Wayne Rooney, England’s all-time top goalscorer in competitive internationals, has never scored in a World Cup. By the time the 2018 tournament rolls around, the forward will be nearly 33 years old. In other words, it’s now or never for Rooney – it’s time for him to make his mark on the world’s biggest stage.
Ryan Giggs has faith in the 28-year-old. Manchester United’s interim manager said, “Wayne is a top player. He is at a good age. He is probably at the peak of his powers and I know for a fact he can’t wait for it.”
Rooney won’t be involved in United’s final game of the season, in which the side travel to Southampton. He’s scored 17 league goals this season, but this will be the third straight game the forward has missed due to a groin injury.
Giggs isn’t worried, however, as he believes the rest will be to Rooney’s benefit: “He will be going into it relatively fresh. The injury has probably done him a favour. I know he is excited, just like all the lads who are going to the World Cup.”
Indeed, what Rooney may need to work the hardest to overcome are the memories of previous tournaments. In 2006, after a race to be fit enough for his first World Cup, Rooney was sent off in the quarter-final against Portugal for a stamp on Ricardo Carvalho. In the last tournament, England in general disappointed, and although Rooney was the top scorer in qualifying, he was unable to get on the scoreboard.
England were dealt a tough group for Brazil, in Group D with Uruguay, Italy and Costa Rica. Quality performances by Rooney could even determine if the Three Lions make it out of the group stages, so many England fans will be hoping Giggs’ words ring true.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) Argentine soccer superstar Lionel Messi left the field with a back injury in the second half of a 1-0 victory over Honduras in a friendly Friday night.
The Argentine team captain and Barcelona star was hit on an apparently inconsequential play and immediately went to the locker room. He was replaced at the 62-minute mark by Sevilla midfielder Ever Banega and never returned to the field.
“Messi suffered a trauma to the left side of his lower back and rib cage,” the Argentine Football (Soccer) Association said in a statement, adding that doctors were looking at the injury.
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Messi is not a player who leaves the field with minor injuries like he did Friday at San Juan’s Bicentenario stadium.
“I would not dare to venture a diagnosis,” said a concerned Argentine manager, Gerardo Martino.
Gonzalo Higuain, who scored for Argentina, said it “was an important win and here’s hoping that what happened to Leo is nothing.”
Messi was scheduled to fly to Spain to resolve a tax issue and then rejoin the team in Santa Clara, California.
Mohamed Diame was the hero on the day for Hull City, as the Tigers gain promotion to the Premier League next season.
The Senegalese attacker sent Sheffield Wednesday packing on Saturday afternoon at Wembley Stadium after hitting a scorching long-distance effort past goalkeeper Kieren Westwood in the second half.
After an initial back-and-forth spell of chances over the opening half hour-plus, Sheffield was drastically taken out of the match as Hull began to gain their composure on the ball.
Hull City will join Championship winners Burnley and Middlesbrough in the Premier League in 2016-17 after being promoted. Relegated clubs Newcastle, Norwich City and Aston Villa will take their place in England’s second flight.
After their devastating defeat two seasons ago, Atletico Madrid looks for revenge and their first UEFA Champions League title on Saturday against Real Madrid.
Milan will be the site for the action, as Zinedine Zidane and Real are seeking their 11th title in the competition and have the opportunity to knock Atleti out in the title match for the second time in three seasons.
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Real Madrid: Navas, Marcelo, Ramos, Pepe, Carvajal, Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Ronaldo, Bale, Benzema Subs: Casilla, James, Nacho, Lucas Vasquez, Jese, Isco, Danilo
Atletico Madrid: Oblak; Filipe Luis, Godin, Savic, Juanfran; Gabi, Fernandez, Koke, Saul Niguez; Griezmann, Torres. Subs: Moya, Tiago, Correa, Hernandez, Thomas, Ferreira-Carrasco, Gimenez.
With Atlanta United FC set to make their MLS debut in 2017, the club is reportedly set to make a major splash with one or possibly two Mexican stars.
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ESPN FC‘s John Sutcliffe reported from the team’s future home, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, on Friday, saying that the team is targeting both Andres Guardado and Carlos Vela.
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Guardado, who currently plays for PSV Eindhoven, has long been a staple of the El Tri midfield, making 124 appearances for the Mexican national team.
While Vela wasn’t included in Mexico’s Copa America Centenario roster, the Real Sociedad striker has every bit of talent you’d want from a future Designated Player, which is likely what either Guardado or Vela would be.
Atlanta currently has three players on their roster. Greek goalkeeper Alexandros Tabakis, Junior Burgos and Jeffery Otoo currently round out the squad.
The potential addition(s) of an Andres Guardado or Carlos Vela would prove to be not only big for Atlanta but for MLS as a whole, more so with Vela though. MLS’ growth over recent years has brought young DPs like Sebastian Giovinco and Giovani Dos Santos to Toronto FC and the LA Galaxy, respectively.
Another league addition who is in the prime of their career will only continue to build the league’s reputation, and immediately put Atlanta on the map next season.