Just for fun

Just for fun

United’s secret plan to bring Blatter on board

Olaf Priol April 1, 2015 Tags: , , Just for fun 16 comments
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Rant’s man in Switzerland uncovers secret talks at an advanced stage.

Manchester United’s ruling Glazer family is holding secret talks with Seppe Blatter as a precursor to the FIFA President joining the Board this summer, Rant has learned. In a controversial move, it is believed that the talks are at an advanced stage, with a formal announcement possible after the FIFA presidential elections conclude this year. Rant understands that talks were brokered by new FIFA vice president and fomer United managing director David Gill.

Although no formal agreement has yet been signed, sources close to septuagenarian have indicated the Swiss executive’s role will be wide-ranging, including oversight of United’s commercial and media departments, and political liaison. The Glazer family believes Blatter will broker relationships for the club at the highest political and commercial levels those with knowledge of the deal told Rant.

The Glazers’ approach to Blatter is unlikely to be popular with supporters or the English FA, although the family is no stranger to controversy. The American family is approaching its 10th anniversary in charge at Old Trafford after completing an aggressive leveraged buyout in May 2005. The Glazers landed the £690 million buyout cost on the club’s books, leaving a previously debt-free institution highly leveraged and spending millions per year on repayments and interest.

Blatter has been FIFA President since 1998 after beating Swede Lenham Johanssen to the post in controversial circumstances. The 79-year-old has held on to the Presidency despite controversy over media rights, a lack of commercial transparency, accusations of corruption, misogyny and racism at the Swiss-based non-profit. Under Blatter’s Presidency the 2022 World Cup was awarded to the tiny gulf state of Qatar and switched to a winter tournament.

Rant understands that talks between United and Blatter began in the New Year when it became apparent Gill was on course to be elected to the game’s governing body. If formally signed, Blatter will work a dual role with the governing body and United.

“Seppe sees this as more than another easy pay-day,” a source told Rant. “This is a shot at global media redemption at the world’s most popular club. Seppe is determined to leave a legacy in Manchester.”

United’s board is made up of six Glazer siblings – Avram, Joel, Bryan, Edward, Darcie, and Kevin – together with Group Managing Director Richard Arnold, Commercial Director, Jamieson Reigle, and independent directors Robert Leitão, Manu Sawhney and John Hooks.

In a complicated ownership structure the club is registered in the Cayman Islands, but listed on the New York stock exchange with a dual-class share issuance. The Glazers are firm in their belief that Blatter will be a good cultural and executive fit with the Board, sources told Rant.

“Seppe is intimately familiar with Grand Cayman’s secretive banking system,” the source said. “New York is also one of his favourite destinations, particularly the neighbourhood around Hell’s Kitchen. After all its no secret that Blatter is the spawn of satan’s anus, possibly even the devil himself.”

Anderson illness puts United future in doubt

Olaf Priol April 1, 2013 Tags: Just for fun 16 comments
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Brazilian Anderson has been struck down with a secret long-term illness according to sources close to United Rant, provoking new questions over the midfielder’s future at Old Trafford. Suffering another disappointing campaign, Anderson has been earmarked for a summer exit from Manchester United according to newspaper speculation in recent weeks, with Sir Alex Ferguson planning to freshen up his squad next season.

However, new concerns over the player’s health, together with patchy fitness and form over the campaign, could solidify Ferguson’s tentative decision to let the former Porto star leave this summer. The 71-year-old Scot has repeatedly denied that Anderson will exit Old Trafford.

Anderson joined United from Porto for €30 million in 2007, but has rarely fulfilled an exciting potential over six seasons with the club. Dogged by injuries and concerns over his weight, the Brazilian has made just 121 starts for the club in a period of immense frustration for player, club and supporters.

However, sources close to Rant revealed this morning that the midfielder is suffering from an acute bout of adenovirus gastroenteritis that has been treated for up to six months at the Bridgewater Hospital, Manchester. Anderson’s illness has been kept secret by Old Trafford’s management, although Ferguson’s anguish over the player’s long-term future is reportedly genuine.

