|Org||xxxx National Team|
|Club as Player||Chelsea FC|
2020 06 24 Retrieve
[Former Manchester City midfielder Stephen Ireland has revealed that Bruno Fernandes told him he had a poster of him as a kid and that he would always sign him when playing Football Manager] Fernandes told me that, as a kid, he had a poster of me. He said that when he played Football Manager he always signed me. I was like, ‘You had me on a poster? And, seriously, you sign me for Football Manager?’ I mean, how weird is that?
I was like, ‘Whaaaat? Pirlo wants my shirt?’. After the game, Daniel Sturridge turned to me, ‘Oh, but I asked him for it ages ago’. I said, ‘Take it’ and handed it over. It didn’t matter. All I could think was, ‘Does Pirlo know who I am? Does he watch football and realise I’m a good player?’
2020 06 24b Retrieve
[Stephen Ireland has revealed how he once got the better of Lionel Messi in a pre-season friendly while also earning the title of Superman from Barcelona president Joan Laporta] We played against Barcelona in pre-season and I was the best player on the pitch by a country mile. Messi was playing. He went on one of his mad runs and I just thought, ‘I have to tackle him’. I did this massive hook tackle on him. It was an amazing tackle. There were four or five times when I read his passes and intercepted them. I went round him. I gave him the eyes and went a different way. It was cool, really cool, to be out there with him. On occasions like that, you’re more alert, you try harder. You run quicker, you see more. I’m built for that.
I remember on the bus [to Camp Nou], two players saying to me, ‘If you play well today, Barcelona will sign you’. One was Javier Garrido, a Spanish boy. The other was [Pablo] Zabaleta. Now I think, ‘Was I really that close? Was I that good? Was I that recognised that something like that could actually have materialised?’.
The day before the game, we had a training session. And as we were coming up the tunnel, Barcelona’s president was there. All the players were like, ‘That’s him!’. He kinda pushed everyone to the side, grabbed me and gave me a massive bear hug. He put his arm around me and I started to sweat so bad. I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, if he picks up on this it’s going to be so embarrassing’. I was red in the face, drenched with sweat. Oh sh*t, how uncool did I look? And he started telling everyone, ‘Hey, this guy is the man, this guy’s number one. This guy’s Superman!’. Looking back, I really feel I was good enough to have stayed another six, seven or eight years at City
2020 06 30 Retrieve
[Guardiola won’t allow Liverpool to run away again] Manchester City, I guess it’s a bit of a rebuilding year. David Silva is on his way out, [Vincent] Kompany left and they didn’t quite replace him. It’s a bit of an eye-opener just how much work has to be done now throughout the summer period. Seeing as Liverpool are pushing on, that gap is getting bigger and bigger and bigger. Man City struggled to start clawing it back. I can’t see the gap being this big again next year because I don’t think Guardiola will allow that to happen. I think it’s been a bit of a lesson for everybody.