Spanish goalkeeper Manuel Almunia has refused to rule out switching his national colors to England.
The 30-year-old Arsenal 'keeper was born in Pamplona but is yet to receive a call from Spain's national team boss Luis Aragones and since he has never played for Spain, he would be eligible for England after he qualifies for Bristish citizenship next year.
One of the first tasks for new England coach Fabio Capello will be to solve a goalkeeping conundrum with Paul Robinson and Scott Carson having committed expensive errors during the doomed Euro 2008 qualifying campaign.
Almunia is currently the in-form goalkeeper in the Premier League after his penalty save in the 2-1 win over Tottenham at the weekend, but Capello would have to wait another year to pick him.
"I will study my situation," Almunia was quoted as saying by Britain's Press Association. "And, if Spain don't call me ... They have never, never called me. And, if other people want me, I have to study my situation and take a decision ... I will not close myself to anything."
"I always say I have to wait until that moment to see what is happening at that moment, or which goalkeeper England has, or which goalkeeper Spain has -- look at the situation and take a decision," he said.
Spain's first-choice goalkeeper is Iker Casillas, but Liverpool's Pepe Reina recently earned his first callup. Almunia, who has edged out Jens Lehmann for the Arsenal goalkeeping spot this season, said it would be difficult to turn his back on Spain.
"It would be, but that's football," Almunia said. "It would be a big decision but I wouldn't care if I had two days to take it."
Almunia said he had enjoyed playing in England since joining Arsenal in 2004 from Celta Vigo.
"I am very proud to be part of Arsenal and I always have to give thanks to these people who give you everything," Almunia said. "If you give them a little thing, I think they love you, and that's fantastic. That doesn't happen in Spain, no," he said.
"That's because in England the people are more passionate and the people here are more humble. If they receive something, even a little thing, they give you double. For a player that's unbelievable," Almunia said.
A sudden shortage of locks in Australian rugby union has opened the door for Matt Philip to reclaim his Wallabies jersey, but the Melbourne Rebels player says that the uncertainties wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic have left him with a difficult choice. The Australian yesterday named Philip among 16 Rebels players either set to leave the Super Rugby club or seriously considering it, underscoring the challenge Rugby Australia faces to retain talent. Linked with a move to Section Paloise Bearn Pyrenees, commonly referred to as Pau, in France’s Top 14, Philip said that he had yet to settle his playing future, and
The Rakuten Monkeys remained atop the CPBL table, despite a 5-7 loss to the Uni-President Lions in Taoyuan yesterday, while the CTBC Brothers fell to the Fubon Guardians at the Taichung Intercontinental Stadium. The visiting Guardians blasted three home runs in their 7-3 triumph, helping Dominican pitcher Henry Sosa pocket his second win of the season. Improving his record to 2-2, Sosa sailed through seven innings, allowing six hits while striking out five. He gave up one earned run in the opening frame, with two Brothers relievers mopping up the final two innings. Fubon’s marquee stars, designated hitter Hu Chin-lung and first baseman
When Chinese Super League club Tianjin Tianhai surprisingly thrashed Rafael Benitez’s Dalian Yifang 5-1 to stay in the league in November last year, disgruntled fans were quick to allege corruption — the legacy of a murky past that exploded into scandal 10 years ago. Benitez, who led Liverpool to the 2005 UEFA Champions League title, was perplexed by one of the heaviest defeats of his coaching career, saying: “This is a game that I don’t quite understand.” Despite fan complaints to the Chinese Football Association (CFA), no case was brought and there is no evidence of wrongdoing. However, the haste with which some
Georgian tennis star Nikoloz Basilashvili, ranked 27th in the world, was on Sunday charged with physically assaulting his ex-wife, prosecutors said. A court in Tbilisi charged Basilashvili with perpetrating “violence against a family member committed in the presence of a minor,” before releasing him on US$30,000 bail, prosecutor Natia Guruli said. He faces up to three years in prison if found guilty. Basilashvili’s ex-wife, Neka Dorokashvili, on Sunday told Mtavari TV that Basilashvili “physically assaulted” her on Friday in the presence of their five-year-old son. Basilashvili denied the charges, his lawyer Irma Chkadua said. The 28-year-old won his second ATP Tour title at the China