World Football

Paper Review: Cristiano Almost a Gunner, Guardiola Backs Manchester City

Ian RodgersWorld Football Staff WriterOctober 2, 2013

Paper Review: Cristiano Almost a Gunner, Guardiola Backs Manchester City

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    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    Mesut Ozil stole the show as he led Arsenal to a 2-0 win over Napoli in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

    As it turns out, the Germany international could have been playing alongside former Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo if things had worked out differently before he joined Manchester United.

    Shakhtar Donetsk head coach Mircea Lucescu believes he knows why United have failed to hit the heights under David Moyes this season.

    Manchester City could be the dark horses of this season's Champions League, says Pep Guardiola, a man who knows his way around UEFA's elite tournament.

    Who else is making the headlines on Wednesday? Read on to find out more.

Cristiano Ronaldo Almost Joined Arsenal Before Manchester United Move

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    Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo almost became an Arsenal player before Manchester United swooped for his signature 10 years ago, a new BBC4 documentary will reveal, reports John Cross of the Daily Mirror.

    The Gunners had even given the Portugal international a shirt number as they finalised the deal, but Old Trafford assistant manager Carlos Queiroz stepped in at the last minute to take the player to United, according to Arsene Wenger.

    He was very close to coming here. He has a number nine shirt with Ronaldo on the back from Arsenal.

    What happened was that Carlos Queiroz went to Manchester United and they snapped him away from us because he knew him from Sporting.

    That's what life is about. You give your best but sometimes you might find that people are stronger than you. That can happen as well.

    Meanwhile, the success of Ozil at the Emirates Stadium has left a question mark over Jack Wilshere and a potential problem for England manager Roy Hodgson, says Steven Howard of The Sun (subscription required). 

David Moyes' Rotation Costing United, Says Shakhtar Coach Lucescu

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    Constant tinkering with the Manchester United team is costing David Moyes, claims Shakhtar Donetsk coach Mircea Lucescu, as Chris Wheeler of the Daily Mail reports.

    Lucescu believes Moyes has made too many changes to his team since the start of the season, but the experienced Shakhtar boss believes the United manager needs time after succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson.

    Meanwhile, Ferguson has insisted there is no question of him returning to the Old Trafford dug-out to replace Moyes in the future in an interview with Charlie Rose for PBS on American television, as Oliver Holt of the Daily Mirror reports.

    I’m not interested in managing again or getting myself worked up about Manchester United’s results.

    United are in good hands with David Moyes. He will be fine. He’s a good manager.

    You would be throwing your money down the drain if you put any money on me coming back as a manager.

    I made my decision. The timing was perfect. There is no way back for me now. I’ve got a new life.

Guardiola Believes Man City Can 'do a Dortmund' in the Champions League

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    Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City will overcome previous Champions League struggles to make their mark on the tournament this season, reports David Maddock of the Daily Mirror.

    City failed to qualify from the group stages in their previous two campaigns under former boss Roberto Mancini.

    However, Guardiola believes current City manager Manuel Pellegrini and his team could rival what Borussia Dortmund did last season by reaching the final.

    I bet you this year will be the first time they qualify for the next stage. I have a strong feeling they will do that, I am 100 percent confident.

    And in my view, if they qualify, then Manchester City will be one of the toughest, toughest teams in the next round. They are one of the biggest teams in Europe, and they have made big steps forward.

    It can be like Dortmund. Last year was the first time they qualified through the group stage, and they were strong enough to go to the final. It can be the same for City.

Barcelona Star Neymar Criticised by Celtic Manager Neil Lennon over Red Card

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    Celtic manager Neil Lennon criticised Neymar in the wake of his team's Champions League defeat to Barcelona, reports Michael Grant of The Herald.

    The Brazil international was the centre of attention when Celtic captain Scott Brown was dismissed for appearing to kick Neymar in the second half of the Champions League tie in Glasgow.

    However, Lennon was left infuriated by the South American after the game, as Grant highlighted.

    It's a physical game and I don't think Neymar does himself any favours the way he behaves at times.

    Our fans are respectful of great players. Andres Iniesta walked off to a standing ovation from the Celtic support. After the incident Neymar got booed every time he touched the ball.

    I don't think I need to apologise to Neymar or justify my defence of my captain. I think the sending off was uncalled-for and unnecessary. 

Bits and Pieces: Fernando Torres, Gareth Bale, Steve McClaren

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    Chelsea recovered from a disappointing opening Champions League defeat to Basel with a comfortable win against Steaua Bucharest in Romania.

    The victory for Jose Mourinho's team was marred by injury to striker Fernando Torres. The Blues had earlier been relieved that the Spain international would face no further action from the Football Association over his altercation with Jan Vertonghen at Tottenham on Saturday.

    That FA judgement has been met with derision by former Premier League match official Mark Halsey, reports David Facey of The Sun (subscription required).

    Gareth Bale will miss Real Madrid's Champions League clash with FC Copenhagen with a thigh injury, reports the Daily Telegraph.

    With or without Bale, Copenhagen coach Stale Solbakken says facing Real in the Bernabeu is a far more comfortable proposition than his previous role as Wolves manager, reports Graeme Bryce of The Sun (subscription required).

    New Derby County manager Steve McClaren made a significant impact even before officially taking over team affairs, as Ian Baker of the Daily Mirror reported.

    The former England coach was unveiled on Tuesday but opted to watch the game against Ipswich from the stands at Pride Park.

    However, with the team 4-1 down at the break, McClaren gave the half-time team talk, and the Rams produced a stirring fightback to draw 4-4. 

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