Tag Archives: italia

AC Milan reject chance to re-sign David Beckham

AC Milan reject chance to re-sign Beckham after midfielder set his heart on Italian job

By
Dave Wood

PUBLISHED:

08:21 GMT, 16 January 2013

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UPDATED:

10:05 GMT, 16 January 2013

David Beckham had set his sights on
ending his glittering career with AC Milan but the Serie A giants turned down the chance to sign the veteran midfielder for a third time.

The 37-year-old had been expected to reveal
his next move on Tuesday amid interest from 12 clubs in England,
Europe, China, Australia and the Middle East.

But Beckham's dream was an Italian swansong and his representatives approached the Rossoneri about a third spell at the San Siro, according to reports in Italy.

Under his hat: David Beckham was not giving anything away in London on Tuesday

Under his hat: David Beckham was not giving anything away in London on Tuesday

Sky Italia claimed on Wednesday Milan had turned down the chance to re-sign Beckham despite Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport reporting the Serie A club were still considering the proposal.

Beckham played for Milan on loan from LA Galaxy in 2009 and 2010, taking advantage of the MLS close season from January to June.

The fomrer England captain finished his career in America in June, winning the MLS Cup last year in his final match for the LA Galaxy.

Monaco ended their interest in signing Beckham after the French Second Division side balked at his excessive wage demands.

San hero: Beckham has already enjoyed two successful spells in Milan

San hero: Beckham has already enjoyed two successful spells in Milan

West Ham and QPR had also expressed interest in Beckham and he has moved his family into a 20milllion mansion in south London.

But
he is likely to snub both offers given the clubs' current predicament
in the Premier League and the fact he has said he could never play for
another English team after Manchester United.

Paris
Saint-Germain would be attractive to Beckham given their involvement in
the Champions League and his close links to director Leonardo, whom the
midfielder worked with at AC Milan.

Russian
club Anzhi Makhachkala are also interested in signing the former Real
Madrid man, with other options including big-money moves to China or
Australia, as Didier Drogba and Alessandro Del Piero have done in recent
months.

Mario Balotelli worth as much as the Mona Lisa, says agent

He's no oil painting but agent says Balotelli is worth as much as the Mona Lisa

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UPDATED:

17:33 GMT, 5 December 2012

Mario Balotelli's agent has insisted that no Italian club can afford to buy the Manchester City striker because he 'costs as much as the Mona Lisa'.

The 22-year-old has been linked with a move to the San Siro and a return to Italy after slipping down the pecking order at the Etihad Stadium.

Familiar face: The Mona Lisa

How much would you pay Mario Balotelli

Spot the difference: Mario Balotelli's agent compared him to the Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa is a half-length portrait
of a woman by the Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci, which has been
acclaimed as 'the best known, the most visited, the most written about,
the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world.'

The
painting, thought to be a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, the wife of
Francesco del Giocondo, is in oil on a poplar panel, and is believed to
have been painted between 1503 and 1506.

It was acquired by King Francis
I of France and is now the property of the French Republic, on
permanent display at the Muse du Louvre in Paris.

The ambiguity of the
subject's expression – frequently described as enigmatic, the
monumentality of the composition, the subtle modeling of forms and the
atmospheric illusionism were novel qualities that have contributed to
the continuing fascination and study of the work.

Manager Roberto Mancini prefers Carlos Tevez and Segio Aguero to the young Italy international.

Milan
president Silvio Berlusconi has previously suggested that their
interest in Balotelli is serious, claiming that signing him 'is not a
dream' with the January window around the corner.

But
Mino Raiola, Balotelli's agent and close advisor, told Sky Sport
Italia: 'Balotelli costs as much as the Mona Lisa. There are no teams in
Italy who could afford him.'

Balotelli
has only started eight games for the Barclays Premier League champions
this season but Raiola says the club are not willing to let him leave.

Raiola added: 'Manchester City don't want to sell Balotelli.'

City crashed out of Europe after losing to Borussia Dortmund in Germany in their final Champions League match, making it the worst European campaign by an English club in the history of the competition.

