Tag Archives: maradona

Cristiano Ronaldo meets Diego Maradona after Real Madrid v Barcelona

Watch out United! Madrid star Ronaldo picks up some tips from Maradona ahead of Champions League clash

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

13:28 GMT, 3 March 2013

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UPDATED:

16:14 GMT, 3 March 2013


Big guns: Cristiano Ronaldo and Diego Maradona

Big guns: Cristiano Ronaldo and Diego Maradona

Two of the world's finest players met as Real Madrid beat Barcelona in Saturday's Clasico.

Cristiano Ronaldo was one, of course, but his rival Lionel Messi was not the other. No, it was a different Argentina legend – Diego Maradona.

Perhaps Maradona was giving Ronaldo some advice ahead of Madrid's Champions League clash against Manchester United on Tuesday.

He might need it, after Gary Pallister claimed Ronaldo could choke on his return to Old Trafford.

The Portuguese forward left Manchester United for Real Madrid in the summer of 2009, becoming the most expensive player in football history at 80million.

The teams go in to the second leg of their Champions League last 16 clash poised at 1-1.

Ronaldo, who posted the picture of
himself with Maradona on Twitter, scored a brilliant header for
Jose Mourinho's side in the first leg.

He came on as a second-half substitute for Kaka in the Clasico as Mourinho opted to give him a rest.

‘It will be interesting to see how
Cristiano handles it because it’s always a bit weird going back to an
old club,' Pallister told The Daily Star Sunday.

‘I remember when I went back to Middlesbrough for the first time in a United shirt, just how weird it all felt.

‘The occasion could get to Ronaldo. Let’s hope it does.’

Watching on: Maradona at the Bernabeu with girlfriend Rocio Geraldine Oliva

Watching on: Maradona at the Bernabeu with girlfriend Rocio Geraldine Oliva

Watching on: Maradona at the Bernabeu with girlfriend Rocio Geraldine Oliva

Hope: Gary Pallister (left) says Ronaldo could choke

Hope: Gary Pallister (left) says Ronaldo could choke

After beating Barcelona for the second
time in a week courtesy of their 2-1 on Saturday, Real will fly to England and prepare for the
game at the home of United's rivals, Manchester City.

Mourinho opted for the Etihad Stadium ahead of Old Trafford, perhaps out of fear of being spied on.

He also does not want to use the Old Trafford pitch because it is in bad shape and he does not want to make it worse for the game against Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.

Diego Maradona takes to the court with tennis ace Caroline Wozniacki

Video: Watch out, Rory… Maradona proves a smash hit with tennis ace Wozniacki

By
Thom Drake

PUBLISHED:

19:41 GMT, 21 February 2013

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UPDATED:

14:01 GMT, 22 February 2013

It's safe to say that Diego Maradona is having a busy week.

Following the news of his fifth child being born last Thursday, the ex-Argentina World Cup winner was snapped alongside Caroline Wozniacki at the WTA Dubai Tennis Championships.

It looks hard to tell who was more excited, with the pair swapping a signed football shirt and tennis racket courtside.

Scroll down for video

Signed: Diego Maradona takes time out from watching the tennis for a photo alongside Caroline Wozniacki

Signed: Diego Maradona takes time out from watching the tennis for a photo alongside Caroline Wozniacki

Elated: Both Maradona and Wozniacki were full of smiles as the Dane towered over the sporting icon

Elated: Both Maradona and Wozniacki were full of smiles as the Dane towered over the Argentine

With her boyfriend Rory McIlroy away in snowy Arizona at the moment, Maradona may have seen his chance to get a photo with the in-demand former World No.1.

He also couldn't keep his hands off American player Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who appeared delighted at the attention.

After a little peck on the hand, a strangely long-faced Maradona posed for another picture.

Peck: Bethanie Mattek-Sands was next to receive the affections of father of five Maradona

Peck: Bethanie Mattek-Sands was next to receive the affections of father of five Maradona

Maradona currently resides in Dubai as 'honorary sports ambassador', helping the state with media relations in all major international sports events.

