Thursday Kickoff: Real Madrid under investigation; Ibra urges Rooney to join PSG; and more

Thursday Kickoff: Real Madrid under investigation; Ibra urges Rooney to join PSG; and more

South American Soccer

Thursday Kickoff: Real Madrid under investigation; Ibra urges Rooney to join PSG; and more

EstadioSantiagoBernabeu (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Real Madrid’s 3-0 win on Wednesday over Galatasaray should give them breathing room in their quest for a Champions League title, but news of an EU investigation has taken the wind right out of the club.

The European Commission is investigating the club for accepting illegal state aid, according to a report in The Independent. The report states that Real Madrid benefited from a land swap with the city council in 1996, and now that the club wants to develop the Santiago Bernabeu, authorities have looked over the numbers and found inconsistencies.

According to the report, the property Real Madrid gained in the land swap has increased in value from €421,000 in 1996 to €22.7 million 2011. The club have defended themselves, saying that they’ve conducted all dealings with the city council in public.

Numerous Spanish clubs have been in financial trouble the past few seasons, most notably Valencia, who defaulted on a bank loan in January, and Malaga, who has been suspended from European competition next season.

Here are some more stories to get your Thursday started:

IBRAHIMOVIC URGES ROONEY TO JOIN HIM

Following news of Paris Saint-Germain President Nasser Al-Khelaifi’s interest in Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has chimed in as well.

The Swedish international said on Wednesday that he believes if Rooney ever does leave United, PSG should be his only destination. Ibrahimovic also played to the English international’s ego, calling him one of the top ten strikers on the European continent.

“If he wants to be part of the best project in football, then there is only one club to sign for,” Ibrahimovic told Sky Sports.

PSG currently sit in first place in Ligue 1, seven points ahead of second-place Marseille with eight matches remaining. Since taking over 2011, Al Khelaifi and his Qatari based investment group have spent over €250 million transfers to improve the squad.

XOLOS SEALS PLACE IN KNOCKOUT STAGES

Club Tijuana have continued their incredible run the past couple of seasons by making the knockout stages of the Copa Libertadores for the first time in club history.

On Wednesday, Xolos tied Bolivian club San Jose 1-1 in the mountains of Ororu, but the draw was enough along with a Corinthians win to confirm a place in the next round. Fidel Martinez scored the first goal of the match for Tijuana when he chipped the keeper to himself, before heading in from two feet away in the 66th minute.

San Jose came back to score in the 81st minute, with Marcelo Gomes finishing a beautiful passing sequence with a blast into the net to tie the match. The draw though has condemned the Bolivian side to finish their Copa Libertadores run in the group stages.

Across the continent, Corinthians of Brazil defeated Colombian club Millonarios 1-0, putting the defending champions into the knockout stages as well. Argentine giants Boca Juniors defeated Barcelona of Ecuador 1-0 and Chilean side Huachipato defeated Caracas of Venezuela 4-0 on the road. Ronaldinho scored twice and assisted on one in Atletico Mineiro’s 5-2 win over Arsenal de Sarandi of Argentina that was marred by Arsenal players fighting police on the field.

QUICK KICKS

Diego Milito has returned to light training for Inter Milan earlier than expected. (REPORT)

Hannover defender Johan Djourou wants to make his loan deal from Arsenal permanent. (REPORT)

AS Roma President James Pallotta is looking for a €75 million investment in the club from sponsors or outside sources. (REPORT)

Borussia Dortmund forward Robert Lewandowski has been told he must sort out his future by May. (REPORT)

AC Milan forward Mario Balotelli has been included as a member of Time magazine’s prestigious 100 most influential people of 2012. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you see Real Madrid being punished under financial fair play rules? Do you see Rooney playing alongside Ibrahimovic? Do you believe Balotelli was one of the 100 most influential people of the past year?

Share your thoughts below.

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