The face neighbours Manchester United in a huge derby clash at the Etihad this Sunday.

Paul Gascoigne and Golaco! Our 90s love affair with Italian football

Gazza and Golaco! Our unforgettable 90s love affair with Italian football

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UPDATED:

13:13 GMT, 22 November 2012

Golao! It’s Portuguese for 'fantastic goal', but for football fans growing up in the 1990s it had a different meaning.

It meant the start of Channel Four’s unmissable Football Italia programme on a Saturday morning.

My kids thought it was actually 'Go Lazio'. That didn’t matter. What did matter was waiting for the bouncy ball around the Italian themed Channel Four logo, listening to the theme music – it was 'I’m Stronger Now' by Definitive Two – and waiting for the evocative shout that meant the programme was about to begin.

Scroll to the bottom for video of the opening credits and a stroll through memory piazza

When in Rome: Paul Gascoigne won over the Lazio fans by scoring in the derby

When in Rome: Paul Gascoigne won over the Lazio fans by scoring in the derby

At the helm: James Richardson

At the helm: James Richardson

Maybe we started falling for all things Italian after somebody at the BBC brilliantly chose Nessun Dorma as the theme music for the 1990 World Cup.

But if anything extended the romance from four all too short summer weeks into a 16-year love affair, it was James Richardson’s brilliant presentation of the country’s domestic football each weekend.

And Gazza. Of course. You couldn’t forget Gazza.

On Thursday night he’s heading back to Rome as guest of honour to watch Lazio play Tottenham in the Europa League, and what better reminder that the 'daft as a brush' genius, whose tears in Turin helped lift English football from its lowest point, was also responsible for a revolution in the way TV presents the game.

Gascoigne had co-operated on a
documentary with production company Chrysalis charting his fightback
from injury to enable his move to Lazio to go ahead, and when it was
finished said to the producer Neil Duncanson it was a shame nobody would
be able to see his games now he was fit.

So
Neil asked the Italian Federation for the rights to cover Lazio’s
matches, was told he could have the whole of Serie A instead, and so the
show was born.

And what a show. The first coup was for Richardson as the affable, easy going presenter to put Gazza at ease and suddenly England’s most iconic footballer was a TV man too.

Each Saturday morning we shared his Italian adventure with him, driving round Rome in open top sports cars, wandering behind the scenes of Lazio’s training ground, or sitting outside pretty pavement cafes.

Let's talk football: Gascoigne and presenter Richardson dealt with the big issues in Serie A

Let's talk football: Gascoigne and presenter Richardson dealt with the big issues in Serie A

Outside broadcast: Gazza spoke to the viewers - while driving through the streets with the top down

Outside broadcast: Gazza spoke to the viewers – while driving through the streets with the top down

That was part of the secret. It was the first football show that moved you out of a studio and took you from your front room into a different world.

Richardson would sit with his cappuccino and a couple of croissants on the streets of Milan or Genoa, holding up the pink pages of the Gazzetta dello Sport to bring us the headlines, and chatting through the games and the goals to come.

On a cold, wet, winter’s morning it was pure escapism.

At its peak it pulled in nearly a million viewers every week, and while Match of the Day might have never lost its place as the must-see football programme on British TV, Football Italia ran it a mighty close second.

There was always a competition to win a trip to Italy to see a game, but it felt like you were there anyway.

Fancy a coffee: Richardson never went hungry or thirsty when he presented Football Italia

Fancy a coffee: Richardson never went hungry or thirsty when he presented Football Italia

Italian football then was where the riches were, and where Europe’s best players flocked to perform.

They didn’t encourage characters in English football in those days.

It was the age of 4-4-2 when words like 'workrate' and 'industry' were becoming the buzz phrases for our coaches.

And POMO, the position of maximum opportunity, which basically meant you lumped the ball as far as you could and chased after it.

The Italians played with the ball at their feet. They caressed it. They passed it.

Milan had the money to pull in Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten and Frank Rijkaard. And they had showmen like Fabrizio Ravenelli who folded his shirt over his head every time he scored a goal.

