Tag Archives: interview

Barcelona: Cesc Fabregas hat-trick Eric Abidal returns after transplant

Fabregas scores hat-trick but Abidal gets Nou Camp ovation on emotional return

By
Lee Bryan

PUBLISHED:

21:59 GMT, 6 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

08:45 GMT, 7 April 2013

Cesc Fabregas scored the first hat-trick of his career as Barcelona moved closer to the Primera Division title with a 5-0 victory over Real Mallorca, but the main story was the return to action of Eric Abidal after a year out following liver surgery.

The home side were also inspired by
head coach Tito Vilanova, who was on the Nou Camp touchline for the
first time since January after undergoing treatment for cancer.

Abidal's appearance brought the crowd
to their feet, with the Frenchman given a standing ovation when he
replaced Gerard Pique in the 70th minute.

Happy return: Barcelona's Eric Abidal received a rousing reception

Happy return: Barcelona's Eric Abidal received a rousing reception

Happy return: Eric Abidal

The 33-year-old former France
defender, who was passed fit to return to training with his team mates
last month, is a huge favourite with the Barca fans.

In a pitch-side television interview with Spanish broadcaster Canal Plus, Abidal thanked the cousin who provided part of his liver for the procedure.

'It was a very special moment for me after a year out,' said Abidal, wearing a shirt with 'Merci mon cousin' on the front.

Tribute: Abidal shows a shirt to thank his cousin who donated his liver

Tribute: Abidal shows a shirt to thank his cousin who donated his liver

'I want to thank my cousin as without him I would not be here today. It is a unique moment,' he added.

Abidal's return is well timed as Barca centre backs Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano and full back Adriano are all out injured at a critical stage of the season.

In the game itself, it was Fabregas who commanded the spotlight. In the injury-enforced absence of Lionel Messi, he scored three and
set up two for Alexis Sanchez as Barcelona romped home.

Main man: Cesc Fabregas scored his first competitive hat-trick as the league leaders romped to victory

Main man: Cesc Fabregas scored his first competitive hat-trick as the league leaders romped to victory

Main man: Cesc Fabregas scored his first competitive hat-trick as the league leaders romped to victory

Mallorca held their own but it was no surprise when Barcelona made the breakthrough with two goals in two minutes.

Fabregas carried the ball from midfield and played a one-two with Alexis before steadying himself and coolly slotting the ball home across goalkeeper Dudu Aouate.

Mallorca's heads went down and in the 22nd minute they found themselves 2-0 adrift. This time Fabregas cut inside on the left of the area before unleashing a shot which Aouate pushed away from goal only for Alexis to follow up and fire home.

On the scoresheet: Alexis Sanchez was also on target in Barcelona's facile victory

On the scoresheet: Alexis Sanchez was also on target in Barcelona's facile victory

In the 37th minute an intricate passing move ended with Fabregas laying a first-time ball off to Alexis on the right of the area which he reciprocated for Fabregas to drill home.

The former Arsenal captain was involved everywhere and a minute later he provided a superb pass over the top for Alexis, who had got between two defenders, controlling the ball with his right before slotting home with his left.

Fabregas wrapped up his hat-trick seconds after the restart when he collected Iniesta's threaded ball and checked inside the defender before slotting home from close range.

England players sneak headphones back on despite FA ban

Those cans are banned! England strugglers sneak headphones on despite crackdown

By
Laurie Whitwell

PUBLISHED:

13:57 GMT, 28 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

14:11 GMT, 28 March 2013

England stars' shameless tactic of wearing headphones to avoid requests for interviews from reporters following international matches appears to be creeping back in.

Ashley Young was the latest star to cover his ears after England's 1-1 draw in Montenegro – despite Football Association rules specifically outlawing the practice.

In the aftermath of games, players pass through an area known as the mixed zone where journalists wait to talk about matters of importance and interest.

Ashley Cole

Wayne Rooney

Can you hear us Ashley Cole, Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott, Steven Gerrard and Ashley Young show off their oversized headphones last summer on England duty. They are often worn to dodge post-match interviews

Theo Walcott

Steven Gerrard

Ashley Young

There was a time when these discussions would be open and frank but then came the trend for certain players to wear headphones in order to swerve any post-game chat.

Last October, the FA issued wide-sweeping guidelines on player conduct and included a directive aimed specifically at stopping the practice. If there was a breach, it said, an investigation would be carried out by Club England.

The media clauses led to FA personnel ensuring England players did not go through the interview zone after England's match against Poland that month wearing headphones.

