Insider: Real Madrid would sell James; Altidore injury breakthrough?
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — As the Copa América Centenario kicks off its second day, here are some insider nuggets from Planet Fútbol:
Colombian star James Rodríguez, who scored on a penalty kick in Friday's 2-0 win over the United States, had a tough year at Real Madrid, where he fell out of favor and didn’t even play in the Champions League final. Now the 24-year-old Golden Boot winner from World Cup 2014 may be on the move. A Real Madrid source says the club is willing to sell James, but only for a transfer fee that would be in excess of $70 million.
The Real Madrid source added that there’s interest in James from PSG and multiple teams in the English Premier League.
James exited Friday's match with a shoulder injury, and while he could miss Colombia's second match, against Paraguay, he is expected to remain with the squad.
Here are a couple of more notes, regarding Jozy Altidore, Sunil Gulati and Gianni Infantino:
Hamstring breakthrough for Altidore?
U.S. forward Jozy Altidore is out for the Copa América with a hamstring injury, but he may have had a breakthrough in solving the chronic problem. Altidore says he got a second opinion in L.A. from U.S. team doctor Bert Mandelbaum this week, and he thinks they've finally found what's causing his issues, which have either limited him or kept him out of multiple major tournaments for the U.S. over the last five years.
Even though he's not playing in Copa America, he’s doing something very cool for Haiti, which opens today against Peru. Altidore, who’s Haitian-American, is funding public watch parties in Haiti through his foundation for all Haiti and U.S. games, as well as the semis and final of the Copa América. Altidore told me he’s had the idea for a while to give ordinary Haitians the chance to see their team and went ahead with it when Haiti qualified for the Copa.
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Gulati's role in Infantino/Scala conflict
U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati is on the FIFA Council, and it emerged this week that Gulati had met last month with then-FIFA audit and compliance chief Domenico Scala to try and resolve a dispute between Scala and FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
The big question: Was Gulati trying to convince the independent Scala to resign at the behest of Infantino, who was unhappy about Scala’s salary offer to the new FIFA president? Gulati refused to comment, but a source with knowledge of the situation said it made sense for Gulati to try and mediate the dispute since he’s one of the few people who has close relationships with both Scala and Infantino.
Scala did end up resigning after Infantino pushed through a measure that removed the independence of Scala and other FIFA oversight committees.
The new measure and Scala’s resignation were not a good look for the new FIFA president. Infantino was on hand at the U.S.-Colombia game, shaking players hands in the pregame ceremonies. He, too, was unavailable for comment.