Depth aside, it’s hard to say why Real Madrid would want to sell Angel Di Maria. At least, that’s the take of teammates Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos, as well as Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone.
On Wednesday, La Marca reported that both Ronaldo and Ramos have gone to Madrid president Florentino Perez to ask him to keep Di Maria. Problem is, Di Maria is likely to be sold over the coming week with Manchester United rumored to be coming to the table with a bid upwards of $166 million. That’s a transaction that the overwhelming majority of Galacticos, as well as the fans who gave him a standing ovation upon being substituted onto the pitch during last night’s Spanish Super Cup, don’t want to see happen.
When cross-city rival manager Simeone was asked for his post-match thoughts on Di Maria, the Argentine manager sent the room of journalists into uproar. “He’s the best player they have,” Simeone deadpanned.
But what about Ronaldo, Bale and Rodriguez? The room quaked. “[Di Maria] is the player most likely to create openings in the opposition half,” Simeone responded.
When considering the quartet’s playmaking abilities as Di Maria finished last season with 22 assists – more than double Ronaldo’s total, ten more than James and six more than Bale – it’s a point that’s difficult to refute. The flip-side, of course, is that without Di Maria another Madrid player, likely Bale or James, will pick up the playmaking slack. And, considering Madrid’s sensational midfield depth with the likes of Luka Modric, Xabi Alonso, Toni Kroos, Asier Illarramendi and Sami Khedira, perhaps collecting $166m to target a new striker or simply impress the Financial Fair Play bosses, is the right move.
But good luck getting Los Madridistas to buy into it.
Borussia Dortmund substitute and USMNT phenom Christian Pulisic subbed into Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League match versus Real Madrid and made a difference.
Given 17 minutes to work, Pulisic needed about 10. The 18-year-old American sent in a cross that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang couldn’t volley but fell to another BVB player.
[ MORE: Big Sam canned ]
That was Andre Schurrle, and the ex-Wolfsburg and Chelsea man lashed a shot behind Navas to make it 2-2 at the Westfalenstadion.
Pulisic does well here, real well, and had a chance to make it 2-2 himself that was smothered by Navas.
A 67-day reign as a national team blown up by allegations of corruption? We’ve seen similar situations in world soccer, but certainly not at a high-profile, traditional headline-grabber like the England national team.
[ MORE: Big Sam canned ]
English legend Alan Shearer called the Three Lions a “laughing stock”, adding that, “I’m angry, I’m sad, I’m staggered at the misjudgement from a guy who admitted this was his dream job.”
The UEFA Champions League’s group stage hits its second round of matches Tuesday, with two Premier League teams in play and a bevy of big names from outside England.
[ MORE: Dempsey out for 2016 ]
Leicester City 1-0 Porto
The chemistry between Algeria and now Leicester City teammates Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani is very real.
The former fed the latter for an opening goal on Tuesday in UEFA Champions League play at King Power Stadium, as the Foxes have opened up a 1-0 lead on Porto.
You can imagine the visitors aren’t too pleased with having to meet up with Slimani, who they just managed to see out of their league only to watch him arrive in their UCL group.
And how about the mad dabbing kid shown just after Slimani’s celebration? Wild nights in Leicester.
CSKA Moscow 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur
Spurs are controlling the play, but have yet to find a goal in Russia.
Dinamo Zagreb 0-2 Juventus
Gonzalo Higuain and Miralem Pjanic have the goals for The Old Lady.
Borussia Dortmund 1-1 Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo got on the scoresheet, though the hosts have been by far the more dangerous side. USMNT teenager Christian Pulisic is on the bench for BVB.
Thomas Tuchel’s side threatened to score through a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang rocketed a shot just over the frame, and the Gabonese man made it 1-1 soon after when Keylor Navas punched Raphael Guerriero’s free kick off Raphael Varane. Aubameyang touched it over the line for an academic marker.
Here’s Ronaldo’s goal:
Sevilla 0-0 Lyon
Monaco 0-0 Bayer Leverkusen
Copenhagen 0-0 Club Brugge
Sporting CP 2-0 Legia Warsaw
The Seattle Sounders may yet make a playoff appearance, but it will be without Clint Dempsey.
The USMNT star recently returned to training with the team after dealing with an irregular heartbeat.
[ MORE: Big Sam canned ]
Sounders general manager Garth Lagerway made the announcement on Tuesday.
“If we prioritize this now, hopefully we can get Dempsey back in 2017.”
That does not seem to bode well for his participation with the United States men’s national team, which has October friendlies with Cuba and New Zealand before the first two matches of the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying in November.
Fortunately for the Sounders, both Jordan Morris and Nicolas Lodeiro have their upped their games in his absence, and Andreas Ivanschitz has been decent as well.
Seattle is five points back of fifth place Sporting KC, and three back of sixth place Portland. The Sounders have played two less matches than both sides.