Vuelve el fútbol mexicano con la fecha 12 del Clausura

Mar 28, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Luego de las fechas de Eliminatorias al Mundial de Rusia 2018, regresa el balompié ‘azteca’. Disfruta de estos enfrentamientos por Univisión, Azteca y Universo en compañía de Sling TV.

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Las Chivas ‘rayadas’ de Guadalajara son los únicos líderes del fútbol mexicano al sumar 20 puntos en 10 partidos disputados. Cabe recordar que hay una fecha suspendida en México, tras el paro que realizaron los árbitros en la décima jornada.

El ‘rebaño’ visitará a Morelia, que es séptimo con 15 puntos y que busca un triunfo para recortar al lote de punta que también conforman Monterrey y Toluca. Este partido se disputará el próximo sábado, primero de abril, a las nueve de la noche.

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En el cierre de la... Read More

Con un Real Madrid líder, se jugará la fecha 29 en España

Mar 28, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

El conjunto merengue suma 65 puntos en la tabla de posiciones y se enfrentará esta fecha al Alavés. Este juego y los demás los podrás disfrutar por beIN SPORTS en Español con Sling TV.

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Todo parece indicar que las cosas volvieron a su normalidad y que Real Madrid salió de un pequeño bache de resultados que lo hizo perder la punta del balompié español con Barcelona durante algunas fechas.

Este próximo domingo se enfrentará a Deportivo Alavés, décimo en la tabla con 40 unidades. El equipo merengue viene de lograr un importante triunfo por 1-2 sobre Athletic Club en la jornada 28. El regreso de Gareth Bale ha significado para los dirigidos por Zinedine Zidane la retoma de un fútbol más ofensivo y... Read More

México saldrá a mantener el liderato en la cuarta fecha de las Eliminatorias de la Concacaf

Mar 27, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

El ‘tri’, que es dirigido por el colombiano Juan Carlos Osorio, es el puntero del hexagonal final que entrega tres cupos directos al Mundial de Rusia 2018. Disfruta de los partidos de esta jornada por beIN SPORTS y Universo en compañía de Sling TV.

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En la última fecha por Eliminatorias, México superó 2-0 a Costa Rica en un encuentro que definía cuál de las dos selecciones tomaba la punta de la clasificación al Mundial; ‘Chicharito’ Hernández y Néstor Araujo anotaron los goles del triunfo azteca. Ahora tendrán un nuevo reto y será frente a Trinidad y Tobago este próximo martes.

Hay un buen ambiente entorno a la selección mexicana y todo indica que, de momento, Juan Carlos Osorio ha podido apaciguar un poco... Read More

Brasil podría conseguir el cupo a Rusia 2018 en la jornada 14 de las Eliminatorias de la CONMEBOL

Mar 24, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Prácticamente los pentacampeones del mundo están con medio pie adentro del próximo Mundial de la FIFA. Este martes se enfrentarán a Paraguay en un juego que puede significar su clasificación definitiva. Este y los demás juegos los puedes disfrutar por beIN SPORTS y beIN SPORTS en Español con Sling TV.

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En la pasada jornada, Brasil se impuso como visitante 1-4 a Uruguay con una gran actuación de Neymar. La ‘canarinha’ llegó a 30 puntos en la clasificación, sacando siete a los ‘charrúas’, quienes son sus escoltas.

Todo está dado para que los brasileros celebren junto a su público el paso a Rusia 2018 cuando enfrenten en Sao Paulo a Paraguay, que viene de vencer en Defensores del Chaco 2-1 a Ecuador.

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Europa vivirá la quinta fecha de las Eliminatorias al Mundial de Rusia 2018

Mar 21, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Entre el viernes 25 y domingo 27 de marzo se jugará una nueva fecha de clasificación para la próxima Copa Mundo. Los 9 grupos estarán en acción y podrás disfrutar los juegos por FS2 y ESPN3 junto a Sling TV.

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España se medirá frente a Israel el viernes en un duelo directo del grupo G. Los ‘ibéricos’ son punteros con 10 puntos, mientras que los israelitas terceros con 9 unidades. Por esa misma zona, Italia enfrentará a Albania en Palermo y esperan asegurar un triunfo para estar más cerca de Rusia 2018.

Por el grupo D, Irlanda se medirá frente al seleccionado galés que es liderado por Gareth Bale. Los irlandeses lideran su zona con 10 unidades; por su parte Galés está quedando... Read More

CONCACAF continúa con el hexagonal final de las Eliminatorias a Rusia 2018

Mar 21, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Con tres partidos la tercera jornada de las clasificatorias a la próxima Copa Mundo traerá emociones y podrá abrir una gran brecha entre los líderes y coleros. No te pierdas estos juegos de eliminatorias por beIN SPORTS y Univision Deportes en compañía de Sling TV.

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Costa Rica, que es el líder del hexagonal final con seis puntos, visitará a México en uno de los partidos más atractivos de esta jornada. Los ‘aztecas’, dirigidos por el colombiano Juan Carlos Osorio, son segundos con cuatro unidades producto de un triunfo frente a Estados Unidos y un empate contra Panamá.

El técnico colombiano hizo una convocatoria de 25 jugadores en la que se resaltan los nombres de Rafael Márquez, Héctor Herrera, Andrés Guardado, Carlos Vela, Raúl... Read More

Eliminatorias Sudamericanas entran en su recta final con la jornada 13

Mar 21, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Este jueves 23 de marzo los equipos sudamericanos se enfrentarán en una nueva jornada clasificatoria para el Mundial de Rusia 2018. Disfruta esta fecha de eliminatorias por beIN SPORTS y beIN SPORTS en Español con Sling TV.

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Colombia y Bolivia abrirán la jornada clasificatoria con el partido que se llevará a cabo en Barranquilla. Los dirigidos por José Pékerman son sextos en la tabla con 18 puntos y si logran un triunfo sobre los del ‘altiplano’ volverán a meterse en el grupo de clasificados al Mundial.

La selección ‘tricolor’ no contará con la presencia de Radamel Falcao García, quien se está recuperando de un golpe que sufrió en su cadera en un encuentro que disputó con el Mónaco en la Ligue 1.

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El fútbol mexicano regresa con la jornada 11 después del paro de árbitros

Mar 15, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Luego de la suspensión de la décima fecha tras la protesta de los jueces, el balompié azteca se reanudará este viernes 17 de marzo. Disfruta de estos encuentros por los canales de Univision y Azteca en compañía de Sling TV.

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La jornada 11 comienza con el encuentro entre Tijuana y Santos Laguna. Los Xolos se ubican en el tercer puesto de la clasificación con 16 puntos, uno menos que los líderes Chivas de Guadalajara y Pachuca. Por su parte, Santos Laguna es octavo con 12 unidades.

Precisamente los Xolos vienen de caer con uno de los líderes del torneo, como lo es el Pachuca en un partido que quedó 2-3 a favor de los ‘Tuzos’. Carlos Alvarado, Franco Jara y Mateo Urretaviscaya marcaron... Read More

Real Madrid busca mantenerse en el liderato de La Liga enfrentando a Athletic de Bilbao

Mar 14, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

El conjunto ‘merengue’ es el puntero del balompié español y espera ratificar su buen presente ante al Athletic Club. Este juego y los demás los podrás disfrutar por beIN SPORTS en Español con Sling TV.

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Después del sufrido triunfo 2-1 sobre Real Betis, Real Madrid volvió a la punta del campeonato y aventaja al Barcelona por dos unidades; además tiene un juego menos que los blaugranas. Este sábado visitará al Athletic de Bilbao que en la fecha 27 derrotó 0-2 a Real Sociedad.

Los dirigidos por Zinedine Zidane tuvieron un juego complicado en su casa al comenzar perdiendo el encuentro ante un equipo andaluz que se defendió bien; pero en la única distracción de la defensa, Cristiano Ronaldo cabeceó un balón para emparejar... Read More

Arrancan las semifinales de la CONCACAF Champions League

Mar 13, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Con el partido Tigres vs. Vancouver Whitecaps se abrirá esta fase del torneo continental este próximo 14 de marzo. Dallas y Pachuca se enfrentarán un día después. Estos encuentros los podrás ver por los canales de Univision a través de Sling TV.

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Aunque el inicio de temporada no fue bueno para Tigres, el conjunto de Ricardo ‘El Tuca’ Ferretti ha levantado su nivel en las últimas jornadas del balompié mexicano y en las instancias definitivas de la Liga de Campeones de la CONCACAF.

Esta alza se debe al buen nivel que han tenido jugadores experimentados como son el caso del francés André Pierre-Gignac y el chileno Eduardo Vargas. También se debe al buen nivel que han mostrado los colombianos Francisco Meza y Luis... Read More

Arrancan los cuartos de final de la Copa de México

Mar 13, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Tijuana y Santos Laguna fueron los dos últimos equipos en sumarse a esta instancia de la Copa Clausura. Disfruta de estos enfrentamientos por los canales de Univision en compañía de Sling TV.

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Las Chivas de Guadalajara parten como gran favorito para obtener el trofeo que otorgará un encuentro frente a Querétaro, campeón de la Copa MX Apertura 2016. Los dirigidos por Matías Almeyda son los líderes de la Liga MX y en este torneo dejaron atrás a Correcaminos.

En un partido luchado y complicado, los dos equipos no se sacaron diferencias y terminaron en los 90 minutos reglamentarios 2-2 con anotaciones de Javier López y un autogol de Mario Valdéz a favor de las chivas. Roberto Saucedo y Ever Guzmán marcaron para Correcaminos... Read More

La décima jornada de la Liga MX comienza con el enfrentamiento entre Veracruz y Puebla

Mar 07, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Nuevamente hubo cambio de líder en la Liga mexicana; esta vez las Chivas de Guadalajara asumieron la punta del campeonato. Disfruta de una nueva fecha del fútbol mexicano en Univision Deportes, Azteca y Universo en compañía de Sling TV.

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Guadalajara, que ganó en la última fecha a Toluca por 2-0, se medirá frente a un Tigres que viene de vencer por el mismo marcador a Puebla. Los ‘rayados’ se impusieron en encuentro para “alquilar balcón” con el doblete de Alan Pulido.

Mientras tanto, Tigres viene acomodándose en el rentado local tras un inicio pálido en el Clausura. Ha levantado el nivel en las últimas jornadas y además en el partido de ida de los cuartos de final de la CONCACAF Champions League goleó... Read More

Una nueva jornada del fútbol español que tiene el mano a mano de Barcelona y Real Madrid por el liderato

Mar 07, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

La fecha 27 de la Liga de las estrellas comenzará este viernes 10 de marzo con el encuentro entre Espanyol y Las Palmas. Barcelona visitará a Deportivo de la Coruña y Real Madrid recibirá a Betis. Estos encuentros los podrás ver por beIN SPORTS en Español con Sling TV.

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Todo indica que la renuncia de Luis Enrique para dirigir al Barcelona la próxima temporada alivió las cargas dentro del plantel y los resultados del ‘blaugrana’ en La Liga han sido buenos.

Tras el último encuentro en el que Barcelona goleó 5-0 a Celta de Vigo, se notó un Messi fresco, demostró una vez más por qué para muchos es el mejor del mundo. El triunfo significó que los catalanes mantuvieran la punta con 60... Read More

La vuelta de los octavos de la Champions arranca con Arsenal - Bayern Munich y Napoli - Real Madrid

Mar 06, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Este martes 7 de marzo se conocerán los dos primeros equipos clasificados a los cuartos de final de la Liga de Campeones. Arsenal recibirá a Bayern Munich y Napoli a Real Madrid. Disfruta de la Liga de campeones por ESPN Deportes, FS1 y FS2 con Sling TV.

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El actual campeón de la Champions llega a Italia para enfrentar a un equipo que lo complicó en el inicio de la serie con un gol de Lorenzo Insigne. Real Madrid ha bajado su rendimiento en los últimos partidos de la liga española y permitió que el Barcelona lo alcanzara en la cima de la tabla.

Tras el 3-1 a favor en el Santiago Bernabéu, los dirigidos por Zinedine Zidane parten como favoritos para avanzar a... Read More

El fútbol en España no para y este viernes la fecha 26 comienza con Betis vs. Real Sociedad

Mar 01, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Este será el primer juego de una nueva jornada del balompié ibérico. Real Madrid, Barcelona y Sevilla continúan en la disputa de la punta. Los encuentros de la Liga de las estrellas los podrá ver por beIN Sports en Español con Sling TV.

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Real Madrid quiere sacarse la espina de hace unos meses cuando en su casa dejó escapar dos puntos frente a Eibar al igualar 1-1. En aquella oportunidad el equipo de Zinedine Zidane recibió duras críticas por su mal desempeño frente a un conjunto al cual tenía que derrotar para asegurar los tres puntos.

Seguramente el técnico francés rotará su nómina en esta fecha, ya que el martes, siete de marzo, se medirá frente al Napoli por la vuelta de los... Read More

Tijuana y Pachuca abren la novena jornada del fútbol mexicano

Mar 01, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Los nuevos líderes se enfrentan este viernes frente a los ‘tuzos’, que se ubican en el tercer puesto de la tabla. Este y los demás encuentros los podrás ver por Univisión, Univisión Deportes, Azteca, Galavisión y ESPN Deportes en compañía de Sling TV.

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Tijuana alcanzó en puntos a Toluca y ahora se ubica en el primer puesto de la clasificación con 16 unidades, tras su triunfo en la pasada jornada por 2-0 frente a Monterrey. Los ‘Xolos’ lograron la victoria con anotaciones de los argentinos Juan Martín Lucero y Víctor Malcorra.

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Por su parte Toluca, segundo en la tabla, se enfrentará frente a Chivas de Guadalajara. Los ‘diablos rojos’ sufrieron una sorprendente derrota de locales ante Puebla por 1-3... Read More

El campeón Seattle Sounders inicia la defensa del título de la MLS frente a Houston

Mar 01, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Este viernes 3 de marzo inicia una nueva temporada de la Major League Soccer con el partido que disputarán Portland Timbers y Minnesota United. Este encuentro y los demás juegos de la primera fecha los podrás vivir por los canales de Univision, canales de FOX y canales de ESPN con Sling TV.

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El Seattle sorprendió la temporada pasada cuando levantó su primer título de la MLS al derrotar en la final, desde los cobros de penal, a Toronto. El gran golpe lo dio cuando eliminó en las semifinales al Favorito Dallas con un global de 4-2. Esta temporada esperan reivindicar lo logrado en el 2016 ya que tienen jugadores de categoría como los son Nicolás Lodeiro, ‘El Papelito’ Fernández y el histórico Clint Dempsey.... Read More

Real Madrid, Barcelona y Sevilla continúan su pelea por la punta

Feb 28, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Entre martes y jueves se disputará una nueva fecha del fútbol español en la que se auguran nuevas emociones y los equipos de la punta tendrán partidos claves para seguir peleando por el campeonato. Los encuentros de la Liga de las estrellas los podrás ver por beIN Sports en Español con Sling TV.

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Real Madrid, líder del campeonato, recibirá en el Santiago Bernabéu a Las Palmas este próximo miércoles primero de marzo. Los dirigidos por Zinedine Zidane vienen de sufrir frente a Villarreal tras un sufrido triunfo por 2-3. El ‘submarino amarillo’ no supo mantener una diferencia de 2-0 y se dejó remontar el juego por la casa blanca.

Zidane ha decidido rotar la nómina en los últimos encuentros y no sería extraño... Read More

Se definen los semifinalistas de la CONCACAF Champions League con los juegos de vuelta

Feb 27, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Con los primeros partidos disputados de la instancia de cuartos de final, Dallas fue el único equipo que logró sacar una diferencia considerable frente a su rival al derrotar 4-0, en condición de local, a Árabe Unido. Vive los partidos de la CONCACAF Champions League por Univisión Deportes y Galavisión a través de Sling TV.

