Britain Soccer Premier League

Fulham are done with Bryan Ruiz; Real Betis poised to sign


Fulham have confirmed Bryan Ruiz will be allowed to leave this month, with La Liga outfit Real Betis the likely loan recipient of the Costa Rican’s services.

Cottagers manager Rene Meulensteen announced Ruiz’ likely departure on Friday.

“The only progress in the transfer market that I can reveal to you is that we have allowed Bryan Ruiz to talk to a number of clubs to see if something can come out of that.”

Fulham signed the Costa Rican forward in the fall of 2011 from FC Twente for a fee of around £10.6m.

In his first year at the Cottage, Ruiz appeared in 27 league matches registering two goals and three assists. The following year he firmed up a starting spot with Fulham and appeared in 29 matches scoring five goals and chipping in seven assists. This season Ruiz has scored once and added three assists in 12 matches.

His failure to grow into a more dominant Premier League player has many asking if Ruiz was a bust. “I wouldn’t call his signing a mistake because at that time it was probably for Fulham the right choice and the right investment,” Meulensteen said.

In the Dutch manager’s eyes, however, Ruiz’ form doesn’t warrant consistent playing time. “He is a good player, has a World Cup coming up and he obviously needs to play, but I can’t, like with any other player, guarantee that.”

Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven and Belgian champions Anderlecht have noted their interest in Ruiz but it appears that for now, Betis are poised to take him on loan.

“Bryan Ruiz is a fantastic player, links up well with team-mates, has a good shot and brings lots of creativity,” assistant coach Sergio Fernandez told Diario de Sevilla. “We are confident that his game and his qualities are perfect for our team and that he can put Betis on the right place in the ranking. I think he can settle in quickly.”

Betis’ loan offer to Fulham is believed to be in the range of £750,000. The Seville-based team currently sit bottom of the Spanish league.

Cisse arrested in sex tape investigation

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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.

[ MORE: Klinsmann sends Johnson home ]

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.

[ MORE: Dust settles, questions remain for USMNT future ]

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.

Agent: “There’s no hatred” between Bale, Ronaldo

Gareth Bale & Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF
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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.”

[ MORE: Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott ]

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?