By DAN KARELL
The 2013/2014 season could be the end of an era for one of the greatest Italian soccer players of all time.
AS Roma forward Francesco Totti just completed 20 years in professional soccer this past spring, all of them with his boyhood club Roma, but at a press conference unveiling this season’s kit, Totti hinted that this season could be his last.
“I’ve warn a lot (of Roma kits), but this will be my last,” Totti said to Gazzetta dello Sport.
Totti’s contract ends at the end of the upcoming season, and while he has previously said he wants to extend his contract through 2016, negotiations on both sides have ground to a halt. The 36-year-old has previously stated his desire to retire in the Roma colors, but didn’t know how much longer he would be playing.
The former Italy international had another fine season personally at Roma, despite the side finishing in seventh place and outside of European competition for a second season in a row. Totti scored 12 goals and lead the team with 12 assists in 33 Serie A matches last season.
Here are some more stories to get your Thursday started:
GUARDIOLA ENTERS RACE FOR THIAGO
With Manchester United struggling to complete a deal for Barcelona and Spain Under-21 midfielder Thiago Alcantara, Bayern Munich could be poised to snap up the youngster right out of David Moyes’ grasp.
The German club was reported recently to have been interested in signing Thiago, and at a press conference on Thursday, Bayern manager Pep Guardiola went public with his interest in his former player.
“I would like Thiago to come here,” Guardiola said to AS. “I have asked the club to sign him but there is nothing new to report on the negotiations. We will see what happens.”
Convinced that the son of Bebeto wants to leave Barcelona due to lack of playing time, Guardiola is seemingly happy with the squad he’s put together, which includes new signings Mario Götze and Jan Kirchhoff.
SANTOS RECEIVE LITTLE OF NEYMAR FEE BECAUSE OF THIRD-PARTY OWNERSHIP
On it’s face, Barcelona acquisition Neymar’s €57 million ($74.4 million) transfer fee is an exorbitant sum, one that a receiving club would be hard pressed to turn down.
However, thanks to third-party ownership running the gamut in South America, Neymar’s former club Santos will receive little of that money. According to reports, due to selling off parts of Neymar over the last few years, Santos received just €9.35 million ($12.2 million) of the transfer fee.
The transfer becomes more confusing here, as it is being reported that Barcelona paid just €17 million to be divided up between Santos, DIS, who owned 40 percent of Neymar, and Tesia, who owned five percent of the 21-year-old forward. The rest of the money, €40 million, went to Neymar’s father.
One of the clauses revealed in Neymar’s transfer to Barcelona is that if he is a finalist for the Ballon D’or, Barcelona will be on the hook for another €2 million.
ATLETICO MINEIRO THROUGH TO FINAL OF COPA LIBERTADORES
Down two goals on aggregate, Brazilian club Atletico Mineiro needed a superb performance at home on Wednesday to have a chance to go through to the final of the Copa Libertadores.
For the second time in as many rounds, O Galo clawed back victory from the jaws of defeat, scoring once in both halves and winning a penalty shootout, with goalkeeper Victor making the game-winning save to win the tie on penalty kicks, 2-2 (3-2), against Argentine side Newell’s Old Boys.
Returned from his stay with the Brazilian National Team, Mineiro forward Bernard opened up the scoring in the third minute, taking a wonderful through ball from Ronaldinho and finishing with the first touch of his left foot.
A power failure in the second half gave Mineiro time to regroup and find one more goal to draw level on aggregate. A poor clearance from Newell’s found its way to Guilherme, who smashed home on the half-volley to send the home crowd into ecstasy. Into penalty kicks the two sides went, with both sides missing the goal entirely on multiple spot kicks.
Ronaldinho buried his attempt with confidence, and Victor dove to his left to deny Maxi Rodriguez to earn a place in the final, where they’ll face Paraguayan side Olimpia.
A day after their head coach, Paulo Autuori, resigned from the club, Vasco da Gama in Brazil’s Serie A have appointed Dorival Junior to be their manager for the second time. (REPORT)
Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic will miss the opening of Manchester United’s pre-season tour of Asia due to sciatica. (REPORT)
Canadian National Team member Simeon Jackson left the squad this week to sign a contract with Eintracht Braunschweig. (REPORT)
Portugal Under-20 winger Bruma didn’t show up to training on Thursday with Sporting Lisbon, reportedly demanding a transfer away to Porto or Chelsea. (REPORT)
What do you think of these reports? Do you believe this is Totti’s final season? Do you see Thiago receiving playing time at Bayern? Surprised at the Neymar transfer figures?
Share your thoughts below.