He has said in the last week that he will only be able to see his new son, Diego Fernando, when his commercial obligations finish in June.

As for now, he seems to be enjoying the high-life in Dubai, and can't keep away from a photo opportunity with the good and the great from sport.

Frown: A sullen faced Maradona may have been getting tired of posing with tennis players

Frown: A sullen faced Maradona may have been getting tired of posing with tennis players

An excited Diego Maradona meets Dubai semi-finalist Caroline Wozniacki

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Sweden add verb "to Zlatan" to national dictionary

In honour of our genius! Swedes add verb 'to Zlatan' to national dictionary

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UPDATED:

13:58 GMT, 27 December 2012

Wonder goal: Ibrahimovic celebrates his stunning long-range overhead kick against England

Wonder goal: Ibrahimovic celebrates his stunning long-range overhead kick against England

Sweden has added the verb ‘to Zlatan’ to their national dictionary.

In the country’s latest way of honouring their footballing hero, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Swedish Language Council has approved the term, since it has been increasingly used in conversation by Swedes referring to an outlandishly talented action.

The word was originally coined on Les Guignols, a popular satirical puppet show – similar to Spitting Image – from French station Canal Plus, whose characters are in awe of the PSG striker.

To recognise this, the Swedes have even acknowledged the original French spelling of ‘zlataner’, simply tweaking to create ‘zlatanera’ and officially defined it as ‘from the French: to dominate on and off the field.’

Ibrahimovic is currently Ligue 1’s top scorer having netted 18 times for the Parisians. While he is a natural showman, he admitted that he does not rehearse his goal celebrations.

‘When I score a goal, I never know in advance how I will celebrate, given (I’m) the current top scorer in the championship,’ he told RMC Sport.

‘There is so much adrenaline. Timing is everything, the environment, my mood. This is pure emotion.’

Many players have lent their names to particular moves before, but affording their overall brilliance to a verb is a first.

Johann Cruyff was honoured with the ‘Cruyff turn’ and the 360-degree turn has been attributed to Garrincha – although both Zinedine Zidane and Diego Maradona have staked claim to this.

PSG are currently leading Ligue 1 on goal difference, ahead of Lyon and Marseille and face Valencia in the last 16 of the Champions League in February.

Talisman: Ibrahimovic is the leading scorer in the French top division with 18 goals

Talisman: Ibrahimovic is the leading scorer in the French top division with 18 goals

Fernando Torres: I took up football because of Captain Tsubasa

Forget Pele, Maradona and Beckenbauer, meet the inspiration behind Torres' career… Japanese cartoon Captain Tsubasa

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UPDATED:

15:56 GMT, 10 December 2012

Fernando Torres has revealed that one of the reasons he took up football was down to a popular Japanese cartoon called Captain Tsubasa.

The Chelsea striker has recently discovered his goal-scoring form, netting four goals in his last two matches, and has travelled to Japan with the squad ahead of their first match in the Club World Cup.

Torres has revealed that it was in Japan where the seeds of his football career were sewn, though little did he know at the time.

Centre of attention: Torres is in Japan with Chelsea for the FIFA Club World Cup

Centre of attention: Torres is in Japan with Chelsea for the FIFA Club World Cup

The facts behind Captain Tsubasa

Captain Tsubasa, also known as Flash Kicker, is a popular long-running Japanese manga animation and video game series, originally created by Yoichi Takahashi in 1981.

The story focuses on the adventures of a Japanese youth soccer team and its football captain Tsubasa Oozora, whose name literally translates to ‘Big Sky Wings’.

The series is characterixed by dynamic football moves, often stylish and implausible.

Over to you, Rafa…

He said: 'I remember when I was a kid, we couldn't find the signal really well on TV, but everyone in school was talking about this cartoon about football, from Japan.

