Fire Notebook: Pappa has one eye on European move

Marco Pappa

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BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Chicago Fire midfielder Marco Pappa has some lofty goals, and if he wants to fulfill them, he knows he has to have a big year in 2012.

The Guatemalan international said he loves Chicago, but his career aspirations involve going overseas. In the last year of his contract, that time may be approaching.

“I really want to step forward in my career and try to go to Europe,” Pappa told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday. “I don’t say that I don’t like it here, I love it. I love Chicago. The city has given me a lot as a soccer player and personally. This is the city that I love, but I need to think of my future. A soccer career is so short, so you need to do your best always.”

The 24-year-old is having one of the more consistent years of his career, scoring three goals and tallying three assists in 13 games. Last week, he scored the tying goal in Guatemala’s 1-1 draw with the United States in World Cup qualifying.

“I always have had a commitment with the [Fire],” Pappa said. “I need to push myself to improve, to be better, to try to do my best for me and my team. I need to be in good shape to see what’s going on in my future. It’s the last year in my contract, and I’m not sure what I’m going to do.”

Friedrich not ready yet

Center back Arne Friedrich is practicing with the team this week after sitting out six games with a hamstring strain. But the German said he won’t play on Saturday against Columbus while he regains fitness.

“I need a week to train with the team to get a little bit of fitness, and then I’ll be back,” Friedrich said. “I’m pretty happy that I’m back on the pitch.

Friedrich had an MRI last week, and he said his hamstring strain was about two-thirds better at that point.  He expects to start when the Fire play Kansas City on June 29.

Klopas, Friedrich wager on Euros

Friedrich is confident Germany will beat Greece in Friday’s European Championship quarterfinals.

“We will definitely win the game,” Friedrich said.

The former German international made a dinner bet with Greek-American coach Frank Klopas, but he’s confident he won’t have to pay up. Klopas said he’s looking forward to a dinner in Chicago’s Greektown after a Greek victory.

“If I have to go to Greektown, that would be definitely embarrassing,” Friedrich said, “and maybe I should consider to go back to Germany. This will not happen, definitely.”

Greece won the Euros in 2004. Germany last won in 1996.