Ronaldo’s girlfriend subjected to hate campaign

Warped fans have started using the web to attack the player’s partner over her looks and age. Cristiano (21) is nearly 10 years younger than Portuguese TV presenter Merche Romero (30). One site has launched a sick quiz, putting pictures of Ronaldo’s mother next to his girlfriend and asking readers to guess which is which. In a play on the Manic Street Preachers hit, If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next, it urges ‘Stop Merche Or Your Children Will Be Next.’ But friends insist the age gap is not an issue for the star couple. A friend said: “Merche likes younger men. There is a bit of an age gap but Cristiano is very mature. They don’t see the difference in ages as a problem.” Betting enslaved Rooney Wayne Rooney lost so much money text betting that a top bookmakers had to close his account. Rooney’s former bookie has blown the lid on the Manchester United hero’s gambling problems and says the star was hooked on text bets two years ago. The striker, then just 18, ran up debts of ’50 000 and former Bet Direct advisor Matthew Stubbs said: “We refused to take further bets from him.” Rooney’s gambling problems began 18 months ago when he sat at home and used his mobile phone to place text bets on televised horse racing. He was just 18 and the buzz increased as he enjoyed an early winning streak, reaching a ’30 000 profit as he successfully gambled on a string of winners. But then, like all gamblers, he started to lose and his account rapidly plunged into the red, eventually topping ‘700 000. Hiddink exposes Abramovich Guus Hiddink and his agent have revealed the way Roman Abramovich masterminded the Dutch coach’s recruitment by Russia ‘ and how the door stays open for a future move to Chelsea. He was first approached by the Abramovich camp last December. The go-between was Sandro Rossell, the director of Nike Brazil and he invited Hiddink to meet Abramovich in London. Two weeks later, Hiddink and his agent Cees van Nieuwenhuizen had a joint meeting with the Chelsea owner. Hiddink said: “I met the Chelsea people and Abramovich. It is because of them I will take over as Russia coach after this summer’s World Cup.” As well as underwriting part of Hiddink’s salary as Russia coach Abramovich is providing one of his private jets so that the 60-year-old Dutchman can live in Amsterdam and commute to his new job. ‘Mourinho good for England game’ Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish has hailed Jose Mourinho as being good for the English game ‘ and insists detractors of the Chelsea boss are simply jealous of his success. Dalglish, the last Anfield manager to lift the title ‘ back in 1990 ‘ changed the face of football forever when he spent Jack Walker’s fortune to make Blackburn Premiership champions in 1995. And the Scot has never forgotten the vitriol poured on him by those who accused him of buying the title. Now, with Mourinho looking for friends after being pilloried from all quarters about his team and the methods they employ, he has found an unlikely ally in Dalglish. “Chelsea are a fantastic club and I certainly don’t have any problem with the fact that they are now the team everybody has to beat.” Take Brown to Germany: Fergie Sir Alex Ferguson has made a personal plea to Sven Goran Eriksson to take Wes Brown to the World Cup. The Manchester United boss has spoken to Eriksson about the Old Trafford centre-back even though Brown has once again suffered with injuries this season. Ferguson currently prefers Nemanja Vidic to partner Rio Ferdinand at the heart of his own United defence. But he said: “We all have an opinion about England selections, but I would definitely take Wes Brown to the World Cup. I have told Sven the same thing because Wes is an outstanding defender.” ‘Gerrard will be protected’ Rick Parry has assured Steve Gerrard he will not be flogged to death in a bid to line Liverpool’s pockets with promotional money. The Anfield chief has rejected the chance to pick up easy cash by playing in Asian and American based pre-season tournaments. Gerrard would have been the Reds’ figurehead on the draining trips, played in roasting conditions. Parry said: “All of our preparation games are Europe-based and it’ll not be a long build-up. The possibility of another long pre-season journey never came into our thoughts this time. “The players have had an energy-sapping season and it is crucial they get the right preparation after giving everything in this season’s long haul.” Benitez makes U-turn on Raul Rafa Benitez has pulled the plug on making a move for Real Madrid captain Raul after being told that the Spaniard wanted ‘6 million a season to join Liverpool. The Reds boss decided against making an approach to the Spanish giants when he was informed Raul was looking for a basic wage of ‘120 000 a week. The Spaniard has also enquired about the Roma’s French defender Philippe Mexes. Mexes is involved in a wage row with Roma even though he still has two years left on his contract.

April 2006
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