World Football Quotes of the Week: Xavi Backs Forster, Agger Eyeing Anfield Exit
It may only be November, but the January transfer rumours are already flying about with as much frequency as ever, with some players already teeing up winter purchases and departures.
With Victor Valdes' contract up in the summer, Xavi sees a certain Celtic stopper as his new No. 1, Daniel Agger is considering his future options outside of Liverpool and Newcastle United's ownership is coming under increasing scrutiny.
That being said, there's more than simply market talk in the World Football Quotes of the Week. Read on to find out.
1. Alan Pardew on Mourinho: "I'll Give Him a Slap"
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Following on from his crowd-hopping celebrations against Manchester City last weekend, Jose Mourinho has been the centre of some manager's attention recently, not least of which comes Alan Pardew.
Ahead of his side's clash against the Blues, the Newcastle boss spoke on what might happen if the Portuguese were to repeat those actions.
He doesn't want to be jumping round me, because I'll give him a slap! I'm bigger than him, and he knows that.
And if he starts jumping in my crowd, he'll be in trouble!
Although in jest, it's something one might not put past Pardew, who has a history of touchline altercations.
In the end, the Magpies manager had no need to fear Mourinho's celebrations, as the northeast hosts ran to a shock 2-0 victory over their West London visitors.
2. Xavi Tips Fraser Forster for Barcelona Success
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Fraser Forster has been no stranger to Barcelona in the last two seasons, playing against the La Liga champions in each of Celtic's last two Champions League campaigns.
The 25-year-old has been in good form for the Scottish giants of late, earning himself a link to a raft of European clubs, Barca ranking among the most intriguing.
According to Massimo Marioni of the Metro, one figure at the Camp Nou, Xavi, who just so happens to carry quite a bit of weight in Catalan country, is in support of the Englishman joining his side's ranks:
I think the players all know about the Forster interest—and it is a player we know very well.
I can’t say that I watch him every week—but when we have played Celtic, he has shown that he is a world-class goalkeeper.
From what I have seen, he has everything to succeed at a club like Barcelona—and with his Champions League performances for Celtic, I am sure there will be more than one big club interested in him.
Victor Valdes' contract expiring at the end of this season has created a small conundrum for the Spanish giants, and his replacement needs to be a carefully examined choice, taking over a seat held at Barcelona for the past decade and more.
Whether or not Forster is the man to fill that void remains to be seen.
3. Emmanuel Frimpong: "Sometimes I Wish I Was White and English"
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Although his professional career is still relatively short-lived, Emmanuel Frimpong is never one to shy away from the spotlight, and once again, he finds himself in the headlines thanks to social media.
Having been omitted from Arsene Wenger's Capital One Cup squad for the midweek fixture against Chelsea, the midfielder appeared to allege that it was down to race.
James Olley of the Evening Standard reported on the matter, capturing Frimpong's tweets, which read:
LOL I wanna laugh. Sometimes I wish I was white and English.
Not every tweet is football related. Goosh [sic]. Look what ever [sic] you read tomorrow has majorly been twisted. Is a joke what people will do to start controversy goodnight people.
Unsurprisingly, that first tweet was deleted before the Ghanaian international attempted to backtrack on his comments. In familiar circumstances, however, a few seconds was all was needed for the post to be exposed.
If, as Frimpong says, the original tweet wasn't about football, then one has to wonder why it was deleted in the first place, but perhaps, only the temperamental player himself will know the truth.
4. Giggs and Neville Discuss Their Restaurant Menu
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Coming up to the December launch of their football-based Westfield restaurant, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs will now seek to topple the culinary world in the same way they did European football.
The former Manchester United pair will be offering up (not personally) dishes such as the Cafe Football burger and a gourmet chicken and mushroom “pot noodle," along with a batch of other satirical treats.
According to the Evening Standard's Miranda Bryant, the Old Trafford duo have been very involved in their creation, Giggs saying:
The food at Café Football will be a unique take on all of the traditional matchday favourites. We want it to be the place where guests can enjoy themselves while eating classic football dishes with a modern twist. There is a real sense of community within fans, and we want that fun atmosphere to spread to Café Football—it will be a place that reflects the spirit of fans coming together after a match.
