What we’re thinking, what we’re watching, what’s coming on the blog today and the RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day). Setting up your day in soccer:
Soccer birthdays: AC Milan’s Ghanaian international Sulley Muntari turns 28. Not only that, he shares a birthday with Tottenham winger David Bentley, who also turns 28 today.
Alessandro Gamberini, a Napoli man who has earned a handful of Italian national team caps, turns 31. And recently retired midfielder Dietmar Hamann, whose best days were at Bayern Munich and Liverpool, and who earned 59 caps for Germany, turns 38. He now manages Stockport United in England’s fifth tier.
Big Important Story of the Day: Looks like there is finally official movement in the Luka Modric deal, which sends the Tottenham playmaker to Real Madrid.
RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day): Rhett Harty
If the MLS playoffs started today:
- Sporting Kansas City vs. Wildcard winner
- New York Red Bulls vs. Houston
- Vancouver Whitecaps at L.A. Galaxy
- San Jose vs. Wildcard winner
- Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle
*Ahead on the blog today: What would a day in August, 2012, be without the Daily Dempsey. It cannot last much longer. The transfer period closes at the end of this week.
We’ll also have lots of MLS material as the playoff races continue to tighten. MLS Player of the Week and Team of the Week are up, as well. And the Monday Meh list, a quick chronicle of the slightly overrated.
*Always subject to change; you know how it is…
MEXICO CITY (AP) Mexican soccer star Rafael Marquez is back with his club more than a month after the U.S. Treasury Department named him on a sanctions list for alleged drug trafficking ties.
Atlas said Monday that the 38-year-old defender is practicing with the team again.
In August, Marquez was among 22 people sanctioned by the department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. He was accused of acting as a frontman for the Raul Flores Hernandez drug trafficking organization.
Marquez has denied any wrongdoing and said he will work to clear his name. He is not known to face any criminal charges in the United States or Mexico.
Atlas says Marquez will continue his legal fight while at the team.
Marquez has played internationally with AS Monaco, Barcelona and the New York Red Bulls.
WOLFSBURG, Germany (AP) Wolfsburg has hired Martin Schmidt to coach the Bundesliga side as a swift replacement for Andries Jonker.
[ MORE: PL Playback — Koeman, Everton facing significant pressure ]
Jonker was fired on Monday after less than seven months in charge, with Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Stuttgart leaving Wolfsburg with four points from its opening four league games of the new campaign.
The 50-year-old Schmidt has signed a contract through 2019 and he will take charge of Tuesday’s game against Werder Bremen.
The Swiss coach left Mainz by mutual consent in May after almost three years in charge. Mainz finished last season in 15th place in the Bundesliga, above Wolfsburg on goal difference. Wolfsburg only survived in the Bundesliga last season by a winning a playoff.
More AP German soccer coverage: http://www.apnews.com/tag/Bundesliga
It wouldn’t be the first time a professional athlete has tried his hand at another sport, but this one is a bit surprising.
[ MORE: Leicester-Liverpool highlights Tuesday’s Carabao Cup action ]
The Telegraph is reporting that ex-Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand is poised to become a professional boxer and is expected to announce his decision on Tuesday.
The 38-year-old has been a pundit for BBC and BT Sport since retiring from soccer 2015, but the six-time Premier League winner appears ready to tackle a new venture.
Ferdinand will attempt to follow in the footsteps of former Sheffield United striker Curtis Woodhouse — who went on to become British light-welterweight champion.
Below is a video Ferdinand posted to his Instagram account on Monday which appears to show him practice dodging with a personal trainer.
Paris Saint-Germain picked up its sixth consecutive win to start the Ligue 1 season on Sunday, but something else happened during the team’s 2-0 victory over Lyon that should be a show for concern.
[ MORE: Bayern keeper Neuer injuries foot, could miss months ]
In fact, two notable sequences occurred during the match that proved money cannot buy chemistry — or how the saying goes.
The issues on both occasions were between summer signing Neymar and Edinson Cavani — who has been with PSG since 2013.
First, a free kick situation arose where Cavani had appeared that he was going to take the set piece, until Brazilian defender Dani Alves stepped in and took the ball and proceeded to give it to his national and club teammate, Neymar.
The second occurence was even more embarrassing though, as Neymar and Cavani argued over who would take a penalty kick, which Cavani ultimately got his way before having his shot saved by goalkeeper Anthony Lopes.
Below is a video containing a piece of both instances.