Man City players aware of Guardiola rumours – Caballero

The Argentine goalkeeper says ‘the players are listening’ to the constant speculation surrounding Manuel Pellegrini’s future, while also praising City fans for their support

Manchester City goalkeeper Willy Caballero says he and his team-mates are aware of the constant rumours linking the club with a move for Pep Guardiola.

Goal understands Bayern Munich coach Guardiola will indeed replace Manuel Pellegrini at the Etihad Stadium this summer.

But while Caballero says the stories have penetrated the City dressing room, he insists the pressure of playing for a big club makes everything else irrelevant.

“We are listening to all the rumours, but in a big team like this it’s normal,” he told reporters. “For all the players every season the pressure is so high, I think we are doing our best every game, the rumours don’t matter.

“It’s not easy to talk about Guardiola because he’s not here, but if [Pellegrini] stays here all the players, for sure, will wish to stay with Manuel, every game.”

Caballero helped City reach the League Cup final on Wednesday as the Blues came from behind to beat Everton on a night when the Etihad Stadium welcomed a raucous crowd of over 50,000.

The club had been criticised for enlisting players to help sell tickets in the build-up to the clash, but the Argentine keeper says City’s progression to the Wembley final owes an awful lot to the atmosphere generated by the fans in attendance.

GOALREAD MORE Yaya Toure future under the spotlight again

“I think [it had] so much, so much importance. We talked before on social media about this. We heard all the fans together from the first minute and it was really important for us to win this game.”

The former Malaga shot-stopper is expected to keep his place in goal for Saturday’s FA Cup clash against Aston Villa, and he says he will be completely focused on helping the team advance in yet another competition.

“Maybe if the boss decides that I have to play, I’ll be ready,” he added. “It’s important for me, every match in the Capital One or FA Cup. I have to be ready, and maybe if the boss needs me for the Premier League [too].

“We need to win the next game and of course we need to win everything this year, but the most important thing is that we are in the first final and now we must think about the next game.”

Guardiola denies Bayern mutiny: My relationship with the players is better than ever

The Spaniard has shrugged off reports of problems at Allianz Arena while Karl-Heinz Rummenigge insists the coach has the club’s full backing

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola has denied suggestions that the relationship with his players has turned sour following his decision not to renew his contract with the Bundesliga leaders.

Recent reports from Germany suggested a number of key players have had enough of Guardiola’s strict approach and that the atmosphere in the dressing room has reached an all-time low in recent weeks, with one of the players allegedly leaking internal communication to the press.

Nevertheless, Guardiola has laughed off such claims and is adamant there are no problems between him and his players.

“My relationship with the players is better than ever before,” Guardiola said at a news conference.

“Whenever I say something, it’s in the papers the days after. I experienced something similar in my first year and in my second year as well, while it also happened in July. 

“I am not too worried about it. I tried to fight it in my first year, but that doesn’t lead to anything. I always want the best for my players with everything I do.”

Guardiola reportedly admonished two players in front of the entire squad over a perceived lack of professionalism and weight problems, while the players allegedly also received an e-mail asking them to formally check in on their days off.

“I have read about the alleged lack of professionalism,” the coach added.

“Over the past two seasons, some players returned to the club two to three kilograms overweight. 

“But we trained really well this winter in Qatar. It’s only normal to check your players’ weight. Coaches across the world do the same. The names of the players with weight issues? We will keep that to ourselves.

“There is absolutely no problem with that e-mail. We get a lot of e-mails from the team manager.

GOALREAD MORE  | Neymar: I want to play for Guardiola

“This is to make sure the players don’t drive to Berlin for example when they have just one day off. I don’t see a problem here.”

Meanwhile, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has insisted Guardiola still has the club’s full backing irrespective of his imminent exit and alleged unrest in the dressing room.

“Guardiola will have the full support of everybody at Bayern right until his final day at the club,” Rummenigge added.

“Everybody who has been writing lame duck stories should bear that in mind.”

