“Ronaldough” set for a new £150,000-a-week contract

Comment & analysis round-up

Quote of the day: “I don’t think Berbatov treated this club with the respect that we honestly deserved. We put him on the map. I think he’s an outstanding player, but he signed a long-term contract with this club and I think he should have stayed. I had so many conversations with him. He kept saying it was about his ambition to play for Manchester United. It wasn’t a money issue. We offered him a new contract and he wasn’t even interested in discussing it. The reality is, in modern football, the players have all the power. It’s not just relevant to Tottenham: if players anywhere decide as a group they are not going to play well and they want to get someone sacked then, that’s what can happen. But I don’t believe our squad made a concerted effort [to depose Ramos].” – Daniel Levy.

Runner-up: “Roman’s got an interpreter and when I sent him on at half-time, someone said ‘do you want the interpreter to tell him anything?’ and I said ‘yes tell him to just f***ing run about a bit – if you could, if you don’t mind, please’ – honestly, that’s all I said. I wish it had been something more clever, something more tactical but it was ‘just run about’. The translator has probably said to Roman ‘this t****r is just telling you to f***ing run about!’ “People have said Roman and Darren Bent cannot form a partnership – but, listen, we’ve only got three strikers at this club, so they are going to have to be a partnership! It’s all about confidence. I’m going to play golf in the morning and if I hit a crap shot into the bushes, I’ll have a bad round but if I hit one straight down the middle, I’ll be confident – and the luck I’m having, I reckon I’ll win 20 quid off my mate on the golf course. There’s never a dull moment in my life and this week has been amazing, coming in and getting seven points.” – Harry Redknapp.

Today’s overview: We kick off the Sunday round-up with a story close to our hearts, as the News of the World report that there is to be a crackdown on football websites that stream live matches online.

Luke Nicoli reports that the Premier League are threatening legal action against Justin.TV. “Thousands of fans are logging on to the site, co-founded by 24-year-old Yale graduate Justin Kan, to avoid paying subscriptions to British TV companies Sky and Setanta, which hold the exclusive UK rights to show live Premier League matches.”

Reacting to Tottenham’s last-gasp win over Liverpool, Paul Wilson suggests that the club motto should chance from Audere est Facere to “Nessun Dorma perhaps, or, if you must have Latin, Nolite Ante Tempus Discedere (Don’t leave early).”

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But the jokes are on Arsenal following yesterday’s defeat at Stoke, with Rob Smyth commenting that the Gunners’ “centre is so soft that they could be sponsored by Trebor.” Another London club waking up without a sense of humour is Chelsea, Rob Draper reporting how the Blues fired 15 of Chelsea’s 25-strong global scouting network “in the first sign that billionaire owner Roman Abramovich may be losing patience with his club’s towering levels of debt.”

e has not been an influential performer away from Eastlands – an important reason why City’s league record on the road since his arrival reads played three, lost two, drawn one.” While on rivals Manchester United, Steve Tongue reports that the Red Devils “will attempt to prevent Cristiano Ronaldo buying himself out of his current contract and leaving for Real Madrid by offering him an extension to it next summer.” John Richardson and Jeremy Butler add some meat to the Ronaldo-contract story, both claiming that his salary will be raised to £150,000-a-week.

In other footballing news, Jonathan Wilson claims that “Europe’s richest man, Rinat Akhmetov, has turned down the opportunity to buy Portsmouth”, but the news is not all sour with Alan Nixon countering that “super agent Pini Zahavi is putting together a takeover team to buy hard-up Portsmouth – and bring in top talent from around the world.” Chris Bascombe writes that “the Premier League is heading for the biggest winter sale in its history with a staggering 119 stars set to be available on the cheap in January.”

Patrick Barclay reviews Jonathan Wilson’s book on tactics in football reporting “Wilson has done a magnificent job in logging their history. He tells the story on a broad front, dwelling on coaching’s true greats such as Valeriy Lobanovsky, Hugo and Willy Meisl, Arrigo Sacchi and Rinus Michels, contriving to be both scholarly and rivetingly readable throughout.” In a second article Patrick Barclay looks at managemnet structures, writing on Tottenham that “Spurs should not be regarded as having discredited the concept of the director of football. They have just kept doing it badly.”

The Sundays carry a slew of interviews. Duncan Castles interviewed Elano, who spoke about being reunited with Robinho (“During our four years at Santos, Robinho scored 64 goals and I scored 52”), while I used to have a snake called Titan, a boa constrictor… I used to put Titan around my neck and we would watch football on TV. He was never a problem”). Jonathan Wilson spoke with Igor Biscan to talk about his struggles to adapt to the Premier League (“it is easy to forget now just how highly regarded Biscan was when he arrived, his deft touch and stooped gait earning him comparisons with Zinedine Zidane”).

Turning focus onto the continent, Guy Adam notes how US fans are now turning against David Beckham in numbers over his loan move to AC Milan.

he has always had a pied-piper quality”) those who wonder whether Diego Maradona is qualified to run a football team. Given the hair-raising adventures of the 48-year-old to date, I simply wonder whether he is even qualified to be alive. And I wish I was kidding”) .

Keeping with Maradona, Rod Liddle (brilliant article) goes off on a tangent to explain why he doesn’t consider Maradona’s second goal against England as great, in a piece on the super goals scored in the Premier League in midweeek. “Someone should have kicked the cokehead 10 yards up in the air when he was still 50 yards out instead of letting him run more than half the length of the pitch. Tell you the truth, that ‘wonder goal’ annoyed me more than his ‘Hand of God’ goal: he wouldn’t have scored it against the Millwall of that time. He’d have been in Stoke Mandeville with his relatives gathered sadly around the bed before he got near the penalty area.”

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