Friday Kickoff: Fabregas nearing move to Chelsea; Brazil won’t be ready; and more

Cesc Fabregas of Barcelona

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It looks like Cesc Fabregas is headed back to London after all, but this time he won’t be wearing the color red.

The Spain international has reportedly agreed to join Chelsea this summer for a transfer fee of €33 million and will earn €10 million per season, three million more than he earned at Barcelona according to Spanish newspaper Marca. Fabregas’ family still owns property in London dating back to his Arsenal days, which gives more credit to the reports of his imminent arrival in England.

Fabregas’ move stems from the player’s perceived lack of support from both management and club supporters. The midfielder has struggled to make it into the first team and a lack of supporter backing have driven Fabregas to desire a change in scenery

Barcelona is already lining up Fabregas’ replacement in the form of Sevilla midfielder Ivan Rakitic. The Croatian international is reportedly close to signing a five-year deal with the Catalan club with a transfer fee expected to be around €20 million.

Here are some more items to kick off your weekend:


Despite unfinished stadiums, transportation strikes and a slew of other delays, FIFA representatives are as confident as ever.

Soccer’s governing body stated Friday that they are confident that next week’s World Cup will go off without a hitch, despite all of the issues that have surrounded the upcoming tournament.

“The general feeling is that we have done … all we need in order to ensure that the World Cup will start on the 12th of June,” said secretary general Jerome Valcke after a meeting with the local World Cup organizing committee.

Vlacke went on to say that stadium issues are not unexpected while downplaying the idea of stadium issues.

“It’s true that if you go to Itaquera it looks like around the stadium there’s quite a lot of work still going on,” Valcke said. “But I would say it’s quite normal, and it’s even more normal when some of the stadiums were late.”

“We are in control,” continued Valcke. “We are not afraid of the next days.”


Despite already claiming several world-class players, France winger Franck Ribery is determined not to be the latest World Cup-bound star to be claimed by the injury bug.

The Bayern Munich star has been fighting back problems during his time with the national team, which has forced the winger to be placed on an individual program in preparation for Brazil. Ribery rejoined his French teammates Friday and, according to Guy Stephan, should be ready to go for the upcoming tournament.

“His progress is going quite well,” Stephan said. “He’s doing a lot better but he still hasn’t trained with the team. All the most specific and specialized care possible has been taken and is still being taken. He is training with the team on Friday. If everything goes well, he will be there.

“We will get an idea of what he is capable of doing on the field and with the ball, whether he can keep going on Saturday, Sunday etc, etc. It is an important step.”


There are few jobs that turnover as quickly as that of an international manager, and few understand that as Germany manager Joachim Loew.

With Germany considered one of the favorites in Brazil, Loew understands that anything less than a group stage exit would be an absolute disaster for a team as talented as his.

“I have a contract, but I also know that a Bundestrainer [German national coach] will always be judged by the team’s performance in a tournament,” he said. “Should we be eliminated at the group stage, it would be necessary that changes are made.

“But I am not concerned with ‘what if?’ scenarios. What happens to me is not of any importance. The players are not interested in it, and nor am I. We are all focused. What happens after the World Cup, we shall see.”

Löw recently signed a two-year contract extension with the German Football Federation to take the team through Euro 2016.


Former Manchester United manager David Moyes has turned down two offers since being sacked by Man United and wants to move to a club, in Britain or abroad, that’s in the UEFA Champions League. (REPORT)

FC Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala says he’s prefer a move to Manchester United or Chelsea over Manchester City. (REPORT)

Ghana National Team goalkeeper Adam Kwarasay is back in training after suffering a thigh injury. (REPORT)

AS Roma have completed the signing of former Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita on a one-year contract. (REPORT)

Celtic have confirmed the signing of Norwegian Ronny Delia as the club’s next manager. (REPORT)

What do you think of the Fabregas/Rakitic deals? How do you feel about Brazil not being ready in time? Do you expect Ribery to make an impact for France? How far can Loew take Germany?

Share your thoughts below.

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37 Responses to Friday Kickoff: Fabregas nearing move to Chelsea; Brazil won’t be ready; and more

  1. Reboot says:

    To flip Fabregas for Rakitic and end up 13 mil Euro richer is brilliant for Barca, not to mention he won’t be making the 7 million Cesc was earning. Ivan Rakitic is vastly underrated.. interesting to see that two of the top attacking midfielders in the world are Croatian (Modric) perhaps the Croats will have a run in Brazil, but their group is not an easy one.

