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Mid-Day Ticker: Ronaldinho recalled, Villa wants to re-sign Friedel and more



Ronaldinho is making his return to the Selecao.

After being left off the World Cup roster and not suiting up for Brazil since April, 2009, the former FIFA World Player of the Year was called into the national team by coach Mano Menezes for next month's highly anticipated friendly against Argentina in Qatar.

The last match Ronaldinho played for Brazil was a World Cup qualifier, but he was left off the final roster by then-coach Dunga despite starting to re-display the form that made him one of the most feared soccer players on the planet.

He has yet to score for AC Milan this season but has been instrumental in setting up Robinho, Alexandre Pato and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who have done most of the damage for the Serie A power that is two points behind Lazio for the top spot in the league table.

Here are a few more stories to help get you to the weekend:


With his contract up at the end of the year, Brad Friedel figures to have plenty of options, including a potential rumored return to Major League Soccer or a move to one of the goalkeeper-needy teams in Europe.

Aston Villa would like to keep him right where he is, though.

The Associated Press is reporting that manager Gerard Houllier definitely wants to keep the 39-year-old keeper at Villa Park beyond this season. Should Friedel re-sign, that could mean continued time on the bench or a transfer for American back-up Brad Guzan, who has bided his time as Friedel's understudy while taking the majority of the goalkeeping duties during cup play.


James Riley isn't known for his goal scoring, but his finish against the Houston Dynamo in the Seattle Sounders' regular-season finale was certainly top-class.

Riley's 20-yard laser earned the final MLS Goal of the Week award, and it made him the second Sounders defender to win the honor this season. Leo Gonzalez took home the honor in Week 11.

Even further, the Sounders were given the award for the fourth straight week and have accounted for nine of the 30 winners this season. Here's video of Riley's blast:



The Italian Football Association is claiming that the Azzurri will be given a 3-0 victory for the suspended Euro 2012 qualifying match in Genoa between Italy and Serbia that had to be stopped because of unruly Serbian spectators.

In addition to being given the loss, Serbia's punishment also includes two games that will have to be played behind closed doors. Italy will be forced to play one game without spectators.


Despite its executive officials convening to determine whether to postpone the announcement of the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, FIFA declared that the date will remain unchanged.

FIFA did determine that the final presentations for the bidding hosts will be split over the course of two days. The countries bidding for the 2022 tournament will make their final presenation on Dec. 1, and those vying for the 2018 tournament will go Dec. 2. The final vote will be held after the 2018 presentations.


Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder signed a contract extension with Inter Milan that will keep him at the San Siro for the next five years.

His current contract ran through the 2013 season, but the extension will have the Ballon d'Or nominee suiting up for Inter through 2015.


Excited to see Ronaldinho play for Brazil again? Would you like to see Friedel re-sign with Aston Villa? What did you think of Riley's finish? Think the punishment fits the crime in the Italy-Serbia situation? Happy to see Sneijder stick with Inter?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. SBI, shame on you for writing about Seattle’s win of the GOTW and noting they’ve won 4 in a row and 9 out of 30, without commenting at all on the rampant cheating some Seattle fans have done to rig the vote. The evidence is out there, not only of the use of bots but of hacking the system to add votes after the polls have closed. This stuff matters, too, to the players–they get bonuses and for many of the players this can be a substantial supplement to their incomes.

    k, I’m not a Sounders “hater”. I love that Seattle gets such great support, and I hope it continues in the coming years. I love the Dynamo but more than that, I love American soccer. GOTW is a chance to show off the most exciting moment each week in our league, and stuffing the ballots to put goals which aren’t the best in the limelight only hurts the growth of soccer in this country. Riley’s goal was a fine goal, but the build-up to Cameron’s goal was sublime, and other goals that week were more deserving, as well. I think it’s quite clear that Seattle were far from a great team this season, and it seems unlikely that a team which finished in the middle third of the table would be over-represented in the GOTW winners by a multiple of close to five.

    Support your team, sing it’s praises, cheer it on. But remember that MLS is still weak; soccer in America is still under attack from many who would see it fail, and that the overarching goal is to support the growth of the sport in the country. Without MLS, there are no Sounders.

  2. Why was Italy given a 3-0 victory? That’s a harsh blow for the other teams in the group. Goal differential could play a major factor in who advances. I have no problem with UEFA giving the win to Italy but it should be 1-0.

  3. LOL at the Sounders haters, if you want to win a fan vote, FIND SOME FANS!!! and the Sounders have not won every fan vote for shot or save of the week when they have had a contender but they could have if they wanted to.

  4. how does mcbride not winning some pointless fan award ‘kill’ his classy finish to his classy career? you should be more upset that there wasn’t a sold out crowd to say goodbye to him, then the fact that seattle fans chose their player to win. i don’t get why people get so upset that seattle fans vote for their players. its a fan contest 00 isn’t that the point?

  5. it really is terrible how we support our players.

    it was a great touch by mcbride, but a shot from outside the 18 will a;ways be a strong candidate

  6. Imagine if Guzan had moved to some lower leagues in Europe like Belgium, Turkey or Greece instead of coming to England. He would have 3 years worth of playing experience by now, compared to an apprentice for someone during the same period.

  7. Yeah, I mean… it does seem to bolster stereotypes about American soccer. All power and brawn and too little skill. For every “goal of the week” like this, there are 50 blasts nowhere near the target from the same distance.

  8. Exactly. You gotta wonder what is going on in Guzan’s head if Friedel renews. Guzan has been there 3 years as “understudy”. It’s not as if Guzan has no experience; he was in MLS for 2 seasons. He could have been warming the benches of more glamorous teams if it was his intention to sit and get paid. He has got to move!

  9. true, but how many keepers his age start in one of the big 5 leagues in Europe? Heck, how many are under 30? Not many I’d wager. I just wonder if Villa would hand the job to Guzan even if Friedel leaves. It would totally suck and drain your confidence to think you got your chance and then a new guy comes in and takes your job.

    P.S. i think Villa would be fools to not give Guzan a chance. He could stay for years just like Friedel.

  10. i’ve noticed that too. I can understand a laser from serious distance winning, but i don’t like it when 18 yard shots beat out well set up skillfully taken shots, or really creative ones. I have no evidence to back up whether or not that happens, but it seems that it does here in MLS.

    And i also hate that he with the most goals always wins player of the week. Someone on this board recently posted that it should just be called golden boot of the week and be done with it.

    We wonder why we don’t produce many creative midfield types in this country. Perhaps because we don’t appreciate creativity. We just want and reward action at high speed.

  11. “Even further, the Sounders were given the award for the fourth straight week and have accounted for nine of the 30 winners this season.”

    Avi, great post but you should probably qualify this statement with the fact that they are botting the vote. A mention of the shameful fact that McBride’s classy finish to his classy career was killed by MLS’s lack of action and the Seattle nincompoopery wouldn’t hurt either.

  12. Not a Seattle fan here… but Riley’s goal was a legit winner, some of Seattle’s other goals that won GOTW were jokes but I voted for Riley this week.

    McBride’s goal was great, very creative and skillful… but Riley’s had a bit more of wow factor in my mind. Counting the keeper there were 6 Dynamo players between him and the goal and he put a laser in the upper 90.


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