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Monday Kickoff: Rossi suffers knee injury; Blatter hits out at Brazil WC preparations; and more

GiuseppeRossiFiorentina2-Livorno2014 (EFE)


For the third time in as many years, Giuseppe Rossi is facing an extended layoff due to a knee injury.

The American-born forward who has been in fine form this season was at the end of a crunching challenge on Sunday in Fiorentina’s 1-0 victory against Livorno, forcing Rossi off the field in the 71st minute. Originally thought to have suffered a third torn ACL, Fiorentina released a medical report on Monday saying that Rossi suffered a grade two MCL tear in his right knee, the same one that he tore the ACL.

Fiorentina also said that Rossi will travel to Vail, Colo. to visit Dr. Richard Steadman, who operated on Rossi’s two prior knee surgeries and as performed thousands of ACL surgeries in his medical practice.

In his first full season back from injury, Rossi leads Serie A with 14 goals in 18 games. Italy National Team head coach Cesare Prandelli has wished Rossi good luck in coming back from this injury and is hopeful to have the 26-year-old available for the World Cup this summer.

Here are some more stories to kick off your week:


In his first public comments of 2014, FIFA president Sepp Blatter has chosen to slam Brazil ahead of the upcoming World Cup.

Blatter claimed in an interview with Swiss newspaper 24 Heures that six of the 12 World Cup venues have missed FIFA’s latest deadline of Dec. 31, and that there are delays to construction of hotels, airports, and roads across the nation.

“Brazil has just found out what it means and has started work much too late,” Blatter said. “No country has been so far behind in preparations since I have been at FIFA, even though it is the only host nation which has had so much time – seven years – in which to prepare.”

At least three of the stadia are expected to continue construction through mid-April, just two months prior to the start of the tournament.


Arguably the greatest soccer player in Portugal’s history, Eusebio, passed away on Sunday at his home in Lisbon due to heart failure. He was 71.

As a forward for Benfica and the Portuguese National Team, Eusebio lead his sides to great heights with his goal-scoring achievements. With Benfica, Eusebio lead his side to a European Cup title in 1962 against Real Madrid with a hat-trick in the final and they finished runners-up in 1963, 1965, and 1968. The Mozambique-born star is perhaps best known for his four-goal performance at the 1966 World Cup for Portugal, helping his side come back from a three-goal deficit against North Korea to win 5-3. Portugal finished in third-place in that World Cup, the closest they have ever come to winning the tournament.

Tributes to Eusebio have poured in from around the world from both political leaders and soccer players paying their respects. In Portugal, he’s referred to as “the eternal.” Eusebio remains Benfica’s top goal scorer with 474 goals in 440 matches in all competitions. For Portugal, Eusebio scored 41 times in 64 appearances.


After months of anticipation, Bayern Munich finally made the news official.

The reigning Bundesliga, European, and Club World Cup champions announced on Saturday that they’ve signed Borussia Dortmund forward Robert Lewandowski to a five-year contract, set to begin on July 1. Lewandowski will move to Bayern this summer on a free contract, as his deal is set to expire with Dortmund at the end of June.

“We’re very pleased about completing this transfer,” Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said in a club statement. “Robert Lewandowski is one of the best strikers in the world. He will strengthen the Bayern squad and give us another boost. We’re delighted both parties have today signed a five-year contract until 2019.”

The Polish international has been the best-scoring forward in the Bundesliga for the last two years and has long been linked with a transfer to Bayern. Since 2011, Lewandowski has scored 57 goals in the Bundesliga and 82 goals in all competitions. It’s the second major signing in the last six months that Bayern has made from Dortmund, with Mario Götze moving last summer for a reported €37 million.


Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan is finally back in full training with the squad after struggling to overcome a back injury for the past five months. (REPORT)

David Moyes says he’s unsure if Manchester United will be able to sign their transfer targets in January. (REPORT)

Real Madrid have plans to offer Xabi Alonso a two-year extension, despite worries that he could leave on a free transfer this summer. (REPORT)

Real Madrid also offered Robert Lewandowski and his advisors a deal of €81 million to bring him to Spain. (REPORT)

Arsenal winger Theo Walcott could miss four weeks with a knee injury suffered in his club’s 2-0 victory against Tottenham on Saturday. (REPORT)


What do you think of these reports? Do you see Rossi returning for the World Cup? Agree with Blatter’s comments on Brazil’s World Cup preparations? What are your favorite memories of Eusebio’s career?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I currently live in Brazil, so perhaps I have a little to share regarding the World Cup.

    1) Brazil is a VERY corrupt country. These things were bound to happen, regardless of FIFA and their backdoor manipulation of Brazil’s laws.
    2) The longer the construction companies wait, the more $$$ they have access to in the form of “emergency” government funds.
    3) Brazilians have serious issues with timing. They have a culture of tardiness and see no reason to change it.
    4) Brazilians are highly sensitive to the outside world’s opinion of them and their culture. This is one area where FIFA really dropped the ball. They needed a culturally advisor to clue them in on how to deal with the Brazilian mind set. That whole “kick in the arse” issue was a complete scandal here in Brazil.
    5) Brazil’s infrastructure was never ready for the Cup, regardless of the 7 plus years of preparation time. It’s quite normal here for the summer rains to wash highways away. Quite literally, the rain comes in and there goes the highway! That is just ONE example of how bad it is here.
    6) Despite the interest in the English language and profusion of schools, the number of people who speak the language working in the service sector is pitiful. Given that English is the lingua franca (not Spanish, Portuguese, German, Japanese, etc.) that is a serious problem.
    7) Brazilian culture has serious issues with honesty and trust. That will manifests itself in many ways, seen and unseen and is bound to hurt them and those visiting the country for the World Cup.

    Brazilians can be lovely, fun and interesting people. They are great at the football and samba but in general they are inscrutable lot who should have never been given the Cup in the first place. Now FIFA and Brazil have too lay in the bed they collectively made.

    IMHO, don’t come here for the Cup. Better to stay home and watch on TV.


    • Dude, you have some massive pent up aggression.
      I don’t doubt what you said, but 6 and 7 were beyond the realm of criticism and just came off as petty.

      PS- Like it or not, I’ll be there.

      • Prolly been ripped off by Taxi drivers too many times. I will say this though if you learn enough of the local language people will try to rip you off less. Being seen as a Tourist makes ripping you off fair game in most peoples eyes. I’m visiting friends in Thailand right now and I get treated completely different because I speak a little Thai.

        Its more like if you have the money to visit their country(thousands of dollars) then you shouldn’t care about paying $2 dollars more than you should for something. It doesn’t matter than its not “fair.”

    • I’ve noticed that well-regarded orthopedic surgeons have a tendency to congregate in ski-towns.

      I’m not sure if this says more about the surgeons or the towns.

      • Mason,

        In Steadman’s case it is because back in the 70’s he was the chief physician for the US Ski team.

        If you think about it orthopedic surgeons and competitive skiers are like peas and carrots.

        Steadman gets a lot of soccer players because a long time ago he treated guys like Alan Shearer, Michael Owen, Owen Hargreaves and so on.

        I imagine word of mouth is a strong with soccer players as it is with any other profession.

      • It was a joke.

        I come from a skiing family and understand very well the relationship between skiing and the need for orthopedic repairs.

      • That’s called “affirming a disjuinct”. It can be both true that Dr. James Andrews lives and works in Pensacola, and that other well-regarded orthos congregate in ski towns. Put another way, the existence of Dr. Andrews practice in Pensacola does not invalidate my observation that orthos congregate in ski towns.

    • Come on man, he never, ever said he wanted to play for the US. He was Italy from the start, so you can’t call him a traitor.

  2. It just came out that Walcott ruptured his ACL, he is out for at least 6 months, minimum. He is going to miss the WC and the rest of the year

  3. Can you imagine the anguish and panic among US supporters if Rossi did play for the USA and looked to (again) miss a WC due to injury? At least in a collision, Altidore looks more likely to walk away healthy than any one who made the bad choice to collide with him.

