When we start talking about “that really ridiculous thing” that FIFA president Sepp Blatter said or did … we always have to say which one.
To the long and painfully undistinguished list from the mouth of world soccer’s top executive, today we add a new entry.
Blatter spoke last week at Oxford University in England. Near the end, he needlessly mocked Portugal and Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, poking fun at the globally recognized attacker’s on-field demeanor, which Blatter seemed to portray as some sort of robotic soldier. And the FIFA chief poked fun at Ronaldo’s “hair dressers.”
Here’s the video:
In all honesty, this isn’t up there with some of Blatter’s real doozies, like suggesting that women’s soccer would improve its popularity if the players wore “tighter shorts.” An all-timer, that one.
It was just so completely avoidable. Blatter’s latest failed bit was in response to such a softball question. There was almost no way the FIFA chief could get himself in trouble over such a relatively benign query, which boiled down to: “Leo Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo?”
Yes, he was going to upset some Real Madrid fans, or some Barcelona fans. But that’s just debate-at-the-pub material. It’s kindergarten stuff compared to some of the real “dodgy” and “shady” that so frequently envelops FIFA’s world. And yet, Blatter found a way.
Ronaldo was alerted to the video on Tuesday. And he clearly wasn’t happy with it. (Blatter later apologized via his own Twitter account.)
It’s a incredibly early kickoff for the third place game of the Premier League Asia Trophy tournament, at least here in the States, where West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace duke it out at 6 a.m. ET. in Hong Kong.
West Brom lost to Leicester City in its semifinal when youngster Sam Field missed the side’s seventh attempt in penalty kicks. Jay Rodriguez scored the Baggies goal in regulation of a 1-1 draw.
[ LIVE: Stream PL Asia Trophy here ]
Palace fell 2-0 to Liverpool in its semifinal.
The final will be staged at 8:30 a.m. ET, when Liverpool will hope to build on a win paced by Divock Origi and Dominic Solanke goals.
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) The Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld a two-year ban for CSKA Moscow midfielder Roman Eremenko for a positive test for cocaine.
[ MORE: Morata signs five-year contract at Chelsea ]
CAS says the ban imposed by UEFA was “appropriate” and dismissed the Finland international’s appeal.
[ MORE: Vertonghen says Spurs need to “level up” like rest of PL contenders ]
The ban will expire on Oct. 5, 2018, when Eremenko will be 31.
Eremenko tested positive after playing in a Champions League game for CSKA Moscow against Bayer Leverkusen last September. The 2-2 result was not affected despite Eremenko scoring CSKA’s second goal.
Born in Moscow, Eremenko grew up in Finland and has represented its national team 73 times.
NEW YORK (AP) Howard Webb says he would have given Dutch midfielder Nigel De Jong a red card in the 2010 World Cup final if a video assistant referee had been in place.
The retired English referee showed De Jong a yellow card in the 28th minute for his karate kick into the chest of Spain’s Xabi Alonso. Hired in March to oversee video technology for professional soccer in the U.S. and Canada, Webb held a media seminar Friday ahead of its Aug. 5 launch in Major League Soccer.
Webb says: “Yes, it was a clear red card. It was a clear and obvious error on my part not to send the player off, and VAR would have been able to recommend a review to me, and I would have been able to make the right call.”
Now 46, Webb was a Premier League referee from 2003-14. He worked the Champions League and World Cup finals in 2010, became director of referees at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, and started in March as manager of video assistant referee operations for the Professional Referee Organization.
The game in 100 words (or less): Friday night’s effort at Orlando City Stadium wasn’t the prettiest for either side but Atlanta United will gladly take three points from the fixture as the Central Florida venue proved to be a fortress once more. The Lions were far superior in their attacking threats throughout the match, testing USMNT and Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan on multiple occasions. However, it was Hector Villalba that proved to be the difference when he blasted a long-distance effort to beat Joe Bendik in the 86th minute. Atlanta extends its unbeaten streak to four matches with Friday’s decision, keeping Tata Martino’s side in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, while Orlando City moves into fifth.
Three moments that mattered
36′ — Guzan stands tall, denies Rivas — Carlos Rivas thought he scorched this one (and he did…), but Brad Guzan acted like it was nothing as he held his ground to make the stop.
39′ — Spector gets ripped off by Guzan — The U.S. goalkeeper is at it again… What a save!
86′ — Villalba unleashes stunner to propel Atlanta — Sometimes it just takes one good hit as a striker.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage | Standings | Stats | Schedule ]
Man of the match: Brad Guzan
Goalscorers: Hector Villalba (86′)