key in the Premier League.

'London is a big attraction,' he said. 'It is one of the two or three best cities to live in the whole world. It reminds me of New York. It's perfect for my future too. I can speak a bit of English now but coming here gives me the opportunity to learn it really well. I'm a little bit shy speaking English at the moment. I don't trust myself so I'll start studying next week and hopefully in six months to a year I will speak really, really well. I'm very, very happy. It's a new experience for me and my family. The opportunity to play in the Premier League, the best football in the world. I can't wait to train, I can't wait to play.'

He's Inter QPR: Cesar admitted he researched the Loftus Road club

He's Inter QPR: Cesar admitted he researched the Loftus Road club before his arrival

'I want us to reach the top four. It can happen, as it did for Man City'

Playing would not have happened much this season if he had stayed at Inter. Samir Handanovic was brought in during the summer, with the club needing to shed high earners after failing to qualify for the Champions League.

Former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan and star defender Lucio are among the others to depart.

'Inter suggested that I reduce my salary, but no player in my situation would have done that. It became a tough situation for both parties. But I want to thank president Massimo Moratti for the seven wonderful years we have had together.

Competition: Green could lose the No 1 jersey after arriving only in the summer from West Ham

Competition: Green could lose the No 1 jersey after arriving only in the summer from West Ham

'I'll ask him to let me go on the pitch before the match between Inter and Roma this weekend so I can give a collective hug to all the fans. That would be a nice gesture.'

Once he knew he was going, unsurprisingly, there was no shortage of options. As well as a concrete offer this week from Roma, who made a last-ditch call on Tuesday to attempt to stop him joining QPR, Tottenham and Arsenal were also in the frame. Arsenal decided they were happy with Wojciech Szczesny while Andre Villas-Boas decided against bringing in a player so associated with his rival Mourinho.

Welcome to QPR: Fernandes greets Cesar

Welcome to QPR: Fernandes greets Cesar

'Two weeks ago I found out QPR were interested,' he says. 'I don't watch much football on TV but when I found out I could be coming to QPR, I went to Google and YouTube to read about the club, the players and to see how many Brazilians there are in the squad. There's Fabio, of course, and Jose Bosingwa speaks Portuguese too. Now I know a little bit about them. I didn't read too much because I'm a bit lazy with reading but I'll learn more each day.'

Cesar is under no illusion about the
task that lies ahead as Mark Hughes' No 1. Watching Rangers' opening day
thrashing by Swansea sorted that out.

'I saw the first game. Wow! It was terrible for them and they had some
problems but these things happen in football. When I met the coach I
asked him what happened in the first game. But they drew away in the
second game (1-1 at Norwich) and that's a good result.'

First
up for Cesar – assuming that he is fit and chosen ahead of Robert Green
– is Saturday's trip to champions Manchester City.

'I hope to be the No 1, but I have to work hard. I have the ability but
I know the Premier League is hard. My first game could be against my
first coach in Europe. Roberto Mancini brought me to Inter. They have
done well but we have to believe we can beat them.'

Rangers
almost did last season in the final-day nailbiter which saw City win
3-2 to seize the title but a result against Carlos Tevez – 'he is so
good' – and the rest of Mancini's superstars will not be easy.

'It's going to be a lot more physical here,' he admitted. 'The referees don't give fouls easily. In Italy, it's different. Here, if you fall down, you just have to stand right back up and get on with the game. I know (Tottenham's) Heurelho Gomes very well; we went to the World Cup together. So I'm going to speak to him about playing here.

'I've played against Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham. I like Wayne Rooney a lot. He is so good – up there with the best in the world.'

Cesar should know. He's been there.

Guly do Prado will be dealt with by Southampton boss Nigel Adkins after drink-drive arrest

Adkins promises to deal with Do Prado 'in-house' following drink-drive arrest

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UPDATED:

17:42 GMT, 29 August 2012

Southampton boss Nigel Adkins has confirmed Guly do Prado would be dealt with 'in-house' following the striker's drink-driving arrest.

Do Prado, 30, was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol after being pulled over by police on Bank Holiday Monday before being bailed to appear at Southampton Magistrates' Court on September 12.

The Brazilian, who has been with Saints for two years and last month signed a one-year contract extension until 2014, has already issued a public apology.

Arrest: Do Prado did not feature in Saints's 4-1 League Cup win at Stevenage

Arrest: Do Prado did not feature in Saints's 4-1 League Cup win at Stevenage

Adkins told BBC Radio Solent: 'We take this matter seriously and we will deal with it in-house.

'I've got one rule and people face the consequences of their actions if they step out of line.'

Do Prado was arrested after his black Porsche Panamera was seen being driven erratically along Southampton High Street in the early hours of Monday.

'The police have been involved in the situation I'm led to believe,' Adkins added, refusing to confirmed if Do Prado would be axed for Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash with Manchester United.

Taking the matter seriously: Nigel Adkins (right)

Taking the matter seriously: Nigel Adkins (right)

'I'm not happy with it, but we will deal with it and we will get on with it. When I make a decision what to do about it, the news will come out. In the meantime, we will deal with it privately.'

Following his arrest and charge, Guly issued a statement via Twitter.

I wanted to apologise about what happened, especially for the club and the supporters of Southampton,' he wrote.

'We players are very exposed and we have to be more careful in this kind of situation, controlling every step when we enter public life.'

