Gossip column: World Cup, Robben, Lukaku, Ramires, Costa

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WORLD CUP GOSSIP

England boss Roy Hodgson believes his side's warm-up games will help his players deal with any underhand tactics from their rivals at the tournament. Independent

Hodgson's side could be one of the dark horses for the World Cup, according to Italy defender Ignazio Abate, 27. Daily Telegraph

Netherlands winger Arjen Robben, 30, reacted furiously to a robust challenge from team-mate Bruno Martins Indi, 22, during a training session at their World Cup base in Rio. Daily Mail

Striker Romelu Lukaku, 21, is a major doubt for Belgium's World Cup opener against Algeria on 17 June after injuring his ankle in a friendly against Tunisia. Daily Star

Argentina and Tottenham legend Ossie Ardiles believes that forward Lionel Messi, 26, is now "happier" playing for his country than Barcelona. Goal.com

Lionel Messi
Rumours have circulated about Lionel Messi being unhappy at Barca despite signing a new deal in May

England assistant coach Gary Neville had strong words for journalists after his walk on Rio de Janeiro's Sao Conrado beach was disturbed. Guardian

Frank Lampard believes Chelsea made a mistake by allowing his England team-mate Daniel Sturridge, 24, to join title rivals Liverpool for £12m in January 2013. Evening Standard

Former England captain David Beckham has issued his support for Wayne Rooney and says the 28-year-old striker needs to play for Roy Hodgson's team as he "scares" the opposition. Sun (subscription required)

Belgium captain Vincent Kompany, 28, organised a kick-about with young members of the country's royal family when King Philippe came to visit the national squad ahead of their flight to Brazil. Daily Mail

TRANSFER GOSSIP

Manchester United will listen to offers for midfielder Marouane Fellaini and are prepared to offload the 26-year-old for £15m having bought him for £27.5m last summer under former boss David Moyes. Times (subscription required)

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has laughed off speculation linking Arsenal with a £20m move for winger Lorenzo Insigne, 23.Evening Standard

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has rejected Real Madrid's interest in signing Brazil midfielder Ramires, 27. Daily Star

Arsenal are lining up a move for Southampton right-back Calum Chambers, 19, after accepting Bacary Sagna, 31, will leave on a free transfer.Daily Mirror

Jordi Alba
Manchester United target Jordi Alba is focusing on the World Cup with Spain

Aston Villa are ready to renew their interest in Norwich midfielder Wes Hoolahan, with the 32-year-old Republic of Ireland star willing to move should Roy Keane arrive at Villa Park. Eastern Daily Press

Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa has revealed his £32m move to Chelsea is nearly complete in a TV interview. Metro

Manchester United's move for Southampton left-back Luke Shaw, 19, is in doubt with Louis van Gaal looking at a move for Barcelona's Jordi Alba, 25. Daily Express

Newly promoted Queens Park Rangers are considering making Manchester United central defender Rio Ferdinand, 35, the highest paid player at the club with a salary of up to £80,000 a week. Guardian

New Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino is happy for the club to try to sign Juventus striker Mirko Vucinic, 30. insidefutbol.com

Napoli boss Rafael Benitez is interested in signing 31-year-old winger Jermaine Pennant, who he managed during his time at Liverpool and is now a free agent after leaving Stoke. Daily Mirror

OTHER GOSSIP

Sir Alex Ferguson believes it was his ruthless streak that ensured his long years of success at Manchester United. Daily Express

Jordi Gomez
Spanish midfielder Jordi Gomez has joined Sunderland after three years with Wigan

Qatar will not be able to mount a legal challenge to Fifa if football's governing body strips it of the right to stage the 2022 World Cup, having signed away any rights as part of the bidding process. Independent

Former Sunderland midfielder Francesc Arnau says his old Barcelona B colleague Jordi Gomez, 29, can provide the creative spark for the Black Cats next season. Newcastle Chronicle

AND FINALLY

World football freestyle champion Sean Garnier amazed a Brazilian crowd by joining in a local five-a-side match disguised as an old man. Metro

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