Thursday Kickoff: Nesta departs Milan and eyes MLS, Chicharito not permitted to play in Olympics and more

Nesta (Getty)

By FRANCO PANIZO

Alessandro Nesta has confirmed he will leave AC Milan at season's end, and MLS is among the places he might land at next.

Nesta said during a press conference on Thursday morning that he would depart the club after spending a decade there in part because of the rigors of playing for the Italian heavyweight. Nesta added he has not yet signed anywhere, but admitted he would be happy to join MLS. 

The storied Italian international, who has been rumored to joining the New York Red Bulls, helped Milan to two Serie A titles and two Champions League trophies. Nesta also won a league title with Lazio earlier in his career, and was on Italy's World Cup-winning team in 2006.

Here are more stories to help get your morning going:

MANCHESTER UNITED WILL NOT ALLOW CHICHARITO TO PLAY IN OLYMPICS

Javier 'Chicharito'  Hernandez will not be suiting up for Mexico at this summer's Olympics. Manchester United have denied the prolific Mexican striker from playing in the Summer Games in London, as they want him to get a full offseason's rest before the start of the next campaign. Hernandez has not lived up to his first-year standards during his sophomore campaign, scoring just 10 times this season.

ATLETICO MADRID WIN EUROPA LEAGUE TITLE

Atletico Madrid won their second Europa League title in three seasons on Wednesday, and Radamel Falcao played a big part in that happenining. The Colombian striker scored twice to help Atletico Madrid defeat Athletic Bilbao, 3-0, in the all-Spanish encounter. Falcao won the tournament last season with FC Porto, scoring the only goal in the final against Braga. 

BOCA JUNIORS ADVANCE IN COPA LIBERTADORES

Former Argentina international Juan Roman Riquelme inspired Boca Juniors to reach the quarterfinals of the Copa Libertadores, scoring a goal and assisting on another in the club's 3-2 win over Chilean club Union Espanola on Wednesday night. The result pushed Boca Juniors through on a 5-3 aggregate over two legs. Boca is to face a Brazilian side in the next round, as Fluminense and Internacional are its possible opponents.

MONTERREY TIES CLUB AMERICA IN MEXICAN PLAYOFFS

CONCACAF Club champion Monterrey tied Club America, 0-0, in the first leg of their Mexican Clausura playoff semifinal on Wednesday night in Mexico City. America saw midfielder Paul Aguilar sent off in the 83rd minute, meaning he will miss the second leg on Saturday in Monterrey.

The other semifinal series, between Santos Laguna and Tigres, kicks off tonight.

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Fully expecting Nesta to join MLS this summer? Surprised United won't let Chicharito go to the Olympics? Do you see Boca Juniors winning the Copa Libertadores?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in European Soccer, International Soccer, Mexican Soccer, South American Soccer. Bookmark the permalink.

56 Responses to Thursday Kickoff: Nesta departs Milan and eyes MLS, Chicharito not permitted to play in Olympics and more

  1. Yellow Submarine says:

    I hear Gertjan Verbeek is not allowing Jozy to play in the Summer Olympics either.

    Oh, wait…

  2. DanO says:

    Bummer for Chicharito. I can’t stand Mexico, but they are flying the regional flag in the Olympics, and this sucks for CONCACAF too. Makes you wonder if the US would have gotten Jozy, Chandler, Gatt, F. Johnson (if he’s age eligible, too lazy to check this morning), etc. anyway…

  3. James says:

    How embarrassing for NY. Does the MLS really think that a single team stockpiling aging veterans as a sort of pre-retirement retirement is still a good move for them? Do they think it adds any value or reputation to the league?
    How about when Nesta misses a game or two, and their homegrown replacement places just as well or better than him for those games. What will that say?
    I am not sure why the MLS thinks allowing a tiny amount of teams to throw money at aged foreign players while hand tying all of them with a “salary cap” that is easily manipulated and a bunch of archaic roster rules is a good practice to continue.
    At this point the only different between random Chinese or Qatarian teams offering these done former stars a ton of money to play there, and NY offering the same is that atleast America isn’t a second world country.

  4. Mig22 says:

    Another reason to detest ManU. I am curious how well that BS would fly with a prominent English Olympic player. I very well may be wrong but this sort of smells. Thoughts?

  5. Bob says:

    +1000

  6. Mike says:

    Oh this absolutely smells.

    Full off season of rest? For what. He got a full off season of rest during the season itself. They have no intention of playing him as evidenced by the fact that he almost never plays!

    Smells like they’re holding him out as some sort of gamesmanship. Sickening. But this is English soccer, the slimiest organizations in soccer.

