Luke Shaw

Manchester United topped Liverpool in final; Did it raise ICC profile?


A trophy was kissed after a championship match played between Liverpool and Manchester United on Sunday in Miami, a title tilt played as part of the two clubs’ preseason tours of the United States. United claimed a 3-1 decision in the final game of the 2014 Guinness International Champions Cup (Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard scored for Manchester, while Steven Gerrard scored for Liverpool).

And despite 51,000 fans in attendance at Sun Life Stadium, the question remains: how far away is the tournament from having relevance outside of big names and big crowds?


There’s no question the tournament itself was a success in terms of attendance and promotion of the clubs branding in America. And many of the matches were a good watch, as fans got to check out superstars plying their trade for major clubs.

And, as mentioned, on the one hand, there were the championship photos and celebrations…

…but on the other hand there are the post match comments like these:

The tournament is by invitation, not qualification, and features managers trying to try out new faces while be limited in selections by transfers, international duty and fitness. And certainly a major tournament for van Gaal doesn’t include subbing out Juan Mata, Ander Herrera and Jonny Evans.

Manchester United: De Gea, Evans (Blackett 45), Smalling, Jones, Valencia (Shaw 8), Herrera (Lingard 78), Fletcher (Cleverley 45), Young, Mata (Kagawa 69), Rooney, Hernandez (Nani 69).

Liverpool: Mignolet, Kelly, Johnson, Skrtel, Sakho (Toure 74), Gerrard (Lucas 62), Allen (Can 62), Henderson, Coutinho (Peterson 77), Lambert (Ibe 62), Sterling.

It’s enough for the tournament to be a fun summer run-up for fans and a showcase in America, but wouldn’t it be neat if we were talking about the first notable trophy of the new club season being won in America? Is this possible within 10 years? 20? Perhaps not, as managers make snide comments about their preseason scheduling, but it’s fun and easy to imagine the significance growing.

Cisse arrested in sex tape investigation

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Former Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse is embroiled in a bizarre investigation into the extortion of a sex tape.

The 34-year-old French striker has been arrested by French police who have confirmed that are investigating attempts to bribe another international footballer.

[ MORE: Klinsmann sends Johnson home ]

Unconfirmed reports from France claim that the individual in question is France and Lyon midfielder Mathieu Valbuena, a former teammate of Cisse at both Marseille and with the French national team.

According to Reuters news agency, Cisse was questioned because he was familiar with the people involved and in total four individuals were arrested as it is alleged they plotted to ask for money from Valbuena for the sex tape to not be released. It is unclear if the tape is of Valbeuna and his partner Fanny Lafon, or if other individuals are involved.

[ MORE: Dust settles, questions remain for USMNT future ]

Cisse won the UEFA Champions League with Liverpool and scored 24 goals in 79 games during his three-year stay at Anfield until 2007. He also had spells with Sunderland and Queens Park Rangers in the Premier League, while he is currently out of contract after being released by Ligue 1 side Bastia following nine goals in 41 appearances. Cisse is due to appear on the French version of “Dancing with the Stars” in the coming months.

Further reports from France say that Cisse is expected to be “exonerated” and that the existence of the video is “not proven” at this point.

Agent: “There’s no hatred” between Bale, Ronaldo

Gareth Bale & Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF
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Gareth Bale doesn’t at all dislike Cristiano Ronaldo — or vice versa — despite what may seem a lukewarm on-field relationship between the two Real Madrid superstars, insists Jonathan Barnett, agent of Bale.

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Instead, Barnett insists that the two men with very different personalities have a healthy relationship, and competition, that pushes each Galactico to be the best player he can be.

Barnett, on Bale’s relationship with Ronaldo — quotes from the Guardian:

“They don’t go out eating every night together, but it’s fine. There’s no hatred there. Gareth is a quiet guy. They’re complete opposites. But I think Gareth can learn a little bit from Ronaldo as well, interacting maybe a little bit. But he wants his own life and he lives it. Gareth is a great footballer, he doesn’t want anything more. He has some very good endorsements but his whole life is to be the best footballer in the world. I don’t think he wants to be the best model in the world or the best underwear seller. That’s not him.”

That’s a hilarious closing quote from Barnett, but he knows exactly how some folks are going to interpret it: “Bale thinks Ronaldo loves himself too much.”

[ MORE: Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott ]

There’s nothing better for the ultimate success of a team than healthy, friendly competition between teammates who are spectacularly talented as Ronaldo and Bale. The former will only be around to perform at his current level for so much longer, but at what point does the latter officially take the torch and supplant Madrid’s biggest star, and how accepting will he be of passing that proverbial torch?