All in the game: Fabio Capello not impressed with De Zerbi’s credentials

Former Brighton boss experiences a quick change of heart as he bids adieu to the Amex

De Zerbi deemed third rate by veteran Italian coach

May 17th: “I would like to stay at Brighton to achieve the maximum possible objective in each season. I have always been honest when I said that there is no club that can change my mind, I answer that there isn’t one.” That was Roberto De Zerbi pledging his future to Brighton on Friday.

May 18th: “I am very sad to be leaving Brighton . . . we have agreed to end my time [here] so that the club and I can continue to work in the way that suits each of us best, following our own ideas and visions, as well as our work and human values.” That was Roberto De Zerbi bidding adieu to Brighton on Saturday.

Where now? Bayern Munich? Barcelona? Manchester United? Well, if De Zerbi is looking for a reference for any of those jobs, he best not call Fabio Capello. “There is a lot of talk about him being one of the top coaches in Europe because Pep Guardiola is sponsoring him, but this season he is in 10th or 11th in the table. What has he won in his career? A cup in Ukraine. I would put him in the third tier.” Oooh.

Word of mouth

“Translate. A lot of pressure? Why Sir Alex not make an easier sentence for this moment?” – Pep Guardiola struggling a bit to understand the meaning of “squeaky bum time” at his press conference last week.


“It is like we are stuck, like the song of Coldplay, stuck and reverse. We are stuck in every single press conference. Stuck and going back in reverse. Do you remember the song? I am a fan. The song is Fix You.” – With a rush of blood to the head, Mauricio Pochettino reveals his musical preference.

“Juve will play in the Champions League and the Club World Cup. What would he do at United?” – Juventus sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli being a touch rude about Manchester United’s interest in their Brazilian international Gleison Bremer, like he wouldn’t tingle at the prospect of playing in the Carabao Cup.

Bolton fan’s devotion knows no bounds

It was a nightmare of a day for Bolton at Wembley on Saturday when they lost their League One play-off final 2-0 to Oxford – who finished 10 points behind them in the table. But for one of their supporters, Alex who phoned talkSPORT to share his story, it was an especially bitter experience.

“I flew from Dubai yesterday morning and honestly mate, I wish I never bothered. We could have played until tomorrow and we still wouldn’t have scored. That was disgusting. I put all this effort in to show up and where were they? I’m absolutely soul-destroyed inside. The only saving grace is that I’m booked into a curry house at 9.30 by our mam’s in Worsley.”

By now, your heart would be breaking for the poor fella, who headed back to Dubai on Sunday morning. But hold it. “I’ve literally come back for 48 hours and the worst bit was that my wife was due to give birth on Friday and we got her induced a week early. It’s a good job her mother doesn’t listen to talkSPORT.” Once she gets word, she should sign her grandchild up as an Oxford season ticket holder.

In words

“Us Valencians aspire to be at the top of the table, but that depends on the budget. I may want a Ferrari, but I have to drive a Skoda.” – Valencia coach Ruben Baraja managing to insult his players and the Czech car manufacturer in one fell swoop.

In numbers - 0

The number of games Bayer Leverkusen lost this season, in all competitions, Xabi Alonso’s side unbeaten streak stretching to 51. From ‘Neverkusen’ to ‘Neverlusen’, as they say.

More word of mouth

“After the game, Allegri told me: you’re a shitty director! Write the truth in your newspaper! I know where to come and get you! I’ll come and rip off both your ears! I’ll come and hit you in the face!” – Guido Vaciago, director of Italian newspaper Tuttosport, on his rather heated run-in with now ex-Juventus coach Max Allegri after the Coppa Italia final.

“Massimiliano Allegri and Guido Vaciago have resolved the unpleasant situation and settled all their issues in a spirit of collaboration. Massimiliano expressed regret for what happened, explaining that he did not intend to threaten Guido Vaciago at all”. – In a joint statement from the pair, Allegri insisted that the “rip off both your ears” thing was possibly more of a promise than a threat.

‘Yes, it’s a paper napkin, but ...”. – It’s a big but too. Ian Ehling, of Bonhams New York, explaining why someone paid €886,270 for said napkin – because it was signed by Barcelona’s then-director Carles Rexach and committed the club to signing the then 13-year-old Lionel Messi.