Friday Kickoff: Ronaldo, Costa travel to Lisbon; PSG close in on Luiz; and more

CristianoRonaldoDiegoCostaRealMadridAtleticoMadrid1 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Cristiano Ronaldo and Diego Costa have both made the trip to Lisbon for the UEFA Champions League final.

Despite injury concerns around the duo earlier in the week, both Ronaldo and Costa traveled with Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, respectively, as they prepare for the final at the Estadio Da Luz on Saturday. Ronaldo spent 20 minutes at Thursday’s practice with the Real Madrid first team and worked on his own the rest of the time, while Costa and Arda Turan were both included in the Atleti first-team training on Thursday.

Costa traveled on Tuesday to Serbia to receive treatment from a doctor who reportedly used horse placenta to heal the 25-year-old’s injured hamstring. While Ronaldo, Costa, and even Gareth Bale are set to play, Real Madrid defender Pepe has been ruled out of the final with an injury, bringing Raphael Varane into the starting 11.

Here are some more stories to start off your Friday:

LUIZ SET FOR BIG-MONEY MOVE TO PARIS

David Luiz could be playing alongside his Brazil National Team teammate Thiago Silva at Paris Saint-Germain next season.

Luiz is on the verge of completing a 40 million pound ($67.36 million) transfer to PSG, according to reports in England, spurning a possible move to Barcelona to go to France. Discussions are in an advanced state according to the Guardian and a deal is expected prior to the start of the World Cup.

The move gives Chelsea a sizable chunk of funds to go out and bring in Atletico Madrid’s forward Costa this summer, with whom they are reportedly close to sealing a 32 million pound transfer.

Luiz, who is set to represent Brazil at this summer’s World Cup, played just 19 of 38 English Premier League games this past season, being overtaken by Gary Cahill and John Terry for the starting centerback spots.

With Luiz out of the picture, Barcelona is looking at signing PSG youngster Marquinhos this summer.

LARS BENDER RULED OUT OF WORLD CUP

Germany’s central midfield problems have just increased for head coach Joachim Löw.

Löw learned on Friday that midfielder Lars Bender has been ruled out of the 2014 World Cup with a thigh injury suffered in training at Germany’s training camp in South Tyrol in Italy.

“It’s disappointing for everyone when a player has to pull out due to injury so close to the tournament,” Löw told Deutsche Welle. “I’m really sorry for Lars. I know that he really wanted to be there in Brazil. In terms of character and sporting ability, he’s absolutely a role model.”

Bender’s loss leaves Löw with a 26-man roster ahead of the June 2 deadline to cut the squad to 23. Löw is also left with just Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira as experienced options in central midfield, with both of them working to overcome injury problems all season. Khedira is working his way back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament from November, 2013.

QUICK KICKS

Mehdi Benatia is reportedly open to leaving AS Roma this summer, though the club has closed the door on him leaving. (REPORT)

Toni Kroos has made an about-face and will remain at Bayern Munich for the upcoming season. (REPORT)

AC Milan will reportedly hire Unai Emery from Sevilla to replace Clarence Seedorf as club manager. (REPORT)

Celtic are set to go after former striker Henrik Larsson to become the club’s new manager. (REPORT)

FC Barcelona have scheduled a preseason friendly match against HJK in Helsinki, Finland. (REPORT)

Former Manchester City and Liverpool forward Craig Bellamy has retired at the age of 34. (REPORT)

———–

What do you think of these reports? Do you see Ronaldo and Costa starting in the final? Surprised to see PSG pay so much to sign Luiz? How much will Germany miss Bender?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in European Soccer, South American Soccer. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Friday Kickoff: Ronaldo, Costa travel to Lisbon; PSG close in on Luiz; and more

  1. William the Terror says:

    Wow. So heavy is the cloud cast by the Donovan cut and the Klinsman tweet that I really have no interest in these other stories.

  2. Anthony says:

    Am I the only one who thinks Diego Costa looks MUCH older than 25?

  3. Ralph says:

    “Luiz is on the verge of completing a £40 million ($67.36 million) transfer to PSG,”

    As they’re being sanctioned for FFP? Step in UEFA.

  4. fifawitz1313 says:

    Pretty gutted about this Donovan decision. I think it is a mistake. It’s just hard to comprehend why Klinsmann would do this. If the U.S. loses a game in pre-WC matches or to Ghana U.S. fans are going to freak out with the “what if Donovan was there” questions. It puts so much pressure on Klinsmann and the team to step up and prove that he made the right decision. Any falter will lead to “what ifs”.

    The only thing that I can think of that might be a clever/positive way to express our discontent would be for those attending the lead up games to print out as many of those enlarged heads with Donovan’s face on it. A few hundred of those staring back at Klinsmann during the warm up matches will make him acutely aware of the pressure for the team to now perform above expectation based on his decision to leave Donovan out.

    • Brain Guy says:

      Without expressing an opinion on the underlying issue, I will say that this is a great idea, and would make for great television, much like the “9″ signs that were held up in the 9th minute after Charlie Davies’s injury. Would security let the signs in?

  5. Bac says:

    Klinsmann press conference at noon on espn3 in its entirety

  6. Peter says:

    Didn’t Klinsmann surprise people by benching his starting gk in 2006 and didn’t Germany finish third in that world cup? So isn’t it obvious that the us is going to finish third in this world cup? ;)

    • Michael says:

      I know your comment is tongue-in-cheek, but I think it’s worth pointing out that Germany’s 2006 finish wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire given that the tournament was played in Germany. I don’t think Brazil will be satisfied with a third-place finish this summer.

      I really enjoyed the style Germany played that year, so I’m not saying that Klinsmann was a total failure, but it’s not as though that team exceeded expectations.

  7. NateinSF says:

    The Donovan ommission isn’t that surprising if you follow the USMNT on a regular basis. It makes one realize how many people only focus on the national team during the World Cup. There are many quality players in the squad and I am just as excited to watch the upcoming tourney now as I was before yesterday’s roster announcement. I find it unbelievable that people speak of not watching the games, etc. because of this. It’s baffling.

    • Ralph says:

      It’s revealed some very disturbing things about a lot of commenters on this site from wishing injuries to denigrating non ‘pure’ Americans.

    • Michael says:

      I follow the team year-round, and I’m considerably less excited about this tournament after seeing that the greatest player in US history has been unceremoniously dropped from the squad. I get the argument that you go on current form, blah blah blah, but Donovan is a special player with a special history. Surely there’s room in the 23-man roster for him, especially since Davis & Wondolowski, though quality MLS players, are not exactly world-beaters when it comes to international play.

      • Ronaldo Messi says:

        Right on. Landon was discarded like a burnt match. I am not that exited either about this team anymore, and we are most likely NOT the only two. This is what Klinsmann has done by placing his ego ahead of his professionalism. I have lost complete respect for the guy. I can’t wish that somebody gets injured so that Landon is called, but even if that happened, Klinsmann is not gonna call him… unless more than half the fans feel like you and I.

        • User222 says:

          it depends… if Jozy gets injured JK would call TBoyd and not Donovan…. unless JK floods the field with mids and deploys a 4-6… a la Spain… we might control the ball but probably wont score…

          In any case, LD shouldnt be at home waiting for a call… he should be working his arrse off and losing the extra pounds, the same extra weight that is affecting his knees that is affecting his pace that is affecting his mental game… it is a domino effect when an athlete is not hitting on all cylinders.