Friday Kickoff: Kompany to miss four weeks; Mourinho hints at Willian signing; and more

VincentKompanyInjured1-Newcastle2013 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Manchester City couldn’t have asked for a better start to the English Premier League season, but they face a difficult road ahead without their captain for the next month.

Centerback Vincent Kompany has been ruled out for at least four weeks due to a groin injury suffered in the second half of Monday’s 4-0 rout against Newcastle. The Belgian was forced off the field in the 71st minute, and faces a lengthy spell away from the pitch.

“I prefer the doctor has the final word on this but I think he will be out for at least one month,” Man City boss Manuel Pellegrini told the club’s website. “Today or tomorrow we will know exactly how long Vincent will be out for.”

The injury also surely will keep Kompany out of the Belgium National Team’s upcoming World Cup qualifier at Scotland on September 6. Belgium are the only nation in UEFA World Cup 2014 qualifying that have assured at least second place in their group.

Here are some more stories to get your Friday started:

CHELSEA SEAL WILLIAN TRANSFER FROM TOTTENHAM’S GRASP

With Brazilian midfielder Willian just moments away from signing for Tottenham, London rivals Chelsea have stunned the footballing world with a late £30 million bid, putting the move to Spurs in disarray.

The Anzhi Makhachkala player, who is being sold by the club as a way for them to reduce payroll, had already arrived in London and completed a medical with the Tottenham doctors before Chelsea came involved. On Friday, during Jose Mourinho’s press conference at Stamford Bridge, the manager hinted that Willian had agreed to join Chelsea, and the transfer could be completed in a matter of days.

The news is a huge blow to Tottenham, who were so close to sealing another talented midfield signing to add to their ever burgeoning squad. Last season, Willian split his time between Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine and Anzhi, making a total of 35 appearances in all competitions. In a Champions League match last year, Willian scored two goals in a 3-2 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

RAUL RETURNS TO REAL IN STYLE DURING FRIENDLY MATCH

Taking a page out of Pele’s book, Real Madrid legend Raul played one half with his former and current team on Thursday night, returning to the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium for the first time as a player since he left the club in 2010.

In a friendly match between Real Madrid and Raul’s current side Al-Sadd from Qatar, the hosts won, 5-0, with Raul scoring a goal on his return. The former Spanish international was handed his former No. 7 jersey from Cristiano Ronaldo for the match, and Raul was given a standing ovation following the match from the Madridista fans.

Raul had to wipe away tears as he was given a commemorative plaque, and posed for pictures next to the dozens of trophies he won during his time at Real Madrid.

SCHALKE INTERESTED IN PODOLSKI LOAN

After just one season in London, Lukas Podolski is rumored to be on his way back to Germany.

According to reports in Germany, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is ready to offload the German international, with FC Schalke 04 interested in bringing Podolski to the club on loan. The 28-year-old forward, who started 25 Premier League matches last season, has opened the season for the Gunners on the fringes, with two appearances off the bench, both of them with just minutes remaining in the Aston Villa and Fenerbahce matches.

The reports in Germany state that Podolski is looking for a place where he can be a first team regular, so he can ensure a place in the Germany squad at next summer’s World Cup, assuming they qualify.

QUICK KICKS

Former France international Nicolas Anelka walked out of training on Thusday due to a personal bereavement, and is contemplating retirement. (REPORT)

Although it hasn’t been officially announced by the FMF, Valencia CF announced on their website that winger Andres Guardado has been called up by El Tri to face Honduras and the United States. (REPORT)

Barcelona midfielder Ibrahim Afellay is set for yet another long-term spell on the sidelines, as he’s had surgery on the troublesome right thigh and has been ruled out for four months. (REPORT)

Animal rights organization PETA has written to UEFA President Michel Platini to urge him to stop the slaughter of animals in stadiums, after Kazakhstan side Shakhter Karagandy sacrificed a sheep before their 2-0 victory against Celtic in a UEFA Champions League match. (REPORT)

The Hungarian Football Federation has fined club Ferencvaros just €2,700 for raising a banner of a Nazi war criminal during a match against rivals MTK, who historically were supported by a Jewish minority. (REPORT)

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What do you think of this news? How much of an impact does Kompany’s injury have on Man City? Surprised that Chelsea was able to bid late for Willian? Happy to see Raul receive the send-off he never had?

Share your thoughts below.

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14 Responses to Friday Kickoff: Kompany to miss four weeks; Mourinho hints at Willian signing; and more

  1. Steven C says:

    1) I need to take Kompany off my fantasy team NOW.

    2) Who in the hell is slaughtering animals before a match?! This is 2013, right?

    • Strider257 says:

      You obviously haven’t spent much time in the Balkans lately. Superstition is still quite strong there in places, maybe not as bad as Haiti, but in places comparable.

    • Strider257 says:

      Oops, not the Balkans, where this is also true, but central Asia.

      • Clyde Frog says:

        Having lived in Kazakhstan for a year and a half I can assure it had more to do with a nostalgic tip of the hat to traditional customs than superstition.

        And I’m sure the meat was eaten, so no one should be that offended, unless they are pretending that the meat they eat doesn’t really come from amimals.

        • Lost in Space says:

          The complaint came from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). They don’t care if the meat was eaten or not….
          Personally I like the alternate meaning….
          People Eating Tasty Anaimals.

        • Borat Sagdiyev says:

          Meat of Sheep I LIKE, very much!

    • Jacknut says:

      There’s got to be a Major League reference in here somewhere. If I were the club, I’d keep sacrificing sheep.

      • Clyde Frog says:

        Somewhere a DC United fan is asking around about sheep.

        • DCisForBoners says:

          The only ones I could find that were metro accessible were grain-fed. Maybe we can sacrifice Syamsir Alam instead? There’s a Kali fire priest down my block and he’s always looking for more human hearts.

  2. Jacknut says:

    Nice interview with Bob Bradley on the situation in Egypt and the its relationship to the Pharoahs: link to npr.org

  3. Clyde Frog says:

    The Hungarian Federation really cracking down there. [/sarcasm]

  4. Yankeedom says:

    Why is Podolski on the fringes of the Arsenal squad when Arsenal have very little depth at the moment and have made only 1 move during the transfer window? Thought Wenger was trying to add depth, not take it away?

  5. Travis says:

    I highly doubt that Arsenal will be loaning out players unless they suddenly bring in multiple players, which is very unlikely. They have parted ways with 5 players from the senior team this summer and only brought in one, there is no way they let Podolski leave.

  6. Joamiq says:

    Good thing Chelsea nabbed Willian. That 12th quality attacking midfielder was really just what they needed.