The hamstring injury that forced Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo from Saturday’s 5-0 win over Almería has been confirmed by his club, the Merengues describing the ailment as a thigh injury in today’s update on the club website. There was, however, no prognosis provided, even if other reports describe his availability for Wednesday’s visit from Turkish champions Galatasaray as “doubtful.”
Given there’s very little reason to risk the Portuguese star, common sense says we’re unlikely to see Ronaldo mid-week. El Real are up by six points in their Champions League group with two games to play. They only need a point from Gala to sew up first place. As valuable as Ronaldo is to Real Madrid, the club isn’t so threadbare on talent that they can’t manage a home match against Galatasaray without their Balon d’Or contender. An attack of Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale, and Ángel Di María will be more than fine.
Reuters’ report on the injury does bring up a good point, though. Though Ronaldo described the problem as coming after a first half challenge, you wonder how much the wear-and-tear of the World Cup Qualifying cycle as contributed to this problem. Since the Spanish season started on Aug. 18, Ronaldo has played 22 games for club and country, and average of one game every 4.5 days. Although his 32 goals in that span makes playing him irresistible, some prudence may have been called for, whether this injury was caused by over use or not.
Given Ronaldo’s phenomenal physical condition, it may take more than 22 games in 98 days to run him into the ground. Regardless, the star’s hamstring injury will give him some much-needed rest.
For months rumors have claimed that Real Madrid had been priced out of a move for Kylian Mbappe.
Now, they may have the cash, and a way throught.
After selling Alvaro Morata to Chelsea for $75 million, the club may have the funds – and enough offsetting cashflow to appease Financial Fair Play – to make a serious play for the 18-year-old superstar. In addition, the club has almost completed the slale of Danilo to Manchester City for $35 million, and James Rodriguez to Bayern Munich, although they see little return from that immediately, as the deal is a two-year loan with an obligation to buy at the end.
[ MORE: Man City bid for Mendy rejected ]
According to a Goal.com report, Mbappe is now Madrid’s top transfer target, although it seems there is little chance of prying him away from Monaco this late. According to the same report, Mbappe has been advised by unnamed parties that staying at Monaco gives him the highest likelihood of making the French squad for the 2018 World Cup.
“Mbappe is very good,” said Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane. “He’s a very good player and he has shown that all year, but he is not my player. I can’t say anything else.”
PSG is also reportedly in for Mbappe, but it’s understandable that Monaco would be hesitant to sell to a chief league rival.
Jamaica and Canada are looking ahead to a possible semifinal spot as they match up at 7:30 p.m. ET in Glendale to mark their beginning of the 2017 Gold Cup knockout round.
Both clubs make up the majority of their rosters from MLS clubs, with Cyle Larin heading the line for Canada and Andre Blake manning the backstop for Jamaica. Nonetheless, it’s Larin’s fellow attacker Alphonso Davies who’s picked up three of Canada’s five goals thus far.
[ LIVE: Gold Cup scoreboard ]
Both teams are putting heavy importance on this match with each already eliminated from World Cup contention.
Jamaica has only allowed one goal all tournament, shutting out both Mexico and Curacao. The Reggae Boyz made the final last time around, but will find that same result much more difficult this time around.
Jamaica: Blake, Taylor, Lowe, Lawrence, Powell, Watson, Lambert, Francis, Gordon, Mattocks, Williams.
Canada: Borjan, Vitoria, Jakovic, Davies, Petrasso, Piette, Tiebert, Arfield, Larin, De Jong, Hoilett.
U.S. Soccer spokesman Michael Kammarman told the Washington Post that the Federation has shared a photograph of a bite mark on the back of Omar Gonzalez with the CONCACAF disciplinary committee.
Cameras caught El Salvador defender Henry Romero bite Jozy Altidore and pinch his nipple in the scrum prior to a corner kick in the second half of the 2-0 USA victory over El Salvador. However, Gonzalez said after the match that he was also bitten, and had the mark to prove it.
According to the Washington Post report, the CONCACAF disciplinary committee approached U.S. Soccer asking for any further information they could provide on the incidents. Thus, they shared the photograph of Gonzalez’s shoulder taken immediately after the game. There was reportedly no visible bite mark on Altidore that could be shared.
CONCACAF spokesman Brent Latham refused to confirm an investigation into the incidents.
After Gonzalez’s post-match comments, a review of footage showed that there did indeed appear to be a bite in the 81st minute by El Salvador midfielder Darwin Ceren.
Neither incident was witnessed by the referee, and thus no punishment was dished out in the form of penalties or cards. Altidore admitted he “barely” kept his composure after he was assaulted, saying, “You’ve got to keep your cool because these things happen. I shouldn’t be saying these things happen, but they do.”
Altidore joked about the incident, saying his significant other was angry at him.
According to a report by Sky Sports, Manchester City has seen a bid for Monaco full-back Benjamin Mendy rejected, and will have to significantly increase their offer for the transfer to be completed.
The report states that Manchester City bid $58 million for the 23-year-old French international, but Monaco values Mendy at the $65 million level Man City paid for Kyle Walker, a world record for a defender.
[ MORE: Barcelona president warns PSG over Neymar move ]
Monaco is in an advantageous position in this situation, with Manchester City desperate for full-backs and Monaco not obligated to sell. Mendy’s current contract with the defending Ligue 1 champions runs through the summer of 2021.
City has already purchased Walker, but with the departure of aging full-backs Pablo Zabaleta, Gael Clichy, and Bacary Sagna, the club is almost completely devoid at the position, with just Walker and Aleksandr Kolarov on the roster.
Mendy has shown blistering pace and great crossing ability, racking up 11 assists last season across all competitions, including four in seven Champions League appearances. His tackling numbers are also surprisingly competent for such a young defender, completing just about 50% of his attempted tackles during league play last season, and sporting a 64% completion rate in Champions League play.