They had crowds full of passion with gigantic flags who brandished firecrackers. Even the refs had character, with the boggle-eyed Pierluigi Collina bringing out red cards with a flourish of his right arm.

Dutch courage: AC Milan had (from left) Frank Rijkaard, Marco Van Basten and Ruud Gullit in their ranks

Dutch courage: AC Milan had (from left) Frank Rijkaard, Marco Van Basten and Ruud Gullit in their ranks

It ran from 1992 to 2002 on Channel Four, then limped through a few more seasons on Eurosport and Bravo before the plug was pulled on the last programme in 2008.

Maybe by then the Premier League’s money and glamour had seduced us away from the romance of Italy, or maybe we all just grew up and moved on.

But Football Italia will always have a special place in our memories.

And how fitting it will be if Gazza and the rest of the crowd in Rome tonight get to shout for one more time: Golao!

What an intro – Football Italia had a proper tune at the start

Des Kelly: Just man up like Rod Stewart and let your teardrops explode

Just man up like Rod and let your teardrops explode

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UPDATED:

23:55 GMT, 9 November 2012

There he was, sat at the front of the box, blubbing his eyes out and dabbing away the tears as if the cinema house lights had suddenly come up at the end of a double bill of The Bridges of Madison County and Kramer vs Kramer.

Only Rod Stewart didn't bother to pretend he was coughing or try to claim something had lodged in his eye like most men would.

He sobbed openly, taking great, heaving breaths and not caring a jot who saw the snot dangling from his distinctive nose.

Blubbering: Rod Stewart burst into tears after Celtic beat Barcelona at Parkhead

Blubbering: Rod Stewart burst into tears after Celtic beat Barcelona at Parkhead

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Celtic had beaten Barcelona and the singer showed the world what it meant to the legions following the club. Some scorned him for the outpouring, of course.

They laughed at how any grown man could shed tears at a football match. It happened with Paul Gascoigne at Italia 90, David Beckham in 2006 and John Terry in Moscow in 2008.

But they all had one thing in common; they cried for themselves in defeat. Stewart was not weeping in the stands at Parkhead because Celtic had lost.

Crying over a sporting setback is a fairly pathetic exhibition in self-pity,particularly by any supporter. Instead, he was weeping with uncontrolled joy.

Rodders was shedding tears of happiness because one of his life's ambitions was being realised right before his red-rimmed eyes.

This isn't a man who has been denied his share of excitement over the years. Stewart has had No 1 singles, he's had starlets and beauty queens.

But even so, he was able to appreciate that this was a truly special moment in his life.

He had seen the football club he passionately supports beat the best team in the world, arguably one of the best of all time, too, despite being given an ice cube in hell's chance beforehand.

And he was simply overcome. There was a period when fans only cried at a football match when riot police fired a few rounds of tear gas canisters into the away end.

But we've moved on and Stewart's burst of waterworks was an indication of soul and passion, rather than emasculating embarrassment.

Consoled: A friend grabs Rod as the jubilation gets the better of the pop legend

Consoled: A friend grabs Rod as the jubilation gets the better of the pop legend

Those tears were prompted by a mixture of shock, delight and regret that his Celtic-supporting father wasn't there to share it.

I dare say he'd had a glass or two as well to lubricate the senses.

Either way, he reacted as any proper bloke would do. Flinty-hearted critics argued that births, deaths and marriages are the only acceptable occasions when a man can justifiably weep.

Since Stewart has had eight children, three wives and is already past 67 years of age, I would say that watching Celtic triumph in Europe would rank as a vastly more unique emotional experience than seeing Baby No 8 squeeze into the world.

And yes, of course I'm joking. Seeing Celtic triumph was probably more emotional than the arrival of everything from Baby No 2 on.

Remember too, that although you love your family, the average football fan takes the vow of allegiance to their club way more seriously than any 'I do' muttered at an altar.

A marriage pledge can be sincere, but in your heart you know that your spouse is never going to win a Champions League group match, not even if Europe's top clubs are hampered by a tough domestic fixture schedule, financial fair play rules and a crippling injury list.