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El conjunto estadounidense no se apiadó de los panameños al golearlos por 4-0. Kellyn Acosta fue la gran figura del partido al anotar en dos oportunidades; el paraguayo Cristian Colmán y el colombiano Michael Barrios, anotaron los otros tantos de Dallas.

La vuelta se disputará este próximo miércoles 1 de marzo. El partido se llevará a cabo en el estadio Rommel Fernández, de la Ciudad de Panamá. Por... Read More

La octava jornada del fútbol de México vivirá el clásico entre América y Cruz Azul

Feb 23, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Será una fecha decisiva para las ‘águilas’ luego de caer 1-0 en el superclásico frente a las Chivas ‘rayadas’ de Guadalajara. Ricardo La Volpe no podrá dirigir desde el banco por la expulsión que sufrió el sábado pasado. Este y los demás encuentros los podrá ver por Univisión Deportes, Azteca, ESPN Deportes y Universo en compañía de Sling TV.

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Ricardo La Volpe fue la noticia en la pasada fecha del fútbol mexicano cuando ingresó al campo y le quitó el balón a un rival, a pesar de que la jugada ya había sido parada. Este hecho hizo que viera la roja y se pierda el clásico frente a Cruz Azul, que al igual que América no cumple un buen inicio de torneo.

El... Read More

Atlético Madrid vs. Barcelona, el gran atractivo de la jornada 24 del fútbol español

Feb 23, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

‘Colchoneros’ y ‘azulgranas’ se verán las caras este domingo 26 de febrero a partir de las 10:00 de la mañana. Este y los demás encuentros de La Liga de las estrellas los podrás ver por beIN Sports en Español con Sling TV.

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Los dos equipos vienen de obtener los tres puntos en la última fecha de España. Barcelona superó, de manera agónica, a Leganés por 2-1 con doblete de Lionel Messi, quien anotó el tanto del triunfo al minuto 90 a través de un cobro de penal. La victoria tiene a los catalanes en la segunda posición de la tabla con 51 puntos, uno menos que Real Madrid, aunque el ‘merengue’ tiene dos partidos menos.

En los dos últimos encuentros por Liga, Barcelona... Read More

Deportivo Saprissa vs. Pachuca: el duelo que abre los cuartos de final de la Concacaf Champions League

Feb 17, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Este martes 21 de febrero se da inicio a la fase definitiva del certamen con el enfrentamiento entre costarricenses y mexicanos. Pachuca parte como favorito para avanzar en la serie. Vive los partidos de la Concacaf Champions League por Univision Deportes a través de Sling TV.

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Por su parte Saprissa quiere dar la sorpresa. A pesar de haberse clasificado primero de su zona con 8 puntos, en la tabla general del torneo, que conforma las llaves de eliminación directa, ocupó el sexto puesto, mientras los ‘tuzos’ se ubicaron terceros con 10 unidades.

Pero sin lugar a dudas el partido que se llevará todas las miradas será el que protagonizarán los clubes mexicanos Tigres y Pumas. Los dos conjuntos ‘manitos’ sumaron tres triunfos y... Read More

Chivas vs. América: un clásico que puede dejar en crisis a las ‘águilas’

Feb 15, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

El comienzo de temporada para los dirigidos de Ricardo Lavolpe no es alentador; han encajado tres derrotas, un empate y solo dos triunfos, resultados que lo ubican en la posición 12 de la tabla con cuatro puntos más que Puebla, colero de la clasificación. Este juego lo puedes disfrutar a través de Univisión Deportes con Sling TV.

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En la última jornada de la Liga MX, América cayó ante Chiapas por 2-0, logrando el triunfo con anotaciones de Jonathan Fabro y Marcelo Estigarribia. Ante las versiones de la prensa mexicana sobre la salida del técnico argentino, el presidente del club, Ricardo Peláez, afirmó que quiere que Lavolpe continúe en su cargo, además de hacer respetar el contrato que vence en junio de 2017.

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Real Madrid, Barcelona y Sevilla: la pelea por la punta continúa

Feb 14, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Una nueva fecha de la liga de las ‘estrellas’ dará inicio este fin de semana. Granada y Betis, equipos que luchan por no descender, disputarán el primer encuentro este próximo viernes. Los mejores juegos de La Liga española los podrás por beIN Sports en Español a través de Sling TV.

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Sin lugar a dudas todas las miradas están puestas en las tres escuadras que lideran la tabla de posiciones; Real Madrid, Barcelona y Sevilla. Los ‘merengues’ (49 puntos) mantienen la punta con una unidad de ventaja sobre los ‘azulgranas’, pero con la diferencia que han disputado dos partidos menos. Una gran ventaja para los de Zinedine Zidane que enfrentarán el sábado en el Santiago Bernabéu a Espanyol, noveno en la clasificación.

Real Madrid... Read More

Chivas vs. América: un clásico que despejará dudas en este inicio de temporada

Feb 14, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Guadalajara se ubica en el cuarto puesto con 11 puntos, mientras que las ‘águilas’ suman siete unidades en la casilla once de la clasificación. Este vibrante encuentro y los demás juegos de la fecha los podrás disfrutar por Univisión, ESPN Deportes y Azteca en compañía de Sling TV.

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El ‘rebaño sagrado’ será local frente a uno de sus rivales históricos este domingo, en el encuentro que se denomina como el ‘clásico nacional’. El club del técnico argentino Matías Almeyda viene de un importante triunfo, 1-2, frente a otro de sus eternos rivales como es el Atlas.

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Por su parte, América no viene cumpliendo una buena campaña en el inicio del campeonato, lo que los tiene en una posición de... Read More

PSG y Barcelona darán inicio a los octavos de final de la Liga de Campeones

Feb 10, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Paris Saint-Germain y Barcelona abren la fase de octavos de final de la Champions League este próximo martes 14 de febrero. El mismo día, Benfica y Borussia Dortmund se enfrentarán en el Estadio da Luz de Lisboa. Los dos encuentros corresponden a juegos de ida; los partidos de vuelta se disputarán el 8 de marzo. Vive los mejores partidos del torneo europeo con Sling TV.

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Barcelona, que viene con el ánimo alto luego de dejar en el camino al Atlético de Madrid en la semifinal de la Copa del Rey,visitará al PSG en el Parque de los Príncipes. La escuadra española, dirigida por Luis Enrique, tendrá en su tridente de ataque a Suárez, Neymar y Messi. Las apuestas en el ataque francés están con... Read More

La sexta jornada se vestirá de gala gracias al Clásico Tapatío

Feb 09, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

El Clausura 2017 de la Liga MX cumple el primer tercio de la competencia y nos deja hasta ahora noticias inesperadas. Los Xolos son los únicos líderes con 12 puntos. El vigente campeón Tigres se encuentra en la decimocuarta posición, mientras que el subcampeón América se encuentra en la décima colocación; por el momento están por fuera de la Liguilla. Disfruta de lo mejor de la Liga MX por los canales Univision, Azteca y NBC Universo con Sling TV.

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Toluca, segundo en la tabla de posiciones, querrá hacer respetar su casa y vencer a Veracruz, que tan solo está a un punto de diferencia. Este duelo es importante para los ‘tiburones’ ya que buscan mejorar su promedio en la tabla del descenso.

Pumas,... Read More

A pesar de tener dos partidos aplazados Real Madrid buscará estirar su ventaja

Feb 08, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Real Madrid se encuentra en un momento decisivo por la pelea por el título. Son líderes de La Liga -pero por tan solo un punto de diferencia- y tienen dos partidos aplazados ante Valencia y Celta de Vigo. Barcelona y Sevilla esperan que los ‘merengues’ se tropiecen. Vive los mejores partidos de La Liga BBVA a través de beINñ Sports con Sling TV.

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Barcelona por un par de horas podrá recuperar el liderato de la Liga BBVA cuando visite al Alavés el próximo sábado en el estadio Mendizorroza. Con Messi a la cabeza esperan ganar y tener un golpe de suerte en la visita del Real Madrid a Osasuna. Los ‘culé’ ya no dependen de sí mismos y deben cruzar los dedos para que... Read More

Se decide quién jugará la final de la Copa del Rey

Feb 07, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Ya se acerca el día en que su majestad Felipe VI entregará el trofeo de la segunda competición más importante de España, y para ello hay que superar las reñidas semifinales entre Barcelona y Atlético de Madrid y Alavés contra Celta de Vigo. Ambos partidos los podrás disfrutar por beINñ SPORTS a través de Sling TV.

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Barcelona recibirá en casa al Atlético de Madrid con una importante ventaja conseguida como visitante. Los dos goles culés generan esperanza en el cuadro blaugrana que quiere sellar la serie en casa.

Luis Suárez, Lionel Messi y Neymar serán la carta de gol de los catalanes, que además cuentan con la ventaja del ‘gol visitante’ que obliga al Atlético de Madrid a marcar dos goles para tener... Read More

América sumó tres puntos después de tres jornadas

Feb 01, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Se jugó la cuarta jornada del fútbol mexicano en donde se aclaró el panorama en la cima de la tabla general, donde Xolos y Pumas pelean por el liderato. América salió del fondo de la tabla y Chivas alterna buenas y malas. Disfruta del mejor fútbol de México por los canales de Univision y Azteca con Sling TV.

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Por fin la espera terminó. Las ‘águilas’ volvieron al triunfo después de más de un mes y medio cuando le ganaron al Jeonbuk Motors de Corea del Sur por 1-2 en el Mundial de Clubes de la FIFA. Los ‘azulcrema’, gracias al gol de Cecilio Domínguez, vencieron 1-0 a Veracruz y ya no son últimos en la clasificación. Ahora tienen que revalidar la victoria en su... Read More

La Liga se define entre tres

Feb 01, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Después de las polémicas arbitrales en los partidos del Sevilla y Barcelona, La Liga de España llega a la jornada 21 con Real Madrid a la cabeza con 46 unidades, cuatro más que sus perseguidores catalanes y andaluces. Los ‘merengues’ tienen un partido pendiente frente a Valencia que podría estirar la ventaja en el primer lugar. Los mejores partidos de La Liga BBVA los podrás vivir a través de beINñ Sports con Sling TV.

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Real Madrid se volverá a ver las caras con Celta de Vigo después de la sorpresiva eliminación de la Copa del Rey. Los de Zidane podrán vengar la despedida y de paso escaparse en la punta de La Liga. Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema y Danilo buscarán, con la ayuda de sus... Read More

Con Nacional y Santa Fe como favoritos, la Liga Águila vuelve al ruedo

Feb 01, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Después de un mes de inactividad la pelota vuelve a rodar en los estadios del fútbol colombiano. Los 20 equipos pelearán codo a codo por levantar el trofeo de la Liga Águila y todo esto lo podrás disfrutar por el canal Nuestra Tele con Sling TV.

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Independiente Santa Fe buscará reeditar el Torneo Finalización 2016 en donde de la mano de su entrenador Gustavo Costas consiguieron su novena estrella.

El ‘expreso rojo’ se reforzó con jugadores de calidad como Johan Arango, Denis Stracqualursi, Adolfo Valencia, Daniel Buitrago, la joya juvenil Damir Ceter, entre otros; para así enfrentar el campeonato local y la Copa Libertadores, en donde harán parte del Grupo 2 conformado por Santos, Sporting Cristal y el ganador de de la llave... Read More

Con la AFA en crisis regresan las emociones del fútbol argentino

Feb 01, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Una crisis económica e institucional ha precedido la segunda mitad del campeonato argentino en donde Boca Juniors es líder con 31 puntos en 14 partidos jugados y tiene tres unidades de ventaja con sus más cercanos rivales, Newell’s Old Boys y San Lorenzo.

Los equipos se han ido preparando con amistosos y ciclos de pretemporada en medio de un mercado de pases bastante modesto en comparación a las contrataciones de años pasados. Todas estas emociones las podrás vivir desde este fin de semana a través de TyC Sports con Sling TV.

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La transferencia más sonada fue la partida de Carlos Tevez de Boca Juniors al Shanghai Shenhua de China por una cifra cercana a los 40 millones de dólares anuales, el ‘Apache’ se... Read More

Sin Real Madrid, comienzan las semifinales de la Copa del Rey

Jan 30, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

La Copa del Rey ya entró en su recta final. A partir del próximo miércoles cuatro equipos lucharán para quedarse con el segundo trofeo más importante del fútbol español, en una de las semifinales más reñidas y emocionantes de los últimos años que podrás disfrutar por beINñ SPORTS a través de Sling TV.

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La llave más atractiva de esta doble jornada será sin duda la que protagonicen Barcelona y Atlético de Madrid, quienes se enfrentarán el 1 de febrero en el estadio Vicente Calderón de la capital española, en un partido que promete ser muy reñido y con mucha “pierna fuerte”.

El equipo dirigido por el ‘Cholo’ Simeone viene de una serie de pobres presentaciones en la Liga local, que lo han alejado... Read More

Vuelven las emociones de la Serie A ecuatoriana

Jan 27, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

¡Año nuevo, vida nueva! Esa parece ser la máxima de los 12 equipos que este 2017 lucharán para quedarse con el máximo título del fútbol ecuatoriano, en donde habrá nuevamente acción luego de casi un mes de inactividad. No olvides que todas las emociones de esta primera jornada podrás vivirlas por el canal Ecuavisa con Sling TV.

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Por los lados del vigente campeón, Barcelona, el técnico Guillermo Almada prepara a sus mejores hombres para afrontar el arranque de este duro semestre, que tendrá al conjunto de Guayaquil peleando en el frente doméstico, y también en la Copa Libertadores, donde comparte el Grupo 1 de la competencia con equipos de la talla de Atlético Nacional y Estudiantes de la Plata.

En el momento todas... Read More

América en la lucha por abandonar el último lugar de la Liga MX

Jan 26, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Dos derrotas en igual número de partidos y un encuentro aplazado es el panorama de las ‘águilas’ que no logran alcanzar la luz al final del túnel. Por otro lado cinco equipos batallan por el liderato de la Liga, disfruta del mejor fútbol de México por los canales de Univision, Azteca y NBC Universo con Sling TV.

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El duelo de la jornada se realizará en la cancha del estadio Hidalgo, cuando Pachuca, tercer lugar de la tabla, reciba al segundo, Toluca. Además, ambas escuadras vienen de caer, los ‘tuzos’ ante Necaxa y los ‘diablos’ frente a Jaguares. Es así que los líderes buscarán levantarse del tropiezo y mantener el liderato.

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Por otro lado, el ‘rebaño sagrado’ llegará a casa... Read More

Tres equipos, un trofeo: Así va La Liga BBVA

Jan 26, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Los días en que Real Madrid y Barcelona dominaban a sus anchas el campeonato español parecen ser cosa del pasado. Solo basta con mirar la tabla de posiciones para darse cuenta que estamos en presencia de una de las temporadas más reñidas de los últimos años, animada esta vez por un protagonista inesperado: el Sevilla de Jorge Sampaoli.

Todas estas emociones las podrás disfrutar por beINñ SPORTS con Sling TV.

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El entrenador argentino ha causado una verdadera ‘revolución’ en el cuadro andaluz que marcha segundo en la tabla de posiciones con 42 puntos, uno menos que el líder, Real Madrid, que tiene todavía un partido pendiente contra Valencia por la Jornada 16 de La Liga. Sevilla, envalentonado por su agónico triunfo como visitante... Read More

Real Madrid, un duelo de vida o muerte contra Celta de Vigo

Jan 23, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Tras los emocionantes juegos de ida, esta semana se definirá quiénes serán los equipos que jugarán las semifinales de la Copa del Rey. Todos estos partidos los podrás disfrutar por beINñ SPORTS con Sling TV.

Real Madrid está entre la espada y la pared en su eliminatoria de la Copa Del Rey al caer 1-2 en casa ante el Celta que sorpresivamente se fue en ventaja en los cuartos de final que se definirán en Vigo.

