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Review of the week

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Chris Charles | 14:43 UK time, Friday, 19 March 2010

Mourinho hit the headlines, Eto'o hit the winner and John Terry hit a pedestrian as Chelsea's bid for Champions League glory ended in failure yet again.

To make matters worse for the Blues, their pesky neighbours showed them how to get the Italian job done properly, as the Old Lady left the Cottage with her tail between her legs.
Inter Milan's victory at the Bridge was predictably dubbed 'The Special Won' by the tabloids and while he was magnanimous in victory, Jose couldn't resist a sly dig in the build-up to the match.

"Chelsea move on. I move on. I keep winning important things, they keep winning...something. They won an FA Cup," he wryly observed before well and truly having the last laugh.
Roy HodgsonRoy Hodgson is two games from the final

Actually, it was Fulham who had the last laugh, following their stunning victory over Juventus - a result which had manager Roy Hodgson purring: "We should do like Rocky Marciano and retire while the going's good, because it won't get any better than this."

He's right you know - in fact Roy hasn't had it this good since the 70s, when he was leading Halmstads to league titles in Sweden and Steptoe and Son was riding high in the ratings.

And in a game which featured the good, the bad and the ugly - as Juve finished with nine men - it was quite fitting that an all-American hero called Clint applied the coup de grace.

From Dempsey to make peace and the news that Sir Alex Ferguson has offered an unlikely olive branch to old enemy Rafa Benitez ahead of this weekend's clash at Old Trafford. In his programme notes, Fergie said the pressure on Benitez was "unfair" and (gasp) the Liverpool boss had his "sympathy".

Either the Manchester United supremo is mellowing in his old age or he's starting the mind games early - my money's on the latter. But having previously patched things up with Arsene Wenger, perhaps Fergie really is showing his benevolent side and will extend his goodwill to make a surprise appearance on Match of the Day this weekend.... accompanied by a troupe of flying pigs.

Sir Alex will certainly have been in jovial mood after watching the Champions League draw, which should see United partying like it's 1999 after being paired with Bayern Munich.

It was not such good news for Wenger, who saw his side pitted against the might of Barcelona. Lionel Messi was at his imperious best as the champions swatted away the challenge of Stuttgart on Wednesday - a performance which led to the headline of the week in The Sun - 'Leo Slayer'.

In the Europa League, it's all set up for a Fulham-Liverpool final - who'd have predicted that? - but one player unlikely to feature is Albert Riera, after the Spaniard threw his toys out of the pram, accusing the gaffer of being the captain of a sinking ship.

I see Benitez as being more like Captain Mainwaring, with Riera in the role of Private Pike - and you can bet Rafa has already uttered the line "You stupid boy" on more than one occasion this week.

Riera was once again conspicuous by his absence as Liverpool put Lille to the sword at Anfield, and fears his lack of action could cost him a World Cup spot with Spain. If that proves to be the case, he's unlikely to attract as much empathy as David Beckham, whose South African dream ended in the San Siro.

While feeling for Becks, I was quite relieved that coverage of the injury didn't reach the hysteria of metatarsal-gate in 2002. Relieved, that is, until I heard the news that Poet Laureate Carol Anne Duffy had penned on ode to Becks, entitled 'Achilles' - likening the former England captain's injured tendon to the Greek hero that gave it its name.

Duffy told Radio 4: "Beckham is almost a mythical figure himself, in popular culture," before reading out her work, sample line: "Women hid him, concealed him in girls' sarongs; days of sweetmeats, spices, silver songs... "

The ode concludes: "He hurt his heel, let out a squeal, the world was shocked, their hero crocked." All right, I made that last bit up, but I reckon it was no worse than Carol's effort.

Meanwhile, Beckham's old pal Puff Daddy/P Diddy/Whatever he calls himself now, was involved in the story of the week with the news that he was interested in buying Crystal Palace.
P Diddy
Who's the Diddy?
Apparently he liked the club's name because it reminded him of his favourite champagne and excited fans have already discussed the idea of changing their nickname to the Diddymen. Administrator Brendan Guilfoyle welcomed any approach, admitting he was a "big hip-hop fan". Yes, and Wayne Rooney is a massive Tchaikovsky afficionado.

According to The Sun, Puff had also considered taking over at Portsmouth, but if he ends up rejecting them, perhaps cash-strapped Pompey could approach fellow-rapper 50 Cent to see if he would put any money In Da Club.

Rumours that Kanye West could be interested in Rushden & Diamonds (From Sierra Leone) are wide of the mark, but if Puff goes through with this, it could open up the floodgates for a raft of rappers in English football. Indeed, Jay Z has already played at Wembley Stadium, although given the state of the surface, he wisely decided not to tweak the lyrics of his biggest hit to "99 Problems But The Pitch Ain't One".

Right, better move on before I get carted off by the rap police. In a round-up of the other news, JT was paid a visit by the law after accidentally driving his 4x4 into a security guard, badly bruising his leg.

A Chelsea spokesman was quick to draw a veil over the incident - insisting Terry was "driving out of the stadium at approximately 1-2mph". Not sure who approximated that, but you'd be hard-pressed to bother a passing fly at that speed, let alone damage a big old lump like Mr Rowley.

Meanwhile, Terry's team-mate Frank Lampard was giving an interview to Shortlist magazine, in which he was asked the question 'Who is the vainest player in the Chelsea dressing room?' Lampard replied: "Well, going by the number of creams and lotions in their locker, I'd say Ricardo Carvalho. He's losing his hair a bit and he's got all these products to try to get it back." Ouch.

And finally, Middlesbrough skipper Gary O'Neil was in a spot of bother after wife Donna urged his side to do their best to avoid clinching a spot in the play-offs. After Boro's defeat to Cardiff, she wrote on her Facebook page: "holidays soon... please keep losing no play-offs xxx." Apologies, Boro fans (and particularly our own Robbo Robson) - I have a feeling she may just get her wish.

Right, that's it. Have a good weekend one and all. I'm off to Loftus Road for the visit of Swansea and a few jars with my mate Welsh Pete - who, funnily enough, is a Swansea fan.


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