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Footballers"s Football Column – Ross Allen: Signing Matt Le Tissier is great but he won"t take penalties off me

ROSS ALLEN: Our fixture pile up is tough – up at 5am, fly to England at 7am, game at 3pm and back home for 9pm… and then ANOTHER match the next day!

PUBLISHED:

08:25 GMT, 24 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:13 GMT, 24 April 2013

Ross Allen

Ross Allen is a British centre forward with a better strike rate than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. He has scored 53 goals in 37 games for Guernsey FC this season, but more impressive is his contribution to an incredible fixture pile-up that has seen the club in the middle of 20 games in 36 days. In his debut Footballers' Football Column he writes about that sequence, which started on April 1 and ends on May 6, and came about through postponed home matches in winter and an unlikely run to the FA Vase semi-final… Oh and a certain team-mate called Le Tissier.

Footballers Football Column: Ross Allen

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GUERNSEY'S FIXTURE RUN-IN

DATE
TEAM
VENUE
SCORE
01/04/2013
Windsor
Away
W 6-1
05/04/2013
South Park
Away
W 2-0
06/04/2013
Cove
Home
L 1-2
07/04/2013
Camberley
Home
D 2-2
09/04/2013
Farnham
Away
W 2-1
12/04/2013
Horley
Home
W 4-1
14/04/2013
Raynes Park Vale
Home
W 4-3
16/04/2013
Hanworth Villa
Away
L 2-1
18/04/2013
Badshot Lea
Away
D 2-2
20/04/2013
Hanworth Villa
Home
W 5-1
21/04/2013
Chessington & Hook Utd
Home
L 2-0
24/04/2013
Colliers Wood Utd
Away

26/04/2013
Ash United
Home

27/04/2013
Molesey
Home

28/04/2013
Sandhurst Town
Home

30/04/2013
Bedfont Sports
Away

03/05/2013
Dorking
Home

04/05/2013
Hartley Wintney
Home

05/05/2013
Epsom & Ewell
Home

06/05/2013
Farnham Town
Home

The season started off well, we were around the top of the table. Then this FA Vase run kicked off. We knew that was a great opportunity to show what we could do on a national scale and get more publicity. We did really well but that was always a bit of a bonus and we were focusing more on the league.

Then November hit and everything just started to stall. Unfortunately our pitch just didn’t hold up against the weather. We share it with our local rugby team. It wasn’t their fault at all but the pitch just couldn’t handle it. It was underwater for the best part of two months.

Unfortunately it’s at the bottom of a low-lying part of the island and the rain just drains down there from the hills. It’s part of an athletics stadium so it’s not really been there for football in the past. We adopted it last season. It’s the best place for us and has an 800-seater stand. It’s great for the crowd. We had ten home games between November and the end of January and I think we might have had one or two of those games on with the winter being so bad.

It was a nightmare and really set us back. We didn’t get any rearranged away games. It got to the point where it didn’t look like we could make a serious bid for the title. We just didn’t know when we were going to get all these league games in. All we had was this FA Vase run, which was incredible because most of the games were drawn away.

That was fortunate because we wouldn’t have played them if they were at home. But when we started getting league games back on as the weather got better, the Vase games clashed. So we had to push more back. As we got further in the Vase we saw that as a great opportunity to do something, there was always a sniff of Wembley.

Dangerman: Ross Allen has scored 53 goals in 37 games for Guernsey

Dangerman: Ross Allen has scored 53 goals in 37 games for Guernsey

In a league of his own: Allen has a better strike rate than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

In a league of his own: Allen has a better strike rate than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

More from The Footballers' Column…

The Footballers' Football Column – Carolyn Radford: We aim to take Mansfield to the Premier League within five years, but we need to avoid the play-offs… because last time I was arrested!
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19/04/13

The Footballers' Football Column – Leon Osman: We will miss 'Fizzer' Neville but he'll miss us too… And why Leighton Baines is no Hank Marvin
18/04/13

ROB SEGAL: Footballers who come through the ranks at English clubs never get the contracts they deserve… players from overseas get more money and it makes no sense
15/04/13

MARTIN ALLEN: Winning titles is not all about money. City pay the big wages but it is United are at the top of the table… they have spirit, tenacity and drive and I hope my squad is similar to Fergie's in that way
12/04/13

KEVIN NOLAN: West Ham need big European nights at the Olympic Stadium and Big Sam is the man to deliver the dream
09/04/13

ROHAN RICKETTS: Footballers think they are untouchable… but the reality is life without a contract can be very tough
07/04/13

CRAIG ROCASTLE: There's a lot of expectation when you have my surname.. but now I'm trying to make a name for myself in the indoor league in America (as soon as I learn the rules)
03/04/13

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

We got through to the semi-finals last month, started getting a few more league games in, then the schedule came out. We were all shocked. We didn’t really know the rules but we thought they might extend the season into the middle or end of May and give us a bit more leeway. But that’s not how it turned out.

