Wayne Rooney will miss this weekend’s upcoming Premier League match with Newcastle and his status for Wednesday’s Champions League second leg against Bayern Munich is in serious doubt.
The English international star picked up an injury in the first leg against the German giants, and the severity has yet to be determined.
United manager David Moyes called the injury “touch-and-go” and said more tests are needed to indicate whether the toe is bruised or if Rooney has possibly picked up a much more serious hairline fracture.
The injury is a massive blow to the Red Devils, who are all but out of the race for the Premier League’s top four, but grabbed a positive 1-1 draw with Bayern in the first leg and had hopes of a monumental upset for next Wednesday’s reverse fixture.
Instead, they may have to trudge on with their best player in the treatment room.
Rooney has dealt with the occasional groin or hamstring knock this season, but has largely avoided anything serious thus far.
“There is not an awful lot you can do with a toe injury,” Moyes said in his pre-match presser ahead of the Newcastle game. “Sometimes you can feel better quite quickly with them and sometimes you need an injection possibly to play with it if it is bruising.”
Moyes will likely turn to Danny Welbeck in Rooney’s place. The 23-year-old has started 13 times in the Premier League campaign, and started on the wing in the first leg against Bayern, playing 85 minutes.
The injury could also give Shinji Kagawa more playing time, a positive for United against their Champions League foes. Kagawa has never lost to Bayern in his professional career, and was positive in his substitute appearance in the first leg. With Welbeck possibly moving up front, Kagawa could take his place on the wing. Another option is leaving Welbeck out on the touchline and sliding Javier Hernandez into the striker slot.
Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal has declared “ugly” Atletico Madrid unworthy finalists in the UEFA Champions League.
Bayern was eliminated in the Champions League semifinal by Atleti on Tuesday, with Diego Simeone’s Spanish side advancing on away goals.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s UCL coverage ]
However, Vidal believed Bayern were the better team in the second leg, saying Atletico played “ugly football” to get through.
Today ugly football – Atletico – played against the best football in the world. The only time they saw the ball was for the goal.
They are going to be dreaming about us right up to the final. They did not have the ball, they took on the best team in the world, they took their chances and got to the final.
The best does not always win in football, like today. They are not deserved finalists.
Bayern Munich controlled more than 70-percent of possession and had 33 shots compared to Atletico’s nine, but those stats mean little as Antoine Griezmann’s away goal was enough to send Atleti to the final.
[ MORE: Former England striker Joe Cole headed to NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies ]
Atletico may not play the most attractive football, but after eliminating Barcelona and Bayern Munich in consecutive legs, it’s hard to argue anyone deserves this more than Simeone’s men.
The second leg of the Europa League semifinals kick off tomorrow, with two La Liga sides looking to make it an all-Spanish final.
[ MORE: Premier League Playback ]
Villarreal holds a 1-0 lead over Liverpool, while Sevilla scored two away goals in their 2-2 draw at Shakhtar Donetsk.
Liverpool vs. Villarreal – 3:05 p.m. ET
Villarreal won first leg 1-0
Adrian Lopez’s late winner in the first leg has given Villarreal a slight lead, while the Spanish side did well not to concede an away goal. However, Liverpool have overcome deficits at Anfield before, including their memorable 4-3 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the quarterfinals. Emre Can is back fit for the Reds, as manager Jurgen Klopp will hope his fellow German can help the team to a cup final in his first year in charge.
[ RELATED: Liverpool preparing for another big Thursday night at Anfield ]
Sevilla vs. Shakhtar Donetsk – 3:05 p.m. ET
First leg ended 2-2 draw
Sevilla are looking to become the first team to win three consecutive Europa League titles as the two-time defending champions face off against Shakhtar Donetsk. Sevilla are in the driver’s seat after scoring two away goals in Ukraine, and will feel confident of advancing to the final with a great home record at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.
In the latest Men in Blazers podcast, Rog and Davo celebrate Leicester City’s improbable Premier League title with Leicester’s own Arlo White.
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LISBON, Portugal (AP) Portuguese and European police say they have broken up a cell of an important Russian mafia group that allegedly laundered money through European football clubs.
Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, said in a statement Wednesday the group identified EU football clubs in financial distress and infiltrated them with benefactors who brought much-needed cash.
[ MORE: Man City bounced from UCL ]
Once they were in control, the mobsters allegedly laundered millions of euros (dollars) through player transfers, TV rights deals and betting.
Portuguese and European police on Tuesday raided third-division Portuguese club Uniao de Leiria and arrested three key members of the Russian gang. Three other Portuguese clubs’ premises were searched.
Europol said the operation helped identify serious crimes in Austria, Germany, and the United Kingdom, though it gave no details.