United fans finally snap: Furious Manchester United fans turned on David Moyes and Alex Ferguson during Tuesday night's 3-0 reverse against neighbours Manchester City at Old Trafford, according to reports. The Daily Mail claims that some angry fans had to be restrained by stewards and then escorted away by security staff with one in particular ranting at manager Moyes as the Scot was sat on the home bench. Ferguson too bore the brunt of some disgruntled fans' ire, apparently for his role in recommending Moyes as his successor, while stewards had to guard a banner which hangs in the Stretford End and declares Moyes 'The Chosen One', to prevent fans from ripping it down at full-time.
Paper Round's view: United fans, certainly match-going supporters, have been hugely patient so far this season and any discord there may have been has been largely kept under wraps. However, when heavy defeat (and humiliation) against Liverpool is swiftly followed by heavy defeat (and further humiliation) against City, off the back of some other abysmal results throughout the season, it is entirely understandable some fans can't take it anymore. That stewards had to guard that controversial banner at the end of the game says it all, really. How long will it survive now? How long will Moyes survive? You can't help but get the feeling that the fate of the two are somehow inexorably linked.
- - -
International football to be revolutionised: England will play in a new Nations League from the 2018-19 season as part of a revolutionary UEFA plan that will shake up football as we know it. The Daily Telegraph reports that all 54 of UEFA's members have agreed to back the competition and the paper has learnt that a resolution giving European football’s governing body permission to devise a third major international tournament is expected to be waved through in Kazakhstan this week, paving the way for the biggest shake-up in the football calendar in years.
Paper Round's view: A meaningful biennial event, international promotion and relegation battles, regular games against the likes of Italy, Germany and Spain, no more boring friendlies... in theory this appears to be a great idea. The Daily Mail's Martin Samuel thinks otherwise, however, seemingly basing his scepticism on the fact the brains behind the idea is none other than Michel Platini, a man he clearly distrusts.
- - -
Messi set for bumper pay deal: Barcelona are set to make Lionel Messi the world's highest-paid player in a bid to ensure his long-term future lies at the Camp Nou, reports the Daily Telegraph. The Argentine already has a contract until 2018 but his superstar status means that he has been able to force new club president Josep Maria Bartomeu into negotiating a new deal just six months after those terms were agreed. Messi is thought to be demanding a basic wage in excess of £336,000 a week, which would top even Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney's current deals.
Paper Round's view: One word: obscene. Messi is good, great, possibly even the greatest of all time, but these figures are just ridiculous. Factor in that Messi wants to keep 100 per cent of his image rights and his annual income - more than the £17.5 million-a-year after tax that Ronaldo takes home at Real Madrid - beggars belief. And the likelihood is that Barca will bow to his demands, no matter how high, such is their fear of losing the best player in the world.
- - -
Giroud wants to stay put: Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud has no plans to quit the Emirates, according to his agent. The Daily Star reports that the French striker had been linked with a move elsewhere following "personal issues" but has no interest in swapping the Gunners for the likes of Juventus or Roma, who had been rumoured to be keen. "At the end of the season we will meet with the Gunners to discuss a contract extension," said Michael Manuello.
Paper Round's view: Can we assume that Giroud's "personal issues" relate to his being snapped in nothing but his pants in a hotel room by a buxom 'beauty' in the early hours of the morning before a big game? Quite possibly, but surely if Giroud were to leave Arsenal, it would be down to the club signing another striker in the summer, and not because he was allegedly caught in flagrante with a glamour model.
- - -
Cabaye urges Hazard to join him at PSG: Yohan Cabaye has urged his club Paris Saint-Germain to sign Eden Hazard in the summer, reports the Daily Express. The former Newcastle midfielder played with the Chelsea man at Lille and has seen enough of him to say he is one of the best players he has ever worked with. "Hazard is a player I would like to see at PSG," the Frenchman said.
Paper Round's view: PSG might have to do something special in the Champions League this season if they are to entice the likes of Hazard to Paris. It could be an attractive proposition, but in footballing terms at the moment the club is still a work in progress. That, though, could change over the coming months, especially if PSG can get past Chelsea in the quarter-finals.
- - -
- Sports & Recreation
- Manchester United
- David Moyes
- Alex Ferguson
- Lionel Messi
- Olivier Giroud
- Manchester City
- Paper Round