Cosmos in talks with former AC Milan captain Ambrosini

MassimoAmbrosiniACMilan1 (Getty)

By IVES GALARCEP

The New York Cosmos made a big splash recently with the signing of former Spanish national team star Marco Senna, but he may not be the only former European star to make the move to New York this summer.

The Cosmos are in talks with former AC Milan star Massimo Ambrosini to bring the Italian midfielder to the NASL squad for the upcoming season, sources confirmed to SBI on Saturday.

The Cosmos have held extensive talks with Ambrosini, who was recently in New York City to speak with club officials (he also played in the recent Steve Nash charity soccer match in Manhattan last week).

Standing in the way of Ambrosini’s move to the Cosmos is a strong push from Serie A side Fiorentina, who sources tell SBI have a strong bid in for the 36-year old, who recently left AC Milan after 18 seasons with the Italian giant.

According to sources with knowledge of the negotiations, Ambrosini appears to be leaning toward joining Fiorentina, but has yet to rule out the possibility of coming to play in the NASL. He has received interest from MLS, but at this point if he comes to the United States, it would be to play for the Cosmos.

In other Cosmos-related matters, recent reports have linked the club to Spanish defender  Sergio Ballesteros, but sources tell SBI that the Cosmos are not in talks to bring the former Levante defender to New York.

What do you think of this development? Would you start considering the Cosmos on par with some MLS teams if the add Ambrosini to a midfield that already includes Marcos Senna and La Liga veteran Ayozi?

Share your thoughts below.

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50 Responses to Cosmos in talks with former AC Milan captain Ambrosini

  1. Travis says:

    Interestingly Cosmos appears to be following the same path as MLS teams about 5-8 years ago in bringing in players in their late 30s from Europe. I do hope they arent just using it as a retirement league but i’ll believe it when I see it.

    • Old School says:

      I’ve been saying that for awhile.

      A lot of the “new” Cosmo fans have stuck out their proverbial chest around SBI praising the club and distancing themselves from MLS, yet, they continue to follow the path that MLS laid down.

      • fischy says:

        Actually, that was the path the original Cosmos laid down.

        So there.

        • Old School says:

          With the Cosmos? As I recall, it ended quite poorly. MLS can account for their signings.

          Two entirely different paths. One has financial responsibility/accountability.

          So, as I said…Cosmos following the MLS blueprint.

    • Eugene says:

      What about how Montreal are doing the same strategy successfully this season in MLS?

      • Travis says:

        Obviously there are exceptions but if you were to look at a sampling all of the 33+ players the MLS has signed I would say the majority have been a serious shell of their former selves. Obviously I don’t have numbers but from my experience in following the league the old players tend to bust more than boom

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        Except I can’t believe NASL attendances or interest or economics are sustainable at the level necessary to support retirement league style teams. People have to basically be willing to play for nothing while the team trades on their name. In which case, MLS (or Qatar or China, etc.) can pay a better wage that better reflects the team exploiting their name.

        Montreal this year is kind of exceptional. One thing they did well was drawn upon a strong league for name brand players. But last year many of the same players were broken down as is typical when you call upon older players. And I remember the 2010 Dynamo where they had too many older players and got drubbed on the way to our one non-playoff season. And on and on…….and the season’s not over yet where we see what happens to 30-35 y/o players over 30-40 games.

    • Cosmosfan says:

      5-8 years ago!??!?! MLS does that today!!

  2. Mikebsiu says:

    Do these players realize that the cosmos aren’t even in the top league in the USA?

    • Sgc says:

      Sometimes I honestly wonder, because I’ve seen at least a dozen foreign news reports falsely putting them in MLS.

    • Karl Marx says:

      of course they do. America is unique though because there is no promotion/relegation. So there’s nothing stopping the Cosmos from winning the Open Cup and then winning the Champions League then declaring themselves the best club in the U.S. It seems a bit far fetched but there is a path to glory for the Cosmos.

      It’s not the same as say for instance a minor league baseball team. There are no minor leagues in soccer.

      • Kevin says:

        “There are no minor leagues in soccer.”

        Yes, there are. And the Cosmos play in one.

        • Karl Marx says:

          can you name another American sport where a minor league team competes with a major league team in competitions for trophies?

          That’s what makes soccer different.

    • jspech says:

      seriously: a very interesting question you keep asking, proving that
      NASL is a threat to MLS, especially in regards to the Cosmos.

      reason: few years ago, just a short few, the conversation was about NASL v. USLpro, now it’s about NASL v. MLS. How did it reach this point?
      BTW: If NASL is serious about competing as a top flight league, then they should be the one that fill that new talked about Soccer Stadium in downton LA, instead of Chivas US (/rebranded).
      NASL: should hopefully brand team LA Aztec, now we are talking National TV contract (LA Aztec v. NY Cosmos & all in between)

      Why this can happen:
      Can’t see MLS awarding a 3rd LA team
      Moving Chivas USA there w/o rebranding makes no sense.
      Galaxy ( no go)

      Hopefully NASL are at least sticking there nose in there.