Guernsey is such an amazing place, everyone comes together as a community – you’ve got 60,000 people on your side and everything fighting for the same thing. Everyone saw it as a challenge and one we are thriving to take on.

We lost our two-legged semi-final against Spennymoor.

That was always a tough ask but we showed character, losing 4-1 on aggregate. They’ve got pedigree and we always knew we were the underdogs. For the home leg everyone rallied together to get friends, family, anyone who is interested in football down. We had a crowd of 4,290, which is huge for us. It was an amazing day, full of green all the way around the pitch. That definitely gets you buzzing.

To get to the semi-finals in only our second year of being formed is a great achievement, something we should be really proud of. It was disappointing to miss out on Wembley but we had a game two days later so we didn’t have much time to be too despondent. We bounced back with a 6-1 win.

This congested run is very hard, very tiring, but we know what we are doing. We play in the Island Games every year. The tournament is only a week so you play three games in a row, your three group games, then you have a day off, then the semi and the final. In the Isle of Wight in 2011 we played five games in six days with an 18 man squad. So we’ve done this before. We’re the best team in the country to be prepared and adapted to this kind of challenge.

We have to fly to all our away games using Aurigny Air Services. Our recent match at South Park, in Surrey, was a Friday night game, kick off at 7.45pm. We flew to Gatwick and stayed at the airport hotel. I scored two as we won 2-0. But we had a match the following evening so after staying over we woke up the next morning at 7am, for the 8.30am flight back to Guernsey.

We tried to get some rest, some food, then it was a 7.45pm kick off that evening. Then there was a 1.30pm kick off the day after that. That’s the mad one. You get home Saturday night after the game at about 11pm but have a game the next afternoon.

How do we get through it We have amazing staff who are all volunteers but committed to making sure we’re rested, getting massages, and things like that.

People have actually come to games and revealed they are qualified masseurs. They say: 'I read about your fixtures in the paper, can I offer my services' They come into the dressing room and do it for free. The boys really appreciate it. These little things are going to make all the difference, recovery is so important.

Beautiful setting: Allen enjoys living in Guernsey and says the community all comes together

Beautiful setting: Allen enjoys living in Guernsey and says the community all comes together

Lionel Messi

Cristiano Ronaldo

Simply the best: Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are two of the best players in the world – but Allen has a better strike rate than both players

We’ve probably got a good 25 players signed on now. A few extra have joined us, who did play last season but for various reasons haven’t been able to commit to as much this season. They can’t go to away games because of families but are itching and raring to go for the home games.

Before each game the coaching staff ask everyone: 'Are you alright to start tomorrow night if I choose you' There will be more of that than just the manager picking the team. They don’t want to pick someone who is struggling and will have to come off early because they are knackered.

People will put their hands up if they aren’t doing well – because they will probably play the next day. We’ve got enough mature lads in our squad to know it’s a team effort – no one man will do every game, the full 90 minutes.

If it’s a weekend game we’re up at 5am in the morning for the red-eye. That’s a 7am flight. We get to England, have a bit of food, hang about at the airport. Then head up to the game for a 1pm or 3pm kick off. Then we fly back that evening and get home around 9pm. It’s a full day commitment. For people with families that’s one of their weekend days.

Out of the cup: Guernsey were beaten in the FA Vase semi-final by Spennymoor Town

Out of the cup: Guernsey were beaten in the FA Vase semi-final by Spennymoor Town

Staying put: Allen says he has no desire to leave Guernsey and play elsewhere

Staying put: Allen says he has no desire to leave Guernsey and play elsewhere

Luckily I don’t have any wife or kids. I try not to get too tied down otherwise I’ll start missing games. Everyone’s got full time jobs because none of us get paid. We’ve got a few in teaching, a lot at banks in the town, really varied. I work for an online company. It’s a bit more flexible – not just a 9 to 5. We get all travel covered thankfully.

I’ve scored more than 50 goals this year – more than 100 since we formed – but that’s my job, we play such an attacking game. Our head coach Tony Vance was a striker and that’s how he wants to play the game. It suits us really well because we’ve got pace, we get good width and I’m always getting in the box, getting the goals. My team-mates do a lot of the work.

