Chelsea win Champions League title behind goal by Kai Havertz

By Erin Walsh  |  Last updated 5/29/21

Chelsea have been crowned Champions League champions for the first time since their 2012 miracle victory over Bayern Munich after beating Manchester City 1-0 in the 2020-21 final on Saturday. 

Kai Havertz‘s first-half goal was enough to stun Pep Guardiola’s side at Porto’s Estadio Dragao in Portugal. The 21-year-old snagged a great through ball from Mason Mount that split the defense and passed it into a wide-open net just moments before halftime. 

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Nani: Cristiano Ronaldo ‘will probably end up’ going to MLS in future

Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo playing in Major League Soccer seems unrealistic, right? Well, it may not be such a crazy thought after all.

Ronaldo reportedly told Orlando City captain Nani that he will “probably” end up playing in MLS before he retires, according to ESPN. 

“A couple of years ago, he told me that he will probably end up in America,” Nani told ESPN. “It’s not 100 percent, but probably. There is a chance.”

Nani has been teammates with Ronaldo at both the club and international level, having shared the flanks while playing for Premier League side Manchester United and international side Portugal. So, it’s fair to say that the two know each other very well.

If Ronaldo decides to play in MLS, it’ll likely be towards the end of his career. The forward would be following in the footsteps of players like David Beckham, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thierry Henry and David Villa in winding down his career in America. At age 35, that time may be coming very soon.

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By Erin Walsh | Last updated 6/17/20

Neymar To Have Surgery

Written by Johnathon Jones at ESPN.com

Paris Saint-Germain have confirmed that Neymar will have surgery in Brazil later this week after he sprained his right ankle and cracked his fifth metatarsal toward the end of Sunday’s 3-0 Ligue 1 win over Marseille.

The Ligue 1 leaders have revealed that after three days of rest and various tests, the only option available was to operate on the Brazilian superstar.

Neymar will now miss next week’s Champions League round-of-16 second leg with Real Madrid at Parc des Princes.

A PSG statement read: “After an initial treatment period of three days, in line with a strict medical protocol, a joint decision has been taken between the medical staffs of both PSG and the Brazil national team.

“In accordance with the player, it has been decided that Neymar will undergo surgery in Brazil at the end of this week.

“He will be operated on by doctor Rodrigo Lasmar and accompanied by PSG’s Professor [Gerard] Saillant.”

PSG have not stated how long Neymar will miss, but in an interview with ESPN Brazil, his father indicated that it will be somewhere between six to eight weeks.

Later on Wednesday, Neymar posted a message to his Instagram account with a quote from Michael Jordan in the caption.

It said: “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t give up. Figure out how to climb it.”

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Patrice Evra, Kicked Off Pitch, For Kicking A Fan

Written by Andrew Gilpin at Mirror.UK.com

Former Manchester United player Patrice Evra was at the centre of a vicious bust up with his own fans before a European match.

In shocking footage, Marseille players appeared to clash with their own supporters ahead of the Europa League match at Vitoria Guimaraes in Portugal.

After taking abuse from his own fans for 30 minutes before the game even kicked off, things came to a head after the warm up.

The players went over to the visiting fans – who had also let off flares – and angry full-back Evra aimed a karate kick at one of them.

A close up picture shows Evra aim the high kick at a supporter – in a scene much like the famous incident where fellow Frenchman Eric Cantona attacked a Crystal Palace fan.

After appearing to strike the fan in the head, Evra was then was ushered away by a team-mate.

Evra was then sent off before the game even began and forced into the homestand to watch the match.

As he was one of the substitutes the Ligue Un side’s boss Rudi Garcia could only call on six from the bench for the match.

Amazingly the Frenchman was later seen posing for selfies with young fans in the stand.

According to tweets from journalists at the match, Evra had been a victim of insults from the Marseille supporters before the flashpoint.

Fans are apparently unhappy with the Frenchman’s performances this season and even broke through the barriers at the Estadio D Afonso Henriques to confront him.

Marseille boss Garcia revealed afterward Evra had reacted to taunts from the fans, but still criticised his actions.

“Pat has experience and he must not react, it’s obvious,” Garcia was quoted by L’Equipe as telling BeIN Sports.

“Patrice is a more than experienced player and we cannot respond to insults so low and so incredible because they come from one of our supporters.”

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USMNT Fails To Make World Cup

Written by Andrew Joseph at FTW.com

It’s been 31 years since May 31, 1986 — the last World Cup that didn’t feature the United States. That’s 11,456 days of progress for a sport that’s come so far in a country that still hasn’t fully embraced it.

