By FRANCO PANIZO
Remember that ordeal last summer in which AZ Alkmaar refused to release Jozy Altidore to the U.S. Men’s National Team until they absolutely had to, forcing him to miss a vital chunk of the team’s preparatory camp?
Well, it’s going to happen again in a few weeks’ time.
Altidore told the Soccer Today podcast on Tuesday that AZ has told him that he will not be released for the upcoming U.S. camp until the FIFA mandated date of June 3. That means the in-form striker will miss two friendlies against Belgium and Germany on May 29 and June 2, respectively, and a significant portion of Jurgen Klinsmann’s planned camp ahead of a trio of World Cup qualifiers.
“Hopefully I get called in but I won’t be participating in any of the games up until I would get released three to four days before the (World Cup qualifier) against Jamaica away (on June 7),” said Altidore. ” That would be the earliest AZ would release me.”
Altidore, who is expected to be sold by AZ during the upcoming transfer window, experienced a similar situation last summer when the Eredivisie club refused to release him until they absolutely had to. As a result, Altidore joined the U.S. camp late and he struggled to break into the starting lineup for World Cup qualifiers as he had lost some of his fitness and form.
AZ’s season ends on May 12. The U.S. team is expected to begin their training camp not too long after.
Here are more Americans Abroad notes:
GUZAN NAMED ASTON VILLA’S PLAYER OF THE YEAR BY BOTH FANS AND TEAMMATES
Brad Guzan has been downright heroic for much of his first season as Aston Villa’s starting goalkeeper and he earned some well-deserved recognition for that on Tuesday. Guzan won both the player- and fan-voted Player of the Year prizes at the Villans’ end-of-season awards dinner thanks to his big season in between the pipes.
Guzan, who up to this point in the Premiership campaign has five cleansheets and 109 saves, joins Clint Dempsey (Fulham in 2010-11 and 2011-12) and Stuart Holden (Bolton Wanders in 2010-11) as Americans who recently won the top individual honor for their Premier League clubs.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE HOPES VANISH FOR BRADLEY, ROMA WITH LOSS TO CHIEVO
Michael Bradley and AS Roma’s dreams of playing in next season’s UEFA Champions League came to an abrupt halt on Tuesday, as they suffered a 1-0 loss to Chievo Verona. Roma’s chances of playing in the competition next season were always slim, but they officially came to an end when Chievo scored at the death of their Serie A clash at the Stadio Olimpico. Bradley did not start against his former club, but he did come off the bench to play the final 13 minutes.
Bradley and Roma will now set their sights on trying to lock up a spot in next season’s Europa League, which they can do by either finishing, at worst, in fifth place in the Serie A standings or by winning the Coppa Italia final against rivals Lazio on May 26.
What do you think of these developments? Frustrated with AZ’s handling of Altidore? Impressed with Guzan’s award haul? Think Roma can reach the Champions League next year?
Share your thoughts below.