Suitor shortage for Rooney, says Owen

7 March 2013 13:53

Former Manchester United striker Michael Owen said Wayne Rooney may not have many clubs to choose from should he leave Old Trafford.

The Red Devils forward, who was signed from Everton in 2004, was left on the bench for their Champions League crunch tie with Real Madrid on Tuesday – a match they went on to lose in controversial circumstances.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is looking to get rid of Rooney, who will have two years to run on his current deal in the summer – a predicament Owen believes could prove tricky.

“Sometimes when you’re at the level he is at you don’t have many options,” he told TalkSPORT.

“If you are a mediocre player you have 20 teams in England and aboard that you can move to.

“If Wayne Rooney moves, where does he go to? Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Chelsea and PSG, there’s only half a dozen teams.”

The 33-year-old Owen – now at Stoke – isn’t convinced that Rooney will actually leave the club at all, suggesting he has the attributes needed to bounce back from falling out of first-team favour.

“It’s just speculation though,” he continued. “He’s been dropped for one game and I’m sure he will bounce back.

“Obviously Wayne has got to get his head down now and start recapturing his best form. He’s certainly got the right attitude and ability to get back into the manager’s thoughts.”

Jesus: Inter don´t fear Bale

7 March 2013 13:39

Inter defender Juan Jesus has insisted his side do not fear Tottenham’s Gareth Bale ahead of Thursday’s Europa League encounter.

The Wales international has been in sublime form in the past few months, and has fond memories of Inter as he impressed in his last encounter with the Giuseppe Meazza side.

Nevertheless, Juan is confident that Inter have what it takes to keep the winger quiet this time around.

“He’s a great player who’s playing well. But I don’t believe Inter are afraid of anyone,” the Brazilian defender said at a press conference.

“We want to play our own game and we think we can do it well.”

Juan then went on to underline the importance of Walter Samuel to Inter and stressed that they are feeling the Argentine’s absence.

“He’s a very important player for us, and especially for me. He helped me in many ways when I first came to this team. We hope he comes back soon to continue where he left off.”

Samuel has not featured for Inter since January 6.

Scudamore slams West Ham´s Tevez conduct

7 March 2013 13:36

English Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has hit out at West Ham United for their dishonesty during the Carlos Tevez saga.

The striker moved to Upton Park in August 2006 along with fellow Argentine Javier Mascherano in a transfer that was eventually found to have broken regulations regarding third-party ownership.

The players’ contracts, then partly owned by agent Kia Joorabchian’s business Media Sport Investment, saw the east London club receive only a small portion of the fee when they moved on.

And Scudamore has now blasted the club’s previous executives for lying to him.

“It is quite simple – you are completely undone by an act of bad faith,” he told Bloomberg in a TV interview.

“If a club, through its executives, chooses to lie straight to your face, there is a great deal of damage that can be done from that.

“Ultimately, the Tevez saga goes down to people not being honest. With any regularity body, if people are not honest there is very little you can do about it and that is why the whole thing unravelled.

“It ranks up there as the number one act of bad faith that any club has ever done towards me during my time here. After that, it was dealt with under our rule book and the rest is history.”

Despite West Ham’s five-and-a-half-million-pound fine being labelled lenient in some quarters at the time, Scudamore believes the amount was significant, especially compared to other punishments meted out by governing bodies.

“When you consider what certain Football Associations get fined for racist abuse in Europe, 5.5 million pounds is a huge fine,” he said.

“Our rules say that if you break them then a commission hears the case and decides. We are glad English football has stopped these transactions happening.”

Champions League within Juve grasp, says Bonucci

7 March 2013 13:28

Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci believes his side has what it takes to win the Champions League after getting past Celtic.

The Serie A title holders recorded a 5-0 win on aggregate over the Scottish champions to book their quarter-final spot, and Bonucci is optimistic about his side’s chances at European glory.

“The dream continues. Anything’s possible when you get to this stage, you just need a bit of luck to go all the way. There’s little difference between the sides, they’re all very strong,” Bonucci said.

“Celtic looked to get back into the tie with long balls for (Georgios) Samaras, but we handled them well and did well to pounce. And then there’s Gigi (Buffon), who also put in a great performance tonight.”

Bonucci then turned his attention to the title race in Serie A, and stressed Juventus must redirect their attentions to retaining the Scudetto for the time being.

“Catania are next up and we can’t allow ourselves to be distracted. We’ve got a six-point lead in the league, but last year we were seven behind and then managed to win the Scudetto.

“So we’ll go on with a humble and focused approach, against a team who are enjoying a great season.”

Matuidi marvels at Lavezzi influence

7 March 2013 13:23

PSG midfielder Blaise Matuidi praised team-mate Ezequiel Lavezzi in the aftermath of the Argentine’s goal in the Champions League.

The former Napoli star had previously netted in PSG’s 2-1 victory in the first leg over Valencia, thus playing a key role in the Ligue 1 side’s qualification for the quarter-finals of the competition when he scored the equaliser in their 1-1 second leg on Wednesday.

“Lavezzi is an exceptional player and we’re lucky to have him,” Matuidi told the official UEFA website.

However, Matuidi insisted PSG were not a one-man side while conceding they had a difficult evening against Valencia.

“But it’s not just (Lavezzi). We saw against Valencia that we can count on everyone.

“Qualification for the quarter-finals is a great moment for the club. It wasn’t easy. We were up against a very strong Valencia team, but we stuck together, defended well and were clinical on the counterattack.

“We knew that we needed a good performance to go through and we produced one.”

PSG resume match Ligue 1 action on Saturday when they host Nancy.