Thursday Kickoff: Rooney could be out another three weeks; Xavi set for Barca milestone; and more

Wayne Rooney of Manchester United

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

Manchester United’s hopes to finish in the top four took a blow with the latest report on Wayne Rooney’s comeback from injury.

The 28-year-old forward has been out since New Year’s Day with a groin injury and according to English newspaper The Guardian, Rooney could miss a further three weeks due to the injury. Man United sent Rooney last weekend to Egypt for some warm-weather training, but it seems that the injury isn’t healing as fast as hoped and that Rooney will miss this Sunday’s tilt against Chelsea.

David Moyes and Man United remain without Robin Van Persie in the lineup while he recovers from a thigh injury. Man United currently sit in seventh place in the English Premier League, 11 points behind league leaders Arsenal.

This season, Rooney has scored just 11 goals in all competitions (9 in the Premier League) in 24 games played.

Here are some more stories to start your Thursday:

XAVI TO MAKE 700TH BARCELONA APPEARANCE

Barcelona’s all-time leader in club appearances is set to reach a new milestone.

If midfielder Xavi Hernandez plays as expected for Barcelona on Thursday at Getafe in the Copa Del Rey, it will be Xavi’s 700th competitive appearance in a Barcelona shirt. Since being handed his debut in October 1998 by Louis Van Gaal, the 33-year-old midfielder has been a mainstay in both the Barcelona and Spain National Team side.

Xavi also holds the record for most-ever league titles (7) with Barcelona as well as being tied with four other players for most UEFA Champions League titles (3).

MILAN INTRODUCE SEEDORF AS NEWEST MANAGER

Former AC Milan legend Clarence Seedorf is officially the manager of AC Milan.

After retiring from soccer and his time at Brazilian club Botafogo, the former midfielder flew to Milan to take over for Massimiliano Allegri, who was sacked last Monday. It’s a risky decision for Milan as Seedorf has no coaching experience at any level, going straight from his playing career to the sidelines at the San Siro.

“You can’t say that I’m back as I never really left,” Seedorf told AC Milan’s official TV station. “It’s really important for me to see all this enthusiasm. We have a lot to do to get the club back where it belongs and I’m very happy to be back here.

“At the moment, I feel very emotional and I also feel a sense of duty. I have to give 100% to rebuild, and to give enthusiasm and a sense of security. We can look to do important things for the fans. I left Milan in May 2012 at the end of a cycle. My job now is to open a new one.”

AC Milan currently sit in 11th place in the Serie A table, a whole 30 points behind leaders Juventus.

QUICK KICKS

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 30th goal of the season with a free kick in Real Madrid’s 2-0 Copa Del Rey win against Osasuna. (REPORT)

Spain will host Italy in a friendly match on March 5 in Madrid at the Estadio Vicente Calderon. (REPORT)

Tottenham are expected to allow midfielder Etienne Capoue to join Napoli this month for a transfer fee of £10 million. (REPORT)

Juventus and Inter Milan are linked with Real Madrid youngster Alvaro Morata. (REPORT)

FC Schalke wont renew the contract of former German international Timo Hildebrand. (REPORT)

Southampton CEO Nicola Cortese has resigned from his position at the club. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? How big of a problem for Man United is Rooney’s injury? How impressive is Xavi’s accomplishment? Do you expect Seedorf to be able to guide Milan into the top four?

Share your thoughts below.

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