Tag Archives: unveiling

Danny Graham to join Sunderland for 5.5m despite Newcastle links

Sunderland's 5.5m deal for Graham almost done… but will he want to join them after last night's abuse from the fans

By
Declan Warrington

PUBLISHED:

11:02 GMT, 30 January 2013

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UPDATED:

11:32 GMT, 30 January 2013

Danny Graham will today complete his 5.5m transfer from Swansea to Sunderland after refusing to be deterred by the vicious abuse aimed at him from the Wearside club's fans during last night's 0-0 draw between the two sides.

Manager Martin O'Neill has targeted the Newcastle-supporting frontman to ease the goalscoring burden on Steven Fletcher after being replaced at Swansea by Michu.

But Sunderland's fans, still angry about his dismissal of the club during his time at Watford, booed him throughout, labelling him “scum” and “a w****r” and ensuring he can continue to expect such hostility even after his signing is confirmed.

Hostile: Graham was abused by Sunderland's fans last night, even though he will sign for them today

Hostile: Graham was abused by Sunderland's fans last night, even though he will sign for them today

'Put it this way. I would stay as far away from Sunderland as I could', Graham once responded when asked who he would support if Newcastle no longer existed. 'It would probably have to be Gateshead.'

It is this for which the striker, who wasted an injury-time chance to win the game for Swansea, has not been forgiven. Though the rivalry that exists between Newcastle and Sunderland has always been fierce, for a new signing to be so unwelcome is regardless unusual.

Frustrated: Danny Graham

Unwelcome: Danny Graham

Write caption here

Newcastle fan Lee Clark enjoyed a successful period at Sunderland after signing from their rivals – albeit before an acrimonious exit – but Graham's reception in many ways mirrors that experienced by Rafa Benitez at Chelsea.

Unwanted: Chelsea fans still do not accept Benitez

Unwanted: Chelsea fans still do not accept Benitez

The Spaniard was intensely booed upon his unveiling as Chelsea manager and has still not been accepted by the club's fans who continue to show their support for his predecessor Roberto Di Matteo, effectively making his job consistently more difficult.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to manage Manchester United but not as Sir Alex Ferguson"s replacement

You cut me up I’ll bleed red! Solskjaer wants United job… but not as Fergie’s successor

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UPDATED:

14:57 GMT, 29 November 2012

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits he’d love to manage Manchester United, but doesn’t want to be Sir Alex Ferguson’s immediate replacement.

The former United striker has calved out a successful managerial career in Norway, winning back to back titles with Molde.

Solskjaer, who made 366 appearances for the Old Trafford club has been linked with a number of jobs in England, including Aston Villa and Blackburn.

Make mine a Treble: Members of the famous 1999 United squad, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Peter Schmeichel, Denis Irwin and Andrew Cole talk with Sir Alex Ferguson after the unveiling of a statue to the United boss

Make mine a Treble: Members of the famous 1999 United squad, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Peter Schmeichel, Denis Irwin and Andrew Cole talk with Sir Alex Ferguson after the unveiling of a statue to the United boss

The 39-year-old managed the Manchester United reserves before heading home to Norway and says he would love to return to Old Trafford and take the top job – but not for a few years yet.

He told FourFourTwo: 'I can say that I’m not stupid enough or naive enough to be able to do that job.

Success story: Solskjaer has won back to back titles with Molde

Success story: Solskjaer has won back to back titles with Molde

'Every player who has played for Man United would hope that they become such a good manager that they could get that job.

'If that’s to happen I’ve got to work hard in many, many years and learn, get the experience and let’s see later on.’

Solskjaer carved his name into Manchester United folk law as a super-sub, with his most famous goal coming in the dying seconds of the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich in Barcelona.

Making history: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer celebrates scoring the winner for Manchester United in the 1999 Champions League final

Making history: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer celebrates scoring the winner for Manchester United in the 1999 Champions League final

And he is keen to gain the affections of the United faithful once more – but this time as manager.

He added: 'As young managers, when you come to a tough period you’ve got to get through that one to show the Man United board, Man United supporters that you might be the right man.

'I’ll have to get through hard times before I think about that one. I’m always going to be a Man United supporter, you cut me up I’ll bleed red.

'Any kid’s dream is to play at Man United if you have a Man United heart. When you get too old to play, the next best thing is to be the manager.'

