Football: Leboeuf lashes out at Riedle and Beckham

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The Independent Online
FRANCK LEBOEUF, the Chelsea defender, has branded the Manchester United midfielder David Beckham "arrogant" and accused the Liverpool forward, Karlheinz Riedle, of "cheating".

Leboeuf, France's World Cup-winning defender, fed speculation of an ongoing personal war of words between himself and Beckham, saying: "He's too arrogant. He's got a lot to learn about football."

Leboeuf did not restrict his criticism to Beckham, though, and also had some fresh words for his Liverpool adversary Riedle, whom he believes was guilty of cheating in a recent encounter. The Chelsea defender was furious that the German had tumbled in the penalty area and, having claimed that he did not touch him, claimed: "I don't believe I made contact. It's a bad example to set to the kids."

Liverpool's joint coach, Gerard Houllier, responded: "Franck has lost one good opportunity to shut up. The first rule is that professionals should respect each other."

Speaking at Oxford University on Sunday, Leboeuf covered a range of controversies, giving a frosty reception to Sky's takeover of Manchester United and claiming the prospect of a European Super League is "a nightmare".

"Manchester United are the biggest club in the world and Rupert Murdoch doesn't know anything about football," he said.

"The Super League would be a nightmare for football, for fans and for the players. Fans can't afford to go abroad to watch Milan or Barcelona. Nor do they want to. Fans want to watch the Arsenals, Chel-seas and Manchester Uniteds.

"It would be very bad for players, too. I played 50 games last season and in the Super League I'd play 10 or 15 more. I'm at 70 per cent fitness at the moment. If I was rested I'd return fitter and stronger. The rotation system at Chelsea helps."

Leboeuf, who brandished an ima-ginary card at the referee over the Riedle incident in an attempt to persuade the official to book the forward, added: "Referees need help - firstly from players, who must accept they're humans. But they must become professionals like us."

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