No real fan swaps teams. Stewart is on his third wife. Case proven. Besides, the stereotypical characteristics of masculinity are vastly overrated.

Historic: Tony Watt scored the second goal on a momentous night in Glasgow

Historic: Tony Watt scored the second goal on a momentous night in Glasgow

'Being a man' leads to dumb, unfortunate aberrations such as war, DIY and rugby league.

But negotiating the emotional template expected from the modern male is like tiptoeing through Stewart's bedroom in the dark after a lingerie party.

Something always trips you up. A regular complaint is that men are not particularly adept at expressing their innermost feelings.

This is based on the rather rash assumption that they have any. Don't be fooled. That was not the 'real Rod' at Parkhead.

When Stewart sings 'Wake up Maggie I think I've got something to say to you,' it is complete fiction. No bloke ever wakes up a woman to say something other than 'stop snoring', or 'give me back the duvet'.

It's a basic truth that men just do not feel comfortable expressing their innermost thoughts. Women can talk through every intimate detail of a relationship, often in telephone calls that last for several days.

Blokes do not. Probe beneath the small talk about the weekend's football results, delve right down into the deeper male psyche and you'll find heartfelt, passionate emotion for – the weekend's football results.

Some women even mistake silence for emotional depth. A couple can be travelling in the car, and, as the final scores come in, she will say: 'Do you know we've been going out for a year now'

Composed: Rod was a little calmer before Watt slotted in Celtic's second

Composed: Rod was a little calmer before Watt slotted in Celtic's second

This revelation will be met by a long pause. She'll think 'have I scared him Does he think I'm trying to push him into a relationship

Is he wondering where this is all going Maybe he's angry What have I done' At the same moment he's thinking: 'Arsenal lost. And a whole year Wow. I must get a new MOT for this car.'

She will rush home, call four friends and analyse what the silence meant.

He will turn on the TV, watch Gary Neville analyse the Gunners' leaky defence and make a note to ring the garage.

So let those tears flow, Rod. Words are never enough and weeping is the only manly way to express yourself.

Perils of pedalling must be resolved

Cycling is the most dangerous sport most of us will ever participate in. Anyone who has risked Millbank roundabout in central London at rush hour, or navigated Lower Thames Street will surely agree.

If any good comes of the unpleasant coincidence that Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins and his coach Shane Sutton suffered separate road accidents within a day of one another, it is that the peril of pedalling on Britain's roads is back on the agenda.

The main problem seems to be that many drivers seem to regard cyclists as an obstacle, to be impatiently swept aside.

Sort it: Shane Sutton (right) was knocked off his bike in Levenshulme on Thursday

Sort it: Shane Sutton (right) was knocked off his bike in Levenshulme on Thursday

Equally, a proportion of cyclists openly defy road regulations. The solutions require a fundamental change in the law and our road-using culture.

Here's how it can happen: 1 Any incident between a car and a cyclist should be considered the car driver's fault, unless it can be proved otherwise. That changes the duty of care and protects the vulnerable.

2 Any cyclist who hits a pedestrian should face the same sanctions for the same reason. Cyclists, too, have a duty of care.

3 Police should penalise any cyclist running a light as they would a motorist. Police must fine cyclists who do not make themselves visible with lights at night, as a driver without lights would be.

These laws already exist – so they should be enforced. It's not perfect. It's a long, uphill climb. But it's a start.

Jury is definitely out on Herbert’s race agenda

Legal joke. Here's a question: How many lawyers does it take to change a lightbulb

Answer. Lightbulbs should only be changed by fully qualified electrical engineers in line with current health and safety legislation.

Any breach of these guidelines will lead to a claim for punitive damages. You have to laugh at the tangles lawyers can wrap us up in. They do fine work when they defend the rights of the oppressed. At other times, they go too far. Take Peter Herbert. Please.

