That was quick: Diego Forlán denies he’s moving to Toronto FC


There always seemed something too good to be true about last night’s report, but the news was so specific — citing salaries, contract lengths, when he’d be introduced — you couldn’t help but trust the Globe and Mail’s report. Diego Forlán was coming to Toronto FC, the outlet claimed, his move from Porto Alegre to Ontario set to give TFC the player that would reestablish the relevance they’ve missed since the franchise’s first seasons.

Too bad Forlán had to go and ruin it all.

Less than 12 hours after the original reports broke, Forlán was denying his impending move, telling reporters in Brazil he’d like to stay at his current club, Internacional, until at least next summer:

“I said I would like to play in the United States, also in the Middle East …

“But I have a contract here for another two years. I’m very happy here and I have a contract. Today you know, there are so many websites on the Internet to see if the source is right or not.”

“But I would like to stay at Inter, until not only the (2014) World Cup, but until the end of the contract.

Anybody else feel like their time’s been wasted? We’re used to seeing rampant transfer speculation around the world’s biggest leagues, a function of not only their popularity but the insane reader demand for rumors, but we’re not used to seeing this kind of thing closer to home. We’re usually a bit more discerning in this market, so when a report like the Globe and Mail’s going online, there’s less incredulity. We tend to give it the benefit of the doubt.

Shame on us, right? Or shame on the source, or the outlet? Anyway you slice it, this is the world of big time soccer, people. Big names get linked, people write reports, the pressure to push the story leads outlets to take more risks. It’s not hard news, so what’s the harm, right? A couple of iterations of that logic and we have the report: Forlán to be introduced Monday or Tuesday.

I don’t mean this to be a jab at the Globe and Mail, because any outlet can be undone by its sources. But ultimately, the story didn’t float. And as Major League Soccer becomes a bigger drawing card, there’s more demand to know who’s being drawn, and outlets remain willing to roll the dice in exchange for being first to post, expect more Forlán-to-Toronto reports.

Even if it’s not Toronto, here’s hoping the Forlán-to-MLS momentum picks up again some day. But let’s also hope we’re not too far into that demand-publish problem. I’d like the next Forlán rumor I read to last longer than 12 hours.

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?

Olivier Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott

Olivier Giroud, France
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Is it just me, or does the press really only ever get noteworthy quotes from players during international breaks?

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I suppose it’s not surprising, given Premier League players get away from the mean ole British press, go back to their respective homelands and speak with journalists they’ve likely known since their early playing days, thus feel more comfortable opening up about key issues.

Anyway, today we have Olivier Giroud essentially calling himself out for having lost the starting striker’s job at Arsenal because he’s been outplayed of late by Theo Walcott. As discussed before, this is bad news for Giroud because he’s now falling down the depth chart for France with next summer’s European Championship on the horizon.

[ MORE: Aguero admits he wants Guardiola link-up ]

Giroud, on losing his place at Arsenal — quotes from the Guardian:

“At Arsenal, I am in competition with Theo for the striker position. But he is doing well at the moment, so there is no reason to change.

“Whether it was at Tours, Montpellier or Arsenal, I have never experienced a situation like this, I have often played from the start. I need to take positives and to harden myself mentally. It is something new for me.

“I was in [Walcott’s] place in previous seasons at Arsenal. I imagine what he must have been thinking. But I feel that the coach believes in me.”

Giroud goes on to cast into doubt his own confidence, stating in very certain terms he needs “to believe more in [his] abilities.” Giroud’s always come across as a bit of an existentialist, but it’s always strange to hear players publicly call themselves out — particularly their confidence — as if that’s not going to increase the pressure currently weighing down on them.

[ MORE: Rodgers reportedly chosen to take over at Aston Villa ]

The next eight months are going to be monumentally important in Giroud’s career, as the 29-year-old attempts to prove he’s worth keeping around at Arsenal and deserving of a place in the national team squad for next summer’s EUROs, which are to be played in France.