Thursday Kickoff: Pirlo’s last World Cup; Rooney questions Ronaldo’s teamwork; and more

AndreaPirloItaly1-Luxembourg2014 (Getty)

By TIM FONTENAULT

The 2014 FIFA World Cup may be the last time we see Andrea Pirlo in an Italy jersey.

“I’m still thinking of retiring after this World Cup, as I have reached a certain age and it is only right to leave the pitch to the generation coming through,” the 35 year old told reporters.

Pirlo, who won the tournament with Italy in 2006 and was instrumental in the run to the Euro 2012 Final, two more years remaining on his contract with Juventus. However, as he gets older, he does not feel it would be beneficial to continue with Italy if he is not going to be on the field.

“It would be pointless to continue,” Pirlo said. “If I am needed, then there’s no problem in coming back. If I come on international duty and don’t play, then I’d get angry. It is perhaps better I stay home.”

Pirlo has earned 109 caps for the Azzurri, scoring 13 goals.

Here are some more headlines to take a look at as you start your day:

ROONEY QUESTIONS RONALDO’S TEAMWORK

Cristiano Ronaldo cares more about winning individual awards than trophies with his teammates, at least that is what Wayne Rooney thinks.

“I’m not a player who needs [to win] individual awards like Cristiano Ronaldo,” Rooney said of his former Manchester United teammate. “He has to have that and you admire him for having that.

“I’m more about winning things as a team. You can see how he is. He wants his moments. It’s more important for me to win trophies as a team.”

Rooney and United finished seventh in the Premier League this season while Ronaldo and Real Madrid won the UEFA Champions League last month. At the World Cup, Ronaldo will try to guide Portugal to its first ever triumph while Rooney will try to lead England to its first title since 1966.

“I’ve won PFA Player of the Year, which is nowhere near as good as winning a trophy with Manchester United,” Rooney said. “I’ve not won anything this year, so hopefully I can do that now.”

SCOLARI REMAINING WITH BRAZIL DESPITE FAMILY DEATH

Brazil head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari will stay with his team and coach the hosts in the opening match of the World Cup despite the death of his nephew.

Tarcisio Joao Schneider, 48, was killed in a car accident on Tuesday in southern Brazil. With Brazil preparing to take on Croatia, Scolari does not feel that he should be leaving the squad, even to be with his family.

“Sometimes we have to deal with some difficulties, but you have to try to move on,” he said.

Scolari coached Brazil to victory at the 2002 World Cup, the last time the country won the tournament, and was brought back after Mano Menezes was sacked in 2012. The country is hosting the tournament for the first time since 1950, when they lost to Uruguay.

“For all Brazilians, I want to say our time has arrived,” Scolari said. “We want to go together. This is our World Cup.”

TRIPLE SHIFTS FOR SUAREZ

Uruguay winger Cristian Rodriguez says teammate Luis Suarez is putting in “triple shifts” in order to be ready for the World Cup opener against Costa Rica.

Suarez, who led the Premier League with 31 goals in 33 appearances for Liverpool this season, had knee surgery at the end of the season with the expectation of being ready for the tournament.

“He is very focused,” Rodriguez said. “He is working in double and triple shifts and we hope to have him with us soon.”

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez has set no timetable for when Suarez will be ready to go, but would play him tomorrow if he could.

“As we have no set deadlines,” Tabarez said. “I don’t know if we’ll have him for the first match, for the second, for the third.”

QUICK KICKS

France National Team defender Mamadou Sakho underwent an MRI after suffering a knock to his right knee but the tests showed no damage, keeping his World Cup hopes alive. (REPORT)

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has given the green light to Carlo Ancelotti to try and sign Chelsea’s Brazilian midfielder Ramires. (REPORT)

Dutch National Team forward Robin Van Persie said in an interview that he hopes to continue playing until he’s 40-years old, with 22 professional seasons under his belt. (REPORT)

Belgium National Team head coach Marc Wilmots has signed a four-year extension to remain national team manager. (REPORT)

Midfielder Jeremy Menez has arrived in Milan to complete a medical before signing a contract with AC Milan. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Is this Pirlo’s Italy swan song? Do you think Ronaldo is more about himself than the team? Do you believe Suarez can make it back in time?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in European Soccer, FIFA World Cup, World Cup 2014. Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Thursday Kickoff: Pirlo’s last World Cup; Rooney questions Ronaldo’s teamwork; and more

  1. argh says:

    it was also Donovan’s last world cup

    too soon?

  2. argh says:

    it’s always pointless when footballers give interviews. you can realize they’re not quite educated.

    “I’ve won PFA Player of the Year, which is nowhere near as good as winning a trophy with Manchester United,” Rooney said. “I’ve not won anything this year, so hopefully I can do that now.”

    isn’t that just obvious.

    • Increase says:

      Well, I think you are being to harsh on them. Sometimes its just media training sucking the personality out of them on purpose. But with Rooney, its probably a lack of education/general intelligence.

    • Yankiboy says:

      It’s not pointless when many of us (including myself) are usually interested I what they have to say.

      As far as “educated” goes, there’s a lot of education that takes place outside of traditional learning settings–even when they state the obvious.

      I’m not looking for a lecture on the quantum physics of wormhole theory when I listen to a guy talk about playing a sport. Just his thoughts and possible insights on performance and competition.

      I think that your bar is set a lot higher then most of the rest of us, otherwise the sports media wouldn’t have grown to be the juggernaut that it has and dudes would not be having microphones and tape recorders shoved in their faces all the time.

      They get interviewed because there is a demand based on interest…

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Plus CR has finished 2d and 3d in the Euros (Portugal), won the CL with 2 teams, and then shares overlapping team accomplishments with WR. So however he wants to paint CR, CR has more hardware than WR.

    • Brain Guy says:

      They’re just practicing the art (perfected by Derek Jeter) of stating the obvious in ways that make you believe they’ve actually thought about the answer. Rooney’s rather candid remarks about Ronaldo show what can happen when you go off the Jeterian script and offer a true opinion,

  3. Jo says:

    “It would be pointless to continue,” [Donovan] said. “If I come on international duty and don’t play, then I’d get angry. It is perhaps better I stay home.”

  4. Big Larry says:

    Of course the Roo would question Ronaldo’s commitment to team play and say he cares for the team and Ronaldo only cares for himself. Because there is no way in God’s earth than Roo can compare himself favorably based on playing ability and talent.

    But assuming the Roo is right, then Ronaldo still has a lot of team trophies, doesn’t he.

    Sounds like sour grapes from a petulant child.

  5. junker says:

    Rooney should probably think whatever Ronaldo is doing might be the right way – Player of the year, Champion’s League Title, one win away from Spanish title, on a national team ranked 4 in the world.

  6. MFP says:

    Haha, beingsport France just showed a preview segment on the US team. The first segment was about how Landon Donovan will, as usual, be the focal point of our attack. The second part was mostly an interview with Michael Parkhurst. They clearly just taped it a while ago (Howard still had his beard), but that whole segment was a swing and a miss.

    • Yankiboy says:

      Merci, MFP!!!

      Classic. Just imagine if a US based outlet had done something so trifling.

  7. AMP says:

    Gee, thanks Wayne. Are there any great players on Germany that you also want to supply with bulletin board material?

    I wanted to drop a couple fake headlines, where Rooney is motivating others in our group, but it’s early, and my brain isn’t yet fully operational.

    Now Dempsey should say that Uruguay’s performance in 2010 was a fluke.

  8. Mikey K says:

    Man why is Rooney being a salty player hater.

  9. argh says:

    is Rooney envious of Ronaldo? Ronaldo is miles far the better player. Ronaldo seems selfish but he can at least carry a team to glory. Rooney can not. he’s grossly overrated.

  10. lol says:

    rooney should have left United when Fergie left. gone to PSG or Real Madrid or anywhere but he’s lazy like Donovan. Not ambitious

  11. reignman says:

    Fabregas’ signing with Chelsea was just officially confirmed, this is a terrible day for Arsenal fans. I don’t care if we had a clear need there, watching him go play for Mourinho is painful. I accepted the Barca move, this is not one that the fans will be accepting for the most part. Looking at him in that Chelsea kit is bad.

    • Kingsly Alexander says:

      What ever happened to Financial Fair Play?

      Stream every WC match through 3rd parties online
      #BoycottWorldCup #AntiCopa #StopWorldCup

      • reignman says:

        Chelsea did just sell Luiz for a ridiculous sum to PSG so that had to help fund the transfers a bit I would think

        • Kingsly Alexander says:

          Very true. Just looked it up. 40 mil euro return and 5 mil to Arsenal for Fabregas and 25 to Barca.

          Stream every WC match through 3rd parties online
          #BoycottWorldCup #AntiCopa #StopWorldCup