Suspension of belief
‘Messi sentenced to 21 months’ jail for £3.4m tax fraud’ – Daily Telegraph (newspaper version).
‘Lionel Messi sentenced to 21 months in prison after being found guilty of tax fraud’ – Daily Telegraph (online version).
‘Lionel Messi sentenced to 21 months in jail for tax fraud’ – The Independent.
‘Messi given 21-month sentence for fraud’ – Daily Mail.
‘Messi given 21-month jail sentence’ – Sky Sports.
Mediawatch cannot think why the above outlets would willingly not include the word ‘suspended’ – a word of incredible importance in this context – in their headlines at all.
James Chester, much like many of his Wales teammates, enjoyed an excellent Euro 2016 campaign before their semi-final exit at the hands of Portugal on Wednesday. But the West Brom central defender understandably found it rather difficult to deal with the particular talents of one Cristiano Ronaldo in Lyon.
‘Lost Ronaldo for opener and his clearance contributed to Nani netting,’ wrote James Nursey in his player ratings piece for the Daily Mirror. Chester was given a five – the lowest mark of any player, along with Joe Allen.
Paul Brown noted that the defender was ‘outjumped by Real Madrid superstar Ronaldo’ before also giving him a five out of ten for the Daily Star.
Alan Smith of The Guardian joins the majority view of awarding Chester a five, stating that he was ‘comfortable in the first half but it went wrong after the interval’.
You may already know where this is heading, but The Sun provide the voice of dissension among the ranks. In their Euro dream team ratings – ‘compiled using Opta data’, of course – Chester is given a seven out of 10 – the joint-highest of any Wales player, with only Cedric Soares, Bruno Alves, Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani scoring higher.
All together now: Just what are they doing with that Opta data?
Same game, different opinions
Elsewhere in the player ratings from the national newspapers:
* Renato Sanches both ‘underlined his promise before being subbed’ (Nursey, Mirror) and ‘faded rapidly’ (Smith, Guardian).
* Hal Robson-Kanu was ‘flowing with confidence (Gary Jacob, The Times), ‘gave the back four plenty to think about’ (Ian Winrow, Daily Express) and ‘was largely anonymous’ (Luke Edwards, Daily Telegraph).
* Bruno Alves both ‘looked off the pace’ (Edwards, Telegraph) and ‘justified his recall to the starting line-up with a solid display’ (Nursey, Mirror).
* Joe Allen ‘looked nervous and unusually poor in possession (Edwards, Telegraph), but ‘delivered a controlled display’ (Jacobs, Times) and ‘kept things ticking over’ (Laurie Whitwell, Daily Mail).
* Gareth Bale both ‘eventually got going 20 minutes in’ (Neil Ashton, The Sun) and looked ‘lively from the off’ (Smith, Guardian).
James Collins headlocked Cristiano Ronaldo on Wednesday. It was defended in a typical manner by the pundits on ITV – “it’s the Italian style”, “if you give that you’re giving 20 penalties a match” – but Mediawatch was particularly interested in what resident refereeing expert Howard Webb had to say. Take it away, Howard:
“That’s an illegal move from Collins on Ronaldo..”
Good start. So the referee got the call wrong, Howard?
“…but the ref I think has just about got this one right.”
So, to clarify: Collins performed “an illegal move” on his opponent in the penalty area, but the referee “just about got this one right” by not awarding a spot kick?
“In games of this magnitude referees want to be certain before they give a decision,” he added. A reminder here that Webb was the referee at the 2010 World Cup final, where his ‘certainty’ decided that a kung-fu kick to the chest – a slightly “illegal move” – was deserving only of a yellow card.
Harry Redknapp played a starring role in Mediawatch on Wednesday, attempting to claim some sort of convoluted credit for Wales’ Euro 2016 campaign. Because obviously.
Well, our resident ‘I’d take the England job, but they’d never consider me’ merchant reprises his role on Thursday. His London Evening Standard column is a delight.
For example, few people would get away with calling Cristiano Ronaldo ‘the guvnor’. Redknapp scoffs at those people. ‘Whatever way you look at it, Cristiano Ronaldo is still the guvnor at Real Madrid,’ he writes in his weekly column.
