Monday Kickoff: Abidal makes Barcelona return; Neuer targets Bayern treble; and more

EricAbidalGerardPique (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

There are always plenty of soccer stories that make you shake your head, but this one shows the determination of the human spirit.

Eric Abidal made his return to the field for Barcelona for the first time since a liver transplant last year, coming on in the 70th minute for Gerard Pique in Saturday’s 5-0 win over Mallorca.

It was the first match played by the French international since February 2012, when he was told that despite having a part of his liver removed to get rid of a tumor, he would need a transplant. Abidal returned to first team training last month and it was only a matter of time before he’d see first-team minutes once he reached that point.

After the match, Abidal revealed a shirt that said “Thanks my cousin, Number 13″, in reference to his cousin, who donated part of his liver for the transplant surgery last April.

Here are some more stories to get your Monday kicked off:

NEUER WONT BE HAPPY WITH JUST LEAGUE TITLE

Bayern Munich wrapped up their 22nd Bundesliga title on Saturday, but goalkeeper Manuel Neuer isn’t satisfied with just one title this season.

The German side is still alive in both the German cup (DFB-Pokal) and UEFA Champions League, and Neuer believes that the squad should win at least one, if not both, of the remaining trophies to bring back to Munich.

“At the moment, we can be proud of what we have done in the league,” Neuer told the German publication Kicker. “But if we only end up with one title, we will all be disappointed.”

It was the first league title for the 27-year-old in his second season at Bayern Munich, after moving over from FC Schalke.

ARSENAL DE SARANDI PAY FINE AFTER BRAWL ON FIELD

Argentine club Arsenal de Sarandi have paid a fine of $20,000 to make sure several of their players avoid charges from police after a fracas broke out last Wednesday during Arsenal’s match at Atletico Mineiro in Brazil.

The Brazilian police force came on the field as many Arsenal players surrounded the referee at the end of the 5-2 win for Mineiro, before a couple of unidentified players began pushing and kicking at the police. Seven players were held for questioning after the match.

The fine was agreed and paid this past weekend, according to the report, with help from the Mineiro club.

QUICK KICKS

Mario Balotelli was caught smoking in a train bathroom while his AC Milan squad were on their way to Fiorentina. (REPORT)

Manchester United have agreed a £120 million (approx. $184 million) deal with AON for naming rights to the United training ground. (REPORT)

Hoffenheim goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes broke a bone in his left hand and will miss the rest of the season. (REPORT)

Dutch club PSV is likely to let manager Dick Advocaat go at the end of the season and promote assistant Phillip Cocu to manager. (REPORT)

Real Betis midfielder Beñat is looking to move to a bigger club this summer. (REPORT)

——-

What do you make of these reports? Do you believe that Abidal returning is the feel-good story of the season? Do you see Bayern winning three titles this season? What do you make of the United training ground sponsorship?

Share your thoughts below.

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

8 Responses to Monday Kickoff: Abidal makes Barcelona return; Neuer targets Bayern treble; and more

  1. Mike V. says:

    Did Balotelli get his cigarettes from Sporting KC’s Jimmy Nielsen?? :)

  2. 46463633773373 says:

    all I wanna know is Dempsey leaving Spurs this summer to

    return to MLS
    return to Fulham
    head to Liverpool
    or to a big club in a foreign league

    • Brent says:

      He played a full 90 yesterday calm down. Plus with Bale probably leaving I cannot see him going.

      • biff says:

        Don’t feed the trolls, Brent. I agree, Dempsey had a solid game yesterday and no way would Tottenham have salvaged a draw without Clint in the line-up.

    • oka says:

      Is this guy serious? Dempseys not going anywhere

  3. biff says:

    Story out of Germany that will be of huge interest to MLS. Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has come out in favor playing soccer in Germany in summer and shutting down in the cold winter months.

    link to welt.de

    • Travis says:

      Various key figures in German football have mentioned this periodically for the last couple of years. Doubt it will actually happen, would put them at a disadvantage in the CL since they would be out of form come the final 16.

    • bryan says:

      yeah, i’ve seen that a few times as well.