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El cuadro merengue llega golpeado al juego de vuelta, dos derrotas consecutivas en partidos decisivos, ante el Sevilla y Celta, llenaron de preocupación al cuerpo técnico comandado por Zinedine Zidane que cada vez cuenta con menos futbolistas aptos en el plantel. Modric y Marcelo se lesionaron y... Read More

Sevilla acelera el ritmo y amenaza a Real Madrid

Jan 17, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Más que un invicto de 40 partidos sin perder, la victoria 2-1 del Sevilla le quitó la tranquilidad a Real Madrid y demostró que los galácticos son mortales. Un solo punto los separa en su lucha por el título de la Liga que puedes disfrutar semana a semana por beINñ Sports a través de Sling TV.

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Los líderes tratarán de levantarse tras la dura derrota en Sevilla y enfrentarán al Málaga que se encuentra en el puesto 13 de la tabla general.

Por su parte el conjunto dirigido por Jorge Sampaoli jugará ante el colero Osasuna y buscará recortar puntos a Real Madrid (quienes todavía tienen un partido más por jugar) y mantener su distancia de un punto ante el tercero de la... Read More

Tigres y América reeditan la final del Apertura 2016

Jan 17, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Para todo en la vida siempre hay una revancha, tarde o temprano existe la posibilidad de volverse a encontrar con una vieja deuda pendiente y América no la quiere desaprovechar en su visita a Tigres este próximo sábado en el estadio Universitario en el juego más emocionante de la tercera jornada del fútbol mexicano que podrás vivir a través de los canales de Univision y Azteca con Sling TV.

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Tigres no comenzó bien el Clausura 2017, un empate a cero goles contra Santos en la primera jornada y una derrota 2-0 ante Atlas, además de no anotar goles en la temporada en curso preocupa al ‘Tuca’ Ferreti.

Por el lado de América las cosas no están mejor, su debut en el torneo fue... Read More

Tres grandes, un título: Así se define la Copa del Rey

Jan 17, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

La popular copa que es entregada por el Rey Felipe VI llega a las instancias en las que la emoción alcanza límites no imaginados por el hincha del fútbol, y toda esa pasión la podrás vivir por beINñ SPORTS a través de Sling TV.

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Real Madrid, Barcelona y Atlético de Madrid se posicionan como favoritos para llegar a la ronda donde solo cuatro quedarán en competencia. Además, Alavés y Alcorcón tendrán la oportunidad de llegar a la antesala de la final donde querrán hacer historia.

De los tres grandes, Barcelona es quien la tiene más complicada pues enfrentará a la Real Sociedad de San Sebastián, sexto en la clasificación general, pero lleva un año sin perder ante los blaugranas.

LatinoSoccer011717-2... Read More

América buscará ponerse al día en la Liga MX

Jan 12, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

La segunda jornada del Clausura 2017 tendrá emocionantes encuentros. América se medirá al Toluca en la reinauguración del Nemesio Díez, Pumas arrancará su participación en casa ante Cruz Azul y Monterrey le hará los honores a Chivas.

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Rubens Sambueza, flamante contratación del Toluca, jugará ante su ex equipo y buscará anotar después de salir del América por la puerta de atrás luego de la expulsión que recibió en la final del Apertura 2016 en la que los azulcremas perdieron contra Tigres por penaltis. Este partido será el debut de las águilas en el Clausura 2017 mientras que para Toluca será un encuentro decisivo para mantener la racha de victorias.

Al mismo tiempo, Cruz Azul buscará seguir cosechando triunfos ante un dolido Pumas que intentó... Read More

Sevilla vs Real Madrid: Un duelo definitorio para el título

Jan 12, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Otra apasionante jornada de La Liga volverá a disputarse este fin de semana con las acostumbradas emociones que suelen dejar algunos de los partidos más atractivos e importantes del fútbol mundial, como el que jugarán este domingo Real Madrid, actual líder del campeonato, y su escolta en la tabla de posiciones, el sorprendente Sevilla.

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Los blanquirrojos buscarán recortar la distancia que tienen con los merengues a tan solo un punto, teniendo en cuenta que Real Madrid tiene un partido aplazado por jugar ante Valencia. Los de la capital llegarán motivados. Cristiano Ronaldo ganó el premio ‘The Best’ de la FIFA y fue elegido como titular en el ‘11’ del año junto con Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Luka Modric y Toni Kroos. Por su parte, el equipo... Read More

Comienza la aventura del Clausura 2017 de la Liga MX

Jan 05, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

Apenas pasaron dos semanas de la coronación de Tigres como campeón de la Liga MX y ya arranca el Torneo Clausura 2017, el cual será transmitido en su totalidad por Univision, Univision Deportes, Azteca y Galavisión. Recuerda que todos los partidos los podrás disfrutar a través de Sling TV.

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El Día de Reyes se dará el puntapié inicial en Veracruz cuando los tiburones reciban en casa al Querétaro. Los locales, con 14 nuevos jugadores y al mando de Víctor Manuel Vucetich, deben sumar puntos desde el inicio para alejarse de la temida zona de descensos.

El sábado habrá más emociones. El entrenador español Paco Jémez debutará con el Cruz Azul, quien tiene preparada una renovada máquina cementera.

Del otro lado el Necaxa,... Read More

Regreso de vacaciones: Real Madrid buscará afianzarse en el liderato

Jan 05, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

La Liga vuelve con todas sus emociones. Tras el ’parón invernal’ se retoman actividades de cara al semestre definitivo en donde Real Madrid, por el momento, cabalga en solitario en el liderato. La jornada 17 de la Liga la podrás ver por beIN SPORTS y beINñ SPORTS a través de Sling TV.

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Los dirigidos por Zinedine Zidane, que se quedaron sin fichar jugadores por el castigo que la FIFA les impuso, se miden en el primer duelo del sábado ante el Granada en el Santiago Bernabéu.

Los campeones del Mundial de Clubes de la FIFA, líderes con 37 unidades, tienen además un partido pendiente ante Valencia que se debió jugar mientras se disputaba el torneo de campeones en Japón, razón por la cual... Read More

Clausura 2017: Al estilo europeo arranca el fútbol mexicano

Jan 05, 2017 by Sling Latino Staff

La Liga MX vuelve este 6 de enero y se ha convertido en el destino perfecto para muchos futbolistas. El idioma, la cultura latina y las grandes sumas de dinero que se manejan, similares a las de Europa, resultan seductoras para los mejores jugadores de ligas como la chilena, colombiana, argentina y hasta española.

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Tigres, actual campeón de la liga, sigue siendo el equipo con más valía ya que su plantilla tiene un precio por encima de los 60 millones de dólares. Por su parte Monterrey, con casi 55 millones de dólares, se encuentra segundo y Pachuca, con una cantera de oro, es tercero con más de 40 millones dólares.

Dentro de la ‘invasión extranjera’ en este Clausura 2017 los chilenos destacan con 18... Read More

Tigres-América: La final se resuelve en Monterrey con Gignac como duda

Dec 23, 2016 by Sling Latino Staff

América y Tigres dejaron todo para el partido de vuelta de la gran final de la Liga MX, que se jugará en el Estadio Universitario de San Nicolás de los Garza, luego del empate 1-1 que dejó el encuentro de ida en el Azteca. Esta emocionante final será transmitida por Univision y Univision Deportes el próximo domingo 25 de diciembre a las 7:30pm ET y la podrás disfrutar por Sling TV.

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Felinos y águilas definirán el próximo campeón mexicano en la innovadora final que se jugará en Navidad.

En el partido de ida América pudo comenzar en ventaja cuando Oribe Peralta confundió al árbitro y generó un penal tras una jugada dudosa. El propio ‘Cepillo’ erró desde los 12 pasos al reventar el... Read More

América y Tigres: ¿Cuál de los dos dará el primer golpe?

Dec 19, 2016 by Sling Latino Staff

La Liga MX tendrá nuevo campeón pero no será un desconocido, sino que dos instituciones que regularmente son animadores del campeonato buscarán ganar el Torneo Apertura 2016. Vive el emocionante juego de ida por Univisión Deportes el próximo 22 de diciembre a las 10:00pm ET, cortesía de Sling TV.

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América buscará terminar el año del centenario con un regalo para su afición, el título. Los ‘azulcrema’ llegan a la serie final después de vencer a Chivas de Guadalajara en los cuartos de final y al Necaxa en la semifinal.

El cuadro de Ricardo La Volpe arriba al juego de ida recién desempacado de Japón, donde disputó el Mundial de Clubes de la FIFA. Las Águilas quieren irse en ventaja en el primer encuentro y así... Read More

Real Madrid y Kashima Antlers disputarán la final del Mundial de Clubes más polémico de la historia

Dec 16, 2016 by Sling Latino Staff

Ni Cristiano Ronaldo, ni James Rodríguez, tampoco Rubens Sambueza. El gran protagonista de este Mundial de Clubes ha sido el videoarbitraje que, de manera confusa y desprolija, ha hecho su ingreso formal al fútbol de élite dejando muchos más interrogantes que soluciones a los problemas.

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Las decisiones arbitrales fueron determinantes para la definición del fixture. El miércoles, Atlético Nacional fue sancionado con un penal tecnológico por parte del árbitro Viktor Kassai y cayó por goleada 3-0 ante el Kashima Antlers. Los japoneses llegarán al Estadio Internacional de Yokohama como la gran sorpresa del certamen y buscarán cumplir un sueño, vencer al Real Madrid frente a su afición el próximo domingo.

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En la otra semifinal entre América y Real Madrid, los... Read More

Sin Real Madrid ni Valencia, así será la jornada 16 de la Liga Santander

Dec 15, 2016 by Sling Latino Staff

Los 90 minutos de juego entre Atlético de Bilbao y Celta de Vigo no solo marcará el final de la jornada 16 de La Liga de España, sino también el cierre del calendario futbolístico en su versión 2016; debido al receso de invierno el balón no volverá a rodar hasta el 6 de enero del próximo año. Disfruta de esta vibrante jornada gracias a Sling TV, por beINñ Sports.

Real Madrid, con cuerpo y mente en Japón, y Valencia fueron los primeros equipos en irse de vacaciones de invierno a causa de la participación del cuadro ‘merengue’ en el Mundial de Clubes de la FIFA. El partido entre estos dos clubes se jugará el próximo 22 de febrero del 2017.

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Los 18 clubes... Read More

Mundial de Clubes de la FIFA: las ‘águilas’ sueñan con volar más alto

Dec 13, 2016 by Sling Latino Staff

Gracias al doblete del argentino Silvio Romero, América se sacó la espina de la rápida eliminación del año pasado y enfrentará al campeón de Europa, Real Madrid, con el sueño de hacer historia para México y la CONCACAF. Vive este emocionante encuentro este jueves a las 3:30am ET, gracias a Sling TV.

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Por su parte, el Real Madrid pisó territorio japonés con la confianza por la nubes. La distancia de seis puntos con el segundo de la Liga de España y su clasificación a la siguiente ronda de la Champions League los hace llegar como favoritos para coronarse como el mejor club del mundo.

Image 2 Getty Images

Los ‘merengues’ se medirán al América en el duelo por el... Read More

Real Madrid y la oportunidad de escaparse

Dec 08, 2016 by Sling Latino Staff

Para leer este post en inglés, haga clic aquí.

Con el Clásico como parte del pasado, la Liga española afrontará una nueva jornada que promete, como cada fin de semana, revivir nuevas emociones en millones de aficionados locales y de todo el mundo que se darán cita para presenciar los mejores partidos de esta atrapante jornada; y todo esto lo podrás disfrutar gracias a Sling Latino por el canal beINñ SPORTS.

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Real Madrid, con el estado anímico por las nubes tras el empate agónico ante Barcelona en el Camp Nou y por su primer lugar en la tabla de posiciones, recibirá en el Santiago Bernabéu al Deportivo de la Coruña, uno de los coleros del campeonato. El entrenador Zinedine Zidane dispondría de un equipo mixto... Read More

Toronto FC, por la historia ante un poderoso Seattle Sounders

Dec 08, 2016 by Sling Latino Staff

Para leer esta publicación en inglés, haga clic aquí.

La MLS llegará a su fin cuando los dos equipos más regulares, Toronto FC de la Conferencia Este y Seattle Sounders de la Conferencia Oeste, se midan en una inédita disputa por el título. Esta es la primera vez que un equipo canadiense disputa el máximo honor del torneo americano.

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Los canadienses, liderados por Michael Bradley, Sebastian Giovinco y Jozy Altidore, buscarán seguir haciendo historia, luego de dejar en el camino al Philadelphia Union (3-1), al poderoso New York City FC (7-0) y al Impact de Montreal (7-5 en tiempos extras) en la final de la Conferencia Este, para instalarse en la final.

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Del otro lado el cuadro que tiene en Clint... Read More

Real Madrid, en busca de la gloria mundial

Dec 07, 2016 by Sling Latino Staff

Para leer este post en Inglés haga, clic aquí.

Del 8 al 18 de diciembre se jugará en Japón una nueva edición del Mundial de Clubes de la FIFA, torneo que reúne a los campeones vigentes de las 6 Confederaciones del fútbol mundial (más el campeón del país anfitrión), quienes durante dos semanas se enfrentarán para establecer el mejor equipo del mundo a nivel de clubes.

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En representación de Oceanía, estará el Auckland City de Nueva Zelanda, quien le dará apertura al evento ante el local Kashima Antlers.

Por su parte, el continente africano estará representado por el Mamelodi Sundowns de Sudáfrica, que espera avanzar (al menos) a la semifinal del torneo cuando se enfrente en cuartos de final al ganador del partido de apertura.

... Read More

Se definen los invitados a la siguiente ronda de la Champions

Dec 05, 2016 by Sling Latino Staff

Para leer este post en español, haga clic aquí.

La UEFA Champions League llega a la última jornada de la fase de grupo, y aunque son varios los equipos que ya tienen su pase a la siguiente ronda, se juegan partidos muy importantes que podrás disfrutar este martes y miércoles gracias a Sling Latino por el canal beIN Sports.

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Grupo A

Basel - Arsenal

Paris Saint-Germain - Ludogorets

PSG y Arsenal llegan a esta jornada con el pase asegurado a octavos de final, el premio que queda por reclamar es la clasificación a Europa League. Ludogorets y Basel tienen los mismo puntos pero los búlgaros tienen ventaja por la victoria en el duelo directo.

Grupo B

Benfica - Napoli

Dinamo de Kiev -Besiktas

... Read More

Liga MX: Cuatro buscan el título, solo habrá un rey

Nov 30, 2016 by Sling Latino Staff

Solo quedan cuatro equipos en la búsqueda del nuevo campeón del fútbol mexicano. Tigres, América, Necaxa y León son los invitados a la antesala de la serie por el Apertura 2016.

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La liguilla inició vertiginosa pues los cuatro duelos de los octavos de final tuvieron pinturas de gran fútbol.

Tigres se medirá al León y América a Necaxa, el primero, duelo de felinos, mientras que el segundo es un duelo entre dos equipos que durante muchos años fueron hermanos.

Al cuadro de Ricardo Ferretti llega tras apabullar a los Pumas de la UNAM por 5-0 en la vuelta tras el empate a dos en la ida.

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En tanto que el León tuvo un regreso épico en Tijuana cuando era derrotado... Read More

Could Messi’s Tax Problems Cause Him to Leave Barça?

Jul 25, 2016 by Alex Baker

In the wake of Barcelona star Lionel Messi’s being sentenced for tax evasion last week, multiple media outlets have reported that the Argentine maestro is annoyed with the club for its behavior. While media sources close to Barça have claimed this is not the case, speculation remains that Messi’s tax problems in Spain could cause him to seek greener pastures.

