Ronaldinho rumor mill switches into high gear

i-38f692333d90f13dbee526fc06a8b253-ronaldinho.jpgAgain.

But this time such was the intensity that AC Milan today was moved to issue a statement:

“A.C. Milan reconfirm that both players Ronaldinho and Thiago Silva are not for sale.”

That’s it.

Still, so far the player and his representatives seem to be milking the speculation – or at least not forcefully quelling it – that variously have Ronaldinho:

*Staying at AC Milan.

*Ronaldinho edging closer to signing a four-year contract with the Galaxy.

*Heading back to Brazil.

*Being replaced by Robinho at AC Milan.

*Moving to the Galaxy for $8 million.

*The trade of Alan Gordon to Chivas USA keeps the Galaxy’s options open and and fans Ronaldinho rumors here too.

*But of course, you are aware that West Ham United have been “offered” Ronaldino and are interested while also eying David Beckham.

Meanwhile, AC Milan readies for its friendly in Detroit tonight as Ronaldinho works out back in Italy.

As do the Galaxy for Saturday’s game against Real Madrid at the Rose Bowl.

Great stuff, huh?

With a hyper-ventilating Italian soccer press and media reports feeding on media reports (ahem), expect lots more of this.

Updated

I’m told Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena was asked about the Ronaldinho rumors (again) after training today, as well as Gordon’s trade and said pretty much the same things the club has said all along.

The Gordon trade gives the club more breathing room under the cap should any move be made and will also give the player a better opportunity for more playing time.

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Vendredi football: d’attente pour le week-end

Bonjour and welcome to Friday football: waiting for the weekend (French edition).

If you haven’t heard, the beautiful, cosmopolitan (and relatively inexpensive) French-Canadian city of Montreal was awarded the 19th MLS franchise this morning. The team starts play in 2012.

Now, if we can just combine a Galaxy or Chivas USA road trip with the Formula 1 race held there in June.

Updated

A couple of other points about the announcement from the Associated Press:

*Impact chairman Joey Saputo hopes the team will be able to keep its name, logo and blue color in MLS.

*MLS Commissioner Don Garber hopes to add a second New York club as early as 2013. (David Beckham, here’s your chance to own an MLS club).

*Also, here’s Garber on the importance of the Montreal market to MLS:

“It opens up a whole new market in French-speaking Canada, which is important as we position ourselves as a global sports league. There is a whole secondary market here in Canada, particularly in Quebec, represented by the French-speaking population. That gives us business and corporate opportunities. It gives us media opportunities, because there’s French language radio and television both here and nationally.”

Closer to home this weekend, Chivas USA faces Houston Saturday at Home Depot Center (7:30 p.m. KDOC), while the Galaxy concludes their road trip in Seattle (1 p.m. FSN) in front of that boisterous Sounders crowd that alone make the game worth watching (those who you who saw the midweek games in Colorado and/or Boston know exactly what I mean).

Also, defending PDL national champion Ventura County Fusion plays its home opener at 7 p.m. Saturday against the Ogden Outlaws at Buena High School, 5670 Telegraph Rd., Ventura. The Fusion lost seven players from its title-winning team who moved up to a higher caliber of soccer, but still beat the Lancaster Rattlers 5-0 last weekend.

For the rest of the PDL schedule, click here.

Chivas USA faces a problematic time drawing much of a crowd from its Mexican-American fan base: CD Guadalajara kicks off at 5:55 p.m. against Monarcas in the quarterfinals of the Mexican league playoffs live on KVEA.

As for other TV soccer watching this weekend, there’s plenty of meaningful games to take in as the European season comes down to the wire.

Chelsea, for example, can wrap up the EPL title against Wigan Athletic at 8 a.m. Sunday with a win (or perhaps less depending on Manchester United’s result against Stoke) on Fox Soccer Channel.

In Italy, Inter Milan leads Serie A by two points with two games to play; they take on Chievo live at 6 a.m. Sunday on FSC.

As always, click to the top right for an exhaustive run-down of all the televised games.

Enjoy your Mother’s Day weekend and join me back here Saturday night for live updates on the Chivas USA game.

