The sheer level of hypocrisy in football reached staggering new heights this week when Manchester United made it clear that it was their intention to lure Tottenham striker Dimitar Berbatov to Old Trafford. For weeks now there’s been much wailing and gnashing of teeth from United officials over Real Madrid’s pursuit of Cristiano Ronaldo. United have described the Spanish club’s behaviour as unprofessional (at best) and underhand (at worst). And they’ve even handed in a written complaint to Fifa. So what, you may ask, is the difference between Madrid’s desire to land Ronaldo and United’s efforts to sign Berbatov? Well, not much. Just as Ronaldo is under contract to United so is the Bulgarian striker to Tottenham. Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, though hardly whiter than white himself particularly when it comes to replacing managers, is about as cross as a primary school teacher who’s just seen one of her pupils take a leak in the Lego box. He says he’s told United that Berbatov isn’t for sale and yet Sir Alex Ferguson says he expects the deal to be concluded soon. Levy described Ferguson’s actions as “Probably one of the worst offences by any manager in the Premier League to date and is unbelievably hypocritical given his recent comments in respect of Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid.” We can therefore only wonder how Spurs will go about things if they do eventually sell Berbatov and then meet with resistance from other clubs when they attempt to replace him.
All seeing Fabio
Fabio Capello made an appearance at London store Harvey Nicholls last week to promote a range of spectacles. Before the event got underway, the attending journalists were told that they couldn’t ask the England manager any questions about sport, his private life or politics. It must have been a fascinating evening then for all those who made the effort to go along. Tell me Fabio, are you a titanium frame man or more of a traditionalist? A single vision supporter or fan of bifocals? Wow, I’m excited. In fact I’m off to buy the latest copy of Spectacles Monthly I’m that enthused.
If a man who is generally acknowledged at the best footballer of all time offers you a touch of advice, you’d be a fool not to listen. That’s why Wayne Rooney must take heed of Pele’s words following Manchester United’s pre-season friendly against Kaiser Chiefs. Rooney’s temper, borne out of frustration, got the better of him again and he was replaced with 20 minutes to go after lashing out at one defender then scything down another, a challenge that earned him a booking. Pele says he believes Rooney’s temperament is hampering his development. Good point when you think that in an England shirt, the United forward hasn’t come anywhere near reproducing his form of Euro 2004. There’s been the occasional flash of brilliance but nothing like the game turning displays he was famous for as a precocious 19 year old. Perhaps Wayne should persuade Colleen that a spot of shopping in Sao Paulo is in order so he can pop in and see the great man for a quick chat.
With the new season just a few weeks away I’m sure we are all equally excited about seeing the myriad of new ways that professional footballers can throw themselves to the floor and roll about in agony claiming that they’ve just been a victim of GBH, ABH and wounding with intent. A look across to the world of golf will show what can be achieved injured or not. Tiger Woods prevailed in the US Open despite hobbling around for 4 days with a dicky knee (which later required surgery) while Irishman Padraig Harrington successfully defended his Open title even though his preparations had been badly affected by an injured wrist. You see boys, it is possible.