Getty Images

Battle lines drawn between top clubs, FIFA over new Club World Cup

Leave a comment

There’s a new conflict between FIFA and Europe’s top clubs, represented by the European Club Association.

Despite warnings from the ECA and a stated refusal to take part in a new-look FIFA Club World Cup that would take place in the summer, the FIFA Council overwhelmingly approved a proposal to revamp the Club World Cup anyway.

Under the new format, the next club World Cup will take place in June/July 2021, with 24 teams taking part. The new tournament would take the place of the FIFA Confederations Cup, and will take place during the FIFA international window. It’s unclear where the club World Cup will take place, though it’s likely it won’t be in Qatar, which is hosting the 2022 World Cup in the winter due to extreme heat in the summer.

https://mobile.twitter.com/sgevans/status/1106629855624527872

So, why did FIFA, and president Gianni Infantino, push for and then approve this plan in the face of European clubs? For money, of course.

FIFA sees all the money that UEFA makes during the UEFA Champions League, and the same to an extent from CONMEBOL for the Copa Libertadores, and FIFA says to itself, “we want some of that revenue.”

That, along with some internal politics to please constituents outside of Europe means we’ve ended up with a much bigger club World Cup.

FIFA has decided that its worth the gamble of potentially playing a made-for-tv tournament without the best teams in the world, or they think that they can incentivize the ECA to play by the time the tournament would take place.

One of the big questions that has to be asked is whether there are any winners here. For the players, it’s even more games on top of an already incredibly busy club season, not to mention those who play international matches as well. Will players be so burnt out that they miss extensive time during the club season, when the clubs need them most? And could it jeopardize their health ahead of FIFA’s real showcase, the men’s World Cup?

For the fans, who are conditioned to watching National Team games in the summer, will it be overload to see more club soccer and more overmatched games in a tournament? And, will fans even tune in if the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester City, or Juventus decline to participate?

These are all questions FIFA executives need to ask themselves, as they try to figure out how to make wine from water, and turn a great idea on paper into reality, with buy-in from all stakeholders.

WATCH: Zlatan stunner answers Vela’s opener in El Trafico

Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images
1 Comment

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is walking it like he talks it, not that that’s anything new.

A few days after claiming superiority over LAFC superstar Carlos Vela, Ibrahimovic and his Galaxy trailed early in El Trafico via a Vela penalty.

[ MORE: Latest on Eriksen ]

Naturally, Zlatan took it upon himself to answer the bell with his 14th goal in 17 games.

Ibrahimovic chests a long ball onto his right foot, cooking Eduard Atuesta by pushing it into position for a tremendous lash into the LAFC goal.

And if you haven’t been following LAFC’s amazing season, Atuesta’s probably been the side’s best player after Vela, who now has 20 goals in 20 games.

Wizard stuff.

Borussia Dortmund tops Liverpool 3-2 at Notre Dame

Michael Caterina/South Bend Tribune via AP
Leave a comment

A half-hour of the big guns wasn’t enough to get Jurgen Klopp a result against his former team.

Harry Wilson and Rhian Brewster scored for Liverpool in a 3-2 loss to Borussia Dortmund at the University of Notre Dame on Friday.

Paco Alcacer, Thomas Delaney, and Jacob Bruun Larsen scored for the Black Yellow, who led 3-1 when mass changes began with Virgil Van Dijk, Georginio Wijnaldum, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson, and Andrew Robertson entering the match.

Liverpool faces Sevilla on Sunday at Fenway Park in Boston.

[ MORE: Latest on Eriksen ]

Alcacer with the ball in the box is a bad idea, and the Spaniard took advantage of Nathaniel Clyne and Joel Matip to smash home from a yard outside the six.

Wilson leveled the score before halftime, but Delaney made it 2-1 in the 53rd minute when a long diagonal ball beat the Reds line and a low pass across the box went undetected.

It was 3-1 via a clever Bruun Larsen touch to wrong foot James Milner, but Brewster brought the Reds back to within one when he converted a 75th minute penalty won by Ben Woodburn.

Liverpool was without Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah, who are on break after deep summer tournament runs.

Eriksen offered big Spurs wages, but Atletico Madrid lurks

Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Christian Eriksen may trade London for Madrid after all, but Marca claims it’ll be Real Madrid’s rivals who earn the services of Tottenham’s Danish playmaker.

Eriksen, 27, scored 10 goals with 17 assists for Spurs in all competitions last season, and was reportedly ready to spread his wings for Real Madrid.

[ MORE: Kean to Everton? ]

But pro-Real site Marca says Zinedine Zidane doesn’t want Eriksen at the Bernabeu, and that Diego Simeone feels differently… should Atletico Madrid fail at landing his prime option.

That’s James Rodriguez, who remains property of Real and that’s a problem.

So Eriksen to Atleti, helping to replace Antoine Griezmann? It’s possible.

From Marca.com:

Just last November, the London club put a 250 million euro price tag on his head, but now appear keen to move him on. The next few days will likely reveal a lot about what’s to come.

So we may get an idea of whether this report has any guts to it by next week. There could be some sense to it, but Metro claims that Spurs are offering Eriksen an “enormous” contract to keep him in North London.

Enormous means a doubling of Eriksen’s wages, and the Dane is said to be happy in England. Might Spurs hold off the finest of La Liga and Serie A after all.

Report: Everton could land Juventus’ Kean after all

Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Everton could end up with one of the hottest prospects in world soccer.

Moise Kean may wind up leaving Juventus due to the club’s failure to offload fellow strikers Mario Mandzukic and Gonzalo Higuain.

And Kean, 19, was poised for a breakthrough to the first team, to the extent that Juve reportedly turned down a $33 million bid from Everton.

[ MORE: Algeria wins AFCON ]

The Toffees, however, may have new life due to the Higuain/Mandzukic problem, and Sky Sports Italia reports that Kean may indeed be an option for Marco Silva‘s club. He could join Michael Keane, if he’s keen.

It wouldn’t be surprising if Kean elected to leave Italy given the racial abuse he’s suffered in Serie A (Though racism is everywhere, of course).

The same report says Kean turned down a Barcelona offer because he would’ve headed on loan, while Arsenal is also said to be in the mix.

Kean scored six Serie A goals with an assist in just 13 matches for Juventus last season after scoring four times for Hellas Verona on loan.