South American Soccer

Thursday Kickoff: Platini won't run against Blatter; Rooney named England captain; and more

MichelPlatiniUEFAPresidentFIFAWorldCup2014 (Getty) By DAN KARELL

There’s very little that stands in Sepp Blatter’s way to retaining his title as FIFA president. With Blatter ready to run again for his fifth term, UEFA president Michael Platini has decided not to campaign against Blatter in the upcoming FIFA presidential elections in January 2015, leaving Blatter likely to end up as the sole candidate in the election.

“This is the decision I have made. It is about what I want to do with UEFA,” Platini reportedly said. In the run up to his last election, Blatter claimed that his current term would be his last, but over the last 12 months, the Swiss-born politician has spoken about his desire to continue as FIFA president, to no one’s surprise.

Five of the six FIFA confederations have already pledged their support to Blatter, the lone confederation, UEFA, so far opposed. Blatter’s only expected competition for the election is Frenchman and former FIFA executive Jérôme Champagne, though he isn’t expected to pose a serious threat to Blatter’s re-election hopes.

Here’s some more stories to kick off your Thursday:


The baton has been passed.

Following the international retirement of Frank Lampard, the captain’s armband for the England National Team has been awarded to Wayne Rooney, who is now captain for both club and country.

Rooney headlines a 22-man squad for a home friendly match against Norway and a UEFA Euro 2016 qualifier against Switzerland in Basel.

“To be named as England captain is a dream come true for me personally and of course my family,” Rooney said in a press release. “It is something that I will take massive pride in doing. As a kid I always loved watching a big England game on the television. Back then I had a burning ambition to play for my country. To be appointed captain is beyond my wildest dreams. I would obviously like to thank Roy and the coaching staff for having the belief and confidence in me to do the job.”

Hodgson has included a handful of youngsters in his squad, including Arsenal’s 19-year-old summer signing Calum Chambers, who earns his first senior call-up. Everton’s John Stones, Tottenham’s Danny Rose and Andros Townsend, and first call-ups have been extended to Newcastle’s Jack Colback and Aston Villa’s Fabian Delph as well.


The early season injury to Javi Martinez has forced Bayern Munich to become active late in the transfer market, and the German giants are closing in on their second signing of the week.

A day after completing the €26 million (plus €4 in add-ons) signing of former AS Roma defender Mehdi Benatia, Bayern confirmed that they have “agreed in principle” with Real Madrid to sign 32-year-old midfielder Xabi Alonso. Reports in Spain state that the transfer fee will be €10 million.

“We believe it is necessary [to sign Alonso] for our team, to meet the requirements of our fans and the club as a whole,” Bayern sporting director Matthias Sammer said to Bayern’s website. “It was a purely sporting decision to help us immediately and raise our quality. Alonso’s constitution means he is capable of playing at the very highest level for at least another two years. We’re optimistic, and our squad will be in very, very good shape.”

Alonso announced his retirement from international soccer on Wednesday. He’s played twice for Real Madrid so far this season, in both legs of the Spanish Super Cup.


Don’t expect to see many new recruits to the Emirates Stadium in the final days of the summer transfer window.

Despite confirming that first-team forward Olivier Giroud would be out through the end of 2014 due to a fractured tibia, manager Arsene Wenger has ruled out bringing in any new forwards this summer, instead preferring to rely on new signing Alexis Sanchez and their plethora of other forward/winger hybrids to play the center forward position.

“You will ask me straight away who we will buy?” Wenger told reporters following the game. “At the moment, no one. We will look around but we want quality, and we have quality: we have [Yaya] Sanogo, [Lukas] Podolksi, [Joel] Campbell, Theo Walcott is coming back soon, and to find players better than we have will be very difficult now.”

Arsenal struggled in the first half against Everton last Saturday with Sanchez playing through the middle before Giroud entered the match, which completely changed the complexion of the game.