I’m not looking to move on. I had trials for years and it was something I wanted to do when I was a little bit younger. But I’m 26 now and some people would say that’s quite old in football terms. I’m lucky this has come around – I think all our players were just playing local football back in Guernsey and that gets a bit stale, you’re playing against the same people each week. We played Jersey every year. But it’s not really enough. So it was perfect timing in my career for this to happen.

Le God: Matthew Le Tissier is life president of Guernsey

Le God: Matthew Le Tissier is life president of Guernsey

Magnificent seven: Le Tissier could pull on his football boots again for Guernsey this season

Magnificent seven: Le Tissier could pull on his football boots again for Guernsey this season

It will be good to have a rest when the season is done. It’s been a long one. We’ve got a month to go. It will be nice to have a break, maybe go on holiday – but we’ll be straight back on it in July with the FA Cup qualifiers. It will be a nice month or so that we have off.

Matt Le Tissier is our president and he comes down for a few games – but we seem to lose any he watches! It’s great to have him involved – he gives us a shout out every now and again on Soccer Saturday. He’s put us on the map a little bit but I think our football is generally doing that itself.

Matt has been re-registered to play and he warmed up with us recently, which was great. It was good to see him as he’s been so supportive since the start. You could still see his touch was there. But if he does end up playing at some point this season, he won’t be taking over my penalty taking duties!

Galatasaray 3 Real Madrid 2 (Agg 3-5): Match Report: Didier Drogba gives Jose Mourinho a scare

Galatasaray 3 Real Madrid 2 (Agg 3-5): Drogba and Sneijder give Jose a scare as Spaniards make the semis

PUBLISHED:

20:42 GMT, 9 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 9 April 2013

Real Madrid progressed to the last four of the Champions League despite defeat on the night to a Galatasaray side whose second half comeback had Jose Mourinho's side in a panic.

Already three goals up from the first leg at the Bernabeu, the tie was seemingly put to bed by Cristiano Ronaldo's seventh-minute strike.

But an Emmanuel Eboue thunderbolt after 57 minutes brought Gala back level on the night, before Wesley Sneijder put the home side ahead after 70 minutes.

It's a Drogs life: Didier Drogba scored as Galatasaray won the second leg

It's a Drogs life: Didier Drogba scored as Galatasaray won the second leg

MATCH FACTS

Galatasaray: Muslera, Eboue (Elmander 80), Zan, Kaya, Riera, Altintop (Amrabat 46), Felipe Melo, Inan, Sneijder, Bulut (Sarioglu 63), Drogba.

Subs Not Used: Iscan, Aydin Yilmaz, Balta, Kurtulus.

Booked: Sneijder, Eboue, Amrabat.

Goals: Eboue 57, Sneijder 71, Drogba 72.

Real Madrid: Diego Lopez, Essien (Arbeloa 31), Pepe, Varane, Fabio Coentrao, Khedira, Modric, Di Maria, Ozil (Albiol 81), Ronaldo, Higuain (Benzema 73).

Subs Not Used: Casillas, Marcelo, Callejon, Morata.

Sent Off: Arbeloa (90).

Booked: Arbeloa.

Goals: Ronaldo 8, 90.

Attendnace: 52,000

Referee: Stephane Lannoy (France)

Seconds later Did Drogba reduced the aggregate deficit further and although Real substitute Alvaro Arbeloa saw red late on, Ronaldo notched his second in injury time, as Madrid's quest for a 10th European Cup continued.

The visitors started quickly and just three minutes were on the clock when Fernando Muslera rashly came out to clear, his effort falling to Angel Di Maria, who shot wide.

Four minutes later they were on the scoresheet. Sami Khedira was allowed to cross from the right and in came Ronaldo, who got to the ball before the home defender to shoot past a helpless Muslera from three yards out.

The tie looked finished as a contest and Ronaldo could have doubled his night's tally moments later when the home side backed off, but from 25 yards the Portuguese shot straight at Muslera.

Drogba went close to converting a Sneijder shot after 20 minutes in Gala's first meaningful attack, before Madrid almost went two-up.

A delicious back-heel pass from Ronaldo played in Di Maria, but his angled effort was well tipped over by the Gala stopper.

Keeping the dream alive: Drogba celebrates after making it 3-1 on the night

Keeping the dream alive: Drogba celebrates after making it 3-1 on the night

All going wrong: Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain react after conceding their third goal

All going wrong: Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain react after conceding their third goal

Mourinho was forced into his first change after 31 minutes when Michael Essien had to be replaced by Arbeloa due to a leg injury.

