Mariner: If Zlatan wants to go to Milan, he’ll go

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Brighton & Hove Albion

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Transfer Rater: Latest on Mbappe, Pogba and Ibrahimovic

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FC Astana

Stade Rennes

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Bayer Leverkusen

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Celtic

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Rosenborg

RB Leipzig

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Bordeaux

FC Copenhagen

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Zenit St Petersburg

Slavia Prague

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Anderlecht

Dinamo Zagreb

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FC Spartak Trnava

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FK Qarabag

Arsenal

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Vorskla

Sporting CP

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F91 Dudelange

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Rapid Vienna

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Lazio

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Racing Genk

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Krasnodar

Sevilla FC

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Standard Liege

Akhisar Belediyespor

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Dynamo Kiev

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PAOK Salonika

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Vidi

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David Beckham could still face speeding charge conviction – judge

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Inter Miami FC president David Beckham could still be convicted following his recent charge for speeding, a judge has ruled.

Beckham had entered a plea of not guilty, hiring the legal services of celebrity lawyer Nick Freeman, dubbed “Mr Loophole” by the British media, but he has been unable to get the former England captain’s charge for a speeding offence overturned.

District Judge Barbara Barnes told a tribunal that ex-Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder Beckham could face a conviction as there is a case to answer.

Beckham is accused of driving at 59 miles per hour in a 40 mph zone in London on Jan. 23 and Mr. Freeman is claiming that the letter for prosecution did not arrive until Feb. 7, which is one day outside the statutory window of two weeks, which he labelled “defective.”

“If the Crown can’t prove that the letter was sent by first class post then the concept that it arrives in two working days goes out of the window,” Mr. Freeman said in a submission to the court.

“It would be unsafe to allow these proceedings to go any further.”



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Extra Time: Costa’s spit, Zlatan’s goal, Chelsea’s chances

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Wolverhampton Wanderers

Burnley

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West Ham United

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ICYMI: Ronaldo breaks through, Ibra’s milestone & more

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Wolverhampton Wanderers

Burnley

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Everton

West Ham United

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Antoine Griezmann would join David Beckham’s Inter Miami ‘if he wants me’

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On the back of Antoine Griezmann’s comments expressing disdain for his exclusion from FIFA’s Best World Player award final three, the FC boys debate if Kylian Mbappe has a better argument than his compatriot.
ESPN FC’s Shaka Hislop wonders if Antoine Griezmann’s recent trophy success is enough to catapult him into the Ballon d’Or discussion.
Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone insists Antoine Griezmann is excited to still be at the club and believes their Champions League draw is tough.

Antoine Griezmann has opened the door to the possibility of one day joining David Beckham’s Inter Miami.

Beckham’s new club was recently unveiled with the name Club Internacional de Futbol Miami — Inter Miami CF — and will join Major League Soccer in the 2020 season.

Griezmann had previously revealed his desire to end his career in the United States — once he had won a Champions League and World Cup. Now, having achieved one of his two main goals following France’s success in Russia, it appears the dream finale is drawing even closer.

“If he [Beckham] wants me at his club, then I’ll go,” Griezmann told L’Equipe. “I want to finish in the MLS.

“We will see if that will be in Los Angeles or Miami. They are two nice cities.

“I like the mentality and the showbusiness culture they have in the U.S.”

Griezmann signed a new contract with Atletico Madrid until 2023 this summer, having decided to reject Barcelona, who had a long-standing interest.



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Giovanni Reyna to leave NYCFC academy to join Borussia Dortmund – sources

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Borussia Dortmund finished their preseason with a 1-0 win over Lazio, thanks to an early goal from Marco Reus.
American international Tim Weah scores his first goal in Ligue 1 after subbing on for Neymar in PSG’s opening match against Caen.
Led by Christian Pulisic and Tim Weah, five Americans took the pitch during the International Champions Cup. Check out how they performed.
Raphael Honigstein joins the FC panel to contextualize Chelsea’s rumoured interest in Christian Pulisic and predict how his immediate future will pan out.

New York City FC academy product Giovanni Reyna, the son of the club’s sporting director and former U.S. star Claudio Reyna, is set to join the youth program of Borussia Dortmund, sources confirmed to ESPN FC.