But the story, which was accidentally leaked on ManUtd.com this morning, is set to force United’s hand this summer, with Anderson reportedly seeking a move back to Brazil ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Adenovirus gastroenteritis, which is typically spread by the faecal-oral route, is a icosahedral virus composed of a nucleocapsid and a double-stranded linear DNA genome. Infected patients display a wide range of responses, from no symptoms at all to the severe infection. Aside from gastroenteritis, presentations of adenovirus include respiratory disease, conjunctivitis, cystitis, and rash.

Patients with compromised immune systems, such as those significantly overweight, are especially susceptible to severe complications of adenovirus infection.

Although the source of Anderson’s infection is unknown, sources close to Rant revealed that club officials are targeting the Wythenshawe branch of KFC for scrutiny. The fast-food restaurant is reportedly a favourite late-night destination for the 24-year-old midfielder.

However, branch management denied that poor sanitary conditions at the restaurant are to blame for Anderson’s problems this season.

“It’s no secret that Anderson is a frequent visitor to our store, but it is not KFC’s fault that he is ill,” store manager Olaf Priol told Rant.

“Our sanitary engineers wipe down the cooking surfaces once, sometimes even twice a month, and the toilets are of exceptional standards.”

No United spokesperson was readily available to comment on this story or reports that Anderson’s recent weight loss can be traced back to a severe case of the shits.

Enjoy the Olympics, just don’t bring baby… or an oversized hat

Ed July 11, 2012 Tags: , Just for fun No comments

This summer, before the real thing finally gets underway on 18 August and Manchester United return to Premier League action, Old Trafford will play host to nine men’s and women’s Olympic football matches during the group and knockout stages, with GB, Spain, Brazil and Uruguay men’s teams due to play in Manchester.

The tournament kicks off on 26 July, with the final game at Old Trafford due to take place on 7 August. But the real action kicked off last week, when United legend Bobby Charlton ran the Olympic torch past the ‘Theatre of Dreams’.

While few take the under-23 plus three over-aged players Olympic football tournament seriously, there could be some top names on show at Old Trafford. Indeed, United’s Tom Cleverley and Ryan Giggs should play for Stuart Pearce’s GB team, while David de Gea will captain Spain during the tournament, and Rafael da Silva is with the Brazilians. Rafael’s team-mates Neymar and Lucas Moura, who are the subject of much transfer speculation this summer, will also travel for the games.

So while the tournament may not be well-regarded, the entertainment could prove surprising. That’s if those lucky enough to have secured a ticket for any of the matches, actually make it into the ground. After all, the organising committee, in its infinite wisdom, has drawn up a very long list of items banned from ‘London 2012 venues’. Edited here for brevity, but for not context:

  • All types of knives and bladed items or any other weapons
  • Implements such as extendable batons, sharpened combs, modified belt buckles and loose blades modified into weapons
  • Firearms, ammunition and explosive devices
  • Personal protection sprays such as CS or pepper sprays
  • Fireworks, explosives, flares and smoke canisters
  • Laser pointers and strobe lights
  • Hazardous and toxic materials
  • Glass bottles, glass vessels, cans, flasks
  • Liquids, aerosols and gels in quantities greater than 100ml
  • Alcohol
  • Large flags, banners and poles greater than 1 m in length
  • Tents, placards, spray paint, large industrial style “permanent“ marker pens
  • More than one soft-sided bag of 25 litre capacity
  • Walkie-talkies, phone jammers and radio scanners
  • Personal/private wireless access points and 3G hubs
  • Items too large to be electronically screened
  • Bicycles, folding bikes, roller-skates and skateboards and scooters
  • Pets or animals
  • Controlled drugs or any substances which look like controlled drugs
  • Frisbees and similar items
  • Musical instruments: trumpets, drums, and other devices capable of causing a disturbance
  • Noisemakers such as hunting horns, air horns, klaxons, drums, vuvuzelas, football rattles, clappers and whistles
  • Signs or items with corporate or inappropriate branding, sponsorship, promotional or marketing material
  • Professional-style cameras or recording/transmitting devices
  • Prams / push chairs
  • Unauthorised charity collection utensils
  • Large or non collapsible umbrellas
  • hampers and cold boxes

In addition, notes the organising committee’s helpful email to ticket holders, there are restrictions on the use of some items inside venues, including:

  • Oversized hats
  • Excessive amounts of food
  • Flags of countries not participating in the games

But fans will be delighted to know that they CAN bring the following items. Rant suggests liberal use of breast milk in particular:

