Friday Kickoff: Blatter considers seeking a fifth term; Vidic confirms Man United departure; and more

Friday Kickoff: Blatter considers seeking a fifth term; Vidic confirms Man United departure; and more

European Soccer

Friday Kickoff: Blatter considers seeking a fifth term; Vidic confirms Man United departure; and more

SeppBlatterFIFA8 (Reuters)

By DAN KARELL

Even at 77 years old, Sepp Blatter still thinks he has enough strength to remain FIFA President.

Speaking to a Swiss radio station RTS, Blatter hinted again that he was considering running for a fifth term as FIFA president when his current term ends in 2015. Blatter succeeded Brazilian Joao Havelange in 1998 and was re-elected again in 2002, 2007, and 2011.

“I’m in good health and I don’t see why I should now think about stopping the work, about the consolidation of FIFA,” Blatter told RTS on Friday. “If the member associations ask me to be a candidate, I would not say no.”

“There are lots of people who say it’s necessary to carry on, the continuation is necessary, it’s not necessary to stop,” Blatter added.

After a controversial election in 2011, which saw his opponent Mohammed bin Hammam banned for life after an investigation into alleged bribery force him out of the race, Blatter promised that he wouldn’t run again 2015, though it seems he’s close to changing his mind.

Here are some more stories to start your Friday:

VIDIC CONFIRMS SUMMER MAN UNITED EXIT

Manchester United will be missing a familiar face next season.

Defender Nemanja Vidic confirmed on the club’s website that he will be leaving when his contract expires this summer, ending a period of eight years at Man United. Vidic joined as a 24-year-old back in January 2006, and went on to form a strong defensive partnership with Rio Ferdinand.

“It’s the last year of my contract and I have had eight wonderful years here,” Vidic said on Man United’s website. “My time at this great club will always rank as the best years of my career. I never could have imagined winning 15 trophies and I will certainly never forget that fantastic night in Moscow, memories that will live with me and the fans forever. However, I have decided that I will move on at the end of this season. I want to challenge myself again and try to make the best of myself in the coming years.

“I’m not considering staying in England as the only club I ever wanted to play for here is Manchester United and I was lucky enough to be part of this club for so many years. I’ve got a few options to move on and I will choose the right one for me and for my family.

“I am now going to focus all my efforts on playing for Manchester United and do the best I can for the team until the end of the season. I hope this stops any further speculation about my future.”

Vidic will finish his Man United career with more than 200 English Premier League appearances, 50 UEFA Champions League appearances, and the aforementioned 15 titles. As was reported on Thursday, multiple clubs in Serie A are interested in signing the 32-year-old Serbian international.

KAKA SUFFERING FROM ILLNESS

AC Milan are likely to be without one of their key players on Saturday when they visit Napoli.

Brazilian midfielder Kaka has missed the last three days of training with AC Milan with illness, leaving his fitness in doubt for the high-profile Serie A match. Multiple reports in Italy speculate that new signings Michael Essien or Adel Taarabt could make their debuts against Rafael Benitez’s side.

Kaka has scored five goals in 16 games with Milan this season, who have struggled mightily this season and sit in tenth place in Serie A with 29 points, a full 30 points behind leaders Juventus.

QUICK KICKS

Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery underwent surgery for a burst blood vessel in his bottom that was affecting a nerve. (REPORT)

Despite playing only three times this season for Fiorentina this season due to injury, Mario Gomez could make his return next Tuesday in a Coppa Italia second-leg match against Udinese. (REPORT)

Ajax manager Frank De Boer admits that he’d like to manage Tottenham or Liverpool some day. (REPORT)

Argentine club Lanus defeated Venezuela’s Caracas, 1-0, to qualify for the group stage in the Copa Libertadores. (REPORT)

The FA has commissioned a new hearing over Andy Carroll’s three-match ban for a red card, which West Ham United wants rescinded. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you see Blatter running for a fifth term? Think he can win again? Where do you see Vidic moving to?

Share your thoughts below.

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