Goal.com was the first to report the news on Thursday.

The younger Reyna will head to Germany once he turns 16 in November, looking to emulate the success of U.S. international midfielder Christian Pulisic, who also joined Dortmund at the same age in 2015.

Reyna has a Portuguese passport because of his paternal grandmother’s ties to the country, allowing him to avoid having to wait until his 18th birthday to move abroad as other Americans must under FIFA regulations.

Last November, Pulisic wrote an article for The Players’ Tribune extolling the benefits of playing in Europe at 16 and said how fortunate he was to have a Croatian passport that allowed him to make the move early.

Reyna is considered one of the top players in the U.S. under-17 pool, and he led NYCFC’s U18/U19 team to the U.S. Development Academy championship. According to U.S. Soccer’s website, he scored 15 goals in 22 appearances during the 2017-18 season.

His father, who earned 112 caps for the U.S. national team from 1994-2006 and was named to four World Cup squads, also played in Germany with Bayer Leverkusen and on loan with Wolfsburg.

Giovanni Reyna will be the latest MLS academy product to join a Bundesliga side, with five others making similar moves this summer alone.

On Wednesday, forward Sebastian Soto left Real Salt Lake’s youth setup to formally complete a move to Hannover, where he will join fellow U.S. youth international Chris Gloster.

Soto led the Development Academy with 42 goals in 27 games for U18/U19 academy team.



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Jozy Altidore hopes Alphonso Davies can be role model for black players

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Alphonso Davies, fresh off sealing a move to Bayern Munich, returned to the Vancouver lineup with two goals and two assists in a win over Minnesota.
Shaka Hislop and Janusz Michallik delve deeper into Bayern’s acquisition of Alphonso Davies and what the club needs to do to ensure he continues to flourish.
Then ESPN FC crew evaluate the value of Bayern Munich’s $13.5 million transfer of Vancouver Whitecaps youngster Alphonso Davies.

U.S. striker Jozy Altidore hopes Alphonso Davies can be a role model for young black players following the 17-year-old’s record move to Bayern Munich.

In signing for the German champions last month, Davies broke the transfer record for an outgoing MLS player that had stood since Altidore’s move to Villarreal in 2008.

Altidore said he believes Davies has a “very, very bright future” and that the Canada international can be an inspiration for others to follow in his footsteps.

“Huge congrats to him, especially to see him as a young black kid. You need more black role models, especially in soccer,” Altidore told reporters, according to SportsNet.

“Hopefully [Canada Soccer] does a good job of advertising and promoting him in a way where kids who look like him say, ‘You know what, I can be Alphonso Davies, too.'”

Canada Soccer has already given Davies some global exposure by inviting him to address the FIFA Congress in Russia ahead of the June vote that gave the U.S., Canada and Mexico the rights to co-host the 2026 World Cup.

Davies, who will stay with the Vancouver Whitecaps until the end of the MLS season, will face Altidore’s Toronto FC in the Canadian Championship final starting next week.

“The transfer is spectacular, I’m a huge fan of his — his eagerness to learn, to play, that youthful exuberance, you love to see it,” Altidore added. “I hope he continues to grow and I look forward to watching his career.”



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Bayern Munich sign Canadian teen Alphonso Davies in MLS-record deal

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Then ESPN FC crew evaluate the value of Bayern Munich’s $13.5 million transfer of Vancouver Whitecaps youngster Alphonso Davies.
Janusz Michallik explains why a Bayern move would make sense for Alphonso Davies as the German giants reportedly close in on the Canadian teenager.

Bayern Munich completed the signing of 17-year-old Canadian phenom Alphonso Davies from Major League Soccer’s Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday.

The six-time defending Bundesliga champions will pay $13.5 million (€11.5 million) in a base fee for Davies, according to a source close to the deal — breaking a record for an outgoing MLS player that has stood since Jozy Altidore joined Villarreal 10 years ago.

The total compensation could reach $22 million (€18.75m) with performance-related add-ons, the Whitecaps confirmed. The source said the deal also includes a sell-on clause that will net Vancouver a percentage of a fee should Bayern transfer Davies in the future.

The Ghanaian-born Canada international will remain with the Whitecaps until the end of their season this fall, as under FIFA rules he will not be able to play for Bayern in an official game until he turns 18 in November.