Mario Balotelli

It's not just England players who wear them: Mario Balotelli, Rio Ferdinand and Sergio Ramos with their cans

Rio Ferdinand

Sergio Ramos

Young, however, shuffled through following the disappointing draw in Podgorica on Tuesday. Ashley Cole has also been known to employ the tactic.

This latest headphone headache comes after last year’s Olympics ambush by Dr Dre’s popular brand of Beats headphones.

Customised versions with Union flag colours were delivered to members of Team GB, despite strict IOC rules regarding any non-rights holder advertising. Goalkeeper Jack Butland sent an ill-advised tweet praising the gear, leading to a reprimand from senior BOA officials.

Wayne Rooney and Kaka video interview ahead of Manchester United v Real Madrid Champions League second leg

Rooney and Kaka share their thoughts ahead of Tuesday's crunch Champions League second leg at Old Trafford

By
Sunni Upal

PUBLISHED:

17:00 GMT, 3 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:11 GMT, 3 March 2013

Manchester United and Real Madrid will go head to head at Old Trafford on Tuesday night in the second leg of their mammoth Champions League last-16 tie.

Cristiano Ronaldo's header for the Spanish champions has left the tie delicately poised at 1-1, after Danny Welbeck gave United the lead in the Bernabeu last month.

In an exclusive interview for Sportsmail – courtesy of bwin – Wayne Rooney and Kaka share their thoughts in the build-up to Tuesday's mouth-watering match.

Scroll down for the exclusive video interview

Head to head: Wayne Rooney and Kaka talk to bwin ahead of Tuesday's Champions League tie

Head to head: Wayne Rooney and Kaka talk to bwin ahead of Tuesday's Champions League tie

Head to head: Wayne Rooney and Kaka talk to bwin ahead of Tuesday's Champions League tie

Both men are searching for their second Champions League crown this season and they reflect on their best moment in the competition as well as the best goal of their career.

The battle between Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho will be almost as big a talking point as the match itself and Rooney and Kaka each justify why they think their manager is the best in the world.

Rooney described the draw at the Bernabeu as 'a good result' for United and Kaka suggested there was a feeling of an opportunity missed for Real.

Winner: Rooney in Moscow in 2008

Winner: Rooney in Moscow in 2008

Champion: Kaka in Athens in 2007

Champion: Kaka in Athens in 2007

Breath-taking: Rooney's stunning overhead kick against Manchester City in 2011

Breath-taking: Rooney's stunning overhead kick against Manchester City in 2011

Brace: Kaka scored two goals at Old Trafford during Milan's Champions League winning season in 2007

Brace: Kaka scored two goals at Old Trafford during Milan's Champions League winning season in 2007

Brace: Kaka scored two goals at Old Trafford during Milan's Champions League winning season in 2007

Kaka also highlighted Rooney as a danger and someone he respects but, embarrassingly, when the English forward was asked the same question there was no mention of the Brazilian.

Real head into the clash after two Clasico wins within a week including an impressive 3-1 victory at the Nou Camp in the Copa del Rey semi-final.

The Spanish champions must score at Old Trafford but the match at the Nou Camp highlighted the counter-attacking threat that Mourinho's side pose.

VIDEO: Wayne Rooney and Kaka's exclusive interview with bwin

BOSS OFF Rooney and Kaka rate their managers

Loading video…

DM.has('rcpv2197822114001','BC',
'renderConfig' :

'css' : “videoplayer-large”,
'autoplay' : false,
'muted' : false,
'title' : “BOSS OFF Rooney and Kaka rate their managers”,
'videoId' : 1000965,
'adsEnabled' : true,
'playerId' : “1989148206001”,
'playerKey' : “AQ~~,AAAAAFSL1bg~,CmS1EFtcMWELN_eSE9A7gpcGWF5XAVmI”,
'objId' : “rcpv2197822114001”,
'videoPlayer' : “2197822114001”,
'width' : 636,
'height' : 358,
'linkBaseURL' : “http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2287395/Wayne-Rooney-Kaka-video-interview-ahead-Manchester-United-v-Real-Madrid-Champions-League-second-leg.html”

});

For all the latest odds and special bets visit www.bwin.com

Dwain Chambers stormed off the track after a poor showing at the European Indoor Championships

Chambers storms off the track after failing to qualify from European indoor heats

By
Laura Williamson

PUBLISHED:

17:07 GMT, 1 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

18:22 GMT, 1 March 2013

Dwain Chambers stormed off the track in anger after being eliminated in the first round of the men’s 60 metres at the European Indoor Championships this afternoon.

