The Portsmouth midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng has hit back at accusations that he intentionally injured Michael Ballack in last Saturday's FA Cup final, saying the German captain slapped him earlier in the match.
A dangerous tackle by Boateng ended Ballack's WC dreams, something for which the Ghana international later apologised. But Boateng believes his tackle was nowhere near as bad as the slap he received from Ballack.
“There is my foul on the one hand and his slap on the other, and I think that violent conduct is far worse than a foul,” he told Sport Bild magazine.
“Ballack really does surprise me. He complains for weeks when [Lukas] Podolski slaps him and yet he does it himself. He is no better than Podolski. What kind of behaviour is that?”
Boateng has also criticised the German coach Joachim Löw for saying that his foul on Ballack deserved a red card, having previously shown mercy to his captain after he clashed with Podolski during the 2-0 WC qualifying win over Wales in April 2009.
“When I hear that, I can see that he has two different ways of seeing things,” he said.
“Can his captain slap whomever he wants? That was clearly violent conduct. If I had done that, I would have been banned for years. That is why I left the Germany set-up to represent Ghana.”
Villa reject Man City’s bid for Milner
Aston Villa have rejected Manchester City's 20-million-pounds bid to sign England midfielder James Milner. City boss Roberto Mancini has made Milner his first target as he prepares to revamp City's squad following their failure to qualify for the Champions League.
Villa manager Martin O'Neill is desperate to keep Milner and plans to hold talks over a new contract with him.
A Villa spokesman said: “We have received an offer from Manchester City for James Milner and this has been firmly rejected.
“We plan to sit down with James and his representative after the World Cup to agree a new long-term deal and this remains our position.”
Milner, 24, enjoyed a successful season in a new central midfield role after previously spending most of his time on the wings and was recently voted the PFA Young Player of the Year.
He is halfway through the four-year contract he signed when joining Villa for a club record 12 million pounds from Newcastle in 2008.
Debrecen probed over match-fixing
Hungarian football club Debrecen is being investigated over allegations of match-fixing during a Champions League game against Fiorentina in October, the club's sports director said Thursday.
“Eight players were questioned by members of UEFA's disciplinary committee,” sports director Csaba Bartha said. “The officials were interested mostly in the match Debrecen-Fiorentina.” The questioning took place on May 13.
A UEFA spokesman on Thursday confirmed, “A team from UEFA was in Budapest last week to question players,” without giving further details.