Germany midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has been ruled out of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, according to Goal.com.
The decision was made public earlier today by Gundogan’s club coach at Borussia Dortmund, Jurgen Klopp, who noted that persistent back issues will keep the 23-year-old home this summer.
“Ilkay will not play at the World Cup,” said Klopp.
“It is very hard for him to deal with. His back is better, it is all good, but it takes time to recover completely. We just have to wait.”
The holding midfielder, known for immaculate passing, artistry on the ball and the ability to score big goals, first broke into BVB in 2012 when he helped the club win the league and Cup double. Gundogan then rose to prominence last season during Dortmund’s memorable run to the UEFA Champions League, where he scored a classy penalty in the final against Bayern Munich.
Widely considered one of the best young midfielders in the world, Gundogan had turned the heads of Real Madrid and Manchester United before a back injury suffered last August limited him to only three club appearances this season.
As has been the case for Dortmund the loss of Gundogan will be a blow to Germany, who is hoping for a big result in this summer’s World Cup. Die Mannschaft have been placed in Group G alongside Ghana, Portugal and the United States.
That’s what Manchester United has apparently offered in a total package to pry Paul Pogba from Juventus, where the Serie A club has been ready to hold out for more from the first moment the player and club were linked.
The thing with Pogba is that he doesn’t always pass the eye test, but statistically he’s close to flying colors. In some ways, he’s an analytics man’s conundrum.
Pogba’s 12 assists tied for the Serie A lead with Miralem Pjanic of Roma, and he tied for 20th in goals with eight while blasting the third-most shots in the league (123).
Further, his role in the Juventus system was second-to-none. Only Leonardo Bonucci took more touches than Pogba’s 2577, and he played 130 more minutes. Pogba’s 43 interceptions are 40th in Serie A, and his tackles put him 22nd.
Quite frankly, Pogba has nearly every tool in his locker and deploys most of them despite his relatively young 23 years. He plays on the edge, but rarely crosses it.
There are concerns: He needs a steady defensive midfielder with him, one who can allow him to take his risks. While he’s electric in attack and decent in defense, he won’t be a hero if expected to be the focal point of possession.
This will be paramount in European competition, where Pogba can stand to grow his resume. Yet even this sees him as an instrumental figure in both Champions League and EURO runner-up finishes.
The hope with Pogba is that he’ll continue his upward trend. To make Serie A comparisons, can he be Miralem Pjanic in three years, and Marek Hamsik in five?
Moreover, with the money Manchester United or Real Madrid would spend to get him, can he be better? Given Alex Ferguson’s legendary status and failure to keep him at Old Trafford, there will be a group of United fans who will review his matches more than any in ages.
There are three critical things to remember as Pogba Transfer Mania reaches critical mass (It has, actually, hasn’t it?):
Juventus will sell him, as Pjanic is presently an upgrade.
Despite the fee, no one should yet be legitimately comparing him to Ronaldo or Messi; Transfer records will be broken almost every year moving forward, it’s just a matter of who is for sale.
Pogba is a brilliant fit for Jose Mourinho’s system. The sale wouldn’t make sense for every team.
We’d say that’s a pretty good primer for when the sale is announced, and I think it will be, in the next couple weeks. Good luck, Paul.
In Bayamon, Paulo Mendes found Hector Ramos for the lone goal of the match in the 53rd minute, and Puerto Rico FC picked up its first win in team history with a 1-0 win over visiting Rayo OKC on Saturday night.
Only one team in the league remains winless, as Fort Lauderdale fell 3-1 to Minnesota United. Christian Ramirez scored his league-best 11th goal of the season, while J.C. Banks and Ismaila Jome also netted for the victors.
Elsewhere, Carolina drew Miami 3-3 on Friday night, while Ottawa picked up its first win of the Fall Season with a 2-0 win in Florida against Jacksonville Armada.
“Last season we lost Esteban Cambiasso and everybody was crying,” Ranieri said, after his side drew 1-1 with Celtic in a pre-season friendly.
“Now we are crying because we lost Kante. Don’t worry. Football in Leicester will keep going.”
Kante was probably the most important part of Leicester’s title capture last season, but Ranieri’s system was also critical. The follow-up was always going to be a challenge, but the Foxes won’t sit on their hands moving forward.