The 34-year-old, who won gold in this event in 2009 and a silver medal two years ago, missed out on automatic qualification after coming fifth in his heat.

Chambers’ time of 6.78 seconds – two tenths of a second down on his season’s best – was not enough to guarantee him a place in Saturday's semi-finals as a fastest loser.

Frustration: Dwain Chambers threw off his vest after failing to qualify for the final of the European Indoor Championships

Frustration: Dwain Chambers threw off his vest after failing to qualify for the final of the European Indoor Championships

The European indoor record-holder, who served a two-year ban after testing positive for the anabolic steroid THG in 2003, threw his British vest to the floor in frustration and ignored all interview requests as he left the Scandinavium Arena.

Chambers missed the UK trials in Sheffield to protect a back injury and looked out of sorts at the British Athletics Grand Prix in Birmingham three weeks ago, when he finished fifth.

But the 2010 world indoor champion, who said earlier this year he finally feels ‘part of the team again’ after spending half his time training with UK Athletics’ sprint coach Rana Reider at Loughborough University, had insisted he would not compete in Gothenburg if he was not fully fit.

Speaking after his frustration had subsided, Chambers said: 'The performance was not what I expected and I can only express my disappointment because a lot of time and effort was put into me getting to these championships, and I want to apologise to the people whose time I feel I have wasted.

Out of sorts: Chambers, who has won a silver and gold at the last two championships, struggled to a time 6.78s, not enough to see him go through as a fastest loser

Out of sorts: Chambers, who has won a silver and gold at the last two championships, struggled to a time 6.78s, not enough to see him go through as a fastest loser

'I came here with all the intention
to do well and fight for a medal, which is always what I have been
renowned for doing, but the injury obviously took more out of me than I
had anticipated. So with that I'm really disappointed and feel bad for
letting people down.

'There was no pain. I think what
happened is that I spent all my time getting ready to get on the plane
injury free and I didn't prioritise my time to prepare for the
championships.

'I thought I was going to be all
right, but that was the wrong mind process I'd put myself into – I just
wasn't ready. I'm disappointed that I've let people down.

'In situations like these where you
want to do well, you expect to do well and people expect you to do
well…it hurts. I know what I'm capable of doing and it is
disappointing that I am not able to do that today.

'Now I'm just going to cheer on the rest of the team.'

James Dasaolu, however, cruised through
his heat to post the third-fastest qualification time, easing off before
the line to finish second behind Michael Tumi of Italy in 6.62 seconds.
Harry Aikines-Aryeetey also reached tomorrow’s semi-finals with a
season’s best of 6.65 seconds.

No such problems: Fellow Brit James Dasaolu (centre) made it through to the semi-final

No such problems: Fellow Brit James Dasaolu (centre) made it through to the semi-final

Harry Aikines-Aryeetey said: ‘It's a
seasons best – another good run and we'll take it lower, that's the aim.
It’s another opportunity and I think I've been quite lucky indoors. We
haven't really focused on it, so I've done some speed work over the last
few weeks.

‘Dwain and I
have been training together which has really helped. I'm just going to
take each round as it comes. I'm in a GB vest, so it's not about my
personal gain, it's about representing the country and showing what
we've got.

‘I stumbled out of the blocks a bit, so hopefully in the next round I'll go even better.’

James Dasaolu said: ‘I'm really happy, I wanted to qualify as easily as possible. I don't feel like I've exerted too much energy and I think that's what it's all about – using as little energy as possible. I've run a PB in pretty much every race, so I'm in good shape.

‘In the next round I'm going to be more aggressive and run through the line. It wasn't the quickest of fields, so I knew I didn't have to hammer the start, it was just about getting through.’

Kevin Keegan – The Footballers" Football Column: Luis Suarez needs to sort himself out, fans are desperate to worship the ground he walks on, not…

KEVIN KEEGAN: I don't like players kissing the badge – show you care by the way you play… Suarez needs to sort himself out, fans are desperate to worship the ground he walks on, not falls on

PUBLISHED:

09:45 GMT, 22 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:06 GMT, 22 January 2013

Kevin Keegan

Never ask Kevin Keegan to ‘show us yer medals’. The latest contributor to MailOnline's Footballers’ Football Column has been a champion in England, Germany and Europe as a player, a multi-promotion success as a manager, and belongs to the select band of men who bossed England. Now a pundit, he has always been game for a laugh, but he gets serious too, so watch out Fabricio Coloccini and Luis Suarez. But watch his video interview first; he was so candid we've had to post it in three parts…

