Campbell is Ruled out of Madrid Match
Sol Campbell will miss the first leg of Arsenal's Champions League tie with Real Madrid and at least two Premiership games because of his ankle injury. The defender has been ruled out for two to three weeks by Arsène Wenger, ending his hope of a swift comeback after he left Highbury and then the country in response to his nightmare against West Ham.
Arsenal are likely to go to the Bernabéu on February 21 with Kolo Touré and Philippe Senderos as centre-halves. Wenger would have been keen to use a rejuvenated Campbell that night against a team whose attacking players include Ronaldo, Robinho and Zinedine Zidane.
Johan Djourou or Pascal Cygan would be alternatives to stand in alongside Touré.
"You will laugh," Wenger said yesterday on Arsenal TV. "Sol has come back but he is out now because of a foot problem. He played two or three weeks with it but the injury became worse against West Ham. We had a scan and he will be out for two or three weeks. He cannot kick a ball at the moment. It is an ankle injury but not a ligament problem. It is bone bruising."
Djourou and Senderos are set to continue in central defence at home to Bolton tomorrow, with Touré at the African Nations Cup.
Ga?l Clichy hopes to be back in action soon after a stress fracture of his foot. Clichy, who needed an operation, said: "I feel really good. I have been working with the fitness coach since last week. I hope that I can be back in the next week or maybe two weeks' time. I am looking forward to playing again."
The Juventus coach Fabio Capello last night denied he was an admirer of the late Spanish dictator Francisco Franco after an interview with the Italian paper La Repubblica caused a bitter reaction in Spain. Capello, 59, who in 1996-97 coached Real Madrid, historically considered the team of Franco's regime, spoke in gushing tones about his time in Madrid. He has been tipped for a return to the Bernabéu when his contract with Juventus expires in 2007.
"Spain combine the Latin creativity with the order that was left by Franco," he was quoted as saying. "He left a great heritage. In Spain everything works well, there is respect for the rules and not too much bureaucracy. Italy should take Spain by example."
His words, however, were not appreciated in Spain, with the newspaper El País particularly infuriated. But yesterday Capello said: "I just wanted to say that Spain are better than Italy in some field and tried to give an historical explanation to it. I have never dreamt of praising dictatorships of any kind. My father was in a Nazi concentration camp."