‘Disappointing’ Vieira on way out of Juve

But Liverpool will reject the chance to bring Vieira back to the Premiership ‘ unless Juventus drop their demand that the former Arsenal star is the makeweight in a deal that would take Steven Gerrard to Turin. Reports in Italy claim that Rafa Benitez contacted Juventus to enquire about Vieira’s availability in January and was told that the former Arsenal captain was staying put. But Juve general manager Luciano Moggi has now told Liverpool that the Frenchman could be made available as part of a deal which would see Gerrard move in the opposite direction ‘ only to be told that there was no chance of the Reds cashing in on their skipper. Now Benitez will drop his interest in Vieira (29) unless Juventus decide that the midfielder is still surplus to requirements ‘ something which seems increasingly likely if the Turin club fail to clinch the Serie A title. Their lead at the top is down to three points after a terrible run of results following their Champions League exit at the hands of Arsenal. Beckenbauer upset with Ballack Bayern Munich president Franz Beckenbauer has accused Michael Ballack of already mentally being at Chelsea after claiming the midfielder had underperformed in the DFB-Pokal final, which the Bavarian giants won 1-0 over Eintracht Frankfurt. The 29-year-old midfielder is expected to leave the Bavarian club when his contract expires in the summer and some reports in Germany say Ballack has decided on Chelsea. As far as Beckenbauer is concerned, German international Ballack is already playing for the Blues. “Ballack is just saving his strength for Chelsea,” Beckenbauer said after the final. Ballack has not been at his best recently and Beckenbauer, it seems, will be happy to see the back of him during the off-season. “Sometimes I think to myself, is he playing with us or not?” added Beckenbauer, known in Germany as “Der Kaiser”. Triumphant Mourinho not satisfied Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has admitted that he was less than fully satisfied despite seeing his side clinch back-to-back Premiership titles with a 3-0 home win over Manchester United last Saturday. Mourinho feels his side have not been given the credit they deserve for their achievement, due to the financial backing for the Blues from owner Roman Abramovich. “A couple of times during the season I thought about closing the door and saying goodbye,” Mourinho commented. “But don’t interpret this as a doubt for next season. I am happy to stay because this is a special club with special people. “Unless the club sacks me, I will be manager here next season. I am not worried about that. I want to stay. I am ready to stay. I am staying at Chelsea because I believe I can enjoy it more next season. I think next season we will improve. We will step up again, just like we did this season.” Arsenal a French team: Peres Robert Pires has sparked a fresh storm over the make-up of Arsenal’s history-making team by amazingly confessing: “We are a French club now, not an English one”. Pires is the first Gunners star to publicly open his heart on the delicate “foreigners” issue at Highbury. And his explosive interview ‘ conducted in French, obviously ‘ will send shockwaves through a side which has built its reputation around the bastions of English football. Pires reveals that French is now the universal language spoken in the Highbury dressing room. He insists Arsenal fans don’t care if there are no Englishmen in their team. And he doesn’t care that Ashley Cole and Sol Campbell are the only Englishmen in the squad. FA wanted Wenger for top job Arsene Wenger was the FA’s first choice to succeed Sven Goran Eriksson as England manager. Arsenal gave the FA permission to speak to their manager in February as they started the search for Eriksson’s replacement. Wenger made it clear he was not prepared to break his contract, which still has two-years to run. Despite refusing to disclose any details of his discussions with the FA’s hierarchy, Wenger admitted: “In the future you never know. If tomorrow I am free and England offered me the job I will of course take it. “But at the moment I don’t feel the need to go from club football to international football. At the moment I feel completely focused on what I want to achieve at Arsenal. “If the FA wants to disclose later what they have done and how they have worked, the whole process, it’s down to them. It is a confidentiality that you have to respect. If they want to talk about that they can tell you.” Dyer faces retirement at 27 Kieron Dyer is facing a race against time to save his career and stave off the serious threat of early retirement from the game at just 27 years of age. The Newcastle midfielder was sent to an American specialist Richard Steadman after he broke down in training last week, suffering a recurrence of the hamstring injury that has plagued his playing career. But the devastated England star has been warned by medical experts that unless they can get to the bottom of a debilitatingthis ‘ a liver disease that requires special medication ‘ early retirement from the game may be the only option left open to him. Dyer’s rare condition has baffled the medical industry and the side-effects of drugs taken to treat his ailment have weakened his muscle tissue. He can barely string a few games together now without breaking down and has made just five appearances for Newcastle this season. Rooney injury devastates Gerrard England midfielder Steven Gerrard fears it will be “impossible to have a successful World Cup without Wayne Rooney” after the Manchester United striker fractured his foot. The Liverpool captain is concerned Rooney could now suffer the same World Cup injury horror he himself experienced four years ago. The most optimistic outlook is he will be out for six weeks, which would take him right up to England’s first group match against Paraguay on June 10 in Frankfurt. “Any team without Wayne Rooney isn’t as strong. In my eyes he is one of the world’s best players now at 20,” said Gerrard. “It would be a disaster for England if we had to go to the World Cup finals without Wayne. He is idolised around the country and is our main man. I think it is impossible to have a successful World Cup without Wayne.”

May 2006
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