Monday Kickoff: Man City target quadruple; Khedira making impressive recovery; and more

ManCitySamirNasriVincentKomanyCelebrate1 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini believes that Sunday’s Capital One Cup title will be the first of many this season.

Heading into the final three months of the season, Man City are still contenders to win the FA Cup, English Premier League, and UEFA Champions League, though their task to come back against Barcelona won’t be a simple one.

“This will give us a lot of confidence now,” Pellegrini told The Telegraph. “If you try to win a title and don’t do it, your mind does not work the same way, so to win the first is very important.

“We have won this trophy and we are now the only club with a chance to win all the competitions. For a club like Manchester City, to fail is not acceptable. The team failed last year, but we did not fail today. I believe we are going to have a great season when the season ends in May.

“We won one trophy today, but nobody can think that is enough.”

Man City are currently in fourth place in the EPL with 57 points, though they have two games in hand, and are set to face Wigan Athletic in the sixth round of the FA Cup on Sunday. They’ll face Barcelona in the second-leg of their Champions League Round-of-16 match-up on March 12.

Here are some more stories to kick off your week:

KHEDIRA NEARING COME BACK, SAYS ANCELOTTI

Real Madrid and German National Team midfielder Sami Khedira is making a faster-than-expected recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Despite suffering the torn ACL on Nov. 15, Khedira is already back running on his own and could re-join the Real Madrid squad before the end of the month in training, according to manager Carlo Ancelotti.

“His recovery work is going very well,” Ancelotti told the Spanish press. “He has started running after three and a half months. Everything is going well and I think that in 15 or 20 days he can be in Madrid working with the team. We hope he can play before the end of the season.”

Meanwhile, German National Team head coach Joachim Löw has stated that if Khedira recovers in time, he’ll be welcomed back into the squad. However, Ilkay Gundogan, who has not played since last August because of a back injury, is looking likely to be out of the squad come June.

LIVERPOOL OWNER ADMITS SUAREZ BUY-OUT CLAUSE

Apparently Arsenal knew exactly what they were doing when they submitted a transfer bid of £40,000,001 for Luis Suarez last August.

Speaking at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, Liverpool owner John Henry revealed that Suarez did in fact have a £40 million buy-out clause in his contract, but Henry and the Liverpool backroom staff refused to sell the high-scoring forward. Henry argued that these days, contracts hold as much value as they used to, so he didn’t want to give in to a player’s demand to leave.

“He had a buyout clause of £40 million,” Henry said, via The Guardian. “Arsenal, one of our prime rivals, offered £40m plus £1. What we’ve found … is that contracts don’t seem to mean a lot in England – actually, in world football.

“It doesn’t matter how long a player’s contract is, he can decide he’s leaving. We sold a player, Fernando Torres, for £50m, that we did not want to sell, we were forced to. Since apparently these contracts don’t seem to hold, we took the position that we’re just not selling (Suarez).

Since the end of last summer’s transfer window, Suarez has combined with Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling, and Philippe Coutinho to form one of the best attacking sides in recent memory. The team has scored 73 goals in the Premier League this season, with 42 of them coming from Suarez (24 goals) and Sturridge (18 goals).

QUICK KICKS

Juventus head coach Antonio Conte has been named Italian Coach of the Year for the second consecutive year. (REPORT)

German National Team coach Joachim Löw will play Borussia Dortmund winger Kevin Großkreutz at right back against Chile on Wednesday, with Philipp Lahm moving into central midfield. (REPORT)

Daniele De Rossi was dropped from the Italian National Team after video replays showed him throwing a punch at Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi during Roma’s scoreless draw with Inter on Saturday. (REPORT)

Eintracht Frankfurt boss Armen Veh confirmed that he’ll be leaving the club, with speculation that former German international Markus Babbel will take over. (REPORT)

The FA is likely to charge and suspend Newcastle manager Alan Pardew after he headbutted Hull City midfielder David Meyler. (REPORT)

China has been invited as a replacement for Japan at the 2015 Copa America. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you like Manchester City’s chances of winning the quadruple? Do you see Khedira returning in time for the World Cup? Think that Liverpool were right to not sell Suarez to Arsenal despite the buy-out clause being triggered?