“As a kid, I always dreamed of a moment like this,” said Davies, who signed a contract with Bayern until 2023. “Now that the dream has come true, the work continues as always. I have to keep pushing and keep striving, and also keep being me on the field.

“Ever since I joined the Caps when I was 14, they molded me throughout the years into the pro that I’ve become. Thanks to the fans for supporting me, I really enjoy playing in front of them in Vancouver.”

Because Davies is a homegrown player, the Whitecaps will be able to keep all of the transfer fee, rather than share a sizable portion with MLS.

“This is a landmark transfer for our club, country, and league,” Whitecaps owner Jeff Mallett said.

Bayern are in the U.S. for the International Champions Cup, and will take on Juventus on Wednesday night at Lincoln Financial Field (7:05 p.m. ET, ESPNU) as Davies looks on.

Davies, who has three goals and eight assists in 20 games this season, was named to the MLS All-Star team and will still participate in the game against Juventus on Aug. 1.

He has made six appearances for the Canada national team and was joint-top scorer at last summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup with three goals.

“Alphonso Davies is a very big talent,” Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said. “At the age of 17, he offers a lot of promise for the future. Alphonso already possesses great ability, which is why a lot of top clubs were keen on him. I’m delighted he’s chosen FC Bayern.”

Davies is the second teenager from MLS to join Bayern Munich this summer, after the German champions signed 18-year-old Chris Richards on loan from FC Dallas earlier this month.

Richards is expected to join Bayern’s under-19 squad this season, but Davies told Yahoo last week that he had his sights set higher.

“If the opportunity comes, I think as a developing young player I want to go somewhere where they’ll play me in their first team,” Davies told Yahoo. “If a club buys you, you want to play for that club. You don’t want to be going on loan here or there.”



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Bayern Munich reach deal for Alphonso Davies with Vancouver Whitecaps – reports

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Janusz Michallik explains why a Bayern move would make sense for Alphonso Davies as the German giants reportedly close in on the Canadian teenager.

Bayern Munich have agreed a deal to sign 17-year-old Canadian phenom Alphonso Davies from the Vancouver Whitecaps, according to multiple reports.

The Athletic reported on Tuesday that the two clubs had reached an agreement for a base transfer fee of $13 million — which would already be a record for an MLS export — with performance-related add-ons that could bring the total to $19 million.

Because Davies is a homegrown player, the Whitecaps will likely be able to keep all of the transfer fee, rather than share a sizable portion with MLS.

According to MLSsoccer.com, Davies will remain with the Whitecaps until the end of the MLS season, as he would not be able to play for Bayern in an official game until he turns 18 in November.

The Whitecaps left Davies out of their squad for last weekend’s game, and the MLS site reported he was already in Philadelphia, where Bayern will play Juventus in the International Champions Cup on Wednesday. 

Alphonso Davies has made an impact in MLS and could do the same at the international level.
Alphonso Davies is on his way to Bayern Munich.

Davies, who has three goals and eight assists in 20 games this season, was named to the MLS All-Star team for the game against Juventus on Aug. 1.

He has already made six appearances for the Canada national team and was joint-top scorer at last summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup with three goals.

Davies would be the second teenager from MLS to join Bayern Munich this summer, after the German champions signed 18-year-old Chris Richards on loan from FC Dallas earlier this month.

Richards is expected to join Bayern’s under-19 squad this season, but Davies told Yahoo last week that he had his sights set higher.

“If the opportunity comes, I think as a developing young player I want to go somewhere where they’ll play me in their first team,” Davies told Yahoo. “If a club buys you, you want to play for that club. You don’t want to be going on loan here or there.”



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Bayern Munich in talks for Alphonso Davies from Vancouver Whitecaps – source

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Janusz Michallik explains why a Bayern move would make sense for Alphonso Davies as the German giants reportedly close in on the Canadian teenager.

Bayern Munich and the Vancouver Whitecaps are in talks over the transfer of 17-year-old Canadian phenom Alphonso Davies, an MLS source has confirmed to ESPN FC’s Jeff Carlisle.

