Crack a (wry) smile, Arsenal fans. The Gunners have re-signed midfielder Mathieu Flamini on a free transfer after departing AC Milan.
Manager Arsene Wenger expressed his joy over the deal. “We’re very pleased Mathieu has agreed to rejoin us,” the Arsenal boss told the club’s website. “He is a player of real quality, with a fantastic work rate and great mentality.”
The Gunners know Flamini quite well after the Frenchman spent four years in North London before departing for the Rossoneri in 2008. At Milan, Flamini went on to make 96 Serie A appearances over five seasons, scoring seven goals and notching three assists.
Flamini missed all but two matches of the 2011-12 season after undergoing cruciate ligament surgery on his right knee. Last summer he signed a one year contract extension with the Italian giants after reportedly accepting a substantial pay-cut. After that contract expired this summer, Flamini returned to train with the Gunners where he impressed Wenger enough to put pen to paper.
The 29 year old is expected to contribute in the midfield and possibly even the Gunners defense. It was the former, however, where Flamini contributed the most during his last stint in England. After an initial few years of lacking a clear position and role with the club, Flamini formed a strong partnership with Cesc Fabregas in 2007-08. But that summer his contract ran down and, not feeling particularly valued by the Gunners, Flamini left for the perceived greener pastures of Milan.
After failing to hit full stride in Italy, Flamini returns to Wenger with the hope of salvaging a career that promised so much yet never truly delivered.
The hopes of Arsenal supporters will be tempered. Flamini will always be an injury concern and it would be a legitimate surprise if the Frenchman’s play rose to any level beyond that of a role player.
That is, after all, the reality of signing a 29 year old on a free transfer.
A Richmond Kickers striker will hopefully be able to credit a back injury with saving his life.
Matthew Delicâte has been with the USL side for 10 years, and picked up a knock in training that required an MRI.
[ EURO 2016: England squad released | Germany, too ]
That scan revealed a mass on his kidney, and Delicâte is now set for 8-12 weeks on the sidelines and major surgery.
“I was frustrated after hurting my back and not being able to train and feature for the team, but in hindsight, I am very fortunate to have caught this at an early stage,” commented Delicâte. “I hope the team continues to work hard in my absence and I am aiming for a full recovery as quickly as possible.”
“Events such as this immediately put the importance of winning soccer matches into perspective,” added Leigh Cowlishaw, Richmond Kickers Director of Soccer. “We wish Deli a successful surgery, speedy recovery and look forward to having him score more goals for the Kickers in the months to come.”
The 34-year-old English forward played at Virginia Commonwealth University before embarking on a pro career with Richmond and the Rochester Rhinos, briefly heading home to England for a spell with National League side Ebbsfleet United.
All our best to Delicate, his family, and the Kickers.
No surprise here: the most famous footballer of all-time has acquired a wide variety of extraordinary items, many of them as unique as Pele himself.
The 75-year-old Brazilian is going to auction a lot of those items come June in England, with at least part of the money going to a pediatric hospital in his come country.
[ MORE: Marcelo giving away UCL medal via Facebook ]
Some of these items are going to get crazy money. Consider: He’s selling a one of a kind Jules Rimet Trophy given to him after the 1970 World Cup, and the boots he wore in “Victory”.
Here’s what Pele says of the sale, expected to fetch at least $5 million, according to a BBC Business story:
“It was a difficult decision to make but it takes a lot to properly care for these artefacts, and I felt I could do much more good by sharing these items with the world, as well as helping my causes that are important to me.”
Less expensive items, like a match-worn New York Cosmos jersey, are still expected to have purchase prices as high as $8-10,000. So, yeah, a lot of us are going to be left out of the process.
Then again, they’re just Earthly possessions, no? If Pele doesn’t need them, I can be content in also being shut out.
Andros Townsend and Danny Drinkwater are not going to France as part of the England national team for Euro 2016.
That means both Daniel Sturridge and Marcus Rashford have been included in Roy Hodgson’s squad, putting five strikers in the mix.
[ MORE: Reus left out of Germany squad ]
Rashford, 18, is the youngest player on the roster, with Tottenham’s Dele Alli second (20).
Jack Wilshere and Jordan Henderson have overcome fitness concerns to get into the squad.
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), Fraser Forster (Southampton), Tom Heaton (Burnley).
Defenders: Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), John Stones (Everton), Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur), Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool).
Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Ross Barkley (Everton), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), James Milner (Liverpool), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal).
Strikers: Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United).
Comparing it to the 2014 World Cup opener against Ghana, USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann called Friday’s Copa America Centenario opener against Colombia “starting a tournament with a final”.
While Costa Rica and Paraguay are far from slouches, Colombia is the best team in the United States’ group.
[ COPA AMERICA PREVIEWS: Group A | B | C | D ]
A win would set the tone for the group stage and, historically speaking, winning the first game gives teams a tremendous chance to advance to the knockout rounds.
In a Facebook live chat on Sunday, Klinsmann implied that his Yanks wouldn’t play for a draw against Colombia.
“We are going to go for it. We are going to do that and we are going to try and make it happen on Friday night because it would give us a big, big boost towards the game against Costa Rica and then finishing off the group with Paraguay. Similar to the World Cup, we need a good result in the first game.”
There’s no denying a win would be massive, putting Colombia up against the wall for both of its remaining games. Los Cafeteros have not kept a clean sheet in three matches, but all of those were wins. Their only losses since mid-June 2015 came against Uruguay and Argentina.