When you’re 35 years old, have chronic back problems, and weren’t able to play regularly for your club last season, you have to take what you can get if you’re looking to continue a career in the top flight. In that sense, we shouldn’t be too surprised to see Rio Ferdinand on his way to Queens Park Rangers.
But shouldn’t and aren’t are two different things. On Thursday, QPR manager Harry Redknapp confirmed that Ferdinand has agreed to join the recently promoted club next season, with the sides set to make it official when the defender returns from spending time in Brazil. At Loftus Road, Ferdinand will likely partner long-time Aston Villa stalwart Richard Dunne, with former Manchester United prospect Danny Simpson also a mainstay in Redknapp’s defense.
Those names won’t make the appearance of Ferdinand in hoops seem any less surreal. Not only are we used to seeing him in United red, but we’re used to seeing him with a certain level of quality around him. We’re used to seeing him play in big games. Even going back to his time at West Ham (over 14 years ago), Ferdinand has only once played on a team that finished outside the Premier League’s top half. Now he’s going to club that wasn’t even in the first division two months ago.
But if you’re past your prime and keep playing, this is your fate, especially when your former club needs to rebuild. Here’s Redknapp, speaking to The Telegraph:
“Rio has agreed to join us and we’re hopeful of getting that one over the line when he gets back from the World Cup.
“I can’t foresee any problems with it and we’d be delighted if we can get it done soon. He’s been a player at the top of the list since he left Manchester United and he would give the whole place a lift with his quality and experience.”
Undoubtedly so. Ferdinand has had his notorious moments, but he’s also a well-respected player. QPR’s not exactly a hive of young, maturing talents, but even for the crew of wayward veterans they’ve assembled, Ferdinand could be an ideal foreman.
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.
[ NEW HOMES: Fonte | Berahino ]
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