BY JUSTIN FERGUSON
FC Barcelona continued its contract extension crusade on Thursday, extending the club’s contract with Lionel Messi for two more years.
Messi, who is now tied down to the Catalans until June 2018, joins teammates Xavi and Carlos Puyol in extending contracts with their lifelong club. His old contract had him tied to the club until June 2016, the new contract end dates for Xavi and Puyol.
Barcelona announced in December that it had come to terms on new contracts for the famous trio, but the extensions have only become official in the last month.
“I can’t imagine what Messi will be like in 2018, but it’s great news for Barça fans that he’s staying,” Barcelona defender Jordi Alba said. “He is the best player in the world and as long as nothing happens, he’ll be the best ever. We’ll try to make him feel as comfortable here as we can.”
Here are some more stories to get you through your Thursday:
HODGSON WANTS LAMPARD TO STAY IN EUROPE, CHELSEA EXTENSION RUMORED
After scoring the game-winning goal against Brazil on Wednesday, Frank Lampard was warned by England manager Roy Hodgson that a move to MLS’s Los Angeles Galaxy could put his international career in jeopardy.
The 34-year-old midfielder, who has been rumored to be Galaxy coach Bruce Arena’s replacement for David Beckham, will leave long-time club Chelsea when his contract expires at the end of the Premier League season.
“If he goes further afield and follows (David Beckham), it complicates matters but it doesn’t mean your career is over with England,” Hodgson said. “But the further afield you go, the more problematic it gets for the media and the England manager to follow you.
“I know he will have a lot of offers if Chelsea do decide they’re prepared to let him go. I’m rather hoping we’ll still see him if not in England, then Europe, which will make my task easier.”
On Thursday, reports emerged that Chelsea will offer Lampard a contract extension. Lampard has scored in his last three matches for club and country, prompting many Blues fans to question the club’s earlier decision to not re-sign the popular midfielder.
BALOTELLI AND BERLUSCONI “MAKE PEACE”
AC Milan released a photo on its website Thursday showing new striker Mario Balotelli and vice-president Paolo Berlusconi “making peace” before training.
“Today the vice-president of AC Milan, Paolo Berlusconi, had a brief conversation with Mario Balotelli while helping out at Milanello (Milan’s training ground),” the caption below the photo reads in English.
Berlusconi, the younger brother of club owner Silvio, was videotaped calling Balotelli a racial slur while speaking at a political meeting just outside of Milan. His comments came after the club gained worldwide attention for Kevin Prince-Boateng’s brave stance he took against racist chants last month.
Chelsea’s Victor Moses is listed as doubtful for Nigeria’s AFCON final against Burkina Faso on Sunday. (REPORT)
David Beckham told reporters that he wants to do for PSG what former teammates Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes have done for Manchester United. (REPORT)
West Ham co-owner David Gold says that the majority of Premier League clubs have voted and overwhelmingly supported the introduction of new spending controls. (REPORT)
FIFA has launched a new website for whistleblowers to report allegations of match-fixing and other forms of corruption. (REPORT)
What do you think of these reports? Do you see Barcelona re-signing any more stars in the near future? What do you think of Hodgson’s comments on Lampard’s future? Where do you think Lampard will be after this season? What are your thoughts on the Balotelli and Berlusconi situation?
Share your comments below.
Lets see how England does in 2014 .. geezers
Prob same if not better than they’d do with a younger squad. The world cup isn’t the place to be sending untried players. Hell Honduras wasn’t the place to send untried defenders.
The coaches job is to find a mix. I think a defense filled with Cahill, Phil Jones, Smalling, Johnson, Terry Baines is a good mix. A midfiled of Gerrard Cleverly Wilshire Lampard Henderson 3 more who don’t come to mind right now. Forward of Welback Sturridge Walcott Rooney and one other. GK of Hart Butland. Is a squad that could vet out the group.
Is there room for improvement naturally. Can players step up to displace Frank and Stevie sure is everyone gonna be healthy who knows. Maybe Naughton and the other one from Tottenham take off but they have a top 10 squad. Especially with Portugal Brazil and Uraguay playing down to their potential.
crazy how scoring a goal for England has changed his standings with england and chelsea so quickly… while the familiarity of mostly all playing in the domestic league is a plus i think that England would be a lot better if their players expanded into other leagues; or at least if their coach had to leave the island from time to time…
English players generally stay at home.
Beckham is a glaring exception.
There are a lot of reasons for this but one of the simplest is that there are so many pro clubs it is possible to make a reasonable living while staying close to home for many Brits.
Lampard should NOT be going to WC2014 anyways -should the 3 lions qualify. same thing with Stevie G
If you can find 8 better midfielders than Gerrard (english player of the year 2012) and sure shot penalty taker Lampard 4 goals in last 4 games for Chelski then sure be my guest.
I don’t think they work well in the same midfield but both are class eventhough I give Gerrard the edge, due to playing every minute for Liverpool EPL this season so far and mastering Rodgers new pressing possession style better than any other midfielder on the squad.
Not sure about being able to follow someone in LA, but the flight from LA to London is loooong and very hard on old legs.
