Friday, 21 February 2014

Cesc Fábregas: José Mourinho should 'shut up' after blasting Barcelona

• Barça answered critics with victory over Manchester City
• Mourinho said Spanish club were 'worst team in many years'
Cesc Fabregas
Cesc Fábregas battles with Yaya Touré during Barcelona's 2-0 win over Manchester City. Photograph: Michael Mayhew/Sportsphoto/Allstar
Cesc Fábregas has told José Mourinho to mind his own business after the Portuguese's claim that the current Barcelona team is the poorest of recent memory. The midfielder, who was pivotal in Tuesday evening's 2-0 defeat of Manchester City, believes Mourinho, below, should concentrate on his own club. "He should talk about Chelsea and their tie [with Galatasaray]. I don't think he should talk about anything else. It is not his business," said Fábregas, who denied Mourinho's comments had driven Barça on. "If we have to get motivated by Mourinho's comments we shouldn't play football."
City have to score three and concede no more than one in the return leg at Camp Nou on 12 March. Can they do it? "They have a chance, of course," said the midfielder. "They have confidence. You always have a chance until the referee says otherwise. It is 180 minutes, not 90. We have to play the same and we will go through."
Regarding what had been the key to Barça's win, which came through goals from Lionel Messi and Dani Alves, Fábregas said: "It was about controlling the game. We know they are good on the counter and when they play offensive football they play it very well. They know what they have to do, we controlled them very well and we did not let their fans get behind their team. We minimised all their efforts. It was a very complete game.
"When you have players like Leo, Xavi, Andres [Iniesta] – you can beat them but not if you can't take the ball away from them. We did that very well - we did not let City have the ball. If you do not have the ball, you can't create chances. We have to be very proud.
"We knew [City] have scored a lot. I watch the Premier League every week and they have been very superior to all these sides when they have played [at home] – so it is normal everyone gets excited [over this win]. Especially in a nice competition like the Champions League. We knew what we had to do and did it very well."

Thursday, 6 February 2014

'The shirt will look better on me!' - Ibrahimovic & Ronaldo in playful Twitter exchange

'The shirt will look better on me!' - Ibrahimovic & Ronaldo in playful Twitter exchange
The Sweden striker pledged to send the Portuguese one of his personalised jerseys as a birthday present, provoking an amusing riposte from the Real Madrid man

 Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo were involved in an amusing Twitter exchange on Wednesday following a birthday message sent by the Swede to the Portuguese on the social networking site.

Ronaldo played 90 minutes for Real Madrid in their 3-0 derby win over Atletico in the first leg of the sides' Copa del Rey semi-final on Wednesday.

It was an eventful birthday for the Madeira-born forward, who turned 29 on Wednesday, as he was also hit with a three-game ban by the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) earlier in the day for his red card and subsequent gesture to the officials in Madrid's 1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

The 2013 Ballon d'Or winner was also inundated with congratulations from fans on Twitter, but is unlikely to have expected a message from Ibrahimovic.

"Happy birthday @Cristiano!" the Swede wrote. "I have sent your new favourite outfit in the post."

The tweet included the hashtag #DareTo Zlatan and a picture of a T-shirt bearing the same slogan.

View image on Twitter

And later on Wednesday, Ronaldo replied: "Thank you for the birthday present, @Ibra_official. It will look better on me than you though."

The two players maintain a healthy rivalry and went head to head for a place in this year's World Cup in a play-off back in November.

Before those fixtures, Ibrahimovic claimed he was the better player, but Ronaldo had the last laugh as he hit four goals in the two games to secure a World Cup spot for Portugal at the expense of the Swedes and their mercurial striker.