Friday Kickoff: Ronaldo close to signing Real extension; Gazidis backs Arsenal to spend; and more

CristianoRonaldoLevante1 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

When Real Madrid president Florentino Perez said he wanted Cristiano Ronaldo to retire at the club, he wasn’t just saying that to raise his transfer price.

As of Friday, Ronaldo looks set to sign a contract extension with Madrid, one that would keep him with the club through 2018, according to reports out of Spain. The reports state that while Ronaldo would get a salary increase, he would also receive goal bonuses and a large amount of cash for winning the Ballon D’or, or other individual awards.

Since moving to Madrid in 2009, Ronaldo has won La Liga and the Copa Del Rey just once, as Barcelona has dominated the scenes. Now with the Catalonian club’s star waning just a bit, Ronaldo can seize upon a chance to continue his white-hot goal scoring form for Madrid and potentially guide the club to their first Champions League title since 2002.

Ronaldo, currently with the Portugal National Team ahead of a crucial World Cup qualifier in Russia, scored 34 goals in 34 La Liga matches this past season and 55 goals in all competitions.

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

ARSENAL PREPARED TO SPEND BIG

Arsenal have spent the last eight seasons wandering in the Premier League wilderness, searching for a coveted piece of silverware to end a drought. If the recent statements from CEO Ivan Gazidis are to be believed, the wait could be over.

Gazidis said that Arsenal is ready to splash the cash and buy whatever they need with transfers this summer, according to reports out of England. When asked if Arsenal were prepared to spend more than $40 million on a transfer and pay more than $300,000 in wages per week, Gazidis told BBC Sport: “Of course, we could do that. We could do more than that.”

The London club has been rumored to be interested in making bids with the likes of Everton’s Marouane Fellaini and Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, both of whom would have previously been well out of Arsenal’s expected price range. Arsenal’s previous transfer record was the $20.8 million spent on Andrei Arshavin in January of 2009, who was just released this week as his contract comes to a close on June 30.

Gazidis also commented on the status of manager Arsene Wenger, saying that him and the board believe that Wenger is the man for the job and they plan to offer him a new contract this year. Wenger is entering the final year of his contract this season.

UEFA SECRETARY GENERAL HOPES FOR WINTER WORLD CUP

Add UEFA Secretary General Gianni Infantino to the list of those calling for a Winter World Cup in Qatar 2022.

Following in the wake of public comments over the last few months by FIFA President Sepp Blatter and UEFA President Michel Platini, among others, Infantino is the next to put his name on the list, saying that he believes that soccer should only be played in the best time period for it, in this case the winter, to escape the oppressive heat.

“Whenever you play the World Cup should be the best period for it. I had the same reflections on South Africa in 2010,” Infantino told the Times of London. “Four years earlier in Germany it was nice sunshine. South Africa is a beautiful country, but at five o’clock, it’s night and it’s 0C. It’s not a celebration of football.

“I fully share this view that you have to play in the best period for football; that is not June or July in Qatar. This is an issue that FIFA has to sort out. The sooner they do it, the better. The decision for 2022 was taken in 2010, so in 12 years you can organize yourself.”

Blatter has stated that it will be down to the Qatar organizing committee to decide whether they want to move the World Cup schedule to the winter.

QUICK KICKS

Manchester City has confirmed the signing of Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fernandinho. (REPORT)

Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso had surgery on his groin on Friday in Germany, likely keeping him out for three to four months. (REPORT)

Borussia Dortmund right back Lukasz Piszczek has undergone hip surgery, putting him on the injury table for the next five months. (REPORT)

Spain defeated Russia in the first match on Thursday, 1-0, on a goal from Real Madrid youngster Alvaro Morata in the UEFA European Under-21 Championships. (REPORT)

The Netherlands and Germany followed with an absolute cracker, as one-time Everton target Leroy Fer scored a header in the 89th minute to give the Dutch a 3-2 victory over Germany. (REPORT)

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What do you make of these reports? Do you believe Ronaldo should stay at Madrid? Do you see Arsenal spending the cash this summer? Do you see the World Cup moving to the winter in 2022?

Share your thoughts below.

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20 Responses to Friday Kickoff: Ronaldo close to signing Real extension; Gazidis backs Arsenal to spend; and more

  1. sammysounder says:

    I won’t believe my Arsenal can spend the cash until there’s a marquee name or two coming through the door. Its never been a lack of cash that’s held us back, it’s Wenger’s insistence on value for money, and in the world of football, your marginal value drops for the top players.

    • Tony in Quakeland says:

      I don’t think that is fair or completely true. I think you are underestimating the impact of the real estate collapse on Arsenal’s finances, especailly regarding the stadium deal. It is fair to say that when they have spent, the results have not been there or injuries derailed them. I expect to see major signings that will be added to the teams young core, and I expect to see Arsenal challange for the league next year.