Rafa Benitez Chelsea press conference pictures: I"ll win over fans

Benitez: I didn't disrespect Chelsea fans when I criticised them, I was just defending Liverpool. I'll win them over … and I'll win trophies!

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UPDATED:

19:14 GMT, 22 November 2012

Rafa in his own words (sort of)

Fake Rafa

Check out an exclusive clip of what the new Blues boss might have to say for himself… at least according to 'the voice of football', impressionist Darren Farley (right).

Rafael Benitez had to defend himself from the wrath of supporters in his first press conference as Chelsea manager.

At his official unveiling at Stamford Bridge this evening, Benitez was grilled on the explosive comments he made against the London club during his time as Liverpool manager.

He said: 'I want to be honest. If I said this or
that, I have to analyze the context. We were playing against Chelsea in
the semi-finals of the Champions League. If I am a fan I want to see the
manager fighting for my club. I don't see this as a lack of respect for
Chelsea's fans, just a manager defending his team.

I'm back! Rafael Benitez held his first press conference as Chelsea manager at Stamford Bridge on Thursday

I'm back! Rafael Benitez held his first press conference as Chelsea manager at Stamford Bridge on Thursday

I'm back! Rafael Benitez held his first press conference as Chelsea manager at Stamford Bridge on Thursday

Under the microscope: Chelsea fans have been given their first glimpse of the new Blues boss

Under the microscope: Chelsea fans have been given their first glimpse of the new Blues boss

Under the microscope: Chelsea fans have been given their first glimpse of the new Blues boss

VIDEO: Watch Rafa Benitez's first press conference as Chelsea boss

'I like to do things in the right way
for the fans. The fans and manager want to win every single game,
nobody wants to win more than than fans and manager.

'This is a big challenge. I've been
waiting for this chance. I could have gone to other countries for big,
big money but I wanted to stay in England for a big club.'

Benitez said it was too early for him to
pass any comment on Mark Clattenburg after the FA cleared the referee
of any wrongdoing over his alleged comments at John Obi Mikel. He also revealed he had not had any direct contact with
Chelsea's trigger-happy Russian owner Roman Abramovich.

Benitez added: 'Di
Matteo was doing a great job. Sometimes in football you change managers
too soon, but that's life. Have you seen my CV I have all the trophies
you can win at club level.

'I
was looking for the right opportunity at a top side to fight for a
trophy. I don't care about the short term. I want to win every game – we
have five trophies to fight for and at the end we will see what
happens.

Remember me Rafa Benitez takes his first Chelsea training session on Thursday afternoon

Remember me Rafa Benitez takes his first Chelsea training session on Thursday afternoon

Revival bid: Benitez gets to work on making Torres score goals again for the Blues

Revival bid: Benitez gets to work on making Torres score goals again for the Blues

Remember me Rafa Benitez takes his first Chelsea training session on Thursday afternoon

Welcome: Benitez smiles as he arrives at Chelsea's training ground

New man: Benitez assesses his new workplace

New man: Benitez arrives at their Cobham HQ (right) before assessing his new workplace

'In seven
months you can win some trophies and I'm sure at the end everyone will
be delighted. I analyzed the squad. Can they win trophies Yes. How many
trophies can they win We have five opportunities. I have more desire, more hunger to win trophies than before.'

Asked about what Liverpool fans might think Benitez said: 'I can guarantee a lot of them are saying “We wish you all the best – maybe not against Liverpool…” I don't have two owners who don't talk to each other (like at Liverpool). We have an owner and a technical director.'

The former Inter Milan boss, who also strongly hinted John Terry would stay on as captain, said he was not put off by talk he is simply keeping the hot-seat warm for Pep Guardiola.

'I have a very good relationship with Guardiola,' he added. 'He is a great manager, what will happen in future I don't know.

'For
sure, I like to do things in the right way for the fans. But I'm sure
they will be happy with a manger with a winning mentality and who wants
to win games. In the end I hope they will be pleased.'

