Wales manager Chris Coleman decided not to play Gareth Bale on Friday night against Macedonia, citing match fitness as the issue. But that didn’t stop Bale from making headlines yet again. The world’s most expensive player was warming up during the halftime break when two Macedonia fans tried to hug him. Apparently not receptive to affection from the opposing side, Bale pushed them away.
Now, the Football Association of Wales (FAW) will review player security, which they insist has always been strong. However, having a super-mega star like Bale traveling with the Welsh team is unchartered territory, and FAW will need to consider whether there is more that can be done to protect their big stars. FAW was also careful to stress that, although Wales took a security staff along when traveling abroad, it was up to local football associations to create a secure environment inside their stadiums. It was Macedonia that should have taken steps to increase security and make sure that fans were unable to approach Bale during his warm up.
In other Gareth Bale news, fans of Northern Ireland displayed their sense of humor on Friday night as their side fell 4-2 to Portugal. Northern Ireland were winning 2-1 before Cristiano Ronaldo decided to dial up the heat. Even as Ronaldo scored a hat trick to put Portugal ahead, the home side’s supporters chanted, “You’re just a cheap Gareth Bale” at the fellow Real Madrid player.
Jurgen Klopp is on his way to Liverpool to sign a contract naming him the next coach of the Reds.
The celebrated manager, 48, has been on “hiatus” from football since leaving Borussia Dortmund last season.
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Reports starting emerging earlier today that an agreement was imminent, and now the BBC is among those reporting that Klopp will be rolled out Friday morning.
From the BBC:
No contract has yet been signed but that is viewed as a formality when Klopp arrives in Liverpool later on Thursday. He will be officially unveiled by Liverpool on Friday morning at 10:00 BST.
There’s not much to say besides this: Klopp’s addition to the Premier League will give more color and brilliance to the country’s footballing scene. Only a certain class of manager can be instantly expected to find a better system for an inherited group of players.
This could and should be a game changer on Merseyside.
It was a mere 48 hours ago that Lionel Messi looked close to in the clear when it came to tax evasion charges.
Now the question is whether a Spanish court will lock away the greatest active footballer, as a judge rejected the prosecutors’ (!!!) request to drop the charges.
[ WATCH: Hilarious spoof pegs Messi, Ronaldo as “Friends” ]
Messi and his father have already made a $5.5 million corrective payment, but there’s principle in play here. And the judge wants to know how Messi can claim he had no idea what was being done with his money.
From the BBC:
Lawyers acting on behalf of the tax authorities demanded 22-month jail sentences for both defendants.
“There are rational signs that the criminality was committed by both accused parties,” wrote the judge in a court filing, according to the AFP news agency.
Can you imagine one of the world’s richer men ending up in a Spanish prison? It’s very difficult to consider. In some ways it’s more plausible that he would buy his own island and start the “Messi Isle Premiership”.
Still, we won’t laugh off the idea, especially with FIFA apparently going down. Messi in prison. That’s something. Sepp in Switzerland. Lionel in Spain.