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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Rio Ferdinand Highlights Video Clip


Funny Interview with Rio Ferdinand


Ferguson expects more twists in title race

Sir Alex Ferguson believes Manchester United are well positioned to retain the Premier League title but claims their defence could yet unravel.

Chelsea's 1-1 draw at Wigan on Monday night has left United's nearest challengers trailing by five points with four games remaining.

It would take a major collapse for the league leaders to surrender their advantage and they could be crowned champions at Stamford Bridge on April 26.

But a cautious Ferguson, who tonight presented a Nationwide Lifetime Achievement award to Denis Law, insists there is still time for one more twist.

'Wigan's draw with Chelsea puts us in a good position but in my experience in life you don't take things for granted,' he said.

'We've got some difficult games ahead - Blackburn, West Ham, Chelsea and Wigan. We have three away games and one at home so we have to do a job.

'Because we have difficult games left there is still a lot to play for and it could still go down to the wire.'

Ferguson felt Wigan - managed by former United skipper Steve Bruce - were rewarded for their bravery against Chelsea.

'I spoke to Steve a couple of times before the game and said I'd sever all connections with him if he didn't get a result,' he said.

'Steve deserved it because he was brave enough to play three forwards in the last 20 minutes of the match when Chelsea were dominating and could have been 3-0 up.

'It was a surprise result. Chelsea didn't deserve that but you have to admire Steve's courage.'

United's position is further strengthened by a goal difference that is superior to Chelsea's by 19 and Ferguson insists the advantage is reward for his side's swashbuckling style.

'One of the encouraging things is the goal difference is helping us,' he said.

'That's deserved because we've attacked all season and have put an attacking emphasis on our game.

'Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Tevez have scored over 70 goals between them. That's a great return from three players.'

United put one hand on the title with Sunday's 2-1 victory over Arsenal and Ferguson admitted the competition has been ferocious this season.

'It's been a really competitive league,' he said.

'Arsenal and ourselves spent a long time competing for that top spot and Chelsea have crept us behind us.

'It's very easy to dismiss them now but when we beat Arsenal we knew we were right back in the ball park of going for it.

'Last night's result was a bonus for us. Our hardest game was at Middlesbrough earlier this month - we dropped two points there.

'It was a massive result for us against Arsenal. It could still go to the wire and we can't take it for granted.

'We could lose to Chelsea and we could lose all our remaining games. It's a very difficult league these days.'

Rio Ferdinand is understood to have provisionally agreed a new deal with Manchester United that will keep him at Old Trafford for the next five years.

Although Ferdinand still has two years remaining on his current contract, negotiations regarding an extension had been planned for the summer.

However, Ferdinand is believed to have called for talks to begin sooner rather than later, and now it is only a matter of the 29-year-old putting pen to paper.

United are also adamant that Ronaldo is going nowhere either, despite Real Madrid sporting director Predrag Mijatovic's claim today that they want the Portuguese superstar to be 'the face' of the Spanish giants in the future.

Red Devils assistant boss Carlos Queiroz told Marca: 'We would not sell him for 120million euros.

'You can offer all the money in the world, but there is no amount that can buy him.'

Ferdinand agrees terms on new United contract

Rio Ferdinand is understood to have provisionally agreed a new deal with Manchester United that will keep him at Old Trafford for the next five years.

Although Ferdinand still has two years remaining on his current contract, negotiations regarding an extension had been planned for the summer.

However, Ferdinand is believed to have called for talks to begin sooner rather than later, and now it is only a matter of the 29-year-old putting pen to paper.

Reports suggest the centre-back, who has been in outstanding form for United this season, will earn £120,000 per week.

Ferdinand's agent, Pini Zahavi, said: 'This new deal will take him beyond 34.

'But it won't be his last contract, and in all probability it won't be his last contract at Manchester United.

'Rio is very happy there, he wanted to stay and they wanted him to stay.

'Of course he could have gone to another big club, but he did not want to.'

Speaking to the Daily Express, Zahavi added: 'I believe he can play longer than (Paolo) Maldini - and they believe so at Manchester United as well.'

Italian legend Maldini, who will be 40 in June, has spent his entire career with AC Milan.


Capello backs Rooney for captaincy, one day

Fabio Capello has identified Wayne Rooney as an England captain of the future and believes the Manchester United star will become an even better player.

Rooney is being strongly tipped to be given his chance in the role by Capello as part of his policy of rotating the armband before naming a permanent skipper ahead of next season's World Cup qualifiers.

Capello would not confirm who would lead the team out in next month's friendly with the United States at Wembley but has no doubt Rooney could one day be ideal for the coveted position.

Capello said: 'I am undecided who will be captain for the next game and Wayne Rooney is very young but I believe in the future he could be captain of England one day.

'What are his qualities for the role? He is a leader, he is a good example on the pitch. Like I said, he is very young so we need to give him a bit more time to get some more experience and mature a bit.

'But I do believe he could one day be captain. He is the most talented young English player and the good thing is he has still got a big margin of improvement ahead of him.

'He is very good at everything. The one thing he can improve is the number of chances he puts away. He doesn't convert as many as he could but I am sure that will come in the future.'

Capello also insisted there is no rift between himself and Michael Owen after comments attributed to the Newcastle striker led to claims the 28-year-old was confused by the Italian's tactics during the recent friendly with France.

Capello has accepted Owen's explanation that his remarks were taken out of context and has been happy to see the player who has netted 40 times for England looking back to his best in recent weeks.

Capello said: 'First of all, Michael Owen has denied making those comments to begin with and I have absolutely no problem with him. There is no problem between him and me as far as I am concerned.

'My relationship with Michael Owen is the same as with all the players. A good manager should have that equal relationship whether it is with Michael Owen, David Beckham, Rio Ferdinand or anyone else.

'I have a group of players and Michael Owen is part of my plans.'

Capello has been impressed with the deeper role Owen has been given recently by Magpies boss Kevin Keegan and believes that has led to his scoring resurgence.

He said: 'Michael Owen has made me think. Recently he has been playing in a different role behind the two strikers for Newcastle and I believe he is scoring because he is playing in that different role.'

Capello was speaking during a trip to Lesotho to help promote the Football Association's development of the game in Africa at grass roots level ahead of the 2010 World Cup finals.

Capello and former England goalkeeper Ray Clemence - who now has the title of FA head of national teams - observed FA coaches, including former West Ham midfielder Geoff Pike, conducting a training session involving local school teachers and children.

The FA, with the support of FIFA, has agreed to help the game develop in southern African countries ahead of the World Cup finals by providing equipment and qualified coaches as well as sponsoring tournaments.

It is hoped by 2010 that as many local teachers as possible will have taken the FA level one course and will be able to pass on good quality coaching to schoolchildren and young people in rural areas when access to football is limited.

The FA are also aiming to assist the Lesotho, Botswana and Malawi football associations by installing community-based football facilities in the run-up to 2010.

Capello insisted backing such a worthwhile scheme and not gathering support for the World Cup bid in 2018 was his main reason for making the trip.

He said: 'This is a worthwhile scheme and I feel it is important I'm seen not only on TV but also on the pitch supporting serious and worthwhile projects like this one. It is important I am involved.'

Enrique warns Reds

Barcelona legend Luis Enrique feels there is little to choose between his former side and United, ahead of their looming Champions League semi-final.

The Catalan giants' stuttering La Liga form has prompted many pundits to place United as favourites to face either Liverpool or Chelsea in this year's final, but Enrique expects Frank Rijkaard's side to raise their game for the Reds.

"I think it will be very equal," Enrique told Sport, a newspaper in his native Spain.

"United, on paper, are better at the moment. They are top of the Premiership and have impressed in the Champions League and have looked very strong throughout.

"They have had 11 (consecutive home) wins in Europe and that shows what level they are at right now.

"But I still think that Barcelona have every chance of going through.

"The first game is at Camp Nou and with our fans behind us I think it will be a spectacular game. Without doubt, it is one of the best ties there could be in Europe right now. I hope we can earn a good result for the second leg.

"I truly believe and expect the tie to be very even. I think Frank Rijkaard will enjoy the ambiguity of it. This is the last step to the final and I think the team will raise their game."

Enrique was part of the Barcelona side who contested two memorable 3-3 draws with United during the 1998/99 season, and can still recall the pulsating atmosphere of playing at Old Trafford.

"The atmosphere there is absolutely incredible, truly spectacular," he said.

"United do not have a song like Liverpool, but the stadium is incredible, the noise is deafening and everything there is what any player would dream of. It is a joy to play there."