New man in the hotseat: Rafa Benitez arrives at training at Chelsea's Cobham training ground and told the fans to get behind him

New man in the hotseat: Rafa Benitez arrives at training at Chelsea's Cobham training ground and told the fans to get behind him

Reunited: Fernando Torres arrives at training at Cobham ahead of his reunion with Benitez

Reunited: Fernando Torres arrives at training at Cobham ahead of his reunion with Benitez

Leader: Captain John Terry turns up for training

Leader: Captain John Terry turns up for training

Another man in charge: Gary Cahill turns up for training with his third Chelsea manager in less than a year

Another man in charge: Gary Cahill turns up for training with his third Chelsea manager in less than a year

Blues fans were still in shock this morning after owner Abramovich completed arguably his most controversial day yet at Stamford Bridge last night by appointing Benitez to succeed Roberto Di Matteo.

The Russian handed the former Liverpool boss a contract until the end of the season, having seemingly been unable to woo the man said to be his number one target.

Confirming new 'interim' boss Benitez would meet Chelsea's players today, the European champions said in a statement: 'The owner and the board believe that, in Benitez, we have a manager with significant experience at the highest level of football, who can come in and immediately help deliver our objectives.'

The length of Benitez's contract appeared the clearest indication yet of Abramovich's determination to land Pep Guardiola once the former Barcelona boss completes his one-year sabbatical.

And it would be no exaggeration to say Benitez would be the least popular of his eight appointments judging by the reaction of Chelsea supporters on social media.

Making his point: A Chelsea fan stands outside the training ground with an anti-Benitez sign

Making his point: A Chelsea fan stands outside the training ground with an anti-Benitez sign

No thanks: Chelsea fan protested when Rafa Benitez was linked in March

No thanks: Chelsea fan protested when Rafa Benitez was linked in March

Indeed, they are unlikely to roll out the welcome mat for his first game in charge against Barclays Premier League champions Manchester City on Sunday.

But all that failed to deter Benitez, who agreed his Chelsea contract during a trip to Abu Dhabi and will look to convince them or another big club to give him a longer-term deal.

It is impossible not to deduce part of Benitez's appeal to Abramovich was his relationship with 50million flop Fernando Torres, who he helped make one of the best strikers in the world at Liverpool.

Former Blue: Boudewijn Zenden will be one of Benitez's coaches

Former Blue: Boudewijn Zenden will be one of Benitez's coaches

Di Matteo finally lost patience with Torres in his last match in charge but he expressed few regrets about his unparalleled eight-month tenure last night.

'It was an honour for me to be appointed manager of a club that I loved playing for and one that is so close to my heart,' he said in a statement issued by the League Managers Association.

'I am extremely proud of the successes and trophies that we were able to bring to the club in recent months.

End of the road: Roberto Di Matteo was sacked following Chelsea's defeat to Juventus

End of the road: Roberto Di Matteo was sacked following Chelsea's defeat to Juventus

'Lifting Chelsea's first Champions League trophy, in Munich, was the best achievement in club history and without doubt the highlight of my career to date, both as a player and manager. It is a memory I will treasure for the rest of my life.

'I have a deep and unreserved passion for Chelsea Football Club and I would like to sincerely thank all of the staff, my players and of course the Chelsea fans, for their tremendous and unconditioned support in the intense time I have been the manager at the Bridge. I wish all of them every success for the rest of the season and beyond.'

Rafa Benitez first Chelsea press conference – live video

Watch Rafa Benitez's first press conference as Chelsea manager LIVE

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UPDATED:

17:26 GMT, 22 November 2012

Rafa Benitez speaks for the first time to the media at his official unveiling as Chelsea manager after the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo.

The former Liverpool boss has his work cut out if he is to win over the fans. The press conference is due to start at 5.30pm at Stamford Bridge.

Sir Alex Ferguson Old Trafford statue to be unveiled on November 23

Sir Alex statue to be unveiled outside Old Trafford later this month

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UPDATED:

00:44 GMT, 6 November 2012

Manchester United have announced that the statue they have commissioned in honour of Sir Alex Ferguson will be unveiled outside Old Trafford later this month.

The 9ft bronze statue created by award-winning sculptor Philip Jackson will be unveiled 'in a prominent position' outside the stand named after Ferguson on Friday, November 23, at 2pm.

Honour: A statue of Sir Alex Ferguson is to be erected outside Old Trafford

Honour: A statue of Sir Alex Ferguson is to be erected outside Old Trafford

The unveiling comes the day before United
welcome QPR who, coincidentally, were the same opponents Ferguson faced
in his first home game in charge on November 22, 1986.

