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Wednesday Kickoff: Muamba retires, Grella scores in Capital One Cup & more

Muamba (Getty Images)

That Fabrice Muamba is alive is a miracle in itself, considering that his heart stopped for 78 minutes after he collapsed during a match against Tottenham in March. The Muamba miracle will not, however, include a return to the playing field.

Muamba announced his retirement from professional soccer Wednesday, citing a recent visit with a cardiologist that dissuaded him from attempting to continue his career. In a statement on Bolton's website, Muamba wrote:

"Since suffering my heart attack and being discharged from hospital, I have remained utterly positive in the belief I could one day resume my playing career and play for Bolton Wanderers once again. As part of my on-going recovery, last week I travelled to Belgium to seek further medical advice from a leading cardiologist. But the news I received was obviously not what I had hoped it would be and it means I am now announcing my retirement from professional football.

“Football has been my life since I was a teenage boy and it has given me so many opportunities. Above all else, I love the game and count myself very lucky to have been able to play at the highest level. While the news is devastating, I have much to be thankful for. I thank God that I am alive, and I pay tribute once again to the members of the medical team who never gave up on me."

Muamba, 24, moved to Bolton in 2008 following a youth career in Arsenal's system and a couple of seasons at Birmingham City. He also represented England on multiple youth levels but was never capped by the senior team.

Here are a few more stories to get your day going:


A pair of Americans left their marks on the opening round of the Capital One Cup (formerly the Carling Cup) in helping their teams to victory.

Former Duke striker Mike Grella marked his first match with Scunthorpe United with a goal that helped spark a wild comeback in a 5-5 draw with Derby County that Scunthorpe won in penalties. The League One side faced deficits of 3-0 and 4-1 but came back with a furious rally before winning the shootout. Young American striker Conor Doyle was on the bench for Derby County but did not see any time.

Birmingham City also advanced with a 5-1 win over Barnet that marked the professional debut of U.S. U-20 midfielder William Packwood. He started and played 75 minutes before exiting with an undisclosed injury.


Portsmouth is edging closer to the brink of liquidation.

With the club's former owner seemingly on the verge of a takeover that would have prolonged the club's survival, Balu Chinrai withdrew his bid to buy the club, citing a clash with the club's administrator, negative fan support of the prospective takeover and new claims of owed money, among other reasons.

Financially strapped for the last few years after going into administration twice, Portsmouth had hope that Chinrai would carry the organization from the depths, but instead it appears as if liquidation is the next step in a sad saga.


Diego Maradona's next career stop may very well be in China.

While in China on a charity trip, Maradona expressed his wishes to coach in the country, reportedly telling media members at a news conference that, "I would like to coach in China. I wish to contribute to the development of China's youth soccer."

Should Maradona wind up there, he would be the latest big-name coach to make the move, joining fellow Argentine Sergio Batista and former Italy coach Marcello Lippi.


What do you think of Muamba's retirement? Happy to see some early contributions from other Americans abroad? What do you make of Portsmouth's situation? Hope to see Maradona wind up in China?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Great points. I think Boca will leave though. Just seems very unlikely for him to stay there 2 more weeks much less 2 more weeks.

    Dempsey deserves CL football. He should heading to Spain or France

  2. American fans have overestimated the level of interest that exists for a couple of guys who are thirty-three and twenty-nine, respectively.

    Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if Bocanegra decides to stay in Glasgow. He has repeatedly stated how much he loves it there, and the fans absolutely love him. He can cement himself as a legend at one of the most storied clubs in the world (yeah, I know, it’s a different company). He went to Rangers to play Champions League soccer. That dream, unfortunately, has been dashed. He could stay at Rangers and become an all-time fan favorite for sticking by the club in its darkest hour, return to MLS, or maybe return to France. I think it all comes down to whether he sees himself in Brazil in two years, and how important that is to him.

    As a Fulham fan, I grew tired of all my fellow American soccer fans clamoring for his transfer a long time ago. He is in a great situation at Craven Cottage, and I have never thought it was a foregone conclusion that he would leave. Especially for Liverpool (not a CL club) or Arsenal (won’t be one if RVP moves on). Everyone knows Dempsey is a quality player, but he has had one high-scoring season and turns thirty in the near future. No one is going to plunk down a huge sum for him when he’ll be available for free next summer.

  3. If they can stay healthy this year, they should be a pik to get right back to the EPL. They had enough talent, the injuries were just too much. They haven’t seen a clear out like many relegated clubs do either.

  4. Yep. They’ve been hit hard. Like the plague as come to north manchester and targeted the best young talent on the team: Fabrice, Stu, and Cahill. (Ok the last was sold off, but still, a player lost is a loss, is a loss)

  5. It’s one thing if he can’t play professional soccer any more. But, if he can’t play “the silly game” at all (like even in the park), then he might as well already be dead and just doesn’t want to acknowledge it.

    God bless thee and keep thee, Fabrice.

  6. Yup. It seems like standard PR practice to flatter a foreign hosting nation these days with, “I would love to play/coach here in the future.”

  7. so is Bocanegra leaving Rangers? He has like 2 weeks before the window closes.

    A few weeks back there were reports that a few French teams plus Frankfurt and Olympiakos were tracking him.

  8. Mike Grella bounces around from club to club in League 1. I bet he makes a 100 K-200 K a season, way more than he’d get in MLS

  9. “Kids that’s not powdered milk!” My new favorite Maradona quote

    All the best to Muamba. God has great plans for him in what he ever he does.

  10. Who wouldn’t want to hire Maradona? He was such an overachiever coaching Argentina and is the consummate professional.


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