The Athletic first reported on Saturday that the teams were discussing a $12 million (€10.2m) fee for Davies, who has three goals in 20 MLS games this season and is tied for sixth in the league with eight assists.

Leading German publication SportBild said earlier on Sunday that the Whitecaps were also seeking performance add-ons that could bring the total value of the deal to $18 million (€15m), as well as 15 percent of any deal should Bayern sell Davies in the future.

The two sides are meeting in Canada on Sunday with a deal expected to be reached, according to Bild.

The figures as reported would break the record fee paid for an MLS player, finally surpassing the reported $10m that Villarreal paid for Jozy Altidore in 2008.

Alphonso Davies

Davies, who does not turn 18 until November, has already made six appearances for the Canada national team, and he was joint-top scorer at last summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup with three goals.

Davies was named to the MLS All-Star team for the game against Juventus on Aug. 4, but he was held out of Vancouver’s squad for Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Seattle.

“Alphonso Davies is not playing today with the club’s permission,” a Whitecaps statement said. “The club will provide an update with any further details when relevant.”

Davies would be the second teenager from MLS to join Bayern Munich this summer, after the German champions signed 18-year-old Chris Richards on loan from FC Dallas earlier this month.

Richards is expected to play for Bayern’s under-19 team this season but made his friendly debut for the first team on Saturday, coming on as a substitute in the International Champions Cup game against Paris Saint-Germain.

ESPN FC’s Jeff Carlisle and Mark Lovell contributed to this report.



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Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann wants to finish career in MLS

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France’s Olivier Giroud believes Antoine Griezmann will rediscover his form as the World Cup progresses.
ESPN FC’s Gab Marcotti questions if Atletico Madrid would have much of a case against Barcelona for approaching Antoine Griezmann.
World Cup: Antoine Griezmann (58′) France 1-0 Australia

Antoine Griezmann has revealed his ideal career path ends with him playing in Major League Soccer by the time he is in his early 30s.

The Atletico Madrid forward, 27, is well-known for his love of NBA and makes frequent trans-Atlantic trips at the end of the European football season to indulge his passion for basketball.

He may well do the same after France’s World Cup is over, and he told Le Figaro he is hoping to make a more permanent trip Stateside in the latter stages of his career.

“World champion, win a Champions League and then I can go and quietly play in the USA. That’s my ideal itinerary. It’s not bad, is it?” he said.

“If the plan goes like that, I’d sign for that now. I don’t know at which age I want to play in MLS, it’ll all depend on the trophies I’ll have won beforehand. When I’m nearer 32 or 33, I want to be there. I still have to be presentable on the pitch.”

Billed as one of the key players if the highly fancied French are to claim a second World Cup in Russia this summer, Griezmann has so far struggled to make an impact.

The former Real Sociedad striker admitted, however, he is fully focussed on helping his country scale to the summit of world football.

“Frankly, winning that competition with your country is the best thing possible. I want to finish my career with that trophy in my cabinet,” he said. “It’ll perhaps be this time, or the one after in Qatar. But I don’t want to finish my life as a footballer without that title among my honours. I think about it very often. It’s an obsession.”

While the World Cup is an immediate goal, Griezmann also said he could be tempted by the prospect of claiming an Olympic gold on home soil when the Summer Games are held in Paris in 2024.

“I would really like that, and that could be a dream. I experienced the Euros in France and it was the ultimate blast,” said Griezmann, part of the Les Bleus‘ squad that finished runners-up at Euro 2016.

“To experience that in 2024 at the Paris Games, I’d sign up for that now. It would be magnificent. Honestly, it could be one of the objectives for the end of my career.”



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Extra Time: Buffon back to Parma and replacing Vieira

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France

Republic of Ireland

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Portugal

Tunisia

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Bolivia

10:30 PM UTC

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Mexico

Wales

1:00 AM UTC

May 29, 2018

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Italy

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Honduras

11:00 AM UTC

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Nigeria

Congo DR

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Iran

6:15 PM UTC

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Fernando Torres ‘a complete superstar’ – Chicago Fire coach Veljko Paunovic

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Toronto FC stumbled in their first MLS action since losing the CONCACAF Champions League final, relenting a 2-0 lead in a draw with Chicago.

Chicago Fire coach Veljko Paunovic has called Fernando Torres a “complete superstar” amid reports that his former Atletico Madrid teammate could join his MLS club.