The Scot, who has won 24 major
trophies in a quarter of a century, is the club's longest serving
manager.

United already have two permanent statues outside their famous home ground – one of legendary manager Sir Matt Busby overlooking the East Stand, and the other known as the 'the United Trinity' of George Best, Denis Law and Bobby Charlton.

History: Sir Matt Busby and the 'United trinity' have already been celebrated

History: Sir Matt Busby and the 'United trinity' have already been celebrated

History: Sir Matt Busby and the 'United trinity' have already been celebrated

Ferguson, who is now 70 years old, has shown no signs of slowing down despite his advancing years and the increased competition, notably from rivals Manchester City.

The club will also be unveiling new artwork and installations in the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand concourses designed to illustrate the manager’s achievements throughout his United career.

Dan Ashworth leaving West Brom for FA role

West Brom sporting director Ashworth takes role at FA in new technical department

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UPDATED:

21:14 GMT, 16 September 2012

Dan Ashworth will be unveiled as the new head of the FA's technical
staff on Monday.

A start date has not yet been agreed with West Bromwich
Albion, where he is sporting and technical director, but the FA are
confident it will be before the end of the season.

Career change: Dan Ashworth (left) at the unveiling of West Brom manager Steve Clarke. Ashworth is to take a new role within the FA

Career change: Dan Ashworth (left) at the unveiling of West Brom manager Steve Clarke. Ashworth is to take a new role within the FA

Ashworth's title will
be confirmed on Monday, but he will not simply be the technical director
based at the new National Football Centre at St George's Park.

He will
have a much broader role, heading up a new team that also works with the
junior international teams and oversees football development

Talent spotter: Ashworth was responsible for the recruitment of key West Brom players like Peter Odemwingie

Talent spotter: Ashworth was responsible for the recruitment of key West Brom players like Peter Odemwingie

Stuart Lancaster appointed new England manager

RFU hand reigns to Lancaster… just as we told you they would!

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UPDATED:

22:26 GMT, 29 March 2012

Stuart Lancaster was acclaimed as the man who can guide England to glory at the home World Cup in 2015 after his appointment as head coach was confirmed at Twickenham on Thursday night.

Following Sportsmail’s exclusive story that the 42-year-old Cumbrian had been nominated by the RFU’s selection panel, his elevation to the post was duly ratified by the board.

Lancaster, who overcame high-calibre opposition from Nick Mallett, has been awarded a four-year contract thought to be worth close to 1.5million.

Master of all he surveys: New England head coach Stuart Lancaster poses at Twickenham on Thursday

Master of all he surveys: New England head coach Stuart Lancaster poses at Twickenham on Thursday

Life looking rosey: New England head coach Stuart Lancaster on Thursday

Life looking rosey: New England head coach Stuart Lancaster on Thursday

The appointment of the former
schoolteacher means England will approach the next World Cup under the
guidance of a man with just five Tests on his c.v., albeit with
victories in four of those.

However, RFU chief executive Ian
Ritchie insisted the decision gave the host nation the best chance of
success. ‘We have appointed somebody to put us in the best place to win
the World Cup, which is so important for us,’ he said. ‘I believe we
should be very, very competitive.

‘We believe Stuart has earned this
opportunity. He is unquestionably the right man for the job. I don’t see
this as a gamble. The RFU board unanimously approved this appointment
and it was a unanimous recommendation from the panel, which was
important.’

Vision of the future: Lancaster during his unveiling press conference at Twickenham on Thursday

Vision of the future: Lancaster during his unveiling press conference at Twickenham on Thursday

In a reference to the tough stance
Lancaster has taken on discipline, as an antidote to the controversies
at last year’s World Cup, Ritchie added: ‘The values Stuart has
inculcated into the team are the values we espouse at the RFU.’

Lancaster, who succeeds Martin
Johnson, was bullish about England’s prospects. ‘We absolutely can win
the World Cup,’ he said.

‘I’m hugely optimistic. We have to advance, but
we have some great foundations in place.’

Former Springboks coach
Mallett offered congratulations to his rival, tipping him to ‘build on
the good work he has done in the aftermath of a difficult World Cup’.

