2014 World Cup


World Cup standout Bryan Ruiz “not happy at Fulham”


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.”

James Rodriguez goal against Uruguay wins Puskas Award for goal of the year

Brazil Soccer WCup Colombia Uruguay

Hungarian legend Ference Puskas scored a boatload of goals in his career for Budapest Honved and Real Madrid, and he scored them with a style that put his name on the trophy for goal of the year.

The Puskas Award nominees were goals from James Rodriguez and Robin van Persie at the World Cup, and surprise candidate Stephanie Roche from Ireland, whose stunning juggle, volley and turn is among the best goals you’ll see in your life.

[ MORE: World XI revealed | Low wins COY award ]

The goal was similar to James goal in the World Cup, and perhaps the grander stage is the reason the Real Madrid star is taking home the Puskas Award.

How much did FIFA pay MLS clubs for having players at 2014 World Cup?


Following the 2014 World Cup, teams across the globe have been handed out compensation by FIFA for allowing their players to take part in the tournament.

FIFA set aside $70 million to compensate clubs, as German Champions Bayern Munich led the way by earning $1,734,367 million, while Real Madrid earned $1,297,800 and Chelsea received $1,253,233 million in compensation for their players heading to Brazil.

[ RELATED: Messi heading to Chelsea? ]

According to the European Club Association (ECA), FIFA paid $2,800 for each day players were on official national team duty for the World Cup. That sum was shared between clubs that the player had been registered for in the two years leading up to the World Cup. The ECA says 396 clubs from 57 countries got FIFA payments, which ranged from Bayern’s $1,734,367 million to a paltry $6,300 picked up by Ipswich Town. Still, every little helps.

16 teams from Major League Soccer have also been compensated by world soccer’s governing body, with the San Jose Earthquakes making out like champs as they earned $260,400 from having the likes of Chris Wondolowski and Victor Bernandez suiting up in Brazil. Sporting Kansas City and the New York Red Bulls were the other teams to make plenty of cash (over $200,000 each) from their stars heading to Brazil, as the full list of how much MLS clubs earned can be found below.

[ RELATED: Adebayor to MLS? ]

Premier League sides Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal were all paid over $1 million in compensation, while Spanish giants Barcelona and reigning Italian Champions Juventus also bagged a seven-figure sum. Here’s a link to the full list of compensation made to clubs by FIFA. Here’s a quick note: should MLS clubs have been paid more for losing their players in the middle of the 2014 season? It was a pretty big impact for some squads. Just a thought.

Total compensation ($) for MLS clubs

San Jose Earthquakes – $260,400
Sporting Kansas City – $209,533
New York Red Bulls – $200,200
Real Salt Lake – $196,000
Houston Dynamo – $179,200
Seattle Sounders FC – $165,900
CD Chivas USA – $108,267
Columbus Crew – $100,100
Los Angeles Galaxy – $98,000
Toronto – $94,500
New England Revolution – $81,200
Vancouver – $40,600
Philadelphia Union – $17,733
Chicago Fire SC – $14,933
Colorado Rapids SC – $13,533
DC United – $13,533

Dante is still sad about Brazil’s 7-1 defeat to Germany as Thomas Muller continues the taunting

Dante (Brazil), the loneliest man in the world

Man, poor Dante.

Not only did the big Brazilian defender play a huge part in his country’s infamous 7-1 defeat to Germany at last summer’s World Cup, but shortly after being embarrassed and knocked out of the tournament in his home country, Dante had to return to — of all the places in this gigantic world — Germany, for preseason with Bayern Munich.

Surely the sympathetic, merciful Germans would take pity on his broken soul and either console him through this tragic heartbreak, or at the very least, have the sympathy to not rub salt in the still-gaping wound and remind Dante of the worst day of his professional life.

Yeah, about those “sympathetic, merciful Germans” — they’re actually known to be anything but.

[ RELATED: Thiago Silva still disturbed by World Cup humiliation ]

So surely his club teammates, many of which were members of that World Cup-winning Germany team and the ones closest to Dante for 10 months out of every year, would understand his pain and shift their focus to the road ahead of them this season, rather than constantly gloating about their past endeavors. They’re professionals, after all, and they’ve got a job to do, together.

Thankfully for Dante, every Bayern Munich player seems to have taken this gracious viewpoint. Everyone but Thomas Muller, that is. Apparently Muller is known as a bit of a jokester amongst his teammates, so the following isn’t exactly surprising, but it’s still really sad.

According to Dante, who spoke this week to Globoesporte, Muller’s jokes — Dante calls them taunts — were quite harsh and apparently never ending, despite his repeated pleas.

“The Germans joked about it, especially just after the game, up to the moment when I said it was time to stop. The 7-1 was something more serious than people realized.

“We can joke about anything, but not about this. Not all the Germans were like this but Thomas is the big joker. I said to him: ‘If you don’t stop, I’m going to hit you in every training session.’

“This doesn’t make me laugh and when someone doesn’t laugh, it means they are annoyed.”

