‘Cristiano Ronaldo could not resist a dig at rival Lionel Messi as he was named the best player in the world at a glittering FIFA awards ceremony last night.’
Well, this sounds pretty good from the Daily Mail. Messi did not attend the ceremony of course, so what was Ronaldo’s ‘dig’? Did he point out his rival’s lack of international honours? Did he laugh at Messi’s paltry 25 goals in 22 games this season? Did he call his rival a sh*thouse?
“I would’ve liked Messi and his teammates to have been here but they have a cup game, so it’s understandable.”
Scathing. It would be a surprise if Messi can overcome that psychological blow to play said cup game.
If you were in any doubt that 2016 was one of Jose Mourinho’s worst calendar years as a football manager, Monday evening provided definite proof: He did not make Duncan Castles’ best three managers of the year. And if you really believe that this is due to the fact Mourinho was not actually shortlisted, then you underestimate the love of Duncan Castles.
It seems that Goal.com noted something similar from said vote, which was won by Claudio Ranieri. ‘Mourinho and Wenger receive ZERO votes for FIFA Best Coach of the Year,’ reads the headline to their story on Tuesday.
What is not mentioned is the aforementioned – that neither Mourinho nor Wenger were actually shortlisted for the award. It would be a bigger story if someone did vote for them.
Ask a convoluted question…
Mediawatch has to wonder whether Stan Collymore understood the difference between ‘hypothetical’ and realistic’ as he penned his weekly column for the Daily Mirror. He begins by posing the following question to Arsenal fans:
‘Do you want Mesut Ozil to stay beyond this season if it means Arsene Wenger remaining as well, or do you sacrifice Ozil if it means Wenger going and Diego Simeone coming in instead?’
Firstly, does Simeone himself not get a say? Stop constructing the straw man for a minute, and ponder whether Simeone, a man who has made no secret of his desire to join Inter Milan in the future, actually wants to become Arsenal manager at any point, never mind in the summer. The Mirror are surely aware the Atletico Madrid manager’s ‘preferred destination’ is Italy; they said so themselves in December.
But back to Collymore, who follows said question with over 600 words explaining why he would ‘let Ozil go and bring in Simeone in a heartbeat’. Because it is, of course, that simple.
Ozil’s recent quotes, where the German stated he would wait for Wenger to sign a new deal before agreeing to do the same, have left Collymore bewildered. ‘I thought Ozil’s comments were strange,’ he writes – although he does add the following:
‘Don’t get me wrong, I know that a manager will often be part of the reason a player signs for a club.
‘When I went to Leicester, Martin O’Neill was a massive factor and when he left and Peter Taylor came in I never felt the same.
‘I actually spoke to Martin to see if there was an opportunity to follow him to Celtic, so it would be remiss of me to castigate Ozil for wanting to play for the Frenchman.
‘But I knew I’d win trophies at Celtic and Ozil knows that if Arsenal stick with Wenger for the next two years then they, nor he, have a cat in hell’s chance of winning the Premier League.’
Is that it? Are we ruling Arsenal out of winning the Premier League over the next two years? Collymore tipped Arsenal to finish third in December, close behind Manchester City and Chelsea. They are currently eight points off top spot. Mediawatch does not believe they will win the league this season, but ‘not a cat in hell’s chance’ either this and next campaign seems a bit excessive.
The column eventually finds its way back to Ozil’s recent comments on his future:
‘If Ozil was really there for the winning and he’d been asked the same question, there would only have been one answer: “I’ll stay for as long as we’re competitive and challenging for the biggest prizes.”’
Arsenal are fifth in the Premier League table, one point behind fourth and third, three points behind second and eight points behind first. They are in the fourth round of the FA Cup. They are in the knock-out stages of the Champions League. They are competitive and challenging for the biggest prizes.
Friend or Defoe
‘I can’t understand why none of the top six clubs aren’t offering Sunderland £15million to sign Jermain Defoe.’
Because he’s 34. Because none of them need a back-up striker. Because he’d probably cost more than £15million. We won’t go on.
