Thursday Kickoff: Totti hints at retirement; Guardiola wants Thiago at Bayern; and more

FrancescoTotti2 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

The 2013/2014 season could be the end of an era for one of the greatest Italian soccer players of all time.

AS Roma forward Francesco Totti just completed 20 years in professional soccer this past spring, all of them with his boyhood club Roma, but at a press conference unveiling this season’s kit, Totti hinted that this season could be his last.

“I’ve warn a lot (of Roma kits), but this will be my last,” Totti said to Gazzetta dello Sport.

Totti’s contract ends at the end of the upcoming season, and while he has previously said he wants to extend his contract through 2016, negotiations on both sides have ground to a halt. The 36-year-old has previously stated his desire to retire in the Roma colors, but didn’t know how much longer he would be playing.

The former Italy international had another fine season personally at Roma, despite the side finishing in seventh place and outside of European competition for a second season in a row. Totti scored 12 goals and lead the team with 12 assists in 33 Serie A matches last season.

Here are some more stories to get your Thursday started:

GUARDIOLA ENTERS RACE FOR THIAGO

With Manchester United struggling to complete a deal for Barcelona and Spain Under-21 midfielder Thiago Alcantara, Bayern Munich could be poised to snap up the youngster right out of David Moyes’ grasp.

The German club was reported recently to have been interested in signing Thiago, and at a press conference on Thursday, Bayern manager Pep Guardiola went public with his interest in his former player.

“I would like Thiago to come here,” Guardiola said to AS. “I have asked the club to sign him but there is nothing new to report on the negotiations. We will see what happens.”

Convinced that the son of Bebeto wants to leave Barcelona due to lack of playing time, Guardiola is seemingly happy with the squad he’s put together, which includes new signings Mario Götze and Jan Kirchhoff.

SANTOS RECEIVE LITTLE OF NEYMAR FEE BECAUSE OF THIRD-PARTY OWNERSHIP

On it’s face, Barcelona acquisition Neymar’s €57 million ($74.4 million) transfer fee is an exorbitant sum, one that a receiving club would be hard pressed to turn down.

However, thanks to third-party ownership running the gamut in South America, Neymar’s former club Santos will receive little of that money. According to reports, due to selling off parts of Neymar over the last few years, Santos received just €9.35 million ($12.2 million) of the transfer fee.

The transfer becomes more confusing here, as it is being reported that Barcelona paid just €17 million to be divided up between Santos, DIS, who owned 40 percent of Neymar, and Tesia, who owned five percent of the 21-year-old forward. The rest of the money, €40 million, went to Neymar’s father.

One of the clauses revealed in Neymar’s transfer to Barcelona is that if he is a finalist for the Ballon D’or, Barcelona will be on the hook for another €2 million.

ATLETICO MINEIRO THROUGH TO FINAL OF COPA LIBERTADORES

Down two goals on aggregate, Brazilian club Atletico Mineiro needed a superb performance at home on Wednesday to have a chance to go through to the final of the Copa Libertadores.

For the second time in as many rounds, O Galo clawed back victory from the jaws of defeat, scoring once in both halves and winning a penalty shootout, with goalkeeper Victor making the game-winning save to win the tie on penalty kicks, 2-2 (3-2), against Argentine side Newell’s Old Boys.

Returned from his stay with the Brazilian National Team, Mineiro forward Bernard opened up the scoring in the third minute, taking a wonderful through ball from Ronaldinho and finishing with the first touch of his left foot.

A power failure in the second half gave Mineiro time to regroup and find one more goal to draw level on aggregate. A poor clearance from Newell’s found its way to Guilherme, who smashed home on the half-volley to send the home crowd into ecstasy. Into penalty kicks the two sides went, with both sides missing the goal entirely on multiple spot kicks.

Ronaldinho buried his attempt with confidence, and Victor dove to his left to deny Maxi Rodriguez to earn a place in the final, where they’ll face Paraguayan side Olimpia.

