Dein backs Brazilian explosion

Former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein believes the Brazilian Serie A will become a huge commercial success in the coming years.

Dein feels that the 2014 FIFA World Cup will help the Brazilian league promote itself globally

“The Brazilian league, the Serie A, is really coming up,” Dein said.

“It’s gone up from 10 years ago, where there was only an average crowd of 11,000. The attendances are (now) growing rapidly and on the back of the World Cup, if they have … and I’m sure they will have a successful World Cup, anything could happen. It will open the doors.”

“Half of the problem is that their best products, their best players, are playing abroad. Their trick is to keep their best players.”

“If they can keep Neymar, Ganzo, Lucas and others here in Brazil they may be able to now because, all of a sudden, they’ve had an explosion in their television money, which is much more than there ever used to be.”

“They’ve got a tax advantage, they pay 27% tax compared to our taxes of 50% on the players.”

“They’ve got a fair chance now of keeping the talent, and if they do manage to keep the talent in Brazil, anything can happen.”

Wed 30 November, 2011
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Pain in the past for Robben

Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben is hoping his wretched run of injuries is now behind him.

The 27-year-old returned to action against Borussia Dortmund last Saturday after a frustrating spell which saw him struggle with a hernia injury before being sidelined with a pubic bone problem.

Robben spent much of the last year playing with the injury, causing him a considerable amount of discomfort.

“I’ve had pain three months from the start of the competition,” the former Chelsea and Real Madrid man told Voetbal International.

“This was a pubic bone inflammation, a complicated injury and the worst injury I ever had. No idea how it was created; it can happen to anyone.”

Robben is now hoping to get back to his best as quickly as possible, though he hopes that Bayern’s fans appreciate that they will need to be patient with him.

“It will take time to get back to my old level,” he said. “I need to establish some rhythm and that is only done through minutes (on the field).”

“Physically, I will get better, (but) above all, I must have confidence in my body to recover.”

Robben arrived in Munich from Madrid two seasons ago and has since established himself as a crowd favourite at the Allianz Arena, having played a key role in the club’s progression to the 2009-10 Champions League final.

Wed 30 November, 2011
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Jagielka: Fans helped us fight back

Defender Phil Jagielka has credited Everton’s loyal fans for fuelling the club’s recovery from a slow start this season.

After a confident win over Bolton, which was watched by 5,000 travelling Everton fans, Jagielka believes the Merseyside club will be able to string together a good sequence of results and climb the table with the support the fans are providing.

The defender told EvertonTV about the edge the fans support gave them at the Reebok Stadium: “The supporters were fantastic, they always are, especially in the local away games – they always come in their thousands.”

“That was obviously off the back of another good showing the week before (against Wolves) and we are all looking forward to the next game against Stoke.”

As well as the fans, Jagielka praised the recent performances of his team-mates, in particular those of goalkeeper Tim Howard and left-back Leighton Baines.

“Tim Howard and I have a good friendship, having played together for a number of years now,” he said.

“I always try and back him up and make his job as easy as possible and vice versa. There was a save (against Bolton) when we were 1-0 up and I wouldn’t say it turned the game but it certainly kept our momentum going.”

“Bainesy was terrific again and had he shot a foot lower or passed a yard the other way he could easily have got another goal and assist.”

“He has been fantastic for us with his set-pieces and his all-round play. At Bolton he was like another left winger.”

Wed 30 November, 2011
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Sunderland sack manager Bruce

Premier League club Sunderland have decided to part company with manager Steve Bruce.

Bruce had come under increasing pressure after Sunderland’s poor start to the season was compounded by a 2-1 home defeat against Wigan last weekend.

A statement from club chairman Ellis Short read: “This has been a difficult time for everyone at Sunderland and is not a situation that any of us envisaged or expected to be in.”

“It is my job as chairman to act in the best interests of our football club at all times and I can assure everyone that this is not a decision that I have taken lightly. Sadly results this season have simply not been good enough and I feel the time is right to make a change.”

“Steve has acted with honesty and integrity throughout, which is testament to the character and commitment he has shown during his time at Sunderland.”

“I would like to personally place on record my thanks to him for his significant contribution to our football club over the past two and a half years and everyone here at Sunderland naturally wishes him the very best for the future.”

“I would also like to thank our fans, who have endured a trying start to the season. Their support continues to be the driving force behind our club and is vital as we now look to the future.”

Assistant manager Eric Black will take charge of the first team until the club appoints Bruce’s replacement.

Former Birmingham and Wigan manager Bruce joined Sunderland in 2009 and led the Black Cats to 10th and 13th-place finishes in the Premier League during his only two full seasons in charge at the Stadium of Light.

He becomes the first manager to be sacked in the English top flight this season.

Wed 30 November, 2011
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Loan move on the cards for Macheda

Federico Macheda has discussed a loan move away from Manchester United with Sir Alex Ferguson and claims offers are already on the table.

The Italian has struggled to gain a foothold in Ferguson’s plans this season, with injuries and the form of his attacking competition making it difficult for the 20-year-old to make a big enough impression on the Scot.

Macheda had a disappointing spell at Sampdoria last season which dampened his view of loan deals slightly, but the striker did not ruled out the possibility of a temporary move whilst stressing his loyalty to the Red Devils.

“An assignment on loan in January? We have opportunities, but I definitely won’t be going back to Italy,” Macheda told Tuttomercatoweb.

“I would like to play in England, today and tomorrow, because I want my future to be at Manchester United.”

“There are proposals from the Premier League, we are evaluating them and we’ll make our choices when the time comes.”

Macheda has fallen down the attacking pecking order at Old Trafford, and has seen fellow youth graduate Danny Welbeck rise above him with an impressive start to this season.