'It was a series called Oliver y Benji in Spain, and in Japan it was Captain Tsubasa, and these two young players started as youth team players, got into the national team, won the World Cup, and moved to Barcelona and Bayern Munich, then moved to Europe, so it was like a dream.

'I started playing football because of this, and because my brother forced me, and I loved the cartoon. I wanted to be Oliver, because he played out on the field and Benji was the goalkeeper. That was the first contact I had with Japan.'

Brace yourself: The Spaniard netted a double in the wins over Sunderland and Nordsjaelland

Brace yourself: The Spaniard netted a double in the wins over Sunderland and Nordsjaelland

Torres also defended the significance of the tournament, which is dismissed by many as a FIFA jolly and money-making exercise.

The 28-year-old told Chelsea's official website: 'How many people don't take this tournament seriously, or don't think it is like the real World Cup. It is for the clubs. You ask the South American people. David Luiz showed me a video of Corinthians fans at the airport, it was full of fans cheering the team and travelling to Japan to support, so it is important.

'In Europe maybe we don't give it as much attention, and to some people it might not mean much, but to me it does, so this is not a holiday or a break, this is a World Cup. It's nice to be involved, and maybe to be able to say you are a world champion. The European Super Cup was just as important to us and we lost, so we don't want that disappointment.'

Xavi talks about his love of Bruce Springsteen and Diego Maradona

It's top secret: Barcelona superstar Xavi talks dinner with De Niro and Diego

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 7 December 2012

Barcelona's midfield maestro Xavi tells Sportsmail's Alex Kay about his sporting heroes, his unwavering loyalty to his club and his love of Robert De Niro, Bruce Springsteen and Argentina legend Diego Maradona.

Maestro: Xavi (centre) pulls the strings in Barcelona's midfield

Maestro: Xavi (centre) pulls the strings in Barcelona's midfield

Who is your sporting hero

I have said I think Paul Scholes is the best midfield player of the last 20 years. He is a great role model as well.

Of course, though, like most Barcelona central midfielders, my idol was Pep (Guardiola).

What would you be if you weren't a sportsman

Like so many of the players I started at La Masia at the age of 11. I can't ever imagine not playing for Barcelona, let alone not playing soccer for a career. I don't ever want to play anywhere else.

Hero: Xavi believes Paul Scholes is one of the best central midfielders in the past 20 years

Hero: Xavi believes Paul Scholes is one of the best central midfielders in the past 20 years

Career highlight

In terms of what the game means, how can you ever beat playing a World Cup final that you win You can't is the answer.

The best game I ever played in was when we beat Real Madrid 5-0. The feeling of total superiority was incredible. We just stood in the dressing room afterwards clapping ourselves. It was a surreal experience.

… and the worst moment

It was when we found out, as a team, about team-mate Eric Abidal's liver cancer. It put everything else into perspective. I remember thinking how strong he was and he was encouraging us as much as we were encouraging him.

In perspective: Xavi says being told about Eric Abidal's liver cancer was the worst moment of his career

In perspective: Xavi says being told about Eric Abidal's liver cancer was the worst moment of his career

If your house was burning down, what one possession would you save

Just the things that can't be replaced. There is no money in the world that can replace the jersey you were wearing when you lifted the World Cup.

What's your favourite song

Losing My Religion by REM. I love all of their stuff.

What's the programme you can't miss on TV

I don't actually watch many shows. I will either watch movies or football. I enjoy to watch games in the Premier League and will also watch movies a lot as well.

That is how I relax.

Last film you saw

The Lincoln Lawyer. It was really good.

If you could have dinner with three famous people, who would it be and why

People I admire in the things that I like. I would choose Robert De Niro, Bruce Springsteen, and Diego Maradona.

Born to run: Xavi idolises rock star Bruce Springsteen

Born to run: Xavi idolises rock star Bruce Springsteen

Can you cook

I am competent enough but I won't try anything tough. Probably just pasta, grilled chicken, and a little olive oil.

