A.J. DeLaGarza

An early run at LA Galaxy lineup predictions


If Adam Serrano does not know it about the LA Galaxy, it’s probably not worth knowing.

So I was intrigued when I saw the Galaxy blogger throw down some lineup predictions for the champs – a team with a little more roster tumult at the moment than manager Bruce Arena would probably prefer.

As you examine what Serrano says and his array of lineup predictions / options, consider the pressure points from Bruce Arena’s standpoint, which include:

  • Working out the ideal lineup without one Designated Player yet to be replaced (David Beckham) and another who will miss a month of matches at very least (Landon Donovan).
  • Selecting a center back partner for Omar Gonzalez. Tommy Meyer and A.J. DeLaGarza (pictured) have both sat alongside the big U.S. international in preseason contests. DeLaGarza can play along the right or centrally.
  • Finding the best spot for Mike Magee relative to Donovan and where the club’s all-time scoring leader will eventually fit. Colin Clark’s emergence as an apparent force that will demand defensive attention along the left – Are we about to see the Clark who was rampaging with the Rapids three years back, prior to a crushing knee injury? – gives Arena one more option.
  • Getting the best of a midfield that looks a little tame at the moment compared to last year’s.
  • Arena has two preseason contests to sort it out, vs. Club Tijuana on Feb. 19 and the Colorado Rapids on Feb. 22. Remember, the Galaxy need to get it right early, not so much for MLS but for those March quarterfinal matches in CONCACAF Champions League.

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.

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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.

[ 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?