No Ruud phone calls for Sir Alex

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The Independent Football

Kenny Dalglish once made a nice little earner from British Telecom for telling people that it was good to talk, but his nemesis, Sir Alex Ferguson, discovered last week that not even waving a cheque for £18m could get him a reverse-charge call to Ruud van Nistelrooy.

Kenny Dalglish once made a nice little earner from British Telecom for telling people that it was good to talk, but his nemesis, Sir Alex Ferguson, discovered last week that not even waving a cheque for £18m could get him a reverse-charge call to Ruud van Nistelrooy.

The sight of the Dutch striker staring down from the stands at the Philips Stadium on Tuesday night, as his current side whipped the one he had agreed to join until his untimely knee injury last April, must have been galling for Fergie. But it seems he has as much chance of securing Van Nistelrooy as Dwight Yorke has of hitting the target.

The PSV chairman, Harry van Raaj, who was incandescent when Sir Alexinvited the stricken striker to sample Old Trafford's five-star rehabilitation facilities, said before the Champions' League tie: "I've hidden Van Nistelrooy's mobile phone and he is not getting back for two days - I don't wantFerguson speaking to him."

He was only half-joking. The rift between the clubs may have healed over a glass of Fergie's favourite red, but PSV are trying to persuade Van Nistelrooy that, at 24, he still has time on his hands and it would be better spent in Holland.

"I think he is better waiting until the end of next season," Eric Gerets, the coach, said. "He will only leave this club for a bigger club when he is 100 per cent fit and I think it's better he stays on for another season. You understand, it's only logical that I speak for PSV, not Manchester United." Fergie could face an expensive bill for call-waiting...

 

Besiktas may have taken a count of six on Tuesday night at Elland Road, but Pascal Nouma continued to further his own ambitions as a boxer. The shaven-headed French striker's astonishing punch on Danny Mills was more reminiscent of Marvin Hagler than Mervyn Day. The Leeds United defender should not take it personally. He's not the only person Nouma has taken a swing at in the last month.

A fortnight ago he laid out a photographer who snapped him leaving a nightclub in Istanbul and Besiktas were so furious at the very public affair that they contemplated selling their summer signing from RC Lens after just a few months.

Still, Nouma - who grew up in a tough Parisian suburb - is a mere novice in comparison to one of his old team-mates from Paris St-Germain. Patrice Loko ended up in a top security psychiatric hospital a few years ago after a night-out with the PSG boys saw the deeply troubled forward smash up a police car and fight with cops.

 

Emmanuel Petit seems to have had a bellyful of Barcelona after just seven weeks. The former Arsenal favourite is rumoured to be on his way out of the Nou Camp with buyers having already been contacted, according to El Mundo Deportivo, the Catalan-based football bible.

The paper claims that Barça are prepared to let the French midfielder go for much less than the £7m they paid Arsenal and have been in negotiations with Fiorentina, Roma and even Chelsea. Petit has scarcely featured in Barça's bad start to the season, only coming on as a replacement for the Dutch midfielder Phillip Cocu and he missed the 2-0 home defeat by Milan in midweek because he had a "stomach problem".

 

Bringing up the rear last week, for Champions' League quote of the week, is Rangers' outspoken manager, Dick Advocaat, who lost his temper not because of the 3-2 defeat by Galatasaray, but over the comments of rival manager Mircea Lucescu, who said Advocaat had bought his way to success.

"He's an arsehole to speak this way about others," fumed Advocaat. "Anyway, what has he done with his career? He was with Inter for three months and they sent him away. It's a sign of his frustration at doing such a bad job there [in Turkey]. We will see all about that when we play them at home."

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