Your favourite holiday destination

Ibiza is a popular vacation place for a lot of the players in Spain. If you go in the summer there are some of the world's most famous movie and music stars so nobody cares about soccer players.

In a film of your life, who would you like to play you

I am not known for being a tall player so you would have to take that into account. Probably somebody like Matt Damon.

Tell us a secret…

We were playing at the Bernabeu when I was about 18 and things got a little heated between the players. Raul came up and gave me a cuff round the ear and said calm down. He is one of my great friends now – but what he was saying is: 'Know your place, kid, there is hierarchy.'

Best of enemies: Former Real Madrid star Raul clipped Xavi round the ear to put him in his place

Best of enemies: Former Real Madrid star Raul clipped Xavi round the ear to put him in his place

Manchester City"s Sergio Aguero at supermarket ahead of visit from father-in-law Diego Maradona

Supermarket sweeper… Actually it's City striker Aguero stocking up for father-in-law Maradona's Christmas visit
PLUS: Supermarket XI – Robin van Persie Pig & Co owned by Steak Mansour

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UPDATED:

11:31 GMT, 28 November 2012

Sergio Aguero has been pictured stocking up on festive supplies at his local supermarket – father-in-law Diego must be making a Christmas visit.

The Manchester City striker, who is married to Maradona's daughter Gianni, posted this picture of himself on Twitter filling his trolley in Waitrose along with the caption: 'Tarde de compras en el Super' (In English: This afternoon, going shopping).

Lettuce entertain you: Sergio Aguero posted this image on Twitter with the caption 'this afternoon, going shopping'

Lettuce entertain you: Sergio Aguero
posted this image on Twitter with the caption 'this afternoon, going shopping'

Plans for this afternoon, Serge I'm going shopping, Mario... Aguero (left) heads out to the training field with Balotelli (right) yesterday

Plans for this afternoon, Serge I'm going shopping, Mario… Aguero (left) heads out to the training field with Balotelli (right) yesterday

Sportsmail understands that the Argentina legend, 52, who seemingly likes a good feed, will be paying his son-in-law a visit over over the Christmas period and is set to take in a City game.

Maradona watched Aguero and Co defeat bitter rivals Manchester United 1-0 at the Etihad Stadium in April this year. Captain Vincent Kompany scored the winner.

Famous fan: Argentina legend Diego Maradona watches his son-in-law Sergio Aguero help City beat United 1-0 at the Etihad last April

Famous fan: Argentina legend Diego Maradona watches his son-in-law Sergio Aguero help City beat United 1-0 at the Etihad last April

Family affair: Aguero (right) with wife Gianni, daughter of Maradona, and son Benjamin

Family affair: Aguero (right) with wife Gianni, daughter of Maradona, and son Benjamin

Ever the professional, Aguero, 24, who will line up at Wigan in a bumper night of eight Barclays Premier League fixtures, was snapped in the middle of the fruit and veg aisle – so City's nutritionist can rest easy.

It's not clear whether the striker was using Roberto Mancini's January shopping list, but here at Sportsmail we've come up with a Supermarket XI that may interest the Italian boss and his scouting network…

SPORTSMAIL'S SUPERMARKET XI…
RUUD GULLIT CHELSEA

1. Peter Stilton

2. Gabriel Heinze

3. Danny Roses

4. Frank Leboeuf

5. Didier Ham-ann

6. Marc Overmars bar

7. Patrick Berger

8. Food Gullit (pictured, right)

9. Little Pea (Javier Hernandez)

10. Robin van Persie Pig

11. Paulo Wan(pork)chop

Manager: Jam Allardyce

Assistant Manager: Milky Malkay

Owner: Steak Mansour

Who have we missed in our Supermarket XI. Use the comments section below to post your selections…

Santi Cazorla should be nicknamed Messi or Maradona, says Jack Wilshere

Wilshere: Classy Cazorla is so good we should call him Messi… or Maradona!