  7. K Bone says:

    I’m fairly certain there are a lot of club coaches that do not want their players playing in the Olympics. I know Wenger certainly does not, so do you also detest every team that feels the same way as United? I am surprised that you can prevent players from playing in the Olympics, and I’d be disappointed if I was Chicharito, but having him have a summer off would be great. He’s also playing in Mexico’s qualifiers…

  8. K Bone says:

    What are you talking about? First off, just because you don’t play every game, doesn’t mean you have the whole season off. You do know they practice every day right? Second, he played plenty this season, and when he didn’t, it was because Welbeck was more effective. You think he deserved to play every single game? His first season was great, but I think he’s been tired this season and he also had a few injuries. Your claim that he almost never plays is a joke. Why don’t you ask Berbatov what that’s like…

  9. Kodi says:

    Off topic just thinking about it, but all the sports talk shows keep talking about parents starting to keep their kids from playing football due to the health risk/concussion risk. I wonder if this could have any increase in youth soccer and any longterm affect on soccer in the US. Maybe more young athletes will see soccer as a more viable option.

  10. Mig22 says:

    I understand that other teams don’t *want* players involved in any international. However, they aren’t prohibiting the young players from participating. I just think that this would never happen with a young English player. (again, I may be wrong)

    I’m also surprised that this can be done for an age-eligible player.

    Edit: And I just like any excuse to renew my distaste for United. ;)
    Cheers!

  11. James says:

    Well, from what I have read Youth Soccer is already the most populated youth sport in America. If anything, this will keep the kids in soccer growing up as parents will be less like to let them move onto football.
    And all it will take is one athletic freak like Megatron or Peterson to stay in soccer his whole adolescence (instead of moving onto high school/college football) to really start American Soccer on the path of pumping out great players.

  12. Eurosnob says:

    Fabian Johnson is 24. By the way, Chicharito will also be 24 by the time the Olympics start so he would have been one of the three overage players each team is allowed, if ManUtd allowed him to play.

  13. Eurosnob says:

    A lot of clubs would have done the same, particularly given the fact that Chicharito would have been one of the three overage players for Mexico (he will be 24 by the time the Olympics start). When a club invests millions of dollars in a player, why risk an injury by allowing him to play in a non FIFA tournament? It’s a bummer for Chicharito, but there’s nothing malicious or extraordinary in ManUtd making this decision.

  14. Angel says:

    Well I think is time for the MLS to open up to another DP Rule Changes plus an increase to the salary to at least 5-10 million for team because there a lot of great players that want to come to play in the mls league. I know I know they are older and soon to be retired but they can still play to a top level here in the MLS and they might have few more years to give. Players like Ballack, Seedorf, Pirlo, Nesta, Insuagui, Forlan, Raul, Salgado and many more out there.

  15. Mig22 says:

    I thought he was age-eligible. It changes everything if he is over-age. Thanks.

  16. The Imperative Voice says:

    (a) the U23s should be mandatory, the overagers discretionary.
    (b) but is Fergie suggesting ManU won’t be practicing and playing in July and August just the same?
    and (c) Old Trafford is itself an Olympic venue — just not for Mexico — and arduous in this case would be Chicharito has to fly/train/drive to Cardiff and the like.

    That being said, I was advocating Landon take a break yesterday so there is a logic to it.

  17. The Imperative Voice says:

    If you’ve ever transitioned between playing and bench and back, you would know that while practices can be hard it makes a massive difference not having to play 60-90 minutes in terms of how fresh you are.

  18. biff says:

    Anyone at the Philly-Schalke game last night? Klaas-Jan Huntelaar got banged on by the goal-keeper (resulting in a penalty kick that was missed) in the first-half while attempting a head-shot and had to leave the game. And then after walking of the field he collapsed on the sidelines and was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with a concussion. And then his replacement, Ciprian Marica, got banged up in the second half and had to be removed from the game. Just wondering how the game looked overall, how the Schalke players were reacting to a fired up group of young Philly players who apparently were playing like it was a World Cup final—and won 2-1.

  19. Soccer Man says:

    Frickin nerve. Nesta needs to stay Italy and find himself a nice retirement home there. Like MLS needs another over the hill prima donna collecting huge paychecks while playing one out of every five games because he has more important things to do or needs a rest. Maybe he should go to LA. That would give them a payroll ten times higher than any other club while not qualifying for the playoffs.

  20. Mig22 says:

    Yeah, I think the U23s ARE mandatory. It was my mistake thinking Chicharito was age-eligible (where DID the time go).

    I absolutely, utterly agree that LD should NOT play at the Olympics. Oh wait. Oh god, it’s still true, the US didn’t qualify. Now I’m sad.

    Seriously though, LD should be rested as much as possible but maybe not vs. Brazil since I’m going to be there. :)

  21. fortunate only says:

    LOL what?

    Hernandez was injured for some time and it took him a while to get back into the squad. Welbeck also took advantage of his opportunities and played much more than Hernandez yet Hernandez has scored more goals than him in the league.