Reds to offer Rio £31m pay deal

Rio Ferdinand has agreed a new five-year deal with United that will make him the club's highest-paid player alongside Cristiano Ronaldo on £120,000-a week. Ferdinand and United have agreed in principle the terms of the package worth £31.2million, which will keep the England defender at Old Trafford for the rest of his top-flight career. Talks have been ongoing between United and Ferdinand's representatives for several weeks, and an official announcement from both parties is expected later this week. Ferdinand had one more year left on his existing deal and United moved swiftly to tie him down to a new contract.
David McDonnell, Daily Mirror

Bruce reveals Sir Alex influence

Wigan Athletic did United a huge favour on Monday night by holding Chelsea to a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge, and manager Steve Bruce says there was no shortage of well-wishing from Sir Alex Ferguson.

Emile Heskey's injury-time strike cancelled out Michael Essien's earlier effort, earning Wigan a point that aids their survival hopes as much as it boosts United's title ambitions.

"Sir Alex phoned me twice before the game and twice before Arsenal. He hasn't phoned me any other time during the season. Four times!" said former United defender Bruce. "I have had a few calls from friends in Manchester but I am more pleased for us getting a point. The United players will be pleased but they know it's not over yet."

The result puts United five points clear with four games to go. Chelsea could close the gap to two points against Everton at Goodison Park on Thursday. The Reds then travel to Ewood Park on Saturday, although another former Red, Blackburn boss Mark Hughes, won't be so pleased to help United's cause.

Giggs: I'll keep on going

Ryan Giggs has not set a retirement date and says he will bring the curtain down on his career when he feels the time is right.

A number of factors will affect his decision, including performance levels and fitness, while the veteran winger says coaching is a possible route to take after retirement.

"I'll think about that a lot more after I’ve done my badges in the summer – I did my ‘B’ badge and enjoyed that," he said. "I do think I’ll be involved in the game in some way but for now I am just concentrating on playing football.”

Giggs will turn 35 in November, and with one year left on his contract has no long-term plans in place. But he does intend to carry on playing as long as he is enjoying his football.

"[I'll retire] when I stop enjoying it and I'm not performing at the level I should be doing," he told

"There’s no particular season I’ve got in mind. I’ve got another year after this on my contract, and it will depend on my body, on how I feel, if I’m enjoying it. I'll take it all into consideration. I hope it doesn’t, but if it ended tomorrow, I wouldn’t swap my career for anyone's."

The Welshman could equal Sir Bobby Chartlon's all-time club appearance record if he plays in all of United's remaining games this season, providing the Reds make it to the Champions League final.

"When it comes to personal records I’ve done my best to play things down – winning trophies matters most, it’s as simple as that," he added. "That’s the sole aim and if I pass milestones in the meantime, that’s great."

Mikael eyes silverware

Fit again Mikael Silvestre says he's ready to play his part in United's bid for domestic and European glory.

A spectator for much of the 2007/08 campaign after injuring knee ligaments at Goodison Park in September, the Frenchman made his return in United's 2-0 win over AS Roma.

The 30-year-old says he was delighted to be back on the pitch, taking part in the kind of football he had savoured for so long from the stands.

“It’s been great football to watch,” Silvestre told Manchester United Radio. “The boss encourages the side to play attacking football, which suits the fans and the English game.

“I’ve been particularly happy with how the team have been performing at the back. There’s a good understanding between the players, whoever’s been playing there. I think we deserve to be top of the league because we don’t concede many goals.”

Silvestre, who's hoping to play a major role in United's bid for silverware, confirmed he emerged unscathed from his first outing in the senior squad for almost seven months.

“Physically I felt quite good [against Roma],” he said. “Even the day after I was fine.

“Walking out of the tunnel before the game was very special and I was really looking forward to getting back on the pitch.

“It’s always a pleasure to come back from injuries, especially in front of a full house on a European night. "I enjoyed the match from the first minute until the last.”

The win against Roma (1-0 on the night, 3-0 on aggregate) sealed United’s semi-final spot in the Champions League. The Reds now meet Barcelona, with the first leg at the Nou Camp on Tuesday 22 April.

“The Barcelona tie is huge,” Silvestre said. “It’s a big step but when you reach the semi-final stage you expect to play a big club. I think we have what it takes to go all the way to the final, though.

“It’s always an advantage to play the first leg away from home. You have the crowd in your favour, which is always a bonus.”