I’ve made two comments today on two different stories. The first, made two and a half hours ago, is still “awaiting moderation.” Ives, I know you’re getting numerous complaints and I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about it, but this really is untenable. The main reason SBI is my first stop when checking the latest soccer news is because of the reasonably high level of discourse – the articles and conversations here are much more intelligent, thought-provoking, and civil than you find elsewhere on the Internet. (At least most of the time.) But if I can’t engage in the discussions, SBI loses its greatest asset.
Michael, I really don’t know why some of your comments are still being flagged. I’ve already loosened up all the moderation controls that were holding back comments but we still have some that get held up for no really clear reason. I try my best to clear the ones that are held in a timely manner, but in cases like today, where I’m traveling, it becomes tough to do. We’ll keep working on it.
ives, just want to say: i have noticed an improvement in the past few days, so thanks for that.
What is with all the nasty personal attacks on Hodgson? You guys need to get a grip. Sheesh. And mocking someone for a speech impediment? Classy.
To illustrate how absurd you guys sound, make a few substitutions. What if Joachim Low told Miroslav Klose (an aging albeit still productive player) that he would be jeopardizing his place with the German national team if he were to move to Liga MX (a league comparable both in geography and quality to MLS). Would any of you fault Low in the slightest? Would saying that make him a “moron?” Why have so many of you taken Hodgson’s comment personally?
Any thoughts on Gus Johnson being prepped to call the World Cup 2018 matches on Fox by starting with Man United- Real Madrid?
Most comments I’ve seen are freaking out talking about how they need a English voice. Look this isn’t about guys who are on this site already they have you they are trying to get the casual crowd. I think he can bring the passion to the game that most Americans don’t believe is there. And if he can channel that and still cater to the soccer fans I think he can be a home run. There are more of my friends tuning in to watch the game who would have never watched it, all because they want to hear him call the game.
I think he brings a lot of excitement to his sports telecasts but there’s something about the subtlety of Martin Tyler.
I’m in no way a Euro-snob (far from it, actually) but after hearing Tyler for the first time…I knew the style of commentator I enjoyed for football.
Screaming just doesn’t do it for me, in this sport.
Dempsey isn’t a natural forward.
He plays well as a second forward though.
Dempsey plays better more attacking midfielder type (flanks or behind the forwards), sneaky-in to score. Reason why Honduras had more easier time control our attack (only one guy on top).
Maybe, but the line between attacking midfielder and second forward is a pretty thin line. I don’t think Dempsey’s position had much to do with our attack being bad against Honduras. I think the lack of a creative center mid and the lack of width were to blame there.
Cherundolo just had surgery so I didnt include him
Gatt and Lichaj should at least be in the 23
Holden for Edu when he’s healthy. Done!
Adu for shea
Holden for edu
Boyd for altidore
Let me get this right, replace Shea with a guy who can’t make the field for the Union. Replace Edu with a guy who hasn’t stayed healthy in almost three years. And finally replace Altidore with a guy who is scoring less in a even weaker European league then the one he is in?
In fairness to Hodgson, he’s so old he has zero idea of how to track a player through the television and has never heard of the internet.
On a sidenote: F**k you Hodgon. Lost any respect I had for him.
Seriously…its LA of all places….I am sure they can figure out how to add a few more camera angles. Heck we can even change out the green pitch with some hollywood magic to any background he wants. LA can send him a live stream, they can put a camera in ANY seat in the house he wants for the exact same angle. They can have some hollywood intern slice and edit any number of angles or give one camera tracking him the whole time with a lazer beam for the close ups while splitting the screen (or get him setup with multiple monitors) with the wide shot of the match. We can get him film him with a heat camera, over head shots, any number of things and send it live or get him the game tapes all edited after. Plus…he can hang out and fly to LA or catch the east coast games. Becks might even let him use his jet since he wants to help some of these UK guys make it over to MLS and LA in particular.
If you want to say “your play quality will go down by not having the same level of competition” then fine….and say he can only play in the EPL, Spain, or Germany or something. (…although you could argue that other then 2 teams in Spain is it really that much better of a league on a whole) …..but to say he has to be in England because he wont be able to “monitor” him as easily is a bit silly does he need to drop by for dinner once a week to check on his eating habits?
Much Adu about nothing.
Hodgson is prepping his ready made excuse for not including Lampard in the future.
If Frankie goes to the Galaxy that is one less headache since he was proably going to drop him anyway.
And if Roy finds he’ll need him in the future you might have noticed that he left himself an out to call him back. In the off season Lampard will go back to England and train with West Ham and will be pronounced in “great form:”
Hodgson is no dummy.
“But the further afield you go, the more problematic it gets for the media and the England manager to follow you.”
This really can no longer be an excuse now that we’re well into the Internet Age.
I guess “how easy it is for the media to follow you” is among the criteria for England selection now.
Guys of course he can follow him here. If lesser countries from Africa can keep up with the players here then so can he. He was indirectly saying MLS isn’t good enough to keep you playing with our national team. Which he is 100% correct. If MLS was on the level of the EPL or even Ligue 1 then this wouldn’t even be a issue. He is basically saying look if you wan’t to keep playing for England find a higher level of competition, and if your Frank and you want to keep playing you will. Its nobody’s fault, its just the way it is.