Chelsea forward Diego Costa has suffered an injury in training, according to multiple reports in England. (REPORT)

Juventus CEO Giuseppe Marotta, who is already in Monaco for the UEFA Champions League draw, is set upon negotiating a deal with AS Monaco to bring Radamel Falcao to Italy on loan. (REPORT)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic returned to PSG training on Thursday for the first time since injuring an abdominal muscle on Aug. 16, and Ibrahimovic is optimistic to return to the field on Sunday against Saint-Etienne. (REPORT)

Boca Juniors head coach Carlos Bianchi has denied any suggestions that he will resign, after Boca lost their second consecutive 3-0 decision, this time to Estudiantes de la Plata. (REPORT) Wilfried Zaha is set to return to Crystal Palace on a season-long loan. (REPORT)


What do you think of these reports? Do you see Blatter now having a clear path to be re-elected? Disappointed that Platini won’t run against Blatter? Do you like the England call-ups?

Share your thoughts below.

    • Increase0

      I’ll give Blatter this. He can’t be a stupid as he seems if he keeps pushing guys like Platini around.


      • wood chip zip

        Platini voted for Qatar, Blatter supported the USA bid. One might be more corrupt than the other.


      • Brain Guy

        Blatter’s not stupid. Corrupt, tone-deaf, shameless, yes. But not stupid.


    • Ian

      So. Much. Corruption. FIFA oozes with it. I’m actually glad MLS has thumbed its nose at FIFA for as long as it has. Summer calendar? Odd number of teams? No pro/rel? Countdown clock back in the day? Yes. Go f*ck yourselves, FIFA.


      • JayAre

        Honestly we are the smart ones for not following FIFA calendar. It makes no sense for some of these countries to play outside when it’s the coldest. Especially England, A summer league makes way more sense to them


  • Increase0

    Jock Colback huh. That’s a squishy midfield. Some talent but Henderson and Milner are your most senior guys. Interesting.

    Jack Colback (Newcastle United), Fabian Delph (Aston Villa), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), James Milner (Manchester City), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), Andros Townsend (Tottenham Hotspur), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)


  • AC

    At least we get to see another term of Blatter putting his foot in his mouth again. There needs to be a movie about this guy.


    • AcidBurn

      Right on! I’ve got an idea, why don’t we ask Seppy and FIFA can contribute the cash needed to make this much-needed film! I’m sure it will be awesome!

      Oh wait…


  • Mike R

    Of course he isn’t running against the man who made sure he got his cut of the Qatar bribe money.


    • The Imperative Voice

      What about Joel Campbell, the impressive Costa Rican? I think he’s naive whether he has enough — and last year should already have proven it — but he’s not bereft of options.


    • Nico C.

      I’m clueless too. I honestly have no idea who else could wear the armband. Gerrard, who would’ve been next in line, has retired and obviously so has Lampard. It really shows lack of natural leadership on the England squad, and that’s worrisome if you’re an England fan. I guess Henderson? I can’t see Rooney doing well as a captain at United AND England.


      • hm

        decent choice at Best but still better than Rooney.

        RECALL GERRARD or Gareth Barry


  • Reg Chapman

    According the a few writers on twitter Jérôme Champagne is ineligible to run with the new rules in place, so it looks like Blatter runs unopposed . Joy….


  • whoop-whoop

    Eh…. all window dressing anyhow. As much as I’d love to see the Blatter era finally close, other than the face and personality mouthing the same b.s., I hold onto no illusions that much will change when the figurehead does. As typically happens in organizations filled with rot and corruption, the man handpicked to step in will come from within a tight-knit power structure that is filled specifically with those looking to perpetuate the status quo so they all can keep riding first class on the exclusive money train.


    • Ali Dia

      Have faith. your Uncle Sunil has elbowed his way into the table and has acquired some very good cards. Nobody knows what he intends to do with them just yet, or when he will make his play. But the just shall prevail, my friend. I have never been more certain


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