After Saturday’s loss to Sunderland, Ryan Giggs remains in the spotlight. In the wake of rumors about Louis van Gaal’s imminent appointment, the interim Manchester United manager was already questioned last week about his future with the club. Giggs turned the attention to the approaching match, but after Saturday, those questions came back ’round again.
What’s clear is this: Giggs will not be lacing up his boots for another club. When asked about the possibility, the Welshman answered, “For me it has to be playing for Manchester United or nothing. Money doesn’t come into it.”
It’s unknown, however, whether Giggs has a place in the squad under the (still unconfirmed) reign of van Gaal. Whoever does take charge of United will certainly bring in multiple new faces. Will the new manager take a chance on a contract extension for Giggs, who turns 41 next November? Or will the squad undergo a complete overhaul, with the old guard cast aside?
If the new manager chooses not to offer a contract extension, then next Tuesday’s game against Hull will be Giggs’ last at Old Trafford – as a player, anyway. After 24 seasons, 962 appearances, 13 Premier League titles and 34 trophies total, Giggs would be forgiven for wanting one last hurrah in front of the United fans.
But the manager is uncertain as to whether he’ll be part of the 18-man squad. ” I might have to put myself on the bench. The perfect scenario would be me coming on and scoring but football doesn’t work like that,” he said.
While the entirety of his senior career has been spent at Manchester United, Giggs is not naive enough to believe his managerial career will be spent in the same way. Calling himself a young man when it comes to management, he stated “You can never say yes or no,” when asked whether he might consider managing at a different club.
PRAGUE (AP) Czech champion Viktoria Plzen is close to signing Austrian midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz.
Plzen says Ivanschitz agreed terms for a contract lasting 1 + seasons and will sign it when the team returns from a training camp in Spain. Ivanschitz has already joined the squad at the Oliva Nova resort, the club says.
Ivanschitz helped the Seattle Sounders win their first MLS Cup in December.
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No financial details were given.
The 33-year-old Ivanschitz also played for Rapid Vienna and Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, Mainz in the Bundesliga, Levante in Spain and Panathinaikos in Athens.
Ivanschitz played 69 games for Austria in 2003-14, scoring 12 goals.
Joel Matip is going to get to play for Liverpool during AFCON after all.
The center back had turned down the chance to represent Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations, and Liverpool was forced to apply to FIFA for a waiver.
[ PL PREVIEW: Swansea vs. Liverpool ]
Matip suffered an ankle injury in December, adding to his desire to stay at Anfield. He declared himself internationally retired and was one of six Cameroon players who refused call-ups for AFCON.
He last played for the Reds on Dec. 11, and can be selected by Jurgen Klopp against Swansea City on Saturday.
MANCHESTER, England (AP) Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney says he raised 1.2 million pounds ($1.5 million) from a friendly game against former club Everton last year.
That represents the profits, after operational costs, from August’s sellout match at Old Trafford and goes toward the Wayne Rooney Foundation’s target of raising 5 million pounds for children’s charities.
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Rooney said: “I’d like to thank all the fans who came to the testimonial and made it such a special night. They’ve raised a huge amount of money for children who are disadvantaged and it will make a real difference to their lives.”
Rooney is one goal from breaking Manchester United’s scoring record, with the striker currently tied with Bobby Charlton on 249 goals.
Rooney joined United from Everton in 2004.
Robert Lewandowski picked up where he left off.
The Polish striker scored twice for Bayern Munich, once in stoppage time, as the Bavarians improved their Bundesliga lead to six points after toppling Freiburg 2-1 on Friday.
[ MORE: Bundesliga second half preview ]
And what a winner it was, Lewandowski taking a Douglas Costa cross with two juggling touches before hitting an offspeed bouncer inside the post.
It was the league’s first match following the winter/holiday break, giving Bayern a cushion before RB Leipzig takes the pitch against Eintracht Frankfurt in a Top Five tilt on Saturday.
Lewandowski moves closer to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the goal scoring chart. His 13th and 14th goals have him two back of Borussia Dortmund’s striker, as Lewandowski pursues a third Golden Boot in four seasons.
Full Weekend Schedule
Freiburg 1-2 Bayern Munich — Friday
Augsburg vs. Hoffenheim — Saturday
Schalke vs. Ingolstadt — Saturday
Darmstadt vs. Borussia Monchengladbach — Saturday
Werder Bremen vs. Borussia Dortmund — Saturday
Wolfsburg vs. Hamburger SV — Saturday
RB Leipzig vs. Eintracht Frankfurt — Saturday
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Hertha Berlin — Sunday
Mainz vs. Koln — Sunday