    • Josh D says:

      I’ve said all along that Croatia are very capable of getting a result against Brazil. And that if they do, Brazil will implode. Not only are Brazil facing the usual extreme expectations they always face at the World Cup, but now they’re now facing political and social pressures.

      • Clyde Frog says:

        I definitely think they’ll get through the group, but they could be in for a rude surprise in the round of 16.

      • Baptista says:

        Dude, I can tell you do not like Brazil. In fact, I can tell you hate them. Croatia is going down 2-0 or 2-1, so stop spewing the nonsense that Brazil will implode. Brazil may get knocked out like anybody else in elimination games, but implode, where the heck did you pull that one from?

  2. froboy says:

    São Paulo metro on strike for a second day, Rio has crazy protests. If the Metro strike somehow doesn’t end, SP will turn to utter chaos next week. Today it’s raining, no metro and there is a Brasil friendly, 151 miles of traffic representing heavy traffic on 28% of all roads in the city. Good times. I randomly managed tickets to the opener on Tuesday night, stoked for that game.

    • bakunin says:

      Indeed, I have learned from friends in Brasil that their are massive daily protests, demonstrations and strikes. Moreover, many Brasilians are not welcoming the WC. As they realize they will be paying for this big corporate party, while the usual money junkies reap any profits. However, Ives (like many other ostriches on this site) does not believe this is a “soccer” story. Will it be a soccer story if any of the games are cancelled?

      • shockedandawed says:

        I bet these types of stories will be reported more next week. It is inevitable.

      • froboy says:

        I live in São Paulo, a lot of people are angry with the government. World Cup is just the straw that broke the camels back. That being said a lot of the stuff happening in Rio/SP right now are unions (in my mind shameless) who are going on strike/protesting knowing that the government will want to resolve things quickly to avoid embarassment for the cup.

        • bakunin says:

          Thanks for the information Froboy. However, you cannot blame the unions from exploiting the situation. The bankers and corporate elites have been using “disaster capitalism” to further their gains for quite sometime.

          • froboy says:

            Don’t want to be political, but these unions go on strike every year asking for 16% increases, shut things down and settle for 8%, seriously why the need for strikes. My point however was not that as much as to say that many of the protests currently aren’t really related to the world cup.

            • bakunin says:

              Everything is political.
              The banksters made off with 1 Trillion from the US tax payers in the midst of the Economic collapse. The unions are getting peanuts. They need to strike because the elites will never concede of their own will. Every single right that working people have won, has been the result of organization, strikes and even violence. Otherwise, we would still be feudal serfs (and our quickly on our way back to such oppression currently).

              • froboy says:

                We’re talking government workers, not banks, but my point is that they are unrelated to Cup. No need for a political conversation on this site.

          • Michael says:

            + several billion

            • bakunin says:

              yes – nothing to see here, keep moving. Just keep chewing your fodder of sports, celeb gossip and consumerism. So, when and where do Americans discuss social issues? Oh, I forgot – on Fox News.

          • Travis in Miami says:

            amen brother

      • Increase says:

        Dude, its not that. But the issues surrounding these protests are mostly monetary and can be fixed by bothering to vote in honest legislators.(Not that this is easy.) Brazilians can in-fact choose their government.

        There is also no depth to the protests in that there is nothing we as Americans can do. Should I donate money to Romário? I know little to nothing about the politics of the issue. It’s not worth the emotional investment to me. No one is dying. They just have terrible traffic.

        The issue of corruption and crappy government is not a soccer issue in Brazil. It’s an issue that has touched soccer.

        Ives a soccer guy. I don’t know that he has experience in the Geo-political-Economic realm and he might not have to budget or time to research it enough to write a good article about it. Once the WC starts, I bet we see a limited blog post about it here and we call all talk about it.

        For now, Read the Economist. They do lovely work.

        link to

  3. reignman says:

    As an Arsenal fan this news is crushing to me. The only way I will now find this summer acceptable is if Wenger buys at multiple positions we need reinforcements at. To all the fans who are saying we don’t need Fab you are out of your mind, you can never have quality depth, also Cazorla will be 30 this year.

    • Raymon says:

      We’re on the same side. But I cant wait for Ramsey to school Cesc and make him realize he was wrong to leave The Kings of London.

    • InkedAG says:

      Cesc is soft and didn’t win anything for Arsenal. At Barcelona he won trophies, but really, being a sub and winning a trophy is not the same as being a starter and earning that silverware.

    • Jim says:

      I agree that Arsenal need a massive infusion of talent at multiple positions. And it crushes me that they chose not to bring Cesc back when they had the chance. He’s one of my favorites.

