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Fire Management and Players Busy in Off-Season

By Todd McClamroch in News on Jan 25, 2007 4:03PM

01_25_06_zidane.jpgThe BBC is reporting that Fire GM John Guppy admitted to trying to sign retired Real Madrid star and 2006 World Cup Best Player, Zinedine Zidane out of retirement to play with the Chicago Fire in Major League Soccer.

According to Guppy, "We reached out to Zidane ... the feedback we've all gotten is that he's retired." The Fire has also unsuccessfully tried to sign Swedish striker Henrik Larsson but lost out to Manchester United.

Another rumored off-season acquisition has been Fulham forward, former MLS star, and Chicago native star Brian McBride. Though it looks likely that he will be remaining with Fulham for one more trip through the EPL.

Luis Arroyave of Red Card interviewed Guppy and reports that the Fire has three lists of targets for acquisition. The first is of Mexican players, a second of Polish players, and a third list of "others". Players rumored to be on the list are Ebi Smolarek, Maciej Zurawski and Pavel Nedved.

In other news for the Fire, midfielder Justin Mapp played a strong second half for the United States National Team on Saturday, assisting on the game winning goal in a 3-1 victory over Denmark. Mapp made a brilliant run from midfield, eluding several Denmark players before threading a needle between the final two defenders inside the box where he put a pass through to Jonathan Bornstein who finished the play to put the States up 2-1. A grainy video of the drive down the sideline can be viewed on YouTube.

Mapp is joined by three other Fire players in the United States National Team training camp in preparation for their match-up against rival Mexico on February 7. The Fire are represented by midfielder Justin Mapp, goalkeeper Matt Pickens, defender Dasan Robinson and forward Chris Rolfe. This type of preparation and experience will help these players prepare for the Fire season that begins on April 7.