Share your thoughts below.

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17 Responses to Monday Kickoff: Man City target quadruple; Khedira making impressive recovery; and more

  1. patrick says:

    surprise, Daniele De Rossi being a thug, again.

  2. Increase0 says:

    China at the Copa America? They lost a Friendly to Thailand last year. They lost to Oman in a competitive game in 2013 too. They are going to be smashed horrifically.

  3. Gerard D. says:

    Wait, so is Liverpool admitting to breaking EPL and FIFA laws–and possibly a host of English contract laws as well?

    • Nate Dollars says:

      yeah, he might regret coming right out and saying that.

      and as far as i can tell, they were *not* forced to sell torres, anymore than man u were forced to sell rooney when he handed in a transfer request. henry might have felt like he was forced, but they didn’t have to sell him.

      if a player has a clause in his contract that all parties signed, and liverpool just decides to ignore it…well, i don’t think we’ve heard the end of this.

      • Gerard D. says:

        if a player has a clause in his contract that all parties signed, and liverpool just decides to ignore it…well, i don’t think we’ve heard the end of this.

        ====

        Yeah, what a foolish thing to say.

  4. byob el paso tx says:

    cant wait for NYCFC to join MLS and set the new standard, with the winning philosophy, players, stadium, uniform, crest and MONEY :)
    I feel bad for earthquakes, crew, rapids, fire, fc dallas, dynamo, rsl, dc, who just wont waste money and nycfc will blow away their hopes.

    • slowleftarm says:

      There’s still going to be a salary cap, there’s zero evidence of meaningful fan support for this team and they’re going to be playing at Yankee Stadium for a long time. I think you’re going to be disappointed.

      • Increase0 says:

        Baseball stadiums are the NEW standard! Jeezeeee. Who would want their own stadium like Dallas? Living on the scraps of other more successful teams is how its done! New Standard.

        In all serious though, can the Trash talk wait until you actually have a team playing? Taking shots at other teams for not being rich is rather petty. You trash talk over Performance not Money.

    • Increase0 says:

      I know right. All those peasanty MLS teams with inferior uniforms and crests. Why do we even let them play.

      • byob el paso tx says:

        NYCFC fans will boom out of the closet once their unis, crest and DPs are out.
        For now lets enjoy MLS 2.0 because MLS 3.0 is coming once NYCFC comes in………… we all know it.
        The scary part is, will miami be bigger than we expect, will orlando compete against the big markets and will Los Angeles2 be better than galaxy.

        • Increase0 says:

          BTW, I don’t think NYC FC is a bad thing. It’s good to see investment. I like that they are using Kreis.(A domestic coach.) It will be a good thing for the MLS.

        • slowleftarm says:

          Crests/logos? Who cares?

          • Ali Dia says:

            I do. But I have a pretty simple standard. If you can avoid putting two gaurs butting heads, or other imagery advertising a crappy energy drink on the shirt, you’ve passed the exam. Seriously, now that MLS has walked Chivas to the door, I’d like to see NYCFC lay waste to the the other festering boil on the credibility of MLS.

            • slowleftarm says:

              How does RBNY lack credibility? They won the supporters shield. They at least try to win and spend money on guys like Henry and Cahill, two of the better players in the league. Sure, the name is stupid but if the other teams in the league tried as hard to win as RBNY, MLS would be a lot better.

  5. Travis says:

    City can target the quadruple all they want but they are not advancing in the CL. The other two they still have a good shot in though

    • Ali Dia says:

      I’ve found that there is one rule in life that you should always follow — Don’t p*ss off God. Targeting the quadruple? History has shown that this comment — which typically surfaces any time a team is in the late stages of the league cup and knockout round of the CL — is the sporting equivalent of spitting in God’s coffee. Might as well lock up the trophy cabinet till next year.

      • slowleftarm says:

        Maybe that’s because winning four trophies is really difficult, not because teams have broken some “curse” by mentioning it.