THE mouth-watering attraction of the Real Madrid versus Barcelona Champions League semi-final first leg will ensure that the normal parochial English football fans will be glued to their television screens this week.

For some, it will be an even greater attraction than Manchester United’s game at Schalke.



The two Spanish clubs epitomise the very best in ‘pure’ football and so it was not surprising to read that they pay their players more than £4.3m a year on average.

A recent survey claimed that Real Madrid and Barcelona, regularly ranked in the top three richest football clubs in the world, have overtaken the New York Yankees as the best paid global sports teams.

Chelsea ‘boast’ the highest paid UK players and Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal were also among the 30 best-paid teams, making the Premier League the best-paying football league in the world.

Nick Harris, the report’s author, said: “We’ve known for years that the biggest bucks have been in American basketball and baseball but the rise in wages among the elite of European football continues is closing that gap.”

Naughty! Manchester United have apologised and offered to pay for the damage done to a wall in their Wembley dressing room after their 1-0 FA Cup semi-final defeat against Manchester City.

Apparently it was United themselves who drew the Football Association’s intention to the damage.

United said it was “only surface damage” and neither manager Sir Alex Ferguson nor any of the players were responsible. A club spokesman described the damage as “about three inches in diameter … not a hole.’

Still, someone in their backroom staff needs to keep an eye on their temper. Heaven knows what might havoc they might cause if the Reds cock up their title chase!

The Uefa president Michel Platini has apologised for the high cost of Champions League final tickets at Wembley, saying that they will consider cheaper options in the future.

The cheapest general sale tickets for the May 28 final cost £150 plus a £26 administration fee.

“It was a mistake, it was not good,” said Platini, while also citing problems with the black market.  “It is not easy to decide the price of the tickets in the Champions League final,” he said.

Sure it is Michel, don’t be so bloody greedy!

The football world has been buzzing (it hasn’t really) with the news that an Italian League match was suspended after a swarm of bees invaded the pitch.

The referee cleared players and fans from the Fortunati stadium for 15 minutes until the swarmed passed and  the Serie C1 match between Pavia and Gubbio could continue.

The cheers from central London echoed out around the country at the weekend when the £50 million flop Fernando Torres scored his first goal for Chelsea since his January move from Liverpool.

Meanwhile, Sir Alex Ferguson must have permitted himself a chuckle as  Javier Hernandez nodded home an 83rd minute winner against Everton.

That was Hernandez’s 19th goal of the season – not bad for an outlay of just £6million.