  • 10 containers of up to 100ml capacity each, giving a combined maximum capacity of one litre
  • 200ml of sun cream
  • Essential medications must not exceed a combined total of one litre
  • An empty plastic water bottle
  • Soya milk for babies
  • Sterilised water for the baby
  • Formula, breast milk or cow milk specifically for babies
  • Baby food of various consistencies

Much of which will disappoint regular Rant readers given our penchant for bringing unusual items to games, including, but not limited to: intercontinental thermonuclear ballistic missiles; the flag of Vatican City; an umbrella to keep out of the Manchester rain, 201ml of sun cream, you know, just in-f*cking-case; an atmosphere; a large sign bearing the moniker “John Terry is a c*nt”; a MasterCard; a half-full bottle of Evian to keep the vocal chords nimble; an Anderson-sized McDonald’s order; sherbert dip.

We can, and will, however try to sneak in the items not proscribed by the IOC, such as condoms, a dildo, anal beads, and a gimp mask.

Mind you, Rant will of course be wearing its lucky match-day pants during the games:

olympics pants

 

Matches held at Old Trafford during the Olympic football tournament

Group stage
26 Jul – UAE v Uruguay (men’s, 17:00)
26 Jul – GB v Senegal (men’s, 19:45)
29 Jul – Brazil v Belarus (men’s, 12:00)
29 Jul – Egypt v New Zealand (men’s, 14:45)
31 Jul – USA v N Korea (women’s, 17:15)
1 Aug – Spain v Morocco (men’s, 17:00)

Quarter-finals
4 Aug (men’s, TBC)

Semi-finals
6 Aug (women’s, TBC)
7 Aug (men’s, TBC)

Happy Olympics, folks!

Enjoy the Olympics, just don’t bring baby… or an oversized hat

Ed July 11, 2012 Tags: , Just for fun 10 comments
featured image

This summer, before the real thing finally gets underway on 18 August and Manchester United return to Premier League action, Old Trafford will play host to nine men’s and women’s Olympic football matches during the group and knockout stages, with GB, Spain, Brazil and Uruguay men’s teams due to play in Manchester.

The tournament kicks off on 26 July, with the final game at Old Trafford due to take place on 7 August. But the real action kicked off last week, when United legend Bobby Charlton ran the Olympic torch past the ‘Theatre of Dreams’.

While few take the under-23 plus three over-aged players Olympic football tournament seriously, there could be some top names on show at Old Trafford. Indeed, United’s Tom Cleverley and Ryan Giggs should play for Stuart Pearce’s GB team, while David de Gea will captain Spain during the tournament, and Rafael da Silva is with the Brazilians. Rafael’s team-mates Neymar and Lucas Moura, who are the subject of much transfer speculation this summer, will also travel for the games.

So while the tournament may not be well-regarded, the entertainment could prove surprising. That’s if those lucky enough to have secured a ticket for any of the matches, actually make it into the ground. After all, the organising committee, in its infinite wisdom, has drawn up a very long list of items banned from ‘London 2012 venues’. Edited here for brevity, but for not context:

  • All types of knives and bladed items or any other weapons
  • Implements such as extendable batons, sharpened combs, modified belt buckles and loose blades modified into weapons
  • Firearms, ammunition and explosive devices
  • Personal protection sprays such as CS or pepper sprays
  • Fireworks, explosives, flares and smoke canisters
  • Laser pointers and strobe lights
  • Hazardous and toxic materials
  • Glass bottles, glass vessels, cans, flasks
  • Liquids, aerosols and gels in quantities greater than 100ml
  • Alcohol
  • Large flags, banners and poles greater than 1 m in length
  • Tents, placards, spray paint, large industrial style “permanent“ marker pens
  • More than one soft-sided bag of 25 litre capacity
  • Walkie-talkies, phone jammers and radio scanners
  • Personal/private wireless access points and 3G hubs
  • Items too large to be electronically screened
  • Bicycles, folding bikes, roller-skates and skateboards and scooters
  • Pets or animals
  • Controlled drugs or any substances which look like controlled drugs
  • Frisbees and similar items
  • Musical instruments: trumpets, drums, and other devices capable of causing a disturbance
  • Noisemakers such as hunting horns, air horns, klaxons, drums, vuvuzelas, football rattles, clappers and whistles
  • Signs or items with corporate or inappropriate branding, sponsorship, promotional or marketing material
  • Professional-style cameras or recording/transmitting devices
  • Prams / push chairs
  • Unauthorised charity collection utensils
  • Large or non collapsible umbrellas
  • hampers and cold boxes

