Fabregas admits he spoke with Real Madrid

Arsenal star Cesc Fabregas has conceded he spoke on the phone with former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon.

“It’s true the president of Real Madrid called me personally – we spoke on the phone,” Fabregas admitted in El Mundo. “But I never gave him my word that I was going to sign for Real Madrid. He asked about my progress and that was it.

“I have not given him nor anyone else the expectation that I will join them. The same goes for anyone who represents me. I am a person of my work and I can assure you that I have never given any club reason to believe that I would leave Arsenal”.

Tue 31 March, 2009
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Ronaldo still looking for the quintuple

Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo is backing his team-mates to put their recent setbacks behind them and go on to claim the quintuple.

“All the guys have to continue playing like we know we can,” Ronaldo told Zoo magazine. “We can’t relax. I know I don’t like to. I’ve a long road ahead of me and I want to be in this position, winning awards and trophies while I can”.

“Every game is important because if we win, it improves our confidence. I’m at a club that guarantees trophies and that makes me happy. When we compete for a cup, we know we can win it”.

Tue 31 March, 2009
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Milan, Ancelotti: I have no reason to leave

There are rumours that current Milan technical director Leonardo could take charge but Carlo Ancelotti is adamant he will stay on board.

“I have yet to find a good reason to leave Milan – Ancelotti admitted to La Gazzetta dello Sport -. I feel good here and I will stay for a long time. I wish to remain at Milan but I have always stressed that it takes two to keep going”.

“I am ready to do it, as long as we secure third place and get into the Champions League. I repeat, my objective is to manage Milan next season.”

Tue 31 March, 2009
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Arsenal, Adebayor: Injuries cost us

Emmanuel Adebayor insists Arsenal could have mounted a serious assault on the Premier League title had injuries not crippled Arsene Wenger’s squad.

“Most of our players have been injured. We have missed Eduardo for several months, Tomas Rosicky for about a year, Theo Walcott for three or four months, Cesc Fabregas for almost six months and I have also been injured for two or three weeks,” he told Fifa’s official website.

“If Manchester United had to do without Ronaldo, Rooney, Giggs, Berbatov and Nani, they would not have the same team as they have now – they would not be winning every game.

Tue 31 March, 2009
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Ferguson warns: Watch out for Barca

Alex Ferguson has already got his eye on a Champions League showdown with Barcelona. “Their first-half performance against Lyon in the second leg of the first knock-out round [which they won 5-2 at the Nou Camp] was absolutely brilliant. They were four up in no time”, the Sun reported Ferguson said.

“They can be a threat to anybody and are quite rightly one of the favourites.”

Fergie said: “I’m not sure they have improved a lot from when we played them last season but they have had a better defensive record since Guardiola took over as coach last year”.

Tue 31 March, 2009
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Milan, Abbiati out of action for six months

AC Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati will be out of action for five to six months following surgery on his cruciate knee ligament, his club has revealed. Abbiati injured his knee two weeks ago in Milan’s 5-1 victory at Siena, after which he was replaced by Brazilian Dida.

Milan said on their official website that the operation had been a complete success, but not only is Abbiati’s season over, he will also miss the beginning of the next campaign. In Dida, though, Milan have a player who was their first-choice goalkeeper for over five seasons.

He had not played in Serie A this season until Abbiati’s injury, but had kept goal in all Milan’s UEFA Cup and Coppa Italia matches.

Tue 31 March, 2009
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Spain, Torres: Turkey have a great team

Fernando Torres has warned European champions Spain to beware of a Turkish backlash on Wednesday, when the two sides meet in a 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa qualifier.

Spain lead with a perfect 15 points, but Torres says this is no time for complacency. “We must be humble in taking on any rival and all the more so with Turkey as they have a great team,” said the Liverpool striker.

“They made things tough for us last Saturday and they will do all the more so on Wednesday”.

Tue 31 March, 2009
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Italy, Lippi: Trap is a point of reference

Italy coach Marcello Lippi will face the man who has been “a point of reference for his generation” as the Azzurri look to beat Giovanni Trapattoni’s Republic of Ireland in Bari on Wednesday to take a five-point lead in Fifa World Cup qualifying Group 8.

“He is absolutely the man with the biggest experience in Italian sport, a point of reference for coaches of my generation,” said Lippi of the trainer who preceded him on the bench at Juventus, FC Internazionale Milano and Italy. “I’m very pleased to see him working with this kind of enthusiasm. I hope to be like that in ten years when I’m 70. I hope to have the same motivation and enthusiasm as Trap”, Uefa.com reported.

Tue 31 March, 2009
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Le Mans: Pelé confirms his England desires

Yohann Pelé has reaffirmed his desire to move to England when he leaves Le Mans this summer, though the highly-rated goalkeeper has hinted he may be tempted to stay in Ligue 1.

“England is a country which lives and breathes football,” said Pelé, who is currently in his tenth season at Le Mans. “The stadiums are full, and the game is played end-to-end. I know that scouts have already been to watch me, but I’m not closing any doors.”

Portsmouth, Everton and Blackburn have all been linked to Pelé, but he acknowledged that joining Laurent Blanc at Bordeaux is also an attractive proposition.

Tue 31 March, 2009
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Gignac is ready to give it all for France

Toulouse striker André-Pierre Gignac could make his international debut against Lithuania on Wednesday after being passed fit to play.

“I”ve scored quite a lot of goals this season coming inside onto my right foot after making a run down the left,” acknowledged Gignac, who could also be an alternative to Henry in a more central role. “That’s why the coach said I was a forward who gives width.

“My principle quality is the generosity I have for the team. I don’t hold anything back.”

Tue 31 March, 2009
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