Pulis hits out over referee treatment

13 December 2012 14:19

Stoke manager Tony Pulis has launched a scathing attack on referees as he feels his side are being treated differently to other teams.

Pulis has complained to referees chief Mike Riley about the situation as he believes that officials are approaching games involving his team with judgmental thoughts on their style of play, citing his side’s position at the bottom of the fair play league as further evidence of this.

At the weekend, Stoke were stunned at the dismissal of Ryan Shotton for two seemingly harsh bookings, while Aston Villa’s Ciaran Clark escaped being given his marching orders after a poor challenge on Glenn Whelan in the 0-0 draw.

“I have spoken to Mike Riley this week. I find the whole situation disappointing week after week,” he told The Stoke Sentinel.

“Look at the incidents where our players are being booked or sent off, then compare them with similar incidents involving others that are going unpunished. There was the Clark one on Glenn at Villa.

“All we have ever asked is to be treated the same as everyone else, but there are preconceptions about us that are unfair.”

The subject of diving has also reared its head once more in recent weeks, after Santi Cazorla tumbled to win a penalty for Arsenal against West Brom and Pulis believes more can be done to clamp down on it, despite insisting only an elite group can have their say.

He added: “It won’t come from Tony Pulis or West Brom manager Steve Clarke. It will be interesting to see what Arsene Wenger and others will make of it because they are the ones who have power in football.

“You have to ban these players for three games and then they will soon stop diving.”

´Unique´ Messi is best, says Mascherano

13 December 2012 14:13

Javier Mascherano feels Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi is the best player the world has ever seen following his 2012 exploits.

Messi broke Gerd Muller’s long-standing record of 85 goals in one calendar year in the La Liga match against Real Betis at the weekend, and added two more strikes to his tally in the 2-0 Copa del Rey win over Cordoba on Wednesday.

“Messi is unique, he’s the best player in the history of the sport. The numbers say so,” Mascherano told the club’s official website.

“We’re talking about 88 goals as if it were normal – what he’s done is incredible. Messi has been touched by a magic wand.”

Mascherano also briefly discussed the Blaugrana’s 2-0 win over Cordoba, and stressed the two-leg Copa del Rey tie is not over just yet.

“We have a good result but we still have to play at home. Cordoba pushed us to the limit. They were brave and they pressured us a lot.”

The second leg takes place at Camp Nou on January 10.

FIFA close Bin Hammam case

13 December 2012 14:08

FIFA have dropped their latest bribery case against former president of the Asia Football Confederation Mohamed Bin Hammam.

The footballing figure recently won his FIFA lifetime ban appeal in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after being accused of bribing Caribbean officials during his presidential campaign to replace Sepp Blatter.

After no new evidence was unveiled by FIFA’s chief ethics investigator Michael J Garcia, he has opted to close the case and not pursue the new charges.

“This investigation focused on events that took place at the CFU meeting in Trinidad and Tobago in May 2011,” his confidential report to FIFA read.

“With respect to the events at the CFU conference, the investigation uncovered no new material proof beyond the substantial evidence presented during the proceedings that culminated with the CAS decision vacating Mr Bin Hammam’s ban.

“Accordingly, the Investigatory Chamber has closed this matter consistent with the CAS Panel’s guidance regarding newly discovered evidence.”

The 63-year-old Qatari is still provisionally suspended from footballing activities over financial mismanagement allegations while AFC president, but his legal team are reportedly planning to launch another appeal to CAS over the issue.

Muller: None better than Bayern

13 December 2012 14:01

Bayern Munich Thomas Muller said he has no intention of leaving the Bundesliga club anytime soon.

The Germany international has made over 170 official appearances for the Allianz Arena side since making his official debut in August 2008, winning a Bundesliga title and DFB Pokal trophy in the process, as well as reaching two Champions League finals.

“There’s no club out there that is really a step up when you play for Bayern Munich. At most, you can join a club that acts at the same level,” Muller told Spox.

“When you play for Bayern Munich and you are important for the team, there’s no better club out there. The circumstances here are extremely good.

“We challenge for top honours internationally, are a top team domestically and I am feeling very well here. Nothing will push me away from Bayern.”

The 23-year-old has been in sublime form this term, netting nine goals in 15 Bundesliga appearances.

Hamsik happy at Napoli

13 December 2012 13:56

Marek Hamsik has made it clear he is not thinking about leaving Napoli in the near future, saying he is happy with life at his current club.

The Slovakia international has been regularly linked with a move away from the Serie A side, but Hamsik is focused on doing well for his team.

“I am feeling very well at Napoli. I’m happy and satisfied with the way things are going,” the attacking midfielder told Corriere dello Sport.

“I am not thinking about leaving Napoli for another club. The rumours linking me with other clubs don’t affect me. I read things, but I don’t know anything about it.

“I still have a contract with Napoli and there’s no reason for me to leave. The club’s still growing and we’re playing well.”

Hamsik’s contract with the Stadio San Paolo side runs until June 2016.