Although Sky Sports punditry takes up a lot of his time these days, Neville also commented on his most recent venture:
Opening a restaurant is a huge step away from our lives on the pitch, but we are going to apply the same levels of enthusiasm and passion to try and make Café Football a success.
We have a team of industry experts working with us, whose knowledge and skillset will make sure every element is a fun experience.
If the legacy behind Cafe Football's inception isn't enough to draw the customers in, here's hoping the quality of the food only adds to its reputation.
5. Tim Howard: "I've Gained Most of My Strength from the Beard"
It can sometimes be difficult getting through these chilly Premier League winters, so Tim Howard has taken the pragmatic approach of choosing to grow a beard (albeit while maintaining his bald look).
However, the American's crumb-catcher is more than just a snugger way to keep warm, and, as the Everton stopper alleges, it actually helps him in his day-to-day job as an elite level goalkeeper:
I think I've gained most of my strength from the beard.
If I'm honest, it was lucky. I thought Benteke would go to the right. He is a very powerful boy, and for a right-footer, that's his power side. I didn't get it quite right as he went high, but I got a little bit of luck, reacted and kept it out.
The comments were made after Howard had managed to block a Christian Benteke penalty in the Toffees' October fixture against Aston Villa.
Technically, there's no way to prove that having a beard is a detriment to one's penalty-saving ventures, so Howard may yet prove to be correct in his claim.
6. Daniel Sturridge Reveals Didier Drogba's Preseason Guidance
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Daniel Sturridge's 2013-14 form has been the most prolific of his career thus far, seeming to have found a scoring formula that everyone would like to get their hands on.
With eight goals in 10 league games this term, Liverpool's gem has been a revelation, only helped further by the late arrival of Luis Suarez.
However, the rise in scoring prowess may not have been completely organic, it turns out, after the Mirror's Liam Prenderville reported the forward as having had some preseason help from a certain former Chelsea teammate:
I saw Didier [Drogba] in Miami this summer. He said the strongest thing an individual can have is the mental strength.
He told me, 'It's not about the tactical, it's not about the technical, it's not about the physical. If you believe in yourself, that will set you apart.'
A two-time Premier League Golden Boot winner and two-time African Footballer of the Year, Drogba certainly would have a bevy of useful advice for a young and aspiring striker such as Sturridge, and it's advice that would appear to be working.
7. Daniel Agger: "If I Don't Play Football, Then I Don't Want to Be Here"
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He might have the letters "YNWA (You'll Never Walk Alone)" tattooed across his knuckles, but even Daniel Agger is alleged to have shown this past week that his Liverpool allegiances could be finite.
Martin Skrtel, Kolo Toure and Mamadou Sakho have formed a successful defensive trio under Brendan Rodgers in recent weeks, meaning Agger has dropped to the bench.
When speaking to Danish television TV3 Sport (h/t Sky Sports) during the week, the centre-back was reported as saying:
If I don’t play, if the manager doesn’t think I’m good enough, that could make me leave Liverpool.
I’m here to play football, nothing else. So if I don’t play football, then I don’t want to be here.
The same report goes on to quote Agger as backtracking on those comments and stating that he'll win his place in the team back, stopping any need for a move.
Having said that, the Dane may have spoken his mind in a moment of clarity, disappointing countless Reds as a result if true.
8. Local Newcastle Newspaper Send Mike Ashley a Message
Mike Ashley's ownership of Newcastle United has long been under criticism by some sections of the Magpies following.
So, when several local media outlets were banned from a press conference and future interviews last week, the Chronicle sought to send a message with its front page.
Quoting the late, great Bobby Robson, the spread read:
What is a club in any case? Not the buildings or the directors or the people who are paid to represent it.
It’s not the television contracts, get-out clauses, marketing departments or executive boxes.
It’s the noise, the passion, the feeling of belonging, the pride in your city.
It’s a small boy clambering up stadium steps for the very first time, gripping his father’s hand, gawping at that hallowed stretch of turf beneath him and, without being able to do a thing about it, falling in love.
Although a quote revived from many years ago, it's a passage that holds great semblance when used appropriately and will strike a chord with many northeast figures in the pursuit of Newcastle becoming whole again.