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New Red Bulls boss not excited about loaning out stars

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You can’t swing a bag of practice balls around Red Bull Arena these days without nailing a high-profile player who wants to go on loan.

(Which begs the question, are things really so unsatisfactory around their Harrison home that these guys need a break from all things Red Bull? Perhaps that is a lagrer conversation for another day.)

Thierry Henry, Rafa Marquez and Tim Cahill, the club’s current DP Amigos Three ®, have all turned up on the loan watch list. Marquez is wanted in Mexico, while the former homes of Henry and Cahill, Arsenal and Everton respectively, have been mentioned as temporary destinations for January and February.

Only, not so fast there …

New Red Bulls sporting director Andy Roxburgh, making some news yesterday with a ranging interview on matters of his new address, says he’s not particularly enthused about all this.

I’d say in general we wouldn’t be too positive about letting them go on loan, but against that, it depends on the individual, it depends on the circumstances. You can’t say never on that one, but it’s unlikely at the moment.”

The problem here, of course, is that big stars tend to get what they want. So while this represents a principled stance (because all three payers could use the rest, and this is hardly the best thing for the Red Bulls’ competitive ambitions), don’t be shocked if one, two or all three go play anyway.

By the way, Cahill at 32 is the youngest of the DP Amigos Three around Red Bull Arena. So, yes, they absolutely need some down time.

Cisse arrested in sex tape investigation

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Former Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse is embroiled in a bizarre investigation into the extortion of a sex tape.

The 34-year-old French striker has been arrested by French police who have confirmed that are investigating attempts to bribe another international footballer.

[ MORE: Klinsmann sends Johnson home ]

Unconfirmed reports from France claim that the individual in question is France and Lyon midfielder Mathieu Valbuena, a former teammate of Cisse at both Marseille and with the French national team.

According to Reuters news agency, Cisse was questioned because he was familiar with the people involved and in total four individuals were arrested as it is alleged they plotted to ask for money from Valbuena for the sex tape to not be released. It is unclear if the tape is of Valbeuna and his partner Fanny Lafon, or if other individuals are involved.

[ MORE: Dust settles, questions remain for USMNT future ]

Cisse won the UEFA Champions League with Liverpool and scored 24 goals in 79 games during his three-year stay at Anfield until 2007. He also had spells with Sunderland and Queens Park Rangers in the Premier League, while he is currently out of contract after being released by Ligue 1 side Bastia following nine goals in 41 appearances. Cisse is due to appear on the French version of “Dancing with the Stars” in the coming months.

Further reports from France say that Cisse is expected to be “exonerated” and that the existence of the video is “not proven” at this point.

Agent: “There’s no hatred” between Bale, Ronaldo

Gareth Bale & Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF
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Gareth Bale doesn’t at all dislike Cristiano Ronaldo — or vice versa — despite what may seem a lukewarm on-field relationship between the two Real Madrid superstars, insists Jonathan Barnett, agent of Bale.

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Instead, Barnett insists that the two men with very different personalities have a healthy relationship, and competition, that pushes each Galactico to be the best player he can be.

Barnett, on Bale’s relationship with Ronaldo — quotes from the Guardian:

“They don’t go out eating every night together, but it’s fine. There’s no hatred there. Gareth is a quiet guy. They’re complete opposites. But I think Gareth can learn a little bit from Ronaldo as well, interacting maybe a little bit. But he wants his own life and he lives it. Gareth is a great footballer, he doesn’t want anything more. He has some very good endorsements but his whole life is to be the best footballer in the world. I don’t think he wants to be the best model in the world or the best underwear seller. That’s not him.”

That’s a hilarious closing quote from Barnett, but he knows exactly how some folks are going to interpret it: “Bale thinks Ronaldo loves himself too much.”

[ MORE: Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott ]

There’s nothing better for the ultimate success of a team than healthy, friendly competition between teammates who are spectacularly talented as Ronaldo and Bale. The former will only be around to perform at his current level for so much longer, but at what point does the latter officially take the torch and supplant Madrid’s biggest star, and how accepting will he be of passing that proverbial torch?