Flamengo break off Robinho talks with AC Milan

Flamengo have abandoned their pursuit of Robinho after failing to agree a fee with AC Milan for the forward.

Rossoneri vice-president Adriano Galliani travelled to Rio de Janeiro on Monday to thrash out a sale of the 28-year-old – who is understood to be keen on a return to his homeland –
but the Rubro-Negro‘s speculated proposal of 6 million was quickly dismissed.

A statement on Flamengo’s official website read: “Flamengo directors Wallim Vasconcellos and Flavio Godinho met on Monday afternoon with Mr. Adriano Galliani in an attempt to bring Robinho to the club.

“However, because of the amount requested by Milan, the club believes it is appropriate to abandon the deal and step aside.”

Galliani, meanwhile, refused to concede defeat in negotiations with the Brasileirao outfit but warned that

they must improve their offer or face losing out in the race to sign Robinho.

“There is nothing concrete with Flamengo, not at least until January 2,” he told reporters.

“Robinho wants to go back to Brazil, but can Flamengo can come up with the money that Milan want? I do not know. You should ask their leaders.”

Reports in Brazil suggest league champions Fluminense are ready to step up their interest in the striker with the Copa Libertadores imminent, while Sao Paulo feel the former Real Madrid man could plug the gap left by Paris Saint-Germain bound Lucas Moura.

Wenger: I will only sign exceptional players for Arsenal in January

Arsene Wenger has stated that he will only enter the January transfer market if he can find an “exceptional” player for Arsenal, suggesting the French boss will be cautious with his budget once again.

The Gunners have endured their worst start to a season since the 63-year-old took charge, yet still sit in fourth position in the league – albeit level on points with Everton, Tottenham and West Brom.

And while the manager is under pressure to add to his squad and secure Champions League qualification, he hailed the team’s “will to win” and believes he has a good squad at his disposal already.

“We are in the market, but only if we find players who will really strengthen us because we have a good squad. But if we find an exceptional player then we will take him,” he told reporters.

The Gunners are 13 points behind league leaders Manchester United and have been defeated by Chelsea, Norwich, United and Swansea so far, while also losing a shock Capital One Cup quarter-final to League Two side Bradford.

Despite the disappointing domestic form, the north London team will play Bayern Munich in the last 16 of the Champions League – and Wenger believes his side have the mentality to succeed this season.

He added: “We lacked fluidity in our attacks [against Wigan] and continuity in our attacking play, but we won because of our will to win, and with the way things are now I won’t turn my nose up at that.”

Former fan favourite Thierry Henry looks unlikely to rejoin the squad on loan after New York Bulls head of global soccer Gerard Houllier he has not heard about any potential deal for the French forward.

And long-term striking target Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has dashed the hopes of fans hoping to see him at the Emirates Stadium by committing his future to Bundesliga side Schalke.

Goal.com's bumper festive quiz: Part two starring Cristiano Ronaldo

Temperatures may be plummeting but the Premier League season is certainly hotting up as the hectic Christmas programme of matches now hits full swing.

Away from the drama on the pitch and your traditional Christmas dinner at home, though, we have some more content to get your teeth into!

All in the name of some festive fun, Goal.com have produced a bumper festive quiz! We are running a mini-quiz every day from Monday to Friday, with pictures, trivia and football-based brainteasers.

Read on for part one and have a go at the questions, leaving your answers in the comments box below. Enjoy!


What year was the above picture of Cristiano Ronaldo taken?


What is the link between the three men in this picture?


Which team is this?


Who is the only current Premier League player to have scored for six different top-flight teams?

Nicky Barmby, Les Ferdinand, Craig Bellamy, Marcus Bent, Andy Cole and Robbie Keane are the former Premier League players who have achieved the feat.

Check back on Wednesday for round three of our fun festive quiz!

Downing hopes improved performances will keep him at Liverpool

Liverpool winger Stewart Downing hopes his improved performance in recent weeks will prevent manager Brendan Rodgers from following through on suggestions that he could be sold in January.

The midfielder joined the Reds for £20 million in the summer of 2011 but has struggled at Anfield before stepping things up with his first Premier League goal for the club against Fulham.

“I wanted to stay, I didn’t want to leave, but it was out of my hands,” Downing explained to Sky Sports regarding being told that he would be allowed to leave in the winter transfer window.

“I was out of the team and frustrated and I said, if something big came up, I’d look at it. We had that conversation and, to be honest, I thought I was on my way in January.

“I was a little bit surprised when [Rodgers] said I could go. He came in and was pleased with me at the start and then, all of a sudden, things changed quickly and I could go.

“I don’t know who makes that decision but one minute I was being told I was doing well and the next I was told I could go.”

The winger noted that facing the prospect of being sold may have helped him to turn the corner.

“It was a bit confusing but it is a kick up the backside,” he observed. “I then had nothing to lose as I was going. If it was a gee-up for me then maybe it’s worked because the performances are coming now.

“The good thing is we have had open dialogue. I speak to [Rodgers] if I have a problem and, if he has something to say to me, he can speak to me, so from that point of view it has been good.

“He has been straight with me and said if something comes up in January them we’d look at it but if he’s saying I’m staying then it’s a funny old game.

“The only thing I can do is play well and make him keep me and pick me and that is all I am trying to do.”

Liverpool manager Rodgers refutes claims of Sturridge contract clause

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is adamant no January signings have attempted to dictate what position they will play in contract negotiations.

The Anfield club has been heavily linked with Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge, who is expected to complete a move to Merseyside when the transfer window re-opens.

It has been reported Sturridge, 23, wanted a clause written into his contract specifying he will be used as a central striker by Rodgers.

But while the Liverpool manager would not confirm the England international had completed a medical ahead of the transfer, the former Chelsea coach insisted there had been no request for a clause.

“No-one will come into this football club and demand where they play, that’s for sure,” he told reporters.

“It has been – as any sort of negotiations with any clubs with any players [are] – it isn’t straight forward.”

Rodgers also denied Stewart Downing would be leaving the club in January after a string of improved performances.

He added: “I see these reports about him going out and leaving. We don’t want him to go anywhere.

“All we’ve ever asked is that every player is at the top of their game and be the best as what they possibly can be every day and in the games.

“And if he continues along the lines that he is, as I say, he’ll be here for a few more years yet.”