The club has actually been quite supportive of Messi, launching a #WeAreAllLeoMessi hashtag campaign following the suspended 21-month jail sentences Messi and his father were handed down by the courts.

Spanish Minister of Sport, Miguel Cardenal has come down and criticized the campaign saying that “we must respect and abide by the decisions” of the court.

Club spokesman Josep Vives has come out in support of both Messi... Read More

Serie A: Will Anyone Challenge Juventus?

Jul 20, 2016 by Alex Baker

The new Serie A season kicks off on August 21 and although fixtures have yet to be announced, the question many are already asking is, will anyone be able to challenge Juventus’ dominance?

The Bianconeri have been consecutive Scudetto winners for the past five years running and at this point, there is little to suggest the Turin outfit can’t extend this hegemony. Juventus have not only the best squad in Italy, but one of the best in Europe, with arguably more depth than even Barcelona. Although they might lose Paul Pogba to Manchester United, if Juve can succeed in prizing Gonzalo Higuain from Napoli, they may not only be Serie A favorites, but could become a serious contender to win the Champions League.

Let’s take a look at some... Read More

Transfer Zone: Pogba to Return to Man United?

Jul 15, 2016 by Alex Baker

The summer transfer window has slammed open. With an influx of TV money hitting the Premier League like a rush of blood to the head, we look to be in for a heck of a ride between now and when the window shuts on August 31. Here now are some of the big deals that look to be in the works.

Pogba refuses to rule out Man United move

Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has refused to rule out a move back to the club where he began his career. Pogba, who left Man U for Juventus four years ago, has been one of the most sought after transfer targets in recent seasons. Despite having an underwhelming campaign with France at the Euros, he remains a “person of... Read More

Portugal Face Host Nation France in Euro 2016 Final

Jul 08, 2016 by Alex Baker

Having beat world champions Germany 2-0 in the Euro 2016 semifinals, host nation France is now set to face Portugal in Sunday’s final.

The tournament showpiece at the Stade de France will pit two of the standout players in these Euros against one another in Cristiano Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann.

With three goals in Euro 2016, Portugal’s Ronaldo is now tied on nine goals with France legend Michel Platini as the all-time leading scorer in the European championships. However, while Platini scored all nine of his goals in a single tournament, Ronaldo’s are spread out across four competitions, making him the only player to have scored in four different European championships.

Griezmann on the other hand, is making his first appearance in the finals of the European championship... Read More

France Hunting for First Win Against Germany Since 1958 in Euro Semis

Jul 07, 2016 by Steven Schott

Most football fans are aware of the odd discrepancy that despite their dominance over the sport throughout the decades, Germany have never won a competitive fixture against Italy. Technically, they still haven’t, with Saturday’s win on penalties in the quarterfinals officially being counted as a draw. It’s a little less well known however, that the last time France won a meaningful contest against Germany was in the 1958 World Cup.

Thus Didier Deschamps’ team will be looking to buck the trend of nearly 60 years of history when the two continental powers clash in the semifinals of Euro 2016 on Thursday. Germany, as world champions, and France, as tournament hosts, were always favorites to reach the final going into this tournament one month ago. But only one will progress to... Read More

Portugal vs. Wales

Jul 06, 2016 by Alex Baker

Real Madrid teammates Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale will face off against one another as Portugal meets Wales in the Euro 2016 semifinal on Wednesday.

Despite being somewhat understated in the quarterfinal that saw Wales eliminate Belgium, Bale has lit up this tournament with three goals and a number of sparkling performances so far. Beyond that, the 26-year-old has played a real leadership role on the pitch.

Far from the one-man team they were billed as at the start of the tournament, Wales have also reaped the benefits of a strong collective spirit and notable individual contributions from the likes of Ashley Williams, Hal Robson-Kanu and Aaron Ramsey among others.

Apart from a 2-1 loss to England, the Dragons have won all of their matches in the tournament... Read More

Germany vs. Italy Highlights Quarterfinal Fixtures of Euro 2016

Jun 29, 2016 by Alex Baker

The round of 16 in Euro 2016 is now in the books. After a knockout round that saw defending champions Spain eliminated by a resurgent Italy side, and perennial hopefuls England knocked out by tournament debutantes, Iceland, we can look ahead to some intriguing quarterfinal clashes later this week.

Poland vs. Portugal

After being ridiculed for missing a penalty in Portugal’s scoreless draw with Austria in the group stage, Cristiano Ronaldo was back on song helping his team battle to a 3-3 draw with Hungary in its final group stage outing and setting up the late winner against Croatia that booked Portugal’s passage to the quarters in the next round. Next up for CR7 and company is a date with Poland, a side that despite not having played particularly... Read More

Italy Face Spain in Rematch of Euro 2012 Final

Jun 27, 2016 by Alex Baker

The round of 16 at Euro 2016 gets underway this weekend with teams playing on two sides of a lopsided bracket; one side of which contains heavyweights like Germany, Spain, England, Italy and France; the other side of which contains the likes of Belgium, Wales, Hungary, and Portugal. While there are a number of standout match-ups in this weekend’s action, the one that really catches the eye is Monday’s tantalizing clash between reigning European champions Spain and perennial tournament favorites Italy. Spain, who were among the favorites heading into the tournament, had a tougher than expected time progressing through the group stage. They were fairly subdued in their tournament opener, winning 1-0 against the Czech Republic in a game that looked much tougher for Vicente Del Bosque’s side than it... Read More

Messi Announces International Retirement as Argentina Fall to Chile in Copa Final

Jun 27, 2016 by Alex Baker

Lionel Messi announced he would retire from playing with his national team after Argentina lost to Chile on penalties in the Copa America Centenario final on Sunday. The defeat was the third consecutive final Argentina have now lost in as many summers; following the 2014 World Cup defeat to Germany, and last summer’s Copa America, which was also lost to Chile on penalties.

But Sunday’s loss was a particularly bitter one for Messi who missed the first penalty kick in the shootout for Argentina.

“I tried my hardest, it’s been four finals and I was not able to win. I tried everything possible, it hurts me more than anyone but it is evident that this is not for me,” Messi told reporters after the match.

The final was... Read More

Argentina to Meet Chile in Copa America Rematch

Jun 24, 2016 by Alex Baker

Defending champions Chile will meet Argentina on Sunday night in the Copa America Centenario final. The two South American heavyweights are set to face one another at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. in what is effectively a rematch of last year’s Copa final.

Argentina lost on penalties last time around, and are desperate to not make a third consecutive losing appearance in a final, having lost the World Cup final to Germany the previous summer. Argentine coach Tata Martino brought a full strength team to this summer’s Copa; a team that brushed aside the United States Men’s National Team earlier this week, handing the Yanks a 4-0 drubbing in Seattle.

An early goal from Ezequiel Lavezzi, followed by an immaculate free kick from Lionel Messi, and a... Read More

Argentina to Meet Chile in Copa America Rematch

Jun 24, 2016 by Alex Baker

Defending champions Chile will meet Argentina on Sunday night in the Copa America Centenario final. The two South American heavyweights are set to face one another at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. in what is effectively a rematch of last year’s Copa final.

Argentina lost on penalties last time around, and are desperate to not make a third consecutive losing appearance in a final, having lost the World Cup final to Germany the previous summer. Argentine coach Tata Martino brought a full strength team to this summer’s Copa; a team that brushed aside the United States Men’s National Team earlier this week, handing the Yanks a 4-0 drubbing in Seattle.

An early goal from Ezequiel Lavezzi, followed by an immaculate free kick from Lionel Messi, and a... Read More

Tournament Faves France, Germany, Spain Win in Opening Round of Euros

Jun 13, 2016 by Alex Baker

The three teams that are most pundits’ picks to win the tournament all managed wins in their opening round of group stage play for Euro 2016. While it would be incorrect to say that France, Germany, or Spain cruised to comfortable victories in their opening matches, each did manage a win and collected three points that could prove invaluable in plotting their trajectories into the next round.

Host Nation France Beats Romania France kicked off the proceedings against Romania on Friday in front of a capacity crowd at its own Stade de France. After a scoreless first half, Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud put the French ahead in the 57th minute, beating Romania keeper Ciprian Tatarusanu to head in the first goal of the tournament.

But Romania lived up to its reputation... Read More

U.S. Gets Copa Campaign Back on Track with Costa Rica Rout

Jun 10, 2016 by Alex Baker

The United States Men’s National Team took a big step towards qualifying for the knockout round of the Copa America Centenario on Tuesday when it defeated Costa Rica by a scoreline of 4-0 at Chicago’s Soldier Field.

Clint Dempsey was the key man for the Yanks, scoring a goal and making two assists as Jurgen Klinsmann’s team brushed off its disappointing loss to Colombia in the Copa opener. Jermaine Jones, Graham Zusi, and debutante striker, Bobby Wood also got on the scoresheet in what amounted to one of the most convincing performances we’ve seen from the U.S. in some time.

Klinsmann had raised eyebrows after Friday’s 2-0 loss with his assertions that Colombia’s goals aside, the two teams were equal.

But the German tactician, who if nothing else,... Read More

Arsenal Taking Transfer Market Business Seriously at Last

Jun 06, 2016 by Alex Baker

After being criticized for failing to sign an outfield player last summer, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger seems intent on getting his transfer business done early this time around. Already, the North London outfit has launched a bid to bring Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy to the Emirates next season.

Vardy scored 24 goals this season, firing Leicester to its first-ever Premier League title and has a £20M release clause in his contract that Arsenal have reportedly triggered. Some stories go as far as suggesting that the 29-year-old has already undergone his medical at Arsenal’s London Colney training center. Arsenal, whose sole signing of goalkeeper Petr Cech last summer made it the only top club in any of Europe’s big leagues not to sign an outfield player, finished second,... Read More

USMNT Must Beware Threat Posed by James in Copa Opener Against Colombia

Jun 03, 2016 by Alex Baker

The Copa America Centenario kicks off on Friday night as hosts the United States meet South American heavyweights Colombia for the tournament opener in Santa Clara, Calif. The USA was drawn into a touch group and Jurgen Klinsmann’s intriguing squad of veterans and newcomers will be put to the rest immediately as they face Colombia, a team with a not unrealistic shot at winning the whole thing.

The Colombians are strong favorites to top Group A, which in addition to the U.S. includes Costa Rica and Paraguay. So while a win Friday would be huge for the Americans, a draw would also do just fine. Above all, the U.S. must avoid the kind of embarrassing or demoralizing loss that could set the tone for the rest of the... Read More

Giuseppe Rossi Made a Mistake Choosing Italy Over US

Jun 02, 2016 by Alex Baker

In an interview with an Italian radio station, Andrea Pastorello, the agent of striker Giuseppe Rossi, admitted the player might have made a mistake in choosing to represent Italy over the United States. Rossi, 29, was born in New Jersey to Italian parents and represented Italy throughout his youth career.

“The national team and Rossi? It’s a story that repeats itself, said Pastorello. “In hindsight, going back to when he chose between representing Italy or the USA, we should have chosen the USA.”

After beginning his career with local New Jersey club, Clifton Mustangs, Rossi joined the youth team at Italian side Parma as a 12-year-old. While a subsequent move to Manchester United at age 17 failed to see him break into the first team, Rossi soon established... Read More

Atletico No Longer Underdogs as Champions League Final Looms

May 28, 2016 by Alex Baker

On paper Real Madrid have one of the best, or at least one of the most expensive assemblages of players the world has even seen. Atletico Madrid on the other hand, boasts a squad that’s largely been parted out with castoffs from other clubs, bargain-bin buys, and a core of academy players. And yet unlike two years ago, when the clubs met in the 2014 final in Lisbon, Atletico go into Saturday’s match suddenly looking like favorites.

It shouldn’t make sense that a team whose only true superstar – Fernando Torres – is several years past his prime should be favorites over a team that contains the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema. But then how could a team that advanced to this year’s final by... Read More

USMNT Squad for Copa America a Mixture of Youth and Experience

May 24, 2016 by Alex Baker

Jurgen Klinsmann released his final roster for this summer’s Copa America Centenario over the weekend. The 23 players who made the cut from the initial 40-man call-up represent an intriguing mix of familiar standbys, new faces, and old favorites who’ve been welcomed back into the fold.

Tim Howard returns for another stint in goal for the U.S. However, the former Everton man, now of the Colorado Rapids, is no longer the first-choice keeper for the Yanks. That honor will instead fall to Aston Villa’s Brad Guzan. 20-year-old Ethan Horvath, of Norwegian side Molde FK rounds out the goalkeeping roster.

In defense, the area where the U.S. arguably has the greatest depth, Klinsmann has been able to call on the experience of a number of players who ply their trades... Read More

Four Leagues Zlatan Ibrahimovic Could be Playing in Next Season

May 21, 2016 by Alex Baker

As Zlatan Ibrahimovic prepares to take to the field Saturday for his final appearance with Paris Saint Germain – a French Cup final tilt against Marseille – the soccer world waits with baited breath for his next move.

The Swedish striker has bagged an astonishing 51 goals across all competitions this season, his 38 Ligue 1 goals setting a new PSG club record. He’s also made it well known that this season would be his last in France and the internet has been working overtime, trying to anticipate his next move.

While Ibrahimovic and his agent, Mino Raiola, have thus far remained tight-lipped about where he will wind up, there are several possibilities being floated about in the press. Here is a brief rundown of the four leagues where... Read More

Liverpool Face Sevilla in Europa League Final with Historic Connotations

May 17, 2016 by Alex Baker

While few would deny that Liverpool have shown major signs of improvement under Jurgen Klopp. But the Anfield outfit nonetheless finished the season eighth in the table, outside of the European berths for next season.

However, the German tactician has a golden opportunity to guide the club back to Europe and secure his first trophy since taking over for Brendan Rodgers when Liverpool meet Sevilla in the Europa League final Wednesday. A win would not only add another piece of silverware to the already substantial collection in the Anfield trophy cabinet; it would secure Liverpool a place in next season’s Champions League.

Klopp is already an undeniable hero to Liverpool fans, but if he can pull this one off, he could genuinely establish himself as a Liverpool legend,... Read More

Barcelona Bounces Back To Claim Sixth Title in Eight Years

May 16, 2016 by Alex Baker

They might not have repeated last season’s historic treble, or proved they were the best club side ever, as some had speculated not long ago (this writer included), but Barcelona were nonetheless crowned La Liga champions following Saturday’s 3-0 win at Granada. Credit the Catalan club for holding their nerve in a down-to-the-wire season finale that saw three teams in with a shot for the title just a few days ago. This was of course after Barcelona had seen the double-digit lead they held over Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid evaporate during a run of disastrous results in April, that included a loss to Real in El Clasico and being knocked out of the Champions League by Atletico.

“We had to win this title twice,” admitted Barça center back Gerard... Read More

AC Milan Host AS Roma in Final Round of Serie A Action

May 14, 2016 by Alex Baker

With the club reportedly on the verge of being bought out by a Chinese consortium, AC Milan will welcome AS Roma to the San Siro this weekend for their final game of the Serie A season.

The Rossoneri have endured another disappointing campaign with the optimism surrounding the appointment of Sinisa Mihajlovic having faded long before the manager was sacked back in April. Things have improved little under his successor, Christian Brocchi. The 18-time Serie A champions currently sit in seventh place, with only two wins on the books since February.

A win for Milan could potentially see them make it over the line into sixth place, depending on how Sassuolo fair against Internazionale, but Milan will again finish the season outside the European places; a disappointing return for... Read More

Chicharito Looks To Ride Good Form With Leverkusen Into Copa America

May 14, 2016 by Alex Baker

With one round of play remaining in the Bundesliga, the race for the fourth and final Champions League spot and the battle for relegation look set to rage on until the final whistle has blown. However, the top three have been settled for some weeks now with Bayern Munich predictably topping the league followed by Borussia Dortmund.