Sneijder forced Diego Lopez into his first save after 38 minutes in what was a lacklustre first-half display from the hosts.
Madrid missed another chance to go two up 11 minutes after the restart when Ronaldo somehow missed from eight yards out – scuffing his effort with the ball trapped under his feet.Moments later and the home side were level thanks to a tremendous goal, albeit from an unlikely source. Sneijder's hopeful cutback found a sprinting Eboue who from the edge of the box powered an unstoppable shot into the top corner.

And just three minutes later they should have gone ahead. Drogba's strength caused all sorts of problems for the Real defence with the ball falling to Sneijder.

However with just Lopez to beat and from 12 yards out he screwed his shot wide of the far post.
Eboue's goal had, however, galvanised the home side and with the Ataturk Stadium firmly behind their side Gala took a deserved lead.

Sneijder showed a turn of pace more associated with his best days at Inter, nutmegged Rafael Varane before side-footing into the corner.

And moments later it was 3-1 when Drogba got in front of his defender to flick a cross into the corner of the net.

Raul Albiol replaced Mesut Ozil as Mourinho looked to arrest his team's slide, but they had to play out the final moments with 10 men after Arbeloa saw red after receiving a second yellow card for dissent.

There was still time for a fifth goal on the night when Ronaldo scored in injury time.

Real Madrid 3 Galatasaray 0: match report – Cristiano Ronaldo scores

Real Madrid 3 Galatasaray 0: Classy Ronaldo and Co on course for semi-finals

PUBLISHED:

20:35 GMT, 3 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

21:05 GMT, 3 April 2013

Real Madrid took a huge step towards reaching the last four of the Champions League by strolling to a comfortable victory over Galatasaray at the Bernabeu.

Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring early in the first half before Karim Benzema doubled the hosts' lead.

Substitute Gonzalo Higuain's second-half header put the result beyond doubt, and made Madrid's task in the second leg at the Turk Telecom Arena next Tuesday look far easier.

Up and over: Cristiano Ronaldo scored the first against Galatasaray at the Santiago Bernabeu

Up and over: Cristiano Ronaldo scored the first against Galatasaray at the Santiago Bernabeu

Up and over: Cristiano Ronaldo scored the first against Galatasaray at the Santiago Bernabeu

MATCH FACTS

Real Madrid: Diego Lopez, Varane, Ramos, Coentrao, Khedira, Ronaldo, Ozil (Modric – 80), Alonso, Essien, Di Maria (Pepe 86), Benzema (Higuain 65)

Subs not used: Adan, Marcelo, Arbeloa, Kaka

Booked: Essien, Modric, Ramos

Goals: Ronaldo 9, Benzema 29, Higuain 73

Galatasaray: Muslera, Dany Nounkeu, Kaya, Eboue, Altintop (Bulut 78), Inan, Felipe Melo, Riera (Amrabat 83), Sneijder (Zan 46), Yilmaz, Drogba

Subs not used: Iscan, Balta, Sarioglu, Kurtulus

Booked: Dany Nounkeu, Felipe Melo, Yilmaz, Drogba

Referee: Oddvar Moen

Attendance: 80,000

Galatasaray's coach and players had
insisted before the game that they would try to attack the Primera
Division champions and would not settle for holding out for a draw. They
were loyal to their promise in the first half, but it left them very
exposed at the back.

Madrid, who have the reputation for
being one of the best counter-attacking teams in Europe, were given a
generous amount of space by their opponents and made full use of it.

They had their first attempt on two
minutes, Benzema heading just over the bar after a cross from Angel Di
Maria, and they took the lead after just nine minutes.

Xabi Alonso supplied the ball up to
Mesut Ozil from his own half and the German played a one-two with
Benzema, which allowed him space to deliver an excellent low pass into
the path of Ronaldo, who calmly chipped the ball over goalkeeper
Fernando Muslera and into the net.

Gala played pretty football but
struggled to penetrate the Madrid backline and were limited to shots
from outside the area. Didier Drogba turned Raphael Varane on the
18-yard line and shot just over the bar, while Wesley Sneijder also
missed the target from 20 yards.

In the goals: Karim Benzema got the second for the hosts

In the goals: Karim Benzema got the second for the hosts

Sea of red: Galatasaray fans lit a flare to celebrate the occasion

Sea of red: Galatasaray fans lit a flare to celebrate the occasion

Ozil could have doubled the lead when
a long Sergio Ramos header out of defence led to Madrid attacking, but
the midfielder, receiving the ball from Ronaldo, could not put his shot
past Muslera.

Madrid's second goal arrived just
before the half-hour mark. Michael Essien, a surprise inclusion in the
starting line-up at the expense of Alvaro Arbeloa, delivered a high ball
into the box which fell at the feet of Benzema, who was in space, took
one touch to control the pass and slotted home from six yards.

