First things first: don’t look for Clint Dempsey in Saturday’s friendly against Scotland. He didn’t say so, exactly … but you don’t need Superhero ability to read between the lines to read between the lines on this one.
Dempsey talked at length to Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl this week from the U.S. camp in Orlando. He mentions having missed about 14 days (due to a groin injury) and says he needs to be “smart.” He also said that it “doesn’t make sense to play in a game if you’re not able to be close to 100 percent.”
So when the NBC Sports Network cameras roll Saturday night (kickoff at 8 p.m. ET), Dempsey is almost sure to be on the bench.
As for his future, that’s where Wahl’s interview climbs the “interesting” ladder. It’s not that we haven’t heard it before, but his words are landing with greater resonance now, so close to decision-making time, a.k.a. the summer transfer window.
I’ve always said I’m grateful for everything Fulham has done for me. Some of the best memories I have in soccer have been there. But the fact remains that I want to play in Champions League. I want to play at the highest level possible.
“I want to do as much as I can in my career and look back and say I made the most of all the opportunities I’ve had. I’m always going to want to play in Champions League. It’s something I’ve never done. I’d like to test myself at that level. That way I can look back and say, ‘Hey, I gave it a go. Either I was good enough or I wasn’t good enough.’ ”
Again, sound like a man who prefers to remain comfortable, who would rather play out his days at Craven Cottage, where he knows he’ll start in pretty much every league match, but will almost surely never get into Champions League? Nah.
Spain’s football federation has fined Valencia about $1600 for the water bottle tossed at celebrating Barcelona players on Saturday.
It’s also criticized Barca’s reaction to Neymar being hit with the water bottle.
[ MORE: Watch the incident here ]
Lionel Messi in particular flipped out at fans, who were furious after Barca scored a match-winning penalty and celebrated near the touch line.
From the BBC:
Spain’s football federation criticised the Barca players for their “exaggerated reaction” and for celebrating in front of home fans, but added “nothing justified” the reaction of the Valencia supporters.
There’s an easy joke to make about playacting/diving here, as Luis Suarez hits the deck despite not appearing to be hit.
But it’s critical to remember that these players at the moment don’t have any idea what’s happened, only that they’ve been hit. And Suarez is covering head, perhaps wondering what’s coming next. Neymar laying on the pitch for a while seems a bit overboard, but I don’t blame Messi nor his teammates for being furious with the supporters.
What do you make of it?
Don’t be misled by the headlines screaming out “disaster”; If this is the beginning of the end for Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, it has nothing to do with his speaking of his time in Manchester.
If you haven’t seen the headlines yet, you will. Mourinho says that life at United has been challenging and, yes, he uses the word disaster.
[ MORE: Chalobah’s double nutmeg ]
But he’s talking about being under the personal microscope, paparazzi and the like. And he’s talking about missing his family. Because, believe it or not, the man is a human being (at least we’re pretty sure).
“I just want to cross the bridge and go to a restaurant. I can’t, so it’s really bad,” Mourinho told Sky Sports.
“For me it’s a bit of a disaster because I want sometimes to walk a little bit and I can’t.”
That last line isn’t talking about tactics, title ambitions, or even the 4-0 loss to Chelsea. True story.
Mourinho’s comments regarding his life at Manchester are interesting and newsworthy, but allow us to go behind the curtain here. The media world is driven by monetization in the form of clicks and time spent on site.
Trumpeting the term “disaster” is tricky. Yes, there are seeds of discontent in Mourinho’s Manchester concerns — and credit to you for clicking through and reading what them in full — but let this thing play out, no? There’s a derby in town today.
For the first time since the 2011-12 season, Nathaniel Chalobah is not on loan and getting the chance to show what he can do for Chelsea.
At the very least, the 21-year-old midfielder has given the club a viral video.
[ MORE: Manchester Derby “a final” ]
Chelsea uploaded a video of Chalobah going double nutmeg on Manchester United’s Anthony Martial and Ander Herrera.
Given the opposition, it’s gone quite well to the tune of several hundred thousand views inside of four hours.
Watch the ex-Watford, Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough, Burnley, Reading, and Napoli man go.
Less than five months have passed since Real Madrid won the Champions League final, yet in Florentino Perez’s mind that’s a lifetime. ()
Real’s president is anything but patient with managers, the latest example being Carlo Ancelotti. The Italian was fired a year after winning the club’s long-desired Decima and losing a whopping 19 of 119 matches in charge.
[ MORE: Manchester Derby “a final” ]
So even though Real Madrid leads La Liga under Zinedine Zidane and won the UCL last season, people are always imagining the future.
Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel’s style of play has captured the imaginations of so many supporters. And with BVB president Hans-Joachim Watzke claiming that Real is tracking the German, the questions are heading for Tuchel.
“It’s dangerous if you are flattered as a coach.You lose focus on the important things. I read it as a rumour before our game in Ingolstadt and so I already said back then that it’s dangerous to admit it and to think about it because it takes on too much importance.”
There’s no reason for Tuchel to have to ask those questions. Perez has called Zidane’s appointment one of his proudest moments, and that was just three days ago. Even in Perez’s world, that’s only a solid month, maybe two. %tags%