World Football Quotes of the Week: Barton's Kung-Fu Warning, Ferguson Fallout
Sir Alex Ferguson's autobiography was easily the talk of the town in world football this week; that's if your town is a worldwide sports community venturing into the billions.
That being said, there was so much more to the last seven days than reaction to Ferguson's book release, including Joey Barton's response to getting hit in the head with a bottle and the Belgian national side's comments on performing household cleaning duties.
It brings a whole new meaning to the term "domestic football."
Read on for all that, and more, in the World Football Quotes of the Week.
Eden Hazard: “I Prefer Being on the Pitch to Washing Dishes”
During the international breaks, some players will train harder than ever in an attempt to get the edge over an absent teammate, while others use the time to relax like they may not be able to normally.
Earlier this month, the Belgian national team got a taste of the ordinary when they travelled to supporters' homes in their native country, helping out around the house with some household chores.
According to the Metro's Jamie Sanderson, Romelu Lukaku was on babysitting watch, Simon Mignolet was given the job of serving up a feast, while Eden Hazard and Nacer Chadli were handed dish duty, saying, "I knocked on the door as asked if there was anything I can do. I put a poster up on the wall for a boy and washed some dishes. It’s okay but I prefer being on the pitch."
Who says a £32-million signing can't play the role of the average Joe?
Joey Barton: “The Next One Is Getting Cantona-Ed”
Joey Barton's reputation has seen him get a little too close to the public on several occasions throughout his career, and Saturday brought the outspoken midfielder another memorable piece of fan interaction.
Except on this occasion, Barton wasn't all that interactive with the punter who decided to aim a plastic bottle at his head, at the time simply taking the abuse the only way one really can.
The same wasn't to be said for the player after the game, however, as the QPR man reacted on Twitter (surprise, surprise), per the Daily Mail's John Drayton:
I would never ask for a fan to be banned for getting carried away. We all do it at football matches. But enough is enough.
The next one is getting Cantona-ed...
That was a joke before anyone starts flipping. Really not that arsed. Part of the modern game. Sadly. #joke.
Just how serious Barton is about his comment being a joke is up for debate, but if one had to draw up a list of candidates most likely to recreate Cantona's infamous act, he might not be far away.
Arsene Wenger: "Ibrahimovic Better Than Messi and Ronaldo”
Though he might have been rejected by the Swede in a time gone by, Arsene Wenger is by no means holding a grudge against Zlatan Ibrahimovic, it seems.
More than a decade after Ibrahimovic turned down a trial in North London, per the Daily Mail, the Frenchman has moved on, going as far as to hint that his former target is the best player in the world.
Speaking to Telefoot (h/t Goal.com), the Gunners boss said that the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are currently behind the Paris Saint-Germain talisman, noting, "Is Zlatan better than Messi & Ronaldo? Right now, I'd say he is. At 32, you know how to get the best from your talent."
Given his age and assumed transfer sum, it's safe to say that Wenger will probably never be linking up with the man he once targeted as an Ajax youth.
Still, one can dream, can't they?
Sir Alex Ferguson: “Mark Bosnich Was a Terrible Professional”
Ferguson lifted the lid on a heaped helping of affairs that occurred during his days as Manchester United manager in his autobiography, released early last week.
The Red Devils' great speaks of matters known, unknown and also helps to clear up a few blurry occasions that some had attempted to dissect in recent years but never truly knew the details of.
Mark Bosnich's period as United's stopper is a well-chronicled but unsuccessful part of the club's tale and Ferguson went some way to explaining just why the goalkeeper will not be remembered as any sort of club icon, per the Guardian's Tom Lutz:
Mark Bosnich was a terrible professional. We played down at Wimbledon and Bosnich was tucking into everything: sandwiches, soups, steaks. He was going through the menu.
I told him, 'For Christ's sake, Mark, we've got the weight off you. Why are you tucking into all that stuff?'
We arrived back in Manchester, and Mark was on mobile phone to a Chinese restaurant to order a takeaway. Is there no end to you? I just couldn't make an impact on him.
The Australian former No.1 has since responded to the comments and is seeking a showdown with his ex-manager according to talkSPORT and Fox Sports (h/t the Guardian), adding:
I'll definitely go down there if he is there and ask to see him. I'm going to tell him straight to his face and I'll ask him to repeat [his criticism] and then I will tell him exactly what I want to say and you guys can all read about it, like you read his book.
