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Thursday Kickoff: Fabregas ends Man United transfer talk; Rooney in England squad; and more

CescFabregasBarcelona4 (Getty)


It never seemed likely, but Cesc Fabregas has now squashed any hope of a move to Manchester.

The Barcelona midfielder, speaking to the press ahead of a friendly match in Malaysia, said that it had always been his dream to play at Barcelona, and he has never thought about leaving. Fabregas also denied that he had agreed personal terms with Manchester United, who have made three reported bids for the Spanish national team star.

Man United recently began talks with Everton’s Marouane Fellaini, seemingly finding themselves at an impass with Barcelona over the transfer of Fabregas. The 26-year-old’s comments on Thursday though make it clear that he has no intention of leaving.

Last season, the former Arsenal midfielder played 48 times for Barcelona, scoring 14 goals, though he was on the bench for some of the biggest games of the season, and acknowledged that he needed to improve his play this season.

Here are some more stories to get your Thursday started:


England National Team manager Roy Hodgson has recalled nine players to his 25-man team to face Scotland at Wembley Stadium next Wednesday.

Jack Wilshere, Tom Cleverley, and Wilfried Zaha are among those who are returning to the national team setup, with regulars like Jermaine Defoe, Theo Walcott, and Leighton Baines still on the squad.

Interestingly, Wayne Rooney has been selected, despite missing all of Manchester United’s preseason with various injuries. Transfer talk has swirled around Rooney all summer with a reported move to Chelsea on the table, and many think that Rooney’s injuries aren’t that serious.

In addition, Southampton forward Ricky Lambert is in line for his first ever England cap. England’s game against Scotland is part of the FA Celebrations for their 150th anniversary.


In the biggest game of the club’s preseason, Cristiano Ronaldo stepped into high gear.

The Real Madrid star bagged two goals, including one from a 30-yard free kick to lead his team to the International Champions Cup title with a 3-1 victory over Chelsea on Wednesday evening in Miami.

Marcelo opened the scoring for Madrid in the 14th minute off a pass from Ronaldo, but Chelsea’s Ramires equalized just two minutes later. Then Ronaldo showed off his free-kick abilities with an absolute rocket in the 31st minute to give Madrid the lead for good.

The Portuguese international finished off the game in the 57th minute by scoring again, this time on a header to send the crowd of over 67,000 in Miami into a frenzy.


Shakhtar Donetsk have completed the signing of Atletico Mineiro star Bernard for €25 million. (REPORT)

Schalke 04’s 19-year-old wizard Julian Draxler has been included in Germany’s squad to face Paraguay on Wednesday. (REPORT)

Park Ji-Sung has moved to PSV Eindhoven on a season-long loan from QPR. (REPORT)

Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane is nearing a return to full fitness after a two-month injury layoff following a knee operation. (REPORT)

Eric Abidal has earned an amazing recall to the French National Team ahead of a friendly match against Belgium. (REPORT)

17-year-old Belgian wonderkid Zakaria Bakkali has been called up by Belgium National Team head coach Marc Wilmots for their friendly match on Wednesday against France. (REPORT)


What do you think of this news? Did you expect Fabregas to leave Barcelona? Do you see Ronaldo having another crazy year of goals? Surprised at Rooney’s inclusion in the England squad?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Another Belgian Wonderkid? This team is already pretty fierce, but 2014 might be too soon for them. Maybe Euro ’16 or WC ’18 will be their time to shine.

  2. Wow, Zakaria Bakkali was born in 1996. Soon we’ll have guys born in this century playing professionally. What that says to me is that I’m getting old.

  3. As a man united fan I am embarrassed by such a public chase of this guy when we all knew it to be unachievable. I hope this serves as a nice lesson for our new CEO. Now everyone else they go after will feel like a second choice.

    • they dont care, as long as the $$ is there. And, from their perspective, this is good, it means Man Utd is desperate and willing to pay big $$

    • I always thought we should have just pursued Fella from the start. Would I have loved to have Cesc? Heck, yeah. But these guys have been at this for a while and the feel had to have been there that this was a tough signing. In the end I hope we get Fella – though now it does not look so well.

      • I wanted ManU to bring in Cesc, Nasri, and Clicy to team with RVP.

        Would love to see Wenger’s expression having that lot take the field against Arsenal in Man U kits.

    • Don’t feel too bad just yet. The window isn’t closed and we never know what will happen.

      On a related note, Arsenal were reportedly after Bernard, who just signed with Shakhtar Donetsk for €25 million, and missed the boat on him, too.

      United aren’t the only big club in the EPL that are whiffing on transfer targets left and right.


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