And England captain Chris Robshaw praised Lancaster for winning the
squad’s ‘trust and respect’.

Reborn: Lancaster transformed England from World Cup flops to Six Nations title contenders

Reborn: Lancaster transformed England from World Cup flops to Six Nations title contenders

Welcome on board: Lancaster with Ian Ritchie, the RFU chief executive (right)

Welcome on board: Lancaster with Ian Ritchie, the RFU chief executive (right)

But amid the messages of support,
2003 World Cup-winning wing Ben Cohen told talkSport: ‘I don’t think he
is the right man. Nick Mallett has got credentials coming out of his
ears. You look at the Six Nations as a honeymoon period and there are
testing times to come. You want someone who has experience of managing
through that.’

Andy Robinson is to continue as Scotland head coach despite his side’s RBS Six Nations whitewash.

The rise and rise of Stuart Lancaster…

1969: Born October 9 in Penrith, Cumbria.

1992:
Makes his debut for Leeds, where he became a regular fixture in the
side. Lancaster was Leeds' regular flanker and captain until 2000.

2000:
Retires from rugby after playing at Headingley for eight years after
becoming the first Leeds player to play a century of games since the
amalgamation of Headingley and Roundhay.

2001: Appointed head of the Leeds RFU Academy, a position which he held for five years.

2006:
Became the director of rugby at Leeds Carnegie and led them to
promotion back to the Premiership following a title-winning season in
2006-07.

2008:
Appointed the head of the Rugby Football Union's elite player
development in March, helping to bring through a number of exciting
talents including England scrum-half Danny Care.

2010: Becomes manager of the England Saxons.

2011: Wins the Churchill Cup with Saxons.
December 8- Announced Lancaster would
head up an interim England coaching team, also including Graham Rowntree
and Andy Farrell, for the Six Nations.
December 11 – Names an elite player squad featuring nine uncapped players and 13 changes from the World Cup campaign.

2012: January 25 – Announces his intention to apply for the job on a permanent basis.
January 30- Names Chris Robshaw as captain in their Six Nations opener against Scotland.
February 4 – England beat Scotland 13-6 in Lancaster's first match in charge.
March 17 – England finish second in the Six Nations behind Wales.
March 29 – Lancaster is appointed England head coach.

… and his record as England caretaker

Stuart Lancaster has an impressive record since taking charge of England as caretaker manager:

Played 5 Won 4 Lost 1

February 4 – Scotland 6 England 13

Lancaster's tenure began with a
scrappy first England win at Murrayfield in eight years as Charlie
Hodgson charged down a Dan Parks kick to score the try which Owen
Farrell converted. Farrell finished with eight points on his debut.

February 11 – Italy 15 England 19

Hodgson and Farrell came to the
rescue once again as England trailed 12-6 and looked set for a first
defeat in 18 Test matches against Italy in a freezing Rome. Hodgson
scored another charge down try and Farrell kicked 14 points with four
penalties and a tough conversion.

February 25 – England 12 Wales 19

England were denied what could have
been a match-drawing try, if they had gone on to kick the conversion, as
David Strettle was ruled by the television official not to have
grounded the ball in the final play of the game. Farrell kicked four
penalties as Wales clinched the Triple Crown.

March 11 – France 22 England 24

Lancaster's stock rose with a narrow
win in Paris as tries from Manu Tuilagi, Ben Foden and Tom Croft gave
England a mathematical chance of winning the title going into their
final game of the championship.

March 17 – England 30 Ireland 9

An impressive win put the dampener on
St Patrick's Day celebrations as England dominated, their scrum proving
particularly dominant. Referee Nigel Owens awarded a penalty try
against the beleaguered Ireland scrum and Ben Youngs also touched down.
Farrell kicked 20 points.

Mario Balotelli in bust up with Roberto Mancini at Manchester City training ground

City striker Balotelli involved in training ground bust-up with furious Mancini

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UPDATED:

06:53 GMT, 29 March 2012

Mario Balotelli was involved in yet more controversy on Wednesday after he was involved in a training ground bust-up with manager Roberto Mancini.

The 24million Manchester City striker, who'd jetted in from Italy after bizarrely crashing an Inter Milan press conference on Tuesday, provoked an angry reaction from Mancini at the club's Carrington training ground.

