Paper News and Gossip: Moyes Urges Respect, Messi Future 'In Doubt'
Manchester United manager David Moyes leads the back-page agenda on Saturday as he prepares for his first return to Goodison Park since leaving Everton last year.
The United boss was pilloried by a number of Everton supporters during the Toffees' 1-0 win at Old Trafford in December after attempting to wrest both Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini from Goodison in the summer transfer window.
But the United manager believes he deserves credit for the job he did at Goodison during his 11-year tenure.
And the future of Lionel Messi at Barcelona is open to question, according to one report in Saturday's newspapers.
But who else is making the headlines on Saturday? Read on to find out more.
David Moyes Calls for Everton Fans' Respect Ahead of Goodison Return
Manchester United manager David Moyes believes the focus of attention at Goodison Park on Sunday should be on the game, not him, reports David McDonnell of the Daily Mirror.
Moyes will make his first return to Goodison after leaving the club for Old Trafford last year, but he believes he deserves respect from Everton fans.
The failed summer transfer bid for both Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini has been at the centre of Everton fans' anger towards their former manager, but Moyes maintains he did nothing wrong in his pursuit of the pair.
Moyes is quoted as saying:
There were a few problems with us trying to sign a couple of their players, but overall I was just doing my job for Manchester United.
We sourced a big majority of the players at Everton and put them towards the team.
I think we did everything in our power at Everton to make sure we got the best team we could.
Meanwhile, United have been offered Valencia defender Adil Rami after a proposed move to AC Milan fell through, reports David Kent of the Daily Mail.
Lionel Messi Barcelona Future in Doubt, Claims Report
The future of Lionel Messi at Barcelona could be in doubt after contract talks stalled, reports Pete Jenson of the Daily Mail.
According to the article, some members of the Barcelona board believe the Argentina international is now worth more as a saleable asset than he is on the pitch.
Jenson, who cites Catalan sports channel Esport3 as a source for his article, writes:
The incredible development in stalled contract talks between player and club explain why Messi has reached a stand-off with Barcelona.
The suggestion is that certain members of the club's board believe the player is now worth more to them in the transfer market than on the pitch, that Messi is aware of this, and that he believes it is behind Barcelona's reluctance to improve his current contract which runs out in 2018.
Paris Saint-Germain would be willing to pay the player’s £205million buy-out clause, and with plans for a new stadium likely to set Barcelona back £493m, there are certain influences within the club who believe this could be the time to do the unthinkable and cash on a player who has been at Barcelona since he was 13.
Messi wants to stay at Barcelona until he feels the time is right for a South American swansong at his first ever club, Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina, but Barcelona's dithering could bring forward the date of his departure and open the doors to a new European adventure at PSG or even at Manchester City.
Manchester City Star Yaya Toure Believes Being African Costs Recognition
Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure believes being African has prevented him from gaining greater recognition, reports Simon Jones of the Daily Mail.
And the former Barcelona man claims genuine recognition for him comes mainly from supporters.
Toure is quoted as saying:
To be honest, proper recognition has only come from the fans.
I don't want to be hard and I don't want to be negative, but I want to be honest.
If we play well and we don't have the recognition from the media, we are not going to be where we want to be. People regard people from Africa as animals.
Going on to add:
If you go to any part of Africa now, people will say 'Yes, we know him [Lionel Messi,]' but when you come to Europe and say 'Yaya Toure' people will say 'Who is that?'
Some will say they know my name but not know my face. But they will know Messi's face.
Jose Mourinho Maintains Media Silence, Ashley Cole Set to Leave
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is maintaining his media silence in protest at the fine given to him by the Football Association for his actions at Aston Villa earlier this year, reports Martin Lipton of the Daily Mirror.
According to the article, Mourinho is still "seething" at the £8,000 fine imposed on him for approaching referee Chris Foy during the Blues' defeat at Villa Park in February.
Chelsea assistant manager Steve Holland instead took over Friday's media duties ahead of the visit of Sunderland in the Premier League.
Holland is quoted as saying:
This is a crucial period and the most important message from Jose to all of them is we will need everybody in our group. They have to understand that.
We won’t get through this process with 11 or 12 players. It’s a group of games where we’ll need everyone, and they’ll have to give everything when their opportunity arises.
Jose is a very experienced manager in these situations, who knows how to handle himself.
But as the leader, the players are always looking at him, to see how he’s dealing with things.
Meanwhile, Ashley Cole looks set to leave Chelsea in the summer, with Lipton reporting that the left-back will not play in the Champions League semi-final against Atletico Madrid next week.
With Branislav Ivanovic suspended, the article claims Mourinho will play David Luiz at right-back instead of moving Cesar Azpilicueta across from the left.
Liverpool Manager Brendan Rodgers Hails Steven Gerrard as 'Best in Europe'
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has lauded Steven Gerrard as the best midfielder in Europe, reports Chris McKenna of the Daily Star.
The England captain is on the verge of lifting the Premier League title after enjoying a tremendous season in a new, deeper role with the Anfield club.
And Rodgers is quoted as saying:
I think that sometimes his performances get lost a wee bit with Steven, because he's a wonderful human being and his leadership quality in the team is there to see.
We mustn't forget that he's arguably the best in European football in this controlling role at this moment in time.
There's not many players can do what he can do; be one of the best attacking midfield players in Europe and then switch to be arguably the best controlling player.
You look at the holding players in European football now at the top teams, I wouldn't swap him for any of them, because of what he can give the team.
He's a playmaker, but he's unique where he can also defend. I think what he probably doesn't get enough credit for as well is his reading of the game.
Meanwhile, Liverpool are still confident of landing striker Cristian Tello if Barcelona can overturn their transfer suspension, reports John Cross of the Daily Mirror.
Arsenal Defender Laurent Koscielny in Talks over Improved Deal
Arsenal have opened negotiations with defender Laurent Koscielny in a bid to stave off reported interest from Chelsea and Manchester United, claims Tom Bellwood of the Daily Mail.
The France international still has three years to run on his current deal, but the Gunners are keen to offer him an improved contract, Bellwood reports.
Meanwhile, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes striker Olivier Giroud has proved his critics wrong this season, reports Adrian Kajumba of the Daily Star.
The forward scored in the midweek win over West Ham to take his tally to 20 for this season, and Wenger is quoted as saying: "The quality of the goal gives him, I think, confidence again, gives him credibility again for people who questioned his ability, so that is important."
Arsenal have also bolstered their hotel security after a number of overnight incidents, report Sami Mokbel and Laura Williamson of the Daily Mail.