But the Italian understands the level of competition up front for such an attacking side, adding: “My situation at United? We have many strikers and it is complicated, but I understand the situation.”

“Welbeck has exploded, I was injured for a month and I only came back for 10 minutes on Saturday against Newcastle.”

“Welbeck is a great player and a very good person. I have played alongside him since I was 16 and we were in the youth teams together.”

“I am tipping him to be a big star in the future. I also believe I am capable of matching him because, despite some criticism, I am still only 20 years old.”

Wed 30 November, 2011
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Alves defend Pique booking

Barcelona full-back Daniel Alves has rubbished claims team-mate Gerard Pique deliberately picked up a yellow card against Rayo Vallecano.

Pique was handed a caution for time-wasting during the closing stages of the 4-0 win at Camp Nou on Tuesday, taking his tally to five for the season, thus ruling him out of this weekend’s clash with Levante.

However, there have been claims the defender got himself cautioned deliberately so that he would not run the risk of missing the December 10 meeting with La Liga leaders Real Madrid. Should Pique be found guilty of that charge, he would pick up a two-game ban.

Alves, though, is in no doubt that his team-mate has done nothing untoward and believes that the incident is being blown out of proportion.

“Once again everyone is looking at Barcelona very closely, everything we do is frowned upon,” Alves told Marca.

“We have to focus on ourselves and ignore the comments from outside which are trying to destabilise (us).”

Alves was more happy to focus on the performance of Alexis Sanchez against Rayo, with the off-season signing from Udinese scoring twice in one of his most impressive outings to date for Barca.

“I am very happy for him,” Alves said. “(He) works well, has been quite successful in front of goal and ultimately was able to score two goals.”

Wed 30 November, 2011
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Elm flattered by Man Utd link

Swedish midfielder Rasmus Elm says he is flattered by reports linking him with a move to Manchester United in January.

The 23-year-old impressed during his national side’s friendly against England which resulted in a 2-1 defeat, but saw the AZ wing man causing keeper Joe Hart problems with a clever corner.

His performance reportedly caught the eye of Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who will be looking to bring in cover for injured Brazilian midfielder Anderson.

“You have to take rumours for what they are, but it is obviously flattering if there is some truth in it,” Elm told Sportbladet.

“I don’t close the door to any league. But the most important thing is to develop here and do as well as I can in Holland.”

The Swede could also be a possible replacement for Antonio Valencia, who has slipped through the ranks at Old Trafford behind the likes of Ashley Young and Nani.

Wed 30 November, 2011
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Coppa Italia: Cesena 3 Gubbio 0

Serie A strugglers Cesena won their way into the last 16 of the Coppa Italia with a 3-0 win over Gubbio on Wednesday.

Daniele Arrigoni’s side lie second-from-bottom in Serie A and have won just twice in the league this season.

But both of those wins came in the build-up to Wednesday’s match and they made it three successive victories with their comfortable win over the Serie B outfit.

Albanian attacker Erjon Bogdani scored an 11th-minute penalty for the hosts at Stadio Dino Manuzzi before French defender Yohan Benalouane doubled the lead with 22 minutes to play.

Antonio Candreva added a stoppage-time goal as Cesena booked a meeting with Napoli in the round of 16.

Wed 30 November, 2011
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FIFA aim to tackle corruption

A number of radical proposals to fight corruption and conflict of interest concerns in FIFA’s handling of World Cup bids have been announced.

Mark Pieth, who has been appointed to chair FIFA’s independent governance committee, put forward a number of proposals aimed at radically changing the way in which the organisation is run during a press conference in Zurich on Wednesday.

Pieth, a professor in criminal law at the University of Basel, admitted that some of his recommendations are unlikely to be well received.

Indeed, he has announced that the power of FIFA president Sepp Blatter should be limited and advocated the appointment of independent members to the executive committee.

Pieth also stated that strict anti-corruption measures are required regarding officials and the World Cup voting process.

“We are talking about serious stuff here,” he told reports in Zurich. “Not everyone will like this.”

“I’m not too worried about it because to some extent this is a process. We are trying to change something, but of course there’s a bottom line: if we are seriously unhappy I can say, ‘this is it, I’ve had it.'”

Pieth’s appointment came in the wake of widespread concern over the fairness and legitimacy of the voting process which led to Russia and Qatar being awarded the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, respectively.

Wed 30 November, 2011
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Pulis issues rallying cry to Stoke fans

Tony Pulis believes the Stoke City fans can make the difference in the club’s Europa League tie against Dynamo Kiev on Thursday.

After collecting 10 points from their four group matches, Pulis’ side need just a point to qualify to the next round of the competition with two games remaining.

Pulis is eager to wrap up qualification as soon as possible and has sought out the help of the Britannia Stadium faithful to help in their home match against the Ukrainians.

“We’re hoping that there will be a full house roaring us on and we’ll need the backing of our supporters more than ever to help us get over the line,” Pulis said.

“In many ways, this is a cup final for both sides. We need a point to qualify and they will be desperate to get a result to keep their hopes alive.”

“We want to get the job done in this match. The results we have had in this competition so far have put us in a strong position to qualify and we will do everything we possibly can to win the game if we can, but we know there is a big job in front of us.”

Even though Stoke are sitting at the top of Group E, it has not been easy, and they had to come from a goal behind in order to seal a 2-1 win against Besiktas.

Pulis is taking this experience on board and is not expecting an easy ride from the match against Kiev, after praising the ability that the Ukrainian side possess in their ranks.

“We’re going to have to be patient, both the players and supporters,” he said.

“Kiev have players who are technically very gifted; they have the ability to keep the ball for long periods. So they will have long spells in the game when they are in possession.”

“This will be as tough, if not tougher than Besiktas, and that one was tough. It’s a massive, massive game for us and we have to approach it in the right manner.”

Wed 30 November, 2011
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