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UPDATED:

09:46 GMT, 19 November 2012

Jack Wilshere claimed Santi Cazorla’s nickname should be ‘Messi’ or ‘Maradona’ after watching Arsenal’s new hero inspire their latest north London derby thrashing of Tottenham.

Wilshere and Cazorla both sung each other’s praises following Saturday’s 5-2 Barclays Premier League win over Spurs at the Emirates Stadium.

But England midfielder Wilshere took the love-in to extremes when he suggested his new team-mate bore comparison with all-time greats Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona.

Call him Messi: Jack Wilshere wants his team-mates to create a new nickname for Santi Cazorla

Call him Messi: Jack Wilshere wants his team-mates to create a new nickname for Santi Cazorla

Asked if Arsenal’s players had a nickname for their new talisman, Wilshere said: 'Not yet. Maybe it should be Messi!'

Record signing Cazorla was dubbed ‘Paquirrin’ (Fat Boy) in his native Spain because of his resemblance to a celebrity who goes by the same moniker.

When this was pointed out to Wilshere, he said: 'Maradona then.'

Wilshere has played alongside Cazorla just four times since his return from 17 months out injured but he claimed the 27-year-old was as good as anyone he had encountered.

He said: 'His touch and his vision is just a joke. He is a dream to play with.

'He never gives the ball away, he is creative and busy round the pitch. He is a joy to play with.'

Playing down comparisons with Cesc Fabregas, he added: 'He is a different player to Cesc. Cesc is more of a passer.

'With Santi, he can pick the ball up, he can beat people, he has got a great shot on him. He is just different class and he is great to play with.'

Cazorla was unstoppable against 10-man Spurs and Wilshere was in awe.

'There was one point when there were three players around him and he just dribbled out of it,' he said.

'That is up there with the best. I think I will have to watch it again to learn a few thing off him!'

In control: Cazorla relished his first taste of action in a north London derby

In control: Cazorla relished his first taste of action in a north London derby

Cazorla’s performance was all the more remarkable after he was forced to travel to Panama and back for a Spain friendly he played no part in.

Wilshere said: 'I spoke to him on Friday and he said it was an 11-hour flight.

'He doesn’t speak much English – he just smiled.

'I think with the competition in the Spanish team, if they call you, you have to go.

'You can’t say no – otherwise they’ll replace you with a player who is just as good.'

Cazorla himself joked: 'A few of the players have said that I should go back and do the journey again, because it’s obviously helped my form!

'It was a long journey and a hard one, but I was able to rest and I feel good now.'

The 15million arrival from Malaga was also feeling good about his fledgling midfield partnership with Wilshere.

'Jack has a quality that everyone knows about, and he is a crucial player for us,' he said.

Flash point: Wilshere was involved in an argument with Gareth Bale moments after Emmanuel Adebayor's sending off for Spurs

Flash point: Wilshere was involved in an argument with Gareth Bale moments after Emmanuel Adebayor's sending off for Spurs

'Every day, he gets better and playing with him gets easier every day, as he improves his level and finds his fitness again.

'We have to be patient but he will keep on improving.

'I am starting to understand Jack a little bit more but that is the same with all of my team-mates. We are getting better with every game.'

Saturday was Cazorla’s first taste of a north London derby and, although he had played derbies in Spain, he admitted they were 'not as intense'.

He added: 'Everyone had been explaining to me that we had to win, that it was a derby, that there is so much rivalry.

'The main thing is that the fans were able to enjoy themselves and that, by the end of the game, they could be quite comfortable.
'It’s beautiful the way they have been with me ever since I arrived. It means a lot.'

Cazorla’s exploits may not yet have earned him a new nickname but he already has his own song among Arsenal supporters.

He said: 'It makes me really happy that the fans show me so much affection. It’s lovely to hear.'

