Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
Chelsea took all three points from their duel on Sunday with Liverpool but all the focus after the match was on Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho’s accusing Luis Suarez of diving.
The Liverpool forward was held without a goal for the second consecutive game but Mourinho choose to speak about an incident late in the match when Suarez went down inside the box after losing the ball to Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta. Video replays indicate that Suarez was forced down by Chelsea’s Samuel Eto’o but referee Howard Webb, who had a clear view of the situation, decided not to call a foul.
“It is not a tackle. Suarez lost the duel with Azpilicueta, who has the ball and is leaving the box,” Mourinho told reporters after the match. “Now he is doing an acrobatic swimming pool jump to try to get a penalty. [Referee Howard] Webb is 10 meters away and I think the only mistake he did was not to give him a yellow card.”
It’s not the first time that Suarez has been accused of diving or simulation. In October, Suarez was accused of diving to earn a penalty in a key World Cup qualification match with Uruguay against Argentina and Suarez admitted last season that he had fooled the referee in a match against Stoke City to earn his side a penalty kick.
On Sunday, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers defended Suarez in the incident and said that Eto’o could have been sent off for his action on another day.
Here are some more stories to kick off your week:
MESSI COULD RETURN AHEAD OF SCHEDULE
After planning for Lionel Messi to return to the Barcelona match-day squad on Jan. 11, Messi could make his comeback ahead of schedule.
A report in Spanish publication Marca claims that Messi had an ultrasound this past Thursday and the results showed that his thigh injury is completely healed. The news could give Barcelona the chance to play Messi for a few minutes when they return to play against Elche on Jan. 5.
Messi last played on Nov. 10, limping off with his latest leg injury that has slightly tarnished the Argentine forward’s 2013 calendar year. Despite the injuries, Messi has scored 14 goals in all competitions this season and Barcelona remain in first place in La Liga. Messi is set to fly back to Spain on Jan. 2 from Buenos Aires, where he has been recovering for the past month.
NAPOLI SET FOR JANUARY DOUBLE SIGNING
Though they’re out of the UEFA Champions League f0r the rest of the season, Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis is hard at work improving the squad for the second half of the season.
According to a number of reports out of Italy and France, Napoli are closing in on two eight-figure transfer deals to acquire Lyon midfielder Maxime Gonalons and Marseille defender Nicolas N’Koulou. Gonalons’ transfer will reportedly cost €12 million while N’Koulou’s deal is still unknown. A report in Italy’s Gazzetta Dello Sport claims that the deal for Gonalons is already completed.
The 24-year-old Gonalons has been a regular starter for Lyon all season, playing in both their Champions League qualifiers and Europa League group stage matches in addition to 17 starts in Ligue 1. N’Koulou is also a starter for Marseille and has started every one of their league matches (19) in central defense as well as five of their six Champions League games.
The high court in France has approved the controversial 75 percent tax on all those earning at least €1 million per year. (REPORT)
Nicolas Anelka could be facing a minimum five-match suspension for his “quenelle” gesture, which has anti-semitic connotations. (REPORT)
Though Manchester United and Bayern Munich are interested, it’s been revealed that it will take a bid of €60 million to acquire Atletico Madrid’s Koke. (REPORT)
Former Netherlands star Edgar Davids is considering retirement again from the field after receiving his third red card of the season as Barnet’s player/coach. (REPORT)
Argentinos Juniors have hired former manager Claudio Borghi to take over for the 2014 Clausura campaign, four years after leading the club to the Argentine league title. (REPORT)
Uruguay National Team midfielder Cristian Rodriguez rode nearly 37 miles on a horse after promising to do so if Uruguay had qualified for the 2014 World Cup. (REPORT)
What do you think of these reports? Agree with Mourinho’s comments? See Messi returning ahead of schedule? Like Napoli’s potential signings from France?
Share your thoughts below.