Sitting in third place, and in the final berth for automatic qualification, are Bayer Leverkusen, who owe their excellent season in large part to the goals of one Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.

It’s no exaggeration to say that moving to Germany has absolutely revitalized Hernandez’s career. A prolific striker with a pedigree that includes five years at Manchester United and a loan stint at Real Madrid, Chicharito had found playing time hard to... Read More

Barça Handed Initiative in Title Race as Atleti Stumble

May 09, 2016 by Alex Baker

Atletico Madrid suffered a shock loss to Levante on Sunday, while Barcelona and Real Madrid both cruised to wins – over Espanyol and Valencia respectively. The loss to Levante, who sit rock bottom of the table and are already relegated to the Segunda Division next season, effectively eliminates Atleti from the title race.

With one round of matches remaining, Barcelona sit top on 88 points with Real Madrid in second on 87. Atletico sit in third on 85 points. But even if the other two were to lose next weekend, Barça’s superior head-to-head would still make them champions.

Barcelona Title Favorites

Without the distraction of Champions League football, Barcelona are now overwhelming favorites heading into the final weekend’s action against Granada. The Catalan outfit seems to have recovered nicely... Read More

Real Madrid’s Ronaldo Fit to Face Man City in CL Second Leg

May 04, 2016 by Alex Baker

Real Madrid attacker Cristiano Ronaldo has been cleared to lineup against Manchester City in Wednesday’s Champions League semifinal second leg clash at the Santiago Bernabeu. Ronaldo was on the sidelines last week when his team were held to a 0-0 draw at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester.

Ronaldo has been nursing a thigh injury that’s seen him miss Real’s last three games. However, the Portuguese superstar took full part in training on Tuesday and Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane confirmed he was ready for City.

“Cristiano is okay. He is 100 percent. He trained this morning and he will be there tomorrow,” said Zidane to the Guardian.

Real will still be without Ronaldo’s striker partner, Karim Benzema, who is dealing with a hamstring injury. Combative midfielder, Casimero is also... Read More

Atletico on Course for Another Champions League Final

Apr 28, 2016 by Alex Baker

Atletico Madrid held Bayern Munich scoreless at the Vicente Calderon on Wednesday and will take a 1-0 lead into next week’s second leg at the Allianz Arena. The match’s sole goal was an 11th minute effort from Atleti midfielder Saul. But what a goal it was!

The Spain international glided his way past four Bayern defenders on the way to curling the ball into the far corner past a sprawling Manuel Neuer. The goal was the sort of thing you’d expect to see from Lionel Messi against La Liga opposition, but this was against Bayern Munich, from a player who is technically a defensive midfielder.

Having taken the lead early, Atletico were able to impose their game on Bayern for most of the rest of the first half –... Read More

Juventus Cruise to Fifth Consecutive Scudetto Following Napoli Loss

Apr 26, 2016 by Alex Baker

Juventus were crowned Serie A champions on Monday for the fifth season in a row, without needing to kick a single ball to justify popping the corks on the bubbly.

Late Winner for Roma Seals Title for Juve

An 89th minute goal from Roma’s Radja Nainggolan that lifted the Giallorossi to a 1-0 win over Napoli was enough to seal the Scudetto for Juventus. Napoli, who had been the only team mathematically still capable of overhauling Juve, saw that possibility evaporate following a frustrating 90 minutes at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

Despite dominating possession and putting twice as many shots on goal as Roma, the Azzurri were held scoreless. After 80 minutes of deadlock, it looked as if the match was heading for a 0-0 draw. But then Francesco... Read More

No One Blinks in Airtight La Liga Title Race

Apr 25, 2016 by Alex Baker

The margin for error in the race for the Spanish title remains wafer-thin following a weekend where all three teams at the top cruised to wins, leaving Barcelona and Atletico Madrid even on points and Real Madrid just a single point behind them.

Rayo Vallecano vs. Real Madrid
Playing away against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday, things looked like they might have been headed in a very different direction for Real Madrid. Zinedine Zidane’s men unexpectedly found themselves two goals down early in the match. However, a standout performance from Gareth Bale hauled the Whites back into the game and on to an eventual victory. The Welshman scored in the 35th to cut the deficit and eventually found the winner, late in the match after substitute Lucas Vazquez had equalized.

With... Read More

Could A Mourinho Appointment Take PSG To The Next Level?

Apr 22, 2016 by Alex Baker

Paris Saint-Germain has allegedly identified Jose Mourinho as the man who can take the club forward next season. The Portuguese manager has been out of work since being sacked by Chelsea earlier this year.

According to a report in Sky Sports this week, PSG are sounding out the former Real Madrid manager as the club looks to find a way to parlay its domestic dominance into European success.

The French club crashed out of the quarterfinals of the Champions League earlier this month, after being eliminated by Manchester City over two legs. The elimination was seen as falling short for the club that despite having won its fourth consecutive Ligue 1 title, still desperately craves success on the European stage.

The PSG project as we’ve known for the past... Read More

La Liga’s Top Three In Action Midweek

Apr 19, 2016 by Alex Baker

With the Spanish title race blown wide open thanks to Barcelona’s sudden and unexpected dip in form, La Liga’s “big three” are all in action Wednesday. As Barça, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid all scramble to take every available point from the five rounds of play that remain, we preview this week’s action.

Deportivo La Coruna vs. Barcelona

The all-attacking, all-star trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez scored a staggering 106 goals between them in the time between last summer’s European Super Cup clash with Sevilla and the second leg of the Champions League tie that saw Barcelona eliminate Arsenal last month. However, since then, the trio known as the “MSN” has only managed four goals between the three of them. This drop in production from the front... Read More

Serie A: Marchisio Injured as Juventus Tighten Grip on Scudetto

Apr 18, 2016 by Alex Baker

With Napoli losing to Inter 24 hours earlier, Juventus moved nine points clear at the top of the Serie A standings with their 4-0 destruction of Palermo on Sunday. While the excellent result all but assures Juve of their fifth consecutive Scudetto, it came at a cost as midfielder Claudio Marchisio suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament just 15 minutes into the match.

Marchisio’s ACL is a blow to Juventus, who will be without the influential box-to-box midfielder for the remainder of the season, including the Coppa Italia final against AC Milan next month. Marchisio, 30, will also be unable to represent Italy in this summer’s Euros in France.

Sami Khedira had opened the scoring for Juve just five minutes prior to Marchisio going down injured. Paul Pogba doubled the... Read More

What Has Happened to Barcelona?

Apr 17, 2016 by Alex Baker

Cristiano Ronaldo came up huge when his team needed him this week, scoring a hat trick to overturn a 2-0 deficit and lead his team to the Champions League semifinals. Barcelona’s Lionel Messi? Not so much.

The Argentine ace put in another lackluster performance this week as his Barça side was knocked out of the Champions League quarterfinals by Atletico Madrid for the second time in three seasons. Messi failed to find the back of the net for the fifth game in a row and is currently in the midst of his longest goal-less spell for more than five years.

His best chances in the 2-0 loss to Atleti – a pair of free kicks – failed to even hit the target. But it’s not just Messi who’s been coming... Read More

Inter vs. Napoli Preview

Apr 15, 2016 by Alex Baker

Two of this season’s high-flyers in Serie A face off this weekend as Internazionale welcomes Napoli to San Siro on Saturday. Napoli, who sit in second, six points behind Juventus, is desperate to keep pressure on the leaders. One slip from Juve, and suddenly the title race could be back on, provided Napoli keep winning.

Roberto Mancini’s Inter, meanwhile, sit just outside the Champions League places in fourth. Inter may fancy their chances with Napoli’s leading scorer, Gonzalo Higuain currently serving a three-match ban (reduced from four) for his reaction to being sent off against Udinese two weeks ago. While Higuain’s absence will be a relief to the Inter defense, going forward the Nerazzurri will look to striker Mauro Icardi to add to his already impressive tally of 50 goals... Read More

AC Milan Part Ways With Coach Sinisa Mihajlovic

Apr 12, 2016 by Alex Baker

AC Milan manager, Sinisa Mihajlovic has been sacked by the club in wake of last weekend’s loss to Juventus. Mihajlovic took charge over the summer but now exits the club without completing a full season. Youth team coach, Christian Brocchi will see out the remainder of the season in charge.

Mihajlovic is the third manager to step on-and-off the managerial merry-go-round at Milan since the club sacked Max Allegri in 2014. The Serbian coach, who enjoyed successful spells at Sampdoria and with the Serbian national team, has kept Milan in contention for Europe with the club currently sitting in sixth place. However, Milan is without a win in their last five Serie A matches following the loss to Juve on Saturday.

For Milan’s owner and former Italian Prime Minister,... Read More

PSG Look To Extend Domestic Dominance Into Europe

Apr 09, 2016 by Alex Baker

Having had a virtual lock on the French title for the past few years, Paris Saint-Germain has announced their arrival on the European stage this season by dominating English champions Chelsea over two legs. Next up for Les Parisiens, who won the Ligue 1 title in record time this season, is a two-legged quarter-final clash with another English heavyweight: Manchester City.

Both sides are looking to make it through to the semis for the first time. And, while there is little to separate the teams on paper, it’s PSG who has looked better up to this point. As the home side, PSG is also the favorite for Wednesday’s clash at the Parc des Princes.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been in resplendent form this season and was particularly influential in PSG’s elimination... Read More

Suarez Shows His Teeth Against Atletico

Apr 09, 2016 by Alex Baker

For a moment, it looked as if Barcelona’s misfortunes in the wake of their recent loss to Real Madrid would continue. Fernando Torres seemed a vision of his former self when he was played in by a defense-splitting pass from Koke and slotted home the opening goal for Atletico Madrid with just 25 minutes on the clock.

But barely 10 minutes later, Torres received his second yellow card and was sent off, setting the stage for a rampant performance from Barcelona’s Luis Suarez. A man down with over 50 minutes on the clock, Atleti reverted to form, bunkering down with men behind the ball in an effort to protect their narrow lead. For a while, it seemed as if it might work with Atleti even creating a few dangerous... Read More

El Clasico: Match Preview

Mar 31, 2016 by Alex Baker

Read this post in Spanish.

Barcelona head into Saturday’s El Clasico showdown with Real Madrid sitting pretty at the top of the table, ten points clear of their rival. With Atletico Madrid sitting second, one point above Real, and only eight match-days left in the season, nothing short of a full-scale collapse is likely to prevent Barça from retaining the La Liga title.

But while the title race may be all but over, this is the Clasico and there is pride at stake for both sides – particularly in light of their last meeting, when Barcelona strolled into the Santiago Bernabeu and romped to a 4-0 win. And that was without Lionel Messi!

As is their tendency, Real Madrid has since changed managers – parting ways with... Read More

Is This The Best Barcelona Team Ever?

Mar 30, 2016 by Alex Baker

Read this post in Spanish.

As the clock ticks down towards the final El Clasico of the season, we’re taking a look at both teams. Having already discussed the current problems Real Madrid is faced with, we now turn to the Barcelona team that currently tops the La Liga table and is the favorite to retain the Champions League trophy following last season’s treble.

Dominating La Liga with Real Madrid in turmoil is one thing, but this Barça side is the best in Europe at the moment. Could it also be the best Barcelona team in history? For decades that honor seemed to belong to the late, great Johan Cruyff’s “Dream Team,” which won Barça’s first European Championship back in 1992.

That was until Pep Guardiola –-... Read More

What Does Real Madrid Need To Do To Close The Gap On Barça?

Mar 29, 2016 by Alex Baker

read this post en Espanol.

The gap between Real Madrid and rivals Barcelona heading into this weekend’s El Clasico is more pronounced than it’s been in years – both in terms of literal points on the board and in terms of what’s being produced on the pitch. And while the 10 point gap separating first-place Barça from third-place Madrid (Atletico Madrid occupy second place), means even a Real Madrid victory is unlikely to be enough to see them make any real progress in the title race, the question remains as to what the capital club needs to do long-term in order to close the gap on its Catalan rivals?

In the past 10 years, Real Madrid has won three La Ligas, two Copa del Reys, and one... Read More

Dempsey Returns For USA Qualifier Against Guatemala

Mar 24, 2016 by Sarah Moffatt

It’s official: Clint Dempsey will play for the USMNT World Cup qualifier against Guatemala this Friday. It will be the first time the former team captain has played under Jurgen Klinsmann in nine months. Dempsey, 33, was omitted from the squad for a pair of qualifiers back in November.

With 48 goals to his name, the Seattle Sounders forward is second in all-time scoring for the U.S. behind Landon Donovan with 57. Five of Dempsey’s goals for the national team have come against Guatemala and with goals in short supply for the yanks of late, Klinsmann will be particularly keen on him adding to that tally.

Playing away against Guatemala has proved challenging for the U.S. – the last time they won there was 2008. However, since that match,... Read More

CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers This Thursday

Mar 23, 2016 by Alex Baker

CONMEBOL World Cup qualification is underway this week as South America’s finest fight it out on the road to Russia 2018.

Here’s our rundown of all the action in Thursday’s qualifiers:

Bolivia vs. Colombia

After taking the 2014 World Cup by storm, Colombia has come crashing back down to Earth and, like their opponent Bolivia, have only won one game in their current qualifying campaign. Last time out, Colombia fell 1-0 to a Lionel Messi-less Argentina. Like Real Madrid fans, Colombia boss Jose Pekerman will be looking for a big performance from James Rodriguez this time around. The breakout star of the last World Cup has gone off the boil for his club side and has failed to ignite his national team in qualifying. Currently, Colombia sits seventh... Read More

Real Madrid: James and Isco Could Be Headed For Summer Exit

Mar 20, 2016 by Alex Baker

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane hinted there would be changes at the club this summer when it became clear the club had effectively capitulated in this season’s title race. Now, it looks like two of those changes could be the departures of James Rodriquez and Isco.

With Gareth Bale’s continuing problems with injuries this season, both players had the opportunity to step up and fill the void left by the marauding Welsh winger, however, neither really seized on the opportunity. According to a report in AS, club president Florentino Perez has grown tired of the inconsistency shown by the duo. Neither player has responded particularly well to the change in management that saw Zidane take over for Rafa Benitez earlier this year. But despite their uneven form, the two remain... Read More

Time For Totti To Leave Roma?

Mar 19, 2016 by Alex Baker

The debate ignited around the future of Roma striker Francesco Totti after the captain vented over his current situation in an interview last month is showing little sign of abating.

“I can’t stay at Roma like this. It hurts to be on the bench,” said Totti, speaking to Italian television station, Rai. “I understand at my age I play less, but ending my career like this is bad for me as a man and what I’ve given to Roma. I demand more respect for all I’ve done here.”

Totti has increasingly found himself on the bench over the past season or two. Roma manager, Luciano Spalletti and his predecessor, Rudi Garcia, have both preferred the likes of Edin Dzeko, Mohamed Salah and Iago Falque’ to 39-year-old Totti. But the striker,... Read More

Diego Costa Linked With Return To Atletico Madrid

Mar 16, 2016 by Alex Baker

Two days after being sent off in an FA Cup quarterfinal for administering what’s been described as everything from a bite to a “sensual nibble” to Everton midfielder Gareth Barry, Chelsea’s Diego Costa is being linked to reports of returning to Atletico Madrid. Allegedly, the Brazilian-born striker has found it difficult to settle in London and is growing frustrated with the English media.

Saturday’s exit from the FA Cup now guarantees Chelsea will finish the season without a trophy. The London outfit are looking to shake things up in the summer transfer window and getting rid of Costa, a player who’s allowed controversy to over-shadow his talent since moving to English footballs, could be in the cards.

Meanwhile, Atletico was previously hit with a transfer ban that’s since been... Read More

Former Real Madrid Boss Benitez To Take Over At Newcastle

Mar 13, 2016 by Alex Baker

Less than three months after being sacked by Real Madrid, Rafa Benitez looks to be on the verge of being installed as manager of Premier League side Newcastle United. Benitez was fired after just half a season at Real Madrid, despite still being alive in the Champions League and only a few points adrift of leaders Barcelona at the time.