    What I find interesting is the fact that SBI always mentions Dempsey’s overall goalscoring record but when it comes to Hernandez they only mention his goals scored in league play which is ten while Dempsey has 17.

    Hernandez has scored in other tournaments and not just the PL.

  22. Gnarls says:

    I have no problem rooting for Mexico as the reps of CONCACAF when the US isn’t involved. This is a major blow to their chances.

  23. LA says:

    No thanks.

  24. Gnarls says:

    :'(

  25. fischy says:

    “atleast America isn’t a second world country.”

    It isn’t. Look around you. Deliberate Republican-led neglect, failing to invest in infrastructure and people, repairing water systems and bridges before they become expensive crises, all intended to cripple the government’s ability to spend resources on improving conditions for the less fortunate, has turned America into a second-world level country, spiraling our way to third-world status in nearly every consequential measure of education and health care. Yes, we have one fohte two largest economies in the world, but it’s only working for a tiny, eensy-weensy sliver of our population. The majority of Americans are not living the lives that people in first-world nations have.

    Sorry for the lecture, but I couldn’t let the statement go without bringing in a serious reality check.

  26. fischy says:

    Concussion risk? Have you followed soccer much? There’s a lot of evidence that’s coming out of recent studies showing that soccer is a very risky sport. It’s risky for knees, especially, but the evidence is showing that soccer players experience lots of concussions and that even heading the ball when you’re that young is killing brain cells.

  27. DanO says:

    Care to enlighten us on Chicharito’s total?

    Dempsey’s is more commonly mentioned probably because it is more commonly reported on this website and hence easier for us all to remember.

    It’s nothing against Chicharito, but my desire to keep up on his totals in all competitions is nonexistent, just like I have no idea how many Drogba has in total or Van Der Vaart, etc. That said, 10 goals in the PL is impressive regardless of how many games you play or who you play for, so good for Chicharito.

    On the other hand, 17 goals for a midtable team from midfield (most of the time) is BPL best XI material, and DESERVES a heck of a lot more attention.

  28. Aguinaga says:

    James – the false assumption you are making is that winning is more important to my local team, and hence to MLS, than marketing and selling cans of energy drink.

    Fischy – Well said, but you cannot explain the Matrix. You have to see it for yourself.

  29. Old School says:

    Despite agreeing with your political views, they aren’t needed here.

  30. That Henry fellow has added nothing but it sure is exciting when some local nobody like Wondolowski is neck in neck with him for goals up to when he got injured.

    Everyone knows MLS is not at the Big 4 League level so what.

    If the homegrown talent plays as well or better good for them. Says the homegrown talent is getting better.

    Tiny # of teams for DPs – check your stats as a good # of teams have or currently have DPs.

  31. Dinho says:

    As a United fan, even I’m a bit shocked, but I understand. We were missing his timely goals this year and he was off-form.

    For Chicharito and CONCACAF, I’m bummed. I just read that he may have been the flag bearer at the opening ceremonies… that just blows that he misses that opportunity.

  32. Kotty says:

    Doesn’t matter he is not eligible for the Olimpics at all.He can only goes as overage player.Chicho were born in wrong year which is cut off for the Olimpics not the month.

  33. Kotty says:

    Don’t be stupid my friend. Practice lol everyone has to practice but if you don’t play there is no reason for rest.Injury is the problem not rest my friend.

  34. JG13 says:

    Unless the pay scales drastically change, won’t the majority of those same kids still choose basketball once $ becomes a factor?

  35. dan says:

    Also, Dempsey is American and this is “soccer with an American Voice”

  36. Slowleftarm says:

    Comparing the United States to a third world country is insulting and demeaning to the billions of people who live day to day in true, crushing poverty in actual third world countries. Trying to make a comparison because you hate Republicans is silly.

    Also, this is a soccer blog so keep your posts soccer-related. Thanks.

  37. DJ777 says:

    NYRB are trying to win the title NOW. It may not work, but thats what they are trying to do. For the short term, the guy probably would be better than any other options they have.
    If you have a better idea for them to try and with the title this year, lets hear it?

  38. JG13 says:

    Yes on salary cap increase and no on DP rule changes, until the league can hurdle the NY-or-LA-only issue.

  39. RLW2020 says:

    Twellman, Mastroeni just to name a few recent ones… if you want to have a safe career get a job in an office or something.. if you want to be an athlete in any sport expect some physical tolls

  40. Annelid Gustator says:

    I’m with fischy. Lets restrict all political commentary to how we’re gonna break up those criminals running FIFA.

  41. Kodi says:

    I’ve only been following soccer for about 4 years. That said I haven’t heard too much about concussions in soccer. I’d have to see the data set to know the numbers, but I’d find it hard to believe that the head injuries in soccer come close to the number in football. I think parents would more likely risk torn ACLs and other knee injuries versus continued brain trauma. I do see your point though.

