Five for 7th October

 Redknapp still unhappy to be overlooked for England

Harry Redknapp had taken a swipe at the Football Association’s senior officials, saying he “would not trust them to show him a good manager if their lives depended on it”.

Redknapp was the outright favourite to take the England job when Fabio Capello resigned last year, but the FA opted to approach Roy Hodgson, then in charge at West Bromwich Albion.

Although Redknapp maintains he holds no grudge against Hodgson, Redknapp is still unhappy and claims he was the leading choice with the fans and the players, suggesting senior members of the national squad like Steven Gerrard texted him to offer their support for him to succeed Capello.

“I wouldn’t trust the FA to show me a good manager if their lives depended on it. How would they know? What clubs have they ever run? Who do they speak to who really knows the game?” the QPR manager said in his autobiography, serialised in the Daily Mail.

“This isn’t about them giving the England job to me or Roy Hodgson, but English football being run by people who really haven’t got a clue. And they get to pick the England manager.

“Everyone said I was the people’s choice, the only choice. All the senior players seemed to be up for me to get the job. I got quite a few text messages at the time from players saying they would love me to manage England: Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, John Terry. But the FA went for Roy Hodgson to be the England manager – a man who is more their cup of tea.”

And yet, this is the man who, when on trial last year accused of receiving secret payments, claimed: “I can’t work a computer, I don’t know what an email is… I’ve never sent a fax and I’ve never sent a text message.”

If nothing else good came out of that trial, at least Redknapp’s literacy levels soared dramatically.

Redknapp believes that the issue of compensation to Tottenham remains one of the reasons why he was never asked.

“I’m sure the FA would deny they were interested in me anyway, they always like to say they got their No1 choice, but maybe what helped make their minds up was the thought of writing a cheque in the region of £16million to Levy.

“He is known for driving a hard bargain at the best of times; get Daniel on a bad day and I would have ended up more expensive than Capello – and the FA were already getting a lot of criticism over his £6m-a-year salary.

“Of all the reasons doing the rounds for me not becoming England manager, the compensation issue makes most sense.”

That and the small matter of your sullied reputation.


Bayer Leverkusen apologise to Bayern Munich over banner

Bayer Leverkusen have apologised for a banner which mocked Bayern Munich officials Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Uli Hoeness.

During the 1-1 draw between the two clubs on Saturday, Leverkusen fans displayed a sign criticising the Bayern pair, saying: “Hey, Uli and Kalle! How does it feel to get done by the law?”

The supporters were referring to recent tax travails that the Bayern CEO and president have become embroiled in.

However, Leverkusen officials were quick to apologise for the banner after the game, telling tz: “We did not know about this. We are very surprised and upset.”

The club also explained that Leverkusen supporters had smuggled the banner into the BayArena.

The banner could not tke the shine off Bayern’s performance with Rummenigge, full of praise for Bayern’s dominant performance.

“We top the table and have delivered a super game,” he said. “We continued where we stopped in Manchester [against Manchester City] – a world-class performance.

“Sadly, the Leverkusen goal was boarded up and a good ‘keeper was in goal as well. Otherwise we would have won.

“It is important to play good football and this we do on an absolute top level.

“We are on unbelievably high level. We play wonderful football.”

The draw with Leverkusen turned out to be a new milestone for Bayern winger Franck Ribery.

Ribery has gone 38 consecutive league games – since April 10, 2012 against Borussia Dortmund – without having been on the losing side.

He has equalled the 30-year-old record of Holger Hieronymus, who had been unbeaten in 38 straight games from September 1981 through to January 1983.

Bayern have currently not been beaten in 33 league games and look on course to break Hamburg’s record of 36 consecutive league games without a loss.

Bayern Munich enjoy day out on the beer

Bayern Munich celebrated their return to the top of the Bundesliga with a visit to the city’s annual beer festival.

The European champions, who drew away at Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday, took the opportunity to mark last season’s treble-winning success of Champions League plus German league and cup, by attending the Oktoberfest.

Among those enjoying the festivities was recently appointed coach, Pep Guardiola, who wore a traditional Bavarian hat to go with the lederhosen and was accompanied by his wife, while players also brought their families to enjoy the annual festival.

Bayern’s chairman, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, told the players: “Celebrate freely. Our next game isn’t for another two weeks. We can enjoy the beer.”

As you can see from the main picture, Bayern’s sporting director, Matthias Sammer certainly appeared to have been enjoying the beer, while Guardiola’s wife, Christina, perhaps fearful that she is expected to down the tankard of beer, looks on anxiously.

Ronaldo vs Eusebio

The fierce debate on who is the best Portuguese player of all time that erupted when Cristiano Ronaldo overtook Eusebio last month to go second on the country's list of top marksmen is far from being settled.
 
Benfica's 1960s great Eusebio has weighed in to the argument, saying he was upset by what he considered to be an unfair comparison because he had played fewer matches than Ronaldo.
 