Torres, 34, has confirmed he will leave Atletico this summer and is open to offers from different destinations outside Europe, with China, the Middle East and MLS all thought to be options, according to his agents.

Earlier this month, MLSsoccer.com reported that the Fire were interested in signing Torres and already own his internal league rights if the forward wanted to join the North American league.

And though Paunovic made it clear to Marca that he did not want to go too far in talking about players currently under contract elsewhere, he said the Fire’s addition of former Germany, Bayern Munich and Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger showed they could bring in “great players.”

“We don’t talk about player who are not part of our squad, respecting that they are at other clubs,” Paunovic said. “But for sure we are able to bring in great players.

“We showed that when we signed Bastian. He is a player who understands his role on and off the pitch. A relaxed guy, who helps his teammates a lot, shares his experience. The truth is it’s a pleasure to have him.”

Paunovic and Torres were regular teammates at Atletico between 2003 and 2005, and the former Serbia international recalled fondly his time playing with a youngster well on the way to becoming a top player.

“We shared many memories together,” he said. “Above all I remember his human qualities and how he has grown as a player. He is a complete superstar.”

Some of Torres’ former international colleagues from Spain’s all-conquering 2008 to 2012 period are now playing around the world. One-time strike partner David Villa is at New York City in MLS, Xavi Hernandez is at Qatari side Al-Sadd, and Andres Iniesta is reportedly close to moving to the Chinese Super League in the coming months.

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan



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Real Madrid’s Luka Modric – ‘I can see myself’ playing in MLS

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Stewart Robson explains how the work rates of N’Golo Kante and Luka Modric impact on their respective sides.
Stewart Robson explains how the work rates of N’Golo Kante and Luka Modric impact on their respective sides.
Stewart Robson explains how the workrates of N’Golo Kante and Luka Modric impact on their respective sides.

Real Madrid star Luka Modric has said “I can see myself” following Zlatan Ibrahimovic in moving to MLS in the future.

Modric has played for Madrid since leaving Tottenham in 2012 and is under contract until 2020, when he will be 34.

But speaking to Sweden’s SVT Sport, the Croatia international said moving to the United States could be an option when the time comes.

“You never know what can happen,” Modric said in an interview taped last month but released on Friday. “I still have two more years on my contract with Real Madrid.

“I’m happy. I always said that I would like to finish my career in Madrid if it’s possible. But if not, maybe I can see myself also [in the U.S.].”

Modric said he enjoyed watching Ibrahimovic play in Europe, and wished him well in his recent move to join the LA Galaxy.

“He was such a big player in Europe the last 10-20 years, one of the the best strikers,” Modric said. “It’s his decision, I wish him all the best, and hopefully he will enjoy it there.

“I would like to stay him a bit more in football to watch him, to see his magic like he did in past years and we’ll see, but I wish him all the best in future.”

Ibrahimovic was born and raised in Sweden to a Croatian mother, and Modric admitted he would have welcomed the striker in his national team had he chosen differently.

“Of course, who wouldn’t like to have this kind of player,” Modric said. “Zlatan is one of the best strikers in the modern generation. It’s a shame that he didn’t pick Croatia but it’s how it is. We have other great strikers in our team but he would be amazing for us, that’s for sure.”



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Extra Time: Underrated Firmino, David de Gea, Torres to MLS

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Burnley

Chelsea

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Leicester City

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Alavés

Girona

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Levante

Málaga

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Las Palmas

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FC Cincinnati stadium site proposal gets critical support from city council

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MLS commissioner Don Garber credits the ownership group, stadium plan and community as Nashville’s keys to becoming the newest MLS franchise.
With MLS expected to announce Nashville as the next city for expansion, Jeff Carlisle explains how their expansion bid impressed the league.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber sits down with Taylor Twellman for a comprehensive conversation about the future of MLS.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber visited USL club FC Cincinnati and attended a town hall focused on MLS expansion.

FC Cincinnati’s bid to secure a stadium site in the city’s West End neighborhood has obtained the support of a critical number of members of the Cincinnati City Council, putting the team as close as it has ever been to obtaining an MLS expansion franchise.

