When a sobbing Gonzalo Higuain was stretchered off just three minutes before the final whistle of Napoli’s 0-0 draw, countless breaths were figuratively held.
As the distraught Argentinian was removed from the pitch, scary thoughts of next season crept into the minds of supporters and media alike.
Thankfully, the club said their initial post-match diagnosis of heavy bruising was confirmed by tests and no further ankle damage was sustained.
The Serie A season is all but over for Napoli, who are firmly planted in third place, but they still have a Coppa Italia final to contend with this coming weekend against Fiorentina.
“Gonzalo Higuain confirmed yesterday’s diagnosis: severe blunt trauma to the right tibia,” the club said via their official Twitter account. “His condition will be evaluated in the coming days.”
The bruise was sustained as Higuain took a shot that was blocked by Marco Andreolli, and the striker’s follow-through kicked the shin of the Inter defender.
Given the injury – quite a painful one – it’s difficult to see Higuain being available for that Cup final. A deep bone bruise is not only painful but takes a few weeks to fully disappear, and it’s possible Napoli will be forced to use Goran Pandev at the head of the attack.
The ankle problem also throws into question Higuain’s World Cup, with the big dance seven weeks away. It’s likely he’d be available by that time, but it could affect his international training ahead of the event.
In some ways, all managers are the same: intelligent football men messing around with the puzzle that is winning matches.
But to listen to Jurgen Klopp’s introductory press conference is to get a different view. While some managers sound like they create the puzzles, or even create the game itself, Klopp speaks of the challenge with reverence.
[ MORE: Klopp unveiled as “the Normal One” ]
In other words, it seems unlikely we will be hearing him utter phrases designed at painting himself as a Picasso of the pitch, rather that of a museum curator.
For example, here’s the new Liverpool boss on the club’s history.
From JPW on Merseyside:
“Twenty-five years ago [since the last league title] is a long time,” Klopp said. “History is only the base for us, [we shouldn’t] keep the history in our backpack all day. I want to see the first step next week and not always compare with other times. This is a great club with big potential. Everything is there. Let’s try to start a new way. Everything is different – I don’t know it all but I’m a pretty good listener.”
The “normal one” speaks like an honor student, not the know-it-all professor demanding students regurgitate facts from the book he wrote and tossed on the syllabus.
And perhaps this is the manner in which the Reds will add a new, positive chapter to their storied history.
Broadcaster and New York soccer hero Shep Messing caused quite a stir with his comments during the Red Bulls/Impact match on Wednesday, and those words have cause plenty of reaction in MLS.
If you missed it, Messing claims that New York City FC is ready to move on from Jason Kreis after just one season, and that Seattle coach Sigi Schmid is set to swap jobs with the NYC boss.
Messing also claims that Caleb Porter could end his disappointing run in Portland to head back to college soccer.
Kreis and Schmid disagree. The latter says he loves the Sounders and is committed to bringing an MLS Cup to Seattle. Kreis was just flabbergasted.
“I was watching the game last night, and it caught me completely by surprise. I thought that was an absolutely ludicrous statement and unfounded,” Kreis said after training Thursday. “I have no knowledge of that information at all, and I kind of scratch my head because at the end of the day I’m very happy here.”
So is there any truth here? The Porter part makes sense, especially if the Timbers fail to make the postseason again and the brash coach wishes to go back to a place where he’s had success.
As for Schmid and Kreis, that’s a curious one. Maybe NYC’s star studded roster would like a change, and Schmid has more success with big egos. And Kreis would thrive just about anywhere, but why would NYC ditch a man who built this from scratch? They’ve invested so much in the ex-RSL legend.