Monday Kickoff: Man City target quadruple; Khedira making impressive recovery; and more

Monday Kickoff: Man City target quadruple; Khedira making impressive recovery; and more

South American Soccer

Monday Kickoff: Man City target quadruple; Khedira making impressive recovery; and more

ManCitySamirNasriVincentKomanyCelebrate1 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini believes that Sunday’s Capital One Cup title will be the first of many this season.

Heading into the final three months of the season, Man City are still contenders to win the FA Cup, English Premier League, and UEFA Champions League, though their task to come back against Barcelona won’t be a simple one.

“This will give us a lot of confidence now,” Pellegrini told The Telegraph. “If you try to win a title and don’t do it, your mind does not work the same way, so to win the first is very important.

“We have won this trophy and we are now the only club with a chance to win all the competitions. For a club like Manchester City, to fail is not acceptable. The team failed last year, but we did not fail today. I believe we are going to have a great season when the season ends in May.

“We won one trophy today, but nobody can think that is enough.”

Man City are currently in fourth place in the EPL with 57 points, though they have two games in hand, and are set to face Wigan Athletic in the sixth round of the FA Cup on Sunday. They’ll face Barcelona in the second-leg of their Champions League Round-of-16 match-up on March 12.

Here are some more stories to kick off your week:

KHEDIRA NEARING COME BACK, SAYS ANCELOTTI

Real Madrid and German National Team midfielder Sami Khedira is making a faster-than-expected recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Despite suffering the torn ACL on Nov. 15, Khedira is already back running on his own and could re-join the Real Madrid squad before the end of the month in training, according to manager Carlo Ancelotti.

“His recovery work is going very well,” Ancelotti told the Spanish press. “He has started running after three and a half months. Everything is going well and I think that in 15 or 20 days he can be in Madrid working with the team. We hope he can play before the end of the season.”

Meanwhile, German National Team head coach Joachim Löw has stated that if Khedira recovers in time, he’ll be welcomed back into the squad. However, Ilkay Gundogan, who has not played since last August because of a back injury, is looking likely to be out of the squad come June.

LIVERPOOL OWNER ADMITS SUAREZ BUY-OUT CLAUSE

Apparently Arsenal knew exactly what they were doing when they submitted a transfer bid of £40,000,001 for Luis Suarez last August.

Speaking at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, Liverpool owner John Henry revealed that Suarez did in fact have a £40 million buy-out clause in his contract, but Henry and the Liverpool backroom staff refused to sell the high-scoring forward. Henry argued that these days, contracts hold as much value as they used to, so he didn’t want to give in to a player’s demand to leave.

“He had a buyout clause of £40 million,” Henry said, via The Guardian. “Arsenal, one of our prime rivals, offered £40m plus £1. What we’ve found … is that contracts don’t seem to mean a lot in England – actually, in world football.

“It doesn’t matter how long a player’s contract is, he can decide he’s leaving. We sold a player, Fernando Torres, for £50m, that we did not want to sell, we were forced to. Since apparently these contracts don’t seem to hold, we took the position that we’re just not selling (Suarez).

Since the end of last summer’s transfer window, Suarez has combined with Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling, and Philippe Coutinho to form one of the best attacking sides in recent memory. The team has scored 73 goals in the Premier League this season, with 42 of them coming from Suarez (24 goals) and Sturridge (18 goals).

QUICK KICKS

Juventus head coach Antonio Conte has been named Italian Coach of the Year for the second consecutive year. (REPORT)

German National Team coach Joachim Löw will play Borussia Dortmund winger Kevin Großkreutz at right back against Chile on Wednesday, with Philipp Lahm moving into central midfield. (REPORT)

Daniele De Rossi was dropped from the Italian National Team after video replays showed him throwing a punch at Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi during Roma’s scoreless draw with Inter on Saturday. (REPORT)

Eintracht Frankfurt boss Armen Veh confirmed that he’ll be leaving the club, with speculation that former German international Markus Babbel will take over. (REPORT)

The FA is likely to charge and suspend Newcastle manager Alan Pardew after he headbutted Hull City midfielder David Meyler. (REPORT)

China has been invited as a replacement for Japan at the 2015 Copa America. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you like Manchester City’s chances of winning the quadruple? Do you see Khedira returning in time for the World Cup? Think that Liverpool were right to not sell Suarez to Arsenal despite the buy-out clause being triggered?

Share your thoughts below.

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