Monday Kickoff: Totti talks up Roma title chances; Riquelme resumes training; and more

Monday Kickoff: Totti talks up Roma title chances; Riquelme resumes training; and more

South American Soccer

Monday Kickoff: Totti talks up Roma title chances; Riquelme resumes training; and more

FrancescoTottiASRoma1-Genoa2014 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

AS Roma may be five points behind Juventus, but that’s not letting club legend Francesco Totti dream of winning the Scudetto.

While Juventus slipped up last Saturday with a 1-1 draw at Lazio, Roma secured a crucial road win against top-six side Hellas Verona, winning 3-1. Totti, who scored a penalty kick in the 82nd minute to ensure victory, believes that the performance proves Roma’s title credentials.

“We have proven to be worthy of Juve,” the Roma captain told Sky Italia. “After the half slip Juventus last night, today we showed we can fight on par with the Italian champions by winning the league.”

Juventus goalkeeper and captain Gianluigi Buffon played down Totti’s comments, saying that his club aren’t worried despite Roma moving “a little closer” in the standings.

Next up for Roma is a home match against Parma while Juventus host Inter Milan next Sunday.

Here are some more stories to start your Monday:

RIQUELME BACK IN BOCA FULL TRAINING

There was a familiar face among the Boca Juniors squad on Sunday.

For the first time since suffering a hamstring injury last November, Boca captain Juan Roman Riquelme joined the first team in training as they continue their preseason training. The 35-year-old had recently been training individually as he healed the hamstring.

Boca head coach Carlos Bianchi, the man who brought Riquelme back to the club 12 months ago, said that he will assess Riquelme’s fitness levels this week before deciding whether he’ll play in the final SuperClasico friendly installment of the Argentine summer break. That game is set to take place on Saturday in Mendoza, Argentina.

Unfortunately for Boca and Riquelme, the club won’t be taking part in the Copa Libertadores this spring.

DORTMUND LOSE SECOND STARTER TO TORN ACL

Borussia Dortmund’s injury-ravaged campaign took another hit on Saturday.

In the club’s first game back from the winter break, Dortmund could only draw with FC Augsburg and also lost Jakub “Kuba” Blaszczykowski for the rest of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. The Polish right winger joins centerback Neven Subotic as two Dortmund starters out of the season.

“We’ve only got bad news,” Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp told reporters following the match. “For us this is a disaster, but more importantly it’s terrible for Kuba.”

Blaszczykowski is expected to miss the next six to nine months while he rehabs from the injury. Klopp is considering changing his transfer policy and signing a new player in January as cover for the injury.

QUICK KICKS

Manchester United completed the signing of Juan Mata on Saturday for a club record fee of £37.1 million ($61.4 million). (REPORT)

Just before selling Mata to Man United, Chelsea agreed personal terms and signed Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah from FC Basel for a reported £11 million ($18.2 million) to a five and a half year contract. (REPORT)

Leighton Baines has turned down any interest from outside of Everton by signing a new three and a half year contract. (REPORT)

Chelsea have also allowed midfielder Michael Essien to leave the club again, signing a year and a half deal with AC Milan. (REPORT)

Newcastle have turned down a bid from Paris Saint-Germain for midfielder Yohan Cabaye. (REPORT)

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What do you think of this news? Like Roma’s title chances? Glad to see Riquelme back in full training? Do you see Dortmund signing a new player this month?

Share your thoughts below.

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