It is a staunch defence of the Portuguese, particularly in the face of those who call him ‘arrogant’. ‘He can’t help being 6ft 1in with a physique like you’ve never seen, pulling the best-looking women in the world. That’s not a failing, is it?’ Redknapp asks.
The article even includes an anecdote involving his wife, Sandra, and how he met the forward at a hotel in Sardinia. ‘I spoke to him most mornings at breakfast,’ Redknapp writes.
Before long, Redknapp settles on one of his favourite subjects: Gareth Bale. The Welshman ‘is a monster of a player, and a lovely boy too,’ apparently. Well alright then.
‘Gareth has so much ability he would have been the best left-back had he continued to play there,’ he adds.
If only you hadn’t penned that autobiography, Harry. In ‘Always Managing: My Autobiography’, the former Tottenham manager claims that ‘Gareth seemed too soft to be a defender so we decided to try him further forward’. That doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement for ‘the best left-back’.
‘Wales may have been eclipsed, but Gareth Bale was still brilliant,’ writes Dominic Fifield, stating a case for the Welshman to be named Player of the Tournament in The Guardian. Whether you disagree or not, it is not a preposterous opinion.
Mediawatch must question the following from Fifield however: ‘The manner in which [Bale] shrugged off the man-mountain Danilo reflected Bale’s strength and confidence.’
Danilo is 6ft 2ins, two inches taller than Bale. He’s a big lad, but a ‘man-mountain’? What on earth does that make Wayne Hennessey?
I’m sorry Ms. Jackson
Twitter is a quite wonderful place. It is full of whimsical transfer rumours, mindless debates and Victor Wanyama either eating spaghetti and enjoying it or watching a horror movie before throwing it in the bin.
However, there are times when, in between Paul Pogba ‘agreeing’ numerous deals, something catches the eye. Jamie Jackson of The Guardian provided that something on Thursday morning.
Rooney at 30 deemed too old by some for No9, Ibrahimovic at 34 not…
— jamie jackson (@JamieJackson___) July 7, 2016
Oh, Jamie. Jamie, Jamie, Jamie. Rooney at 30 is not “deemed too old by some”, he’s deemed too, well, sh*t by most. The difference between the Manchester United captain and Zlatan Ibrahimovic is four years in age, but light years in quality. According to majority opinion, anyway.
Of course, this is not the first time Jackson has revealed his true feelings for Rooney. In October, he published a piece in The Guardian stating that the 30-year-old ‘should be able to surpass’ Alan Shearer’s Premier League goalscoring record. After his brief soiree in midfield, he requires 67 goals to match that total. In the past five seasons as a guaranteed starter, he has managed 76 league goals. The first season in that sequence, 2011/12, was the most productive in his career, generating 27 goals. It is difficult to envisage Rooney matching Shearer at this stage.
But that did not prevent Jackson from describing Rooney as ‘a golden goalscorer but always a team player’, ‘the archetypal total footballer’ and a man who ‘has operated in every midfield position and attack’. It must be love.
You just don’t understand
‘Liverpool have opened contract talks with Jurgen Klopp less than nine months after he took over as manager as the club look to secure him to a long-term deal’ – The Times.
‘Liverpool have offered Jurgen Klopp a new contract that would tie his long-term future to Anfield’ – Daily Express.
‘Liverpool’s owners have opened talks with Jurgen Klopp over a new contract’ – Daily Mail.
‘Jurgen Klopp has been offered a new long-term contract by Liverpool after just nine months at Anfield’ – Daily Mirror.
‘Liverpool have opened contract extension talks with boss Jurgen Klopp’ – Daily Star.
‘Liverpool have opened contract talks with Jurgen Klopp and hope to convince their German manager to agree new terms before the start of the season’ – Daily Telegraph.
Six newspapers, all reporting the same story, none of them as ‘exclusive’ or ‘according to reports’, such is the consensus surrounding the news. Until…
‘Liverpool’s owners have approached Jurgen Klopp about extending his contract, Sky Sports News HQ understands’
Thank you for your ‘understanding’.
Worst headline of the day
Spurs need £25m to make a Wij – Why indeed, Daily Mirror?
Recommended reading of the day
Amy Lawrence on France’s resurgence.
Raphael Honigstein on Joachim Low’s selection dilemma.
Toke Theilade on Igor Netto.