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Wednesday Kickoff: Costa defies Mourinho, accepts Spain call-up; Totti inspired by Man City tweet; and more




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Despite his manager’s advice to skip out on international duty, Diego Costa is prepared to represent La Roja next week.

The Chelsea forward had been advised by manager Jose Mourinho to use the upcoming international break as a rest period, but Costa has declared himself healthy to accept a call up to Spain’s upcoming Euro 2016 qualifiers with Slovakia and Luxembourg.

Costa, who made the one-time switch to play for Spain earlier this year before featuring in the World Cup, insists he does not want to get caught up in a “club versus country war”, despite going against Mourinho’s request.

“I have already had enough with the issue about Brazil,” Costa said. “Now I must stay relaxed to be able to work and do things well, with the national team too.

“I hope I am okay to go with Spain,” Costa continued. “If I played 90 minutes (for Chelsea) it is clear that I am fine, I am feeling better all the time, and it is (del Bosque’s) decision .”

Here are some more news and notes to kickoff your Wednesday morning:


Francesco Totti started scoring goals for Roma long before the invention of Twitter, but that doesn’t mean the 38-year-old forward isn’t caught up on the latest social media trends.

Prior to kickoff of Roma’s Champions League clash with Manchester City, the English club posted a tweet questioning the Italian’s history of goalscoring on English soil. Totti responded by scoring the equalizing goal in the 1-1 draw, which he admits was inspired by Man City’s use of social media.

“City’s tweet? It really brought me luck,” Totti said. “It was a beautiful goal and a good performance. “I really wanted to score as soon as possible as I had not found the back of the net this season.But above all, I am thrilled for my team because we have shown a lot of strength, which was not easy.”

Totti’s finish saw the Roma forward set the mark for oldest Champions League goalscorer by beating out the record previously held by Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs.

“It really wasn’t something I was thinking of when I was on the pitch,” Totti said. “Records arrive thanks to the help of your team-mates and what really matters is the result of the team. My main focus is on the team and not on myself.”


Regardless of whether or not Daniel Sturridge makes his club return this weekend, manager Brendan Rodgers insists he will not be set to feature for his country any time soon.

The Liverpool manager revealed Tuesday that Sturridge could potentially make his return from injury this weekend while also stating his belief that the forward should be kept out of England’s Euro qualifiers next week. Sturridge, who has missed the past three weeks with a thigh strain, was originally hurt during his last stint with the national team.

“He won’t be fit,” Rodgers said. “Whether he is available for the weekend or not he won’t be fit. “We are hoping he can develop over the next 24 hours and train with the team on Thursday and be available for some involvement and be in the squad on Saturday. But if you are talking about players availability they need to be fit to play and Daniel will not be fit to play.”

Rodgers has made his frustration known since Sturridge’s injury, although the Liverpool manager has yet to speak with England manager Roy Hodgson since the incident.

“It’s something we have already stressed,” Rodgers said. “My focus is on protecting the Liverpool players and at this moment in time, my focus is on getting him fit for Liverpool.

“I have not spoken to Roy since then. We have good dialogue and he knows he can call and speak about any of the players. Hopefully, he will have found anything I have ever said helpful about the England players working with Liverpool.”


Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera is set to miss time due to a fractured rib. (REPORT)

Sevilla forward Carlos Bacca has signed a new deal to remain with the Spanish club until 2018. (REPORT)

Swansea City has denied takeover talks while admitting that the club is looking for new avenues to improve the club’s finances. (REPORT)

Al Ain’s Asamoah Gyan has accused Al Hilal midfielder Mihai Pintilii of racial abuse. (REPORT)

What do you think about Costa’s declaration? How far can Totti and Roma go this season? Where do you stand on the club versus country debate facing both Costa and Sturridge?

Share your thoughts below.



  1. I like that Swansea is part owned by the supporters and has made a club decision to try and play pretty soccer. I hope they can keep that going.

  2. You’re either hurt or not for the purposes of the rules. If you are well enough to play for club then the country “injury” exception also does not apply. There is no “but he could use the rest.” In theory a break could be negotiated but the whole point to the rule is the coach can’t tell you no. I’m glad this is not FIBA where the best players suiting up for international play is not taken for granted.


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