Europa League Final preview, Wigan relegated, and Bayern don’t want old man Rooney
Quote of the day: “It is not one of those moments to be too sad – it is the opposite. To have eight years at this level is incredible. We have beaten every top club and financially we are in a strong position. As a Wigan fan, it is a time to be proud of what we have achieved. The FA Cup is an achievement we will never lose as a club. It is our first silverware, but it is a real shame it happens in the same season as relegation. You don’t normally get teams good enough to win the cup going down – that is why it is difficult to take. When you walk into the dressing room after this match, it is heartbreaking. But we haven’t been good enough in the defensive area and that is why we have been relegated.” – Wigan manager Roberto Martinez
Runner-up: “In a way, we can always say we’d have liked to have had more stability, but we always seem to get a trophy. Our fans may say, ‘Yes, we’d like to see more stability, but we’d rather have the cups’. It’s very hard to choose. The ideal situation is the Manchester United scenario where you have the same manager and you win a large number of trophies. That is the ideal situation. But we seem to prove all these things wrong.” – Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech
Europa League Final: Chelsea v Benfica
Lampard: Cup win can define a troubled season (Daniel Taylor, The Guardian) The Europa League might seem like a downgrade on the trophy they won in Munich a year ago but it does represents a chance to end a chaotic season on a high and, even if it is only for 10 days, there is the opportunity to become the first team to hold both of Uefa’s biggest club prizes simultaneously.
Chelsea team Jose built yet to lose the winning habit (Sam Wallace, The Independent) Decadent? Wasteful? Profligate? Chelsea have been all of those things at times but, amid the sky-high compensation deals for sacked managers and the market-busting wages, they have undoubtedly built teams which are more than just a bunch of overpaid mercenaries. They have recovered from the sacking of a manager, or a dressing-room meltdown, too many times to be written off as a team with no soul.
FA Cup Champions Wigan Relegated
Wigan’s belief fails to do the job – but there was still pride (Sachin Nakrani, The Guardian) Relegation has, in truth, seemed inevitable ever since their pre-Wembley capitulation against Swansea, and Roberto Martínez’s men arrived at a north London arena for the second time in four days, but this time requiring a victory to stand any realistic chance of surviving. They were defeated, however, and now head into Sunday’s match against Aston Villa, which had the potential to be a blockbuster of a last-day relegation battle, as unwanted history makers: the first FA Cup winners to lose their top-flight status in the same season.
Wigan Athletic’s spell on English football finally broken (Ben Rumsby, The Telegraph) Eight years of punching above their weight on and off the field, culminating in Saturday’s fairytale FA Cup triumph, finally caught up with the team Dave Whelan built on Tuesday night. And while few will mourn their relegation, the top flight lost something, something not even Cardiff, Hull, Watford or Crystal Palace can replace.
Bayern Nip Rooney Bid in the Bud
Bayern Munich: Wayne Rooney is of no interest to us (Barney Ronay, The Guardian) Whether there ever was any contact from Rooney’s side is also open to question. The suggestion is that his representatives may simply have made known his general availability to Europe’s top clubs. But it is still another avenue closed down among a shrinking roster of clubs with the fiscal muscle, let alone the willingness, to take on Rooney’s £250,000-a-week salary and £40m valuation: silly money, by any sensible measure, for a player who was dropped for United’s biggest game of the season against Real Madrid.
Rio Retires From Three Lions
Rio Ferdinand retires from international football (Nick Pearce, The Telegraph)