When you’re 35 years old, have chronic back problems, and weren’t able to play regularly for your club last season, you have to take what you can get if you’re looking to continue a career in the top flight. In that sense, we shouldn’t be too surprised to see Rio Ferdinand on his way to Queens Park Rangers.
But shouldn’t and aren’t are two different things. On Thursday, QPR manager Harry Redknapp confirmed that Ferdinand has agreed to join the recently promoted club next season, with the sides set to make it official when the defender returns from spending time in Brazil. At Loftus Road, Ferdinand will likely partner long-time Aston Villa stalwart Richard Dunne, with former Manchester United prospect Danny Simpson also a mainstay in Redknapp’s defense.
Those names won’t make the appearance of Ferdinand in hoops seem any less surreal. Not only are we used to seeing him in United red, but we’re used to seeing him with a certain level of quality around him. We’re used to seeing him play in big games. Even going back to his time at West Ham (over 14 years ago), Ferdinand has only once played on a team that finished outside the Premier League’s top half. Now he’s going to club that wasn’t even in the first division two months ago.
But if you’re past your prime and keep playing, this is your fate, especially when your former club needs to rebuild. Here’s Redknapp, speaking to The Telegraph:
“Rio has agreed to join us and we’re hopeful of getting that one over the line when he gets back from the World Cup.
“I can’t foresee any problems with it and we’d be delighted if we can get it done soon. He’s been a player at the top of the list since he left Manchester United and he would give the whole place a lift with his quality and experience.”
Undoubtedly so. Ferdinand has had his notorious moments, but he’s also a well-respected player. QPR’s not exactly a hive of young, maturing talents, but even for the crew of wayward veterans they’ve assembled, Ferdinand could be an ideal foreman.
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.
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 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.
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
Denmark vs. Australia: Samara, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
France vs. Peru: Yekaterinburg, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
Argentina vs. Croatia: Nizhny Novgorod, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE