European Soccer

Morning Ticker: More Spain interest in Jozy, Subotic update and the Brit that got away

Good morning everybody. Let me be the first to tell you that I officially love Toronto and plan on moving here. Okay, I’m kidding, but Toronto is a pretty good place to visit.

I’m going to get your day started with a variety of tidbits I have been meaning to get around to. I will give you an in-depth look at tonight’s Red Bulls-Toronto FC match shortly, but for now enjoy these bits of news:

Villarreal interested in Altidore

You can add another Spanish club to the list of teams interested in Jozy Altidore. Spanish publication AS reported on Wednesday that Villarreal is interested in Altidore. This is good news for U.S. national team fans, but not as much for Red Bulls fans. I still say Altidore doesn’t leave until the winter transfer window, but with more big clubs interested there comes a greater chance of a winning bid being delivered this summer.

Subotic still undecided

If you have been wondering what the status is of former U.S. youth national team defender Neven Subotic, your fears may be realized. According to a U.S. Soccer source, Subotic is still weighing his options about which national team to play for. He was born in Bosnia-Herzegovina and could also consider playing for Germany after having lived there as a young child. He currently plays for German Bundesliga 2 squad Mainz 05.

U.S. Soccer officials are in discussions with Subotic about him playing for the United States, but when asked if Subotic was still straddling the fence, a U.S. Soccer source said, "That’s a good way to put it."

Subotic, 19, has played for the U.S. Under-17 and Under-20 national teams, but was passed over for a place on the U.S. roster for last summer’s Under-20 World Cup. It should be noted that even if he had been on that roster, he would not be cap tied to the United States. He has until his 21st birthday to make a binding decision on what national team to play for.

Pickens has shoulder injury

Those wondering why former Chicago Fire goalkeeper Matt Pickens hasn’t dressed for the past two Queens Park Rangers matches can put away the conspiracy theories. Pickens suffered a seperated shoulder in training and looks likely to miss the remainder of the season.

ESPN tried to lure Brit for Euros

American fans of legendary English soccer announcer Martin Tyler will be interested to know that ESPN made a strong push to sign Tyler to call the European Championships this summer for ESPN but fell short in its quest. Tyler will call the tournament for Australian broadcaster SBS.

  • yo

    Good. Let Jozy take Rossi’s place.

    Posted by: Scott A | May 01, 2008 at 11:58 AM

    —–> U area STUPID MORON .

    Only a moron w/o any knolwleg of Euro soccer will make a statment like that


  • Disbeliever

    ^ Just a thought, but maybe more people would take you seriously if you used proper grammar. Otherwise, you’re spot on.

    First of all, as another poster pointed out, Rossi and Altidore DON’T EVEN PLAY THE SAME POSITIONS. So unless Manuel Pelligrini takes an unholy liking to the lad, chances are he isn’t going to compromise what may be one of the very best strike partnerships in La Liga in order to field a formation suitable for target forwards like Altidore.

    Besides, Rossi is a VERY rare talent and is progressing quite nicely at Villarreal despite problems with injury. Kid’s going places fast, trust me.

    So Altidore can relish the prospect of doing a lot of fun things in Spain, such as enduring monkey chants and slipping on banana peels hurled at him by classy Spanish fans, but displacing Giuseppe Rossi ain’t gonna be one of those things.


  • Mike

    He’s not ready to go. His game lacks the fundamentals and great skill. It would serve him best to focus on his game an improving before the unforgiving european game. jozy altidore will be another name that did well but never makes it huge. McBride and Bradley are two examples that I can give that were perfectionist. Michael and Brian attempted perfectionism in juggling, touch, accuracy, etc. McBride was a great player and Michael should continue to develop into a great player.


  • Mig

    Rossi may have a ton of talent but I watched him last weekend in the Betis game and he looked rather lazy to me. He also gave the ball away as often as not. Maybe it was just a bad game for him.

    I’d rather see Altidore go to England or Germany. His size and pace would fit better with the play. We shall see, though.



  • Disbeliever

    Yeah, I watched the Betis game as well, and it wasn’t very pretty except for the Marcos Senna wonder goal. However, we have to keep in mind that Rossi has only recently suffered a major injury and that he isn’t quite fully recovered yet. So that Betis game as well as a few of the preceding ones represent a patch of minor bad form.

    I find it interesting that you also noted his laziness… perhaps he knows that he has no chance of going to Euro 2008, so he just doesn’t care that much anymore? If so, it’s an incredibly stupid decision on his part to let himself and his talent down like that. Anyone who places international football over club football should be dealt a severe blow to the head.

    That being said, I have complete faith in Rossi rebounding back from the injury. When most people talk about his glittering run at Parma, they don’t really care to remember that he was lambasted for not scoring goals after his brilliant debut. He responded to the pressure very well (I daresay) and ended up having the last laugh. But if you want evidence of what Rossi can do with a little focus, then rewind to the latest installation of the Atletico de Madrid – Villarreal saga. He was simply stunning in that game and really showcased his versatility as a playmaker when most think of him as a pure goalscorer. Or watch his goal against Real Madrid, which is pure class and involves him beating Fabio Cannavaro, of all defenders!

