2014 World Cup

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Messi lookalike has car impounded after mob scene

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A Lionel Messi lookalike has found his appearance can bring a bit of trouble.

Reza Parastesh is an Iranian man who looks almost exactly like Messi, especially considering he’s adopted the hairstyle and beard of the Barcelona star.

That’s led to several opportunities for Parastesh, who often finds himself in demand for selfies and promotional ideas.

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This weekend it also found him at the police station thanks to crowd “chaos” caused by bystanders seeking to meet him. He was charged for “disrupting traffic.”

And if that’s not enough, this story following Argentina’s defeat of Iran in the 2014 World Cup is pretty wild:

“After the game, my dad called me and said don’t come back home tonight… why did you score a goal against Iran? I said: But that wasn’t me!” Parastesh said, laughing.

Yet another note to explain why superstars get paid what they do… imagine how hard it is for Messi to leave his house.

Ex-Liverpool CEO shares biting story of Suarez transfer

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Ian Ayre’s got jokes.

The former Liverpool CEO lifted the lid on some transfer stories during a Merseyside lecture this week.

Of note, Ayre admitted that the club thought Dele Alli demanded too much given what he had produced when the Reds has the chance to sign him as a 16-year-old, and said that Liverpool could’ve landed Alexis Sanchez but the player wanted to live in London (“We couldn’t move the football club to London, unfortunately,” he quipped).

The best part relayed by Sky Sports had to do with Luis Suarez, and shows the relentless nature of the transfer market. Clearly Barcelona had interest in Suarez before the fiery striker bit Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup, because, well…

“I remember the sporting director of Barcelona calling me during that game, immediately as Suarez bit the player, and he said to me ‘my friend, he’s bitten somebody, how can this be the price?’ I said ‘he’d already bitten somebody when you first bid!'”

We’re sure there’s a certain amount of storytelling in there, but undoubtedly some truth.

Given Barca paid a reported $84 million for the striker, the asking price couldn’t have started that much higher.

Schweinsteiger shares thoughts on MLS, much more in lengthy interview

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Ambassadors responsible for Bastian Schweinsteiger‘s move to America extend deep into the 1970s.

1977 to be exact. That’s when Franz Beckenbauer first came to the New York Cosmos from Bayern Munich, a three-season tenure that went so well he returned to New York for his final professional season after time with Hamburg.

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Schweinsteiger said Beckenbauer’s words meant a lot to him, and admitted that he’s not imparting that wisdom to other overseas players who ask him about MLS.

From TSN.ca (Full video here):

“I remember when David Beckham was playing here or even I know when Franz Beckenbauer was playing here, and I was talking to him and he said he had his best life in America,” Schweinsteiger said. “We spoke about it and I was thinking about it a little bit.For me it was a little bit different because I love to play soccer and in Manchester I couldn’t play enough soccer so that was the problem.”

Among several interesting soundbites from the interview with Schweinsteiger also spoke about Germany’s memorable destruction of host nation Brazil at the 2014 World Cup:

“I remember the semifinal that we won 7-1. Everyone speaks about the 7-1, but we were not talking so much about it because we felt very, in a way, sad, because you saw your teammates like Dante and Luis Gustavo and the Brazilian supporters and the team crying, so you couldn’t really celebrate. Our focus was so much looking forward to the final. I remember things like this, sometimes more than the final.”

Not something you consider often. Winning a match 2-1 against your club teammates is one thing, but sending them to international humiliation is another.

Brazil anti-trust body says bids rigged for 2014 World Cup

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Brazil’s anti-trust body says several construction companies rigged bids for 2014 World Cup stadiums, driving up costs by overcharging for the work.

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Five stadium projects were mentioned in the report by the anti-trust body CADE. They included Rio de Janeiro’s famous Maracana Stadium, where Germany defeated Argentina 1-0 in the 2014 World Cup final.

CADE says three other stadiums used in the World Cup also could have been tainted by corruption.

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CADE says it obtained the bid-rigging information in a leniency agreement with construction company Andrade Gutierrez.

Reports have been widespread about corruption linked to World Cup stadiums, and construction projects tied to this year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

World Cup standout Bryan Ruiz “not happy at Fulham”

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Bryan Ruiz has expressed his serious displeasure at his current club situation in a way most players refrain from doing in the media.

Speaking to Argentinian newspaper La Naicon, Ruiz flat out said he’s extremely displeased to still be playing in the Championship after relegation last season.

“I am not happy at Fulham, and they know it,” Ruiz said.I am a professional and I will fulfill my contract in the best way possible. They know that I signed here to play in the Premier League and not in the Championship. This league is not for my style of play, but I‘m stuck here.”

Those are some seriously strong words. Ruiz has wanted out since fans soured on his play earlier last season, often finding himself on the butt end of (somewhat unjust) boos and jeers at Craven Cottage. He went on loan to PSV in the Eredivisie for the second half of last season and was not around to see the club relegated from the Premier League for the first time in 10 years.

He then went on to impress at the World Cup, proving to be a creative force during Costa Rica’s surprising and entertaining run to the quarterfinals. Back at Fulham from Brazil, the 29-year-old was hoping to secure a permanent move away from Craven Cottage but could only find himself out on another loan, or so he thought.

“It seems incredible, but this is part of football.” Ruiz said when asked if it’s disappointing to play so well on the world stage and then return to the English second division. “In this situation the club decides what happens to me, and it’s complicated, but we must accept it.”

FIFA blocked a completed January loan move for Ruiz to Spanish side Levante on Deadline Day, saying that paperwork arrived too late. Levante president Francisco Catalan was furious with Fulham, blaming the London side for the delay and ultimately failed move. Ruiz himself said it was hard to convince Fulham – who also wanted a permanent move – to agree to a loan, but ultimately got the club to reluctantly concede.

“[Fulham] agreed to sell me, but when the loan option came they did not want it,” Ruiz explained. “At the end I talked to them and made them see that it was beneficial, and I managed to convince them, but they never wanted to accept a loan.”

“I am not sure what happened [between Fulham and Levante], I do not know if Fulham was at fault or not. Each club is responsible for sending the documentation, only they know what happened.”

Ruiz also expressed a touch of remorse for signing at Fulham in the first place. Having signed from Twente in the summer of 2011 for around $10 million, he never truly fit in, and was often described as a ruby in a world of garnets – a luxury Fulham could not afford. His flowing style of play was often blunted by the physicality of the English game, and Ruiz clearly was more comfortable on a World Cup pitch – or even one in the Netherlands – than he was on an England field.

“After four years where things have not always gone right, where the team is relegated and they force me to honor my contract, it is difficult to assess,” Ruiz said.Maybe it was better to wait and see another option [when I signed], but hey, if I had the opportunity to see the future maybe I would have made different choices. At that time I thought it was the best option I had.”

Remorse or not, it appears Ruiz will have to finish out the season at Craven Cottage, where his contract expires at the end of the year. He also did mention the possibility of playing in Major League Soccer in the future, but said despite the rumors, “My priority is to stay in Europe until the [2018] World Cup in Russia.”