Benitez will reportedly sign a three-year deal with the struggling Premier League outfit. Newcastle is currently in the throes of a relegation struggle and sit second from the bottom in the Premier League table on 24 points, with just nine games left to play.

The Spanish manager, who enjoyed a successful spell at Liverpool, will be the man charged with trying to keep the Magpies from the drop. Barring that,... Read More

Roma’s Totti Given Ovation By Real Madrid Fans

Mar 11, 2016 by Alex Baker

Francesco Totti was greeted with a round of applause from the Bernabeu faithful when he was introduced as a replacement for Stephan El Shaarawy during Roma’s Round of 16 Champions League clash with Real Madrid Tuesday. Afterwards, the veteran striker who’s played his entire career at Roma admitted he was overwhelmed.

It’s emotional because these will be wonderful memories,” said Totti, speaking to Mediaset. “This show of thanks in an extraordinary stadium means I have given something to football.”

After the match, Madrid defender Sergio Ramos swapped shirts with the 39-year-old whose contract is up for renewal this summer. Ramos admitted to being honored, having grown up as an admirer of Totti.

This was not the first time the Bernabeu faithful have applauded an esteemed Italian footballer in their midst.... Read More

Barcelona Eyes Another Record Breaking Win At Eibar

Mar 04, 2016 by Alex Baker

Barcelona set a new Spanish record of going 35 matches unbeaten on Thursday with their win over Rayo Vallecano. Luis Enrique’s team has now gone 35 games undefeated, a streak that’s already seen them better a La Liga record of 34 matches unbeaten set by Leo Beenhakker’s Real Madrid team in the 1989-90 season.

Barça’s undefeated streak stretches all the way back to October and a 2-1 loss to Sevilla. In the five months since then, Barcelona has won 29 and drawn six. The Catalan outfit has also scored 107 goals while conceding just 20.

Next up for Barcelona is a trip to the Estadio Municipal de Ipurua to face Eibar on Sunday. A win or a draw there would see Messi, Neymar, Suarez and company equal the record... Read More

Capital One Cup Preview: Liverpool Take On Man City

Feb 26, 2016 by Alex Baker

Liverpool will meet Manchester City in the Capital One Cup final at Wembley on Sunday with both sides in contention to lift what is traditionally the first trophy to be decided in the English football season.

The last time the two played was at the Etihad Stadium back in November, where Liverpool ran away with the match 4-1. It was the Reds best result since Jurgen Klopp took over from Brendan Rodgers as manager. But it’s worth noting at the time, Manchester was besot with injured key players.

Manuel Pellegrini’s team has no such injury issues heading into Sunday’s clash at Wembley. With Wilfried Bony, Jesus Navas, Vincent Kompany, Bacary Sagna and Raheem Sterling all available for selection, Klopp’s side will face a full strength Manchester City. Both managers will... Read More

Napoli Face Resurgent AC Milan

Feb 22, 2016 by Alex Baker

After losing to Juventus last week, Napoli have fallen off the top spot in Serie A. If the Neapolitan outfit is to maintain any hope of lifting their first Scudetto since Diego Maradona brought them to the title over 25 years ago, they need a fast return to winning ways.

First up will be a clash with a resurgent AC Milan.

After a lamentable start to the season, Milan has hit a run of form in 2016. Sinisa Mihajlovic’s team is on a nine-game undefeated streak in all competitions stretching back to the first week in January. In that time, they’ve beaten Inter 3-0, Fiorentina 2-0, and held Roma to a 1-1 draw at the Stadio Olimpico.

Milan’s recent success is partly due to the form of summer signing... Read More

Neymar’s Yacht, Jet Seized By Brazilian Authorities

Feb 16, 2016 by Alex Baker

Barcelona forward Neymar has had his yacht and jet impounded and some $50 million of his assets frozen by Brazilian tax authorities. The Brazilian superstar and his family were found guilty of tax evasion last year. According to the authorities, Neymar owes some $16 million in back taxes he avoided paying between 2011 and 2013 when he as at the Brazilian club, Santos. Although he maintains he is innocent, this is not the first time Neymar and his father have run afoul of the taxman.

Neymar’s assets were frozen in September and in January, he was ordered to pay a 100,000-euro fine over unpaid taxes dating to 2007-2008.He also has an ongoing court case in the Spanish courts relating to discrepancies in the transfer dealings that brought him from Santos... Read More

Juventus vs. Napoli Preview

Feb 12, 2016 by Alex Baker

Serie A’s top two teams are set to meet Saturday for a top-of-the-table clash that could have serious title implications: League leaders Napoli travel to Turin to face Juventus, who after a disastrous start to the season have surged to within two points of the top spot.

It’s an enticing encounter between the best two teams in Serie A. And unlike many other such matches, where both teams close up shop and simply try not to lose, Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri has vowed that his team will be on the attack.

“We’ll play our football,” [Sarri said at his pre-match press conference])http://www.football-italia.net/79754/sarri-%E2%80%98napoli-will-attack%E2%80%99). “Experience tells us that when we stop playing [our way] we become vulnerable, so our only chance to get something from such a tremendous stadium and... Read More

James Rodriguez’s Real Madrid Future in Doubt

Feb 10, 2016 by Alex Baker

Both Manchester clubs are on alert at the moment with reports in Spain stating that Real Madrid are running out of patience with James Rodriguez.

The Colombian playmaker was Real’s big signing of 2014 after a breakout performance at the World Cup in Brazil that summer, but in two seasons with the club, the former Monaco man has failed to set the world alight. According to a report in Sport, the club are seriously considering cutting their losses and selling him.

James enjoyed a spectacular first season at the club with 13 goals and 13 assists in La Liga. However, after falling out with the recently fired Rafa Benitez, the 24-year-old has yet to win a place in Zinedine Zidane’s team.

A separate report in the Express... Read More

Torres Nets 100th Goal as Atleti Remain in Title Hunt

Feb 08, 2016 by Alex Baker

Fernando Torres scored his hundredth goal for Atletico Madrid as the club overcame a 1-0 deficit to beat Eibar 3-1 at the Vicente Calderon on Saturday. It was an important goal for a player who began his career at Atletico and it was an important three points for Atleti, who now sit just three points behind table-toppers Barcelona.

It had been five months and 19 matches since Torres netted number 99, and by the time he broke into triple digits, Atletico had already all but sealed Saturday’s points. But it was no less an auspicious occasion as the former Liverpool striker ran onto a well-served cross from Luciano Vietto and tapped the ball into an empty net.

Torres, who is now 31, is out of contract in June and there... Read More

PSG Face Marseilles in Le Classique

Feb 05, 2016 by Alex Baker

The biggest game on the annual French football calendar is set for this Sunday as Paris Saint-Germain face Olympique de Marseilles in Le Classique. The Parisians have run away with the league this season and have a 24-point lead over Monaco in second place.

With 32 points separating PSG from Marseille, Sunday’s match has no bearing on the title race, unlike last season’s meeting. But when storied rivals such as these meet, these things tend to go out the window; both teams will play for pride and both will be motivated.

PSG won 2-1 when the two teams last met, at the Parc Des Princes in Paris. Two penalties from Zlatan Ibrahimovic were enough to see off a single goal from Michy Batshuayi, and to see Ibrahimovic become PSG’s all-time... Read More

Valencia’s Neville Under Pressure After 7-0 Loss to Barça

Feb 04, 2016 by Alex Baker

The Spanish sporting press is calling for Gary Neville’s head after the Valencia manager oversaw what is very likely the worst loss in the club’s 96-year history: a 7-0 destruction in the Copa del Rey at the hands of Barcelona.

Although there is still a second leg to play, four goals from Luis Suarez and a hat-trick from Lionel Messi have all but assured Valencia’s exit from this year’s cup. There is quite simply no team on Earth capable of overhauling such a deficit and at the moment, it doesn’t look as if anything can stop Barcelona from storming to a domestic double of league and cup.

Neville called the loss the “most painful experience” in his football career, but the former Manchester United defender and TV pundit has... Read More

Goal-a-Game Higuain Keeps Napoli on Top

Feb 02, 2016 by Alex Baker

Gonzalo Higuain maintained his goal-a-game average against Empoli on the weekend, pulling one back just five minutes after Empoli had jumped to a surprise lead and setting the table for an eventual 5-1 rout to maintain Napoli’s lead over a Juventus side that’s surged up to second in the Serie A standings.

Higuain is on track for his best season ever, and is on pace to set a new record for number of goals scored in a Serie A season. The 28-year-old, who was subbed off in the 72nd minute to a standing ovation from the home crowd against Empoli, has rightfully been the talk of the town this season: With 22 goals in 22 games, the former Real Madrid striker has found the net more often this season... Read More

Barcelona vs. Atletico Madrid – Preview

Jan 29, 2016 by Alex Baker

Tied on points atop the La Liga table, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid go head-to-head Saturday in the first major European football clash of 2016; encounters between the two sides at the Camp Nou have taken on greater air importance since Atletico clinched the title there on the final day of the 2013-14 season.

Heading into the match, Barcelona is riding a 25-match win streak in all competitions; their last loss, 2-1 to Sevilla, was all the way back at the beginning of October.

But Barcelona is coming up against the team with La Liga’s best defensive record: Atletico has conceded just eight goals in 21 matches this season.

Barça is also unbeaten in their last 11 league clashes with Atleti, so it’s difficult to see Diego Simeone’s team coming away... Read More

Is Ronaldo Unraveling at Real Madrid?

Jan 28, 2016 by Alex Baker

By his own lofty standards, Cristiano Ronaldo appears to be undergoing something of a torrid time at the moment. The Real Madrid forward has been widely criticized for kicking out at defender Francisco Molinero in Madrid’s 1-1 draw with Real Betis last weekend. The kick, described as an “ugly gesture” by Molinero, is just the latest sign that all is not well in Ronaldo’s world. One week earlier, the three-time Ballon d’Or winner was accused of kicking out at midfielder, Nacho Cases during a 5-1 destruction of Sporting Gijon. Ronaldo denied it was deliberate at the time, but in light of the attack against Molinero, that claim seems less convincing.

It’s been a frustrating season for Ronaldo who, despite his 16 goals in La Liga, has been visibly off... Read More

Manchester City’s Kompany Set to Return in Two Weeks

Jan 26, 2016 by Alex Baker

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany is set for an earlier-than-expected return to action, according to City boss Manuel Pellegrini.

“I don’t think Vincent will be out for six weeks – he will return in a couple of weeks,” Pellegrini told Manchester City’s official website ahead of City’s Capital One Cup semi-final against Everton Wednesday.

Along with Arsenal and Leicester City, Man City has emerged as a favorite to lift the Barclays Premier League title this season, but much may depend on how soon Kompany returns to the lineup.

While City has probably the finest striker in the Premier League in Sergio Aguero, the Citizens’ defense has been suspect at times this season, particularly without Kompany to martial them. With the big Belgian in the lineup, City has conceded just... Read More

Neymar to Sign for Real Madrid?

Jan 22, 2016 by Alex Baker

A report in the Spanish press surfaced this week alleging that Barcelona forward Neymar and his father, who acts as his representative, had a meeting with representatives of Real Madrid earlier this month.

According to the report on the program ‘Al Primer Toque,’ on Spanish station Onda Cero, the meeting took place in a Zurich hotel room on January 11th during the Ballon d’Or celebrations. In addition to the player and his father, reports allege Neymar’s agent Wagner Ribeiro was present along with an unnamed Real Madrid representative.

A separate report in Marca states that Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is ready to pay the 190 million euros necessary to activate Neymar’s buy-out clause. Marca also speculates that the Brazilian’s arrival would likely trigger the departure of... Read More

Atletico Madrid’s Title Challenge Builds Momentum

Jan 18, 2016 by Alex Baker

Two seasons after becoming the first club not called Barcelona or Real Madrid to win the La Liga title in more than a decade, Atletico Madrid again find themselves leading the Spanish title race. A handy 3-0 win over a gritty Los Palmas was enough to see Diego Simeone’s men preserve their two-point lead over Barça in second.

With the season at the halfway point and Atleti on top, the murmurs that another title challenge could be on are growing louder. Yes, Barcelona have a game in hand and are the best team in the world again. Yes, Real Madrid have more money and are flying high under new manager Zinedine Zidane. But there’s just something about this Atleti side.

Simeone, who is quick to play down Atleti’s title... Read More

Serie A: Can Spalletti’s Return Get Roma Back on Track?

Jan 15, 2016 by Alex Baker

With the powers that be at AS Roma having finally pulled the trigger on the protracted ousting of Rudi Garcia, Luciano Spalletti has returned for his second stint as manager. The capital club enjoyed a measure of success during Spalletti’s first spell in charge –- between 2005 and 2009 -– winning back-to-back Coppa Italia honors as well as the Italian Super Cup.

Roma fans will be hoping that the 56-year-old former Italian international will be able to repeat that success the second time round.

The club currently sits fifth in the table, seven points behind Napoli in the top spot. With just one win in their last seven matches under Garcia, it’s fair to say there is room for improvement.

One of Spalletti’s first challenges will be to... Read More

Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid Handed Transfer Ban

Jan 14, 2016 by Alex Baker

It could prove a busy January transfer window for La Liga’s two Madrid-based clubs, with Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid having each been hit by 18-month transfer bans. While both clubs will still be permitted to sign players in the current window, they will be barred from signing anyone in the next two windows.

The two Madrid outfits are being penalized by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee for violating provisions related to the international transfer of players under the age of 18.

According to a statement by FIFA, Atleti and Real are in violation of articles “5, 9, 19 and 19bis as well as annexes 2 and 3 of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (the ‘Regulations’).”

Both clubs had been under ongoing investigation by the FIFA... Read More

Barcelona Seeking Striker

Jan 12, 2016 by Alex Baker

Despite boasting the most formidable attacking trident in world football -– Luis Suarez, Neymar, and newly crowned Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi -– Barcelona are looking to buy a striker this month.

Club manager Luis Enrique said that ideally, he’d like to reinforce the team in several areas, but admitted the frontline is where they were thinnest.

“Right now, I think probably in attack -– if we are to bring someone in,” Enrique told Sport. “In all areas though, it would be nice to bring in reinforcements.”

Barcelona are coming off an 18-month transfer ban and have already had their squad bolstered by the addition of Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal.

But while Barcelona has plenty of attacking midfield options, apart from Suarez, who’s suspended for the club’s next... Read More

AS Roma vs. AC Milan: Preview

Jan 08, 2016 by Alex Baker

AS Roma manager Rudi Garcia and his AC Milan counterpart Sinisa Mihajlovic head into Saturday’s clash at the Stadio Olimpico with their jobs on the line.

Roma will be eager to put their frustrating midweek draw with Chievo Verona behind them as they welcome AC Milan to the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday. Rudi Garcia rightfully assessed Wednesday’s draw as “two points thrown away” after his team surrendered a 2-0 lead to finish the match at 3-3.

That leaves Roma sitting in fifth, six points behind league leaders, Inter. It’s not an insurmountable gap by any means, but the result means Roma have now drawn three out of their last four Serie A matches.

The series of stalemates is all too familiar to Roma fans, who’ve grown accustomed to... Read More

Real Madrid Take a Gamble on Zidane Appointment

Jan 06, 2016 by Alex Baker

Everyone knew it was coming, it was just a question of when: After seven months in charge, Rafa Benitez was relieved of his duties as Real Madrid manager. As his replacement, the club named club legend and former World Player of the Year, Zinedine Zidane.

On a certain level, the appointment makes perfect sense: A World Cup, European Championship, Champions League, La Liga, and Serie A winner, the 43-year-old Frenchman has a football pedigree that’s second to none.

