Wednesday Kickoff: Muamba retires, Grella scores in Capital One Cup & more

Wednesday Kickoff: Muamba retires, Grella scores in Capital One Cup & more

International Soccer

Wednesday Kickoff: Muamba retires, Grella scores in Capital One Cup & more

Muamba (Getty Images)

That Fabrice Muamba is alive is a miracle in itself, considering that his heart stopped for 78 minutes after he collapsed during a match against Tottenham in March. The Muamba miracle will not, however, include a return to the playing field.

Muamba announced his retirement from professional soccer Wednesday, citing a recent visit with a cardiologist that dissuaded him from attempting to continue his career. In a statement on Bolton's website, Muamba wrote:

"Since suffering my heart attack and being discharged from hospital, I have remained utterly positive in the belief I could one day resume my playing career and play for Bolton Wanderers once again. As part of my on-going recovery, last week I travelled to Belgium to seek further medical advice from a leading cardiologist. But the news I received was obviously not what I had hoped it would be and it means I am now announcing my retirement from professional football.

“Football has been my life since I was a teenage boy and it has given me so many opportunities. Above all else, I love the game and count myself very lucky to have been able to play at the highest level. While the news is devastating, I have much to be thankful for. I thank God that I am alive, and I pay tribute once again to the members of the medical team who never gave up on me."

Muamba, 24, moved to Bolton in 2008 following a youth career in Arsenal's system and a couple of seasons at Birmingham City. He also represented England on multiple youth levels but was never capped by the senior team.

Here are a few more stories to get your day going:

GRELLA SCORES, PACKWOOD DEBUTS IN CAPITAL ONE CUP

A pair of Americans left their marks on the opening round of the Capital One Cup (formerly the Carling Cup) in helping their teams to victory.

Former Duke striker Mike Grella marked his first match with Scunthorpe United with a goal that helped spark a wild comeback in a 5-5 draw with Derby County that Scunthorpe won in penalties. The League One side faced deficits of 3-0 and 4-1 but came back with a furious rally before winning the shootout. Young American striker Conor Doyle was on the bench for Derby County but did not see any time.

Birmingham City also advanced with a 5-1 win over Barnet that marked the professional debut of U.S. U-20 midfielder William Packwood. He started and played 75 minutes before exiting with an undisclosed injury.

PORTSMOUTH NEARS LIQUIDATION

Portsmouth is edging closer to the brink of liquidation.

With the club's former owner seemingly on the verge of a takeover that would have prolonged the club's survival, Balu Chinrai withdrew his bid to buy the club, citing a clash with the club's administrator, negative fan support of the prospective takeover and new claims of owed money, among other reasons.

Financially strapped for the last few years after going into administration twice, Portsmouth had hope that Chinrai would carry the organization from the depths, but instead it appears as if liquidation is the next step in a sad saga.

MARADONA EYES CHINA

Diego Maradona's next career stop may very well be in China.

While in China on a charity trip, Maradona expressed his wishes to coach in the country, reportedly telling media members at a news conference that, "I would like to coach in China. I wish to contribute to the development of China's youth soccer."

Should Maradona wind up there, he would be the latest big-name coach to make the move, joining fellow Argentine Sergio Batista and former Italy coach Marcello Lippi.

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What do you think of Muamba's retirement? Happy to see some early contributions from other Americans abroad? What do you make of Portsmouth's situation? Hope to see Maradona wind up in China?

Share your thoughts below.

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