Friday Kickoff: Blatter slams divers; Mourinho rules out Higuain signing; and more

Friday Kickoff: Blatter slams divers; Mourinho rules out Higuain signing; and more

South American Soccer

Friday Kickoff: Blatter slams divers; Mourinho rules out Higuain signing; and more

SeppBlatterFIFA5 (Marca)

By DAN KARELL

Sepp Blatter wants diving out of soccer, and he’s willing to create new rules to combat it.

The FIFA President addressed the occurrence of diving and simulation in his column in the latest “FIFA Weekly,” calling it “deeply irritating” and saying he is willing to allow referees more freedom to keep divers off the field once the medical team moves them out of bounds.

“I find (diving) deeply irritating, especially when the (supposedly) half-dead player comes back to life as soon as they have left the pitch,” Blatter wrote. “The touch-line appears to have acquired powers of revival which even leading medical specialists cannot explain.

In the column, Blatter calls for a hockey style penalty box punishment that would keep a diver off the field for an undetermined amount of time, or in Blatter’s words, to “make the player wait until the numerical disadvantage has had an effect on the game.”

Here are some more stories to kick off your Friday:

MOURINHO DENIES CLAIMS OF SIGNING HIGUAIN

Chelsea may have some work to do in the January transfer market, but one player that won’t be coming in is Napoli forward Gonzalo Higuain.

With Chelsea’s current crop of forwards struggling, many have looked for the former Real Madrid forward to link up again with his former boss Jose Mourinho. However, on Friday Mourinho denied that Higuain would be coming to Stamford Bridge.

“Nothing is true. He is a player that I know we cannot get,” Mourinho told reporters at a press conference. “He moved from Real Madrid to Napoli six months ago and he’s doing very well, he’s adapting very well to Italy. Napoli is a club which normally doesn’t sell. In the last (few) years, they sold one player a year, when they felt it was not possible to keep them.

“They want to win the Scudetto, they want to win the Europa League. I don’t believe they’re interested in selling Higuain.”

Mourinho also said that he won’t be selling fan favorite Juan Mata in January, saying that the midfielder is focused in training.

 

QUICK KICKS

13,200 fans attended Barcelona’s training today to witness Lionel Messi return from injury after 54 days. (REPORT)

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has denied that the club will make a bid for Fulham forward Dimitar Berbatov, despite speculation increasing that Arsenal will sign a striker in January. (REPORT)

Real Madrid defeated Paris Saint-Germain, 1-0, in a midseason friendly match in Doha, Qatar. (REPORT)

Former Brazil national team starter Lucio has decided to cancel his contract with Sao Paulo and is likely heading to Palmeiras. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Like Blatter’s idea? Think that referees might adopt it? Do you see Chelsea selling Mata or signing another forward?

Share your thoughts below.

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