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.
In some ways absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it seems Sir Alex Ferguson‘s life after Manchester United has been filled with second guessing.
Whether the sales of Paul Pogba and Gerard Pique or the appointment of David Moyes, “Fergie” apparently can’t rest on his title-winning laurels.
[ MORE: Tax evasion charges dropped against Messi, but not his father ]
One thing that seems to bug him more than anything, though, is the idea that he hand-picked David Moyes to be his successor, and should be responsible for his failings.
In a new documentary, Ferguson both defends the appointment of Moyes and explains the process behind his choice.
From the BBC:
“I don’t think we made a mistake at all. I think we chose a good football man,” Ferguson says. “Unfortunately it didn’t work for David.
“Jose Mourinho was going back to Chelsea, Carlo Ancelotti was going to Real Madrid, Jurgen Klopp had signed a contract with Dortmund, Louis Van Gaal was staying with Holland for the World Cup.”
The article also makes another key point, according to Ferguson: the manager claims he only gave United a few months notice that he’d be stepping down. That certainly didn’t provide a lot of lead time to secure a big boss.
What do you make it of it? If your answer is, “When can we stop talking about Moyes and United?” I tend to be with you, but it’s a talking point.
Lionel Messi will not face charges that he and his father defrauded the government in millions of unpaid taxes, though his father is not so lucky.
Messi’s father, Jorge, could face 18 months in jail and an approximate $2.25 million fine despite a voluntary payment of $5.5 million in 2013 to “correct” the missed taxes.
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The Barcleona star had plead ignorance to the charges, something that failed to impress prosecutors. But, it apparently worked out in his favor on Tuesday.
From the BBC:
Prosecutors allege that Jorge avoiding paying tax on his son’s earnings by using offshore companies in Belize and Uruguay between 2007 and 2009.
Messi’s lawyers argued that the player had “never devoted a minute of his life to reading, studying or analysing” the contracts, El Pais newspaper reported.