Fuming: Balotelli and Mancini

Blast: Balotelli was ordered to train on his own

Furious: City boss Mancini gives Balotelli a dressing down at the club's Carrington training ground

Balotelli received a severe dressing down from a furious Mancini in front of the stunned City squad, and was then apparently ordered to train on his own.

The Barclays Premier League title contenders dismissed the row as an example of the high standards set by Mancini, who himself provoked controversy at the weekend after refusing to speak to the media following City's 1-1 draw at Stoke.

But the training ground incident will fuel speculation that the Blues are feeling the heat in their bid to land their first top-flight title since 1968.

Taking no prisoners: Mancini shouts at Balotelli

Train on your own: Atilio Lombardo speaks to Balotelli

Blast: Mancini launched a 15-second assault on Balotelli before Attilio Lombardo orders the player away

Balotelli, who was fined 120,000 earlier this month after he was pictured outside a Liverpool strip club just 36 hours before City's clash with Bolton, has scored just four goals in his last 13 appearances.

And his latest controversy comes less than 24 hours after he interrupted the unveiling of new Inter Milan manager Andrea Stramaccioni.

The lonely road: Balotelli is pictured leaving the scene of his row with the Man City manager

The lonely road: Balotelli is pictured leaving the scene of his row with the Man City manager

The 21-year-old parked a red Ferrari outside the press briefing, burst in and for reasons still unknown simply shook hands with those behind the top table, wished the new manager luck, and left without so much as an explanation.

Inter CEO Ernesto Paolillo, who travelled to London with the NextGen-winning youth squad last week, said the visit from the City striker was unexpected but not unusual.

Centre of attention: The 24m striker left the tactics pitch to join a fitness training session

Centre of attention: The 24m striker left the tactics pitch to join a fitness training session

'He came to say hello to everybody at the training centre then left,' Paolillo told Sportsmail.

'We did not know he was coming but it's not the first time. It's typical of Mario. I see him sometimes when he comes to Milan.

He's at it again: Balotelli caused controversy on Tuesday after gatecrashing Inter Milan's press conference

He's at it again: Balotelli caused controversy on Tuesday after gatecrashing Inter Milan's press conference

'I did not see the Ferrari as I was inside the press conference unveiling our new coach Andrea. We kissed hello and he left. We had no time to speak. I've known him at Inter since he was a young boy.'

Balotelli and the rest of his City team-mates have been given a couple of days off by Mancini, who himself jetted to Europe where he was seen in Bosnia.

Mario Balotelli wears t-shirt: Not only am I perfect, I"m Italian too

Not only am I perfect, I'm Italian too! Balotelli's message to fans after crashing Inter Milan unveiling

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UPDATED:

15:38 GMT, 28 March 2012

Mario Balotelli was back in Manchester after gatecrashing the Inter Milan press conference – and he had a message for his admirers.

The Manchester City star was pictured in Cheshire wearing a t-shirt with the words: 'Not only am I perfect, I'm Italian too!'

It comes 24 hours after Balotelli was involved in the latest incident that made his army of fans chuckle.

Scroll down to see video footage of Balotelli in the Inter Milan press conference

Put your shirt on it: Mario Balotelli out and about on Wednesday afternoon

Put your shirt on it: Mario Balotelli out and about on Wednesday afternoon

Mischief: Manchester City's Mario Balotelli caused a stir in Italy when he burst in on a press conference for the new Inter Milan manager

Mischief: Manchester City's Mario Balotelli caused a stir in Italy when he burst in on a press conference for the new Inter Milan manager

The striker, who used to play for Inter, made his unexpected appearance as new manager Andrea Stramaccioni was being unveiled.

The
21-year-old parked a red Ferrari outside the press briefing, burst in
and for reasons still unknown simply shook hands with those behind the
top table, wished the new manager luck, and left without so much as an
explanation.

Inter CEO Ernesto Paolillo, who travelled to London with the NextGen-winning youth squad last week, said the visit from the Manchester City striker was unexpected but not unusual.

‘He came to say hello to everybody at the training centre then left,’ Paolillo told Sportsmail. ‘We did not know he was coming but it’s not the first time. It’s typical of Mario. I see him sometimes when he comes to Milan.