Galatasaray's best chance of the half
fell to Emmanuel Eboue just before the interval. The former Arsenal
player burst through on goal but hit his shot straight at Diego Lopez's
legs.

Sneijder, unimpressive in the first
45 minutes against his former club, was removed at half-time and
replaced by defender Gokhan Zan – a move which saw Fatih Terim's side
switch to a back three, with Eboue pushing up to right midfield.

Struggle: Didier Drogba led the line for the visitors

Struggle: Didier Drogba led the line for the visitors

Three and easy: Gonzalo Higuain scored the third with a glancing header

Three and easy: Gonzalo Higuain scored the third with a glancing header

Three and easy: Gonzalo Higuain scored the third with a glancing header

The tactical change did not help the
visitors' attacking ambitions, and they went on to pose even less of a
threat after the break as they had before it.

Madrid also dropped their intensity
in the second period. Ronaldo and Di Maria both had chances to test
Muslera, the better of which fell to the Argentinian, but the goalkeeper
had little trouble with either effort.

Higuain came on for Benzema on 65
minutes and seven minutes later made the triumph secure when he headed
in a free-kick from Xabi Alonso.

Rough and tumble: Sergio Ramos (left) drags Didier Drogba to the floor in the second half

Rough and tumble: Sergio Ramos (left) drags Didier Drogba to the floor in the second half

Rough and tumble: Sergio Ramos (left) drags Didier Drogba to the floor in the second half

Jose Mourinho's side rode out the
final minutes of the game with little trouble. Alonso and Ramos both
picked up yellow cards which mean they will miss the second leg.

Achieving victory was much lighter
work for Madrid than their two hard-fought games with Manchester United
in the previous round but, barring a complete collapse in Istanbul, they
can be confident of reaching their third consecutive Champions League
semi-final under Mourinho.

Putting out fires: Sami Khedira (right) and Ramos tackle Burak Yilmaz

Putting out fires: Sami Khedira (right) and Ramos tackle Burak Yilmaz

Over you go: Ronaldo hits the deck after Semih Kaya (centre) backs into the Portugal forward

Over you go: Ronaldo hits the deck after Semih Kaya (centre) backs into the Portugal forward

Cristiano Ronaldo New nike CR Mercurial Vapor IX boots

Ronaldo's new boots: He may not have celebrated in Champions League triumph over United, but he still loves to win

By
Charlie Skillen

PUBLISHED:

09:59 GMT, 29 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:05 GMT, 29 March 2013

Cristiano Ronaldo might have displayed his love for Manchester United when dumping his old side out of the Champions league with Real Madrid, but his new boots reveal he might not have been so loved-up if Sir Alex Ferguson's side had triumphed.

His signature Nike CR Mercurial Vapor IX boots have been re-worked in a new colourway – and with the Portugal star's 'love to win, hate to lose' logo on the heel, which is a heart with a big 'X' through it.

Bright spark: Cristiano Ronaldo's new boots are in neon colours with his 'love to win, hate to lose' logo (below)

Bright spark: Cristiano Ronaldo's new boots are in neon colours with his 'love to win, hate to lose' logo (below)

CR Mercurial Vapor IX_Dtl_.jpg

Behind the wheel: Ronaldo was snapped wearing the new collection, with the 'love to win' logo, in his car

Behind the wheel: Ronaldo was snapped wearing the new collection, with the 'love to win' logo, in his car

CR7

Brightly-coloured with neon yellow, orange and white, the boots also feature the number 7, Ronaldo's squad number at Real Madrid, and a safari print on the Nike 'swoosh' – referencing his cheetah-like pace.

The new boots are sure to continue the Real Madrid star's success – Ronaldo has hit 40 goals for club and country this season.

Jose Mourinho's side continue to be off
the pace in the Spanish La Liga – they sit 13 points behind Barcelona,
just one point ahead of city rivals Atletico.

Studs up: Nike's All Condition Control technology means the boots will perform well in all weather

Studs up: Nike's All Condition Control technology means the boots will perform well in all weather

Apologies: Ronaldo famously didn't celebrate when scoring at Old Trafford earlier this month

Apologies: Ronaldo famously didn't celebrate when scoring at Old Trafford earlier this month

However, a Champions League quarter-final clash with Galatasary – pitting Ronaldo against Didier Drogba – makes the Spanish giants favourite to progress.

United fans hoping for a romantic return to Old Trafford for Ronaldo can be pleased with their idol's new footwear, as it features Nike's All Conditions Control technology – meaning they are just at home in the pouring Manchester rain as the balmy Madrid sun.

