Manchester United v Reading - Premier League

Dear England’s Daily Mirror: No, we are not as enamored with Rio Ferdinand as you think


Rio Ferdinand was a very good central defender in his day. So, no offense here, but …

The guy is 35, well into the winter of his career. Plus, he was always subject to the same kind of mass media over-valuation, over-hype and overrating that typically comes attached to so many England players.

All of this is to say to England’s Daily Mirror (suggested motto: “We report rumors and hearsay – heck, some of it has to be right!”): No, we aren’t such a soccer backwater that we believe Ferdinand is a U.S. star in the waiting.

This bit of journalism hooey says Ferdinand’s “stock has never been higher in the US and he is giving it serious consideration.”  It also refers to “the MLS,” which wasn’t and never has been a correct reference. But, hey, they’ve only had 19 years to get that one right, so we’ll slide ‘em a little slack.

More specifically: There is not one bit of truth to the silly, self-important notion in this story that Ferdinand would “become the league’s biggest star since David Beckham.”

I’m thinking that moniker belongs to Thierry Henry. Surely the Mirror writers have heard of that guy, a World Cup and European Championship winner who scored a goal here and there for Arsenal.

Or even Clint Dempsey (as the biggest MLS star since Beckham). Heck, I’d put Kasey Keller, Michael Bradley, Robbie Keane, Jermain Defoe and maybe some others ahead of Ferdinand in terms of name recognition in our part of the world. We are not as enamored with former England internationals (the ones not named Beckham, that is) as you seem to think. Sorry to break that to you.

We are especially not enamored with former England international center backs. England midfielder Frank Lampard might be a different story if he were ever to make his way to MLS. Then again, Lampard is still a relevant figure with a Premier League contender.

By the way, some of the Ferdinand-to-MLS reports have linked the center back with the LA Galaxy. Of course they do; about half of all these silly season reports link so-and-so with the Galaxy, never mind that Los Angeles is full up on Designated Player roster spots. I mean, “details, details,” right?

Plus, the Galaxy has already shot those reports down.

Cisse arrested in sex tape investigation

Leave a comment

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
Leave a comment

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.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

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?