The Croatian coach Slaven Bilic has said he will stay on the national team’s bench beyond the European Championship in spite of a sweet offer from Germany’s Hamburger SV.
Bilic announded his decision to stay at a press conference putting an end to speculations caused by the Croatian FA’s inertia. The FA inexplicably hesitated to renew the supremely popular coach’s contract after the momentous win at Qiu Qiu Online Wembley last November, fuelling the nation’s concern Bilic could accept a financially more profitable offer abroad.
“I’ll stay as Croatia’s coach. Salary doesn’t matter to me.
Let them give me a blank contract and I’m going to sign it,” said the former West Ham and Everton defender.
“I do want to work at a club, but it will not be before 2010,” added Bilic.
What the fans think of the Croatian FA’s slowness to tie the coach for at least two more years has been reflected in a poll conducted by Vecernji list daily. No less than 77% of the voters believe the FA’s president Vlatko Markovic should quit if Bilic goes.
Record ban for a Chilean coach
Marcelo Vega, former coach to the youth team of Chile’s Santiago Morning was hit by a record 50 game ban for assaulting a referee. The former international was found guilty by the FA for knocking out the ref at the game between his team and Universidad de Chile on March 8th.
This is the heaviest ban ever imposed in the history of Chilean soccer. The club’s vice president Luis Faundez called upon Vega to “leave the club in order not to cause more damage.”
The 37-year-old coach collected 30 caps and one goal for the national team between 1991 and 1998 playing as a midfielder.
Capello recalls Beckham for France friendly
David Beckham will finally get his chance of making his 100th appearance for England as Fabio Capello showed him mercy after several months of uncertainty. Capello, who was at odds with Becks during their spell at Real Madrid, had said he had left out the former captain for the Switzerland game due to his lack of fitness.
Tottenham goalkeeper Paul Robinson has also won his return to the national side instead of the injured Scott Carson, Liverpool’s keeper on loan to Aston Villa. On the other hand, other two in-form Spurs’ players, Jermaine Jenas and Jermain Defoe, have been left out by the Italian coach, traditionally determined to keep the public guessing about his moves and motives.
Donadoni’s future at Italy uncertain
Roberto Donadoni has not reached a new deal with the Italian FA, whose leaders say they will not consider extending his contract before the end of the European championship.
“The issue will be dealt with when the current coach’s contract expires on July 18th,” said FA’s chairman Giancarlo Abate.
The man growing increasingly linked to the spot is Carlo Ancelotti, whose era at AC Milan is inexorably reaching its finale.
Ancelotti has admitted he is interested in coaching his country but not before 2010.
“I believe Donadoni deserves to stay. He has worked well so far and I trust he will do well at the European championship and the next World Cup,” said Ancelotti. Ever the fair player, Milan’s coach does not want to make an impression of being too eager to replace Donadoni, his former teammate for club and national team.
Athletic’s keeper has his head smashed by a Betis fan
The Spanish FA has punished Betis with two home games behind closed doors and awarded their game against Athletic to the visitors, confirming the scoreline of 1-2 prevailing before an incident forced the referee to signal the end.
With 23 minutes remaining, a 40-year-old Betis fan threw a full plastic bottle in Athletic’s keeper Armando’s face.
The Bask goalie suffered a deep cut and an injury to the left eye, which doctors fear may lose its function due to the detachment of the retina.
The fans helped the guards and the police catch the perpetrator, who was arrested and released on 3000 euros bail. Betis hoped the FA would enable them to play the remaining 23 minutes of the game, but the authorities would not heed their pleas remembering last year’s incident in which the former Sevilla’s coach Juande Ramos was also hit with a bottle thrown from the stands.
The perpetrator of that incident will likely be sentenced just to a hefty fine since Ramos was not seriously injured. The recent bottle-thrower may be looking at a prison sentence should Armando lose the sight in the injured eye.
Francesco Totti prefers Champions League to scudetto
If he could chose, Roma’s captain Francesco Totti would rather win the Champions’ League than the Italian league, since an European club trophy is what is missing from his trophy room.
“To win a title would be special because it would mean overtaking Inter, but I would prefer the Champions League as I have never won an international trophy at club level. Who knows, maybe it would also boost my chances of achieving the Golden Ball. Still, if the performance at the European Championship turns out to be decisive for the Golden Ball, then I will not win it because I’m not going back to the national team,” said the forward who has not played for the Azzurri after the victorious World Cup in Germany.
On Roma’s path to the European title lies, lest we forget, Manchester United.