Friday Kickoff: Luiz reveals Barca rejection; Lambert to start vs. Moldova; and more

DavidLuizChelsea1-AstonVilla (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

All summer long, Barcelona were looking to sign a new central defender, as club legend Carles Puyol grows older and more fragile.

The club were reported to have made an offer to sign Chelsea defender David Luiz among others, and according to Luiz himself, the offer was made but he rejected it to stay at Stamford Bridge.

“An official offer was made, but I decided to stay at Chelsea,” Luiz said in a statement in Gazeta Sportiva. “I am happy to be playing in a great club as well as the national team, representing my country.”

In the last six months, Luiz has shredded the prior label of being a poor defender, emerging as if from a cocoon to become one of the most sought after defenders in the transfer market, as well as one half of arguably the best all-around defender duo in the world with the Brazilian National Team, alongside Thiago Silva.

Luiz and Silva partnered together in all five matches at the Confederations Cup as Brazil won the title this summer for the third time consecutively. However, since then, he’s only featured once for Chelsea, in the UEFA Super Cup defeat to Bayern Munich.

Here are some more stories to start your Friday:

INJURIES PUT LAMBERT INTO ENGLAND STARTING XI

Just weeks after making his England debut, Rickie Lambert will be thrust into the spotlight once more at Wembley Stadium, where he’ll start in his competitive debut for his country against Moldova on Friday.

Injuries to Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge have revealed the thin nature of England’s forwards, with Lambert the latest to step up and into a role he’s never had before. According to reports in England, Lambert will have Theo Walcott on his right and Danny Welbeck on his left in a front three.

Lambert received a dream debut on August 14, scoring the game-winning goal on a header from a corner kick to give England a 3-2 victory against Scotland.

Tottenham striker Jermaine Defoe remains an option on the bench as well.

ABIDAL CLAIMS TO HAVE NOT BEEN PAID BY BARCA WHEN ILL

Eric Abidal, in an interview with French publication L’Equipe, has made some harsh allegations at the FC Barcelona front office.

According to Abidal, during the time that he was sick and needed a liver transplant, the club stopped paying his contract. The club has since denied the allegations, but Abidal claims that it’s one of the reasons he left the club this summer, before signing for AS Monaco and returning to full fitness.

“It wasn’t even a question of money,” Abidal said in the interview. “The proof being that all the months I was ill, the club didn’t pay me. Now I’m lucky to have the trust of the Monaco coach and president. Knock on wood, everything’s fine. But it’s true that there was a time when I doubted myself.”

Abidal has started and went the full 90 minutes in all four of Monaco’s games so far this season, and is likely to start for France on Friday when they face Georgia.

QUICK KICKS

Real Madrid closed the fiscal 2012/2013 year with more than €520 million in revenue, thus becoming the first club to accrue more than €500 million in one year. (REPORT)

New Manchester City signing Martin Demichelis has been ruled out for six weeks after suffering a knee ligament injury. (REPORT)

Spain winger Isco has pulled out of the squad after ankle problems have kept him off the field. (REPORT)

Portuguese winger Nani has signed a new five-year contract at Manchester United. (REPORT)

The son of Marseille Sporting Director Jose Anigo was shot dead as he was getting out of his car on Friday. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you agree with Luiz’s decision? Do you see Lambert scoring again for England? Do you believe Abidal’s claims?

Share your thoughts below.

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11 Responses to Friday Kickoff: Luiz reveals Barca rejection; Lambert to start vs. Moldova; and more

  1. Bill Brasky says:

    If that’s true about Barca stiffing Abidal, that’s awful. Especially because they always made a point to show how loved and important he was to the club when he was in recovery.

    • Increase says:

      I can’t even image how that is possible or what kind of contract would allow that. It’s terribly odd and saying something like that when its not true would be defamation.

      I imagine its some sort of half truth like they were slow on paying for his medical needs or something. Still crappy as teams like that are flush with medical needs as it is.

      • biff says:

        Agreed. I don’t buy that at all that Barca quit paying guaranteed contractual salary. maybe they skipped certain bonuses or other types of discretionary payments.

      • Marcus says:

        I can believe it…no matter what they say in public, business people are still the ones behind the scene. Don’t kid yourself…if they can find ways to cut spending, they will.

        • Northzax says:

          Right. We have no idea what his contract stipulated. Maybe he had practice clauses, or appearance clauses, this was, after all, a non-work related illness; large corporations tend not to pay you more than they have to, especially millions of euros. So assume there was some sort of long-term disability insurance (and you know the club was insured for any losses) but go tell your boss that you need to miss a year of work because you need a transplant, and see how long they keep paying you (hint: unless you are an irreplaceable superstar, not long)

      • Northzax says:

        His contract was to play soccer. He was unable to do so because of a non-work related issue. Why do you think his contract would cover that? If he really thinks his contract was violated, he should sue (he, sue Barca in Catalonia! Sure, be like suing Nick Saban in Tuscaloosa) he’s very clearly not saying the club was wrongs just that they were jerks.

  2. Beto says:

    Fool! Barça >>> Chelsea!

  3. Reid says:

    I hope the Spanish government can find it in their heart to give Real and extension on their back taxes, they are clearly hurting…. maybe even give them some more acreage somewhere around the city for next to nothing.

  4. Increase says:

    There is no way his contract doesn’t allow for illness. It would be easy to get considering the money being tossed around already.

    Also a country like Spain has all sorts of crazy labor laws that would prevent this sort of firing or non-payment. I suppose There might be an extended illness exception for non “work” related injuries.