The boots are part of a whole collection with the same design, featuring training wear, casual clothes and a matching ball, and is out April 11.

Wild animal: The 'safari' swoosh features in the collection, including a ball and other clothes (below)

Wild animal: The 'safari' swoosh features in the collection, including a ball and other clothes (below)

Collection

Strike a pose: Ronaldo, modelling his new collection, has scored 40 goals for club and country this season

Strike a pose: Ronaldo, modelling his new collection, has scored 40 goals for club and country this season

Lionel Messi Tokyo Madame Tussauds with David Beckham

Beckham and Messi the stars of the show in Tokyo Madame Tussauds

By
Bill Rungay

PUBLISHED:

16:31 GMT, 13 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:54 GMT, 13 March 2013

When Cristiano Ronaldo claimed that God sent him to earth to play football, Messi said: ‘I didn’t send anybody’.

We all thought that was a joke; however it appears that the Argentine was in Tokyo pointing to the skies last night at the same time as he was in Barcelona scoring twice to help his team progress in the Champions League.

Is he really God Can he be in two places at once Sadly not.

Lifelike: A Lionel Messi waxwork is unveiled at Madame Tussauds in Japan this week

Lifelike: A Lionel Messi waxwork is unveiled at Madame Tussauds in Japan this week

Matchwinning performance: Messi scored twice as Barcelona beat AC Milan 4-0 on Tuesday night

Matchwinning performance: Messi scored twice as Barcelona beat AC Milan 4-0 on Tuesday night

A visitor poses with the wax figure of Lionel Messi at the Madame Tussauds exhibition in Tokyo, Wednesday, March 13, 2013.(AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)

Madame Tussauds in Tokyo, Japan are reopening this Friday, exhibiting 60 wax figures of Japanese and worldwide stars. These include Messi and England’s finest patriot, Mr David Beckham.

Beckham, now of Paris Saint-Germain, can be seen in his LA Galaxy kit doing sit ups on a bench.

Laid Beck: A David Beckham model can also be found at the museum

Laid Beck: A David Beckham model can also be found at the museum

TOPSHOTS Paris Saint-Germain's English midfielder David Beckham

Many tourists and fans will be at Friday’s reopening in Tokyo, however Messi and Beckham will both have their eyes on the Champions League quarter-final draw, where their sides could possibly meet each other.

Furious Man United fans turn on Roy Keane

Furious Man United fans turn on Keane after former captain claims Nani red card was 'right decision'

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

23:08 GMT, 5 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

06:09 GMT, 6 March 2013

Manchester United fans have reacted furiously after Roy Keane claimed the decision to send off Nani in the Champions League clash with Real Madrid was the right one.

United fans on Twitter have described Keane as 'bitter' and claim to have 'lost respect' for the former Old Trafford hero.

Keane's comments came on ITV in the moments after the match which saw his former side kicked out of Europe's elite competition by a goal from Cristiano Ronaldo.

Right decision: United fans are furious their former captain failed to support the club

Right decision: United fans are furious their former captain failed to support the club

The turning point of the match came midway through the second half when Nani was shown a straight red for a clumsy challenge on Alvaro Arbeloa.

The Portugal international appeared to be watching high ball land and his leg hit the Madrid player in his midriff.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson was apoplectic on the touchline, but Keane believes Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir made the right decision.

He said: 'I think the referee has actually made the right call. Everyone's upset about it and it's slightly unlucky, but it's dangerous play. Whether he meant it or not is irrelevant.

'It's dangerous play – it's a red card.

'You have to be aware of other players on the pitch. Does he think he's going to have 20 yards to himself

'Whether it's [a brave decision] or not, it's the right decision. Whether he meant it or not doesn't matter.

'Nani's a quick boy to go down anyway. He's not the bravest player on the planet.'

Keane insisted the referee had carefully considered his decision.

Marching orders: Nani was sent off for this challenge during the second half

Marching orders: Nani was sent off for this challenge during the second half

Marching orders: Nani was sent off for this challenge during the second half

He added: 'It doesn't matter if he
knows there's somebody there or not, it's irrelevant. I don't think the
referee actually made the decision because he waited a couple of minutes
while the player was getting treatment.

'I think it might have been the assistant that made the decision, and I actually think he's made the right call.

'We always say referees are very quick to make decisions – he waited a couple of minutes.

'Any time I was sent off in my career
I always thought, “did I give the referee chance to send me off” And
if the answer is yes, then it's out of your hands.'

The defeat leaves United battling on
two fronts for domestic silverware, but Keane may not be welcome at the
home of the Barclays League leaders in the wake of his comments.

