ProSoccerTalk’s daily soccer re-set

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Soccer birthdays: Remember when we said “Ronaldo” and everyone assumed we meant the striker from Brazil?

The one-time scoring ace from South America, Ronaldo, turns 36 today. The guy once looked like he was destined to challenge Pele has one of the greatest of the greats. And in the end, he had a fine career – but you always felt he left something on the table, somehow.

And you just can’t help but wonder if we ever got the 100 percent, full version of the curious events leading up to the 1998 World Cup final?

Also in birthdays: When I was a wee lad, I thought I wanted to be a goalkeeper, so I really loved watching a couple of the greats whenever that was possible.

Peter Shilton was one of those “greats.” Dude was a rock, wherever he went: Leicester, Nottingham Forest, Southhampton, Derby County (a real parade of 70s and 80s stalwarts that began fading roughly around the day of new wave music.)  He had 125 caps for England by the time his long career was over.

Most of that is beside the point, which is this: Shilton turns 63 today.

Big Important Stories of the Day:  

What a joyous Tuesday this is

UEFA Champions League group stage matches begin today

This stellar day has landed with such a force around ProSoccerTalk headquarters that I find myself forgetting to punctuate

RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day): Brian Quinn

Twitter daps:

source:

*Ahead on the blog today: By the time Manchester City kicks off at the historic Estadio Santiago Bernabéu against Real Madrid (the feature match among eight in UCL group play … or did we already mention that?), we will have dropped the MLS weekly rankings, some thoughts on newly signed Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann, information on a new women’s professional league and much more.

What you should watch on TV today:

Real Madrid Manchester City is on Fox Soccer Channel at 2 p.m. ET

Montpellier-Arsenal starts on FSC (on delay) at 5 p.m. ET

And then Tauro-Real Salt Lake kicks off (live) on FSC at 8 p.m. ET

Galavision has the other CONCACAF Champions League match, Real Estili-Tigres, which kicks off live at 10 p.m. ET

If the MLS playoffs started today (following 28 rounds):

Eastern Conference

(Wildcard round)

  • Houston vs. D.C. United

(Second round)

  • Sporting Kansas City vs. Wildcard winner
  • Chicago vs. New York Red Bulls

Western Conference:

(Wildcard round)

  • Real Salt Lake vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

(Second Round)

  • San Jose vs. Wildcard winner
  • Seattle vs. L.A. Galaxy

PST background noise while blogging today: Loop of the iconic Champions League anthem. (Extended dance mix, of course.)

We’ll leave you with this: I’m just as excited as everyone else to see Man City at Real Madrid – but Borussia Dortmund vs. Ajax from the BVB Stadion in Dortmund? Yeah, that one is gonna rock, too. Group D really is a monster, isn’t it?

*Always subject to change; you know how it is…

Sir Alex’s son in trouble for saying he’d “shoot” refs

Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
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LONDON (AP) It clearly runs in the family.

Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson was known for having an explosive temper during his nearly 27 years at Old Trafford, and it seems he has passed it down to his son.

Darren Ferguson, who is the manager of third-tier English team Doncaster, is in trouble for saying he would “shoot” referees because of what he perceived as their poor standards.

Ferguson was charged by the English Football Association on Wednesday for remarks that “were improper and/or brought the game into disrepute.”

The 45-year-old coach has already apologized, saying it was a “tongue-in-cheek comment” and that “I do not advocate violence against officials.”

Ferguson was unhappy his team was denied a penalty in a 1-1 draw with Plymouth on Saturday.

“The referees are part-time and the standard is appalling, their fitness levels are a disgrace, I’ve had enough of it,” Ferguson said after the match.

“What can I do? Shoot them, it would be a good idea.”

Follow Live: Chelsea, Swans, Cherries in FA Cup replays

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Chelsea, Swansea City, and Bournemouth look to avoid upsets in replays of their third round FA Cup matches.

[ LIVE: Follow all the FA Cup scores here ]

All three matches kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET

The Blues tangle with former Premier League peers Norwich City, this time at Stamford Bridge, in a bid to host a fourth round match with Newcastle United.

Antonio Conte‘s not messing around (too much) with the XI.

Swansea City and Wolves, meanwhile, are arguably battling for a bid in the fourth round, as a trip to Notts County is on the docket for the winner of Wednesday’s replay at the Liberty Stadium.

Bournemouth is at Wigan Athletic for a replay with the third-tier Latics, with the victor hosting West Ham United on Jan. 27.

Benevento captain Lucioni banned one year for doping

Photo by Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images
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ROME (AP) Benevento captain Fabio Lucioni has been banned one year for doping.

[ MORE: Plenty to prove for Big Sam ]

Italy’s national anti-doping organization made the decision Tuesday after the steroid clostebol was found in a sample taken after Benevento’s 1-0 loss to Torino in September.

Benevento team physician Walter Giorgione was banned for four years for administering the steroid to Lucioni in a spray.

Both Lucioni and Giorgione plan to appeal.

The 30-year-old Lucioni joined Benevento in 2014 and the defender helped the team move from the third division up into Serie A this season for the first time.

Benevento is last in Serie A with only two wins in 20 matches.

The ban is back-dated to October, meaning Lucioni can return early next season.

Everton completes move for Walcott: “I’m dead excited” (video)

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Everton continues to supply its managers with top-end talent, adding Theo Walcott to its expensive season of boys which includes Gylfi Sigurdsson, Wayne Rooney, Cenk Tosun, Jordan Pickford, and Michael Keane.

[ MORE: Plenty to prove for Big Sam ]

The deal is reported to be near $28 million for Walcott, who’s made only a half-dozen Premier League appearances this season but did nab three goals in five Europa League matches.

Walcott, 28, scored 108 goals in 397 appearances for the Gunners. His 19-goal campaign last season was his second-best — he scored 21 in 2012-13 — but Walcott dipped down Arsene Wenger‘s depth charge and is leaving to pursue regular football.

And his comments will be lapped up by the #WengerOut brigade at his now former club:

“The Club has won trophies but I want them to win trophies now. The manager is very hungry and it’s just what I need. I’ve had a couple of chats with him and straightaway I felt that hunger and that desire that he wanted from me. I need that and I wanted that

The move is another exciting one for Everton, which has underachieved under Ronald Koeman and now Sam Allardyce. And it’s another sale from Arsenal which gives pause: Are the underperforming Gunners going to regret the move?

In the 2005-06 season, Walcott made his Southampton debut in the Football League Championship at the age of 16, and moved to Arsenal the next season.

Walcott has eight goals in 47 caps for England, and won two FA Cups at Arsenal.

[ MORE: Montreal nabs Algerian DP ]

Here is a useful quote from Sam Allardyce:“His physical output is excellent, he would be one of our top players in that area as well, which will hopefully bring us a lot more excitement and more ability to get forward quicker and create.

And here is an utterly useless one: ““If you analyse his goal record, then we are looking at a player who contributes goals on a regular basis.”

You don’t say. To paraphrase: If you look at all his goals, he regularly scores goals. Here’s more from the player on his move.