Friday Kickoff: Aguero ruled out; Messi due in court on Friday; and more

SergioAgueroManchesterCity1-ManUnited (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Manchester City will be without one of their key forwards when they face Aston Villa on Saturday.

Club manager Manuel Pellegrini said in his pre-match press conference on Friday that Sergio Aguero is carrying a knock, and that even though it’s not serious, he won’t be available for selection on Saturday. The Argentine striker has scored three goals in his last two games, including a brace against Manchester United in Man City’s 4-1 derby victory last Sunday.

“Aguero finished the last derby in the last play with a small pain, I think it was nothing important but I think it was a risk for him to play three games in the same week,” Pellegrini said in the press conference. “We will leave him for next Wednesday but he will be absolutely fine.”

Pellegrini’s approach seems to be smart towards Aguero to not overuse the 25-year-old. Last season, Aguero started in just 22 Premier League matches as he suffered from a myriad of injuries throughout the season, though he still found a way to score 17 goals in all competitions. After Saturday, Man City hosts Bayern Munich on Wednesday in the UEFA Champions League.

Here are some more stories to start your Friday:

MESSI TO APPEAR IN COURT ON FRIDAY

Lionel Messi and his father will appear in Catalonia court on Friday to hear charges of tax fraud.

The two are alleged to have not paid their full taxes (€4.2 million/$5.7 million) on the income received by Messi for a number of endorsements that he receives, allegedly hiding the money in businesses in the Great Britain, Uruguay, Belize, and Switzerland.

Messi and his father have repeatedly denied the charges from the Spanish authorities, saying that they were surprised at the news that they had been charged by the government. The two paid a sum of €5 million earlier this summer to the Spanish courts, though the court case has still gone ahead.

MAN UNITED INTERESTED IN PORTO DEFENDER

As Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic continue to grow older, the Manchester United hierarchy are looking at some younger centerback options to eventually replace the veteran duo.

The latest reports in England have linked Man United with FC Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala, a 22-year-old French international who has been in Portugal since 2011. The 6’2” centerback has become one of the most sought defenders in Europe, but the current buyout clause in his contract is €45 million ($60.1 million), making a transfer to Man United pretty difficult at this price.

Mangala, who was born in France but grew up in Belgium, came through the youth ranks at Standard Liege, becoming professional in 2008. This past summer, AS Monaco was interested in signing Mangala, but they didn’t value him at the posted buyout price.

QUICK KICKS

Lucas Leiva has earned a recall to the Brazilian National Team for friendly matches in October against South Korea and Zambia. (REPORT)

Barcelona captain Carles Puyol has passed a final fitness test on his recovery from a serious knee injury that has kept him out for the past six months. (REPORT)

Barnsley have acquired England international goalkeeper Jack Butland on a three-month loan from Stoke City. (REPORT)

Reports in Belgium state that PSV Eindhoven’s 17-year-old wonderkid Zakaria Bakkali will pledge his international future to Belgium instead of Morocco. (REPORT)

Chelsea forward Samuel Eto’o has been called up for Cameroon’s World Cup qualifying match next month despite reports of him retiring from international play after their last match. (REPORT)

———–

What do you think of these reports? Do you see Man City missing Aguero on Saturday? Do you see Messi’s tax fraud case continuing? Do you hope that Man United sign Mangala?

Share your thoughts below.

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

12 Responses to Friday Kickoff: Aguero ruled out; Messi due in court on Friday; and more

  1. THomas says:

    Who care’s? They’re playing Villa.

    • Drewbles says:

      Villa without Benteke no less. Guess Man City will have to find some way to struggle through with Dzeko and Negredo, both of whom cost more than twice as much as Villa’s best player.

  2. Whippet says:

    City fans.

  3. CeezNYRB says:

    Not to be “that guy” but you really should use the diaeresis over the U in Agüero. It makes a difference for us Spanish speakers.

  4. dude says:

    I don’t know if Mangala is a smart buy or a worthy replacement for Ferdinand, but Man U have got to realiz by now that they have to spend money if they want to survive. Sir Alex did an incredible job keeping the ship afloat with a few stars and a lot of role players. But they can’t expect his thin squad to be successful forever and under different management. Right now, even the Champions League is a tough ask.

  5. Sly says:

    Nervous about Leivas call up. I think he is a better Dmid than Fernandinho and Im extremely happy he has had no recent injury concerns but flying where during the international break… Maybe if Liverpool had Dmid cover Id feel better about it.

  6. Paul says:

    Messi will just dribble past those Spanish prosecutors!

  7. Platonias says:

    Belgium is going to have everything in order to be competitive for at least the nxt 3 WC cycles.

    We all know their one the most exciting things happening in football but it’s so amazing when you look at the bigger nature of it all. They have kids in the biggest football academies EVERYWHERE.

    Nations like Switzerland and should emulate whatever is happening with Belgium and how they did went about it and follow it to a tee