    Of course, what else should we expect when the concept of a fantasista or trequartista is almost purely Italian by design? Sorry, I couldn’t resist….

    You’re also absolutely right in saying that Altidore’s size and pace would be much more of an advantage in the Premier League or Bundesliga. But that’s precisely why he shouldn’t go to either of those two leagues. One of the problems with Altidore is that he is not quite sound technically, so going to highly technical leagues like La Liga or Serie A would be better in terms of development if not immediately better in terms of success. At this point in Altidore’s progression, he should be focusing on mitigating his weaknesses rather than relying on his strengths.

    That is all.


  • Mig

    Disbeliever, good analysis. I look forward to catching some more of Rossi next season when he is (presumably) fully fit.

    You have an interesting take on Altidore. I like the concept of learning the technical aspects better and I absolutely agree that La Liga (or even France) would be beftter for that purpose. I worry about playing time though at bigger Spanish clubs. A mid- or lower-table team might be preferable.



  • Disbeliever

    I think that if Altidore does indeed transfer into a (relatively) major Spanish club, he’ll most likely be loaned out to places like Real Murcia or Real Zaragoza to see if he can force his way into the starting line-up there. Now, mind you, I have little knowledge of the depth charts at the places that I have mentioned but all I’m saying is that he may indeed see playing time if he impresses for lower level clubs. But who knows, Villarreal also has a B team that plays in a lower division, so he may end up there… but I think that would be a step down for Jozy.

    Wow, I think I’ve talked more about Rossi today than I have in months… but he is a huge talent that often takes a slagging around here IMO because of petty grievances (but you had a valid criticism, Mig, so you’re off the hook!)and so I felt that I had to stand up for the old boy.

    I’m totally with you in hoping that he can recover sufficiently from his injuries and general end-of-season malaise to recapture sparkling form because, though he is well on his way to being a world class supporting striker (said to have Antonio Cassano’s talent without his nuttiness), he’s also got a lot to prove.

    I know that Rossi’s career path will almost certainly take him to AC Milan at some point (being a Milanista himself), but I also think that he’ll stick around at Villarreal for a couple of seasons yet… he does want Champions League football, after all :) What do you think, Mig, about Rossi’s transfer prospects? I wonder what’s he worth right now, considering he was signed for around $13 million….


  • Mig

    Yeah, leaving Villareal now would be a poor move considering the ascendent club and CL next season.

    So, right now if he WAS to be sold…and I’m basing this on what people are saying about him and on his stats…you’d have to find a comparison player that transferred this year.

    So we have a support striker or CAM that can score a goal every other game (right now). Highly touted and only 19 years old. Hmmmmm.

    Man U payed £29M ($52M at time) for Shrek (Rooney) but that was kinda out of line. Aguero from Atletico Madrid is rumored to be going for a lot more than that but he being touted as the next coming of Christ or Maradona.

    So for Rossi, I’ll put his worth at maybe $30M (a bit than double his purchase 18 months ago). Half as good as Rooney? Sure….maybe better than that. However, if he improves a bit, stays healthy, sees time with Italy in the next year and 1/2, then I think his transfer price goes right to $60.

    Lots of guesswork in that though. Can you think of better comparative players that have hit the transfer market in the last year or two?


  • Disbeliever

    I honestly can’t think of many supporting strikers with Rossi’s upside and talent being talked about right now.

    Sergio Aguero’s fee was ridiculous, but it was inflated by a transcendent showing at the U20 Youth World Cup and can be considered somewhat justified. He does look likely to pan out as a Maradona contender, but so did Tevez at one point and I’m not gonna go into the whole Messi vs Aguero debate right now. Too early in the day.

    But wait, I thought Aguero had pledged his loyalty to Atleti recently? I don’t think he’s on the market, especially if they end up in the Champions League.

    So, I don’t really know. I really like the idea that Rossi’s value has doubled (and unlike some other huge transfer fees, I think Rossi’s play merits every penny), but it’s all guesswork at this point because we don’t really have an out of work player to compare him with, lol. I’m just having a massive brain fart today, I suppose.

    You seem like a very knowledgeable person, so I’m wondering: what’s your general impression of Rossi as a player? What about Altidore as well? Unfortunately, I haven’t seen enough of the latter to really comment without it being hearsay.

    Thanks for your intelligent responses!


  • Ted

    Neven Subotic can never play for Germany, period.


    That article came out in November. It talks of him being denied German citizenship in November.

    FIFA rules state that after playing in youth national team matches, you can only switch your allegiance to a nationality you had before playing in those youth matches. At that time, he had two, the U.S. and B&H. Because he didn’t have German citizenship at the time of those matches, he can’t play for Germany.

    Now, the B&H situation is tricky because of all the political and ethnic issues over there, so I wouldn’t doubt that he has had Serbian citizenship since Yugoslavia folded, but according to FIFA rules, Germany isn’t an option.


  • todd11

    Subotic does NOT have a German passport. I have a season ticket here to Mainz 05 games. The issue was settled last year…do a search of the Kicker website, there was an article about just this fact. The Germans were dying to get him into their national team programs, but his lack of a passport makes it impossible. His choices are the US or Bosnia—and apparently a couple other of the former Yugo countries.


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