United States head coach Jürgen Klinsmann participated in a Q&A on the U.S. Soccer website, where questions ranged from personnel decisions to World Cup preparations. The coach said he is planning on an intense build-up regimen, where players will essentially get no offseason in winter.
If Major League Soccer players such as Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Graham Zusi and Nick Rimando want to be on the plane to Brazil, then they won’t get a break until after the MLS Cup final. Klinsmann said they would either go on loan to European clubs, or U.S. staff would hold a special camp for them to continue training until they get a “well-deserved” month-long break before January camp.
And that January camp will no longer be just for young prospects looking to break into the team. Players will spend time in Los Angeles and São Paulo, Brazil, during the camp.
“Whoever won’t be on loan in January or February overseas is going to be part of our mandatory January camp,” Klinsmann said (full Q&A here). “We expect everybody comes in. We’ll try to bring in some younger players, have a look at them as well because we want to get a roster together of 20 to 23 guys that is highly motivated and inspired to go into the World Cup year.”
Klinsmann singled out Alejandro Bedoya and Aron Jóhannsson for praise, saying that Bedoya’s move to Nantes is “what we’re looking for” from players and Jóhannsson’s focus is “really great to see for us.”
“It is very crucial for us that the players understand that everything they do now today has an influence on Brazil 2014 next summer,” Klinsmann said. “They can’t take it easy.”
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.
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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.
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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.
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.
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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.”
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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?