  42. RLW2020 says:

    so is NY going to trade Marquez and sign as many ’06 WC Final Alums as possible?

  43. Ben says:

    I’m sorry, but you have no brains at all!!!!!!!!!!

  44. tired of tired old parroted argument says:

    Lets be straight…. it isn’t that MLS is only ALLOWING a tiny number of teams to sign these DPs, it is that these players chose to sign with these teams. Last time I checked, each team has the same # of allotments. Huh…. judging by some of their performances in the EPL and for country, calling them done is a bit of a misnomer don’t you think?

    Can you really call 3 slots per team stockpiling? Look… believe me, I am all for developing our countries youth, but that can not be the prime objective of a league if you want fans! That would be a development league/ academy which, incidentally, MLS has shown the good judgement to reinstate. At some point, the onus is the the players to compete and perform, don’t you think? Sorry, but it seems to me MLS has had a pretty balanced approach.

    Straight up- I pay for a ticket or flip on the TV to watch a game, my number one desire for my team is that they play quality winning football.

  45. President Romney says:

    get a job you hippie…

  46. whoop-whoop says:

    Between World Cup/International competition, Champions League and regular club competition, players are already stretched way too thin. The Olympic format/rosters, where it fits in the big picture and schedule makes little sense. More is not always better when it creates a watered down result. For &^%$ sakes, drop soccer from the Olympics already.

  47. GSScasual says:

    curb your jealousy, tw@… you wouldnt be saying this if he was going to columbus, montreal, colorado, etc…. takes money to get what you want, and it takes balls… nothing is handed to you as much as you think it is… kindly go f*** yourself and consider never bringing up this tired talking point again.

  48. GSScasual says:

    ny or la is not a league thing, it is a money and preference thing…. Euro DPs would prefere to live in a more progressive, modern, and culturally aware cities.

  49. d says:

    Nesta to Red Bulls is dumb. They need a central playmaker. However if they release Marquez for Nesta then that gets my thumbs up

  50. Dank says:

    It’s really just a money thing. LA and NY are the two biggest cities in the US, and they also have the biggest soccer fanbases. It’s not about culture.

  51. lost in space says:

    Head to Head collisions are fewer in Soccer…but when they do occur the damage is often more severe since they don’t have protective helmets. There are some studies associated to the repetitive heading of the ball and the occasional head collisions, but they have yet to get the press coverage that those in American Football have received.

    I would fully expect that to change as Soccer in America becomes more high profile over the next 10-20 years.

  52. Bubmy Hemmingway says:

    There are a lot of people who only go to games to see Henry and the like.

    While development of the young American player is vital, so are ticket sales.

    … and who is to say that a young American cannnot learn a thing or two from an aging European star.

  53. an said says:

    If the individual who made the political comment in a soccer blog is so upset with the US becoming a third rate country I have yet to see any law or laws forbidding one’s leaving to live elsewhere. Has this individual looked at the financial stability of some of the European countries lately and believe that the best of times and easy street is just ahead of them. Godd Luck and when you are ready I know of a bridge for sale that can purchased for the right price.

  54. GW says:

    It is not BS.

    If you got honest answers from most EPL managers, my guess is they would prefer their players not play internationals.

    There is a long list of negatives for the clubs concerning their guys pulling international duty.
    The only possible positive is if their player does well in a tournament, it might add to their transfer value and it might give the player a confidence boost. Man U. or any other club, would not stand in the way of a player who wanted to play in the World Cup , the Euros or even the African Cup of Nations.

    However, the Olympics are not considered a major deal , as far as soccer goes, in the rest of the world.

    Especially for a star or a regular player, going away on international duty really has no upside for the club team.
    So hate SAF as much as you want but on this issue, he is just like everyone else.

  55. hush says:

    You apparently never been to Europe. Finland, Sweden, & Republic of Ireland didn’t empress me one bit when I visited… Spain & Portugal was aight, but no way in hell I pay 80 euros for MW2 or any Wii game! 6 euros for a Big mac? WTF? Try buying a Civic for $1500 anywhere in Europe, there is no such thing. A snickers bar for 65 cents, UNHEARD of. Car insurance for $40, yeeeeaah right. No such thing either in Europe. Pop for 89 cents for a 42oz, never happened in Europe. These were just some simple examples. I can go on with Mortgages and health care, but I’m pretty sure you can do your own research.

    I take my U.S “second world country” over any supposedly first world country you believe exist out there.

    I just had to reply to this loco comment.

    Back to Futbol!

  56. Becks says:

    Who are you going to pay to watch, homegrown Connor Lade and Stephen Keel, or Alessandro Nesta and Gianluca Zambrotta? It’s a simple as that. If you say the former, I am certainly glad you have nothing to do with the players selections for teams in this country.