Too far: Peter Herbert reported Mark Clattenburg to the Met for a 'hate crime' after Chelsea alleged he racially abused players

Too far: Peter Herbert reported Mark Clattenburg to the Met for a 'hate crime' after Chelsea alleged he racially abused players

He just loves football, this fellow. Well, I'm not sure he does. But he certainly must love the notoriety it brings.

As I mentioned last week, the chairman of the Society of Black Lawyers seems intent on hitching a ride on any bandwagon associated with the national game.

This is the man who reported referee Mark Clattenburg to the Metropolitan Police for a 'hate crime' after Chelsea alleged that the official racially abused players, even though the lawyer was nowhere near Stamford Bridge. Now Herbert has put himself in the papers again by threatening to report Spurs to the police if fans chant the phrase 'Yid Army' – even when they are using it to describe themselves.

So if I call myself a white, Catholic, plastic Paddy, am I supposed to take offence at myself

It's a strange one. Comedian David Baddiel's opposition to the chant expressed on these pages was very lucid.

But if we spend our entire lives looking to find something to take offence at we will never be disappointed.

Just ask any comedian. Genuine racism is a problem. Since Spurs is run by a Jewish chairman, the previous chairman also happened be Jewish, and nobody attending White Hart Lane seems to take offence at the club's blunt self-parody, there doesn't seem any enormous 'wrong' to right here.

Herbert is stirring up trouble and it gets him noticed. But if his wider aim is to highlight the ridiculous nature of prejudice, it is failing.

He is actually making his own association look narrow-minded, intolerant and ridiculous. He is distracting attention from far more important issues and pushing himself to the margins.

Roberto Mancini chasing Daniele De Rossi

Mancini ramps up De Rossi pursuit as City boss wants Begiristain to sign midfielder in January

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 7 November 2012

Roberto Mancini will ask Manchester City director of football Txiki Begiristain to sign Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi in January.

City pursued the Italy star all last summer but he stayed put.

However, De Rossi, 29, has told friends in Rome he wants to leave his hometown club and will ask for a transfer.

Open to offers: Roma could sell captain Daniele De Rossi come January

Open to offers: Roma could sell captain Daniele De Rossi come January

Open to offers: Roma could sell captain Daniele De Rossi come January

Roma would want in excess of 20million and the player would expect to be paid around 100,000- a-week.

This could be a problem for City as they look to keep within UEFA's financial fair play guidelines.

Therefore, it is interesting to see whether Begiristain will sanction the move.

City manager Mancini met the former
Barcelona man for the first time on Wednesday to reflect on Tuesday's
2-2 draw with Ajax and to talk about their future working together.

There has been recent speculation
about Mancini's job prospects at City, especially with Begiristain's
former Barca colleague Pep Guardiola looking to return to the game next
summer.

However, it is understood Mancini was told he has nothing to worry about and to concentrate on this month's games.

City were encouraged earlier this week to hear that club general Franco Baldini had suggested that any offers for the midfielder would be considered.

Baldini told Sky Italia: 'Should an offer arrive for him, we will consider it.

'In summer we heard an offer from Man City and because we listened to it, it means we took it in consideration. Then we decided to give up.

'Should another offer will arrive, we will listen again it, but we could also decide to give up on it again.'

Demands: Roberto Mancini wants to sign De Rossi and has been a long-standing admirer of the Italy midfielder

Demands: Roberto Mancini wants to sign De Rossi and has been a long-standing admirer of the Italy midfielder

Patrick Vieira told Paul Pogba to leave Manchester United

Vieira told me to leave Man United, reveals Juventus midfielder Pogba

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UPDATED:

10:31 GMT, 21 October 2012

Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has revealed that the club's old foe Patrick Vieira played a key role in him leaving for Juventus in the summer.

Pogba, 19, opted to leave Old Trafford because of a lack of first-team opportunities and he netted his first Juve goal against Napoli on Saturday.

Jumping ship: Pogba opted to leave Old Trafford in the summer

Jumping ship: Pogba opted to leave Old Trafford in the summer

Speaking after the game the Frenchman revealed that Vieira – Manchester City's football development executive – advised him to move to the Turin club that he represented in the 2005-06 season.