‘Southampton have struggled to score since Charlie Austin has been out…’
Southampton goals in all competitions when Charlie Austin has played this season: 21 in 19 games.
Southampton goals in all competitions when Charlie Austin has not played this season: 11 in 10 games.
Perhaps Austin being out isn’t the problem.
The Sun have some massive news for us at Tuesday lunchtime. The floor is yours, Fred Nathan:
‘Manchester United star Paul Pogba gets his Italian takeaway delivered to his car while glum flop Memphis Depay meets pals for lunch’
This is the big one, folks. This is huge. Will football ever be the same again? Will we?
‘It was a tale of two Manchester United footballers today, as a relaxed Paul Pogba got some takeaway while wantaway Memphis Depay looked glum.’
Show Mediawatch a better first paragraph to a football story, and Mediawatch will show you a bare-faced liar.
We know what you’re thinking: What takeaway did Paul Pogba get? Well, don’t worry. Here is the scoop:
‘And driving an Audi to Piccolino Restaurant in the Manchester suburb of Hale, he sent one of his mates in to get takeaway while he poked his head out of the drivers’ seat.’
Perhaps he was wondering why someone was taking a picture of him while he was in conversation with someone. Perhaps.
But the next line is perhaps the greatest ever written.
‘He was chatting to the waitress, who clutched some money in her hand – presumably the French international or his pal paying her.’
Presumably, yes. Either that or she just loves randomly carrying money around in her hand.
Ah, but you forgot about ‘glum flop’ Memphis Depay, didn’t you? Fear not; Fred Nathan never forgets about a man who drives an expensive car.
‘Meanwhile, across town, outcast Dutchman Memphis Depay, with his much flashier £250,000 Rolls Royce and all-beige attire, looked extremely glum as he went about his business.’
The only thing such a groundbreaking piece of journalism is missing is a ‘Twitter reacts’ story. The day is still young, mind…
David Woods has a juicy exclusive in the Daily Star, and it concerns both Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.
‘Arsenal concerned Sanchez and Ozil won’t sign deals – duo could leave in summer,’ reads the headline, which doesn’t look all that exclusive. Numerous outlets have reported numerous similar stories over the past few months on Arsenal’s supposed ‘concerns’.
Let’s take a look at what’s actually said:
‘While striker Olivier Giroud confirmed yesterday he is close to committing himself to the club, Starsport understands talks with Ozil and Sanchez are stalling.
‘The pair are understood to be citing the £290,000 a week paid to Manchester United’s Paul Pogba as an indicator of the money they want.
‘That is more than double their current wages, and the feeling around the Gunners camp is the duo could be on their way in the summer.’
So is the exclusive that Ozil and Sanchez want ‘wage parity’ with Paul Pogba? It can’t be; that was reported in December.
On second thoughts, we know what the exclusive is: that Arsenal are ‘increasingly concerned’. They were only ‘concerned’ before, you see.
Get your Phil
December 26: Liverpool transfer news and rumours: Paris Saint-Germain plotting £40million Philippe Coutinho swoop?’ – Daily Mirror.
January 10: ‘”He’s our player, that is it” – Klopp tells Barca to forget £60m Kop star Coutinho’ – Daily Mirror.
In just 15 days, Coutinho’s valuation has rocketed by £20million. Ignore the fact that he hasn’t actually played since November and it makes perfect sense.
Pass the source
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) January 10, 2017
One minute later…
— Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) January 10, 2017
‘How the final Premier League table will look – according to a leading spread betting firm’
The Daily Star have done the maths – or someone has done the maths for them – and they’ve put it into a gallery format for lovely clicks.
But what will the ‘final Premier League’ look like? Well, Hull, Sunderland and Swansea comprise the bottom three. Manchester United finish sixth. Arsenal claim fifth. Chelsea win the title ahead of Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham.
That doesn’t sound all that dissimilar to, you know, the actual Premier League table. Funny, that.
Recommended reading of the day
Paul Campbell on English managers.
James Tyler and Nick Miller debate over a 48-team World Cup.
Adam Bate and Rob Mackenzie on Toby Alderweireld and scouting.