Play Video

Loading video…

DM.has('rcpv35043','BC',
'renderConfig' :

'css' : “videoplayer-large”,
'autoplay' : false,
'muted' : false,
'adUrl' : “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/adssz=8×8&iu=%2F7023%2Fdm.video%2Fdm_video_sport&ciu_szs=&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=xml_vast2&unviewed_position_start=1&url=[referrer_url]&correlator=[timestamp]”,
'playerId' : “1989148206001”,
'playerKey' : “AQ~~,AAAAAFSL1bg~,CmS1EFtcMWELN_eSE9A7gpcGWF5XAVmI”,
'objId' : “rcpv35043”,
'videoPlayer' : “2109472258001”,
'width' : 636,
'height' : 358,
'linkBaseURL' : “http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2265977/Kevin-Keegan–The-Footballers-Football-Column-Luis-Suarez-needs-sort-fans-desperate-worship-ground-walks-falls-on.html”

});

VIDEO INTERVIEW: Part II…

Play Video

Loading video…

DM.has('rcpv35065','BC',
'renderConfig' :

'css' : “videoplayer-small”,
'autoplay' : false,
'muted' : false,
'adUrl' : “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/adssz=8×8&iu=%2F7023%2Fdm.video%2Fdm_video_sport&ciu_szs=&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=xml_vast2&unviewed_position_start=1&url=[referrer_url]&correlator=[timestamp]”,
'playerId' : “1989148206001”,
'playerKey' : “AQ~~,AAAAAFSL1bg~,CmS1EFtcMWELN_eSE9A7gpcGWF5XAVmI”,
'objId' : “rcpv35065”,
'videoPlayer' : “2109529039001”,
'width' : 308,
'height' : 173,
'linkBaseURL' : “http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2265977/Kevin-Keegan–The-Footballers-Football-Column-Luis-Suarez-needs-sort-fans-desperate-worship-ground-walks-falls-on.html”

});

With the second leg of the Capital One Cup semi-finals coming up, I’ve been doing a spot of promotion work for the competition. It’s been a good laugh, a spoof Brut ad like I used to do with Henry Cooper.

These are nervous times for fans, with their teams so close to reaching Wembley and this is just a bit of fun.

I even wear a wig but it doesn’t look as good as that hair!

No-one remembers me for my goals but everyone remembers my hair, those Brut adverts, singing, and falling off my bike in Superstars.

VIDEO INTERVIEW: Part III…

Play Video

Loading video…

DM.has('rcpv35066','BC',
'renderConfig' :

'css' : “videoplayer-small”,
'autoplay' : false,
'muted' : false,
'adUrl' : “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/adssz=8×8&iu=%2F7023%2Fdm.video%2Fdm_video_sport&ciu_szs=&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=xml_vast2&unviewed_position_start=1&url=[referrer_url]&correlator=[timestamp]”,
'playerId' : “1989148206001”,
'playerKey' : “AQ~~,AAAAAFSL1bg~,CmS1EFtcMWELN_eSE9A7gpcGWF5XAVmI”,
'objId' : “rcpv35066”,
'videoPlayer' : “2109504548001”,
'width' : 308,
'height' : 173,
'linkBaseURL' : “http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2265977/Kevin-Keegan–The-Footballers-Football-Column-Luis-Suarez-needs-sort-fans-desperate-worship-ground-walks-falls-on.html”

});

Talking of Superstars, I
was working abroad so I missed the 2012 version with the Olympic stars
but people told me about it. Yes, I came off the bike but what everyone
seems to forget is that I actually won the event.

Look now at the velodromes which have
been built. Well we were on racing bikes with ” tyres on a red shale
running track, so no wonder I didn’t stay on. It hurt, too. I had to
spend two days in hospital because I’d lost all the skin down my back.

Looking
back it was great fun. All sports people are competitive, I’m sure it
was the same for the recent one. Brian Jacks was unbelievable but in
many ways it was the beginning of the end when he came in because he was
a more professional Superstar while we were footballers who turned up
and made everyone laugh by tipping over our canoes.

