Tidbits: Liverpool in talks with Masch,Man U’s defensive worries,Ronaldo apologises to team mates

Javier Mascherano is amid talks with Liverpool about a contract renewal.

“We are happy and he is happier now. The last conversations that we had were very positive,” said Benitez.

“We were talking before and we will sit down sooner rather than later and talk about the future.”

Over the past couple of months many clubs has shown an interest in the Argentine skipper, with Barcelona being the rumoured prefered destination of Masch & his family. Rafa Benitez has tried to fend off the interest by declaring that even £50 million won’t be enough.
See more at BBC Football

Everyone is looking forward to Aquilani’s first start this week when Liverpool face Fiorentina in the Champions League. Lucas is keen to see the midfielder in action: “It is exciting that Alberto is going to get his first chance and we are all looking forward to it – we will give him all the support and respect he needs,”Lucas told the official site.

“Hopefully he will do a really good job for us. When you have been out for a long time injured, it takes a while for you to get your rhythm back.

“But it is easy to see in training that he has got quality on the ball and we hope he is going to help us.

“People will make comparisons but he is a different player to Xabi, he is more attacking and we can all see that he is going to play in a more advanced role.

“Obviously he came to replace Xabi but he is going to need some time to settle and we will do everything to make that happen quickly.”

FC Barcelona:
Lionel Messi recieved his Ballon d’Or trophy this weekend and had his siblings in tow with him. The Argentine said that the wait between Tuesday (the day that he was announced as the winner) and Sunday was long and he’d become impatient to get his hands on the trophy. He dedicated the award to his family and teammates. See the pics here.

Gerard Pique has often been compared Franz Beckenbauer for his playing style and ability to play the ball forward. He has in the past been dubbed “Piquen-bauer” something that has always flattered Pique. But this time the German legend has expressed his admiration for the Barcelona defender.

“He is a player who has surprised me by his development at Barca,” said Beckenbauer. “I knew him at Manchester United, but Sir Alex Ferguson played him as a more conventional central defender, using his size for the high balls and his strength.

“In contrast, Pep Guardiola has him more involved in the game, likes to start the play from the back like me, he makes great passes and I like his chutzpah. Every day, he’s trying new things.”

Manchester United:
Defender Nemanja Vidic will miss United’s Champions League clash with Wolfsburg. The Serbian is still recovering from the flu. SAF will be fretting over his defensive line, as Jonny Evans, Rio Ferdinand, Gary Neville, Wes Brown and the Da Silva Bros Rafael & Fabio are all also struggling with injuries. Even though United travel to Germany with qualification for the next round already in the bag, they would want nothing less than a win from Tuesdays tie, ensuring they will finish top of the group. This will most probably see them face off with an “easier” opponent in the next round.

While the Sporting World came to a standstill to watch the FIFA World Cup 2010 draw on Friday, Wayne Rooney was asleep during the draw and was only informed of Englands opponents 5 hours later. See more here.

Manchester City
Mark Hughes may have guided his side to the Carling Cup Semi’s, but if he fails to secure a Champions League spot his job could be on the line. Reports suggest that Man City owners have a few managers in mind, they include Guus Hiddink, Inter’s Jose Mourinho and even Rafa Benitez!

Real Madrid
Kaka has admitted that Real Madrid are struggling to find their identity,
“At Real Madrid we are seeking an identity of play but it’s not easy, we are not enjoying it and it’s not fun.

“It’s not easy building a team. It’s not enough to sign only players. Barcelona played together for many years and we have eight or nine new players. To create a squad requires a little time.”

The team has not looked like they are together. This weekend, Ronaldo did not join in the celebrations of Benzema’s goal.
Higuain was seen remonstrating with Ronaldo, and when asked what it was all about, the Argentine striker said that he was upset with the way Ronaldo snubbed the tams celebrations: “I saw Cristiano was not celebrating Karim’s goal. It was a great comeback in the middle of a crazy game and we all should be celebrating.”

Ronaldo however apologised to his team mates in the locker room after the match:”In the dressing room he told us he was sorry,” said Benzema

“What happened is something that can happen to anyone. Surely he was disappointed for missing the penalty but after that I was glad to score. He is a great professional and he wants to help the team win.

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