Roberto Mancini expresses desire to return to Italy

Leave a comment

Former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has made it clear Italy is his preferred destination should he look to return to managing anytime soon.

However, with Serie A his preferred final stop, he’s in no hurry to get there.

“I have time to come back to Italy, as I am still young,” the 48-year-old told Sky Italia. “Staying abroad, or being put in charge of a national team, could also be a good experience.”

Mancini has in the past spent time with Fiorentina, Lazio, and Inter on the touchline.  After being sacked rather harshly at City, he’s enjoying the stress-free environment of his current break.

“I’m happy with this time off. I’ve done this work for many years, and there is always so much pressure. Going forward relentlessly is not easy.”

Mancini was openly furious with City for the firing, and rightly so, given his successes there.  He was never in agreement, but a few days ago he finally opened up about his feelings.

“I deserved more respect for what I achieved” said Mancini. “In 3½ seasons with my staff, I believe I did an extraordinary job. City didn’t win a title for 40 years. I won a league, an FA Cup, a Community Shield and, in the worst season, I lost a final and finished second. Two months after my sacking, I still don’t understand the reasons and the timing.”

There have been rumblings ever since his firing that he could be headed to AS Roma.  Although he moved to quell those rumors in the short term, he was openly impressed with what the Giallorossi are building.

“Roma? No, I never had direct contact” the Italian told Corriere dello Sport. “But we’re talking about a big club with lots of prestige who are going through a rebuilding phase.  That would be an adventure with its own charm.  Never say never.”

Could Mancini end up in charge of Michael Bradley at Roma? Apparently, never say never.

Ronaldo explains his new chin hair at World Cup

AP Photo/Hassan Ammar
Leave a comment

Now that Cristiano Ronaldo has taken to sporting a reasonable hairstyle atop his head, people are talking about the foliage on his face.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

Ronaldo, 33, drew speculation when he stroked his chin following a goal in his hat trick performance against Spain in the World Cup opener. Some said he was demonstrating defiance against Lionel Messi posing with a goat (Greatest Of All Time) in a recent photograph.

Ronaldo scored again on Wednesday, and there was seemingly little doubt his goatee was a wink to the speculators. But what did it mean, CR7? From ESPN:

“This goatee? It’s a joke I had with [Ricardo] Quaresma. “We were in the sauna [before Friday’s match against Spain] and I started to shave and I left the goatee. I said if I score tomorrow, I would leave it for the rest of the tournament. And it gave me luck.

“I scored in that game, I scored in this one, so it stays.”

Personally, I like to imagine Ronaldo starting to get as wild with his facial hair as he did his head hair.

Perhaps a beatnik style, or something like Serj Tankian from System of a Down. Get nuts, C-Ron.

Report: Southampton could sell Tadic to Ajax for $20m

Adam Davy/PA via AP
Leave a comment

Could Southampton be selling one of its most creative forces?

Dusan Tadic, 29, is in the middle of a World Cup run with dark horse Serbia, but the Saints star is also being talked about as a purchase item for Ajax.

[ MORE: Serbia tops Costa Rica ]

The celebrated Eredivisie has traditionally been a selling club for the Premier League, but could be a $20 million buy for Ajax.

The report says director of players Marc Overmars and financial director Jeroen Slop have flown to Southampton to work out a deal.

Tadic starred for Dutch sides Groningen and Twente between 2010-14 before moving to St. Mary’s for a reported $12 million.

He’s scored 24 goals with 35 assists in 162 appearances for Saints, 21 and 30 of which came in the Premier League.

Toronto locks down USMNT backstop Bono with extension

Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono is going to stay Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

The newly-capped USMNT backstop, 24, has been attracting interest from abroad since breaking past Clint Irwin to win the TFC job and guiding the club to multiple MLS Cup Finals.

Now general manager Tim Bezbatchenko has locked down his young goalkeeper to an undisclosed contract extension. From TorontoFC.com:

“Alex was a big part of our success last season. He set club records for wins and clean sheets and was a critical piece of our championship team,” said Toronto FC Sr. Vice-President, Soccer Operations & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Since joining the club as a first round pick in 2015, Alex’s ability to make key saves in big moments has been critical to our success.”

The Syracuse-born product of Syracuse University has made 64 appearances for the Reds.

WATCH: World Cup, Day 8 — Argentina on the edge; France aims for berth

Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Leave a comment

France, Denmark, and Croatia can clinch knockout round berths on Thursday in Russia, the last nation also holding the opportunity to help deprive the World Cup of an extended Lionel Messi run.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Messi’s Argentina drew Iceland in its opener, the megastar infamously missing a penalty, and will look to beat a Croatian side that looked quite good in dispatching Nigeria.

That’s the final match of the day, which begins with Denmark facing Australia and continues with a tasty match-up between France and Peru.

Below is Thursday’s schedule in full.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.


2018 World Cup schedule – Wednesday, June 20

Group C
Denmark vs. Australia: Samara, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
France vs. Peru: Yekaterinburg, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Group D
Argentina vs. Croatia: Nizhny Novgorod, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE