California Dolphin: statewide California news

Man United without Wayne Rooney: ‘We have to move on’

SANTA CLARA — Wayne Rooney no longer plays for Manchester United.
Four-time player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t join Real Madrid’s summer U.S. tour.
Two of soccer’s mega stars won’t grace the field Sunday at Levi’s Stadium when European powerhouses Man United and Madrid meet in the International Champions Cup exhibition that is scheduled to kickoff at 2 p.m.

Their absences, however, won’t diminish the interest in a preseason tournament featuring eight of the world’s biggest clubs. Also participating across the country this year are AS Roma, Barcelona FC, Juventus, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham.
The game Sunday remains an intriguing matchup even without Rooney and Ronaldo. Man United coach Jose Mourinho is facing his former team, which is now managed by one-time French star  Zinedine Zidane.
The coaches must integrate new acquisitions and test promising academy players ahead of another ambitious season that heats up Aug. 8 when Manchester and Madrid meet in the Super Cup in Macedonia.
The International Champions Cup is one of the many championships created for the hungry global soccer market. The game features the Champions League winner (Real Madrid) against the Europa League winner (Manchester United).
After that, both teams open their respective seasons the weekend of Aug. 11-13.  Madrid also has a two-game Spanish Super Cup series next month against rival Barcelona.
And qualifying for the 2018 World Cup continues Aug. 31-Sept. 5 for the international players on both star-studded rosters.
That’s a lot of intense soccer early in the season.
Man United, which finished sixth in the English Premier League last season, is trying to recalibrate from the loss of Rooney. The Red Devils also don’t have injured star Zlatan Ibrahimovic — at least for now.
But central midfielder Ander Herrera doesn’t have time to reflect on the losses of the team’s big names.
“Wayne Rooney has done everything for the club,” Herrera said. “He will be remembered forever. Now we don’t have him. We will miss him. We have to move on.”
Manchester United can only look ahead with a demanding preseason schedule that includes facing Barcelona on Wednesday before traveling to Oslo and Dublin.
The Red Devils signed Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku from Everton, the Liverpool team that brought Rooney home after 13 years at Old Trafford. Mourinho said this week he is open to re-signing Ibrahimovic, who suffered a season-ending ACL knee injury in April.
Herrera, 27, looks forward to teaming with Lukaku.
Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t with Los Blancos in the U.S. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) 
“We don’t have Wayne but we now have a fantastic player,”  the Red Devils’ player of the year said. “When I came three years ago, Wayne helped me a lot. I will be thankful forever. But now we have to look forward.”
Same goes for Real Madrid, which won its first domestic crown in five years last season. Los Blancos also won La Liga and the Champions League titles in the same season for the first time since 1958.
They’re the first team to win consecutive Champions League titles and have won the prestigious tournament three of the past four years.
As pressure mounts for more trophies, Madrid has an exhausting road ahead with exhibitions against Manchester City and Barcelona as well as the MLS All-Star game Aug. 2 in Chicago. Zidane brought eight young players to the United States so stars such as Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos don’t wear out before the real season hits.
The coach’s strategy makes sense because summer tours primarily are marketing ventures, according to Michael Goldman, a professor in USF’s Sports Management program.  
“There’s a slight tension between commercial interests of the clubs in selling shirts, selling sponsorship and the preseason athletic preparation responsibilities,” he said.
Organizer Relevant Sports is in its fifth year of holding the summer series in the United States. It also holds similar exhibition tournaments in China and Singapore, allowing the big European clubs to expand their global reach. A side effect, however, is perhaps undermining Major League Soccer’s growth.
“It’s tough to compete if you’re the Earthquakes when you have such a different quality game — at least that is the perception — and it is a remote control away,” Goldman said.

Top News

Ain't No God; don't even think about theism

UnFox News: not a propaganda arm of the Republican party