One Twitter user said: 'Worst thing
to come out of tonight is Roy Keane's dirty comments, absolutely quality
for us as a player but what a bitter fella.'

Another added: 'The last bit of respect I had for Roy Keane has now well and truly gone.'

No love lost: Fergie was furious with the referee over the decision to send Nani off

No love lost: Fergie was furious with the referee over the decision to send Nani off

No love lost: Fergie was furious with the referee over the decision to send Nani off

Despite
a highly successful working career together, Keane has blasted his
former boss on a number of occasions since his departure in November
2005.

Keane was unhappy with the way he was ushered out of Old Trafford eight years ago.
An
interview with MUTV in which he was critical of some of his Manchester
United team-mates was given as a reason for his departure after
12-and-a-half years.

Asked if he could envisage a time
when he would have a good relationship with the Scot again, Keane told
The Sun: 'I wouldn’t have thought so, no. He’s a busy man and I’m fairly
busy.

'I said before I
was disappointed the way I was treated at the end, nobody will change
that. But that doesn’t mean to say I’m bitter and twisted towards Man
United. Far from it.

'I can go back there, I just wouldn’t be comfortable so that’s my choice.'

Keane
also told the Sunday Times: 'People say Ferguson always does what is
right for Man United. I don’t think he does. I think he does what is
right for him.'

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

|

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.

Jeremy Lynch and Billy Wingrove football freestyle skills

Flicking hell! Is this the best football freestyle video on the internet

By
Gerard Brand

PUBLISHED:

15:14 GMT, 28 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:17 GMT, 28 February 2013

Never mind Cristiano Ronaldo's endless stepovers, Ronaldinho's dummy pass or even the Cruyff turn… England have finally produced the sort of skill that can rival Rory Delap's long throw.

Billy Wingrove and former Britain's Got Talent finalist Jeremy Lynch have teamed up as 'The F2' to showcase their finest footy skills, and the world has taken notice.

Choreographed: Jeremy Lynch and Billy Wingrove show off their sublime freestyle skills

Choreographed: Jeremy Lynch and Billy Wingrove show off their sublime freestyle skills

The F2 freestyle

The pair opened the show at last year's Ballon d'Or ceremony, showing more creativity than your average boy in his garden with his mate filming on a mobile phone.

As well as packing videos full of mesmerizing skills, flicks and even a few first-time volleys, the tricksters are looking to teach young players the skills they have developed over time.

After being inspired by watching a Nike commercial in 2000 with Edgar Davids and Denilson, Lynch won the hearts of a nation by reaching the final showdown of the popular reality TV show in 2008.

Lynch has also filmed videos with the likes of Christiano Ronaldo, Robinho, while Wingrove has been a professional freestyler for a decade.

And after South Korean freestyler Mr Woo toured the world showing off his skills for nearly two decades, there will definitely be a market for the pair to break into.

The pair's DVD 'Learn Football Freestyle' is for sale through their website for 9.99.

VIDEO: Freestyle duo Jeremy Lynch and Billy Wingrove show off their skills

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Rio Ferdinand tweets that anyone comparing Gareth Bale to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo "doesn"t know football"

Think Bale is on the same level as Ronaldo and Messi You don't know football, says Rio

PUBLISHED:

09:36 GMT, 27 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

09:43 GMT, 27 February 2013

Rio Ferdinand believes anyone who compares Tottenham’s Gareth Bale to Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo or Barcelona magician Lionel Messi ‘doesn’t know football’.

The Manchester United defender tweeted to his four million followers that Bale needs to keep scoring at this rate for three or four years for there even to be a debate.

He wrote: ‘People mentioning Bale in the same breath as @Cristiano + Messi really don’t know football! Bale been 1 of best 2 in PL this year but….

'Don't know football!' Rio Ferdinand has slammed those comparing Gareth Bale (below) to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, saying the last two are on a different planet

'Don't know football!' Rio Ferdinand has slammed those comparing Gareth Bale (below) to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, saying the last two are on a different planet

Best in the world Gareth Bale's spectacular strike for Spurs against West Ham on Monday led to comparisons with the greatest players in the world

Best in the world Gareth Bale's spectacular strike for Spurs against West Ham on Monday led to comparisons with the greatest players in the world

‘He is not on CR7 + Messi’s level yet…he carries on doing what he is doing for 2/3yrs then there can be a debate.

‘Bale showed me a clean pair of heals once this year so I’m in good position to judge! CR7 + Messi have been on another planet for 4-5yrs #consistent #KeepItClean’

Bale has already scored 15 goals in the Premier League this season — earning Tottenham an astonishing 15 points on his own.