All of that gone.

With U.S. soccer’s dreadful 2-1 loss to Trinidad and Tobago on the final day of CONCACAF’s qualifying hexagonal for the 2018 World Cup, next summer’s tournament will not feature the USMNT. No Christian Pulisic. No Tim Howard. No Michael Bradley. With that loss, the USMNT gave a nation the lowest point in its sporting history, and it’s not really close.

CONCACAF is a grind, but compared to the other qualifying regions, the 3.5 World Cup spots out of six teams mean that the United States should be a lock to qualify. When it beat Panama, 4-0, on Friday, the U.S. put itself in position to escape a lackluster qualifying round with a spot in the tournament. All it really needed to do was take care of business at lowly Trinidad and Tobago.

They couldn’t even do that. With no sense of urgency, USMNT players and coaches had to watch as their CONCACAF counterparts did them no favors. Four years after the USMNT saved Mexico’s World Cup dreams, El Tri instead blew a lead to Honduras and helped seal the USMNT’s fate. Costa Rica also blew a lead to Panama on a goal that shouldn’t have counted and gave up a late winner as the U.S. decided to score-watch rather than take matters into its own hands. A mostly empty stadium in Couva, Trinidad and Tobago, felt even emptier on this night.

It’s really difficult to quantify how bad this loss was for U.S. Soccer. Sunil Gulati and Bruce Arena should both be gone. Tim Howard, whose last World Cup appearance was a legendary performance, will likely leave U.S. Soccer with the lasting image of his worst performance with the national team. As bad as things got for the USMNT, the possibility of missing the World Cup didn’t actually seem real. It’s that arrogance that likely brought the team to where it is right now — out of the World Cup. When U.S. soccer legend Alexi Lalas called out the USMNT, its biggest star, Pulisic, laughed off the attempted gut-check rant.

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Alex Morgan Had To Much Fun At Disney World

Written by Pete Blackburn at CBS Sports.com

The rides and attractions apparently weren’t the only thing buzzing at Disney World on Sunday.

American soccer star Alex Morgan and a group of friends — including three members of MLS club Orlando City — were kicked out of the park following a dispute at a bar in Epcot Center over the weekend. The incident apparently started when someone in Morgan’s group cut in front of another patron at the bar, then the group of soccer players reportedly became verbally aggressive when confronted.

The police report, shared by the Orlando Sentinel, seems to indicate that Morgan may have been particularly belligerent, as it states she was screaming while “highly impaired.”

“As we passed Spaceship Earth, I observed several people being escorted to the front,” a deputy wrote. “They were all being very loud and belligerent toward staff around guests.

“I observed a white female, who was later identified as Alexandria Morgan yelling, screaming and taken (sic) video and possibly pictures. She appeared to be highly impaired.”

The report goes on to say a deputy heard Morgan “make a loud verbal statement” that she knows the Orlando SWAT team.

Any story in a police report that kicks off with “as we passed Spaceship Earth” is probably going to get weird pretty quickly, but Morgan yelling about knowing a SWAT team was certainly a plot twist that I did not see coming. In any case, the SWAT namedrop doesn’t appear to have worked particularly well, as Morgan & Co. were still escorted out of the park and accused of trespassing.

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Wayne Rooney Retires From International Play

Written by Press Association at The Guardian.com

England’s record goalscorer Wayne Rooney has announced his retirement from international football with immediate effect.

Rooney said in a statement: “It was great that Gareth Southgate called me this week to tell me he wanted me back in the England squad for the upcoming matches [against Malta and Slovakia]. I really appreciated that. However, having already thought long and hard, I told Gareth that I had now decided to retire for good from international football.”

No outfield player has won more England caps than the 31-year-old Rooney, who scored a record 53 goals in 119 appearances for his country.

Southgate phoned Rooney on Tuesday to say he wanted to include the forward in his upcoming squad following a fine start to life back at his boyhood club Everton. The former Manchester United captain informed England’s manager of his decision to quit international football in the same conversation.

“It is a really tough decision and one I have discussed with my family, my manager at Everton and those closest to me,” Rooney added in his statement. “Playing for England has always been special to me. Every time I was selected as a player or captain was a real privilege and I thank everyone who helped me. But I believe now is the time to bow out.

“Leaving Manchester United was a tough call but I know I made the right decision in coming home to Everton. Now I want to focus all my energies on helping them be successful.

“I will always remain a passionate England fan. One of my very few regrets is not to have been part of a successful England tournament side.