Harry Redknapp snubs Blackburn

Harry snubs Blackburn as Maradona joins list of candidates for Ewood Park job

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UPDATED:

15:09 GMT, 30 October 2012

Harry Redknapp has ruled himself out of the running for the managerial post at Blackburn.

Rovers have been without a manager since Steve Kean resigned to end a troubled reign a month ago and Redknapp was expected to be interviewed this week.

But the 65-year-old former Tottenham boss said: 'When we saw the speculation, I asked where it was all coming from, it`s not for me.

No go: Harry Redknapp says he will not be joining Blackburn Rovers

No go: Harry Redknapp says he will not be joining Blackburn Rovers

'They've got a good squad, a good support but it's not for me.'

'Redknapp, who was sacked by Spurs in teh summer, added on Sky Sports News: Blackburn is a good club with great traditions going back many years, with Kenny (Dalglish) going there and winning the championship, they have a real tradition. It's not something that would be for me.'

Former Norway international Henning Berg is the current bookmakers' favourite for the Blackburn job, while Argentinean icon Diego Maradona was linked overnight.

Approaches for Berg's fellow ex-Rovers Tim Sherwood and Billy McKinlay have been rejected by Tottenham and Fulham where the pair hold respective coaching roles.

In the frame: Henning Berg

In the frame: Henning Berg

A Blackburn spokesman declined to comment on the managerial situation and refused to be drawn on claims made by global advisor Shebby Singh that Kean's successor would be in place by the middle of this week.

Following six games under the guidance of caretaker manager Eric Black, Rovers are fifth in the Championship as they seek an instant return to the Barclays Premier League.

Berg, 43, fits Singh’s mould of a
younger coach with Blackburn connections, having won the Premiership
title at Ewood in 1995 and captaining the club to League Cup glory seven
years later after rejoining them from Manchester United.

Unlike Sherwood and McKinlay, he also has managerial experience, with Lyn Oslo and Lillestrom.

Should the approaches for
his top targets fail to land the club a new boss, Singh is preparing to
line-up an audacious bid for Maradona.

Singh has opened discussions with Maradona, who is available and said to be keen on the job after leaving Arabian club Al Wasl.

The
move for Maradona has begun in earnest over the past few days – much to
the amazement of other officials at Ewood Park as the Argentina legend
speaks only limited English.

He also had battled drug addiction, and had numerous run ins with officials and the media during his colourful career.

Meanwhile, Blackburn’s neighbours and Championship rivals Bolton Wanderers unveiled Dougie Freedman as their new manager on Tuesday.

Rovers to offer chance to Indian coach

While the search for a new full time boss continues, Rovers are also looking at a plan to give a young coach of Indian origin a prominent role at the club.

Judan Ali – born in London to Indian parents – played for Arsenal's youth team and has worked at St George's Park with the England Under 17s.

Ali studied at Barcelona's La Masia academy while gaining his coaching qualifications and has ambitions to manage a team in the Premier League.

The move would raise Blackburn's profile in India and establish a route for Asian coaches hoping to reach the top of the game.

Ali also hopes to manage a low-ranked national team through World Cup qualifiers.

He told SportsKeeda: 'I have already proved that it can be done at youth level and I am determined to do the same at international senior level, should the opportunity arise.'

Judan Ali with Roy Hodgson

The 38-year-old former Crystal Palace
boss admitted he is taking over ‘a club in decline’ and wasted no time
warning a squad with the second biggest wage bill in the Championship
that he expects them to turn things around.

'Certain players believe the club was made for them and that will certainly change,' said Freedman.

‘We all need to understand from the beginning that you’re only as good as your last game.

‘I will make sure they turn up every day determined to get better and respect each other. If they don’t I’ll deal with them.’

Palace centre back Paddy McCarthy is
expected to be one of his first targets in January, but Freedman is
confident he can get the best out of the players already there.

He said: 'I believe in my own philosophy on the game in the way I give people opportunities and play with a no-fear factor.

