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Monday Kickoff: Van Gaal seeks dynamic midfielder; Ibrahimovic explains tattoo celebration; and more

LouisVanGaalManUnited1-CrystalPalace2014EPL (Getty)


Louis van Gaal is looking to add a bit more balance to Manchester United’s midfield setup.

The Dutch manager admitted Sunday that his side is still in need of a two-way central midfielder, as the Red Devils have been forced to use Wayne Rooney in the role throughout the season.

“Of course that’s the case. I’m looking for balance and I need it in midfield,” van Gaal said. “The last games I played with Adnan Januzaj and Angel Di Maria in the midfield positions. Then you need a certain balance for those kind of creative players.

“So when you have these creative players and you think that (Radamel) Falcao and Robin van Persie are also creative, then you have four creative players. Then you have to look for balance in your team.”

Manchester United have been linked with moves for Juventus’ Paul Pogba and Roma’s Kevin Strootman, who van Gaal previously managed with the Dutch national team.

Here are some more news and notes to kick off your Monday morning:


For Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Saturday’s celebration was certainly worth a yellow card.

The Paris Saint-Germain striker removed his shirt after scoring the opening goal in PSG’s eventual 2-2 draw with Caen, revealing a series of names tattooed on his body. The Swedish star says his celebration was an effort to draw attention to world hunger, as each name inked onto his torso was meant to send a message.

“On Saturday against Caen, when I took my shirt off, everyone was asking what all the new tattoos were,” Ibrahimovic said. “I had 50 names temporarily tattooed on my body. They are the names of real people who are suffering from hunger around the world.

“The tattoos have gone, but the people are still out there. There are 805 million people who are suffering from hunger around the world. I want you to see them, via me, to help the World Food Program. This is the first time I have publicly engaged with a charity. If we can reach out to the world leaders, I am sure that together, we can solve the problem of hunger throughout the world.”


Honduran defender Juan Carlos Garcia is currently in the hospital after being diagnosed with leukemia.

Garcia, who currently plays for Wigan Athletic, was sent to Manchester’s Christie Hospital this week due to illness, and Wigan manager Malky Mackay revealed Monday that that illness has been revealed to be the blood disorder.

“[The chief executive] Jonathan Jackson, myself and the doctor have had various chats on it,” Mackay said. “We’ve flown his mother, his wife and his sister over from Honduras to be with him and arranged accommodation close to the hospital as well.

“It’s something that is obviously a real blow for Juan Carlos’s family and everybody connected with the football club. We’re going to make sure that he gets the best care possible.

“I went in to see Juan Carlos and he was incredibly upbeat and his spirits were strong. He’s going to fight this and make sure he gets through this for the sake of his wife and kids. Everybody at the club is wishing him all the best as I’m sure that all our fans are.”

Garcia has made 34 appearances for Honduras and has scored one goal, a bicycle kick agains the U.S. Men’s National Team in World Cup Qualifying.


Monterrey have parted ways with head coach Carlos Barra. (REPORT)

Despite a hefty offer from a Thai businessman, AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi insists he will not sell the club. (REPORT)

Bayern Munich’s Phillip Lahm has returned to light training after suffering a broken ankle in November. (REPORT)

Newcastle United midfielder Jonas Guttierez has returned to the club after a move to Argentina’s Velez Sarsfield fell through. (REPORT)

Who do you think would fit Manchester United’s midfield needs? What do you think of Ibrahimovic’s gesture?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Prayers to the Honduran defender, which should have been the lead story. Get well soon! It also appears Jonas Guttierez is better now. Good for him.

    Also, maybe Man Yoo should sign that Juan Mata character for creativity or that Bilbao mid Ander Herrera to inject a box to box presence. Van Gaal is clueless and I’m loving every minute of it.


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