      That being said, the buy back clause was for £30 million. And as much as I love Cesc, that’s too much. Chelsea paid because they overpay for everyone, and he’d never see that kind of salary at Arsenal either.

      In the end, Arsenal have to decide if they want to truly challenge for titles. FFP has now proven to be a joke, so the only option is to spend. Somewhere in the nature of £70-80 million will be enough this year, but devoting 40% of that to bring Cesc back doesn’t make sense.

  4. A.S. says:

    Where is Fabregas going to play??? Up front or #10? As a Chelsea fan, I’d rather have Oscar in the #10 role. Or will he lie back more in Lampard’s role this season? Is Chelsea looking to get rid of one of their other attacking mids (Willain, Hazard, Schurrle). I’m confused.

  5. M says:

    Sounds like Cesc prefers to be the big fish in a small(er) pond as he was at Arsenal…not sure if he’ll get the Arsenal-like adulation he’s looking for at Chelsea…

  6. Brian S. says:

    It appears Ribery has been ruled out of the World Cup. That is a huge blow to France.

  7. Josh D says:

    Bundestrainer is such a cool title. It means “People’s Coach” if my high school German remains in tact.

    • Raymon says:

      Agree it’s a cool title, but isnt “volks” more appropriate for “people’s” as in “volkswagen”?

      Based solely on “Bundesliga” I am guessing “bundes” means “national” so “national coach”

      My favorite German word is schadenfreude, which is what I hope to feel when Portugal dont advance out of Group G and we do.

      • Brain Guy says:

        That would be more appropriate to describe, say, your feelings if Mexico fail to advance from their group — not happiness because of your good fortune, but happiness about someone else’s misfortune.

        • Raymon says:

          Correct Brain. But if Porto dont advance and we do, it must be because of tendinitis or some injury or Ghanian witch doctor spell on C.Ronaldo, which is really unfortunate/painful, as I would never wish pain on anyone. So I should have written about “the schadenfreude when an injured C.Ronaldo watches from the sidelines as his team get eliminated from advancing”.

    • Strider says:

      Bund actually means federation. The official name of Germany is the Deustche Bundes Republik or BDR [The federation of republics (state equivalents)].

  8. InkedAG says:

    Well, that’s fitting. I think Cesc is an overrated jerk and now he’s going to a team that is the epitome of jerk. May they win nothing together.

  9. White Kix says:

    “Former Manchester United manager David Moyes has turned down two offers since being sacked by Man United and wants to move to a club, in Britain or abroad, that’s in the UEFA Champions League.”

    Considering he can’t lead a team to the Champions League, this is ridicoulos. If you can’t coach Man U to the Champions League, you don’t deserve to be there.

    • Raymon says:

      Between Moyes and Martinez, Martinez is more deserving of a UCL team, as he almost coached Everton in. I agree with you. When rooting against United, I just wish Moyes werent such a genuinely nice guy.

    • Ryan says:

      I was thinking if he wanted a champions league club so bad he should have qualified with man u.

      • Grubbsbl says:

        Moyes did indeed qualify a team for the Champions League. Everton finished 4th in the 2004-2005 season under Moyes. They failed to make the group stage however, losing to Villereal (eventual semi-finalists that season).

        I agree with your point though. I was an original fan of the hire by United and supporter of his regime up until the final few weeks Moyes was in charge. I pointed to the difficult institutional situation and his seemingly decent performance behind the scene at the club. I do think he was properly fired for the atrocious football he put on the field. And that will give any CL caliber team caution in handing Moyes the reigns in the future.

  10. James H says:

    I don’t want anyone in Brazil to get hurt, but in some ways I want things to go poorly enough that it forces a change of FIFA leadership. I don’t know if there exists anyone else who can fundamentally reform FIFA (or if that is even possible), but I’m fairly certain nothing will change under Blatter. It is a shame to wish for something that should be a beautiful thing, in a great country like Brazil, to go wrong. But it sounds like there are a significant number of Brazilians themselves who are not on board with this WC either. It is all rather surreal…

  11. Michael says:

    Would Fabregas have made a difference at Man Utd last year?

  12. Baptista says:

    Loew made a couple of blundering decisions when picking his team. Most notable of all is to include Khedira, who right now resembles a blubber of flesh while on the field. Wasted spot, imo.

    • Increase says:

      I’m watching this game too. I know you hate Jurgen but holy crap Loew can’t seem to get the German team motivated at all… If they keep playing like this, the USA is gunna go through.

      Oh crap, Reus is injured… I rather like that guy.