In addition, notes the organising committee’s helpful email to ticket holders, there are restrictions on the use of some items inside venues, including:

  • Oversized hats
  • Excessive amounts of food
  • Flags of countries not participating in the games

But fans will be delighted to know that they CAN bring the following items. Rant suggests liberal use of breast milk in particular:

  • 10 containers of up to 100ml capacity each, giving a combined maximum capacity of one litre
  • 200ml of sun cream
  • Essential medications must not exceed a combined total of one litre
  • An empty plastic water bottle
  • Soya milk for babies
  • Sterilised water for the baby
  • Formula, breast milk or cow milk specifically for babies
  • Baby food of various consistencies

Much of which will disappoint regular Rant readers given our penchant for bringing unusual items to games, including, but not limited to: intercontinental thermonuclear ballistic missiles; the flag of Vatican City; an umbrella to keep out of the Manchester rain, 201ml of sun cream, you know, just in-f*cking-case; an atmosphere; a large sign bearing the moniker “John Terry is a c*nt”; a MasterCard; a half-full bottle of Evian to keep the vocal chords nimble; an Anderson-sized McDonald’s order; sherbert dip.

We can, and will, however try to sneak in the items not proscribed by the IOC, such as condoms, a dildo, anal beads, and a gimp mask.

Mind you, Rant will of course be wearing its lucky match-day pants during the games:

olympics pants

 

Matches held at Old Trafford during the Olympic football tournament

Group stage
26 Jul – UAE v Uruguay (men’s, 17:00)
26 Jul – GB v Senegal (men’s, 19:45)
29 Jul – Brazil v Belarus (men’s, 12:00)
29 Jul – Egypt v New Zealand (men’s, 14:45)
31 Jul – USA v N Korea (women’s, 17:15)
1 Aug – Spain v Morocco (men’s, 17:00)

Quarter-finals
4 Aug (men’s, TBC)

Semi-finals
6 Aug (women’s, TBC)
7 Aug (men’s, TBC)

Happy Olympics, folks!

Secret Glazer deal to sell Old Trafford naming rights

Olaf Priol April 1, 2012 Tags: , Just for fun 25 comments
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Manchester United owners the Glazer family has struck a secret multi-million pound deal with PepsiCo to rename Old Trafford. The deal, which will come into effect from the start of the 2012-13 season, will bring more than £400 million into the club coffers over the next 10 years, a source close to the deal exclusively revealed to United Rant this week.

United’s home stadium since 1910 will be renamed ‘Pepsi Cola Old Trafford’ from August 2012, according to documents seen by Rant, and then simply Pepsi Field from 2015. The deal does not initially include shirt sponsorship, although Pepsi is believed to have an option to take over shirt sponsorship from AON, when United’s deal with the insurance firm concludes in three years. It could push the total value of the deal to more than £60 million per season.

The historic deal, brokered by United’s London-based commercial team headed by Edward Woodward, will be greeted with delight by United’s bean counters, while it will likely draw anger from those supporters opposed to changing more than 100 years of Old Trafford history.

Secret talks with the giant New York-based American soft drinks and snacks company, which turned over more than $57 billion in 2010, have been taking place for more than six months the source told Rant. PepsiCo Europe is said to have day-to-day responsibility for the groundbreaking sponsorship, although New York senior management were required to signed off on the deal, which is believed to be the biggest of its kind in football.

“Make no mistake this is a done deal,” the source, who did not want to be named, told Rant.

“The Glazer family is secretly delighted with the deal, although they know that it will bring an angry reaction from some fans’ groups. But just as the Green and Gold protest has gone away, the Glazers know that as long as Sir Alex Ferguson keeps delivering results on the pitch, commercial activity will be unaffected by fans’ complaints.

“Pepsi is one of the most active American companies in sports sponsorship, but rarely outside of North America. This is a strategic move for the company to build an even bigger global audience. United has been tracking this deal for months, perhaps even years. Joel Glazer pulled out all the stops to seal it.”