‘Take the modern-day player and strip
down the money, the caps, the hairstyles and the tweeting, and you’ve
still got an individual who is talented and needs to get that talent
out in some way.’

Former Watford boss Sean Dyche, 41, is expected to be confirmed as Burnley’s new manager on Tuesday.

New job: Dougie Freedman has taken over at Bolton

New job: Dougie Freedman has taken over at Bolton

Henning Berg wants 12th man brought on if team goes 4-0 down

You'll fit right in! Prospective new Blackburn boss Berg wants 12th man brought on if team goes 4-0 down

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UPDATED:

11:59 GMT, 30 October 2012

Wacky proposal: Berg

Wacky proposal: Berg

Potential new Blackburn manager Henning Berg has thrown his support behind a Norwegian FA idea to allow youth teams to bring on a 12th player if they fall 4-0 behind in a match.

Berg – who has been installed as the favourite for the vacant managerial post at Ewood Park – supports the proposal that is designed to even out one-sided matches by giving the losing team an extra man.

'It’s a good rule that will lead to more even matches,' said Berg, a former Blackburn and Manchester United defender who was capped 100 times by Norway.

'It’s no fun to lose 17-0. It’s no fun to win 17-0 either.'

The 43-year-old became the new favourite for the job after former team-mates Tim Sherwood and Billy McKinlay were refused permission to leave their coaching roles at Tottenham and Fulham respectively.

Names as diverse as Harry Redknapp and Diego Maradona have been considered by Blackburn's eccentric Indian owners to replace Steve Kean – who departed last month – but it is thought that they want a former Rovers player to guide them back to the Premier League.

Case for the defence: Berg in his playing days for Blackburn (above) and United (below)

Case for the defence: Berg playing for Blackburn (above) and United (below)

Case for the defence: Berg in his playing days for Blackburn (above) and United (below)

Norwegian Berg – who won the Champions
League with United in 1999 – fits the bill perfectly as he was part of the title-winning Blackburn
side of 1994-95 and has previous managerial experience in his homeland
with Lyn and Lillestrom.

Berg was a crowd favourite at Ewood Park during his four years at the club from 1993 to 1997, but Rovers fans are unlikely to be too enamoured with his wacky 12th man proposal.

Kell Brook hopes to avenge Diego Maradona"s Hand of God

Hand of Kell! Brook ready to punish Argentine Saldivia in final eliminator

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UPDATED:

10:57 GMT, 16 October 2012

Kell Brook has promised to avenge Diego Maradona's 'Hand of God' goal against England in 1986 by punishing Argentina's Hector Saldivia in Sheffield on Saturday.

The 26-year-old hopes to take the final step towards a world title fight when he faces Saldivia in the IBF welterweight final eliminator.

And Brook has called on the Steel City to give him a helping hand during what he expects to be his toughest fight to date.

Scroll down to watch the video

Payback: Brook hopes to avenge Diego Maradona's 'Hand of God' goal

Payback: Brook hopes to avenge Diego Maradona's 'Hand of God' goal

Brook said: 'This is going to be the toughest fight of my career. Saldivia is a dangerous opponent and I really need my fans to get behind me. Their support can spur me on to that title shot.

'There’s a strong sporting rivalry between England and Argentina, and I’m going to do my bit to settle an old score. I hope the nation gets behind me this weekend.'

Brook will be looking to extend his unbeaten record to 29 fights against Saldivia who boasts a record of 41 wins from 43 bouts, including 32 knockouts.

Raring to go: Kell Brook (left) takes on Hector Saldivia on Saturday

Raring to go: Kell Brook (left) takes on Hector Saldivia on Saturday

And the Sheffield man is calling on his supporters to send messages of support via Twitter using the hashtag #HandOfKell.

The most inspirational ones will be printed onto a limited edition set of gloves which will be awarded to the person who tweets the most inspirational message.

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