    Well good luck to Rossi and hope I did not just jinx Jozy.

  4. I know it’s a little macabre, but Rossi’s troubles got me thinking about Stuart Holden, which led me to think more generally about good players whose careers were drastically affected or shortened by persistent or repeated injuries. Whether for American players or for players from any nation, who would be on your Best XI of such players?

  5. Why blame the country of Brazil? Blame FIFA for not having a back up plan in place earlier than now. There are nations that are better equipped than Brazil. Real world economics>football.

    • Really? Brazil has known for SEVEN YEARS they’re holding the World Cup.
      You can’t blame everything on FIFA just because it’s the popular thing to do.

      • Obviously FIFA gave the Cup to a nation that was not equipped for it. Economics, politics, or whatever have gotten in the way of the massive project to host the World Cup. If Brazil isn’t ready by June then it’s their fault, but if it affects the Cup negatively then I’ll blame FIFA. FIFA needs to know how to have contingencies for this, or disasters, unrest, wars etc.
        Not a difficult concept to understand.

    • Ridiculous. Brazil was named host in 2007 and has actually known since 2003 that it was hosting this tournament. That’s plenty of time to build everything. And since the plan was to have the tournament in South America, there were not better equipped countries. FIFA can’t pass laws in Brazil and command that things get built. This is 100% Brazil’s fault. If you want be a big boy country and host big events like the World Cup and Olympics, you need to get your act together.

    • why blame them? because they committed to the World Cup and the Olympics despite not having the resources to get it done without sacrificing too much. despite Brazil’s growing economy, their eyes were bigger than their stomachs. sure enough, tax-payer money starts getting strictly spent on building stadiums instead of going towards things like schools, public infrastructure, cleaning up the water supply, etc. before you know it, things aren’t getting completed and people are protesting. there was an interesting article on the pollution of Guanabara Bay and how Olympic sailors who are training there are amazed with how disgusting it is (google, “Guanabara Bay pollution olympic sailors”).

      point is, despite a booming economy, Brazil took on way too much in hosting both tournaments. FIFA always has a back up plan, it’s called the USA.

      • come on man, clearly i’m not blaming the entire country. but you have to blame the organizing committees and government for agreeing to something that was clearly going to cost a TON of money. this is why you saw people protesting in the streets during the Confeds Cup.

  6. Re: Brazil

    Too much samba mentality. Live for today, worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.
    If it was held in the US, you wouldn’t have these problems.

    • Well we also already have probably 100 stadiums that could host a world cup game tomorrow as well as adequate infrastructure so there’s that too.

      • We are on the short list to get the cup if Brazil fails.

        FIFA has only themselves to blame. This is what happens when you try to force such economic and policy changes on a country so riddled with problems.

        Blatter needs to realize he’s not the world changer he thinks he is. Reports prove that the World Cup (and Olympics) are money wasters for countries.

      • I think South Africa was relatively successful and that country certainly has its share of problems. Brazil did a terrible job but I don’t think it means an emerging economy can’t host a world cup.

      • It’s not about world changing or any other altruistic cause FIFA tries to use in order to justify their “selections”.

        The truth is, it is that 3rd world countries present many, many more opportunities for generating income for FIFA hierarchy and their “friends” through their systemic corruption, the need for massive construction projects, graft and bribes.

        It is very telling when a nation as accustomed to corruption and fanatically soccer crazy as Brazil sees this clearly and takes to the street in mass protest.

      • Josh D
        “Reports prove that the World Cup (and Olympics) are money wasters for countries.”

        Why, then, there are so many countries and cities that launch massive, long term, expensive campaigns to lure these competitions to their countries/cities?.

        I guess there must be a lot of stupid or corrupt (pick one or both) people out there, huh?.

      • Is he really a “glory hunter traitor”? He wanted to play for Italy since he was a little kid. He never planned on representing USA.

