WASHINGTON — Maurice Edu agrees with US national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann: There's nothing like the UEFA Champions League.
Klinsmann has recently emphasized his view that more American players in Europe's elite club competition would positively impact the US national team.
That Champions League discussion currently revolves around the future of US and Fulham star goal scorer Clint Dempsey, a player who Edu considers "one of the top three players in the whole [English Premier] League" and who has "merited a move" to a team in Europe's top club competition.
"I think Champions League is very important," Edu told a gathering of reporters on Monday at the USA's team hotel. "I feel fortunate that I was given the chance and the opportunity to play in Champions League. That was one of the draws of me going to Rangers was that I was allowed to get that opportunity. As a kid that’s what you dream of.
"I’ve been able to play in Champions League now and once you get a taste of it you want to play in it more and more and more," continued Edu. "Hopefully that’s the case for [Rangers]. The way things are going right now it’s uncertain and it’s not looking too good."
The grim outlook for Edu stems from the yet unresolved financial troubles of his club side Glasgow Rangers, a perennial Champions League competitor in past years which is currently battling administration, England's version of bankruptcy. Rangers have already been ruled out of participating in European tournaments for the upcoming season and if they can't avoid liquidation, it could mean an even longer absence from Europe's premier stage.
To think that Edu could have turned his back on this mess. When the club was no longer in position to pay contracted player wages, Edu confirmed that he could have walked out on Rangers.
"Yeah, that was an option," Edu said. "But I thought that sticking by the club and staying there and playing out the season was the right thing to do. So that’s the choice I made. It’s hard to walk away from because you imagine what would have happened if we all just decided that we all just walk away. What happens to the club? What happens to the team? As a team, as a club we all tried to really stick together, support one another."
Along with his teammate and US captain Carlos Bocanegra, Edu is waiting for more definitive news in the "most extreme and bizarre scenario that I’ve been in since I’ve been playing." Depending on the outcome, there could be a potential summer move for Edu although he still has one year left on his contact with Rangers.
"Sooner rather than later is obviously an ideal situation," he said about his hopes for a resolution, "just because you can just relax a little bit more and you know where your future lies. You know what you’re doing. There’s not that uncertainty floating around. But I haven’t really been thinking too much about it. These games are important for us, these are some big games we’re playing in this summer."
He says matches and training sessions provide him an escape from an unsettling reality. That next opportunity for a distraction will come against none other than Brazil at FedEx Field on Wednesday night (8 pm ET, ESPN2, TeleFutura, LIVE CHAT on MLSsoccer.com).
“We want to go out there and try to win these games," he said. "We go into these games with bigger expectations. We want more from these games than in the past and we’re at a stage right now where we can do that. We should go into that game [vs. Brazil] confident.”