Friday Kickoff: Luiz reveals Barca rejection; Lambert to start vs. Moldova; and more

Friday Kickoff: Luiz reveals Barca rejection; Lambert to start vs. Moldova; and more

South American Soccer

Friday Kickoff: Luiz reveals Barca rejection; Lambert to start vs. Moldova; and more

DavidLuizChelsea1-AstonVilla (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

All summer long, Barcelona were looking to sign a new central defender, as club legend Carles Puyol grows older and more fragile.

The club were reported to have made an offer to sign Chelsea defender David Luiz among others, and according to Luiz himself, the offer was made but he rejected it to stay at Stamford Bridge.

“An official offer was made, but I decided to stay at Chelsea,” Luiz said in a statement in Gazeta Sportiva. “I am happy to be playing in a great club as well as the national team, representing my country.”

In the last six months, Luiz has shredded the prior label of being a poor defender, emerging as if from a cocoon to become one of the most sought after defenders in the transfer market, as well as one half of arguably the best all-around defender duo in the world with the Brazilian National Team, alongside Thiago Silva.

Luiz and Silva partnered together in all five matches at the Confederations Cup as Brazil won the title this summer for the third time consecutively. However, since then, he’s only featured once for Chelsea, in the UEFA Super Cup defeat to Bayern Munich.

Here are some more stories to start your Friday:

INJURIES PUT LAMBERT INTO ENGLAND STARTING XI

Just weeks after making his England debut, Rickie Lambert will be thrust into the spotlight once more at Wembley Stadium, where he’ll start in his competitive debut for his country against Moldova on Friday.

Injuries to Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge have revealed the thin nature of England’s forwards, with Lambert the latest to step up and into a role he’s never had before. According to reports in England, Lambert will have Theo Walcott on his right and Danny Welbeck on his left in a front three.

Lambert received a dream debut on August 14, scoring the game-winning goal on a header from a corner kick to give England a 3-2 victory against Scotland.

Tottenham striker Jermaine Defoe remains an option on the bench as well.

ABIDAL CLAIMS TO HAVE NOT BEEN PAID BY BARCA WHEN ILL

Eric Abidal, in an interview with French publication L’Equipe, has made some harsh allegations at the FC Barcelona front office.

According to Abidal, during the time that he was sick and needed a liver transplant, the club stopped paying his contract. The club has since denied the allegations, but Abidal claims that it’s one of the reasons he left the club this summer, before signing for AS Monaco and returning to full fitness.

“It wasn’t even a question of money,” Abidal said in the interview. “The proof being that all the months I was ill, the club didn’t pay me. Now I’m lucky to have the trust of the Monaco coach and president. Knock on wood, everything’s fine. But it’s true that there was a time when I doubted myself.”

Abidal has started and went the full 90 minutes in all four of Monaco’s games so far this season, and is likely to start for France on Friday when they face Georgia.

QUICK KICKS

Real Madrid closed the fiscal 2012/2013 year with more than €520 million in revenue, thus becoming the first club to accrue more than €500 million in one year. (REPORT)

New Manchester City signing Martin Demichelis has been ruled out for six weeks after suffering a knee ligament injury. (REPORT)

Spain winger Isco has pulled out of the squad after ankle problems have kept him off the field. (REPORT)

Portuguese winger Nani has signed a new five-year contract at Manchester United. (REPORT)

The son of Marseille Sporting Director Jose Anigo was shot dead as he was getting out of his car on Friday. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you agree with Luiz’s decision? Do you see Lambert scoring again for England? Do you believe Abidal’s claims?

Share your thoughts below.

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