      As for the wilderenss thng…it has been frustrating to not win anything, but Arsenal has come through a transition period where they have remained in the top four every year and made the round of 16. So teams would love a wilderness like that

    • Good Jeremy says:

      I actually think that they really need to spend much cash year to year. Their main problem is by far that they aren’t holding on to players, not that they are letting them go. I think that if they still had Glichy, Fabregas, and RVP they could have won the league last year. Top teams don’t act as feeders. They do need to splash some cash this year, but only because they have had terrible player retention lately.

      We’ll be repeating this in a couple years once they have dealt Ramsey, Ox, and Wilshere.

      • Good Jeremy says:

        I actually think that they ***don’t*** really need to spend much cash year to year.

        Their main problem is by far that they aren’t holding on to players, ***not that they never have championship quality players***

        You know what? Just ignore the post. I’m typing these on three hours of sleep and a massive fever. There are probably a handful of other mistakes that make it even more unreadable.

      • Tony in Quakeland says:

        RVP alone would have won them the league. (I’d argue that Cesce may be the greater player, but Santi I think was better for Arsenal.)

        Again – I think they will spend the cash. Another striker and someone to finally replace patrick Viera would be lovely….

  2. slowleftarm says:

    Instead of a winter world cup I have a better idea – have in the US. Problem solved.

    • Old School says:

      Am I the only one that genuinely becomes angry with this situation? The amount of corruption is blatantly insulting for football fans everywhere and I feel absolutely helpless.

      • Tony in Quakeland says:

        Why would you imagine you’re the only one genuinely angry about this? I’d guess you have millions on your side. :-)

        • Old School says:

          “Why would you imagine you’re the only one genuinely angry about this? I’d guess you have millions on your side.”

          Touche.

      • Brain Guy says:

        Far from the only one. Every time some FIFA or UEFA suit suddenly “realizes” that maybe, just maybe, it’s not a good idea to play the World Cup in Qatar, I don’t know whethr to laugh or cry. FIFA will continue to try to change the rules in mid-stream, or after the fact, to justify its transparently ridiculous decision. And yes, we’re all helpless to do anything about it.

      • Dan says:

        You and a billion others. Qatar getting the cup was a complete disgrace and hopefully they fail miserably and the cup is moved anywhere else. I want USA but hell Australia deserved it too

  3. fischy says:

    I thought Ronaldo was having a big sad about his situation in Madrid. Throwing more money at him won’t really fix this, even if it sounds good. Mark my words. We’ll be reading stories about his desire to move on before the deal is out.

    Speaking of money — Qatar paid a lot of money to get this Cup. They should be the ones to decide when it should be played.

    • bryan says:

      honestly, Ronaldo seems to be happy in Madrid but was getting sick of Mourinho. i think we’ll see a motivated Ronaldo next season.

      if i was Qatar, i would stick with the summer. that’s what they bribed FIFA with and if they change it, FIFA will allow the other bidders to appeal. they can make FIFA look dumb since FIFA are doing it to them now.

    • DC Josh says:

      The decision to move the world cup has to come from Qatar, as stated by Sepp Blabber.

  4. Good Jeremy says:

    I think my favorite thing I came across this week was a fundraising page some random poster made to raise money for Manchester United to buy Ronaldo, since the $256 he will get will definitely push them over the edge to get him. Either that or it is the worst credit card theft scheme in history.

  5. Travis says:

    Why was my comment deleted? All I said was that Arsenal supposedly activated Fellaini’s 22 mil pound release clause yesterday and their transfer budget is supposedly closer to 100 mil pounds this year? Odd

  6. bryan says:

    this World Cup stuff is realllllly starting to get on my nerves because these fools KNEW this was an issue when Qatar’s bid was for the SUMMER. everyone told them, but no, they took the money and made a bad decision. now they are pressuring Qatar to change to the winter even though that’ll mean the other bidders get to appeal. it’s just ridiculous.

  7. Josh D says:

    “Now with the Catalonian club’s star waning just a bit…”

    You may want to check out just how dominated Real were this season. The reason Barca does so well is because they are able to develop so many players, they can pay top dollar for those few positions they need. They already shored up their attack with Neymar. All they need is a CB and they’ll dominate again.

    Real’s problem has always been their reliance on throwing money at problems. Not popular? Buy a big name player. Didn’t win the Champions League? Spending $100M on players. Etc. They are not cohesive in the slightest. Most are mercenaries.

    • DC Josh says:

      Not to mention Barca is a team with teammates and Madrid are a team with individuals.

  8. DC Josh says:

    Hundreds of millions of dollars spent on greasy-haired pretty boys and World Cups being played in the desert in the middle of summer. What is the world coming to…