“Hopefully the exciting players Gareth is bringing through can take that ambition further and I hope everyone will get behind the team. One day the dream will come true and I look forward to being there as a fan – or in any capacity.”

It is 14 and a half years since the then 17-year-old striker burst on to the scene for England, making his debut in a friendly against Australia at Upton Park in February 2003.

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Neymar Slams Barca After PSG Win

Written by ESPN FC Staff at ESPN FC.com

Neymar slammed Barcelona’s directors in the wake of Paris Saint-Germain’s 6-2 defeat of Toulouse on Sunday, telling reporters the club “deserve much better.”

The Brazil international moved from Barcelona to PSG for a record fee of €220 million this summer, not a year after signing a contract extension with the Camp Nou club, despite desperate attempts from his Barca teammates to keep him in Catalonia.

The 25-year-old forward has started fast at his new club, scoring three goals and providing three assists in his first two matches with the Parisians. However, he turned his attention to the Blaugrana board following his latest dazzling display on Sunday.

“I don’t have anything to say to the Barcelona board,” Neymar began. “For me. … Well, actually I have something to say: That I am disappointed with them.

“I spent four years there and was very happy. I began happy, spent four years happy and left happy. But not with them. For me, they shouldn’t be in charge of Barca. Barca deserve much better, and everyone knows this.”

Neymar related that his former teammates were unhappy, and said he was cheering for the five-time Champions League winners to return to glory.

“To see my former teammates unhappy makes me sad also, because I have many friends [there]. I hope that things get better for Barca. That they return to the team they were and become one that can compete with the others.”

Right-back Dani Alves told reporters earlier this month that Neymar told him in July to move to the club as he was considering his own move to the French capital.

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PSG Willing To Pay $250 Million for Neymar

Written by Dan Gartland at SI.com

Paris Saint-Germain is ready and willing to pay Barcelona star Neymar’s €222 million ($255 million) transfer release clause, Spanish newspaper AS reports.

The move would be more than double the current world transfer record, held by Paul Pogba’s €105 million ($120 million) move from Juventus to Manchester United last summer.

Barcelona is reportedly interested in acquiring PSG midfielder Marco Verratti if Neymar were to choose to go through with the move. Neymar’s father is said to be meeting with PSG officials this week. Barcelona, though, remains unconcerned with the speculation.

AS reported that Neymar’s interest in a move to PSG is driven by his desire to become the best player in the world, which he feels isn’t possible while playing with Lionel Messi at Barca. Spain’s Diario Sport also reported Monday that Neymar is “unsettled” because Messi has received the bulk of the adulation during Barcelona’s recent trophy run.

The contract Neymar signed in October 2016 runs through June 2021 and initially included a €200 million release clause, which has since risen to €222 million and will climb to €250 million next season.

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USMNT Narrowly Beats Martinique

Written by Jeff Carlisle at ESPNFC.com

Given the B-list nature of the U.S. roster, this Gold Cup was bound to possess some good, some bad and some downright ugliness for the Americans. But Wednesday’s 3-2 win over Martinique came dangerously close to humiliation.

It took a 76th-minute winner from Jordan Morris, his second goal of the night, to finally see off a game opponent. As such, the victory should provide little comfort to manager Bruce Arena and his players, who will be left red-faced from a match that should never have been so close.

Yes, soccer’s low-scoring nature makes it ripe for upsets, and the potential for giant-killings is part of its appeal. Further, it can also make the expectation of a blowout a tad unrealistic.

None of that can be used as an excuse for this U.S. performance. We’re talking about a team of full-time professionals going up against a group of semi-pros.

Does Martinique deserve some credit? Absolutely. It played with spirit and organization. But the Americans had the game seemingly under control, taking a 2-0 lead in the 64th minute when Morris scored his first. At which point, Arena’s side showed a complete inability to manage the game.

For whatever reason, maintaining tempo — especially when leading — has been a problem from the Ghana friendly on July 1 to Panama on Saturday all the way to Wednesday.

Granted, goalkeeper Brad Guzan should have saved the first of Kevin Parsemain’s two goals, but there were warning signs even before that, with Martinique hitting the post in the first half. And how is it that the U.S. coughs up an equalizer that started with a three-on-three counter-attack?

Sure, the U.S. roster is lacking some experience at international level, but it also has logged plenty of domestic matches. Arena’s understandable squad rotation — there were eight changes from the Panama game — could also be a factor. However, regardless of who is on the field, the U.S. ought to know how to manage a result against such a lowly opponent.

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