Twenty20 Finals day: David Lloyd"s guide

Bumble's guide to Twenty20 Finals day: Yorkshire v Sussex, Somerset v Hampshire

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UPDATED:

21:55 GMT, 23 August 2012

It's that time again! It is the first Twenty20 finals day in Wales on Saturday – Yorkshire play Sussex at 11am, then Somerset take on Hampshire at 2.30pm with the winners going head-to-head in the final at 6.45. Cardiff is always rocking on weekends… I can’t wait!

Yorkshire v Sussex

I’ve been very impressed with Yorkshire this season and it’s their first appearance at finals day, but Sussex will start as the bookies’ favourites.

YORKSHIRE

Skipper: Yorkshire's Andrew Gale

Skipper: Yorkshire's Andrew Gale

Captain: Andrew Gale and Azeem Rafiq have shared the leadership duties this season but Gale will be in charge for the big day — a steady influence. Hits the ball hard, too. I must say coach Jason Gillespie has been an absolute wow. The players love him.

Big-hitter: Gary Ballance, a chunky lad who can hit the ball a mile.

Go-to guy: Moin Ashraf. He has 14 wickets in this year’s T20 and one of the best parody Twitter accounts in the business! Apparently he can bowl 125mph! His slower ball is 95!

Top fielder: The best fielding side I’ve seen this year. They don’t have a weak link. Did you see that piece of fielding by Joe Root in their quarter-final Parried the ball back over the ropes before a catch was completed.

The x-factor: Jonny Bairstow has been cleared to play and that’s the final piece of the jigsaw. He could win it for them on his own.

SUSSEX

Captain: Mike Yardy remains as T20 captain and his calm hand will be on the tiller.

Big-hitter: Scott Styris was magnificent in the quarter-finals, hitting a blistering 100 in 37 balls against Gloucestershire. They’ve plenty of other talent with the bat too, including Chris Nash — one of the few blokes who’s good on the microphone during matches, too.

Take that: Scott Styris of Sussex

Take that: Scott Styris of Sussex

Go-to guy: Chris Liddle has had an excellent tournament but our old friend Yardy could be the man if the wicket is low and slow.

Top fielder: Another top fielding side but you can’t really look beyond Nash again. He’s a key man, isn’t he

The x-factor: Matt Prior has been brilliant when he has been able to play for his county, with a strike rate of something like 200 in T20. Remarkably, he doesn’t play one-day cricket for England anymore…

Prediction: I’m going for Yorkshire — to win the whole thing!

Somerset v Hampshire

SOMERSET

Top class: Somerset's Marcus Trescothick

Top class: Somerset's Marcus Trescothick

Captain: Marcus Trescothick remains one of the best batsmen in the domestic game and hasn’t scored too many runs since recovering from that serious ankle injury. This could be the day.

Big-hitter: Jos Buttler. One of the best and most inventive young players on the circuit and a certainty to go on to further England honours.

Go-to guy: The Great Alfonso! Alfonso Thomas has been an absolute magician in Twenty20 with his slower deliveries and yorkers.

Top fielder: Peter Trego is a very powerful figure in the Somerset team with a really strong arm. A pocket battleship is this lad.

The x-factor: Craig Kieswetter is another England man who, rightly, will be allowed to play and is a real crackerjack when he gets going.

HAMPSHIRE

Captain: Dimi Mascarenhas is back at the helm in the shorter game and will be a pivotal figure at the death with his bag of liquorice all-sorts bowling.

Big-hitter: Not a big hitter as such but Neil McKenzie’s calculated and methodical batting was the key in Hampshire’s quarter-final win against Notts and the South African will be just as important now.

Calculated and methodical: Hampshire's South African batsman Neil McKenzie

Calculated and methodical: Hampshire's South African batsman Neil McKenzie

Go-to guy: Danny Briggs. A young left-arm spinner who doesn’t get walloped. Rock steady and unflustered. Consistently successful in the shortest format.

Top fielder: Yet another top fielding side — that could be one of the features of finals day — but keep an eye out for James Vince.

The x-factor: Liam Dawson’s left-arm spin has accounted for Kevin Pietersen first ball twice this season — watch out for him to make an impact once again.

Prediction: Joy at last for Trescothick, but I think he might be facing heartbreak in the final again.

Fulham launch new orange away kit

The future's bright – the future's orange: Fulham go Dutch for new away kit

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UPDATED:

11:02 GMT, 6 June 2012

Martin Jol’s Dutch influence at Fulham has extended to the colour of the club’s new kit – orange.

The Dutchman will oversee the west Londoners play in an orange and black change kit next season – the same colour as his native Holland’s national strip.

The club launched their new Kappa away kit on Wednesday, replacing the all black home kit from last season, with the slogan 'Oranje is het nieuwe zwart' which translates as 'Orange is the new Black' in Dutch.

Orange is the new Black: Brede Hangeland launches the new Fulham away kit

Orange is the new Black: Brede Hangeland launches the new Fulham away kit

Holland are famed for their Oranje kit over the years and Fulham will hope with Jol at the helm and the new kit could see the famous Dutch style of Total Football rub off on their performances away from Craven Cottage next season.

It is not the first time the club have been influenced influenced in their kit colours from people within the club.

Green and gold: Fulham wore an away kit that was the same colour as Mohammed Al Fayed's former shop, Harrods

Green and gold: Fulham wore an away kit that was the same colour as Mohammed Al Fayed's former shop, Harrods

Two seasons ago the club had a dark green and gold change kit – the colours of luxury department store Harrods – which was then owned by the club’s Chairman Mohammed Al Fayed.

The new away kit may be a break from the traditional black and red away kits, but there are no plans to change the traditional white and black home kit – just as Cardiff have done.