'There were other teams interested in me over the summer, but I wanted to sign for Juventus,' Pogba told Sky Sport Italia. 'Many French champions have played here. I spoke to Vieira and he advised me to come to Juventus.'

Pogba also spoke of his delight at scoring his first goal for Juve. 'I’m really happy and proud of my first goal in the black and white stripes. In those moments you don’t think about anything. You try to shoot and that’s all,' he added.

UEFA will not monitor banned Juve coach Antonio Conte during Chelsea clash

UEFA will not monitor banned Juve coach Conte during Chelsea clash

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UPDATED:

10:44 GMT, 18 September 2012

Banned: Juventus coach Antonio Conte

Banned: Juventus coach Antonio Conte

UEFA have admitted they will not try to stop banned Juventus coach Antonio Conte communicating with his coaching staff during Wednesday's Champions League clash with Chelsea.

Conte is currently serving a 10-month dugout ban for not reporting evidence of match-fixing during his spell in charge of Siena in 2010.

The ban extends to UEFA games, but officials admitted they will not be monitoring him during the game when he will be sitting in the stands.

It means he could use a mobile phone to talk to his bench and issue instructions to his players.

A UEFA official told the Daily Express: 'Conte is not allowed to have any contact with the players during the game or at half-time but he can be in the stands watching.

'There will be people watching the bench to check there is no communication. They will have eye contact with the bench.

'But there will not be anyone with him in the stands. He knows he is not allowed to communicate, so he will not do it.'

Juve have lost only once under Conte, in the Coppa Italia final against Napoli. The Turin club are unbeaten in Serie A for 16 months.

Former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho got round a similar touchline ban in 2005 in a Champions League last-16 tie against Barcelona by hiding in a skip to get into the dressing room.

In the quarter-finals against Bayern Munich, when Mourinho was still banned, his assistant, Rui Faria, wore a woolly hat in the dugout which raised suspicions that he was wearing an earpiece to communicate with his boss.

England nearly pulled out of 1990 World Cup following Hillsborough disaster

England nearly pulled out of the 1990 World Cup following Hillsborough disaster

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UPDATED:

07:52 GMT, 13 September 2012

Ministers considered pulling England out of the 1990 World Cup in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster, government papers reveal.

Former deputy prime minister Geoffrey Howe said the tournament would provide a 'natural focus for hooligan activity' and the possibility of withdrawing the team was discussed in a government committee, files released as part of Wednesday's report show.

In a letter to then-prime minister Margaret Thatcher on September 27 1989 he said the idea was dropped because it was feared 'determined hooligans' would head to host nation Italy anyway.

Close call: England are greeted by fans on their return from Italia 90

Close call: England are greeted by fans on their return from Italia 90

The committee also discussed abandoning an England versus Scotland match the following spring.

'The World Cup in June next year provides a natural focus for hooligan activity. And every individual match carries the potential for confrontation,' Mr Howe wrote.

'The committee also looked at the possibility of our seeking the abandonment of the England v Scotland match at Wembley next spring and the withdrawal of England from the World Cup.

'They felt it would be premature to reach a firm view on either.

Vigil: Liverpudlians gathered in the city centre on Wednesday night

Vigil: Liverpudlians gathered in the city centre on Wednesday night

Vigil: Liverpudlians gathered in the city centre on Wednesday night

'It appears that the Scottish Football
Association privately favours cancelling the England v Scotland match,
especially if both countries are in the World Cup. So this issue may
resolve itself, to everyone's satisfaction.

'Withdrawal from the World Cup is an altogether larger issue. If England withdrew, the likelihood is that the determined hooligans will make their way to Italy anyway and find a different cause to champion.'

The documents also reveal Mrs Thatcher was told by her press secretary Bernard Ingham that the Football Association was behaving 'extraordinarily stupidly' for wanting to go ahead with a friendly against Holland in December of that year.