“He was indirectly saying MLS isn’t good enough to keep you playing with our national team. Which he is 100% correct.”
Opinions =/= Facts
Really Old School come on be serious. Do you want Tim Howard playing for Everton or New York Red Bulls? Do you want Brek Shea at FC Dallas or at Stoke. Look there are zero players playing in a top 10 fifa nation playing in MLS and still playing for their national teams.
England isn’t always a top 10 nation… but I say that more to give England a hard time and less to invalidate your point.
England is secon tier. 1st tier: Spain,Germany,France,Italy,Netherlands. 2nd tier: England,Portugal,Serbia,Slovakia,Russia.
England is better then France I’d flip flop them. In my opinion at least lol.
Carlos Valdes was playing in MLS while getting called up to #5 ranked Colombia. Sure, he left for Santa Fe, but don’t even try to tell me the Colombian league is better than MLS.
Well his national team coach seems to think so. I would agree with you but I also don’t think Columbia is the 5th best team in the world either lol. FIFA has Brazil 18th right now so that pretty much says it all.
Colombia has been destroying teams in South America – crushing Uruguay and Chile. Brazil hasn’t played a competitive game in almost two years.
Your comment pretty much says it all about your knowledge of South American soccer – and your ability to properly spell its countries.
One letter wrong I beg thee excuse me sir lol. But your talking about the same Colombia ah spelled it right, who didn’t qualify for the last world cup who now is 5th in the world? My whole point has seemed to sail over your head. I know Brazil hasn’t had qualifiers but do you think according to FIFA there are 17 countries better then Brazil? The same people who said that say Colombia is 5th in the world lol.
Brazil isn’t in qualifying. There friendlies carry less weight than the rest of the teams playing official FIFA matches.
Isn’t the majority of that Honduran squads attack that beat us plays for that slavish poor excuse of a league ‘the MLS?’
And yes I’m being sarcastic…
Hodgson is the England manager.
He picks the players.
If that is his opinion about the relative worth of MLS, then regardless of whether it is true or what anyone else thinks, then that is the variable that will be used in Hodgson’s equation when evaluating how Lampard is playing.
So, Old School, you could be right and Hodgson could be wrong but it won’t help Frankie in his desire to continue playing for England.
I really respect Hodgson a lot. The guy is usually quite thoughtful and level headed; I’m curious whether his statement was literal or some indirect statement about the league.
I have to think it’s a subtle warning about the quality of the league, watching games or even hiring a local scout would be easy for the english FA. I guess he doesn’t want to personally travel to the US, the league would be in session when European leagues mostly aren’t, and I think, more than anything else, he doesn’t know MLS as well as he knows multiple Euro leagues so it’s harder for him to judge individual performances.
It’s pretty funny they discount the MLS as being WAY below the premier league but didn’t they take a third division keeper with them to their last few friendlies?
I love Hodgson, but this smacks of him being embarrassed having to justify to the blazer brigade of FA bureaucrat types and other managers that one of his players plays in MLS (Imagine “MLS” spoken in a condescending, quizzical tone of voice). The HORROR!!
‘condescending, quizzical tone of voice’
should’ve just said british accent.
go suck a nut you blind/uneducated moron Hodgson
“But the further afield you go, the more problematic it gets for the media and the England manager to follow you.”
Wow, talk about lazy.
The flip of this is how hard of a job the US staff has to follow our guys in multiple leagues abroad (even if it seems Klinsi only cares about the Bundesliga).
England managers barely visit players players in places like Newcastle or Sunderland, so I can`t imagine them wanting to follow a player in another country.
Ya…Hodgson is right. It’s really tough to track a single player in a third world country like the United States.
Third world country? you must be joking. So i’m going to take it as a joke.
That’s why the world invented FIFA 13. It’s an easy way to determine how good a player is. I use it all the time to decide my US Hex starting XI. Klinsi and I play online together all the time.
I just like to use Fifa 13 to see how good the team is going to be in the future. By 2015 Conor Lade is a stud and that guy Span playing in scandinavia is a speed demon on the wing. But we’re kind of weak up top outside of Altidore… humph… go figure.
It’s OK. Putting Shea as a striker will work wonders by 2015. His size and speed ensure he gets ten shots a game, at least three of which he puts on target and one of which he scores.
Just to showcase how important Shea will be to us, he is also a star CB, combining his size and speed to good effect.
Unfortunately, Gatt stays fast and doesn’t develop any passing or crossing ability. But Gil makes great strides toward the “next American Messi” title and Mix chooses us over Norway.
Spoiler alert for the future according to FIFA: Brooks remains German and becomes one of the best CBs in the world. Sorry folks. Luckily Aron stays Icelandic and remains an obscure one-season wonder.
HAHA, I thought I was the only one using Shea as a CB in 2015.
Wow FIFA did something right for once… also f*** you too Woy.
yeah but woy is wight.
Then he’s lazy. God forbid a player stray from Roy’s center of the universe.