Apparently stung, David Beckham hits back at league, critics

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Seems that some people never remember the “first rule of holes.” So let’s review:

“When you find yourself in one, stop digging!”

David Beckham recently got himself suspended for a match for lashing out. I say, we’ve mowed that particular patch of grass. A lot. So let’s just move on.

Only, as he returned this week Beckham wasn’t quite ready to move on, taking some verbal jabs at the league, at referees and at his critics – and his comments carry a hint of entitlement and some lacking self-awareness.

Did I deserve a yellow card? Yeah, I probably did deserve a yellow card. Because of my reaction. But did I deserve the second game? That’s for other people to talk about, and other people talk about it very well, by the way.”

Oh? Not happy that people are discussing you, your kind and your situations? Also known as, “The very reason you’re here!”

Where to start with that one?  If you sign up to be the face of the league, you’re the face of the league in good times and bad.  You can’t get paid all that money and then ask the cameras to stop rolling whenever the light becomes less flattering.

More generally, a man who fits as many TV commercials, runways slots and cover model shots into his life as humanly possible, and a man who builds a brand that pretty much prints currency, does not get to complain when people talk about him. Those are the rules. He should know so; he’s been in this game forever.

When asked about critics who felt the one-game ban was too light, that perhaps three or four games was more commensurate with his actions, he had this to say.

Yeah, well, they’re the jealous ones, unfortunately. They’re the ones that like to sit in front of the TV and discuss my life even when I’m not playing the game. Maybe I’m at a tennis game – they like to discuss that. There’s people that maybe like to get in the limelight a little too much.”

I’m on the record as saying one game was right. But c’mon! He’s playing the limelight card? That’s the same one he plays with referees who don’t acquiesce to his demands on the field. He accuses them of wanting to be “star of the show.”

Maybe. There is some ego involved in refereeing. And certainly in my business, too.

But there’s another way of looking at it, Mr. Beckham. Maybe these mere mortals are just doing their jobs.

Referees blow the whistle and enforce the rules; so, yes, sometimes they have to make you behave. You’ve been granted more leniency than anyone in MLS, so don’t take it there.

Journalists, bloggers and TV analysts do their thing, too. We talk about all the players. Or haven’t you noticed?

Beckham lashed out against San Jose two weeks ago. He lost his cool. He got tagged by the league for it. That stuff happens. All he had to do was take his medicine like a big boy, come back and play nice and all would be forgiven. His latest comments, falling on the bitter side, just keep it all in the news cycle a little longer.

Now that I’ve had my say, please excuse me. I have to go bask in my limelight.

Now, just where did I put that doggone limelight?

Reina faces hearing over links with trio connected to mafia

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ROME (AP) Outgoing Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina has been summoned to a hearing at the Italian football federation over his association with people with links to the mafia.

Reina, along with Paolo Cannavaro and Salvatore Aronica, is to face the FIGC’s disciplinary committee after an investigation by Naples’ anti-mafia department.

It is reportedly one of the reasons why Napoli decided not to renew Reina’s contract, with the former Liverpool goalkeeper set to move to AC Milan on a free transfer.

The FIGC says Reina “has had and continues to have inopportune association and friendship with Gabriele Esposito, Francesco Esposito and Giuseppe Esposito.” It adds that that includes holidays and “an exchange of favors.”

Cannavaro, who had two spells with Napoli, retired at Sassuolo last year. Aronica also spent several years at the southern club before joining Palermo in 2013.

Iran names initial squad for World Cup

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) Jalal Hosseini and Vouria Ghaffouri have both been left off Iran’s provisional 24-man squad for the World Cup.

Iran coach Carlos Queiroz did not say why Hosseini, a Persepolis defender, and Ghaffouri were not included.

There was space for midfielders Masoud Shojaei and Ehsan Hajsafi, however. Both played with Greek club Panionios against Maccabi Tel Aviv in August 2017. Iran does not recognize Israel and its supreme leader has threatened the country in the past. Both Shojaei and Hajsafi missed matches with the national team after the game.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh, a 24-year-old forward who plays in the Netherlands with AZ Alkmaar, is also in the squad, which was announced Sunday.

In the midfield, Queiroz chose Saeid Ezatolahi, although the Amkar Perm player will miss the team’s first World Cup match because he was given a red card in a game against South Korea in qualifying.

Nottingham Forest midfielder Ashkan Dejagah was also chosen.

Goalkeeper Amir Abedzadeh of Portuguese club Maritimo made the squad. His father, Ahmadreza Abedzadeh, was Iran captain and goalkeeper at the 1998 World Cup in France.

Iran will play in Group B at the World Cup with Portugal, Spain and Morocco. The team will play warm-up matches in Turkey and Greece before heading to Russia.

Goalkeepers: Alireza Beiranvand (Persepolis), Rashid Mazaheri (Zob Ahan), Amir Abedzadeh (Maritimo)

Defenders: Ramin Rezaeian (KV Oostende), Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh (Padideh), Morteza Pouraliganji (Al Saad), Pejman Montazeri (Esteghlal), Seyed Majid Hosseini (Esteghlal), Milad Mohammadi (Akhmat Grozny), Roozbeh Cheshmi (Esteghlal)

Midfielders: Saeid Ezatolahi (Amkar Perm), Masoud Shojaei (AEK Athens), Mehdi Torabi (Saipa), Ashkan Dejagah (Nottingham Forest), Omid Ebrahimi (Esteghlal), Ehsan Hajsafi (Olympiakos), Vahid Amiri (Persepolis), Saman Ghoddos (Ostersunds FK), Ali Gholizadeh (Saipa)

Forwards: Alireza Jahanbakhsh (AZ Alkmaar), Karim Ansarifard (Olympiakos), Mahdi Taremi (Al-Gharafa Sports Club), Sardar Azmoun (Rubin Kazan), Reza Ghoochannejhad (SC Heerenveen)

Six Premier Leaguers named to Argentina, but no Icardi

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Argentina’s World Cup roster features a number of the usual suspects, particularly up front, but Serie A’s top goalscorer has been surprisingly left off the list of 23.

[ MORE: Belgium goes to World Cup without Nainggolan ]

Manager Jorge Sampaoli’s squad was made official on Monday, which includes the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain.

The Albiceleste won’t be taking Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi though, which has raised some questions about the decision.

Icardi led all scorers in Italy’s top flight this season, scoring 29 goals in 34 Serie A matches, while Paulo Dybala edged out the final striker spot in the Argentina squad.

Dybala is teammates with Higuain at Italian giants Juventus.

Meanwhile, six Premier League players were named into the South American nation’s squad, including goalkeepers Sergio Romero (Man United) and Willy Caballero (Chelsea), as well as Nicolas Otamendi (Man City), Marcos Rojo (Man United) and Manuel Lanzini (West Ham).

Men in Blazers POD: FA Cup recap, UCL final preview and more

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Rog and Davo recap a spite-fueled, snear-filled, peak Phil Jones FA Cup Final, preview this weekend’s Champions League tilt between Liverpool and Real Madrid and eulogize Big Sam… gone the opposite of too soon. Plus, World Cup rosters and MLS.

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