This is truly saddening. Dante went on to say that he also feels shame from regular German citizens in public, that they now look down upon him.

“I felt that people have sort of pushed me to one side since then, in restaurants, in the street. I only think when you are sad and have endured this sort of upset, you need some affection from people who are close to you, to help recover your self-esteem.”

1) Thomas Muller, despite the fact he scored 10 World Cup goals by the age of 24, is a big, fat jerk.
2) Pep Guardiola should have shoved Muller harder.
3) I’ll be your friend, Dante.

h/t The Soccer Gods for Portuguese-to-English translation of quotes

2014 Review: Top Moments in US Soccer, #5-1

Ghana v USA: Group G - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil
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Looking back on 2014, it has been a pretty incredible year for soccer in the USA. With the USMNT’s run to the last 16 in Brazil during the World Cup madness, MLS’s upsurge and Landon Donovan going out a winner with LA, we’ve been spoiled for top moments. Over the next few days at PST, we will be counting down our top 10 from the USMNT and MLS in the last 12 months. Here’s numbers 5-1…

No. 5 — Landon Donovan breaks all-time MLS goalscoring record

144 goals is a lot of goals, especially for a player who rarely played as a “true striker,” but there stands his record goals tally, 10 ahead of former record-holder Jeff Cunningham, whose tally of 134 goals Donovan broke just three days after the No. 2 U.S. Soccer moment of 2014.

At age 32, Donovan’s 14th MLS season hardly showed any signs of aging as it was one of his very best — 10 goals and 19 assists — matching his greatest output of goals scored and created of his entire career (2008, 20 and 9). He threw in the all-time assists record, a mark no one thought he could possibly reach this year, for good measure with a handful of regular-season games still to play.

No. 4 — Thierry Henry retires, ending a brilliant career

I wrote this about Henry last month:

There’s just not much to say when your gameplan works perfectly for 99 percent of the game, and a player whose ability transcends our ability to understand greatness still finds a way to beat you.

That was the 2014 version of Thierry Henry, in a nutshell. Thought he’d lost a step or two of the frightening pace that made him unstoppable in his younger days, Henry still got it done time and time and time again for the New York Red Bulls over the last four and a half years. He was always the best player on the field, even in his final days at age 37.

Beyond his on-field accomplishments during his MLS days, Henry brought a level of respectability to the league, on the worldwide level. His stated intent from day one wasn’t to “relax on a beach.” He wanted to play, he wanted to win. He set the bar extremely high for the next world superstar to come to MLS.

source: APNo. 3 — Donovan retires, as a champion

Not only did Donovan go out on top, but he lifted his record sixth MLS Cup right in his back yard, less than an hour from where he grew up and began his legendary soccer career. It’s more about how Donovan chose to retire — 100 percent on his own terms, arguably well before he needed to — that stands out most, though.

Donovan put his need to live a happy life ahead of a begging and pleading soccer nation that would have had him hang around until his 40th birthday, still expecting the same dominant performances of his 20s. He’ll not only go down as the greatest American soccer player of all-time (thus far), but speaking candidly on issues like mental health guarantees Donovan’s impact and legacy will continue to be felt a number years down the road. We salute you, No. 10 with the receding hairline.

No. 2 — Klinsmann leaves Donovan off World Cup roster

Name a story from 2014 that was more widely discussed, scrutinized and celebrated than Donovan being unceremoniously cut from the World Cup roster on May 22. Don’t worry, I’ll wait, but I fear we’ll be here for quite some time.

This is the year that the greatest USMNT career of all-time came to an abrupt end, and as thrilling as the World Cup itself was, when so many think back on the summer of 2014, it’ll be Donovan’s omission and the controversy it sparked that will come to mind and reignite heated debates between the closest of friends five, 10, even 15 years from now.

Was Klinsmann right or wrong to do it? Based on how the USMNT struggle to create chances in Brazil, it’s tough to look back now and say he couldn’t have used the national team’s all-time leading goalscorer and assist provider, even as a game-changing substitute late in games.

No. 1 — John Brooks scores late winner in World Cup opener vs. Ghana

In 2010, soccer fans from around the world saw what a thrilling moment like stoppage-time winner in the group stage finale could do to capture the imagination and excitement of a quickly growing soccer nation. There’s no telling how many soccer fans were born that Wednesday afternoon (US time) as the USMNT won the “E.A.S.Y.” group and advanced to the knockout rounds.

Fast forward four years and the USMNT had a similar watershed moment when John Brooks, of all people, scored the game-winning goal in the 86th minute against Ghana, sending bars and living rooms across America in rapturous delirium. I, myself, was one of the millions tuned in that evening, guilty of celebrating wildly inside a jam-packed bar, pouring an entire 32-ounce beer over the head of a very dear friend. World Cups are rare enough on their own. The fact that we’ve been treated to two indescribable moments like the ones mentioned above, in two straight tournaments, makes American soccer fans very, very lucky.