Wednesday Kickoff: Ronaldo breaks another record; Vela open to El Tri return; and more

CristianoRonaldoRealMadridOrange1-FCCopenhagenUCL2013 (AFP:Getty)

By DAN KARELL

With one swing of the leg, Cristiano Ronaldo wrote his name in UEFA and Real Madrid lore.

Ronaldo’s goal three minutes after the halftime break against FC Copenhagen was his ninth of the UEFA Champions League group stage, a new record, as well as the 800th Real Madrid goal in the European Cup/Champions League competition. The Portuguese international passed Filippo Inzaghi, Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Hernan Crespo, who all have scored eight goals in the group stage.

It was very easy for the 28-year-old, who drifted in towards the back post and quickly side-footed in his goal off a pass from Pepe in the box. Real Madrid won the match, 2-0, to clinch Group B.

Though he could have had a second on the night when he missed a penalty kick in the 89th minute, Ronaldo’s goal takes his season total to 26 in all competitions for Los Blancos. Add in goals he’s scored for Portugal since August and that number swells to 35 goals total.

Here are some more stories to start your Wednesday:

VELA OPENS DOOR FOR EL TRI RETURN

One of the major story lines during Mexico’s qualification campaign for the 2014 World Cup has been the lack of inclusion in the squad of Carlos Vela, one of the best Mexicans playing abroad at the moment.

Vela hasn’t represented El Tri since 2011, when Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre took charge, rejecting every call-up as El Tri struggled to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil. However, the 24-year-old Real Sociedad forward has admitted that if current El Tri head coach Miguel Herrera comes and speaks with Vela, he could be open to returning to the Mexico squad.

“If he comes and talks to me I’ll think (about re-joining El Tri),” Vela told Fox Sports, via Univision. “If given the opportunity and the chance, we would talk and we would see what is best for the team and for all.”

Even if he doesn’t re-join El Tri, Vela has backed his compatriots who will face Brazil, Cameroon, and Croatia in Group A of the World Cup next summer.

“Any team that goes to the World Cup is strong and even more with the hosts, but Mexico has always proven to be a tough opponent and they can be in the next round,” Vela said.

MESSI’S RECOVERY CONTINUES ON TRACK

Barcelona received some positive news ahead of their Champions League match against Celtic today when they learned that Lionel Messi’s injured hamstring is 100 percent healed, according to a report in Spanish publication Marca.

Currently continuing his recovery in his native Argentina, the report states that Messi has progressed enough to the point where he can now practice and take shots with his dynamic left leg without feeling any pain. Barcelona fitness coach Elvio Paolorosso is expected to arrive in Buenos Aires, where Messi is rehabbing, on Wednesday to monitor the Argentine forward’s recovery.

Barcelona still expect Messi to be back in the squad in January.

QUICK KICKS

Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng has signed a contract extension through 2018. (REPORT)

Club America President Ricardo Pelaez confirms that former Club Tijuana head coach Antonio Mohamed will take over as head coach when Miguel Herrera moves full time to the Mexico National Team. (REPORT)

Former Mexico Olympic and short-lived National Team head coach Luis Fernando Tena has been appointed head coach of Liga MX club Cruz Azul. (REPORT)

AC Milan have confirmed the signing of Japanese international Keisuke Honda on a free transfer from CSKA Moscow. (REPORT)

Newcastle United have asked newspapers to pay for the access they can receive to players during the week. (REPORT)

Chilean club O’Higgins won their first league title on Tuesday after a 58-year wait from their fans. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Impressed with Ronaldo’s goal-scoring form this season? Think he can continue at this pace? Think there’s any chance that Vela could return to El Tri?

Share your thoughts below.

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12 Responses to Wednesday Kickoff: Ronaldo breaks another record; Vela open to El Tri return; and more

  1. Good Jeremy says:

    “If he comes and talks to me I’ll think (about re-joining El Tri),” Vela told Fox Sports, via Univision.

    I didn’t have a whole lot of respect for him in the first place, but I have lost all of it after reading that.

    • AcidBurn says:

      Of course he would like to rejoin el tri…who wouldn’t want to go to brazil, get major international media exposure for his career, and get handsomely paid for it? (Players make some serious coin during the WC).

      Not only did Vela abandon the team when they needed him the most – in the later qualifiers when El Tri was visibly struggling – he now wants the coach to come back and plead with him to come back? What a d-bag.

  2. Jess says:

    Now that they are qualified, he’ll go? What a d-bag.

  3. blokhin says:

    sure, Ronnie, Champions League group stage is nice…but The Brad Evans awaits!

  4. Ando says:

    I found my new favorite South American team. Move over the The Strongest, I need me a O’Higgins kit.

  5. Thebumswillalwayslose says:

    I’m not so sure what to make of Vela anymore.

    On one hand, it’s easy to look at his statement and point to a completely apathetic, totally selfish player that doesn’t deserve to ever wear the shirt again. That was certainly my first reaction.

    On the other hand, if you read the rest of the quote he mentions “we would see what is best for the team and what is best for all”. Which would seem to indicate that he’s self-aware enough to realize that, after bailing on the team – who desperately needed him – for two years, he probably can’t just stroll back into the squad now that they’ve qualified and pretend things are cool.

    Will be interesting to watch. As much as you want to argue the team chemistry point, it’s hard to ignore the fact that he definitely makes El Tri a better and much more dangerous team offensively. And no, I don’t think putting up 9 goals in two games against NZ means their offensive ship has been righted just yet.

  6. Francois says:

    Carlos Vela: the ultimate tool. Seriously? Get over yourself, you’re not that good.

  7. byob el paso tx says:

    Carlos Vela got back stabbed by the Mexican soccer federation and was accused of things he never did because of his age. They attacked him due to his young age and let the veterans have it easy. Everybody knows it and by the way, he is one of many Mexicans who leave mexico and don’t wanna come back or play fo mexico since the Mexican media is terrible and the country is corrupt. Look at Ochoa, guardado, vela, do santos, Moreno, even marquez the two face didn’t want to play for mexico or return. For example, marquez said, I will never play in mexico againand the media almost killed him but since he did terrible in red bull, he went to leon as a last resort.
    Most of mexicos top talent go to spain, since they speak Spanish and the Mexican media makes fun of them for talking like a Spaniard and acting a like European.

  8. bryan says:

    oh how convenient, Vela…