He also served as assistant coach to Carlo Ancelotti during the 2013-14 season, when the Italian succeeded in delivering Real Madrid’s long-awaited 10th European Championship. However, in his one season in charge of Real Madrid Castilla, he led the youth team to a rather undistinguished 6th place finish in Spain’s Segunda... Read More

Barça’s New Blood Ready for Copa Clash with Espanyol

Jan 04, 2016 by Alex Baker

With Barcelona’s 18-month, FIFA-imposed transfer ban coming to an end this week, new signings Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal will at last be eligible to play against Espanyol in the Copa del Rey Wednesday.

The match will mark the second time the two Catalan clubs have met in the space of four days, after Espanyol held Barcelona to a scoreless draw on Saturday. The addition of Vidal and Turan will be a welcome respite for manager Luis Enrique, whose squad has been stretched by injury and looked surprisingly short of ideas as it labored to break down a resilient Espanyol defense.

Even the all-star attacking trident of Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi proved incapable of unlocking an Espanyol side that, despite creating few chances of its own, limited Barça... Read More

Atletico’s Diego Simeone Targeted by Chelsea

Dec 18, 2015 by Alex Baker

It was the sacking that rang around the world as Jose Mourinho’s tumultuous second stint in charge of Chelsea was brought to an end, barely six months after winning the Premier League title.

The London club has already lined up Guus Hiddink as a caretaker manager until the end of the season. However, one man owner Roman Abramovich has reportedly identified Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone as the club’s next long-term manager.

While not yet the favorite to take charge at Stamford Bridge next season, Simeone is the most intriguing possibility among the names currently being floated. And probably the one that would get Chelsea fans most excited.

Pep Guardiola’s name has also been touted, but the Catalan who is expected to leave Bayern Munich at the end... Read More

Inter Milan Reportedly Inquire About Harry Kane

Dec 17, 2015 by Alex Baker

The Evening Standard has reported that Serie A leaders Internazionale have made quiet inquiries about the availability of Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane.

Kane has 13 goals in 21 appearances for Spurs this season, but he has shown no desire to leave White Hart Lane. But should Kane and Tottenham eventually decide to part ways, it’s believed that the club would prefer to sell him abroad, rather than to another Premier League outfit.

Inter are currently top of the Serie A standings with a four-point lead over second-place Fiorentina. After several seasons out in the wilderness, Inter are plotting a return to the top of Italian and European football. Currently among the favorites to win this season’s Scudetto, Inter also look likely to return to Champions League action... Read More

Tigres vs. Pumas: Liga MX Final First Leg Preview

Dec 10, 2015 by Alex Baker

It’s a tale not just of two different fortunes heading in, but also of two contrasting styles as Mexican soccer’s two University-based sides, Tigres and Pumas meet in the first leg of the Liga MX final on Thursday.

Pumas basically limped in, losing 3-1 to Club America in embarrassing fashion on Sunday. Fortunately, their 3-0 win at the Azteca Stadium in the first leg was enough to see them safely through to the final.

But despite the inglorious way they got here, Pumas should not be discounted. Coach Guillermo Vazquez’s team was the best and most consistent side this season, finishing first in the regular-season standings.

Vazquez has built this side to be compact and organized. While Pumas are happy to cede possession to the opposition, as they demonstrated against... Read More

Kevin-Prince Boateng set for Milan Return

Dec 09, 2015 by Alex Baker

His contract with Bundesliga club Schalke 04 having been terminated, Kevin-Prince Boateng has been cleared to rejoin AC Milan next month.

Boateng has already been training and playing friendlies with the Serie A outfit for the past several months. The attacking midfielder and brother of World Cup winner Jerome Boateng initially left Milan to join Schalke back in 2013.

The 28-year-old has been suspended since May, however, with the Bundesliga outfit citing a “lack of mutual trust” between the two parties.

A statement on the club’s website confirmed that “Schalke 04 and Ghana international Kevin-Prince Boateng have decided to mutually terminate his contract at the club.”

Boateng made 60 appearances for the Royal Blues and scored seven goals.

Prior to joining Schalke, Boateng spent three seasons with Milan, scoring... Read More

Does Barcelona Need a Striker?

Dec 07, 2015 by Alex Baker

It would seem an almost absurd proposition, given the deadly trident of attacking talent Barcelona boasts up front. But as we saw in Barça’s 1-1 draw with Valencia on Saturday, when the likes of Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Neymar aren’t firing, there are precious few options for manager Luis Enrique to turn to.

Part of the problem stems from Barcelona having let Pedro go to Chelsea without having a suitable replacement lined up. Pedro had always been a reliable option off the bench for Barcelona, and even has one goal on the books this season, despite having left the club back in August.

And while Messi and Neymar are arguably the two preeminent attacking talents in world football at the moment, Suarez is the only out-and-out No. 9 in... Read More

Gary Neville Appointed Valencia Boss Ahead of Barca Clash

Dec 04, 2015 by Alex Baker

Former Manchester United defender and television football pundit Gary Neville was appointed manager at La Liga outfit Valencia earlier this week, and though he won’t take the helm until next week’s Champions League encounter with Lyon, Barcelona boss Luis Enrique was wary of the threat Neville’s appointment posed ahead of the Catalan club’s trip to the Mestalla on Saturday.

“We are facing a team that has just changed its manager, and that complicates things for us,” Enrique said at his pre-match press conference. “We’ve studied our opponent, but the change of manager could mean a change to their style too. So it’s a difficult match to plan.”

Neville, who served as an assistant manager for England at the 2014 World Cup, admitted he’d turned down other management opportunities,... Read More

Struggling Juventus Face Tough Lazio Test

Dec 03, 2015 by Alex Baker

Struggling Serie A champions Juventus face the next test in their effort to resuscitate their title defense as they travel south to face Lazio on Friday night. The Scudetto holders got off to the worst start in the club’s history this season but have recently seen a turnaround in results, having gone undefeated in their last six matches.

Those results have included a win over AC Milan in Serie A and a win over Manchester City in the Champions League, and the good results have seen The Old Lady climb the table. Now sitting in fifth place, they are poised to break back into the top four. A win on Friday could see them draw even with fourth-placed Roma, at least temporarily.

However, amidst rumors linking him with a... Read More

PSG Coach Warns Cavani After Petulant Display

Nov 30, 2015 by Alex Baker

Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc issued words of warning to Edinson Cavani, after the Uruguay striker reacted petulantly to being subbed off.

Cavani was visibly out of sorts when he was pulled in the 80th minute of PSG’s 4-1 win over Troyes on Saturday; as he walked by the bench he appeared to have words for Blanc.

The former Napoli man had netted PSG’s opener, volleying in a chipped pass from Angel Di Maria, before Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Layvin Kurzawa and Jean-Kevin Augustin all added to PSG’s lead. Thomas Ayasse pulled one back for the visiting side in extra time.

“Cavani wasn’t happy, I can confirm that,” Blanc told reporters afterwards.

“If established players have no motivation, we will play young people. They will be happy to play,... Read More

Could Enrique Become Barça’s Greatest Manager?

Nov 25, 2015 by Alex Baker

If there was any doubt that Saturday’s 4-0 destruction of Real Madrid in the season’s first El Clasico was a fluke, Barcelona put that to bed with a 6-1 demolition of Roma in the Champions League on Tuesday. Lionel Messi seems to have found his feet again, and had a greater influence on the game, scoring twice and assisting Gerard Pique’s goal.

Luis Suarez netted a brace of his own, with even Adriano getting in on the action for the sixth goal. All in all, it was just another day at the office for a team that’s once again made beating the top teams in Europe’s top leagues look easy.

It’s difficult at this point to see anyone stopping Barça in La Liga. On the basis of Saturday’s showing, Real... Read More

Andrea Pirlo Linked to Inter Loan

Nov 23, 2015 by Alex Baker

New York City FC midfielder Andrea Pirlo is being continually linked with a loan to high-flying Serie A outfit, Internazionale. The Italian World Cup winner spent three previous seasons with Inter between 1998 and 2001.

Pirlo left Juventus to join the MLS expansion side at the close of last season. However, Italy coach Antonio Conte has implied Pirlo’s chances of making the squad for Euro 2016 could be improved by a loan back to Serie A.

“If Pirlo returns to Italy I would be very pleased,” Conte told the Associated Press. “He could train properly and would still make an impact.”

While Pirlo himself has been typically tight-lipped about the situation, there have been conflicting signals coming out of the Inter camp.

Manager Robert Mancini downplayed the rumors.

... Read More

Real Madrid’s Benitez Under Pressure Ahead of El Clasico

Nov 20, 2015 by Alex Baker

In the wake of reports about a delegation of senior players calling a meeting with him to demand more attacking football, Real Madrid manager Rafa Benitez is feeling the pressure ahead of Saturday’s El Clasico against Barcelona.

Benitez, who earned a reputation for playing defense-minded football in stints at Valencia, Liverpool and Napoli, came out on Friday promising he would set his team out to attack.

“The attributes of this Real Madrid team mean we have to attack regularly, threaten the opposition keeper and score goals, and that’s what we’re going to do,” said Benitez told MARCA.

The former Real Madrid Castilla player also bristled at the suggestion by many in the media that Barcelona, despite being the visiting team, were favorites.

“We’re playing at home,... Read More

El Clasico Set to Go Ahead Amidst Security Concerns

Nov 18, 2015 by Alex Baker

In a week in which terror attacks have cast a long shadow over European football in the bombings in France and the cancellation of scheduled friendlies between Belgium and Spain, and Holland and Germany, this season’s first El Clasico is still set to be played on Saturday.

With the entire continent still grieving and on its guard, the show will go on: Real Madrid will line up against Barcelona, and the people will attempt to take back a little normalcy from the terrorists who have tried to wrest it from them.

Security levels at the Santiago Bernabeu will be heightened, with a major increase expected in the number of police deployed around the stadium, as well as more stringent security checks for fans entering it.

And what of... Read More

El Clasico: Barcelona Optimistic About Messi’s Return

Nov 16, 2015 by Alex Baker

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has been working hard to regain fitness in time for Saturday’s El Clasico showdown with Real Madrid. With the core of the Barça team away on international duty, coach Luis Enrique gave the four-time World Player of the Year, along with the rest of the remaining members of the squad, the weekend off.

But Messi chose to spend his Friday training with the Barça B team in an effort to further speed his progress toward regaining match fitness.

Messi has been out of action since September with a knee ligament injury. In his absence, teammates Luis Suarez and Neymar have done a dutiful job of carrying the mantle.

Suarez, somewhat ironically, is benefiting from his international suspension, at least at club level: Still in... Read More

Pique: ‘Barcelona (and Real Madrid) would struggle in Stoke’

Nov 12, 2015 by Alex Baker

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has concurred the view first put forth by football pundit Andy Gray: that Barcelona would struggle on a cold, rainy night in Stoke.

Pique, who won the Premier League in 2008 during his one season with Manchester United, told the Daily Telegraph that the Premier League might prove tougher than expected for Barça and archrivals Real Madrid.

“I think that if Barcelona or Real Madrid goes to the Premier League then the first year of playing there, there is no chance of winning it,” Pique said.

“If you go to Stoke, or other types of teams, then it will be really tough. It’s a debate – we could spend hours on it. If Manchester United or Chelsea go to Spain then the same.... Read More

AC Milan Draw Atalanta Thanks to 16-year-old Donnarumma

Nov 09, 2015 by Alex Baker

AC Milan held on for a draw at the San Siro Saturday against a determined Atalanta side that was at times in danger of overrunning them. While it was anything but a vintage performance from the Rossoneri, there was one standout performer on the night: Milan goalkeeper, Gianluigi Donnarumma.

The 16-year-old net-minder was making his fourth appearance for Milan and finished with his second clean sheet. With Milan’s defense in disarray and the attack incapable of mustering much of anything, the 6-foot 5-inch keeper literally stood tall between the sticks.

Donnarumma came up with four huge saves on the night against a bold Atalanta side that outshot Milan almost 2-1. While many called it a gamble when Milan boss Sinisa Mihajlovic handed the inexperienced Donnarumma the starting berth ahead... Read More

Ronaldo to Blanc: ‘I’d like to work with you’

Nov 06, 2015 by Alex Baker

According to a report in the French daily Le Parisien, Cristiano Ronaldo spoke to Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc on Tuesday, telling him “Your team plays really well. I’d like to work with you.”

Speculation in press and football circles has been rife since cameras caught the two former Manchester United teammates speaking closely together following PSG’s 1-0 loss to the La Liga outfit in the Champions League.

Ronaldo has been linked with PSG for a couple of seasons now. The Ligue 1 outfit’s current talisman, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, is out of contract this summer. With the Swede now age 34 and linked with a possible move to Major League Soccer, it’s entirely possible that PSG could be lining up his successor.

As the reigning World Player of the Year... Read More

Messi to Miss El Clasico

Nov 02, 2015 by Alex Baker

The Spanish sporting press reported Monday that Barcelona forward Lionel Messi will not recover from his recent knee injury in time for El Clasico. The looming showdown with Barça’s archrivals, Real Madrid, is set for November 21.

The Argentine ace suffered knee ligament injuries against Las Palmas in late December. While the original prognosis was for eight weeks on the sidelines, recent stories in the Catalan media had suggested that Messi’s recovery had fallen behind schedule.

While thankfully no surgery was required, Messi’s injury, like all knee ligament injuries, was a delicate one. Messi’s initial recovery involved spending a couple of weeks on crutches, and with the Clasico less than three weeks away, he has not yet been able to run consistently without pain.

So while his... Read More

Inter vs. Roma Highlights Action-packed Serie A Weekend

Oct 30, 2015 by Alex Baker

League leaders Roma travel to Milan Saturday to face fourth-place Internazionale in another top-of-the-table Serie A clash. While Roma maintains a two-point lead at the summit, the chasing pack behind them is tight. Inter is currently tied on 21 points with second-place Napoli and Fiorentina in third.

Roma beat Udinese midweek to remain in the driver’s seat in the Italian title race. With Juventus languishing in mid-table, the Giallorossi are many peoples’ favorites to win the Scudetto. While goals were a problem for Roma last season, Rudi Garcia’s team is the top-scoring outfit in Italy this season with 25 goals: Gervinho, Mohamed Salah, and Miralem Pjanic have racked up five each.

Inter, on the other hand, have struggled to find the net despite excellent early season form. Coach Roberto Mancini... Read More

Arsenal Looks to Maintain Winning Ways Against Sheffield Wednesday

Oct 26, 2015 by Alex Baker

Flying high in the Premier League, Arsenal got their Champions League campaign back on track with a win against Bayern Munich at the Emirates on Tuesday. Next up for Arsene Wenger’s men is a Capital One Cup clash with Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough on Tuesday.

The Gunners’ stars have come up big in a recent spate of victories against Manchester United, Bayern, and most recently Everton. But in order to avoid burning out the likes of Olivier Giroud, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, Wenger will likely choose to rotate his squad against Wednesday.

After netting a brace in Arsenal’s previous Capital One Cup outing against Tottenham, Mathieu Flamini is almost sure to get a run out in midfield. Costa Rican striker Joel Campbell is also likely to see some action... Read More

Fiorentina vs. Roma Highlights Serie A Action this Weekend

Oct 23, 2015 by Alex Baker

The current number one and number two teams in Italy meet Sunday, as Fiorentina welcomes Roma to the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

League leaders Fiorentina are enjoying their first spell atop the Serie A table since 1999. Roma, meanwhile, are in a position that they’ve grown accustomed to, having been the one team that’s managed to chase Juventus over the past couple of seasons. A win for Rudi Garcia’s men could see them move into first place, depending on how Internazionale’s game with Palermo goes on Saturday.