MLS had stated that it would name two expansion teams by the end of last year, but only announced Nashville, leaving Cincinnati, Sacramento and Detroit to fill the second spot.

Given the financial heft of FCC’s ownership group, one that includes billionaire Carl Lindner III, Cincinnati has long been viewed as being ahead of both Sacramento and Detroit. But uncertainty over where FCC would build a stadium had seen the process drag out well into 2018.

Now, a level of clarity has been achieved.

Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld announced on Friday that he will support a proposal to build a 21,000-seat stadium for $200 million on the current site of Willard R. Stargel Stadium — a facility which currently serves a number of public schools in the city. 

That gives the proposal the needed five votes to pass, though councilman Sittenfeld said it is unclear exactly when it will be voted on by the city council.

FC Cincinnati stadium rendering
Cincinnati FC’s dream of building a new stadium appears more likely than ever.

“I think we realize that there are time constraints,” councilman Sittenfeld said in an exclusive interview with ESPN FC. “We wanted to get out the parameters of a plan today so the community has time to understand it, to react to it, to let our elected colleagues deliberate on it.

“This has been a long conversation for the community and I think we’ve put forward something that really is a win for the community, a win for the city as a whole, and can be a win for the team.”

“It’s felt like there have been a lot of rolling deadlines with this process. The next deadline is truly going to be a hard one. We’re going to be responsive to that.”

Cincinnati Public Schools must also approve the deal. Councilman Sittenfeld hinted strongly that would be achieved.

“I don’t want to speak for my elected colleagues, but I like putting forward plans that have majority support from all different governmental bodies,” he said. “I certainly wouldn’t have gone forward with this if that wasn’t going to be the case here.”

FCC president and GM Jeff Berding said he was “as encouraged as I’ve been in a long time” about the news.

FCC has the kind of downtown site that MLS has pushed for and the path to an expansion franchise now seems free of obstacles. But as a former Cincinnati City Council member, Berding wasn’t celebrating just yet.

“Until the votes are counted, you shouldn’t celebrate the goal,” he said. “I’m enormously encouraged. It’s real breakthrough, and we feel really good about the opportunity. We’re going to continue to work with the mayor, the council members, and the community leaders to get it over the goal line.”

The biggest sticking point in terms of the West End site had been how much FCC would pay in property taxes, with Cincinnati Public Schools demanding $2 million per year and FCC offering $100,000.

The current proposal will see FCC pay $25 million, with Sittenfeld stating some of that would be in the form of a lump-sum payment. The proposal also includes $15 million that will go towards affordable housing, as well as a community benefits agreement.

The city will put forward $34m for stadium infrastructure, while FCC have agreed to build a new $10 million high school stadium across the street to replace Stargel Stadium.

“It was both non-negotiable and a game-changer for me, and I think the thing I’m proudest of was that I got that legally binding commitment that FCC is going to pay its full share of taxes,” said Sittenfeld.

Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyCarlisle.



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Giuseppe Rossi wants two more years in Europe before potential MLS move – agent

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Giuseppe Rossi, right, is overcoming injuries with Genoa.
Giuseppe Rossi, right, wants to stay in Europe.

The agent of Genoa forward Giuseppe Rossi says that remaining in Europe is his priority for the next two seasons, after which he may consider a move to MLS.

The 31-year-old has struggled with injuries since making a bid to revive his career in Serie A this year, appearing for just a total of 51 minutes for the Grifone so far, but the Ligurian club do have an option to prolong his contract by another year.

His agent Andrea Pastorello says his client is grateful for that option since he does not yet feel ready to return to the United States, the country of his birth.

“Giuseppe wants to continue playing in European football for at least another two years,” Pastorello told TuttoMercatoWeb when asked about the appeal of MLS. “As I’ve said already, Genoa — where he has been made to feel really welcome — have the priority, then we could consider other situations, but he still intends to stay in Europe.”

But Pastorello also said staying on with Genoa is not guaranteed.

“This is how the situation is: at the end of the season, we will analyse the situation with the club to understand what the options are,” the agent said. “It was Genoa who asked for the option for another year to be put into his contract and we were delighted to insert it. It was an important show of faith.”

Pastorello hopes that Rossi will still get a chance to make an impression in the final eight games of the season with his injury troubles now behind him.

