Monday Kickoff: Totti talks up Roma title chances; Riquelme resumes training; and more

FrancescoTottiASRoma1-Genoa2014 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

AS Roma may be five points behind Juventus, but that’s not letting club legend Francesco Totti dream of winning the Scudetto.

While Juventus slipped up last Saturday with a 1-1 draw at Lazio, Roma secured a crucial road win against top-six side Hellas Verona, winning 3-1. Totti, who scored a penalty kick in the 82nd minute to ensure victory, believes that the performance proves Roma’s title credentials.

“We have proven to be worthy of Juve,” the Roma captain told Sky Italia. “After the half slip Juventus last night, today we showed we can fight on par with the Italian champions by winning the league.”

Juventus goalkeeper and captain Gianluigi Buffon played down Totti’s comments, saying that his club aren’t worried despite Roma moving “a little closer” in the standings.

Next up for Roma is a home match against Parma while Juventus host Inter Milan next Sunday.

Here are some more stories to start your Monday:

RIQUELME BACK IN BOCA FULL TRAINING

There was a familiar face among the Boca Juniors squad on Sunday.

For the first time since suffering a hamstring injury last November, Boca captain Juan Roman Riquelme joined the first team in training as they continue their preseason training. The 35-year-old had recently been training individually as he healed the hamstring.

Boca head coach Carlos Bianchi, the man who brought Riquelme back to the club 12 months ago, said that he will assess Riquelme’s fitness levels this week before deciding whether he’ll play in the final SuperClasico friendly installment of the Argentine summer break. That game is set to take place on Saturday in Mendoza, Argentina.

Unfortunately for Boca and Riquelme, the club won’t be taking part in the Copa Libertadores this spring.

DORTMUND LOSE SECOND STARTER TO TORN ACL

Borussia Dortmund’s injury-ravaged campaign took another hit on Saturday.

In the club’s first game back from the winter break, Dortmund could only draw with FC Augsburg and also lost Jakub “Kuba” Blaszczykowski for the rest of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. The Polish right winger joins centerback Neven Subotic as two Dortmund starters out of the season.

“We’ve only got bad news,” Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp told reporters following the match. “For us this is a disaster, but more importantly it’s terrible for Kuba.”

Blaszczykowski is expected to miss the next six to nine months while he rehabs from the injury. Klopp is considering changing his transfer policy and signing a new player in January as cover for the injury.

QUICK KICKS

Manchester United completed the signing of Juan Mata on Saturday for a club record fee of £37.1 million ($61.4 million). (REPORT)

Just before selling Mata to Man United, Chelsea agreed personal terms and signed Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah from FC Basel for a reported £11 million ($18.2 million) to a five and a half year contract. (REPORT)

Leighton Baines has turned down any interest from outside of Everton by signing a new three and a half year contract. (REPORT)

Chelsea have also allowed midfielder Michael Essien to leave the club again, signing a year and a half deal with AC Milan. (REPORT)

Newcastle have turned down a bid from Paris Saint-Germain for midfielder Yohan Cabaye. (REPORT)

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What do you think of this news? Like Roma’s title chances? Glad to see Riquelme back in full training? Do you see Dortmund signing a new player this month?

Share your thoughts below.

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27 Responses to Monday Kickoff: Totti talks up Roma title chances; Riquelme resumes training; and more

  1. Increase says:

    Dortmund would do well to keep their champions league place at this point. That is a lot of injuries. They really need Gundogan back now or a Grosskreuz cloning machine.

  2. Kippers says:

    Booooo, who cares about Roma?

    • AcidBurn says:

      Yeah, Roma is dead to me now.

      Actually looks like Bradley was out of his league at Roma. Look at Garcia talking about Bradley’s replacement – did you ever hear this about MB90?:

      “Nainggolan knows how to do everything.
      “He has technique, plays the long ball, can push forward and shoot for goal. Today his role was more about providing balance to the team.
      “He’s incredible, it’s as if he has been with us since the start of the season.”

      Bradley would have never seen the field with Garcia’s love affair with Nainggolan.

      • nato says:

        could have asked for a loan to another SERIE A club or moved to La Liga or Ligue 1

      • sal says:

        Have you ever seen the guy play? It could do something with the fact that Nainggolan is a much better player than Bradley.

  3. biff says:

    Poyet has recalled striker Connor Wickham from his loan at Sheffield Wednesday. What does this mean for Jozy? And an article linked below from the local Sunderland newspaper that came out before the Wickham recall was announced.