Scroll down for more video…

Pair of brutes: Kevin Keegan (right) larks about with British heavyweight champion Henry Cooper to promote men's aftershave Brut in 1980

Pair of brutes: Kevin Keegan (right) larks about with British heavyweight champion Henry Cooper to promote men's aftershave Brut in 1980

Iconic crash: Keegan falls in spectacular fashion on Superstars after clipping the rear wheel of Gilbert Van Binst bike

Iconic crash: Keegan falls in spectacular fashion on Superstars after clipping the rear wheel of Gilbert van Binst's bike

VIDEO: Keegan's Superstars fall. Ouch…

I spend a lot of time working abroad now. My work with ESPN will come to an end this year when they lose the rights but it’s been a fantastic four years and I’ve really enjoyed it. The Premier League is massive all over the world.

Last week I was in Norway covering the games and before that I was working in Malaysia. Everyone follows the Premier League and in Malaysia they have to get up at one or two in the morning to do it – it was quite strange walking out of a TV studio at six in the morning. It was very different as far as my body clock was concerned.

Kevin Keegan (pictured) launched an astonishing attack last night on Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson for suggesting rivals might make it easy for Newcastle to win the title.

Kevin Keegan Newcastle manager

I'll just love it: Keegan loses the plot as Newcastle manager in 1996

Wantaway Newcastle United's captain Fabricio Coloccini in action during the 2-1 loss to Reading on Saturday

Wantaway Newcastle United's captain Fabricio Coloccini in action during the 2-1 loss to Reading on Saturday

VIDEO: Keegan's famous – and brilliant outburst in 1996…

More from The Footballers' Column…

RAHEEM STERLING: I get kicked a lot – it's annoying trying to sleep with your legs in pieces… Ivanovic is the scariest man I've played against but he's not dirty, he's a tank
18/01/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Richard Lee: I should've been a striker… you can be dreadful but bang in the winner and be hailed a hero, says the goalkeeper who is allergic to goalkeeping gloves
18/01/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Curtis Davies: Why I don't regret describing myself as a pub player… and how West Brom made me out to be the bad guy
17/01/13

CRAIG LINDFIELD: I meet at a Little Chef for a lift, have breakfast in a pub and then watch a team-mate do a 'Klinsmann' through a freezing puddle in his underwear!
15/01/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Joe Hart: We go into every game thinking a draw is not a good enough result for us… And I'd have both RVP and Rooney up front in my all-Premier League team
11/01/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Kevin Nolan: Sometimes I wish I was Ryan Giggs… But if I scored with my elbow to knock United out of the cup, there's no way I'd tell the referee
11/01/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Jill Scott: I get called Crouchie because I did the robot when I scored on debut… People thought women can’t play football but the Olympics has changed all that
10/01/13

FRANK McPARLAND: What does it take to be a Liverpool player Personality… We had one German lad who said: 'I've had a look at my wage slip and I want to opt out of this tax thing!'
08/01/13

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

People ask me whether I am now finished with management. You can never say never. I have been offered four or five jobs since I left Newcastle in such terrible circumstances but none was right for me.

The only way I would come back is if I could see myself as part of the vision, which is far more important than financial reasons.

Newcastle was a pull to me. I’d played there and my father came from there.

It’s got to be something more than money. But I’ve listened to the job offers and thought that the dreams I was being sold could not match reality..

Talking of Newcastle, I have read reports that Fabricio Coloccini wants to leave although I don’t know the reasons.

If it’s a health issue, either to himself or a member of his family, then that would put a different light on it because football is not more important than life.

But if it is for another reason, then what message does that send out to the other players if he is allowed to go

I bought Coloccini, along with Jonas Gutierrez, in 2008 and he only signed a four-year contract last season. He’s a key player, the captain, and his departure would be a blow.

There is a danger that other good players in the team, like Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa, and Cheick Tiote could start to think ‘Why should we stay then’

Another player from one of my former clubs has been in the news. Luis Suarez wears my old No 7 shirt at Liverpool and the fans are desperate to worship the ground he walks on, not falls on.

He’s a very good player and has been excellent this season but he gets involved in far too many controversial incidents.

When you are a manager of an English
club and your foreign players go home you just wait for something to
come out.

Players relax and think that, as they are in Argentina or
Spain or wherever, that their words are not coming back because they
weren’t speaking English.

So
Suarez admits he dived against Stoke. I remember the game and I don’t
think there was anyone in the world who thought he did anything but
dive. But what he does is put the club into a difficult position.

Brendan
Rodgers has no choice but to discipline one of his players and it’s all
about Suarez for non-footballing reasons. He needs to sort that side
out as he is an exceptional player.