  3. Mark says:

    How in the heck do they afford this kind of stuff?

    • Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

      That’s what I’m wondering. Does anyone know if the NSAL has a salary cap?

      • Travis says:

        Dont believe it does, I believe it is just a matter of if you got the money go ahead and spend it.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          I think the economics of the league are a reality check, you can go nuts and bring in Romario and such, but you’re still playing in front of a few thousand people a night for lower ticket prices than MLS, and you’ll find yourself folded, re-capitalized/sold, or dialed back to league reality.

          Their business plan is crocked, you might be able to grab a few fans before City starts, but MLS won’t care because they are committed to City. Once City starts, they will be the weak third wheel to Red Bull and City, and you’d have to be family or friends or a little bonkers to watch minor league soccer on purpose when there are two big league teams in town.

          • Karl Marx says:

            i think you’re brainwashed by MLS into thinking a soccer league needs a salary cap to survive. This is completely wrong. There are hundreds of soccer leagues on the planet and none of them have salary caps. And guess what? Soccer leagues are not folding. None of them go out of business. I

            NASL clubs cannot spend more than they have for the simple reason they will fold. That’s what prevents them from doing so.

            The Cosmos are projecting revenues and thus allocated a wage budget that fits into that revenue projection. It’s business.

            • ernj says:

              The fact is that many clubs across the world are in huge financial difficulty. Enormous debt that is constantly being rolled over is making the situation. There is a reason FFP is being imposed and there are PLENTY of clubs going under from huge wage bills, Rangers being the latest, biggest one.

              • Karl marx says:

                And those clubs get punished. But no league has folded and none of them have salary caps.

            • Travis says:

              Soccer leagues may not be folding but soccer teams certainly are. Wasn’t it just like two days ago Iniesta had to donate 250,000 to save his boyhood team? I get your frustration with the salary cap and I think it is low but it makes sense for us right now. Its only a matter of time before the really big teams run afoul of the finances (im looking at you borrowing Barca)

              • Karl marx says:

                FFP is a much better regulatory measure to prevent clubs going into too much debt. It isn’t nearly as harmful as a salary cap and it allows clubs more autonomy.

              • Travis says:

                FFP is a joke, its going to end up with big clubs just paying a fine like a luxury tax. There is a 0% chance that UEFA doesnt allow a bit team in when push comes to shove.

            • The Imperative Voice says:

              Rangers just went out of business, although New Rangers popped right into its place so it kind of slid by people. Gretna went out of business. Pompey nearly folded. Wimbledon moved to Milton Keynes. Miami and Tampa Bay were folded, and before them NASL failed.

              There is a history and particularly a North American history of what happens when teams spend beyond what they make. And I know the trendy MLS idea is teams should be able to spend what they earn but at the time you hire, those can only be projections. Plus there is no acknowledgment that letting Big Clubs like LA spend freely in a way small market teams could not match would tier the league and make it less attractive to the fans of the rest of the teams.

              The put up or shut up to me is that MLS has now outlasted NASL’s 16 years. The two primary errors of NASL were greed for expansion fees, which encouraged over-expansion, and then trying to match teams like the Cosmos who spent more money. I see no reason for MLS to imitate either error. We have salary caps in every sport but baseball and the good teams still generally win on the field. The product is pretty good — though it could be better and more spendy over time — but importantly it’s sustainable.

      • Karl Marx says:

        no salary cap. And no salary cap is needed.

  4. Norman says:

    Anyone who is willing to play soccer in the US, obviously doesn’t care about the quality of the league they’re playing in. To them, MLS is no different than NASL because they’re both rubbish. It’s about the money and the experience of playing in America. I’m sure most foreigners who are looking for one last paycheck would rather play in NASL for the Cosmos than in MLS for Columbus.

    • Yusef says:

      I mostly agree, but it will be a shocker for them when they see the tiny suburban “stadiums” that don’t fill up in the NASL.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        Yeah I think there will be a reality check when they see the quality of the opposition, the size of the crowds, when people tell them that there is no chance in heck MLS is adding NYC3 in the next 5-10 years. You might even put up with some of this to help a team get “promoted” a la the Kaka to Orlando rumors (and it bears reminding that team has had unfulfilled ambitions since it was in Austin), but with City lined up this is a vanity project with no realistic short term prospects. Once they realize they can’t possibly launch Cosmos into MLS — which feels like the sales pitch they’d make to induce a serious player to sigh into a minor league — then it will dawn on people why am I here and they’ll be peeved they were tricked into signing up for the rest of it (when they could play for more money elsewhere, play in front of bigger crowds elsewhere, play first division ball elsewhere).

        • Karl Marx says:

          the Cosmos don’t want in the MLS. It would mean giving up the control of their brand and losing autonomy. The President of the Cosmos is not a fan of single entity at all.

          • Old School says:

            “the Cosmos don’t want in the MLS.”

