Top flops of World Cup Germany 2006

Andriy Shevchenko

He arrived with a huge reputation and a new ’31 million price tag after his move to Chelsea. He scored twice but never dominated a game or gave a defence a chasing. Work to be done to convince that he can be a big Premiership star.

Pavel Nedved

Many judges tipped the Czech Republic as their dark horses for the tournament. Unfortunately for them, the Czechs stayed resolutely in the shadows and Nedved epitomised their tame approach.

Sweden

Failed to break down Trinidad & Tobago ‘ even England managed that ‘ and after salvaging their long unbeaten record against the English with the scruffiest goal of the tournament, they surrendered feebly to the Germans.

Ruud van Nistelrooy

As ever, the tournament was a mixture of the brilliant and the banal for Holland, and there’s no doubt which side of the line Ruud van Nistelrooy played. Anonymous in the opening fixtures and very obviously kept out of the farcical defeat by Portugal.

Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard was a bit put out by some of the criticism that came his way during the tournament. Should have played better, then! He was, after all, voted the second best player in the world last season. In Germany he wasn’t even the second best in England’s midfield.

The other side of Eriksson

Sven Goran Eriksson’s reign as ‘5 million-a-year England manager ended after defeat to Portugal in Germany, with criticism of his passionless approach still ringing in his ears.

But after returning home to Sweden, Sven showed more emotion in one afternoon of oddball behaviour than he ever did in six years as England boss.

Perhaps it was a touch of sunstroke, but the normally ice-cold character by turns pulled funny faces, looked puzzled, mumbled to himself, waved his arms and even sang quietly.

At one stage he held his head in his hands for nearly 30 seconds, clearly upset at something.

Later he picked up a handful of pebbles at his ‘2 million lakeside retreat Bjorkefors, near Sunne, and began talking to them.

Another time, as he swigged from a glass, he gazed blankly ‘ looking close to tears. All the time, his only company was a scarecrow.

Crouch shoots, girlfriend scores

Coke-hoovering blonde Abi Clancy watched boyfriend Peter Crouch score a hat-trick for England, then sneaked off for a night of lust with a builder.

As he was celebrating the goals against Jamaica with his famous robodance, She was plotting a sex session with an ex-lover behind his back.

Wannabe model and singer Abi (20), confessed her cheating and her huge cocaine habit to Crouch hours before the vital World Cup game with Trinidad and Tobago.

Rumours emerged that there were pictures of her bingeing on mounds of cocaine at a party, crudely exposing her breasts as blobs of the drug hung from her nose.

Crouch (25) forgave her, then went on to score the goal that took England through the group stages.

She made a grovelling apology to his father Bruce, who immediately ordered her back to England.

But within hours of returning home, the coke-fiend blonde was cheating on him again ‘ with the same ex-boyfriend.

Ronaldo might go AWOL

Cristiano Ronaldo is prepared to go AWOL to force Alex Ferguson to sell him to Real Madrid. The Portuguese winker has vowed never to return to Manchester United.

And he wants boss Fergie to agree his sale as soon as possible so he can link up with Real without having to show his face in Manchester.

The Spanish giants are preparing to make a formal bid for the player after chief Fabio Capello confirmed he wants to sign the winger (21).

But Ferguson is fuming with Ronaldo for scheming with his agent Jorge Mendes to engineer a ’25 million move.

The United boss wants to drag Ronaldo into Old Trafford and give him the mother of all rollickings and tell him: You’re going nowhere!

Sources close to Ronaldo in Portugal revealed the player is willing to go on strike to force through his exit.

Mourinho wants to spend more

Jose Mourinho admits Chelsea pay too much for their top signings ‘ but he still intends to carry on spending.

Roman Abramovich has bankrolled a number of high-profile deals since taking control at Stamford Bridge.

Andriy Shevchenko and Michael Ballack are the latest arrivals and Mourinho is confident the money will continue to flow until the Blues win the Champions League.

The Special One said: “The investments the club have been making are removed from reality as Chelsea players cost two or three times as much. There are clubs which jeopardise their future with the investments they make ‘ but at Chelsea it’s different.

“The club belongs to just one person. Basically, it’s managed by a fortune. It’s Roman Abramovich’s money.”

Glazers to refinance debt

Manchester United’s American owners are looking at refinancing the ‘540 million debt they took out last year to complete their takeover.

One of the options being discussed is to secure the loan against future ticket sales.

The Glazer family, who completed a ‘790m buyout of United, are looking to restructure under better terms.

Banks and financial institutions on both sides of the Atlantic have been approached to formulate ideas. There is also the possibility that the Glazers will sanction a naming rights sponsorship on Old Trafford.

Meanwhile, Sven Goran Eriksson has warned United to expect a knock on their door with a ’50m offer for Wayne Rooney. The outgoing England coach is keen to return to management and he admits he’d be keen to sign a player he regards as the best in the business.

“When you talk about strikers at the highest level, Rooney has few equals,” said Eriksson.

July 2006
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