Kapow! Keegan, Liverpool's iconic No 7, clashes with legendary Leeds captain Billy Bremner during the 1974 Charity Shield at Wembley

Kapow! Keegan, Liverpool's iconic No 7, clashes with legendary Leeds captain Billy Bremner during the 1974 Charity Shield at Wembley

Come in No 7: Liverpool's Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez celebrates scoring in Saturday's 5-0 rout of Norwich

Come in No 7: Liverpool's Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez celebrates scoring in Saturday's 5-0 rout of Norwich

CAPITAL ONE CUP

To join the debate around the semi-finals of the Capital One
Cup, visit: facebook.com/CapitalOneUK

I wasn’t able to go to the FA’s 150th anniversary celebration although 150 is something to celebrate.

One of the things that I hope is addressed in the future is the number of football people at the FA. There are many more administrators and that’s wrong. Sir Trevor Brooking does us proud but there should be more like him, more of a mix.

A professional footballer can always become an administrator but it doesn’t work the other way round.

Old pals: Keegan sports a basque beret as he jokes with Sir Trevor Brooking while on England duty at the 1982 World Cup in Bilbao

Old pals: Keegan sports a basque beret as he jokes with Sir Trevor Brooking while on England duty at the 1982 World Cup in Bilbao

Jose Mourinho tells Rafael Benitez "mind your own business"

Mourinho tells Benitez 'mind your own business' after Real comments

|

UPDATED:

00:08 GMT, 22 December 2012

Jose Mourinho has told Rafael Benitez to keep his mind on managing Chelsea instead of passing comment on Real Madrid.

Mourinho was reacting to a radio interview Benitez carried out in midweek with Spanish station Onda Cero.

During the interview, Benitez was told that Real Madrid were interested in employing him when his contract runs out at Chelsea.

Under pressure: Mourinho at Real's game against Espanyol last weekend

Under pressure: Mourinho at Real's game against Espanyol last weekend

He replied: ‘I know things, but I am not going to say anything about Real Madrid because I don’t think I should.’

Benitez’s evasive answer suggested rumours that Real are lining him up to come in at the end of the season have strong foundation.

Mourinho said: ‘As a Chelsea fan, all I can say is that I hope he was not thinking about Real Madrid during the Corinthians game.’

Benitez oversaw Chelsea’s defeat by the Brazilian side in the Club World Cup last Sunday, missing out on the honour he picked up at Inter Milan after Mourinho had won the Champions League with the Italian club.

Mourinho is expected to leave Real Madrid at the end of the season and could even end up back at Chelsea, while Benitez is among the Spanish club’s options.

Asked about drawing Manchester United in the next round of the Champions League, Mourinho said it was too far away to comment on the game.

Old rivals: Benitez and Mourinho in 2007

Old rivals: Benitez and Mourinho in 2007

But he did lament the current form of his team as they go into their last game of the year having already dropped more points this season than in the whole of last.

He said: ‘We have to improve in all aspects of the play. We are not happy with our numbers from these first months of the season.’

The match against Malaga on Saturday is Mourinho’s 400th league game in top flight football and he questioned whether his players shared his motivation to go on winning.

He said: ‘I did not realise about reaching 400 games until I was told but I know that I have lost less than 40 games. That is less than 10 per cent defeats.

‘I have never been found wanting in terms of motivation. The players have to find that motivation and improve.’

He all but ruled out the possibility of Real facing Manchester United in February boosted by new January transfer window signings.

He said: ‘I think the winter market is not something that works for Madrid. I don’t think anyone will be coming in or going out.’

Demba Ba escapes fine for radio interview

No fine for Ba despite Newcastle striker critising club in radio interview

|

UPDATED:

16:19 GMT, 20 December 2012

Newcastle United striker Demba Ba has escaped a club fine for his controversial interview with a French television station this week.

The Senegal international, who appeared to indicate he was looking to join Arsenal and was critical of the team’s style of football, has avoided punishment for the interview with L'Equipe du Dimanche, a show on Canal+.

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew, and club executives, have studied the interview this week and decided he has not breached any club rules.

Blunder: Ba criticised Newcastle on a French radio station

Blunder: Ba criticised Newcastle on a French radio station

Ba, who is refusing to sign a new deal with Newcastle to replace the 7.5million release clause in his current deal, claimed the team's 'long ball football' had damaged their league campaign this season.

Last season Newcastle midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa was fined after he criticised the team's style of play following a 3-0 win over Manchester United.

But Pardew said then: 'I didn’t see anything wrong with his interview.

'I don’t think any player at any football club is going to say their philosophy is the same as the manager.