            The president may not be a fan of the single entity but they most certainly wanted in MLS.

    • Old School says:

      “Anyone who is willing to play soccer in the US, obviously doesn’t care about the quality of the league they’re playing in. To them, MLS is no different than NASL because they’re both rubbish.”

      This guy….

  5. bring NASL to el paso tx says:

    Something has to be happening behind close doors, involving cosmos,nasl and mls. The cosmos relaunch needs and i believe, it does have deep pockets and a serious project. For instance, red bull already have a stadium and fans, nycfc will have everything , which means cosmos will be the only team looking into MLS in 4 to 7 years, with a serious project.
    Now ask yourself, after nycfc and orlando, who will be the next to join MLS with a serious project and money, and that will be the cosmos.
    For those believers of 20 teams in MLS, guess what, it will be 26 or 28. So keep the expansion magic ball out.

    Practically cosmos are going to be a midtable MLS team, that will give MLS teams trouble in the open cup. They will also be a head dog in the NASL,which will make teams spend money and be like them, which is good for all soccer fans.
    Also, if their MLS but if not

    • bring NASL to el paso tx says:

      I apologized for the.weird comment, my damn cell phone f*ck it up.

    • Karl marx says:

      Cosmos do not want in mls . Repeat this to yourself over and over

      • bring NASL to el paso tx says:

        In 4 to 7 years when cosmos have their stadium,maybe MLS will have a different identity, like 5 dps, free agency, no allocation process, higher salary cap.
        If not then, red bull wil sell their team to cosmos or red bull buys cosmos.
        Something will happen, we just gotta wait what crazy garber will do with expansion. If MLS wants 24 teams, then expansion will be dramatic, but 26 can have a more clear picture.

    • Grubbsbl says:

      To start this post, I think it is important to state that Ambrosini and his agent are clearly using this as a ploy to get more money from Fiorentina. Last thing I read said Ambro was offered €800k a year with bonuses taking it to a mil. Gotta imagine Ambro is hoping for the whole mil. And I don’t blame him, he has had a heck of a career.

      On the other hand, I agree with the post above to a degree. Ives himself has discussed the fact that the NYC market could handle 3 teams. And with NYC set on expanding its population even further, why not? When the Cosmos released their mock up stadia pics a while ago it was clear they were making Long Island a target market. And Long Island is quite a distance from NYRBs home in Harrison. Having lived in a humble 3 story walk up in Brooklyn for the past years I can attest that NYRBs have zero footprint there as well. Despite the fact that Sunset Park has a massive Mexican community. And who says NYCFC will monopolize those interested in soccer in the City but not currently interested in NYRBs?

      Finally, the MLS needs competition. The US is huge, no way MLS can reach all the football fans out there. Just as competing leagues were good for NBA and NFL, the NASL will drive MLS forward. I actually hope NYC gets 3 teams. The rivalry games would be great.

      • Old School says:

        “To start this post, I think it is important to state that Ambrosini and his agent are clearly using this as a ploy to get more money from Fiorentina.”

        So your opinion is this is a fact?

        Got it.

        • SFTony says:

          Don’t be naive. Of course it is. When you really put it to the common sense test, it passes. The Cosmos brand still has more cache than most MLS teams, except for LAG at this point.

          We’ve seen it every year now since Beckham got here that guys use MLS as a strategy for getting more money. We see it all the time here in the states in other sports, so don’t stick your nose too high in the air.

  6. Mike R says:

    I heard the Cosmos also want to signe Paulo Rossi and Zico and maybe Eusebio

    • beto says:

      probably looking at fat Ronaldo too, he is back in playing shape and wants to give it a second go…

  7. Joe A. says:

    Given the platform of american sports I can’t see promotion/regulation becoming a possibility but I believe that given time the NASL can be a competitive division where the gap between it and the MLS is not as large as you’d expect from a lower division. I actually see that as a positive because it’ll extend the growth of a soccer as a whole in the U.S and allow more opportunities for the development of homegrown players. I’m not sure if I’m off base with this but I just see it as a unique opportunity.

    • Danwolf02 says:

      I think your right. It will either end up being a merger between NASL and MLS (Pro/Rel) or NASL will be a very competitive 2nd Division that can go toe to toe with MLS in US Open Cup. Either way the stronger the NASL gets the stronger it will make MLS in the long run.

  8. Pat. D says:

    I think promotion/relegation is a possibility in this country just not right now! NASL has to grow its fan base some in order for that to work, Also both leagues need to change their philosophy some to fit in that kind of system. MLS did make that dream very hard since they signed a deal with USL-Pro to become a minor league of MLS.

    • Supa says:

      Promotion/relegation will NEVER happen in MLS. MLS just got 100 million from an ownership group that had no team, no place for that team to play, and no fans. And people think that they will let a team in for free just because they did well on the pitch? And what it that team is sponcered by Nike? If you have Becks money (25 mil) or the full fee (50 mil) then they will talk. If not? Shaddup and watch!

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