Mourinho: John Terry is not a racist

Jose Mourinho - Real Madrid

Goal.com / Shinichiro Ema

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho insists that Chelsea defender John Terry is not a racist despite the four-match ban handed to him for racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.

The centre-back was dealt the suspension and a fine of around €275,000 by an FA commission on Thursday having been found not guilty of a racially-aggravated public order offence by Westminster Magistrates’ Court in July.

Mourinho, who coached Terry during his time at Stamford Bridge, admitted that the Blues captain could have made an inappropriate comment in the heat of the moment but declared that he was not truly a racist.

“He is not a racist,” Mourinho told CNN. “That’s 100%. We [Chelsea] had a squad where we had 12 African players in the squad. It was a fantastic squad and he had always a great relation with every one of them.

“But in football it can happen, and I know it can happen, that during a football match because sometimes it’s more than a game and sometimes you have reactions that don’t represent what you are really.

“Probably, he had a racist comment or a ‘racist’ attitude against an opponent and, sometimes in football, we look to our opponents in the wrong way. But to pay, he has to be punished.

“But please, don’t say that he is a racist because I know what I am saying… [Didier] Drogba will say, Geremi will say, [Claude] Makelele will say, all of them will say that he is not a racist.”

Mourinho claims, in addition, that he has never witnessed or felt any forms of racism in the dressing rooms of any of the clubs he has managed.

“I never felt it,” he added. “Never. In a dressing room, I have never felt it, and I’ve always had African players in every one of my teams.”

Pato potentially one of the best in the world, says El Shaarawy

Stephan El Shaarawy believes that AC Milan team-mate Alexandre Pato is one of the best players in the world when he’s not being plagued by physical problems.

The Brazil international has yet to make an official appearance for the Rossoneri this season due to injury, but is expected to make his comeback in the upcoming weeks.

“I hope Pato gets back soon, he’s potentially one of the best players in the world. He’s the present and the future of the team and I hope he gets back soon,” El Shaarawy stated to Milan Channel.

The promising youngster then went on to voice his admiration for Real Madrid midfielder Kaka, and stressed that the Brazilian was his idol.

“I’ve always said that Kaka was the player that inspired me the most in terms of his characteristics.

“I think that I’m doing well too. I’m El Shaarawy and I play the game with my qualities.”

The gifted starlet has netted three times in five Serie A appearances this term and will be looking to add to his tally on Saturday when Milan travel to Parma.

Xavi: The pressure is all on Real Madrid

Barcelona midfielder Xavi has stressed that the pressure is on Real Madrid ahead of next week’s Clasico.

The reigning champions are currently trailing the Catalans by eight points, and Xavi feels Madrid can’t afford to let any points slip through their grasp again, even if it’s still early in the season.

“Our eight-point lead over Real Madrid is no small matter. It is an advantage we have to make the most of. The league is looking very good for us and now the pressure is all on Real Madrid,” Xavi was quoted as saying by Sport.

“There’s obviously pressure on us as well ahead of the Clasico, but Madrid can’t afford to slip up again. I like the eight-point gap and want to see it remain intact.

“We were 10 points behind Madrid at some point last year, but we got back into the title race as well. It’s too soon to say that we’ve taken a decisive lead.”

The experienced midfielder also had his say on who should win the Fifa Ballon d’Or, and singled out Lionel Messi as the sky-high favourite to scoop up the prestigious award.

“Messi should win the Ballon d’Or. If it is supposed to go to the best player in the world, no one else comes close.”

The Argentina star has won the inaugural two editions of the individual award.

Kaka included in Brazil squad to face Iraq & Japan

kaká

Kaká vuelve a la Selección de Mano Menezes / GettyImages

Kaka has been recalled to the Brazil squad for their forthcoming fixtures against Iraq and Japan on October 11 and 16 respectively.

The former World Player of the Year has failed to make any competitive appearances for Real Madrid this season, but did turn out for Los Blancos midweek when they hosted Milonarios, and he made the most of the opportunity as he bagged a hat-trick.

His performance against the Colombian outfit seems to have been enough to convince Brazil boss Mano Menezes into including him in his squad for the country’s upcoming international friendlies.

The midfielder has yet to feature under the former Corinthians coach. He was picked by the five-time world champions in November 2011 for matches against Gabon and Egypt, but was forced to pull out with injury.

Kaka, who has made over 80 appearances for his national side, will travel alongside Madrid team-mate Marcelo, Valencia’s Diego Alves and Barcelona duo Dani Alves and Adriano for the two games.

Goalkeepers  
Jefferson Botafogo
Diego Alves Valencia
Victor Atletico-MG
Defenders  
Alex Sandro Porto
Marcelo Real Madrid
Dani Alves Barcelona
David Luiz Chelsea
Dede Vasco da Gama
Adriano Barcelona
Thiago Silva Paris Saint-Germain
Leandro Castan Roma
Midfielders  
Sandro Tottenham
Oscar Chelsea
Ramires Chelsea
Lucas Sao Paulo
Guiliano Dnipro
Fernando Gremio
Paulinho Corinthians
Kaka Real Madrid
Thiago Neves Fluminense
Strikers  
Hulk Zenit
Neymar Santos
Leandro Damiao Internacional

Di Stefano: I almost joined Barcelona

Alfredo Di Stefano has revealed that he almost ended up playing for Barcelona before signing with Real Madrid.

The Argentine went onto claim legendary status while playing for Los Blancos during the 1950s and 1960s and is regarded by many as the club’s greatest-ever player.

Speaking in an interview with Marca, Di Stefano told of how he was planning to go back to Buenos Aires before he was lured to the Spanish capital.

“I was really fed up of flying everywhere. I had a contract with Millonarios until December 1954, and from the start of 1955, I intended to be at River again,” the former striker said.

“Barca approached River first, and Real took advantage of that, jumping into negotiations with Millonarios. I didn’t know anything about the club. I only knew about South American football. It was only the second time I’d been to Europe.”

Though he ended up in Madrid, the 86-year-old spoke of the few months he spent with the Catalan giants between July and August 1953.

“I hadn’t signed anything with them, everything was up in the air,” Di Stefano added. “I went there because they told me I had to travel.

“I was there two or three months, but one day they told me to come to Madrid and I came. I didn’t mind either way; what I did want was the question to be resolved one way or another and to start playing in one place or the other.

“At first we weren’t that good, we were lacking understanding, but we got better and made progress with a lot of enthusiasm.”

Before departing for Spain, Di Stefano made a name for himself at Colmbian side Millonarios, where he was known as ‘La Saeta‘, meaning ‘the arrow’.

“They [Milonarios] are one of my three teams, together with Real Madrid and River Plate. I was there during a great period. We had a terrific team and won a lot of things,” he concluded.