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Morning Ticker: Club World Cup kicks off, Alex wants Chelsea exit and Zenga gets extension

AdelaideUnited (AP) 

You probably missed it because it took place in the middle of the night in American time but the FIFA Club World Cup kicked off in Japan over night and Australian champions Adelaide United got off to a flying start by beating New Zealand side Waitekere United, 2-1, on Thursday.

Adelaide United will now face Gamba Osaka in a rematch of the Asian Champions League final won by Gamba Osaka, 5-0, last month.

Tournament favorites Manchester United open play on Thursday, Dec. 18 against the winner of Adelaide United/Gamba Osaka quarterfinal. South American champions Liga de Quito will face the winner of the Al Ahly/Pachuca quarterfinal in the semifinals.

The Tournament final is set for Sunday, Dec. 21 in Yokahama, Japan.

Here are some more stories to get your Thursday started:

Alex wants out of Chelsea

Apparently having a Brazilian manager isn't enough to make sitting on the bench acceptable to Brazilian defender Alex, who has put in a transfer request and wants to leave Chelsea in January.

Alex has struggled for consistent starts for Chelsea, even with the absence of Ricardo Carvalho due to injury. With Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovic splitting games with Alex, the Brazilian defender has decided he is ready to leave.

Rooney facing UEFA charge

Wayne Rooney scored the equalizing goal in Manchester United's 2-2 Champions League draw against Danish side Aalborg, but it may be another action he committed with his boots that could have more of an impact.

Aalborg's Kasper Risgard has accused Rooney of stepping on his chest while he was down on the ground during Wednesday's match, a charge that could lead to an investigation by FIFA and potentially a suspension for the Round of 16 and beyond.

Zenga given extension by Catania

Former New England Revolution head coach and goalkeeper Walter Zenga has enjoyed a successful stint as coach of Serie A side Catania, so successful that he has been awarded with a contract extension. The former Italian national team goalkeeeper didn't enjoy the best run as Revs head coach but he has certainly matured in the decade since leaving MLS and there is talk that Zenga would be interested in returning to coach in MLS one day.

That's all for now. I will be back with some Red Bulls news later today, as well as another installment of Your Questions Answered, a piece on the St. Louis expansion bid and possibly the official SBI MLS Mock Draft Version 1.0 (I know, way early, but why not?).

For now, share your thoughts on the above stories. Does Adelaide have a chance against Gamba Osaka? Are you looking forward to a potential Gamba Osaka/Manchester United match like I am? Do you think Wayne Rooney deserves a suspension? Is Alex foolish for leaving Chelsea now or is it time for him to go?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. “Screw the Club “World Cup”. I don’t even want it given legitimacy. Gotta love the Oceania and Japanese teams’ route there”

    – Scott A.

    I suppose this idiot thinks that it’s easy to fly around the world’s largest continent winning matches. Of course he might have been referring to the host country’s automatic placement, but that went to Australia in the end so that isn’t much less foolish.

  2. I like the CWC. It allows clubs that normally won’t play each other to compete for a prize. Too bad that MLS has a long way to go before it can reach the CWC. Having Pachuca to represent the region is not bad at all. They have a USMNT player afterall.

  3. The format of the CWC makes it lose some legitimacy in my eyes, but it’s still a really cool idea and I felt privileged to be able to follow it “locally” last season. As much as I like holding big events in Japan however, they really should start moving it around some (which I believe is the plan).

    For the record, Gamba isn’t some kind of Asian superclub. They’re solid, but not leaders in Japan.

  4. I like the Club World Cup. The very thought of an MLS team one day playing the winner of the Champions League or the Libertadores in a meaningful game is exciting to me. Hopefully an MLS club (or possibly even a USL club) can win the Concacaf Champions League soon and break into the CWC.

  5. Bootsy,

    Because of some rule that ensures that a Japanese team will be in the competition. Its also why Iranian team Sepahan FC participated last years Cup. From Adelaide’s Wikipedia page:

    “This result ensured that Adelaide would participate in the 2008 FIFA Club World Cup either as the AFC representatives or as the highest placed non-Japanese team – as the rules do not allow more than one Japanese team to participate.”

  6. If Gambia Osaka won the Asian Champions Cup (thus representing Asia), and Waitekere United won Oceania, then how is Adelaide in there? What was the mechanism by which they got in?

  7. Alex is an animal, a really good defender with a thunder foot. He should be playing somewhere regularly (we’ll take him in RSL ;-)). I will never forget the trio of Robinho, Alex and Diego playing together as youngsters on that entertaining and formidable Santos team 6 years ago or so. I saw then that all three were going to be special players.

  8. aaaaaa,

    European clubs have struggled in the CWC since the transition from the Intercontinental Cup format in 2005. Liverpool (despite dominating the game) were defeated by a Mineiro goal for Sao Paulo and the Ronaldinho led 2006 Barca team got beat by an International team with Pato on it…

    Granted Quito isn’t the same quality as those teams two Brazilian teams or the Boca team that lost to Milan last year, but both Pachuca and Al Ahly could pose a decent challenge to the Manc scum…it’s by no means a forgone conclusion that they will win…

  9. Tough call on Alex. That’s why it’s so hard to really have a deep squad, because if you actually have someone as good as your starters on the bench, that guy is usually unhappy to be there. Alex is a dominating CB, but can you really slam Chelsea for playing the Terry-Carvalho pairing? And they need good cover at CB because both those guys are injury prone. It’s never easy to build a squad, if you’re cash strapped or super rich, the challenges just change.

    I think Chad has it best, that this one is on Alex. Did he just think they’d bench one of the stars that were there before? And he actually played in as many games last year as either of them. I feel bad for guys like Tevez who excelled and then had someone else brought in, but not guys who go to a big squad that clearly has great players at their positions.

  10. Does Adelaide have a chance against Gamba Osaka? Don’t care.

    Are you looking forward to a potential Gamba Osaka/Manchester United match like I am? I’m game. Does ManU care? Well if they don’t, should I?

    Is Alex foolish for leaving Chelsea now or is it time for him to go? Chelsea are foolish for not using him more.

  11. I tire of these want-away players. The grass is always greener, right. Alex should have realized there may be a tightening of playing time given the quality of defenders at Chelsea BEFORE he signed a transfer.

  12. is there any doubt that man u is going to win it easily?

    right now I would just be wondering how high their goal differential will be, in the 10s or 20s range.

  13. rooney is a dirty player and should be banned from football for ever.. his actions show that he is not a professional and for the reason should be banned from soccer.. also as a punishment he should play for the red bulls for the rest of his carrer


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