      • when he scored against the USA and his friends, his celebration was over the top and showed no class. if he’s not a traitor then he is a jerk.

      • This. Although I was annoyed at his decision, the fact is he never waffled on his desire to represent Italy. This was much different than a Subotic situation, who actually played with the US setup.

        That being said, his goal celebrations were classless and caused me to have zero sympathy for him.

      • I agree with this too! You can talk all you want about wanting to play for Italy since before you were born yada yada yada, but to lavishly celebrate a goal against your birth country? A country where you still enjoy citizenship? It’s disgusting and down right disrespectful. If he had been born in Russian and I was Vladamir Putin I would revoke his citizenship.

      • HeHan,

        “Did you see Bacon on his first goal? Pure class”

        AJ scored his goal under very different circumstances. The two situations are not comparable.
        Aron spoke of how it seemed to him that the Panamanians had practically stopped playing by the time Boyd set him up for his shot on goal.
        They and the whole country were in shock after Zusi’s goal. AJ is a classy guy no doubt but the whole team was just trying to get out of there as fast as possible after the end of the game.

        It was not an atmosphere for celebration.

      • Rossi played in Italy’s youth teams and spent time as a youth training in Italy. This sense that he was ever ours or that he went for glory is at this point mute and childish.

        We have benefitted from players who chose us over other countries. And we have lost players, too, like Subotic.

        It’s hard to think how great our team would be with this two world class players. Subotic was ours to lose; Rossi was ours only in wishful thinking.

        I for one hope he recovers. He’s a standup guy and deserves the best.

      • To be fair, Subotic was deemed not good enough for the USNT and cut by Thomas Rogen, then the coach of the U20 team.

      • Correct. I don’t know why people always seem to forget this fact regarding Subotic and how it lead to his decision…

      • I don’t want the guy to get hurt. But he is a traitor, because he was born and raised here, and I’d prefer that he play badly and fail as a player.

        Same with Subotic. Either way, doesn’t look like either of these clowns will be in Brazil.

      • good post Josh. Rossi was never a USMNT candidate, and he was straight up about it. Subotic? different discussion.

      • That’s not true. Arena explored the idea of getting Rossi on to the 2006 side, when he was 15 or 16. If your point is that he would never have considered wearing the USA kit, I”m not sure that’s true, either. It was a hard choice for a young man not knowing whether a call to the Italian team would come.

      • he always indicated he wanted to play for gli Azzurri. True. Not the USA. True.

        so not a candidate. any poster here knows he would obviously be called and capped if he was interested in it, but he wasn’t and never pretended to be like Subotic


      • You know, I want everyone to want to play for America. Heck I’m mad all the best players don’t refuse call ups until such time as they are eligible to play for us. Ronaldo, Messi, those guys should be marrying Americans and suiting up dagnabbit!

        This is soccer, I don’t have to be reasonable ! ‘Merica!!!

      • Glory hunter? probably but isn’t that what sports is all about?
        Traitor? no really. If Rossi would’ve stayed in the US instead of going to Italy we wouldn’t be having this conversation because he wouldn’t be nearly as good as he is today.
        He’s a product of Italian football and that’s who he should represent.

      • slowleftarm,

        “Rather have a committed player than that glory hunting traitor”

        Professional players especially at Rossi’s level are by definition all “glory hunters”. I’d put Dempsey in that category. Otherwise they would not be anywhere near as good. If the entire USMNT player pool were as serious and committed about their “glory hunting” as Rossi is they’d be a lot better.

        And he is very committed and loyal to boot. He was always firm on his desire to play for Italy. Arena figured that out pretty early on. His Italian dad taught him all about soccer and his coaches and trainers in Italy and England, where he moved when he was about twelve, taught him all he knows about soccer and helped make him the player he is today.
        He owes the USMNT nothing. As far as I can tell his only relationship to the USMNT is that he and Jozy, two Jersey boys, are friends.

        I wonder if there are people like you in Scotland who are happy and smiling every time they hear that Holden has had his US career similarly blighted by untimely injury just like Rossi?

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