Number one: Cristiano Ronaldo reminded us of his quality by scoring two goals for Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey semi-final with Barcelona last night

Number one: Cristiano Ronaldo reminded us of his quality by scoring two goals for Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey semi-final with Barcelona last night

Hot property: Lionel Messi has scored 49 goals for Barcelona already this season

Hot property: Lionel Messi has scored 49 goals for Barcelona already this season

Without him Spurs would be way off their quest for fourth place, languishing down in ninth position in the table. Statistics show manager Andre Villas-Boas has been given Bale free rein to roam the park and be selfish — he is making fewer passes and creating fewer goals than last season but scoring far more.

When Cristiano Ronaldo was Bale’s age at 23, he won the Ballon d’Or after scoring scored 31 goals for Manchester United at a rate of one goal every 89 minutes, with a shooting accuracy of 59 per cent.

So far this season Bale has scored 15 goals at a rate of one goal every 135 minutes, with a shooting accuracy of 57 per cent.

Barcelona 1 Real Madrid 3 (Agg 2-4) – match report: Cristiano Ronaldo scores twice to reach Copa del Rey final

Barcelona 1 Real Madrid 3 (Agg 2-4): Ronaldo sends Jose's men into Copa del Rey final on miserable night for Messi

PUBLISHED:

21:53 GMT, 26 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

22:13 GMT, 26 February 2013

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Real Madrid cruised to a 3-1 win against their clasico rivals Barcelona to send Jose Mourinho's team into the Copa del Rey final.

The Portuguese star gave the visitors the lead when he scored a penalty in the 13th minute, which he earned after being brought down Gerard Pique, before he doubled their advantage just before the hour mark.

Raphael Varane headed in a corner in the 68th minute to put the tie beyond doubt but there was still time for a late consolation from Jordi Alba.

Madrid won the semi-final 4-2 on aggregate and set up a final showdown with either Sevilla or city rivals Atletico Madrid.

Star: Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals as Real Madrid beat Barcelona 3-1 at the Nou Camp

Star: Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals as Real Madrid beat Barcelona 3-1 at the Nou Camp

MATCH FACTS

Barcelona: Pinto, Alves, Pique, Puyol, Jordi Alba, Sergio, Xavi (Alcantara 74), Cesc (Villa 60), Pedro (Tello 71), Iniesta, Messi.

Subs not used: Valdes, Mascherano, Adriano, Song.

Goals: Alba 89.

Real Madrid: Diego Lopez, Varane, Ramos, Coentrao, Khedira, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ozil (Pepe 79), Xabi Alonso (Essien 84), Arbeloa, Higuain (Callejon 70), Di Maria.

Subs not used: Adan,Kaka, Benzema, Modric.

Goals: Ronaldo 13, 57, Varane 68.

Att: 90,002.

Referee: Undiano Mallenco.

Latest La Liga results, fixtures and table

More to follow

Cynical: Ronaldo was brought down by Gerard Pique in the penalty area in the 13th minute

Cynical: Ronaldo was brought down by Gerard Pique in the penalty area in the 13th minute


Lead: Ronaldo sent Jose Manuel Pinto the wrong way to open the scoring from the spot

Lead: Ronaldo sent Jose Manuel Pinto the wrong way to open the scoring from the spot

Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo

Hostile: The Portuguese star was targeted by supporters with lasers


Gap: Ronaldo followed up Sami Khedira's effort to double Madrid's lead in the second half

Gap: Ronaldo followed up Sami Khedira's effort to double Madrid's lead in the second half

Gap: Ronaldo followed up Sami Khedira's effort to double Madrid's lead in the second half

Cruising: Raphael Varane rose highest to head home from a corner and put Real 3-0 up

Cruising: Raphael Varane rose highest to head home from a corner and put Real 3-0 up

Delight: Varane celebrated his goal with manager Jose Mourinho

Delight: Varane celebrated his goal with manager Jose Mourinho

Delight: Varane celebrated his goal with manager Jose Mourinho

Too little, too late: Jordi Alba scored a late consolation for Barcelona

Too little, too late: Jordi Alba scored a late consolation for Barcelona

Downbeat: Lionel Messi looked dejected as Madrid cruised past Barcelona

Downbeat: Lionel Messi looked dejected as Madrid cruised past Barcelona

Lionel Messi

Scouting: Sir Alex Ferguson and his United assistant Mike Phelan were in the stands at the Nou Camp

Scouting: Sir Alex Ferguson and his United assistant Mike Phelan were in the stands at the Nou Camp