"I am saddened because we can't make that comparison. It's a mistake because I played (around) 60 matches to score that amount (41 goals)," Eusebio told Portuguese national television.
 
Ronaldo reached 43 goals in 106 internationals after his hat-trick earned Portugal a 4-2 comeback win over Northern Ireland in last month's World Cup qualifier.
 
"This is historic. I'd scored a lot of hat-tricks for Real Madrid but never any for Portugal," he said after the game.
 
"Going above Eusebio in the scorers' list was a natural thing to happen and it was only a matter of time but still I am really proud," the smiling player said while showing off the match ball.
 
Ronaldo has the chance to add to his tally on Friday in the home qualifier against Israel as Portugal seek to secure at least second place in Group F and a berth in the playoffs for next year's World Cup in Brazil.
 
While some of the football-mad Portuguese will angrily tell you not to compare the two because judging today's football against that of the 1960s is flawed, there are plenty of arguments on each side.
 
Ronaldo, 28, is set to rewrite Portugal's soccer statistics as he is only four goals behind top scorer Pauleta and 21 matches away from the most-capped player Luis Figo.
 
Striker Pauleta has said he does not consider himself equal to Eusebio, Ronaldo and Figo.
 
Still, simple maths tell you Eusebio's goal rate is the best, with the 'Black Panther' grabbing 0.6 goals per match compared to Ronaldo's 0.4 and Pauleta's 0.5.
 
Eusebio, 71, believes Ronaldo has it easier than him.
 
"Now, after all these years, someone else scores (that many goals) but obviously that happens because today it is easier to play some of these teams. I never got to play against Liechtenstein or Azerbaijan," he said.
 
Portugal have also been to the major tournaments more often with Ronaldo.
 
He has shone for his country at five major competitions, including the Euro 2004 final where they lost at Lisbon's Luz stadium to Greece.
 
Portugal also finished fourth at the 2006 World Cup in Germany and reached the semi-finals of Euro 2012.
 
Eusebio played at only one major tournament - the 1966 World Cup in England where he was the overall top scorer as Portugal grabbed a best-ever third place.
 
Portugal and Real Madrid's Pepe prefers his team mate.
 
"I hope Eusebio forgives me but, for me, the best player ever is Ronaldo. Despite his relatively young age, what he has already achieved for the 'Seleccao' leaves no doubts," he told sports daily o Jogo.
 
"Because of the goals he has scored and the clubs he has represented Ronaldo will leave a mighty footprint."
 
Ronaldo, a product of Sporting Lisbon's youth academy, has had a massive impact during his time with Manchester United, where he won the Champions League, and at Real Madrid.
 
Eusebio spent most of his career at Benfica, winning the 1962 European Cup and 11 league titles.
 
Those behind the 'Black Panther' say he excelled at a time when soccer science was limited.
 
"Eusebio had no preparation, no gyms, no academies. He became what he did through sheer talent," said Hilario Conceicao, former coach to Ronaldo and Figo.
 
His 1960s team mate Jose Augusto told o Jogo: "Footballs are all high-tech and vulcanised today, much faster, lighter and with unpredictable trajectories. With today's balls Eusebio would have scored double the goals."
 
Despite their differences the two players have a lot in common - devastating shooting, power and pace and the ability to use both feet.
 
"Technically the two are not actually that distant. Both are incredible hard-workers who loved to practice and improved from a very young age," said Jose Pereira, the head of Portugal's coach association.
 
"Ronaldo and Eusebio thrived thanks to a tremendous sense of opportunity up front and explosive runs," Pereira said. "Both are football giants."
 
That said, with Ronaldo still performing, a major international trophy or a player of the tournament award in Brazil next year would perhaps tilt the balance in his favour for good.


Jack Wilshere vows to stop smoking

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has admitted he made a “mistake” after being photographed smoking a cigarette outside a London nightclub last week.

The England international’s behaviour drew some criticism, with Gunners boss Arsene Wenger publicly berating his player.

“I disagree completely with that behaviour,” Wenger said last week. “I don’t know what has happened and I will have to have a chat with him about that.”

But Wilshere, who scored Arsenal’s equaliser during Sunday’s 1-1 draw at West Bromwich Albion, says he knows he was in the wrong.

“Players make mistakes,” he told Arsenal’s official website. “I am not a smoker. I spoke with the boss and he asked me what happened, I explained to him and we sorted it out.

“He put me in the team and hopefully I repaid him. I am not a smoker so I think that will be my last [cigarette].”

England manager Roy Hodgson also got involved prior to Wilshere’s admission, but said the issue was Arsenal’s responsibility.

He said: “I trust Arsene to deal with that situation.”

Lest we forget, this was a cigarette Wilshere was caught smoking, not a crack pipe.

Arsenal fans, who unlike their manager, could see the funny side of the situation, sang ”He smokes what he wants” during Sunday’s match at West Brom.

“Love the new song for me today! Ha Ha,” tweeted Wilshere after the game. “The fans were incredible again!”

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