QUICK KICKS

A day after their head coach, Paulo Autuori, resigned from the club, Vasco da Gama in Brazil’s Serie A have appointed Dorival Junior to be their manager for the second time. (REPORT)

Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic will miss the opening of Manchester United’s pre-season tour of Asia due to sciatica. (REPORT)

Canadian National Team member Simeon Jackson left the squad this week to sign a contract with Eintracht Braunschweig. (REPORT)

Portugal Under-20 winger Bruma didn’t show up to training on Thursday with Sporting Lisbon, reportedly demanding a transfer away to Porto or Chelsea. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you believe this is Totti’s final season? Do you see Thiago receiving playing time at Bayern? Surprised at the Neymar transfer figures?

Share your thoughts below.

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46 Responses to Thursday Kickoff: Totti hints at retirement; Guardiola wants Thiago at Bayern; and more

  1. ACS says:

    According to ESPNFC Tottenham has transfer listed Clint

      • Tractor says:

        Not saying they haven’t, but let’s be clear about sourcing. Your link was to Fox, not ESPN, and neither of those sites are reporting that Spurs have put Dempsey on the market. What they’ve reported is that some newspapers in England have reported that Spurs have put him on the market. I can see why this is referred to as the “silly season”.

        Though I hope he stays with Spurs, I could understand him wanting out. He left a starring role at Fulham for a chance to play in the Champions League, and ended up on a team that gave him a reduced role and fell short of the CL. Ending up back at a mid-level EPL team would have to be a huge disappointment, however.

    • biff says:

      This has been whispered in news stories for a few weeks now, so not a total surprise. I personally would like to see Clint move to a new team. He will never be accepted by AVB, I don’t think. Big Sam at West Ham said a few days ago he wants to bring in an experienced player. I think West Ham might be good fit for Clint. Also, the Bayer Leverkusen coach is being quoted today complaining that his squad is too thin to play on both the Bundesliga front and in the Champions League and he wants to bring in three more players (in addition to three already brought in). It’s possible Bayer might be interested in a experience player like Clint. And Sunderland wanted Clint real back last August. That also would not be a bad move, Clint teamed up with Jozy.

      • slowleftarm says:

        Sunderland and West Ham? Awful. Sure hope those aren’t Clint’s only potential destinations.

      • Nick4235 says:

        Clint will never be accepted by AVB? What are you talking about most people will agree that Clint is one of AVBs favorites. Hes had nothing but good things to say about him.

    • Josh D says:

      There were rumors of this since the Spring. Not surprised. He was a solid player for them, but Clint isn’t at the level to compete with the likes of Bale for a position, and younger guys will always get the benefit of the doubt against veterans in Europe. Dempsey is a good player but he needs the game to be built around him like at Fulham. He let the game go right past him too many times for Spurs. Saying that, there were also loads of times when no one would pass him the ball either.

      Gutted for him. His one dream was to play in the CL. Doubt that happens now.

      Wonder who will go for him. Villa could use some attacking threat with Benteke wanting out. Maybe Everton.

    • Ryan Nanez says:

      I know Sunderland was interested in him last season. Maybe they renew their interest and he partners with jozy there.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      If they were smart they’d transfer list AVB instead.

      Oh, the irony, he leaves Fulham — where he was up with McBride in iconic status — for CL football, never gets it, gets jettisoned before they can get there. Now he’s another football refugee. All that glitters is not gold.

      Based on scanning rosters, I’d suggest: Liverpool (if they’ll have him), Swansea, West Ham, Norwich, Stoke. I think he’s too close to Brazil to risk sitting.

      In terms of others’ suggestions, Sunderland was fending off relegation last year and would be a massive comedown. But he has helped Fulham before in a similar situation. Leverkusen lost Schurrle but would still have KieBling. They signed the Aussie Kruse who looked alright on A-League highlights but is not as good as Clint. Interesting not so much because they are CL as because I think they could use him. This Hotspur year should be a lesson in not obsessing over “Europe” at the expense of “we really want to play Dempsey.”

  2. dave says:

    I’ve warned a lot of Roma kids not to be upset because this will be my last seizon.

  3. Dan in New York says:

    Totti would look good in a Red Bulls jersey when he leaves Roma.

  4. Mig says:

    There is some noise out there that a big MLS signing of an African player is coming shortly.

