When in Rome
It seems that Seria A club, AS Roma, has finally found a coach worthy of its cause. The Dan Friedkin-owned club has selected none other than Jose Mourinho to calm the waters at Stadio Olimpico. What with its myriad fires burning Roma feels that Jose seems like the calming presence required to douse the flames…with his pacifying sweetness.
Ronnie, Juve, and Andrea
With his super club floundering in Serie A and missing out on the UEFA Champions League a real possibility one way or another, Cristiano Ronaldo must be thinking about his future. Yes, that future may be a matter of only a few years, but that would be the point. CR7, born on February 5, 1985, is 36 and has expressed an interest to play until he is 40. Let’s say he manages that from here on in.
Over those four years he could play in two more World Cups, two Euros, and potentially compete for four domestic trophies, five domestic cups, four Champions Leagues, five super cups, four FIFA Club World Cups, and four Nations League cups—30 trophies. He could, arguably, compete in a couple of extra FIFA/Ballon d’Or trophies, maybe a European Golden Boot, and certainly the top scorer of all time in both the Champions League and Football-writ-large.
With that level of competition within reach at any top club he joins, would staying at Juve make sense next year? Does Andrea Agnelli have the funds to keep him? Ronnie was on a Ferrari factory tour when he might have been practicing lately—was that only to pick up his latest collection item or was Agnelli angling for a grip on his star? If Lionel Messi or Kilyan Mbappe move to another major club or somehow join forces, would that not be incentive enough for Ronnie to also pursue a bigger, better deal for himself? The coming summer transfer window might be one of the most interesting in the history of this club tradition.
Serie A has given Juventus another ultimatum. They have told the Turin side, and in particular, its owner, Agnelli, that the club faces expulsion from the Italian domestic league if they don’t rescind their allegiance to the Super League concept. FIFA, of course, has already threatened to expel the club from UEFA Champions League competition and its players from FIFA’s competitions overall. Ironically, this might be the year no one needed to threaten the Bianconeri with not playing in next year’s Champions League.
Over in Spain
Meanwhile, over in Spain, La Liga officials have been too busy with cookouts to pay any attention to what their own super clubs–Real Madrid and FC Barcelona–could possibly be up to.
Meanwhile, about that illegal barbeque at Messi’s house prior to the already played Barca-Atleti La Liga-defining match. It seems that both La Liga and the Catalonian Public Health Agency have “opened up investigations” into whether the diminutive Argentine superstar broke the Catalan rules on Covid-19 gatherings (capped at 6 people and with social distancing to boot) and if so what punishment he, his teammates, and their club, should suffer.
The multiple-dozen guests should probably hear the results of those lengthy and doubtless thorough investigations sometime after the end of the season in time for everyone’s punishment, if any, to be served concurrently with their summer beach-side tannings. While sharing the sunblock, though, when they run into their club’s real owners, they might want to exchange notes on how to express contrition in the face of a lack of punishment.
Ney and who at PSG?
In Paris, the good news is that Neymar has signed a contract extension with PSG to 2025. An interesting term choice since most superstars try to have their contract negotiations coincide with a year when a major international tournament performance might give them a bump in those negotiations. The next World Cup after next year’s is in 2026 and the Copa America following this year’s is in 2024. So what was behind the choice of years or was Ney given a choice?
The issue now is Kilyan Mbappe. Will he sign up for another few years of teaming up with Ney or will he try to move to Real Madrid after all. Well, given the potentially tenuous situation at Madrid, and the reality that no other club can really afford him, will Kilyan be smart enough to remain in Paris but demand the necessary reinforcements to allow the club to compete in the Champions League even if one of the two big boys is injured at a crucial time, again.
Infantino’s prosecutor removed
The Appeals Chamber of the Federal Criminal Court in Switzerland has decided to remove prosecutor Stefan Keller from the case involving FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s corruption charges. The case in question, dealing with Infantino’s alleged illegal relationship with the Swiss’ former attorney general, places the case in relative limbo but ensures the most dogged prosecution of Infantino will now cease. There was no love lost between the parties, prosecutor and defendant, but methinks now the case will most likely fall into the hands of someone more to the FIFA gent’s liking.