‘I did not see the Ferrari as I was inside the press conference unveiling our new coach Andrea. We kissed hello and he left. We had no time to speak. I’ve known him at Inter since he was a young boy.’

Balotelli and the rest of his City
team-mates have been given a couple of days off by manager Roberto
Mancini, who himself jetted to Europe where he was seen in Bosnia.

After the commotion, Stramaccioni hailed his appointment as Claudio Ranieri's replacement as 'a dream come true'.

From this: Andrea Stramaccioni led the Inter development squad to glory in the NextGen series on Sunday

From this: Andrea Stramaccioni led the Inter development squad to glory in the NextGen series on Sunday

To this: Now he is in charge of the most handsomely paid squad in Serie A

To this: Now he is in charge of the most handsomely paid squad in Serie A

The 36-year-old was promoted from
youth team coach to guide the senior side after former Chelsea boss
Ranieri was sacked on Monday with Inter 10 points adrift of the third
and last Champions League qualifying place.

Stramaccioni,
who is Inter's fifth coach in the space of 22 months, said: 'It is a
beautiful dream come true. It has been totally unexpected but a dream
that club president (Massimo) Moratti has granted me and I will try to
do the best I can.'

The Rome-born Stramaccioni led the Nerazzurri's youth team to victory in the inaugural NextGen Series in London on Sunday.

'The victory in London with the youth team feels like it happened a long time ago considering yesterday's developments,' he said. 'Only football at this level can give you these emotions.'

Stramaccioni has no experience coaching in Italy's top flight and knows the challenge he will face to guide a star-studded side.

Big job on his hands: Stramaccioni knows he faces the biggest job his career at Inter

Big job on his hands: Stramaccioni knows he faces the biggest job his career at Inter

Real Madrid reveal plans for holiday resort in UAE

Smile Jose, it'll be fun! Real Madrid unveil plans for holiday resort in the UAE

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UPDATED:

16:11 GMT, 22 March 2012

Real Madrid have unveiled plans to build a $1billion holiday resort in the United Arab Emirates that is due to open in January 2015.

'Real Madrid Resort Island' will be supported by the government of the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, the club said on Thursday.

A presentation at the Bernabeu showed plans for sports facilities, a marina, luxury hotels and villas, an amusement park, a club museum and a futuristic 10,000-seat stadium with one side open to the sea.

Cheer up, Jose: Mourinho (centre) at the unveiling of Real Madrid's holiday resort on Thursday

Cheer up, Jose: Mourinho (centre) at the unveiling of Real Madrid's holiday resort on Thursday

Getting shirty: A UAE ambassador with club legend Zinedine Zidane (centre) and striker Karim Benzema

Getting shirty: A UAE ambassador with club legend Zinedine Zidane (centre) and striker Karim Benzema

'It is a decisive and strategic step that will strengthen our institution in the Middle East and Asia,' said Real president Florentino Perez.

The 430,000-square metre facility is expected to attract around one million visitors in 2015.

Real, nine-times European champions, said the artificial island's location put it equidistant between Europe and the Far East, adding that more than half of their estimated 300 million followers were based in Asia.

But one man present at the unveiling of the plans looked decidedly unimpressed. Madrid manager Jose Mourinho could not force a smile for the cameras.

Glum: Mourinho looked downcast with Benzema and Madrid defender Sergio Ramos (centre)

Glum: Mourinho looked downcast with Benzema and Madrid defender Sergio Ramos (centre)

Frustration: Real Madrid dropped more points in the La Liga title race at Villarreal on Wednesday

Frustration: Real Madrid dropped more points in the La Liga title race at Villarreal on Wednesday

Perhaps that has something to do with his team's result on Wednesday night. Despite Cristiano Ronald scoring yet again, for the second time in four days the La
Liga leaders conceded a late free kick as they slipped to a
1-1 draw at Villarreal.

And, not only that, Mourinho, who had already been warned
by the referee and had seen one of his assistants ejected for
complaining, was sent off in the 84th minute for protesting the foul that set up Marcos Senna's equalizer for the Yellow Submarine.

Madrid's Sergio Ramos and Mesut Ozil were then both sent off a minute later as Madrid played the final five minutes with nine men.

The dramatic draw on Wednesday broke
Madrid's 10-game away winning run and allowed Barcelona to close to
within six points as the title race enters its home stretch with 10
games to play.