Di Maria’s Top 10

Argentina and PSG striker Angel Di Maria opened up in a candid interview with Spanish newspaper MARCA and revealed which were his Top 10 most influential people in his career.

David Luiz
“He’s a great friend. I spent three very important years with him at Benfica”.

Edinson Cavani
“An exceptional striker and a great guy”.

Leo Messi
“One of the best in the world. Playing with him and being his friend is everything to me. Defending the national colours for Argentina with a player like him… words can’t describe it”.

Cristiano Ronaldo
“We shared many things together. He’s a wonderful person, very different from what you see on the pitch. He wants to win everything, score goals. It pains him when he doesn’t score and the team don’t win”.

Nasser Al-Khelaifi
“He always wanted to sign me and I’m very grateful for the lengths he went to”.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
“There was only one name left for me to tick off on the list. Now that I’m finally playing alongside Ibra I can safely say I’ve played with all the best”.

Florentino Pérez
“I didn’t have much contact with him. Neither when he signed me, nor afterwards. I left like I did but I don’t bear any grudge”.

Carlo Ancelotti
“A great coach and a great person. He stuck by me during one of the most difficult times in my career”.

Keylor Navas
“There’s a lot of talk about De Gea, but Navas has gone from strength to strength. I went through something similar when I was joined by more famous players than me but I also ended up playing”.

Laurent Blanc
“He called me up when I was on holiday to ask me to come to Paris, telling me I was just the player he needed”.

Episode 4: Los Cachirules podcast. Interview with El Salvador Fan!

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In Ep. 4 of Los Cachirules, we had the pleasure of interviewing @ElPajaroPicon_ about the El Salvador National Team situation with the players demanding money and other benefits from the Federation. Even to the point of walking out of their camp in preparation for their game vs Mexico next month. He gives good insight on the National Team drama and other El Salvador news.

We then continue to talk Mexican futbol, specifically the Mexican U17 team that beat host nation Chile and continues their journey to another WC trophy in the U17 division. Also Chivas win their semi-final game vs Toluca. MLS gets discussed as Gio and the LA Galaxy went against Seattle, as well as Mark Geiger making an appearance in the DC United vs New England game.

Check out the podcast, here and be sure to subscribe on iTunes. This is a weekly podcast that occurs every Wednesday night at 9pm Central.

Mascherano’s Obsession with Sea Shells

During Barcelona’s 3-1 win over Eiber, at home at Camp Nou, Javier Mascherano was heard yelling “Hey, Your Sister’s Sea Shell,” to the assistant referee. The phrase seems quite harmless except that sea shell means ‘cunt’ in this instance.

“He told us that it was more an act of frustration and that he never meant to insult anyone” vice-president Jordi Mestre stated after the match. Despite earning a two match ban the Argentine will be available for the Clasico against Real Madrid. 

 

Zlatan MLS Bound

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If reports from L’ Equipe are to be believed PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to join David Beckham’s new Miami based MLS franchise once his contract expires at the end of the year. Zlatan, 34, and Goldenballs previously played together in Paris.

The article confirms that Zlatan has applied for an American work visa, while his agent Mino Raoiola has recently said “Miami? Everything is possible.” Raiola also claims that there are 30 clubs lining up to sign the striker. The upcoming winter transfer window shall reveal Zlatan’s destination.

Blatter admitts 2022 World Cup meant to be in USA

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In an in-depth Q&A with Russian News Agency TASS Sepp Blatter, FIFA’s outgoing president, opened up about the scandals surrounding FIFA and admitted that 2022 World Cup was meant to be in the USA.

– Mr. Blatter, when did you realize that FIFA was in a big trouble?

“The big crisis started on May 26-27 in Zurich when they arrested six members directly or indirectly involved in FIFA. It is funny to say, they had a journalist at the hotel at six o’clock in the morning. An American journalist. And then there was a big tsunami in FIFA. And everybody said who is responsible for that: “That’s the president, Blatter, he is responsible!” But I object. How can I be responsible morally for all the people? The accusations, which were made to these members, were not in activity with FIFA. It was in activity with a confederation. It was between South America and the Central, North America, CONCACAF and CONMEBOL, where they have had made a big business for the next year Copa America and got some money by securitization of television contracts and then they started to distribute this money.”