  5. Nate Dollars says:

    ‘…due to selling off parts of Neymar over the last few years…’

    just so weird.

  6. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

    Bebeto? Um no. Thiago’s father is Mazinho of Brasil. If Man U lose hi it will be a big blow on many levels. Smells like Lu as Moura all over again.

    • Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

      Sorry, fat thumbs and iPhones don’t mix.

      • wides says:

        If Thiago is leaving Barcelona for a lack of playing time, it would seem like Bayern would be a real odd fit, considering they are so freaking stacked already. At least at United, the competition wouldn’t seem as fierce.

        • Eurosnob says:

          That’s what Kagawa thought when he left for ManUtd, particularly considering their central midfielder options. He ended up around getting 15 minutes per game off the bench as a wide midfielder. In a recent interview, Klopp made some scathing remarks about how ManUtd was using Kagawa and Klopp has one of the brightest soccer minds in Europe.

        • Leo says:

          Stacked according to Heynckes, perhaps. Pep is well versed in the style of La Masia and will want someone with the ability to execute his vision.

          I don’t think it’ll be that difficult to fit him in under Pep’s system. Mueller, Ribery, Thiago, Martinez. Robben, Kroos and Shaqiri on the bench.

      • HoboMike says:

        I’m sorry, but your fingers are too fat. If you would like to order a dialing wand, please mash the keypad now.

  7. Saracen says:

    Re Neymar’s transfer fee…. interesting that his family got such a large piece of the fee (40 million) usually the player gets what, like 10% of fee value, his father is a savvy businessman.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Presumably there was some sort of exchange for the added percentage, he returned salary as a capital infusion, he accepted less salary from Santos in exchange for the back end, he got the added percentage when he wasn’t paid by Santos (which happens there sometimes), etc.

  8. Mig says:

    Ibrahim Sekagya is the African player. Ugandan fro Red Bull Salzburg going to NYRB. Not exactly a huge story, I suppose.

  9. The Imperative Voice says:

    MLS website reports three Belize players alleging they were offered (but refused) money to ensure loss.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      lol what the hell?

      • Thebumswillalwayslose says:

        Yeah, it’s a weird situation. Putting aside that the US was paying out at 1/20 (meaning there would have to be HUGE money on the line before the idea of bribing would start to make financial sense), they could’ve picked better guys to try and fix the match. Of the three, only one of them stood a realistic chance of having any impact on the match (he ended up being the guy who scored the goal…). The other two were the backup keeper and a guy with 4 caps to his name that didn’t even make the 18 for the game.

        I read something from a Sports Book guy who said “This is like asking the 11th and 12th guys on the bench for a Division 2 College Basketball team to throw a game against the Miami Heat.”

  10. ManicMessiah says:

    It probably doesn’t hurt that Thiago will surely be payed more money at Bayern than he would be from Man United.

  11. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    DAN! The past tense of LEAD is LED. LEAD is a heavy metal. Jesus.

  12. Nate Dollars says:

    ha, he’s going to keep doing it just to troII you.

    /edited because apparently ‘troII’ is a bad word (PROTIP: just replace the lowercase ‘L’s with capital ‘i’s).

    • Nate Dollars says:

      and this was in reply to ChrisTheLSUTiger.

      • ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

        This is the third time in a row I’ve seen it in his articles, and commented on it. Do we no longer proofread on SBI? Or does he really not know the difference?

        • Mig says:

          You might want to build a bridge and get over that one, LSU. Offering editing remarks online leds to frustration and madness. Plus no one likes a pedant. Cheers!

  13. John says:

    Some are reporting Sunderland is set to pick up Giaccherini from Juventus. Is this good news for Jozy?

    • Nate Dollars says:

      this is great news for jozy. giaccherini is a class attacking mid–lots of good service. very exciting.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      this is great news for jozy. giaccherini is a cl@ss attacking mid–lots of good service. very exciting.

      /edited due to the ‘c’-word (‘cl@ss’)

      • John says:

        Looks like they are pretty close to getting Tom Huddlestone from Tottenham as well. Sunderland could very well have an all new starting 11 before the end of the transfer window.