    GRAEME ANDERSON: Is Jozy up to the job at Sunderland?
    link to sunderlandecho.com

    • KNPonder says:

      Thanks for the link. Interesting read. The comments at the bottom were pretty revealing as well. Overall, I think that most were pretty fair. They know that Jozy has to do better but he is not the only problem at Sunderland. With that said, when you are brought in as the “big” signing to start at forward, you are going to inevitably catch the wrath of frustrated fans when there are no goals. It just goes with the territory. I do agree with one of the comments on the page that the forwards do not know what to do. They have no idea when or if they will get a cross or a pass. It seems like when they make runs nothing comes and when they don’t you see a cross in the box. Recalling Wickham can not be good news for Jozy. With that said, if Sunderland does not change somethings around, it won’t matter who they play up top.

    • William the Terror says:

      The newest post on the ESPN transfer blog shows Sunderland also signing Ignacio Scocco, a forward from INternacional in Argentina. If this is true, Jozy is done in England. Hope he can get back to Holland.

      • KNPonder says:

        They might be bringing him in to help the midfield. Admittedly, I have never seen this guy play; however, with his his size (5′ 8″), it would be hard for him to play forward in the current single forward system. From what I read in a cursory google search, he plays wing and attacking midfielder as well.

        • KNPonder says:

          Just as a follow-up, some comments on a Sunderland site suggest that Scocco is being brought in to play on the left so that Borini can be moved to forward.

          • Nate Dollars says:

            that i can see. although, i wouldn’t be surprised at all to see borini’s form then drop off considerably. they’re just not set up for their strikers to score.

      • Nate Dollars says:

        scocco’s primarily a winger, although he can play a few attacking roles. i certainly wouldn’t say this means ‘jozy is done in england’.

      • William the Terror says:

        link to espnfc.com

        He is currently leading the Argentinian League in both goals and assists. He is listed as a forward. I see Jozy gone by Friday.

        • Nate Dollars says:

          yeah, i know where he plays. wingers are usually listed as forwards. and keep in mind, no one knows how this guy will play at sunderland; jozy had 30 goals last year in a different league.

          of course, it could mean the end for jozy, but it could just as easily mean that jozy will be getting better service, or neither of the two.

    • biff says:

      After I saw the local story, I ran across an unbelievable interview or Di Canio, who told his side of the story….

      link to dailymail.co.uk

      …and this had me convinced that Jozy entered a team that was totally dysfunctional with several total duckheads. No doubt that Poyet has improved the team since he has been there, but I am starting wonder if there are not some chemistry-like tensions in the locker room spilling out on the field and I am not the only one on SBI who has felt that Jozy is often being ignored by his teammates.

      The Di Canio interview was a revelation. If Di Canio brought in Jozy and he was a Di Canio guy there might still be some hard feelings. I am starting to think that Jozy should get the he!! out of Sunderland now, as in by Jan 31, and go to a team with mostly normal people on the roster.

    • Chris says:

      Time for Jozy to get out of Sunderland.

      I do not care if it’s to MLS and everyone cries about it. Jozy needs to go elsewhere.

  4. Peter says:

    Jozy should go to Everton.

  5. user222 says:

    Bradley brought a diff style of play in the midfield when Roman needed it. But now that he’s gone, Roma won’t go anywhere….

  6. a says:

    no Yanks care about ROMA now

    but Bradley could have won the title and be enjoying CL in 8 months but he chased the $$$$$

    i bet if Qatar offered him 10 million a year, he’d have gone there. From Gladiator to Mercenary

    • tim says:

      I agree, most yangs won’t give two flips about Roma anymore as we have no interest other than a potential CL side.

      Bradley is a 26 year old young man, grabbing the millions that will make him set financially for the rest of his life cannot be looked down upon. A few years in Toronto and he will have the financial freedom to chase a CL dream if he has one.

      It really feels like too many fans care more about Americans in CL than the players themselves do.

  7. nato says:

    Jozy will score.

    Let’s pray for it

  8. nato says:

    I don’t want Jozy to give up. I want him to stay at Sunderland and regain the Honor of our nation

    but if not head to Serie A or Ligue 1

    • Human says:

      Serie A isn’t what is used to be. Jozy would actually fit better in Ligue 1 he might be able to better adapt. Anyway its career that’s his decision.

  9. byob el paso tx says:

    Jozy to Red Bull with thierry henry !!!!!!!! or who else can open their wallet for JOzy in MLS. Even LigaMX would be crying for him in a snap but who knows, maybe he doesnt want to be like dempsey and bradley :)

    • tw says:

      I actually think that this is only a couple of years away, as Jozy himself has hinted at wanting to re-join the Red Bulls at some point.

  10. Mario in QT says:

    Watching the game this weekend was painful. At the start of the game he made some errors but I thought the announcers were going out of their way to single him out. There was plenty of crappy play going on all around. Then Jozy’s teammates began ignoring him and he became less and less interested as the game went on. Terrible team. Not a good place for a monster striker like Jozy.