Apparently stung, David Beckham hits back at league, critics

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Seems that some people never remember the “first rule of holes.” So let’s review:

“When you find yourself in one, stop digging!”

David Beckham recently got himself suspended for a match for lashing out. I say, we’ve mowed that particular patch of grass. A lot. So let’s just move on.

Only, as he returned this week Beckham wasn’t quite ready to move on, taking some verbal jabs at the league, at referees and at his critics – and his comments carry a hint of entitlement and some lacking self-awareness.

Did I deserve a yellow card? Yeah, I probably did deserve a yellow card. Because of my reaction. But did I deserve the second game? That’s for other people to talk about, and other people talk about it very well, by the way.”

Oh? Not happy that people are discussing you, your kind and your situations? Also known as, “The very reason you’re here!”

Where to start with that one?  If you sign up to be the face of the league, you’re the face of the league in good times and bad.  You can’t get paid all that money and then ask the cameras to stop rolling whenever the light becomes less flattering.

More generally, a man who fits as many TV commercials, runways slots and cover model shots into his life as humanly possible, and a man who builds a brand that pretty much prints currency, does not get to complain when people talk about him. Those are the rules. He should know so; he’s been in this game forever.

When asked about critics who felt the one-game ban was too light, that perhaps three or four games was more commensurate with his actions, he had this to say.

Yeah, well, they’re the jealous ones, unfortunately. They’re the ones that like to sit in front of the TV and discuss my life even when I’m not playing the game. Maybe I’m at a tennis game – they like to discuss that. There’s people that maybe like to get in the limelight a little too much.”

I’m on the record as saying one game was right. But c’mon! He’s playing the limelight card? That’s the same one he plays with referees who don’t acquiesce to his demands on the field. He accuses them of wanting to be “star of the show.”

Maybe. There is some ego involved in refereeing. And certainly in my business, too.

But there’s another way of looking at it, Mr. Beckham. Maybe these mere mortals are just doing their jobs.

Referees blow the whistle and enforce the rules; so, yes, sometimes they have to make you behave. You’ve been granted more leniency than anyone in MLS, so don’t take it there.

Journalists, bloggers and TV analysts do their thing, too. We talk about all the players. Or haven’t you noticed?

Beckham lashed out against San Jose two weeks ago. He lost his cool. He got tagged by the league for it. That stuff happens. All he had to do was take his medicine like a big boy, come back and play nice and all would be forgiven. His latest comments, falling on the bitter side, just keep it all in the news cycle a little longer.

Now that I’ve had my say, please excuse me. I have to go bask in my limelight.

Now, just where did I put that doggone limelight?

Former Czech Republic defender Rajtoral kills himself

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PRAGUE (AP) Former Czech Republic defender Frantisek Rajtoral, who won the domestic league title four times before joining Turkish club Gaziantepspor, died on Sunday. He was 31.

[ MORE: Bayern scouted Kyle Walker, Alex Sanchez this weekend ]

The Czech football federation said in a statement that Rajtoral had “committed suicide in Turkey.”

His agent Pavel Zika confirmed the player’s death, describing it as a “huge tragedy.”

Gaziantepspor announced Rajtoral’s death in a brief statement on its website.

Rajtoral played 14 international matches for the Czech Republic.

In the top Czech league, he won four titles with Viktoria Plzen and played in the group stage of the Champions League twice for the club. He moved to Hannover in the Bundesliga in 2014 for half of the season, on loan.

He left Viktoria Plzen last year to move to Turkey.

Bellerin wants to represent Spain U21s despite Wenger’s wishes

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Arsene Wenger has made it clear about Hector Bellerin representing Spain this summer but the Arsenal defender is prepared to go against his manager’s wishes if he is selected.

[ MORE: Bayern scouted Kyle Walker, Alexis Sanchez over the weekend ]

The 22-year-old has said he hopes to play for Spain’s Under-21 side this summer during the 2017 European U-21 Championship but Wenger has been weary of Bellerin’s injury status and wants his fullback to maintain a clean bill of health throughout the offseason.

“I really want to play,” Bellerin told IBTimes. “Representing Spain is very important. If [Albert] Celades gives me the chance I’ll be there.

“Those are opinions of the managers. I have to keep working. The truth is that I had a difficult injury but I think that I am at 100% now and I’ll try to prove it when I get the chance.”

Bellerin signed a six-and-a-half year deal with the Gunners in November, where he has resided since coming up in the club’s academy. He has made 102 appearances for Wenger’s team in that span over all competitions.

Roma boosts bid for 2nd in Serie A by beating Pescara 4-1

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PESCARA, Italy (AP) Roma boosted its bid for second place in Serie A and automatic entry into the Champions League with a 4-1 win at Pescara, which was mathematically relegated on Monday.

[ MORE: Newcastle joins Brighton in promotion to Premier League ]

Roma moved four points clear of third-placed Napoli, which drew against Sassuolo 2-2 on Sunday. Third place in Serie A receives a Champions League playoff.

Pescara remained 15 points behind Empoli. There are only five matches left and Empoli has the better head-to-head record, which is the deciding factor if two teams finish level on points.

There were 48 goals in total in the 33rd round, matching the record set in October 1992.

Roma took control shortly before halftime, with Kevin Strootman breaking the deadlock after Stephan El Shaarawy unselfishly rolled the ball across the area.

Radja Nainggolan, who earlier hit the bar, doubled Roma’s lead two minutes later.

Mohamed Salah extended Roma’s advantage three minutes after the break and the winger doubled his tally on the hour following a swift counterattack.

Ahmad Benali got a consolation for Pescara and a Cristiano Biraghi free kick also hit the post for the home side.

Frank Yallop resigns as Phoenix Rising coach shortly after Drogba arrival

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The timing is a bit sudden and certainly leaves many questions up in the air, but Phoenix Rising will have to look for a new manager.

[ MORE: Chicharito talks heating up with LA FC ]

On Monday, head coach Frank Yallop resigned from his position with the United Soccer League (USL) club less than one day after former Chelsea legend Didier Drogba joined the organization as a player-owner.

With Phoenix seen as one of several lower-level clubs with ambitions of making the leap to MLS over the coming seasons, Yallop’s departure is surely a shock to many.

According to ESPN FC, Rising lead owner Berke Bakay was quite surprised by Yallop’s decision to step down, as was Drogba.

“Didier was as surprised and disappointed as we were that Frank is unable to continue coaching our Club,” Bakay told ESPN FC. “But, we all respect his decision to put his family first.

“Didier’s focus will remain on improving our team as a player and assisting our MLS expansion team ownership group as a co-owner. Frank will be helping with our international search for a new head coach.”

Rick Schantz, the current Rising assistant coach, will head the team’s managerial duties for the interim while the club completes a full search for a new manager.