“Absolutely — Giuseppe’s fine now and he’s just waiting for his chance to show his value and contribute to Genoa staying up,” Pastorello said. “He’s focused on achieving this objective.”

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.



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Hatem Ben Arfa would be welcome in Montreal after PSG exit – Remi Garde

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Hatem Ben Arfa has not played in exactly one year.

Undesired Paris Saint-Germain man Hatem Ben Arfa would be “welcome” with the Montreal Impact if he decides to move to in Major League Soccer, coach Remi Garde has said.

Ben Arfa, 31, recently confirmed that he will soon be exiting PSG when his contract expires this summer, and Garde has offered him a potential landing spot in Canada.

“We know each other very well,” former Lyon and Aston Villa coach Garde responded when asked if MLS could be a good option for Ben Arfa. “If Hatem is coming to MLS, he is welcome here.”

Ben Arfa has been out of favour at PSG under coach Unai Emery for more than a year and was told last summer to find a new club.

Les Parisiens‘ No. 21 made his last competitive appearance in April 2017, when he scored two goals in a 4-0 win over Avranches in the Coupe de France quarterfinals.

Ben Arfa has not featured this season after Emery and sporting director Antero Henrique made it clear he is no longer wanted at the club.

The former Lyon, Marseille, Newcastle, Hull and Nice man rejected moves away last summer and in January to try to succeed with his boyhood club, but he has been unable turn his PSG fortunes around.

Ben Arfa has two goals from 15 appearances with France at international level and last featured for Les Bleus in late 2015.

Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.



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Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Cristiano Ronaldo’s wonder goal better than my debut LA Galaxy strike

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic has told ESPN FC there should be no comparisons between his first goal for LA Galaxy and the bicycle kick Cristiano Ronaldo scored for Real Madrid in the Champions League win over Juventus on Tuesday.

Both goals were praised by the teammates, commentators and fans, with Ibrahimovic being named the MLS Player of the Week, but the LA Galaxy striker said the two goals are not equal.

“I think it’s a big difference, because he scored in the Champions League, I scored in MLS,” Ibrahimovic told ESPN FC. “It’s a big difference.

“A goal is a goal. If you can help your team to score a goal, it’s important, however you score. But when you score beautiful, of course, it’s more … nice, let’s say, that it’s beautiful. It feels really good.”

Later, when asked about Ronaldo’s goal on SportsCenter, Ibrahimovic said: “I think he is a goal machine. he scored a beautiful goal today but he should try it from 40 metres and see if it goes in.”

Ibrahimovic’s introduction to Los Angeles could not have gone better as he scored two goals in the Galaxy’s 4-3 come-from-behind win over LAFC.

He said the first goal, scored from 35 yards, felt right as soon as it left his boot.

“When the situation came, it’s about thinking fast, and I saw the goalkeeper was standing out,” Ibrahimovic said. “When I approached the ball, it landed perfectly, and even when I touched the ball, I felt immediately like, ‘This one is going in.’

“I just needed to wait for it to hit the net, because you can feel those things immediately when it’s a perfect touch. And it went in and the whole stadium went crazy, the teammates, I went crazy. And to describe that feeling is difficult.”

The Galaxy defeated LAFC thanks to Ibrahimovic’s stoppage-time winner, but the striker insisted that he was only doing what was expected of him in the derby.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his first two goals for the LA Galaxy against LAFC.

“I played a lot of derbies, I played a lot of [rivalry] games, and I know it’s a lot going on in the game and emotions, pressure, moments, adrenaline — all these kind of things,” Ibrahimovic said. “I mean, I was pumped. I came in to do my job, and nobody will stop me.”

As for the adjustment to Los Angeles, Ibrahimovic said it has been a positive transition and that it has helped him having familiarity with the city and welcoming teammates.

“They are all excited,” Ibrahimovic said. “They’re all happy and triggered. I mean, I’ve been training two days, total three days, and everything has gone positive.

“Coach [Sigi Schmid] is cool. He’s active, talking a lot to the players, making everybody feel comfortable. The whole surrounding is good. Something is going on. You can see it. I just want to be part of it and help the teammates, help the coach, help the fans and help the city for what it is.”

Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.



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