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Waiting for the weekend: Soccer on TV & more

The English Premier League is coming down to the closing stages with a thrilling title battle under way, the playoffs are starting in Mexico and this weekend the PDL cranks up with a trio of games in Southern California.

Oh, and the Galaxy play the expansion Philadelphia Union Saturday at Home Depot Center.

As always, click the link at top right for an overwhelming look at all the televised games.

And, as always, I’ve sifted through the chaff and recommend the following games:

Saturday

7 a.m. Fox Soccer Channel Manchester City-Aston Villa
1 p.m. Telefutura D.C. United-Red Bull New York
1 p.m. GolTV Villarreal-Barcelona
3 p.m. KMEX Pachuca-Monterrey
5 p.m. KAZA Monarcas-CD Guadalajara
5:30 p.m. KDOC Chicago Fire-Chivas USA
7:30 p.m. FSN Galaxy-Philadelphia Union

Sunday

8 a.m. FSC Sunderland-Manchester United
10 a.m. ESPN2 Real Madrid-Osasuna
11:30 a.m. FSC Lazio-Inter Milan
7 p.m. KMEX Club America-Toluca

I plan to blog from the Galaxy game Saturday night, so if you can’t be there in person join me back here then.

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Galaxy statement on Beckham’s injury

Galaxy GM and Coach Bruce Arena released this statement Monday morning regarding the career-threatening Achilles tendon injury David Beckham suffered Sunday in AC Milan’s 1-0 win over Chievo Verona:

“Injuries are an unfortunate part of our game and they are even more disappointing when they happen to a player who was so close to realizing his dream of representing his nation at this summer’s World Cup. We will give David our complete support to make sure that he is able to get himself back to full health before he returns to the field. David remains an important player for the Galaxy and we look forward to welcoming him back to the club and assisting him in his recovery.”

Beckham went under the knife today in Finland.

And here’s confirmation Beckham will miss the World Cup.

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Weekend Rewind: Beckham’s Career Over? (& More)

i-482fb522da9dc9550f3ac67ad236952d-becksinjury.jpgDavid Beckham is stretchered off in tears Sunday, his World Cup dream over (AP Photo).

Full story here.

Updated Monday

More here.

Also:

* Galaxy 0 Chivas USA 0

Galaxy lineup: Josh Saunders; Todd Dunivant, Leonardo, Yohance Marshall, A.J. DeLaGarza, Chris Birchall, Eddie Lewis, Michael Stephens, Chris Klein, Mike Magee, Bryan Jordan

Chivas USA lineup – Dan Kennedy, Mariano Trujillo (Gerson Mayn 76), Michael Umaa, Jonathan Bornstein, Ante Jazic (Jess Padilla 55), Michael Lahoud, Blair Gavin, Marcelo Saragosa, Sacha Kljestan, Maykel Galindo (Justin Braun 54), Osael Romero (Emilio Viades 46)

*Landon Donovan’s “life experience.”

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Weekend Rewind: Becks, Donovan, Edu & More

Away from the laptop much of the weekend (happy birthday, mum) so if (like me) the last soccer action you noticed was Manchester City’s Wayne Bridge artfully missing shaking the hand of Chelsea’s John Terry before the two teams met Saturday, here’s what else happened this weekend:

*UCLA’s Lauren Cheney scored two goals today as the U.S. beat Sweden 2-0 to reach its eighth consecutive Algarve Cup final. The U.S. plays the winner of the Germany-China encounter in the final.

*David Beckham played 90 minutes Sunday for the first time since AC Milan’s UEFA Champions League loss to Manchester United as Milan beat Atalanta 3-1 to stay second in Serie A.

*Flu-stricken Landon Donovan came on as a 63rd minute sub Sunday but couldn’t prevent Everton losing 2-1 to Tottenham Hotpsur. He missed a sitter with 13 minutes to go, failing to convert Jack Rodwell’s cross from close range that would have been his second goal in 11 appearances for the club.

“This is just a really disappointing moment for me personally,” Donovan told the Liverpool Echo. “I’ve put a lot into my time here and another goal would have been a nice reward.

