Morning Ticker: Messi stays in China, Ronaldo stays at Man United and Villa closes in on fullbacks

Morning Ticker: Messi stays in China, Ronaldo stays at Man United and Villa closes in on fullbacks

European Soccer

Morning Ticker: Messi stays in China, Ronaldo stays at Man United and Villa closes in on fullbacks

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Good morning all. The Olympics are in full swing and there will be stories galore to discuss, both from China and throughout the European and other international markets.

I will provide my take on the USA-Japan match (after I get some sleep). For now, here are some stories to get your day going:

Messi plays, will stay at Olympics

Argentine star Lionel Messi started for the Argentine Olympic team in its opening Olympic match against Ivory Coast after being allowed to stay by his club team, FC Barcelona.

Barcelona reached an agreement with Messi sometime in the late hours after Barcelona’s 6-2 triumph against the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday night.

Messi and Brazilians Diego and Rafinha all played on Wednesday, a day after the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that their clubs did not have to recognize their call-ups to their respective Olympic teams.

Ronaldo looking to mend fences at Man U

After finally confirming that he is staying with Manchester United, Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo is no working on some fence-mending after months of speculation surrounding a potential move to Real Madrid. Ronaldo, who is still sidelined after having ankle surgery, revealed that Manchester United’s succesful 2007/2008 campaign is what led him to consider the new challenge of playing for Real Madrid.

"I never wanted to leave against Manchester United’s will and I am going to say something here that I’ve never told anybody, Ronaldo said in an interview with Portuguese newspaper Publico. "If we hadn’t been European champions I probably wouldn’t have even thought about going to Madrid.

But after we’d won the Champions League I felt that in five years I had helped win everything there was to win. We’d won the Premier League twice and I’d won a host of individual awards, including the best goalscorer in the Premier League, Champions League and in Europe. So I felt that maybe I needed a new challenge."

Villa signs fullbacks Shorey and Young

Aston Villa looks close to addressing needs at both fullback positions after making bids for Middlesbrough right back Luke Young and Reading left back Nicky Shorey.

The signings would help bolster a Villa defense dealing with the loss of Dutch defender Wilfred Bouma to injury and departure of Swedish fullback Olof Mellberg to Juventus, but also likely puts to rest the rumors of Villa’s interest in American defender Frank Simek, who had been linked to Aston Villa.

Still no new word on the lengthy Brett Favre-like soap opera between Liverpool and Gareth Barry, but Villa looks to be strengthening the team regardless of what may come from the Barry situation.

What do you think of these stories? Surprised that Barcelona let Messi stay in China? (probably not) Happy to see Cristiano Ronaldo stay with Manchester United? Upset that Real Madrid couldn’t make the deal happen? Sad to see Simek miss out on a big EPL move?

Share your thoughts below.

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