No fine: Pardew was understanding of his star striker

No fine: Pardew was understanding of his star striker

'I didn’t when I was working with Steve Coppell (at Crystal Palace) I was the same but I still admired him and understood what he is about and learned a great deal off him.'

As doubts remain over Ba’s future at St James’s Park, Newcastle have again be linked with a reunion with England striker Andy Carroll.

According to newspaper reports, the Geordie striker is keen on a return to Tyneside after an unhappy move to Liverpool and his current loan spell with West Ham.

But he would need special dispensation to return to Newcastle in the next transfer window because he has played for two Premier League teams.

PSG declare interest in Real Madrid duo Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho

Get me Ronaldo and Mourinho! PSG declare interest in Real Madrid duo

|

UPDATED:

11:09 GMT, 18 December 2012

Mega-rich French club Paris Saint Germain have declared their interest in signing Real Madrid galactico Cristiano Ronaldo and manager Jose Mourinho.

PSG, who can boast the wealthiest owners in world football, have already made Zlatan Ibrahimovic the best paid player in the world but fancy a mouth-watering scoring partnership with Ronaldo.

Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, right-hand man to PSG’s oil-rich owner Sheikh Nasser Al Khelaifi, was asked during a TV interview in France whether the club were considering attempting to lure Ronaldo and Mourinho from the Bernabeu.

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo from Portugal celebrates his goal

PSG's forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Sweden is seen

PSG want Ronaldo to partner Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic

The special one: Mourinho is also on the PSG radar

The special one: Mourinho is also on the PSG radar

He replied: ‘Of course. You have to be motivated in the world of sport and do what’s best for your club, make the right investments at the right time.’

Both Ronaldo and Mourinho endure a hot-and-cold relationship with the Madrid faithful, often revered but occasionally jeered.

Many reports have claimed that the French giants would be prepared to offer Madrid up to 75million to sign Ronaldo, with the club believing Mourinho would soon follow.

Al-Thani added: ‘Paris Saint Germain is one of the best clubs in the world, I’m sure. From the start, our goal has been to win the Champions League. I don’t think it’s difficult, we’re one of the best clubs in France and we hope to become the best club in Europe and even the world.’

Andy Carroll police probe after West Ham Christrmas party in Dublin

Carroll's Christmas bash: Police interview 35m West Ham striker over accusations of 'gouging' a photographer after night out that finishes at 5.30am… and where was his leg brace in Burger KingWest Ham striker accused of assaulting a photographerPremier League club back on-loan star amid the allegationsPolice in Dublin made no arrests after probing players

|

UPDATED:

10:59 GMT, 4 December 2012

The Christmas party season has begun and Premier League footballers are already embroiled in trouble after Andy Carroll allegedly assaulted a photographer outside a nightclub.

West Ham were the first to get their festive celebrations in full swing as the players went on a weekend tour to Dublin following Saturday’s 3-1 win over Chelsea.

But Carroll, who is ruled out for eight weeks with a knee ligament injury, reportedly went berserk at snapper Paddy Cummins after he attempted to photograph the crocked England international leaving a popular nightspot without a leg brace he had been wearing earlier in the evening.

West Ham have released a statement backing the on-loan Liverpool striker amid the allegations and Carroll's team-mates are also ready to back him over the claims.

Christmas Carroll: Hammers skipper Kevin Nolan, striker Carroll, Carlton Cole and Matt Taylor pose with a female fan at a pub in Dublin dressed all in fancy dress white

Christmas Carroll: Hammers skipper Kevin Nolan, striker Carroll, Carlton Cole and Matt Taylor pose with a female fan at a pub in Dublin dressed all in fancy dress white

'Andy Carroll was in Dublin as part of a social trip with full permission of the management team,' a West Ham spokesman said:

'Andy agreed to have a number of
pictures taken at the request of a photographer who was waiting on the
street.

'Despite this, the photographer then carried on taking photos in
the close proximity of Andy and was politely asked to stop by the
private security team working on the trip.

'When he then continued taking more photos he was restrained by the security team for Andy’s safety.

'Eyewitnesses state at no point was there any physical contact between Andy and the photographer.

'The Garda took statements from the group back at the hotel and no further action was taken.'

Cummins, who is 5ft 8in, claims the 6ft
3in on-loan Liverpool striker gouged his right eye while trying to grab
his camera.

Cummins also claims the former Newcastle star went to bite him after knocking him to the floor.

