All in the Game: Parting shots aplenty as Rafa hits the road

Nobody feuds quite like the Italians; Newcastle threaten to seek a very Toon transfer


“He needs to add goals to his reservoir.”

Paul Ince with some advice for Scott McTominay, who is, no doubt, very confused.

Number: 195

That’s how many days Rafa Benitez lasted as Everton manager, the shortest reign by any manager in the club’s history.

Word of Mouth

“Thank you to all you wonderful, proud and passionate true Evertonians. It has been a an honour and a true pleasure to play for you .... sometimes it only takes one person from outside to destroy a beautiful love affair.”


Aston Villa-bound Lucas Digne bidding a fond farewell to the Everton faithful, and a less than fond one to Rafa Benitez.

“If you’re in a boat and someone is not rowing with the strength that you are expecting then you have to make your decision.”

Rafa, though, shed no tears as Lucas hit the road - before hitting the road himself.

“Don’t take a risk… If you lose that ball, I will kill you!”

Juventus coach Max Allegri’s rather firm advice to Adrien Rabiot in the closing stages of their game against Udinese. Mercifully, Rabiot retained possession.

Bonucci vs The Ultras

Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci had a rather eventful week which began with an unfortunate incident near the end of his side’s Supercoppa defeat by Inter Milan.

While Bonucci waited to come on as a sub, Alexis Sanchez - remember him? - scored the winner for Inter, at which point the club’s general secretary Cristiano Mozzillo celebrated heartily on the touchline.

Bonucci, a touch emotional about the concession of the goal, was not best pleased with Mozzillo so, naturally enough, threatened to kill him. “You don’t celebrate in my face, what the **** are you doing? I am going to kill you,” he advised him, before giving him a shove.

For that carry on, Bonucci was fined €10,000 but, to general surprise, avoided a suspension. Is that the end of the matter? Hopefully, but not if Inter’s Ultras have their way. The sign they hung from a bridge in Milan? “Bonucci if you want to be cheeky, we’re waiting for you at the bar, you vile cretin.” No one does feuds quite like the Italians.

More Word of Mouth

“They’ve got my old team Middlesbrough in the next round of the FA Cup and I wouldn’t swap any of their defenders for Middlesbrough’s back three.”

How impressed is Neil Warnock with Manchester United’s rearguard? Not a lot. And that was even before Saturday’s Aston Villa game.

“Newcastle are considering signing Balotelli, but so far they have not made an official offer.”

Murat Sancak, president of Turkish club Adana Demirspor, Mario’s current employers, revealing that Newcastle are considering making the most Newcastle-ish purchase ever.

“I looked at him Monday night, the lights are on but there’s nobody home.”

Roy Keane on the mystery that is the disappearance of the real Marcus Rashford.

Only a Number

If Kazuyoshi Miura was already feeling a bit antiquated, ESPN did nothing to cheer him up by pointing out last week that the former Japanese international was born two full years before the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Stanley Matthews had held the record for being the oldest top flight outfield professional player - he was 50 when he played for Stoke against Fulham in 1965 - until Miura, who will be 55 next month, took the honour.

And now he’s just found himself another club, a month before his 55th birthday, after leaving Yokohama FC on loan. The manager of his new team is quite familiar with Miura too, what with being his brother, the name of his new employers quite excellent: Suzuki Point Getters.

Miura is now, eh, closing in on the record for being the oldest ever professional to play in any division of a league, the current holder Egyptian Ezzeldin Bahader. How old was he? Seventy-four years and 125 days. He had, evidently, a good engine.