Since time will be short before this January transfer window opens, L.A. Galaxy management is surely, already, talking about those Designated Player replacements for David Beckham.
Don’t forget, the Galaxy will need to be back in camp earlier than most MLS clubs, with that early CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal on deck. That can only add another pancake or two to the stack of pressure here.
First off, of course, is gathering up Landon Donovan’s status. (More on this later.) aving to replace Beckham is one thing; having two Designated Player spots available would change the entire DP dynamic here, opening up quite a few more options.
For instance, the Galaxy could bring in a Frank Lampard as a signing that checks the boxes on “useful” and “splashy,” and then employ another one to gather up a difference-maker more in his prime, someone with even greater value to the club’s competitive pursuits.
Either way, with one or two DP spots to fill, the other wildcard here might be Omar Gonzalez.
The big American center back could well be the most important Los Angeles Galaxy man of all. We all saw how alarmingly rickety that back line became in his absence during those early months of woe around the Home Depot Center. As much as Robbie Keane did over the season’s final two months on offense, Gonzalez did just as much over the final four months to stabilize that leaky defense.
And that kind of stabilizing rear guard force will come at an increasing price. It’s possible that Gonzalez, 24, might even require DP dollars to extend his Galaxy days.
This is a good place to start as we all explore the Galaxy’s impending DP pursuit, a look at life after David Beckham (complete with lots of handy numbers) at LAG Confidential.
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.
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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.
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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.
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.”
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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?