Carlos Ruiz unhappy? Whoa! Who saw this coming?


If Carlos Ruiz begins causing headaches for D.C. United, club officials can only blame themselves.

They took on a 33-year-old striker who is used to starting and being a first-choice figure, but who has clearly entered the winter of his pockmarked career.

Further, they took on a man who is now at his eighth club in the past six years. What screams “Stay away from this guy” like eight clubs in six years?

In United’s defense, Ruiz has generally been a decent locker room presence. People always challenge me when I say that; fair enough. What I mean is that he’s generally a likable soul, a guy that teammates enjoy hanging around.

When you’re a likeable guy, teammates tend to give you a pass on certain things. They may not agree with how you conduct some of your business, but they tend to view you as some lost, wandering puppy dog and not someone deliberately out raise a selfish ruckus.

At any rate, he’s raising a ruckus. It’s about his playing time, which could generously be described as “sparse.” Playing time is always an issue with losing clubs. Players on the bench for a winner can hardly complain, after all. But for the bench warmers on a side in full, ugly spiral? Yep … the complaints over minutes are sure to come a’flyin’.

Here is Ruiz’s lament.

The story is in Spanish. It essentially says this:

He has never experienced anything like this in his long career. He wants everyone to know that he is 100 percent fit, the best he has felt in some time. (Not saying all that much, by the way, since Ruiz has never been a fitness zealot.)

(MORE: United perhaps fortunate to get the draw at home)

He also questions how United seems to feel good about a tie at home. (That’s a reasonable complaint; I said the same thing last night on Twitter.) And then he goes on to wonder if there is something personal between himself and the coaching staff, a question he says he actually asked United management.

Ruiz has no goals in seven appearances, which total exactly 100 minutes.

United snapped its club record seven-game losing streak yesterday. While that represents some small nibble of progress, United’s 9-game winless streak still sees the gang from RFK at the bottom of the league standings, with just five of a possible 33 points.

So, there is still much, much work ahead for Ben Olsen and management around RFK. They hardly need this, but they brought it on themselves.

Zlatan confirms Manchester United departure

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic has confirmed myriad reports he’s leaving Manchester United with a perfectly-Zlatan Instagram message.

Ibrahimovic is expected to join the LA Galaxy next week.

[ MORE: MLS All Stars vs. Juventus ]

The words aren’t too important, but Ibrahimovic posted an old graphic of him in Greek god garb, arm-wrestling a devil. So he’s got that going for him, which is nice.

The living Swedish legend, 36, has been limited to seven appearances, one start, and one goal in returning from a season-ending knee injury, but finishes his Manchester United tenure with an impressive 29 goals and 10 assists in 53 games (deduct the seven and one for peak impressiveness).

Bale breaks Wales scoring record

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Gareth Bale has now unquestionably written his name into Wales history.

The 28-year-old Real Madrid scored a hat-trick for Wales in its 6-0 demolition of China, taking his overall tally to 29 goals, breaking Ian Rush’s record.

“It is right up there, maybe as the best,” Bale told reporters after the game. “I suppose when I was a little boy I never dreamed of being a record-breaker for Wales. It is a massive honor. I was not thinking about it, but now it has come it’s an incredible honor and one of the best things I’ve achieved in my career. On a personal note it’s great to break the record, but I could not have done it without my team-mates.”

Bale was unable to carry Wales to the 2018 World Cup, but he first became a National Team legend by helping take Wales to the Euro 2016 semifinals, scoring three goals along the way.

Here’s a look at Bale’s record-breaking goal.

Sporting KC giving away creative “Bike Opara” bobblehead

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In his ninth Major League Soccer season, Ike Opara has scored just a dozen regular season goals.

He’s known more for his physicality in the backline, for creating space for teammates on set pieces, or heading balls on to teammates with slightly more fleeter feet.

But in June 2017, it all came together for Opara in a magical moment, where he beat an offside trap from the LA Galaxy and scored an insane bicycle kick for Sporting Kansas City.

Now, to honor Opara’s ridiculous goal, Sporting KC has announced the first 10,000 fans through the gates at Children’s Mercy Park on March 31 will get a “Bike Ike” bobblehead, with him in flight kicking the ball towards goal over his shoulder.

You’ve gotta love the creativity and fun the Sporting KC marketing department is having. Hopefully, Opara can give the team another memorable goal in 2018.

Van Dijk named new Netherlands captain

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Virgil Van Dijk has had a pretty decent last three months since moving to Liverpool, and the towering defender earned a new personal achievement on Thursday.

Van Dijk was named the newest captain of the Netherlands National Team, where he’ll play under former manager Ronald Koeman. Van Dijk’s first game as captain will be against the nation where he currently plies his trade, England, on Friday.

“I am very happy with it, it is a great honor to be the captain of your country,” van Dijk said at a pre-match press conference Thursday. “Everyone knows that Koeman gave me the chance at Southampton, I am very grateful to him. This is very special.”

Van Dijk’s commanding presence in the Liverpool backline and previous stops at Southampton and Celtic make him an obvious choice for captain, taking the place of the now-retired Arjen Robben. At just 26-years old, van Dijk could carry the armband for a half dozen years if he keeps up his strong form.