Arjen Robben casts doubt over future at Bayern Munich
Winger delays signing contract extension after dressing-room scuffle with team-mate Ribéry
Tuesday 01 May 2012
Arjen Robben has delayed signing a contract extension with Bayern Munich, Chelsea's Champions League final opponents, and says that there are other clubs interested in his services.
"Many things have happened in recent times," said the Netherlands winger in an interview with a German magazine. Robben was involved in a confrontation with team-mate Franck Ribéry when Robben was punched in the face at half-time of the Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid.
The two argued on the field shortly before half-time over who should take a free-kick, with the argument escalating into a fist fight in the dressing room. Bayern went on beat Real 2-1 at home and won a penalty shoot-out in Madrid. Robben scored from the penalty spot in regulation time for a key away goal in Madrid.
"Franck knows that he can't do what he did," said Robben. "These are all things that are not positive, not nice. That's why everything has to be thought through well."
Robben was also upset when he was kept on the bench for a few games by Jupp Heynckes, the coach. He then objected when the honorary Bayern president, Franz Beckenbauer, called him selfish.
Robben has another season remaining on his contract with Bayern and had been discussing a two-year extension. Earlier this year, Robben had called a new deal a "formality".
"Clearly, I feel at home in Bayern... but so many things play a role when you extend. That's why you have to think very carefully before you make a decision," he explained. "There are other possibilities, but that's normal when you play for a top club. And people know what I can do," he added.
The Bayer Leverkusen defender Michal Kadlec will miss the final game of the Bundesliga season this weekend after needing surgery on his broken nose for the second time in seven days.
The Czech Republic international, 27, who had his nose broken by two Cologne fans in an incident outside a nightclub earlier this month, sustained further damage despite playing with a carbon face mask in Saturday's 1-0 win over Hanover 96.
"His shattered nasal bone shifted further despite the mask," Leverkusen said in a statement yesterday before adding that he would be out for 10 days.
In Italy, Antonio Cassano has been praised by Milan's doctor for working tirelessly to get fit after heart problems but his return to the starting line-up looks to have come too late to save their dwindling scudetto hopes.
A 26th-minute goal in the forward's first start for six months helped the champions to a 4-1 win at Siena on Sunday and they stayed three points adrift of Juventus as the leaders defeated Novara 4-0. Three games remain and second-placed Milan host mid-table Atalanta tomorrow, desperate for Juve – chasing their first Serie A title since a 2006 match-fixing demotion – to slip up at home to Lecce.
Cassano, now likely to feature for Italy at Euro 2012, having proved his fitness, will be eager for another start in midweek and the medical staff believe he is ready. "He really has been very strong," said Rodolfo Tavana, the club doctor. "He has not given up for one moment; he has come to the Milanello training ground and done exactly what he had to do. I didn't expect a goal immediately. We wanted to make sure he could return to the pitch healthy and with no risks."
With the top two expected to win tomorrow, focus will quickly turn to Sunday's derby between Milan and resurgent Inter, who have rocketed up the league under their new coach, Andrea Stramaccioni, and lie joint-third with three teams.
Third place guarantees a Champions League qualifying place, with fourth worth only a Europa League berth after Italy lost one of its slots to Germany. Napoli, Udinese and Lazio are the other teams level on 55 points, with Inter, 22 points behind Juve.
Italy uses head-to-head records rather than goal difference to determine positions at the end of the season and the scenario has added complications, with Lazio hosting Inter on the last day of the campaign on 13 May.
Before then Inter travel to improving Parma tomorrow, while Lazio welcome Siena and Udinese go to relegated Cesena; Napoli entertain Palermo tonight.
Lazio will be without suspended defender Andre Dias after he was sent off in bizarre scenes at the end of Sunday's 2-0 defeat at Udinese. Visiting players heard a whistle in the crowd and thought the game was over, only for Udinese's Roberto Pereyra to score the second goal in injury time, leading to an unsavoury fracas and Dias's subsequent dismissal.
At the foot of the table, Novara will be relegated tomorrow if they fail to win at fellow strugglers Fiorentina.
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