Sir Alex is entitled to his versions of events as I will be entitled to my right to reply at the appropriate time. He referenced a period of my career when I returned to training overweight. That's true. I usually returned two kilograms overweight and on this occasion I was two and a half.
Those revelling in the drama can only hope there's more to this affair.
Roy Keane Blasts Sir Alex Ferguson’s Sense of Loyalty
It's no secret that Roy Keane endured a fractious relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson, one that eventually ended with the Irishman leaving the club for Celtic after questioning the effort and commitment of some Old Trafford teammates.
That relationship was also resurrected in the wake of Ferguson's book release, with Keane's appearance as an ITV Champions League pundit as well-timed as ever this week.
In the book, Ferguson comments on the loyalty of some of his former charges, Keane included, to which the former midfield general commented, per BBC Sport:
I'm OK, quite relaxed. I remember having conversations about loyalty when I was at the club. I don't think he knows the meaning of the word.
To constantly criticise other players that brought him success… I won't be losing any sleep over it.
We believe you, Roy.
Cesc Fabregas: “Arsenal Is in My Heart and Always Will Be”
It's the news every Arsenal fan was waiting for: Cesc Fabregas wants to come back to the Emirates Stadium.
However, things aren't as rosy as they first appear; it's not in the capacity that most Gunners would undoubtedly prefer.
The Barcelona playmaker, now enjoying his football back at his boyhood club, held an interview with the Guardian's Sid Lowe this week, answering a number of questions both personal and professional.
The subject of Arsenal is assuredly a mixture of the two for Fabregas who, when quizzed about a return to North London, said:
Arsenal is in my heart and always will be. I don't know if I'll have the opportunity to go back and play there one day, or maybe after football. It's a club that is always going to be there and will always open its doors to me. The club's like a family so even if it wasn't as a coach, I'm sure they'd give me the chance to play a role.
Arsenal help a lot with the formation of coaches. [Dennis] Bergkamp also went there two, three times a week when he was doing his coaching badges. In that sense it's a lovely club and there might be the chance to do something with them.
There's not a lot of reason for Arsenal fans to be too glum, however. With Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere all soaring, there's barely even room for Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky in the squad, so let's not look the gift horse in the mouth.
Brendan Rodgers Dismisses Fergie’s Assessment of Steven Gerrard
Brendan Rodgers: "Sorry, come again?"
One particular comment that's drawn the ire of Liverpool fans in particular is Sir Alex Ferguson's autobiography comments that Kop legend Steven Gerrard is "not a top, top player."
Wherever one might fall on that debate, there's no questioning Brendan Rodgers' opinion of his current captain.
The Northern Irishman was left slightly astounded by the Scot's assessment and is reported by the Liverpool Echo's James Pearce as claiming the statements are made more out of frustration at not having signed the midfielder himself:
Steven’s record speaks for itself. Just look at his career and the accolades he has received all the way through his life, not only from managers but fellow players.
He (Ferguson) is probably one of the few – if not the only one – who does not believe Steven is a top, top player. I don’t think it was credible really in terms of what was said.
There was a vote recently on who was the best out of all the players who had won the PFA Player of the Year. Steven came out on top.
To say he wasn’t a top player after scoring so many times against Manchester United over the years, and Manchester United wanting to sign him along with Real Madrid, Chelsea and every other European team, must be a bit tongue in cheek.
It's an age-old debate of what truly makes a player "great" in terms of quality, be it talent or trophies, but the bitter rivalry between the two clubs involved doesn't make matters any more peaceful.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: “I’ll Never Join Tottenham”
Now enjoying great success at Signal Iduna Park, there's no doubt that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang isn't regretting this summer's choice to jump the Saint-Etienne ship and join Borussia Dortmund.
However, that transfer may never have come about if Tottenham hadn't been so "weird" 12 months ago, according to the Gabon international.
The Metro allege Aubameyang as saying:
Tottenham tried to sign me in June 2012.
But in the end everything became a bit weird. I didn’t really like the way things were done. If Spurs ever came back in for me, I’d say no.
Just what it was that became so weird and meant that the move was scrapped remains unknown, but at least Spurs can be certain where their chances stand with one star in particular.
It's not as if the English side missed out on much, anyway. Twenty-five goals and 16 assists in 47 Ligue 1 and Bundesliga appearances since isn't something to regret missing out on or anything.