“I got myself in a good position at the back post and was hoping Jack was going to put the ball across goal,” he added. “He did that and it came perfectly for me.

“It’s hard to understand what went wrong. I felt like everything was right but then I looked up to see the ball had hit the side netting.

“It’s so frustrating because if we had scored then it’s possible we might have gone on to win the game.

“It’s tough but we’ve got to put this behind us now and move on. There are still a lot of points to play for.”

*Fontana’s Maurice Edu became an instant Ibrox hero Sunday when his lone stoppage time goal decided the Old Firm clash as Rangers beat 10-man Celtic, 1-0.

*The Galaxy beat the Kansas City Wizards 1-0 Friday evening on a Gregg Berhalter penalty kick in Arizona, but heavy rain canceled a Sunday rematch and the Galaxy headed home today.

Lineup: Josh Saunders (Kevin Guppy 45′); Alex Cazumba, Gregg Berhalter, Yohance Marshall, Sean Franklin; Chris Birchall, Bryan Jordan, Michael Stephens, Chris Klein; Jovan Kirovski, Edson Buddle (Mike Magee 31′)

*Lastly, Chivas USA introduces El Salvadoran midfielder Osael Romero today. More on that in Tuesday’s column.

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Weekend TV Football Viewing Options

Any self-respecting Galaxy fan should crawl out of bed at 4:30 a.m. Saturday (or set up the DVR) to see what may be one of the most absorbing EPL games of the year so far from an American perspective – Landon Donovan (and Tim Howard) and Everton against the mighty Manchester United, Wayne Rooney and all. Best of all, it’s on in HD on ESPN2.

Need more reasons to get psyched? Here’s a selection of stories previewing the game (or focusing on Donovan) including:

*Sports Ilustrated’s Grant Wahl on the potential implications for the Galaxy on Donovan’s form (which I not coincidentally agree with completely) you can read here.

*The Daily Express on American soccer’s (and Donovan’s) search for respect.

*The game basics, including likely starting lineups, from the Guardian here.

*The Daily Telegraph’s take on the game.

Other games I’ll be keeping an eye on this weekend include:

*7 a.m. Saturday Fox Soccer Channel Wolves-Chelsea

*7 a.m. Sunday FSC Manchester City-Liverpool

*11:30 a.m. Sunday FSC Bari-AC Milan

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Beckham’s Carson Academy Closes

i-b7a3efc616630d4df27c8705a8f1e490-academy0001.jpgVery, very quietly in a rare failure for Golden Balls.

Regular readers first heard about the shuttering of the academy at Home Depot Center mentioned here a couple of days ago.

Curious that AEG made no public announcement of it in conjunction with the closure of the London academy back in December. But not surprising given the damage control/spinning AEG and 19 Entertainment representatives spent much of Friday engaged in as they tried to convince me this was not a story. When a Beckham rep calls you from home at about 12:30 a.m. Saturday London time, you know how sensitive his management team is to ANY suggestion of bad news.

(Updated: The Galaxy youth teams – the club’s academy teams, if you will – are now using the Beckham academy’s former FieldTurf pitch, as well as one of its trailers.)

BTW, unlike last January (when Becks scored and AC Milan beat Bologna 4-1), the two teams tied 0-0 today. Beckham came on as a 79th minute sub for AC Milan, who are now 10 points behind table-topping rivals Inter.

AC Milan haven’t won in their last four games.

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Beckham “Forgettable” as Inter Win Milan Derby

At least, that was the verdict of the BBC as nine-man Inter Milan went nine points clear atop Serie A today over rivals AC Milan.

i-a886daa13cb9be9b7cc11e49315ed9f2-forgettablebeckham.jpgInter Milan Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar, left, saves from on-loan Galaxy midfielder David Beckham in today’s Milan derby as Inter Milan defender Davide Santon looks on (AP Photo).

It was the first time David Beckham had tasted defeat with AC Milan while on loan there this season.

Full disclosure: I did not see the game because I’m stuck here at work on a Sunday and we don’t get Fox Soccer Channel at the office.

Read the game story here.

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