Pepsi, through its cola brands, Gatorade and snack products, has sponsorships across a number of sports, including Major League Baseball, American Football and Ice Hockey. Pepsi has won naming rights, or other stadia sponsorship deals, at several venues in north America, including Citi Field baseball stadium and the new Yankee Stadium in New York. Elsewhere, Pepsi brands sponsor NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, snowboarder Hannah Teter, and American sports stars Eli Manning and Michael Jordan.

Pepsi Cola Field, Old Trafford

Meanwhile, the Glazers are still believed to be planning an IPO in Asian in autumn 2012, seeking $1 billion for up to 30 per cent of the family’s stock. United remains more than £400 million in debt, with supporters’ groups estimating that up to half a billion pounds has been spent on debt repayment, interest and other fees by the Glazers since the family’s controversial 2005 takeover.

“The IPO will go ahead, but only on the Glazers terms,” said the source, who is intimate with United’s commercial machinery.

“The deal with Pepsi, the float, it’s part of the family’s plan to ensures that the Glazers can send much of the IPO gains back to the States, while still growing United’s commercial revenue. On the field you’ll eventually see United wearing Pepsi shirts, drinking Gatorade drinks and touring whatever markets Pepsi needs to break, especially Africa, India and China. It’ll be the ‘Pepsi Manchester Globetrotters’, but at least the players won’t be thirsty on their travels.”

Naming rights are a widespread phenomenon in north American, even for established stadia, but far less common in Europe. Both Arsenal’s home at the ‘Emirates’ and Manchester City’s Etihad Campus were new, or relatively new builds. Meanwhile, Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley courted controversy, renaming St James’ Park the Sports Direct Arena. Indeed, supports recently defaced the Sports Direct signage, while refusing to use the new name. However, most media outlets have reverted to the new branding.

“Old Trafford is an iconic name, with more than a century of history, but such is the longevity of the deal with Pepsi that it will eventually disappear,” said Olaf Priol, Director of Sports Business Group, Deloitte.

“The Glazers are playing the long game. They know that this will bring anger, but fans have been angry for six years and what has it achieved. The family has struck a huge deal that will boost the club’s enterprise value just months short of floatation.

“Fans might be angry at losing the Old Trafford name, but the Glazers will be thinking ‘Screw the fans, United just won the Pepsi Challenge’.”

Anderson out, faces tough choices

Ed March 14, 2012 Tags: Just for fun 56 comments

Big-boned Manchester United midfielder Anderson Luís de Abreu Oliveira is set to miss at least five weeks of the Premier League run-in with a torn hamstring, confirmed manager Sir Alex Ferguson on Wednesday. The fresh injury, which adds to a growing list of malevolence suffered by the midfielder in his time at Old Trafford, comes barely days after the Brazilian returned to Manchester United’s squad for matches against Athletic Bilbao and West Bromwich Albion.

“Ando could be out for four or five weeks due to his hamstring,” said Ferguson ahead of United’s Europa League second leg tie with Athletic.

“Some hamstrings are relatively straightforward but we have to wait and see how he is in the next week or so to get a better idea of where we stand with him.”

Anderson’s injury is the latest in a calamitous series of absences over the past four and a half years following a €30 million transfer from Porto. The midfielder has subsequently appeared in barely 30 per cent of United’s games during his time with the club. Critics of a far crueller persuasion than United Rant might be thankful given the 23-year-old’s inconsistencies.

But could frequent injuries be something to do with Brazilian’s hard-living lifestyle? After all, during previous absences the 23-year-old has been caught partying on the Algarve, been involved in a high-speed car crash, and seemingly piled on far too much weight. Little needs said about Anderson’s less salubrious habits.

It has Rant wondering whether the burger eating Brazilian might face a tough choice or four during his latest period of recuperation …

Anderson

The next England manager

Ed February 8, 2012 Tags: , , Just for fun 14 comments

Rant might ordinarily throw its hat into the ring for the big job after Fabio Capello’s jump-before-you’re-pushed resignation today. After all, here at Rant towers we’ve lost count of the medals won, the glory soaked up, the years on the managerial treadmill – there really is no better grounding for the real thing than Football Manager. But, alas we cannot this time.

