Kei Kamara, Patrick Ianni

Seattle Sounders center back situation looks grim following Patrick Ianni’s freak injury


Seattle has efficiently built depth in most positions; center back was perhaps the only position where manager Sigi Schmid could scarcely afford a key injury.

So, wouldn’t you know it!

Seattle Sounders center back Patrick Ianni left Seattle’s practice Monday on crutches, wearing a protective boot over his left foot. And wait for the real kick in the head here:

The veteran defender was injured during a jump test, performed routinely as part of a fitness assessment in most professional sports.

Said manager Sigi Schmid:

That’s a first. That’s a history maker. I don’t know how anybody injures himself on the jump test, but he did. Landed funny, I guess. So we’ve just got to wait and see what the MRI says.

Meanwhile, we’ll tell you in two words what this means to Seattle’s plans going about month out of its 2013 MLS opener: not good.

Ianni and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado are the team’s only experienced center backs on Seattle’s roster. There was Jeff Parke, of course, but he went to Philadelphia in a December trade, leaving utility defender Zach Scott as “next man up,” in the central defensive rotation.

Clearly, Seattle management and supporters will keep fingers crossed that this isn’t a long-term injury.

Funny thing is (not funny “ha-ha,” clearly), this is the second consecutive year a player in the MLS Pacific Northwest was undone by a freak preseason injury. Remember last year that Darren Mattocks’ preseason for Vancouver was shortened by burns suffered in a kitchen fire.

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.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

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?