World Football Quotes of the Week: All the Snark That's Fit to Print
The biggest names in world football this week did not get word that for many, the holiday season has arrived and as such it is time for good cheer.
In the United States, Thanksgiving was celebrated. The world over, Hanukkah is in full glow. And of course November is followed by all of December's merriment.
You would never know what happy times these should be by reading the world football news, though.
There sure was a lot of smack being talked this past week.
Steven Gerrard and Sir Alex Ferguson Go All 'He Said, He Said' on Us
Not long ago the world was favored with former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson's second autobiography.
Gerrard hit back this week, revealing that Sir Alex had a strange way of showing how little he thought of Gerrard's talent, per BT Sport (h/t ESPNFC.com):
I had a letter off them, wanting to sign me on a seven-year deal when I was 13 years of age. Then he tried to sign me again in early 2002-2003. I obviously refused, so I can’t really take it to heart too much.
Paul Lambert Lets West Bromwich Albion Know Exactly Where They Stand
Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion played to a terrific 2-2 draw at The Hawthorns this past week. As the match featured two teams squarely ensconced in the middle of the Premier League table, it might have drawn little mention.
Except for that part where Villa manager Paul Lambert went out of his way to patronize West Brom, that is.
Per Simon Burnton of the Guardian, Lambert issued this gem in the run-up to the fixture:
Aston Villa is a massive club. I don't think anyone can ever dispute that. It's a club that's won a [Big] Cup, league titles, has a massive fan base and has a bigger stadium. That's no disrespect to West Brom at all – they're a good club in their own right. I haven't been at West Brom or managed the club but Aston Villa, for me, is a bigger club.
Hoo boy. That's right up there with "she's a pretty enough date for someone like you."
Ryan Giggs Is Universally Lauded, at Least Until Someone Asks Jose Mourinho
As you may have heard, Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs turned 40 this week.
By and large, the tributes to Giggs' longevity and excellence as a player were glowing. Sure, resident Queens Park Rangers lightning rod Joey Barton had a few choice words about Giggs', er, off-the-pitch activities. But that's Joey Barton.
ESPNFC.com assembled a series of flattering quotes about Giggs from the Premier League's most prominent managers.
Manchester United manager David Moyes called Giggs "a great example to young players of how you should dedicate yourself to your career." Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger likened Giggs to "a good Bordeaux, he gets better as he gets older."
Unfortunately, they also asked Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho for comment. What did The Special One think of Giggs?
"It's just a pity a World Cup never saw him. It's the only regret that someone who admires him can have in his career. But congratulations."
"But congratulations," he said! Have some of that, Ryan.
AC Milan Manager Adriano Galliani Considers Going out with Class, Then Doesn't
As S.L. Price recently wrote about humbled American baseball great Alex Rodriguez in Sports Illustrated, "The end is pain, and pain is ugly."
So it goes for AC Milan vice president Adriano Galliani, who announced this week that he will resign from the club very soon after 27 years of service.
Maybe not soon enough, since as Ben Gladwell noted for ESPNFC.com, "The Rossoneri are now in their worst league position at this stage of a season since 1981, with the club closer to the relegation zone than a place in Europe next season."
Galliani might have delivered this news with quiet dignity and grace. Instead, he went another direction:
I've suffered grave damage to my person. This is not the way to deal with a generation change. It should be done with elegance. I will be resigning with just cause in the coming days, or maybe I will wait until after the Champions League game with Ajax.
Even the great ones rarely know when it is time to leave. Say this for Sir Alex Ferguson: He knew.
Andres Villas-Boas Does Not Want to Hear About Getting 'Sacked in the Morning'
Tottenham Hotspur manager Andres Villas-Boas probably suffered from low job satisfaction this past week.
Spurs went to Manchester last weekend in seventh place in the Premier League table with a positive goal difference.
After 90 minutes or so, Manchester City had scored six times to none for Spurs. dropping the London club to ninth in the table and putting their goal difference in the red.
Villas-Boas then had to rally his embarrassed side for a midweek Europa League fixture in Norway against Tromso. Spurs pulled out a 2-0 victory, but not without incident. Villas-Boas took a moment away from his work to get a Tromso supporter ejected, per David Hytner of the Guardian.
"I first sung after five minutes that he would be 'sacked in the morning' and he looked at me," said Tromso fan Reidar Stenersen Jr. "At the half-time whistle, when it was still 0-0 and I started the same song, he pointed at me and suddenly the security came and threw me out."
Who knew football managers could be so touchy?
Bayern Munich's Pest Problem
Bayern Munich are so good, they could publish their game plan in the morning paper and still win.
They proved it last week.
"Ahead of Bayern’s game at Borussia Dortmund last weekend, the German newspaper (Bild) revealed Pep Guardiola’s tactics -- information that turned out to be true," wrote Stephan Uersfeld for ESPNFC.com.
How did Bayern do? They won 3-0 on the road.
Still, if Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Guardiola are to be believed, all is long from forgiven for whoever leaked that information.
“No matter who it is, heads will roll. The one will be thrown out. He will not play any more games under me,” Guardiola said according to Uersfeld.
The CEO also had some choice words: “Pep Guardiola cannot like this. I can only advise the person in question to stop doing it right now, otherwise he’ll have a major problem not only with Pep Guardiola, but also with the whole club."
Will Landon Donovan Get His Security Deposit Back from His Everton Landlord?
Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan cannot be faulted for being sort of confused these days.
Donovan's season with the Galaxy ended a few weeks back. Donovan's United States men's national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann was on the record that he wanted players like Donovan to pursue international opportunities.
"Our priorities are set so that the first one is if you get a chance to go on loan to Europe, do it," said Klinsmann of players like Donovan and Seattle Sounders forward Clint Dempsey, according to MLSsoccer.com.
Not so fast my friend, say the Galaxy.
As reported by Kevin Palmer of ESPNFC.com, "Everton’s hopes of bringing U.S. international Landon Donovan back to Goodison Park on loan appear to have been dashed, after LA Galaxy confirmed the midfielder will spend the next few weeks preparing for the new MLS season."
Palmer, via the LA Galaxy podcast, quoted Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena thus: “Our players aren’t going anywhere. They had a full 11 months of playing and they need some time off."
Right, because the fortunes of the Los Angeles Galaxy should always come before America's prospects for success in the World Cup.
What was Klinsmann thinking?