You see, there is only one man who can look at this particular poisoned chalice, and squarely face it down. Only one man for whom controversy could never rear its ugly head. Even if he tried. Really hard. One man whom the Football Association could guarantee to tow the party line. No matter how absurd the line may me.

Is he English? Check! Does he have significant European and international experience at the very top? Check! Does he wear riddiculously tight shorts? Check! Even in winter? Check!

Ladies and gentlemen, we give you, the next England manager. Old tight shorts himself, the one, the only, Michael Christopher “Mike” Phelan…

Mike Phelan

Ravel Morrison reveals motivation for contract dispute

Ed January 14, 2012 Tags: Just for fun 58 comments

“His agent has been working hard to get him another club,” Sir Alex Ferguson said of teenage prodigy Ravel Morrison on Friday. “We’ve offered him terms which he has refused, so that is where it is. His demands are unrealistic as far as we are concerned. We’ve rejected an offer from Newcastle and it is now down to how that progresses.”

Rant wonders what could motivate an 18-year-old to turn down the opportunity to play for his local club…

Ravel Morrison, Ca$h

Wasters FC

Ed July 13, 2011 Tags: Just for fun 21 comments

Kieron Dyer’s imminent transfer to Queens Park Rangers suggests a question: has there ever been a player who has taken so much out of football but given so little back? Dyer, reportedly earning £83,000 per week at West Ham United, has played just 30 games in four years at Upton Park. He cost the Londoners an extra £500,000 per year in ‘image rights’ on top of a £6 million transfer fee.

In this spirit Rant has put together Wasters FC. An outfit not of the worst players in the history of football but those who took so much, with so little in return.

Contributions from: @brannigan84 @Fino76 @Jebbster1975 and many others.

Wasters FC – Owner: Malcom Glazer. Chair: Sepp Blatter. Manager: Brian Little

Stuart Taylor, Goalkeeper: Taylor, the standard-bearer for reserve goalkeeping – has played just 69 league games since turning pro in 1997.

Marco Boogers, right-back: so depressed after being sent off for West Ham against Manchester United that Boogers disappeared for two days leading to the now infamous Sun headline: “Barmy Boogers Living In A Caravan”.

Jonathan Woodgate, centre-back: perennially injured, cumulative transfer fees of £30 million, wages in excess of £80,000, and just 120 games in the past eight years.

Winston Bogaarde, centre-back: sat out a four-year, £40,000 per week, contract at Chelsea, playing just nine games in the process.

Asier del Horno, left-back: £7 million transfer fee brought him to Chelsea, 25 failed games later and the Spaniard was sent home. Last seen at lowly Levante.

Andy van der Meyde, right-wing: sent off on début and that was about as good as it got for the Dutchman, who played just 20 games in four years for Everton.

Tomas Brolin, centre midfield: retired aged just 29 having last played for Hudiksvalls but it is the three horrendous years at Leeds United that the podgy Swede is best ‘remembered’ for in England.

Kieron Dyer, centre midfield (c): see above!

Paolo Future, left-wing: played 60 games for seven clubs after leaving Atletico Madrid in 1993, including a disastrous spell at West Ham in 1997. Nine games, no goals and few fans.

Freddy Adu, striker: better than George Best, quicker than Pélé, more skillfull than Diego Maradona… older than Nelson Mandela … and last seen playing for Çaykur Rizespor in the Turkish second division. Still made millions from Nike sponsorship.

Denílson de Oliveira Araújo, striker: once the world’s most expensive player. Last three clubs: AO Kavala, Xi Măng Hải Phòng, Itumbiara. No Rant hadn’t heard of them either.

Bench: Chris Kirkland, Alfonso Alves, Harry Kewell, Steve Marlet, Jody Morris, Franny Jeffers, Hugo Viana, Sergei Rebrov, Bosko Balaban …. and so many more!

Adiós Carlos: Tevez in numbers

Ed July 6, 2011 Tags: Just for fun 20 comments

Carlos Tevez has, for the second time in six months, demanded a move away from Manchester City. In December the pint-sized striker blamed the poor relationship with club management; yesterday the 27-year-old has begged to be closer to his family. Cynics might claim the lure of another signing on fee is strong in the scar-faced one. Rant couldn’t possibly comment.

Carlos Tevez in numbers