José Mourinho on Rooney: “He is a player I like very much”

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After Wayne Rooney returned home from Manchester United’s preseason tour to Thailand, speculation around his future at Old Trafford has intensified.

Rooney, 27, has made it clear that he wants to leave United and a $38 million move to Chelsea could be an incredibly tempting offer.

Especially after these kinds words from new Blues manager José Mourinho, when asked if he wanted to sign Rooney.

“It’s a tricky question because I cannot speak about. But you know me and it’s not my kind of character to speak with a bit of hypocrisy and I always say what I think. He is a player I like very much but I can say no more than that. Being fast and direct, I like that, but he’s a Manchester United player.”

Hint taken, José.

But as Rooney jets back to the UK, away from his Manchester United teammates and David Moyes, you do have to wonder if we’ll ever see him wear the famous red jersey again. United’s new manager Moyes spoke earlier today about Rooney’s injury and still doesn’t envisage the England international moving away from Old Trafford.

“It’s a blow that we’ve lost him because he’s been training well and looking very good,” said Moyes. “But unfortunately he just felt something in his hamstring. He’s got a slight grade one injury that will keep him out for about two to three weeks. So I don’t foresee any problem with Wayne and he will be fit for the start of the season.”

(MORE: Rooney leaves Manchester United tour due to injury)

Moyes then seemed to let off some steam regarding the whole situation, as Rooney’s exit from their preseason tour of the Far East has cast further doubt on his United future.

source: AP
Will Rooney join Torres at Chelsea next season?

“Unless I was speaking double Dutch, I’ve said that Wayne Rooney is not for sale. I have answered lots of questions about Wayne and it’s getting repetitive. I don’t want to talk about it all day.”

Luckily, we do.

And Rooney’s soccer future could hinge on any potential move this summer. A switch to Chelsea could see his hunger return and trophies stack up under Mourinho. But if it doesn’t go well, then everyone will point to Rooney leaving Manchester as the catalyst for his downfall. But if he is forced to stay at United, will his form go rapidly downhill?

For club and country this is a huge year for Rooney, England need him fit and on top form if they have any chance of reaching the World Cup, let alone doing well in Brazil. This saga rolls on and on.

Think about this. On the day Rooney returns to England, thousands of miles away from Manchester United’s players and staff, Chelsea manager Mourinho states his admiration for the player. You connect the dots.

Yaya Toure talks future, wants to play with Paul Pogba

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There is very little debate: Yaya Toure is his own special case.

The longtime Manchester City midfielder does what he wants, flies his own flag, has the worst agent in the game, and is pleased or dismayed in unusual ways.

[ UCL: What would Real 3-peat mean? ]

Toure, 35, has been linked with a move to NYCFC now that he’s leaving Man City, but the Ivorian still wants to play two more seasons for a Champions League or Europa League club.

And he wants to get together with Paul Pogba. You can see where this is going… (from The Manchester Evening News):

“Pogba is the same size, power – but different in the way he wants to go. Technically as well, the ability to score goals as well. It is a player I want to play with, to be honest, just to teach him some things.”

That must mean both are going to Paris Saint-Germain because… Yaya at Manchester United? No way, right? Right? Even with last year’s reports from his — again — terrible agent that it was an option, that still seems too villainous.

“I don’t rule big teams out. The big teams are very important for me. What they want to achieve, the way they want to go, for me is very important. … I want to go somewhere I can win and achieve. It’s going to be hard one day to play against City, but I have to do that. It is part of my job.”

Toure later said he was “no good in an office,” which had us thinking, well, what if they properly celebrated your birthday, Yaya?

WATCH: Miami United midfield unleashes Open Cup laser

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Tomas Granitto, have yourself an extra plate at the postgame buffet.

The Miami United midfielder scored a gorgeous goal in Wednesday’s 2-0 win over fellow NPSL side Jacksonville Armada in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup’s third round.

[ MORE: 3 Key Battles for UCL Final ]

Complete with aesthetically-pleasing post-ping, the former El Salvador U-20 player laid into a 25-yard shot to open the scoring in Florida.

Granitto, 24, has played for Timbers 2, Swope Park Rangers, FC Edmonton, since leaving NCAA side Florida Gulf Coast.

Rondon wanted by Atleti, Inter Milan, and West Ham

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The big boys are looking to Salomon Rondon as a bargain striker.

Yes, $22 million is a bargain in the striker market these days.

[ MORE: Napoli hires Ancelotti ]

West Brom’s Venezuelan international, 28, stands 6’2″ and has a relegation release clause that is reportedly interesting Inter Milan, Atletico Madrid, and West Ham United.

Atleti and Inter are in the Champions League next season, but Rondon played for new West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini at Malaga, posting 25 league goals in two seasons.

He’s scored 24 goals in three Premier League seasons at West Brom, almost a quarter of the 104 produced by the Baggies.

He also picked up three assists this season as the target man for Tony Pulis, Alan Pardew, and Darren Moore (and was fouled more often than any other Baggie (Baggy?)).

Rondon and Marko Arnautovic next to each other would be a real handful for PL defenses. Then again, maybe he’ll stay loyal to West Brom and set the Championship scoring record next season.

Three German organizers of 2006 World Cup indicted for tax evasion

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) Three German organizers of the 2006 World Cup have been charged with tax evasion linked to a payment to FIFA.

German news agency dpa reported that Theo Zwanziger, Wolfgang Niersbach and Horst R. Schmidt confirmed Wednesday they are indicted by Frankfurt prosecutors in a long-running investigation.

[ MORE: 3 Key Battles for UCL Final ]

They are accused of falsifying tax returns on behalf of the Germany soccer federation (DFB) in 2006. The DFB has already paid 19.2 million euros ($22.4 million) in back taxes. All three deny the charges, which were first reported by German daily Bild

The allegations are also being investigated by Swiss federal prosecutors and FIFA’s ethics committee. They have targeted German soccer great Franz Beckenbauer, who led the 2006 tournament organizing committee.

Beckenbauer, Zwanziger and Niersbach were members of FIFA’s executive committee in turn from 2007 through 2016.

In 2016, the DFB published an inquiry report into a complex payments trail including 6.7 million euros ($7.8 million) to FIFA in April 2005. Zwanziger and the DFB claimed the money was for a World Cup opening gala and therefore tax-deductible.

However, the payment went through FIFA and ended in a Swiss account belonging to former Adidas chief Robert Louis-Dreyfus, who died in 2009.

The inquiry report did not rule out, but could not prove, that votes were bought when Germany beat a Nelson Mandela-supported South Africa bid for the hosting rights in a 12-11 vote of FIFA executive committee members in 2000.

Swiss prosecutors said in 2016 they had opened a criminal proceeding against the four German officials the previous year, on suspicion of fraud, money laundering, criminal mismanagement and misappropriation. That case spun off from a wider Swiss investigation of suspected corruption linked to FIFA and World Cup hosting votes that is ongoing.

Niersbach lost his seat on FIFA’s ruling committee when he was banned for one year for failing to disclose possible unethical conduct.

The various investigations have tarnished the reputation of the 2006 World Cup that was a popular success in the host nation, which called it the “Summer Fairytale.”