Monday Kickoff: Di Maria to undergo medical; Falcao dismisses exit rumors; and more

AngelDiMariaRealMadrid1-Levante2014 (Getty)

By RYAN TOLMICH

The Angel Di Maria transfer saga is entering the home stretch.

The Real Madrid winger is set to undergo a medical Monday ahead of a record-breaking $106 million move to Manchester United. The reported fee would set the record for a British transfer, surpassing the amount spent three years ago for Chelsea’s acquisition of striker Fernando Torres from Liverpool.

Real Madrid manager Carlos Ancelotti confirmed Di Maria’s departure Sunday by bidding farewell to the 26-year-old Argentine.

“Di Maria has not trained with us and he came in to say goodbye to the players and people at the club,” Ancelotti said. “The decision is his and the club has done what it could to keep him here but he thought differently and so good luck to him.”

Here are some more news and notes to kickoff your Monday morning:

FALCAO DISMISSES EXIT RUMORS

After spending the last few months linked to clubs from Spain to England and nearly everywhere else in between, Radamel Falcao insists he is content with his current situation.

The Monaco striker scored the only goal in Monaco’s 1-0 victory over Ligue 1 rivals Nantes Sunday in his first start since injuring his knee back in January. Following the victory, Falcao stated that he has no desire to leave Monaco, despite recent reports to the contrary.

“I’m happy here,” said the Colombian striker, “and I hope to stay.”

ENRIQUE PRAISES MESSI; STATES HE COULD BE WORLD’S BEST DEFENDER

Despite his slight 5-foot-7 build, Lionel Messi has proven time and time again that he is arguably the world’s best player.

Following a two-goal performance in Barcelona’s victory over Elche, manager Luis Enrique was full of praise for his forward, going so far as to joke that Messi would even emerge as a star if he plied his trade on the defensive end.

“I have always maintained, and it was in evident tonight, that Messi is the best in the world in every aspect,” Enrique said. “If he wanted to be a defender, he’d be the best in the world at that too.

“He’ll always be the best in the world as long as he wants to be. He’s waving his magic wand and will continue to do so for as long as he wants.”

ALGERIAN LEAGUE SUSPENDED FOLLOWING PLAYER DEATH

Following the death of 24-year-old Albert Ebosse, The Algerian Football Federation (FAF) has made a statement regarding fan-player interaction.

The JS Kabylie forward died Saturday after being struck in the head by a projectile thrown from the stands in his side’s 2-1 defeat to USM Alger in which Ebosse scored the only goal. In response, the FAF has decided to suspend league play for the upcoming weekend, as well as pay the remainder of the player’s salary to his family.

“All the matches of the championships of professional and amateur leagues scheduled across the country for the weekend of August 29 and 30 are suspended and postponed until a later date,” said the federation in a statement. “This is in homage to Albert Ebosse, who tragically died, and also to protest the irresponsible actions of some fanatics and hooligans that perpetuate violence in stadiums and has reached unacceptable proportions.

“FAF, the federal office and members of the general assembly will study soon other more coercive measures that may disqualify the offending club from all competitions. FAF, the LFP [Ligue de Football Professionnelle] and JSK decided to grant compensation in the amount of 10 million dinars ($100,000) to the family of the deceased.

“Furthermore, it was decided by mutual agreement with JS Kabylie, all deceased player salaries will be fully paid to his family until his contract expired with JSK.”

QUICK KICKS

Arsenal to hold talks with Juventus over the transfer of forward Lukas Podolski. (REPORT)

Avellino striker Gianmario Comi bites Bari player in Copa Italia matchup. (REPORT)

Andros Townsend set to remain at Tottenham despite not being named in the squad for Spurs’ 4-0 victory over QPR. (REPORT)

Despite transfer rumors, midfielder Sami Khedira is set to remain at Real Madrid. (REPORT)

Andros Townsend set to remain at Tottenham despite not being named in the squad for Spurs’ 4-0 victory over QPR. (REPORT)

Tottenham defender Michael Dawson set for move to Hull City. (REPORT)

How do you see Di Maria impacting Manchester United? Where do you see Falcao ending up? Did the FAF handle the death of Ebosse correctly?

Share your thoughts below.

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14 Responses to Monday Kickoff: Di Maria to undergo medical; Falcao dismisses exit rumors; and more

  1. yikes says:

    if I were Torres I’d head home to Atletico. They will challenge for a title and in the CL.

    it’s weird how when he was there he was talented but not world class, but every striker following him has achieved this. Aguero, Forlan, Falcao, Costa. All took the club to new heights

    • John says:

      He was like 23 when he left. Strikers don’t hit their prime until they are 27-29.

      • Tom says:

        Trying to find it somewhere, but a soccer stats blog recently charted the goal production by year of their career of the top 100 scorers in the PL history (don’t remember how far back it went).

        Long story short, strikers peak from 24 to 26, but the very best go so high that they’re still better than others in the age window you mention

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          To reconcile the positions, I think it matters when the clock started with them playing first team football. You look at an Owen and he runs out of gas mid 20s, but he started at 17. That’s 10 years in, roughly. Wayne Rooney similarly broke out young and arguably peaked year 10, has been going back down since.

          Compare that to someone who is drafted from college by MLS at 20-23. Aren’t they running on another clock? I could see where they might have a later peak.

          This is also my response to people holding out on Adu as a prospect. Leaving aside the age jibes, he’s been playing pro 11 years, since he was 14. If he hasn’t realized potential by now, he won’t.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        He’s 30 and his stats at the end of LFC and then CFC suggest he’s past it, as did his performance in Brazil, where he only scored on the Land of Oz.

  2. The Imperative Voice says:

    Re Falcao: Monaco has no income tax and I believe Colombia doesn’t tax income outside its borders (unlike the US). He just had a child, is trying to come back from injury, and may have little incentive to move around.

  3. Luke says:

    Not a fan of the Di Maria signing by Man United. Again, and this dates back to Fergie’s tenure, but this does not address the glaring weakness at CM and CB. When you have to trot out Fletcher, Carrick when healthy, Evans, Jones and Smalling, you’d better hope RVP and Rooney can dominate possession up front.

  4. David M says:

    There are reports that Salomon Kalu might be coming to Sunderland. Not good for Jozy.

  5. bryan says:

    dang, it was looking good for Podolski to MLS until Juve jumped in.

  6. NASL TO EL PASO TX says:

    I know people hate me for mentioning ronaldinho, but is this guy still alive or is he at Vegas or Ibiza :)
    Is he working out, trying to chop some pounds or is he working ion a master plan.

  7. FRANK says:

    MARIA IS REALLY GOOD

  8. Joamiq says:

    Andros Townsend set to remain at Tottenham despite not being named in the squad for Spurs’ 4-0 victory over QPR. (REPORT)

  9. SonicDeathMonkey says:

    Has anyone heard what is going on with the Townsend situation at Spurs? He wasn’t included in the squad this weekend.