Mourinho's Notebook - 'Moneybags' Sterling, Ancient Bets & Kolo Won't Ride the Bus

Pound Sterling

This one’s getting messy. Raheem Sterling’s contract debacle at Liverpool has been drawing him heat for a while now, he was allegedly booed at the Liverpool team awards (which less apparently was completely blown out of proportion, just a couple drunkards in the back) and has an entire nation of fans taking digs at him for being greedy.

Jamie Carragher, Liverpool legend and former own goal extraordinaire, sharpened his knives when he told lil Bubba to “keep his mouth shut" and "get on with playing football".

Well, the thing is, all players go through these games of chicken when it comes to negotiating new contracts. It’s just that usually they happen behind closed doors. Up until now, Sterling’s been copping the blame for his agent’s actions. That may change now that the agent in question, Aidy Ward, has opened up in an exclusive with the Evening Standard.

“I don’t care about the PR of the club and the club situation. I don’t care. He is definitely not signing. He’s not signing for £700, £800, £900 thousand a week. He is not signing. My job is to make sure I do the best with them (my clients). If people say I am bad at my job, or they are badly advised it does not matter.”

As for Carragher’s comments?

“Carragher is a knob. Everybody knows it. Any of the criticism from current pundits or ex-Liverpool players - none of them things matter to me. It is not relevant.”

By the way, Ward is also the agent responsible for probably ruining Saido Berahino’s career at West Brom.

God, player agents are the scum of the earth, aren’t they?

Kolo Toure Does Not Take The Bus

That according to his lawyer who successfully argued against the suspension of Kolo’s driver’s license this week on the basis that he is far too famous to ride the bus with the plebs.

The Ivorian was caught speeding twice last year (57mph in a 40mph zone and 72 in a 50 zone a few days later), but instead of having to take public transport to trainings (imagine him sitting there with all his gear), he got away with a small fine and a few demerits.

This from Lisa Wilson, Toure’s lawyer:

"[Kolo Toure] using public transport like buses or trains often leads to a surge of people which is a safety issue to him and the public. If that happened on the train track, someone could be pushed under a train by accident, or under cars on the roads.”

She also argued against the severity of any fine because of his expiring contract at Liverpool. Forget the inflated footballer’s wages or anything. Or the fact that, since the court case ended, it sounds like he may just get an extension.

To be fair, the speeding offences were both as Kolo rushed from Liverpool to Manchester to visit his brother Ebrahim who was dying of cancer in hospital.

Still, too famous to ride the bus? Mate, you’re not even the most famous person in your family. Now, if Yaya was in this situation…

Get In, Charlie!

The tale of Charlie Austin is a lovely one. From non-league footy to Premier League footy, scoring goals for fun in the QPR hoops, selected for his national team and sure to be one of the most sought after strikers in English footy this off-season.

Austin’s scored 17 Premier League goals this season, but five years ago he was battling away for Poole Town in the ninth tier of English football. When he was transferred to League One’s Swindon Town that year, a group of 16 fans (which included Poole’s commercial chief, Mark Bumford) arranged 50/1 odds of Austin scoring a goal for England someday. They stumped up £155 and stand to win £7,905 between them if he can hit the net against Slovenia or Ireland in the Three Lions’ upcoming fixtures.

“The local bookies are aware they might have to cough up. They don't mind. It's good publicity.
He was always confident and sure of himself. A little cocky. But with 46 goals in 46 games in his first season, then 18 goals in his last 11 matches for us, including five in his last game, he could afford to be.” – Mark Bumford on Charlie Austin

Luis Figo Lets Loose On FIFA

From his Facebook page:

“Running for president of FIFA resulted from a personal decision, taken after listening to many pertinent people in the realm of international soccer.

I sought out the support needed for me to stand, I formally presented my candidacy, and the reactions in the soccer world were so overwhelming — both in public and in private — that I was reassured that I had made the right decision.

The realm of a sport which gave me everything to become what I am, and to which I now offered to give something back, is hungry for change. FIFA needs change and I feel that the change is urgent.

Guided by that wish, by the formal support I collected, and by the incredible wave of support from soccer players, former players, coaches, referees and administrators, I imagined and presented a plan of action — my election manifesto for the FIFA presidency.

I traveled and met extraordinary people who, though they recognized the value of much that had been done, also concurred with the need for change, one that cleans up FIFA's reputation as an obscure organization that is so often viewed as a place of corruption.

But over the past few months I have not only witnessed that desire (for change), I have witnessed consecutive incidents, all over the world, that should shame anyone who desires soccer to be free, clean and democratic.

I have seen with my own eyes federation presidents who, after one day comparing FIFA leaders to the devil, then go on stage and compare those same people with Jesus Christ. Nobody told me about this. I saw it with my own eyes.

The candidates were prevented from addressing federations at congresses while one of the candidates always gave speeches on his own from the rostrum. There has not been a single public debate about each candidate's proposals.

Does anyone think it's normal that an election for one of the most relevant organizations on the planet can go ahead without a public debate? Does anyone think it's normal that one of the candidates doesn't even bother to present an election manifesto that can be voted on May 29? Shouldn't it be mandatory to present such a manifesto so that federation presidents know what they're voting for?

That would be normal, but this electoral process is anything but an election.

This (election) process is a plebiscite for the delivery of absolute power to one man - something I refuse to go along with.

That is why, after a personal reflection and sharing views with two other candidates in this process, I believe that what is going to happen on May 29 in Zurich is not a normal electoral act.

And because it is not, don't count on me.

I want it to be clear that I have deep respect for all world soccer, from Africa, where I got so much motivation, to Asia, where I have and will keep excellent relationships, through South America, where a new generation is emerging, and Central and North America, where so many who wanted to speak were silenced, and to Oceania, whose development we should all look at differently. And finally to Europe, where I felt there was space for normal and democratic debate, thanks to the endeavors of President (Michel) Platini.

I give my warmest thanks to everyone, because I want it to be clear that they are not the election committee and it is not they who want FIFA to become weaker and weaker.

For my part, I will abide by the ideas I leave written and have circulated, I am firm in my desire to take an active part in the regeneration of FIFA and I will be available for it whenever it is proven to me that we are not living under a dictatorship.

I do not fear the ballot box, but I will not go along with nor will I give my consent to a process which will end on May 29 and from which soccer will not emerge the winner.

My decision is made, I will not stand in what is being called an election for the FIFA presidency.

I offer my deepest thanks to all those who have supported me and I ask them to keep alive their desire for a regeneration which, though it may take some time, will come.”

Barcelona Celebrate the Wonderful Career of Xavi in Infographic Form

Click through for the full thing.

Click through for the full thing.

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