The 33-year-old photographer was later admitted to hospital, where he offered a statement to the police.

‘He was like a wild animal,’ Cummins told The Sun.
Meal deal: Carroll - seemingly without his protective leg brace on - is pictured ordering food from Burger King at the end of his night out

Meal deal: Carroll – seemingly without his protective leg brace on – is pictured ordering food from Burger King at the end of his night out

Injured: Carroll was wearing a protective knee brace on Saturday at Upton Park

Injured: Carroll was wearing a protective knee brace on Saturday at Upton Park

‘I felt this terrible pain in my eye as he gouged me.

‘I was screaming, “My eyes!” but he kept it up. The pain was incredible.’

A spokesman for the Garda press office in Dublin said officers received a report of an incident at 2.30am yesterday.

Officers at the city's Pearse Street station are investigating the incident.

It is understood members of the West Ham football team were spoken to by gardai following reports of an assault.

No arrests were made, the Garda spokesman said.

Carroll’s agent Mark Curtis, who is
also the representative for Hammers boss Sam Allardyce, declined to
comment over the alleged assault.

Speaking about the disappearance of
the leg brace he said: ‘The leg brace was outside his trousers inside
the club because he wanted people to see it so they wouldn’t knock into
him. When he left he put it under the trousers.

Night out: Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan were part of West Ham's Christmas party weekend tour to Dublin, where they were pictured with Irish fans

Night out: Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan were part of West Ham's Christmas party weekend tour to Dublin, where they were pictured with Irish fans

‘He can’t walk without it. He isn’t a daft lad and he wouldn’t be able to put weight on his leg without it.

'You can see from the shape of his trousers in the picture [published in The Sun] that it’s underneath.'

Allardyce’s side were staying at the
five-star Fitzwilliam Hotel and kicked-off their weekend in the Irish
capital’s Grafton Lounge before visiting the popular Coppers nightspot.

Spell on the sidelines: Carroll is out for eight weeks with a knee injury

Spell on the sidelines: Carroll is out for eight weeks with a knee injury

Carroll was one of several first-team
Hammers’ players spotted by fans at the Quays pub in Temple Bar in the
early hours of Sunday morning said to be downing pints of Guinness and
Jagerbombs.

According to the report in The Sun, Carroll refused to discuss the alleged spat with the photographer and insisted he’d had a ‘great night’.

West Ham told the newspaper that snapper Cummins was ‘restrained’ by security staff outside the nightclub in question but denied contact with the striker.

Kevin Pietersen praises united England as tourists home in on famous win over India

'It's great to be back in a united side': Pietersen praises team spirit as England home in on win

|

UPDATED:

23:52 GMT, 25 November 2012

A relieved Kevin Pietersen praised England’s ‘united’ dressing room after his magnificent 186 against India here helped ease the pain of his summer exile.

In only his second international appearance since being dropped for sending BlackBerry messages to members of the South African team in August — and following his double failure in the first Test at Ahmedabad — Pietersen answered the final question of his ‘reintegration’ examination in style.

‘It feels really good,’ he said. ‘I’m back playing cricket for England. It’s amazing to get back into the Test scene. ‘The dressing room is absolutely fantastic. We’re sticking together really well. The boys are all helping each other out.

‘We’re also not letting things get on
top of us. If anyone’s going through a rough time, we’ve got everyone
else who’s right behind them. It’s a very united dressing room at the
moment.’

As pleased as punch: Kevin Pietersen hit 186 as England home in on a famous win (FILE IMAGE)

As pleased as punch: Kevin Pietersen hit 186 as England home in on a famous win (FILE IMAGE)

In a TV interview conducted immediately after the close of the third day at the Wankhede Stadium, Pietersen referred to the ‘turmoil’ of recent weeks, and he later admitted he had not been in the right frame of mind during the first Test, when he was bowled twice by left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha, for 17 and two.

‘I wasn’t playing well at all in Ahmedabad,’ he said. ‘I didn’t trust my defence as much as I trusted it coming into this Test and, as a batter, if you don’t trust your defence, you try too many things. ‘You try to force the issue. I went and did a lot of hard work, as I always do. And luckily it paid off.’

Pietersen claimed England’s spinners had outbowled India’s because Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann deliver the ball quicker through the air than Ojha, Ravichandran Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh.

‘The quicker you bowl, the quicker it spins and the less time you have to adjust,’ he said.

‘We saw that with Tendulkar and Dhoni. As soon as you play down the line of the ball, as soon as it turns, you don’t have the time to adjust.’