Lampard offered record salary

Lampard’s agent Steve Kutner said: “I have spoken to Peter Kenyon and we are looking to sit down shortly after the World Cup to continue talking about a new contract for Frank.” Blues chief executive Kenyon is anxious to restore Lampard as the highest paid player at Stamford Bridge after Germany star Michael Ballack signed a ‘130 000-a-week deal last week. Kenyon knows Barcelona are desperate to lure the midfield ace to the Nou Camp and that he needs to tie Lampard to Chelsea to stop him leaving for a knockdown price of less than ‘4 million. Under Fifa regulations, once a player is 28, he can buy out the remainder of his contract for a third of its remaining value. Lampard reaches that milestone next month and has two years left on his Chelsea deal, worth ‘10,9 million. But boss Jose Mourinho sees Lampard as his midfield kingpin and owner Roman Abramovich will not flinch at the price. Ronaldo’s wild fling with beauty Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo had a wild fling with Big Brother beauty Imogen Thomas. The ’15 million winger scored with former Miss Wales Imogen in an exclusive London hotel where she was working as a waitress. The leggy 23-year-old has also had flings with former Man United star Dwight Yorke and Swansea striker Lee Trundle. A friend said: “Imogen’s interest in Ronaldo was purely sexual – she’s a rampant man-eater. She’s always had a thing for footballers and just couldn’t resist him.” The pair got very close and personal when the Man United ace partied at the Sanderson Hotel’s VIP Purple bar – a favourite haunt for footballers. Imogen flirted outrageously with the 21-year-old while serving drinks to him and his friends last year. Afterwards Ronaldo invited her to his suite where the pair enjoyed a wild night of passion. Yorke blocked racists Atkinson Dwight Yorke has revealed why he blocked Ron Atkinson from becoming coach of Trinidad & Tobago – because he believes his former Aston Villa boss is a racist. Yorke (35), refused to support Atkinson’s appointment when asked his opinion by T & T president Jack Warner last year. The former Villa, Manchester United and Blackburn striker was unhappy that the Caribbean nation were ready to employ a man who has been ostracised by football after his infamous comments about Marcel Desailly on television. Trinidad & Tobago turned instead to former Real Madrid and Holland coach Leo Beenhakker, who guided them to the World Cup finals for the first time and a dream clash with England on June 15. ‘England will lift World Cup’ England coach Sven Goran Eriksson has boldly declared: “We will win the World Cup.” The normally reserved Swede stunned onlookers with his outburst at the Portuguese training camp where he’s preparing for the finals in Germany this summer. And he was quick to echo the rallying call of 1966 hero Sir Alf Ramsey who predicted his side’s glorious triumph before a ball had been kicked. When Eriksson was asked if he could be as bold as Sir Alf, he said: “Yes I think we will win it, of course I do.” Eriksson is clearly aiming to end his England reign on a high in Germany and says he’s inspired by the challenge ahead. Barca star taunts Henry Juliano Belletti, the defender who scored Barcelona’s Champions League winner, has sensationally claimed: “Thierry Henry is finished as a top-class striker.” The Spanish giants are furious at Henry’s decision to snub them and stay with Arsenal. And Brazilian Belletti sneered: “Henry is Arsenal’s best player but his time at the top level of the game is over. He might just make it into the world’s top 10 at the moment but that’s not for certain. “He needed to leave London to become one of the top strikers but if he doesn’t leave Arsenal, he never will.” Belletti accused Arsenal of having problems among the players, labelled them a “tired” team and taunted Ashley Cole for losing his side the Champions League final last week. Bergkamp has no regrets Sentiment has never played a big part in the career of Dennis Bergkamp. The perfect finale to his glittering Arsenal career would have been a cameo role in a Champions League final victory in the Stade de France. But he was no nearer to the action than a warm-up jog along the touchline as Arsenal battled in vain to hold on with 10 men against Barcelona. Yet he was expecting no ‘Roy of the Rovers’ call-to-arms from Arsene Wenger as the events in Paris unfolded, and neither was he distraught at the outcome. “The result was not a huge disappointment because I thought of this final as something extra to my career,” he said. “It would have been fantastic to win but that doesn’t mean my career was spoilt. I am happy.” Owen not for sale, please! Newcastle United chairman Freddy Shepherd has issued a hands-off warning to the host of clubs that will be eyeing England striker Michael Owen at the World Cup finals. The scouts will be out in force in Germany after indiscreet remarks from England coach Sven Goran Eriksson suggested that Owen was unhappy on Tyneside, but a defiant Shepherd is adamant that they are wasting their time. The Toon chief insists that he paid ’17 million for the former Liverpool and Real Madrid striker last summer as “a long-term investment” and sees Owen as the eventual successor to retired talisman Alan Shearer. Shepherd said: “Michael’s here next season. We paid a club record fee for him and he was brought here as a long-term investment to score goals. “He was bought to play alongside Alan Shearer and eventually replace Alan. Let’s make no bones about that.”

May 2006
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