– Do you think it was a mistake to simultaneously hold the elections of both 2018 and 2022 World Cups in 2010? 

“In 2010 we had a discussion of the World Cup and then we went to a double decision. For the World Cups it was agreed that we go to Russia because it’s never been in Russia, eastern Europe, and for 2022 we go back to America. And so we will have the World Cup in the two biggest political powers. And everything was good until the moment when Sarkozy came in a meeting with the crown prince of Qatar, who is now the ruler of Qatar (Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani). And at a lunch afterwards with Mr. Platini he said it would be good to go to Qatar. And this has changed all pattern. There was an election by secret ballot. Four votes from Europe went away from the USA and so the result was fourteen to eight. If you put the four votes, it would have been twelve to ten. If the USA was given the World Cup, we would only speak about the wonderful World Cup 2018 in Russia and we would not speak about any problems at FIFA.”

 

Is Copa America Centenario Worth the Trouble?

Late last week, it was made official.  CONMEBOL, the South American soccer confederation that was the first to organize a national team level competition, will pay homage to its considerable history by commemorating the Copa America Centenario with a tournament… in the USA.

It goes without saying that after all the indictments that the FBI handed out like a gangsta dropping hundies at the titty bar, this tournament was in serious jeopardy of even being played at all.  But in the end, profit always wins, and CONMEBOL and its marketing partners are set to make a pile of cash with their tournament next June.

The Stadiums will be packed, the temporary grass-fields in field-turf stadiums will try and stay alive, and for the weeks that this tournament coincides with Euro 2016, there will be wall to wall footy from 7am to midnight.  Sound great, don’t it?

But how excited will fans really be when slowly, but surely, South American sides will announce that they will be playing with alternate sides, or U23 teams?  Lionel Messi will obviously be a huge draw, but how excited is Barcelona going to be watching his Messiness dig up Texas-size divots on the less than ideal surface at AT&T Stadium?  Not very. And coming off a knee injury, less so.  Chances of playing CAC – less than 50%

And what of his Barça buddy, Neymar?  Well, he has a score to settle this summer. But at the Olympics in Rio.  So, don’t expect to see him either.

How many of Chile’s Copa America heroes will be State side?  What about James and his band of Cafeteros? Remember, they will be in the throes of their insanely long and emotionally draining World Cup qualifying.

Some National teams, like Mexico, will playing a Summer tournament every year this World Cup cycle.  And some players did the same last cycle.

Venue selection will be interesting.  The most logical host city, Miami, the unofficial Capital of South America in the US, will not be available because the Dolphins Stadium will be undergoing a renovation. Too bad.  It would seem like Miami would be be the epicenter of such a tournament.  For it to not even be involved is really unfortunate.  A long list of attractive cities have great stadiums, but will need temporary fields.  Ugh!

But those gate receipts will be so appealing, so the show must go on.

It is a great idea, one that a lot of folks had been advocating for years, but greed has been at the heart of the execution and organization. It is a cynical way to celebrate 100 years of soccer.

 

Barça offered a Place in France’s Ligue 1

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With claims from Spain’s sports minister, Miguel Cardenal, that Barcelona would be unable to continue in La Liga if Catalunya becomes independent the Catalan giants appear to have found an overseas ally.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has opened the doors to the French League to the ‘Cules.’ An article in the magazine ‘Challenges’ said that the politician, who is a massive Barça fan, is willing to offer FC Barcelona a place in France’s top flight. “All things considered, Monaco play in the French League, so…” said Manuel Valls in France.

In an interview in ‘el Journal du Dimanche’, the French Prime Minister spoke of his love for FC Barcelona. “When I was a teenager, back in August 1975, a few weeks before Franco died, I remember the amazing atmosphere there was inside the stadium. Barça’s history is not only linked to football. I’m a huge football fan, a Barça fan. They’re in my blood. France knows it and they ask me about it on the streets”.

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