Borussia Dortmund has one of the world's up-and-coming stars in its grasp, and the defending Bundesliga champions aren't planning on letting him go.
Dortmund plans to keep 19-year-old playmaker Mario Goetze for at least another season despite major transfer interest, the club's sporting director said to German media. Goetze's current contract lasts through 2014, and he has found his way to the wishlist of big clubs across Europe.
Goetze has scored five goals this season, and his combination of pace, vision and skill have made him one of the world's brightest young players. He was voted as Europe's best Under-21 player last year, becoming the first German to win the Golden Boy award since its inception in 2003.
Here are a few more stories to get your Wednesday going:
MESSI, VALDES OUT FOR BARCELONA
Barcelona's quest for more even more silverware continues on Wednesday, but the club will be without two of its starters — and the world's best player — as it tries to take make headway in the Copa del Rey.
Flulike symptoms will keep Lionel Messi and goalkeeper Victor Valdes from playing in the first leg of Barcelona's Round of 16 bout with Osasuna.
The match is the home leg for Barcelona, which would face a quarterfinal clash with Real Madrid if both make it past this round. Madrid did its part Tuesday with a first-leg, 3-2 victory over Malaga.
NEYMAR'S SALARY FORCES SANTOS TO MAKE CUTS
Brazilian star Neymar has been quite the asset for Santos, which won the Copa Libertadores and earned a place at the FIFA Club World Cup while riding the 19-year-old forward.
As it turns out, he comes at quite a cost.
Santos has been forced to shut down its women's team and futsal team in order to afford Neymar's wages, according to Spanish outlet Marca. The club has repeatedly turned away suitors such as Barcelona and Real Madrid for Neymar's services, insisting that it plans to keep him for the duration of his contract, which runs through the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Neymar makes around a reported $20 million a year in both wages and sponsorship deals.
WALES TO PLAY SPEED MEMORIAL
Wales' friendly against Costa Rica on Feb. 29 will double as a Gary Speed memorial match, the Welsh FA announced on Wednedsay.
The match will be Wales' first since Speed's death in November and it has added significance — it was against Costa Rica that Speed earned his first cap back in 1990. Speed went on to appear for Wales 84 more times before becoming manager in 2010.
"This will be an opportunity to celebrate the life and achievements of a great servant to Welsh football both as a player and as a manager," the Welsh FA said in a statement.
Think Dortmund's is doing the right thing by holding on to Goetze? Do you see Barcelona having any problems without Messi and Valdes? What do you make of Santos' sacrifice?
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