Friday Kickoff: Calls increase to halt Confederations Cup amid Brazil protests; Higuain closing in on Arsenal move; & more

Friday Kickoff: Calls increase to halt Confederations Cup amid Brazil protests; Higuain closing in on Arsenal move; & more

South American Soccer

Friday Kickoff: Calls increase to halt Confederations Cup amid Brazil protests; Higuain closing in on Arsenal move; & more

BrazilProtestsRiodeJaneiro (EPA)

By DAN KARELL

Rioting in Brazil during the Confederations Cup has hit a boiling point, as the first fatality, an 18-year-old boy hit by a car, was confirmed on Friday.

The ongoing rioting and civil unrest has much of the local media reporting that FIFA could be considering either canceling the tournament all together, or even more stunning, sending next year’s World Cup to the United States or Italy, where infrastructure and stadiums are already in place to hold a massive tournament like the World Cup.

FIFA have unequivocally denied any reports of canceling the tournament, but it’s not just Brazilian media that are asking for a stop to the games. The Italian National Team, and another un-named team have reportedly requested their federation to ask that the tournament be stopped because they fear for their family’s safety while in Brazil.

This comes a day after reports in Recife stated that a number of Spain National Team players had personal belongings and money stolen from their hotel rooms.

Here are some more stories to get your Friday started:

HIGUAIN AGREES PERSONAL TERMS WITH ARSENAL, NEARS TRANSFER

Arsenal Chief Executive Officer Ivan Gazidis wasn’t kidding when he said that Arsenal have money to spent.

The Gunners are inching closer to breaking their transfer fee and wage record as they near a deal for Real Madrid forward Gonzalo Higuain. Reports out of England state that Higuain agreed personal terms with Arsenal on Thursday to the tune of nearly $200,000 per week.

Currently, Arsenal’s highest wage earners are that of Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski, but Higuain would become the side’s top earner if he made the move to the Emirates Stadium. Arsene Wenger isn’t done yet, as rumors continue to name Wayne Rooney and Marouane Fellaini as potential targets for the club this summer.

UNITED NEARING THIAGO DEAL

Higuain isn’t the only La Liga player making a move to one of the big four clubs this summer.

Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara, fresh off a stellar performance at the UEFA Euro Under-21 tournament, where he scored a hat trick for Spain in a 4-2 victory over Italy in the final, is edging closer to moving to Manchester United.

The son of Brazilian World Cup winner Mazinho has agreed a contract of more than $7 million per year according to reports in England, and could make his $26 million move to Old Trafford by this weekend.

Thiago played 36 times in all competitions last season for Barcelona, but many of those appearances were off the bench. The 23-year-old added three goals in those appearances as well.

BUNDESLIGA ANNOUNCE LEAGUE FIXTURES FOR NEXT SEASON

Mark off the weekend of November 22-24 and April 11-13, 2014, and make sure you are free.

The Bundesliga fixture list was announced on Friday morning, and both of those weekends are the upcoming league installments of what’s will be a re-match of the Champions League Final: Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund.

Bayern will open the season on August 9 against Borussia Mönchengladbach, with the season coming to a close on May 10, just under one month before the start of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Other games to keep an eye out for will be the FC Schalke and Dortmund derby, the Eintracht Frankfurt and FSV Mainz matches, and Hertha Berlin’s home opener after a return to the Bundesliga on August 10/11.

QUICK KICKS

Andrea Pirlo has been ruled out of Italy’s final Confederations Cup group stage match against Brazil due to a leg injury. (REPORT)

Chelsea FC have signed a ten-year contract extension with Adidas to be their official kit supplier. (REPORT)

David Luiz will have nose surgery after the Confederations Cup after breaking it in Brazil’s victory over Mexico. (REPORT)

Argentine center back Lisandro Lopez is nearing a move from Arsenal de Sarandi to Benfica. (REPORT)

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What do you make of these reports? Do you see the Confederations Cup being cancelled? Think FIFA would consider moving next year’s World Cup? Which Bundesliga fixtures are you most looking forward to.

Share your thoughts below

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