Tributes: Fans leave scarves and shirts on the gates of Anfield on Tuesday night

Tributes: Fans leave scarves and shirts on the gates of Anfield on Tuesday night

Vigil: Crowds gathered in Liverpool on Wednesday night

In a letter dated September 5 Mr Ingham wrote: 'You will recall the after the European Championships you asked the FA to consider whether to go ahead with European friendly matches and they cancelled a fixture with Italy at Wembley.

'However, they have inconceivably gone ahead with the Dutch fixture in the middle of December notwithstanding that Holland has probably the worst soccer hooligan problem in Europe after ourselves.'

He added: 'The FA do seem to be behaving extraordinarily stupidly in organising a friendly with Holland at a time when, apart from anything else, they should, in their own interest, be cultivating their return to European football proper.'

Tragedy: 96 fans were killed at Hillsborough

Tragedy: 96 fans were killed at Hillsborough

The December fixture was eventually cancelled at sports minister Colin Moynihan's request, the files state.

Mrs Thatcher was urged to press Council of Europe members to deal 'vigorously' with football hooligans who committed offences at matches overseas.

Robert Kubica hoping for F1 return

Kubica races for first time since crash and reveals hopes of F1 return

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UPDATED:

10:14 GMT, 9 September 2012

Back in action: Kubica

Back in action: Kubica

No sooner had Robert Kubica got back behind the wheel of a rally car in Italy – 18 months after a near-fatal accident – than the Pole was discussing his hopes of a return to Formula One.

The former Renault driver, now out of contract after missing all of last season following his crash in February last year and enduring repeated surgery, told Sky Italia that he had unfinished business.

'Being here is already a good step, but I would have preferred to be somewhere else,' the 27-year-old said before he won the first stage of the Rally Ronde Gomitolo di Lana in a Subaru on the weekend of the Italian Grand Prix.

'I have still got a long road to travel and will probably never be at the same physical level as before,' he added. 'But I don't intend to give up.

'The aim remains to return to Formula One and the next few months will tell me whether I can do it next year already or will have to wait until 2014.'

Kubica, who suffered severe arm and leg injuries in the 2011 accident, was a race winner with BMW-Sauber and Renault's lead driver. He had been linked to Ferrari before the crash as a possible replacement for Brazilian Felipe Massa.

Horror crash: Kubica is stretchered away from the scene of his accident in Italy last year

Horror crash: Kubica is stretchered away from the scene of his accident in Italy last year

Horror crash: Kubica is stretchered away from the scene of his accident in Italy last year

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari's championship leader, is one of his best friends in the Formula One paddock.

Renault team boss Eric Boullier said this week that his team now had little contact with the Pole.

'I did read in the press, like you, that he was doing some rallying and actually he's supposed to do a rally next weekend or something like this, but we don't have much contact,' said the Frenchman.

'I have contact with his management but nothing else. I've not been updated about his current state for a long time.'

Edin Dzeko unlikely to leave Manchester City – Roberto Mancini

He's not Edin anywhere! Mancini claims striker's exit unlikely

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UPDATED:

14:47 GMT, 6 August 2012

Staying put Edin Dzeko is likely to stay at Man City

Staying put Edin Dzeko is likely to stay at Man City

Edin Dzeko is unlikely to leave Manchester City over the summer according to his boss Roberto Mancini.

The Bosnian forward has been linked with a move away from the Barclays Premier League champions because he is beneath Sergio Aguero, Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tevez in the pecking order.

But the striker scored twice against
Limerick in City's 4-0 friendly victory on Sunday and Mancini revealed a
move was not in the pipeline.

‘It’s pretty unlikely he will leave,’ Mancini told Sky Sport Italia.

‘He is right to say it’s no fun being on the bench but when you join a big club then competition is normal.’

Fantasy football 2012

Dzeko himself previously offered
different indications, having been linked with AC Milan as a replacement
for new PSG signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

‘I always follow the Italian league and one day I’d like to play in it,’ he told the Manchester Evening News.

‘I also know that Milan has sold two of its best players.

‘For
now I am a City player, but to be sure I will stay here I will have to
wait until the end of the month. I’ll see what happens, and if someone
else comes.’