Clint Dempsey didn't exactly flourish for Seattle, but he certainly made a big splash with his ballyhooed move from the Premier League back into MLS.

Seattle-Portland update, 24 hours ahead of biggest MLS match this year


The Seattle Times’ Joshua Mayers reports that Sounders striker Obafemi Martins will be a game-time decision ahead of Sunday’s biggie against Portland. That means a couple of things:

We still don’t know if all three Seattle Sounders’ Designated Players will appear on the field together for the first time. Clint Dempsey has played twice so far for his new MLS club, once off the bench and then in last week’s start against Houston, but Martins was injured for both appearances. Plus, Eddie Johnson was out for last week’s loss in Texas.

That’s also going to make things difficult to Seattle manager Sigi Schmid to scheme up Dempsey’s best use for the man’s initial, ballyhooed run-out at CenturyLink Field. His “best use” is presumably the same spot Dempsey holds for Jurgen Klinsmann’s national team, in the “hole” behind one striker or two of them, operating in a bit of a free role.

It’s not the best situation to be in, as time is growing short to find the best roles for several players, all of which now revolve around Dempsey and getting their $6 million man into the optimum role. Schmid would surely like to get his best 11 on the field to begin answering questions: What does that mean for figures like Brad Evans and Mauro Rosales, who can play different positions? For that matter, what does is mean for Martins and Johnson?

But let’s not allow any of that to detract from the drama and the pure joy of the moment; tomorrow’s match at a sold out CenturyLink Field (the “big” sell-out, not just the usual, somewhat fabricated “little” sellout).

(MORE: Match preview, Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers)

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?