Monday Kickoff: Rooney expected to sign this week; Conte hits back at Capello; and more

Monday Kickoff: Rooney expected to sign this week; Conte hits back at Capello; and more

South American Soccer

Monday Kickoff: Rooney expected to sign this week; Conte hits back at Capello; and more

Wayne Rooney of Manchester United running

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

Manchester United may be struggling on the field this season but their financial strength looks stronger than ever.

By the end of this week, Wayne Rooney is expected to sign a new five and a half year contract to remain with Manchester United, according to multiple reports in England. The reports state that the deal will pay Rooney a base salary of nearly $22 million per season with performance-based incentives worth around $4 million.

The news that Rooney will remain at Man United is surprising after the 28-year-old England international was clearly angling for a move away from Old Trafford last summer in the wake of his benching late last season and Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure. Man United manager David Moyes and the front office staff manager to hold on to Rooney though through all the turmoil and are set to reward him with an improved deal.

As Rooney likely heads into his third World Cup appearance, he currently has just nine goals in 21 English Premier League matches and just two more goals in the UEFA Champions League. Man United face Olympiakos in the Round of 16 on Feb. 25.

Here are some more stories to start off your week:

CONTE HITS BACK AT CAPELLO’S COMMENTS

Juventus head coach Antonio Conte didn’t take too kindly to Fabio Capello’s criticism.

After the former Juventus, and England National Team head coach criticized Conte for forcing players to train the day after a poor performance, Conte continued the war of words by calling Capello’s comment’s “stupid” and commenting that no one remembers Capello’s accomplishments at Juventus, a reference to the two Serie A titles that were vacated after the Calciopoli scandal.

“All people remember of his two years here were the two titles revoked,” Conte told reporters after Juventus’ 3-1 victory against Chievo Verona. “Strangely, Capello likes to stick his nose in where it’s not wanted. He won two scudetti, but nobody really remembers anything of them. I remember the scudetti won by [Marcello] Lippi and [Giovanni] Trapattoni, but I can’t remember Capello’s Juventus. I just remember that, with the troop he had, he was knocked out in the quarterfinals of the Champions League.

“If I were him, I’d take a look at myself before saying stupid things. I’d prefer it if people would mind their own business. Maybe somebody is worried by the fact that this Juve is getting more points and better numbers than during those two years.”

Conte’s Juventus are currently nine points clear of second-place AS Roma and are looking poised to win their third straight Serie A title.

FERNANDINHO COULD PLAY VS. BARCELONA

Manchester City have received a huge boost ahead of their crucial first-leg match against Barcelona.

With the Spanish giants coming to town, Man City welcomed Fernandinho back to full training on Monday, giving him a chance to take the field on Tuesday against Barcelona. The Brazilian midfield engine has missed the last three matches for Man City but could be back faster than expected. Man City have won, drawn, and lost one game each since Fernandinho was sidelined with a thigh muscle problem.

Fernandinho has made a seamless transition to the EPL, playing 20 times and scoring three goals in league matches.

QUICK KICKS

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has slammed Howard Webb for not awarding a second penalty during Liverpool’s 2-1 FA Cup defeat to Arsenal.

An inspector will investigate whether a fire in Cuiaba’s World Cup stadium caused more structural damage than originally reported. (REPORT)

Relegation-threatened Hamburg have sacked Bert Van Marwijk and hired former Hannover coach Mirko Slomka as Hamburg’s new head coach on a two and a half year contract. (REPORT)

Police in Bulgaria have opened an investigation into match-fixing in the domestic league. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Surprised to see Rooney remain at Man United? Think Conte was right to respond to Capello? Do you expect to see Fernandinho play against Barcelona?

Share your thoughts below.

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