NOW I am not so naive as to expect any kind of club loyalty from today’s multi-million pound footballers – but surely some decorum needs to be observed when seeking alternative employment.
The problem appears to be particularly rife in the Greater Manchester area.
Firstly, Cristiano Ronaldo made it very clear that he would rather play for Real Madrid than continue his stay in Salford at Manchester United – though the Reds did get a few good seasons out of him and win a couple of cups.
Now we have the same scenario in Manchester with supposed Brazilian superstar Robinho.
He barely seems able to open his mouth without the word Barcelona slipping out – Robi’s cough probably even sounds like ‘Barca!’
And he probably has got a cough because apparently the poor little love doesn’t like the weather in Manchester and would prefer some Spanish sun on his back.
The sun is plainly good for him as, after weeks out of the City side with injury, he was bounding round like a daft puppy while training with Brazil in Doha last week.
However, the giveaway was the recent quote attributed to him that said: “I am very happy that they (Barcelona) are looking at me. Playing in the Nou Camp, it would be easier to be the best player in the world than at Manchester.”
I have a couple of points for Robinho to consider.
One: to be the best player in the world you have to get out on a pitch and take part now and again.
Two: playing for City didn’t stop Colin Bell achieving that status (though I am willing to concede that a few of you may wish to argue that one!)
A BIG thanks to Tony Smith and the England boys for giving us something to shout about for once in terms of international rugby league.
While the outcome of the Four Nations final against Australia at Elland Road reached the expected conclusion, at least the former Huddersfield coach (pictured) and his charges gave the Green and Golds something to worry about for 50 minutes.
The England team also turned in a superb display and gave the fans a night to remember at the Galpharm Stadium when they beat New Zealand.
However, the final did leave you with the sense that the chasm between our game and that played Down Under is not actually closing at any great speed.
One suggestion I heard, the argument being based on the fact that we lost to the Aussies in both codes, was that the games should merge and have just one brand of rugby – the conclusion being that we might do better.
I would suggest that it would probably just mean we play one less game which we might lose by twice as many points.
THIERRY HENRY can forget any positive legacy he thought he may have earned in football.
From now on the French striker will be mentioned in the same breath as Diego Maradona – for all the wrong reasons.
Henry’s blatant handball that set up William Gallas to score the goal that sent Le Bleus to next year’s World Cup in South Africa, and break Irish hearts, was as cynical an action as that of the Argentine in sending England crashing out in the quarter-finals in Mexico in 1986.
While Barcelona’s former Arsenal star had the good grace not to claim any divine intervention, he would appear to be worshipping at the same altar as the perpetrator of the ‘Hand Of God’ – one can only assume that Maradona’s deity has a set of ten commandments that starts with ‘Thou shall cheat at any opportunity’ (feel free to fill in another nine commandments if you wish).
But you have to feel that it is a shame that a player whose sublime skills lit up the Premiership for many seasons, and who led Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ to the title in 2003-04 unbeaten, will now be remembered as the guy who waived the rules to get a win.
Now none of us are clairvoyants – obviously excepting those of you who read this column who do earn a living writing horoscopes – but should France go on to lift the trophy in Johannesburg’s Soccer City Stadium on Sunday, July 11 next summer I can’t imagine Henry being unduly upset.
Arguably in both instances you can blame the referees for failing to spot an obvious handball, but winning appears to be everything in football these days – even if it leaves your reputation caked in ‘merde’.