Insider Notes: Klinsmann's fitness ask irks MLS clubs; Ronaldo to MLS in '18?
The story involving Jurgen Klinsmann, MLS and the fitness of his U.S. players isn’t dying down. I’ve learned that right before the first MLS matchday, Klinsmann asked multiple MLS teams if they could conduct a special fitness test of their national team players just for the U.S. coach.
The teams all refused, in part due to the timing and in part because, as one team official told me, the request was “absurd.” U.S. Soccer says one team did share some of its own fitness data with Klinsmann, and there has been some data sharing from U.S. Soccer as well.
But the U.S. coach is having a hard time striking a balance these days. On the one hand he feels like he needs to push everyone in his program.
On the other hand, I’m told morale is low right now and some players are starting to tune him out.
Here are a couple of other insider notes from around the world:
Ronaldo to MLS after Real Madrid?
File this one for down the road, but multiple sources tell me that Cristiano Ronaldo’s current plan is to come to MLS after he finishes at Real Madrid, with one source saying he would likely arrive on a free transfer in 2018 once his current contract ends.
Ronaldo would likely be coming off a World Cup and would be 33 years old, older than David Beckham (32) was when he came to MLS but younger than Frank Lampard (37) or Steven Gerrard (35) will be when they arrive this summer. Ronaldo’s main interest lies in cities you’d probably expect: Miami, Los Angeles and New York.
Monaco surprises itself in Champions League
Monaco’s Champions League win at Arsenal in the first leg of their round-of-16 matchup surprised even its own directors. I spoke this week to Vadim Vasilyev, the Monaco CEO, who said expectations had gone down after the club moved James Rodríguez and Radamel Falcao in part to cut down on the massive spending that had taken place over the previous two years to get the team from the French second division back into Champions League.
He said two factors that limited spending were Financial Fair Play rules and the $70 million tax settlement the club paid to Ligue 1 last year. But he argued the success of Monaco and PSG in Champions League shows there’s still quality in France. As for Falcao’s loan to Manchester United, he’s waiting for United to make an official decision on whether to buy Falcao outright, but if that doesn’t happen he has received interest from other clubs.