Britain Soccer

Early goals give Chelsea, Southampton 1-0 leads as trailing sides look to grab hold

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Chelsea and Southampton both scored goals in the first 15 minutes to put their teams on top 1-0 at the halftime break of the early Sunday matches.

The trailing teams Norwich City and Swansea both slowly built more and more of an attack as the halves went on, but have not yet found the chance to bring them level.

The two matches have been eerily similar, with the leading sides dominating early but fading a bit heading into the break.

For Chelsea, Oscar scored his second Premier League goal and fourth of the season in all competitions, hitting home after receiving a wonderful ball from striker Demba Ba.

The goal came in the third minute, and temporarily knocked Norwich back, but they worked slowly as the first half went on and managed to nearly level the shot tally before the break.

Southampton’s Adam Lallana smashed home a top-corner strike in the 13th minute to give the home side the lead at St. Marys.  It seemed for a moment the goal had doomed Swansea and given the Saints an extra spring in their step, but the visitors have since found their footing.

Nathan Dyer nearly evened things up in the 36th minute, banging a curling effort off the inside of the top corner, and the ball ricocheted out across the face of the goal and away from danger.  Michu came close as well in stoppage time of the first half, but he could do no more than head Dyer’s cross directly at Southampton goalkeeper Artur Boruc.

Cisse arrested in sex tape investigation

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Former Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse is embroiled in a bizarre investigation into the extortion of a sex tape.

The 34-year-old French striker has been arrested by French police who have confirmed that are investigating attempts to bribe another international footballer.

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Unconfirmed reports from France claim that the individual in question is France and Lyon midfielder Mathieu Valbuena, a former teammate of Cisse at both Marseille and with the French national team.

According to Reuters news agency, Cisse was questioned because he was familiar with the people involved and in total four individuals were arrested as it is alleged they plotted to ask for money from Valbuena for the sex tape to not be released. It is unclear if the tape is of Valbeuna and his partner Fanny Lafon, or if other individuals are involved.

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Cisse won the UEFA Champions League with Liverpool and scored 24 goals in 79 games during his three-year stay at Anfield until 2007. He also had spells with Sunderland and Queens Park Rangers in the Premier League, while he is currently out of contract after being released by Ligue 1 side Bastia following nine goals in 41 appearances. Cisse is due to appear on the French version of “Dancing with the Stars” in the coming months.

Further reports from France say that Cisse is expected to be “exonerated” and that the existence of the video is “not proven” at this point.

Agent: “There’s no hatred” between Bale, Ronaldo

Gareth Bale & Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF
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Gareth Bale doesn’t at all dislike Cristiano Ronaldo — or vice versa — despite what may seem a lukewarm on-field relationship between the two Real Madrid superstars, insists Jonathan Barnett, agent of Bale.

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Instead, Barnett insists that the two men with very different personalities have a healthy relationship, and competition, that pushes each Galactico to be the best player he can be.

Barnett, on Bale’s relationship with Ronaldo — quotes from the Guardian:

“They don’t go out eating every night together, but it’s fine. There’s no hatred there. Gareth is a quiet guy. They’re complete opposites. But I think Gareth can learn a little bit from Ronaldo as well, interacting maybe a little bit. But he wants his own life and he lives it. Gareth is a great footballer, he doesn’t want anything more. He has some very good endorsements but his whole life is to be the best footballer in the world. I don’t think he wants to be the best model in the world or the best underwear seller. That’s not him.”

That’s a hilarious closing quote from Barnett, but he knows exactly how some folks are going to interpret it: “Bale thinks Ronaldo loves himself too much.”

[ MORE: Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott ]

There’s nothing better for the ultimate success of a team than healthy, friendly competition between teammates who are spectacularly talented as Ronaldo and Bale. The former will only be around to perform at his current level for so much longer, but at what point does the latter officially take the torch and supplant Madrid’s biggest star, and how accepting will he be of passing that proverbial torch?