Colombian forward Jackson Martinez was one of the first Europe-based players to make a lucrative move to China. The former Porto and Atletico Madrid player was snapped up by Guanzhou Evergrande for an amount of money that seemed like far too much at the time.
We haven’t heard from Dimitar Berbatov in a while, but that’s probably because he’s at the age where all of his footballing contemporaries have now retired. After last appearing for Greek club PAOK in 2016, the Bulgarian was out of football for a year before signing a one-year deal with Indian Super League side Kerala Blasters last August.
Javier Mascherano has quickly settled in with his new club in China, Hebai China Fortune. In fact, he already has a nickname: Pony Brother.
That, we must admit, is a far better nickname than the one given to fellow Argentinian and former Shanghai Shenua striker Carlos Tevez, a.k.a. Very Homesick Boy.
According to the latest reports, Chinese Super League side Hebei China Fortune and FC Barcelona have finally agreed to terms on the transfer of 33-year-old Argentinian defender Javier Mascherano, bringing a close to seven-and-a-half illustrious seasons at the Camp Nou.
Lukas Podolski, a World Cup winner with Germany and a former striker for Arsenal and Bayern Munich, has always been a fan favorite, wherever he goes. The man with a hammer for a left leg is finishing out his career in Japan with Vissel Kobe right now, but while back in Cologne rehabbing an injury he opened up a doner kebab shop over the weekend to plenty of fanfare.
The United Arab Emirates is coached by an Italian, Alberto Zaccheroni. And like any good Italian, he can employ catenaccio like a champ. UAE didn’t allow a single goal in the Arabian Gulf Cup. Unfortunately, his team couldn’t score, either, and Oman edged UAE in a shootout to win the Arabian Gulf Cup final on Friday in Kuwait City, Kuwait.
The UAE advanced through the knockout rounds with two 0-0 draws and a 1-0 win over Oman thanks to a penalty scored by Ali Mabkhout. In the semifinals, they beat Iraq in a shootout after another 0-0 draw.
Colombia’s friendly against South Korea on Nov. 10 did not endear the South Americans to the world. Midfielder Edwin Cardona made a racist gesture to South Korean players following an embarrassing flop by James Rodriguez. We wrote then that if FIFA had any sense, Cardona would be given a lengthy ban lasting through the World Cup.
It turns out spending millions of dollars on manager Andre Villas-Boas and immediate want-aways Carlos Tevez and Jackson Martinez amounts to little more than burning money for the Chinese Super League. According to a recent audit by accounting firm PwC and as reported by Goal, the CSL’s clubs are currently in a combined debt of over $600 million.
The World Cup draw was completed this morning at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow with the 32 finalist nations placed into eight groups of four. The 2018 FIFA World Cup will kick off on June 14 at Luzhniki Stadium with a match featuring host-side Russia and Saudi Arabia. We now know the makeup of the entire field for the competition as well as the group stage matches that'll captivate the planet next summer. Here are the full results from the 2018 FIFA World Cup draw.