Thursday Kickoff: Barca files complaint, Guzan contract talk on hold and more

Thursday Kickoff: Barca files complaint, Guzan contract talk on hold and more

Americans Abroad

Thursday Kickoff: Barca files complaint, Guzan contract talk on hold and more


MessiNesta (Getty Images)

Barcelona was held scoreless for the first time in 30 UEFA Champions League matches on Wednesday, and while AC Milan's organized defensive effort accounted for much of the club's frustration, the Spanish power was not entirely thrilled with the playing conditions either.

The defending world champions have lodged a complaint about the condition of the playing surface at the San Siro. After the match, a number of players and manager Pep Guardiola spoke about the choppy turf, and the club made their feelings official by submitting a complaint to the UEFA representative at the match. Europe's governing body of soccer will approach Milan about the complaint.

"In the end we adapt to everything, we come and we play, but it's clear that this was a problem for the spectacle," Guardiola said in his post-match comments according to Barcelona's official website.

The return leg for the quarterfinal tie, which is currently level at 0-0, is set for Tuesday at Camp Nou.

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Brad Guzan's contract with Aston Villa expires this summer, and while the club has engaged in talks about a new deal for the American goalkeeper, those talks will be put on hold until after the Premier League season is over.

Villa has decided to leave all talks for players who will be out of contract on the back burner while focusing on securing another season in England's top flight. Aston Villa sits in 15th place in the Premier League, a somewhat comfortable eight points clear of the drop zone with nine matches remaining in the season.

Along with Guzan, players like Emile Heskey and Carlos Cuellar also have their current deals expire at the end of the season. Should Guzan wind up staying, he'd likely be signing on for more back-up duties. Staying with Villa would also provide the Illinois native a bit of a homecoming this summer, as the club faces the Chicago Fire in a friendly in July.


Monterrey is one step closer to defending its CONCACAF Champions League crown after a convincing performance in the first leg of their semifinal tie.

Los Rayados routed Pumas UNAM 3-0 in their first-leg encounter Wednesday night, taking a big advantage into the return leg. Humberto Suazo set up all three goals, feeding Miguel Morales off a free kick in the first half before assisting Aldo de Nigris for two goals in the second half.

Here are highlights from the match:


Mario Balotelli has made a habit of making life difficult for his managers, and that appeared to be the case again after another dust-up with Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini.

Balotelli was reportedly lit into by Mancini before an assistant had the mercurial Italian striker finish his training elsewhere. He had just returned from a two-day break, one that included him surprising his former club Inter Milan by appearing inannounced at a press conference. 

For Balotelli, getting into trouble at training is not a new development, as he has gotten into training fights with teammates on a pair of occasions since joining Manchester City and has been widely criticized for his off-field antics.


Did you think the playing surface impacted Barcelona's performance against Milan? Hope to see Guzan head elsewhere this summer? Do you think Monterrey will repeat as CCL champions? What's your take on the latest Balotelli drama?

Share your thoughts below.

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