Friday Kickoff: Aguero ruled out; Messi due in court on Friday; and more

Friday Kickoff: Aguero ruled out; Messi due in court on Friday; and more

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Friday Kickoff: Aguero ruled out; Messi due in court on Friday; and more

SergioAgueroManchesterCity1-ManUnited (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Manchester City will be without one of their key forwards when they face Aston Villa on Saturday.

Club manager Manuel Pellegrini said in his pre-match press conference on Friday that Sergio Aguero is carrying a knock, and that even though it’s not serious, he won’t be available for selection on Saturday. The Argentine striker has scored three goals in his last two games, including a brace against Manchester United in Man City’s 4-1 derby victory last Sunday.

“Aguero finished the last derby in the last play with a small pain, I think it was nothing important but I think it was a risk for him to play three games in the same week,” Pellegrini said in the press conference. “We will leave him for next Wednesday but he will be absolutely fine.”

Pellegrini’s approach seems to be smart towards Aguero to not overuse the 25-year-old. Last season, Aguero started in just 22 Premier League matches as he suffered from a myriad of injuries throughout the season, though he still found a way to score 17 goals in all competitions. After Saturday, Man City hosts Bayern Munich on Wednesday in the UEFA Champions League.

Here are some more stories to start your Friday:

MESSI TO APPEAR IN COURT ON FRIDAY

Lionel Messi and his father will appear in Catalonia court on Friday to hear charges of tax fraud.

The two are alleged to have not paid their full taxes (€4.2 million/$5.7 million) on the income received by Messi for a number of endorsements that he receives, allegedly hiding the money in businesses in the Great Britain, Uruguay, Belize, and Switzerland.

Messi and his father have repeatedly denied the charges from the Spanish authorities, saying that they were surprised at the news that they had been charged by the government. The two paid a sum of €5 million earlier this summer to the Spanish courts, though the court case has still gone ahead.

MAN UNITED INTERESTED IN PORTO DEFENDER

As Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic continue to grow older, the Manchester United hierarchy are looking at some younger centerback options to eventually replace the veteran duo.

The latest reports in England have linked Man United with FC Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala, a 22-year-old French international who has been in Portugal since 2011. The 6’2” centerback has become one of the most sought defenders in Europe, but the current buyout clause in his contract is €45 million ($60.1 million), making a transfer to Man United pretty difficult at this price.

Mangala, who was born in France but grew up in Belgium, came through the youth ranks at Standard Liege, becoming professional in 2008. This past summer, AS Monaco was interested in signing Mangala, but they didn’t value him at the posted buyout price.

QUICK KICKS

Lucas Leiva has earned a recall to the Brazilian National Team for friendly matches in October against South Korea and Zambia. (REPORT)

Barcelona captain Carles Puyol has passed a final fitness test on his recovery from a serious knee injury that has kept him out for the past six months. (REPORT)

Barnsley have acquired England international goalkeeper Jack Butland on a three-month loan from Stoke City. (REPORT)

Reports in Belgium state that PSV Eindhoven’s 17-year-old wonderkid Zakaria Bakkali will pledge his international future to Belgium instead of Morocco. (REPORT)

Chelsea forward Samuel Eto’o has been called up for Cameroon’s World Cup qualifying match next month despite reports of him retiring from international play after their last match. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you see Man City missing Aguero on Saturday? Do you see Messi’s tax fraud case continuing? Do you hope that Man United sign Mangala?

Share your thoughts below.

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