Ribery loses lawsuit against journalist who called him 'scum'

The French forward was lambasted by the writer and labelled a “gangster”, for his poor behaviour but the judge has ruled in favour of the writer

A Parisian court has ruled in favour of journalist Daniel Riolo after Franck Ribery tried to sue the writer for describing the Bayern Munich forward as “scum”.

Riolo published his book Racaille Football Club (Scum Football Club) in 2013, which served to lift the lid on, among other things, Ribery and Karim Benzema’s involvement with an underage prostitute, an allegation for which the players were eventually cleared.

In the book, Riolo accuses Ribery of being one of the main perpetrators behind France’s famously farcical 2010 World Cup campaign, where massive discontent and internal fighting led to Les Bleus crashing out at the group stage and an eventual complete refurbishment of the side in the years that followed.

GOALREAD MORE  | Alaba in no rush to open Bayern renewal talks

Riolo referred to the forward as “scum”, “scarface” and “gangster”, but was backed by a judge who stated the journalist’s comments were made objectively, citing French Sports Minister Roselyne Bachelot’s similar “gangster” comments in the wake of the failed World Cup campaign.

Ribery’s lawsuit against Riolo was described as “reckless” and the 32-year-old was ordered to pay €5,000 to the writer and his publisher. The French forward’s lawyer, Carlo Alberto Brusa, released a statement stating that he will appeal the decision.

“My client is outraged that the 17th Chamber of the Court has described this as an abuse of procedure as he was simply exercising judicial means available to him to request that his fundamental rights are respected.”

Alaba tempted by Premier League and in no rush to open Bayern Munich renewal talks

The defender is happy at Allianz Arena but says he understands why players want to move to England

David Alaba says he is in no rush to open contract renewal talks with Bayern Munich and feels the Premier League is “one of the best leagues in the world”.

Thomas Muller, Jerome Boateng and Javi Martinez all signed new long-term deals with the reigning Bundesliga champions in December and Bayern are believed to be keen on extending Alaba’s stay at the club as well.

However, the Austria international claimed he is not thinking about his long-term future and has even suggested he could leave Bayern at some point in the future.

“My contract still runs until 2018,” Alaba told AZ. “I was injured for a quite a long time, so I was only thinking about my recovery. Contract talks were never on my mind.

“Could I stay at Bayern my entire career? I’m not the type of person who looks that far ahead. I am setting short-term goals instead. A move to England? I understand why a lot of players are moving there. It’s one of the best leagues in the world. But the same goes for the Bundesliga.

“I am not missing anything at Bayern. Everybody who has ever played for Bayern knows how good this club is for its players. We are all grateful to be playing for Bayern. Munich is a great place for me.”

GOALREAD MORE  | Neymar: I want to play for Guardiola

The 23-year-old has featured in a number of positions throughout his Bayern career, but he has made it clear that he prefers to play in midfield, where he regularly starts for his national team.

“I have shown that I can play as a centre-back, but it’s not necessarily my favourite position,” he added.

“I am feeling more at home at left-back or in midfield. But I want to help the team regardless of where the coach uses me.

“Of course, I would like to become the best midfielder in the world. Every player wants to become one of the best. I see my future in midfield, that’s no secret. But I can play in a number of positions.”

Bayern announce Doha Airport partnership

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge feels the deal is another step of the club’s “internationalisation strategy” and says they will support a dialogue on “community and political topics

Bayern Munich have agreed a long-term partnership with Hamad International Airport in Doha.

The Bundesliga champions spent the mid-season break in the Middle Eastern country for a training camp for a sixth consecutive year.

The move garnered external pressure owing to the criticism of Qatar’s human rights record, with the treatment of migrant workers drawing particular focus.

However, amid concerns from fans and political campaigners, the club have announced a link with the 2022 World Cup host nation’s transport hub.

“I am happy to welcome Doha Airport, a sponsor from the tourism business,” Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said in a statement. 

“This partnership is another step of our internationalisation strategy.

“Part of our cooperation agreement is that we will jointly support projects and a dialogue concerning critical community and political topics.”