But standing in Roma’s way is a Fiorentina team that’s defied expectations this season. La Viola announced its intent on the opening day of the season, with a 2-0 defeat of AC Milan; they lost their next match to Torino before going on... Read More

El Clasico: La Liga Rocked by Match-fixing Allegations

Oct 22, 2015 by Alex Baker

Spanish media has erupted with reports that police are looking into claims by an assistant referee that he’s been pressured to favor Real Madrid in the upcoming El Clasico against Barcelona.

The linesman was apparently among the officials selected for the first La Liga clash between Real and Barça this season -– set to take place on November 21, at the Santiago Bernabeu.

While the linesman’s identity remains unknown, there are suggestions that the man attempting to pull his strings is Jose Angel Jimenez de Morales. According to reports on Catalan radio, Morales told the unknown official that he should “try to control the game in a way that thwarted the interest of one of the clubs, Barcelona.” The linesman was instructed that failing to do so... Read More

Real and Barça Both Win to Maintain Tight La Liga Race

Oct 19, 2015 by Alex Baker

Although it’s still early days, the La Liga title race is currently as tight as it’s been in decades. Real Madrid, Barcelona and Celta Vigo all jointly sit top of the table on 18 points each. The last time the La Liga race was this close was in the 1993-94 season when Real, Barça and Real Sociedad jointly occupied the top spot.

Trailing just slightly behind, Atletico Madrid and Villarreal are currently tied on 16 points each, bringing it to a total of five teams currently in contention to top the standings in Spain.

Despite both being hit by a spate of injuries, Real and Barça maintained their winning ways this weekend: Real Madrid dispatched Levante 3-0 on Saturday with Marcelo opening the scoring 27 minutes in. Moments later, Cristiano... Read More

PSG, Roma and Chelsea Among Clubs Targeting Conte

Oct 14, 2015 by Alex Castle

Antonio Conte is reportedly on the radar of a number of Europe’s top clubs, with Roma, Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea all reportedly interested in the Italy boss. Conte led Juventus to three consecutive Serie A titles before assuming the role of national team manager for the Azzurri.

This week, Conte further fueled speculations that he would take on the manager job at Roma following Euro 2016.

“I’ve had the pleasure of living in Rome more often this year as national team coach and I’ve got to say I’ve found it really good. I’m very serene because of this,” Conte told RAI television.

But Conte refused to be drawn on rumors that Roma had already contacted him about succeeding Rudi Garcia. “Roma have got to be very serene because... Read More

Uruguay vs. Colombia Highlights Tuesday’s CONMEBOL WC Qualifying

Oct 12, 2015 by Alex Baker

Uruguay vs. Colombia (6:55pm ET, beIN Español)
Both sides are coming off wins in their World Cup qualifying openers, with Colombia having beat Peru 2-0 and Uruguay beating Bolivia by the same scoreline.

But Colombia will have to make do without their star man, James Rodriguez, with the Real Madrid midfielder having picked up a thigh injury last month.

Uruguay will also be without its key players with Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez both ruled out by injury. Uruguay will also be without coach Oscar Tabarez who is still serving a touchline ban from the Copa America.

History is not necessarily on Colombia’s side. The only time they’ve won previously at the Estadio Centenario was 42 years ago when they beat Uruguay 1-0 ahead of the 1974 World Cup... Read More

Real Madrid’s Benzema Out for Three Weeks

Oct 09, 2015 by Alex Baker

Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema picked up a hamstring injury while on international duty with France and is expected to be out for up to three weeks. The injury will see him miss out on La Liga clashes with Levante, Celta Vigo and possibly Las Palmas, as well as at least one leg of Real Madrid’s two upcoming Champions League matches against Paris Saint-Germain.

After not finding the net for Les Bleus for a year, Benzema was on-form in France’s 4-0 win over Armenia in Euro qualifying on Thursday. The striker set up Antoine Griezmann for France’s opener before finding two goals of his own in the span of just two minutes.

But it was on the second of these goals that he suffered the injury that saw him replaced by... Read More

Chile vs. Brazil Highlights CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers

Oct 07, 2015 by Alex Baker

Chile welcomes Brazil to the Estadio Nacional in Santiago Thursday, as South American teams begin the qualification process for the 2018 World Cup.

The last time these teams met in an official match was at the 2014 World Cup. That match ended in a 1-1 draw, and Brazil prevailed 1-0 in a friendly earlier this year.

Having won 15 of 18 official meetings between the two, Brazil has historically had the upper hand when these two nations have clashed. But Chile has the confidence of having just won its first major trophy, when it lifted the Copa America on home soil this summer. The Chileans are also undefeated in their last five matches.

Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli has a star-studded squad, led by Arsenal’s in-form attacker Alexis Sanchez. Alexis... Read More

Ronaldo’s Shift to Striker Could Test Atleti’s Derby Dominance

Oct 02, 2015 by Alex Baker

The Vicente Calderon has not been an easy place for Real Madrid to go in recent years. Last time they visited, they lost 4-0. That was during Carlo Ancelotti’s time in charge, during which Real failed to register a single win over Atleti in La Liga.

But now, with a new manager in charge and having beaten Atletico in the Champions League the last time the two met, Real Madrid are likely to be more confident going into this weekend’s fixture than they’ve been for some time; especially with Atletico still smarting from losing at home in the Champions League for the first time under Diego Simeone.

With just two points separating them in the table, both sides have it all to play for on Sunday. Atletico are notorious... Read More

Struggling Marseille Face Trip to PSG for Les Classique

Oct 01, 2015 by Alex Baker

Known in France as Le Classique, Sunday’s derby will see 15th place Marseille face off against league leaders and reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain. The match comes in the wake of crowd trouble that saw Marseille’s match against Lyon suspended, resulting in several sections of Marseille’s home ground, the Stade Velodrome, being closed for the game against promotion side Angers last weekend.

With the French authorities and sporting press continuing to focus on Marseille’s crowd trouble, the main supporters' groups for the team have decided to boycott this weekend’s Classique. It may be just as well, as watching this struggling Marseille side taking on powerhouse PSG might not make for pleasant viewing.

The crowd trouble with Lyon is just the latest incident in an early season fraught with difficulties for Marseille... Read More

Messi Knee Injury Won’t Require Surgery

Sep 28, 2015 by Alex Baker

Barcelona fans the world over awoke to the happy news Monday morning that Lionel Messi’s knee injury isn’t as bad as feared. While the player is still set to be sidelined for a period of seven to eight weeks, no surgery is required and Messi could return to action sooner than expected, according to Argentina’s team doctor.

Messi suffered an injury to the ligaments in his left knee in Barcelona’s 2-1 win over Las Palmas at the Camp Nou Saturday. After receiving treatment on the pitch, Messi was subbed off in the 10th minute and taken to a nearby clinic for tests.

Despite the hopeful prognosis from Argentina team doctor, Donato Villani, Messi is set to miss a number of important matches, beginning with... Read More

Ibrahimovic Eyes All-Time Leading Scorer Record for PSG

Sep 25, 2015 by Alex Baker

Zlatan Ibrahimovic finally opened his Ligue 1 scoring account for the season Tuesday, finding the net in Paris Saint-Germain’s 3-0 win over Guingamp.

It was the 83rd minute of play when the Swede ran onto a through ball from Angel Di Maria to slot home PSG’s third of the night, following goals from Javier Pastore and Di Maria himself. The goal took Zlatan’s tally to 107 goals for the capital club that he joined in 2012.

He might have made it 108 minutes later had he not missed a penalty.

Still, Ibrahimovic is now just two goals shy of the record held by PSG’s all-time leading scorer, Pauleta, the Portuguese striker who notched 109 goals in five seasons at PSG between 2003 and 2008.

While Ibrahimovic is now... Read More

Inter Milan Emerge as Early Serie A Favorites

Sep 24, 2015 by Alex Baker

It’s been a long time out in the wilderness, but Inter Milan is riding high at the top of Serie A after going undefeated in its first five matches. It’s not been pretty, it’s not been dynamic, but then Inter has never really been that kind of team.

Even Jose Mourinho’s historic treble-winning Inter side in 2010 specialized mainly in cautious, 1-0 victories. At the time, Mourinho was managing a team that had largely been built by Roberto Mancini. So it’s little coincidence that having been reinstated as Inter manager, Mancini is back to grinding out results with little regard for flair or style.

But that should not detract from the job Mancini has done since taking up his second spell in charge at the Giuseppe Meazza. The former Manchester... Read More

AC Milan Abandon Plans to Build New Stadium

Sep 21, 2015 by Alex Baker

AC Milan President Silvio Berlusconi has scrapped plans to build a new stadium, claiming he is too “in love with the San Siro” to leave the 81,277-seat stadium that has been home to the club since 1926.

Milan had secured funding for a new, state-of-the-art 48,000-seat stadium that was to be built near the club’s new training ground in the Portello district of Milan. But those plans have now been abandoned due in part to a disagreement with the company that owns the land the stadium was to be built on.

Bee Taechaubol, the Thai businessman who is set to take a 48 percent ownership stake in the club next month, is also said to prefer keeping the Rossoneri at San Siro.

The San Siro, which is also home... Read More

Napoli vs. Lazio Highlights Serie A Action

Sep 18, 2015 by Alex Baker

Fresh from its 5-0 thrashing of Club Brugge in the Europa League Napoli will host Lazio in Serie A at 4:30pm ET Sunday (watch live on beIN Sports). The win over Brugge came as a welcome respite for the Neapolitan outfit that’s started its season with a loss and two draws.

After beating Bologna 2-1 in its season opener, Lazio suffered a dispiriting 4-0 loss to Chievo before blanking Udinese 2-0 last week.

If Napoli is to come away with its first Serie A win of the season, the man to watch will be Gonzalo Higuain, who has eight goals in four previous appearances against Lazio.

Watch Napoli vs. Lazio LIVE at 4:30pm ET Sunday on beIN Sports.

Balotelli Looking for First AC Milan Goal
After... Read More

Rafinha Injury Testing Barça’s Squad Depth

Sep 17, 2015 by Alex Baker

Already reeling from the sale of Xavi and Pedro, Barcelona’s depth in midfield took another hit this week when tests revealed Rafinha Alcantara -– generally know as Rafinha -– suffered an injury to his cruciate ligament against Roma Wednesday.

The Brazilian midfielder had barely been on the pitch at the Estadio Olimpico in Rome for two minutes when he was the victim of a crunching tackle from Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan.

After the match Barça boss Luis Enrique remarked that the injury “doesn’t look very good.”

The club released a statement early Thursday confirming that Rafinha had indeed injured his ACL and would require surgery and several months of rehabilitation. This means the 22-year-old is likely to miss the rest of the season.

Rafinha’s injury leaves Barcelona’s already thin squad... Read More

Ronaldo Hits Five Past Espanyol, Becomes Real Madrid’s Leading Scorer

Sep 14, 2015 by Alex Baker

Cristiano Ronaldo struck five goals into the back of the net against Espanyol on Saturday to break the record held by Raul and become Real Madrid’s all-time leading La Liga goal scorer.

What is so impressive about Ronaldo’s feat is not just the speed at which he accomplished it – 230 goals in 204 matches as opposed to Raul’s 228 in 550 – but the fact that CR7 isn’t really an out-and-out striker.

While Ronaldo’s goals have typically involved using pace or trickery of some kind to strike from the wing or outside, against Espanyol the former Manchester United man operated more like a traditional center forward. All five of his goals were converted with a single touch.

Seeing Ronaldo’s ruthless efficiency begs the question as to what kind of... Read More

Inter Host AC Milan in Season’s First Milan Derby

Sep 11, 2015 by Alex Baker

The Serie A season is barely three weeks old and one of the most anticipated matches of the season is already looming, as Internazionale hosts AC Milan (2:40pm ET Sunday on beIN Sports) in the first Milan Derby of the season.

Not long ago, the Derby della Madonnina could be a potential title-decider between two of Europe’s heavyweights, but this Sunday’s Milan Derby opponents finished 8th (Inter) and 10th (Milan) last season.

While both the blue and the red side of Milan have invested in their squads over the summer and said all the right things in terms of returning to the summit of Italian football, it remains to be seen whether either can actually do so. Of the two, Inter has certainly started off the season stronger, with... Read More

Ter Stegen to Make La Liga Debut Against Atletico

Sep 09, 2015 by Alex Baker

More than one year after signing for Barcelona, goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen is finally set to make his La Liga debut against Atletico Madrid Saturday. While Ter Stegen featured in Barça’s successful Champions League and Copa del Rey campaigns last season, coach Luis Enrique favored Claudio Bravo when it came to league outings.

But after straining his right calf in training on Monday, the Chilean keeper is in doubt for Saturday’s clash at the Vicente Calderon. While last season Enrique chose to start Jordi Masip for the one La Liga match Bravo was unavailable for, reports in Spain have tipped Ter Stegen as the man who will step in this time.

Based on Ter Stegen’s most recent appearances in a Blaugrana jersey -– a 5-4 win over Sevilla, and... Read More

Strootman’s Doctor: Midfielder Expected to Make Full Recovery

Sep 04, 2015 by Alex Baker

Still basking in the glow of last weekend’s 2-1 win over Juventus, Roma fans received more good news this week with Kevin Strootman’s doctor declaring the midfielder is expected to make a full recovery.

The Netherlands' international tore his cruciate ligament in March of 2014 and has missed a season and a half of football as a result. After attempting to come back on two separate occasions, both of which resulted in the need for additional knee operations, it was rumored that Strootman’s career might be over.

But Dr. Pierpaolo Mariani, the surgeon who performed the most recent operation, has rubbished such suggestions.

“He will be playing again – this is a promise I make as a surgeon and half as a fan,” the doctor told Il Corriere dello... Read More

Atletico Madrid Come Out on Top in Transfer Dealings

Sep 02, 2015 by Alex Baker

The European transfer window slammed shut Tuesday and in terms of the business done this summer, Atletico Madrid left its La Liga competition in the dust. Unlike Barcelona, Atleti weren’t encumbered by any kind of UEFA imposed sanctions. Unlike Real Madrid, Los Colchoneros avoided getting dragged into any kind of protracted transfer drama.

Instead, Diego Simeone got his transfer dealings done early and sensibly. As is customary with Atletico, several key players left – Arda Turan to Barcelona, Mario Mandzukic to Juventus – but somehow those losses don’t seem as staggering as in past seasons.

In fact Jackson Martinez, signed from Porto earlier in the window, looks to be an upgrade to Mandzukic. And while it may take time to see how well Yannick Ferreira Carrasco does in terms of... Read More

Arsenal Must Sign a Striker

Aug 31, 2015 by Alex Baker

With mere hours remaining in the summer transfer window, the writing is clearly on the wall that if there’s one area of the pitch Arsenal needs to reinforce, it’s at striker.

Spurning at least two high-profile opportunities to score against Newcastle United on Saturday, Theo Walcott blew his big chance to convince Arsene Wenger that he’s got what it takes to lead the line for the Gunners. Coming on as a sub with around 20 minutes remaining, Olivier Giroud also failed to impress, and Alexis Sanchez continues to drift through matches without making much of an impact.

Despite sitting in sixth place and having taken seven points out of a possible 12, Arsenal has only scored one goal this season: Giroud’s acrobatic strike in last week’s 2-1 win over Crystal... Read More

Roma vs. Juventus Preview

Aug 28, 2015 by Alex Baker

Serie A champions Juventus will look to bounce back quickly from their season-opening defeat to Udinese when they make the trip south on Sunday to face AS Roma at the Stadio Olimpico. Last weekend’s loss put an end to a 47-game unbeaten run in the league.

On paper, losing at home against Udinese, a team that finished just outside the relegation zone last season, doesn’t look that good. But the result doesn’t tell the whole story: Max Allegri’s team dominated possession against the visitors and new signings Mario Mandzukic came close to scoring on more than one occasion, as did Paul Pogba, who remains at the club for now.

Cyril Thereau’s 78th-minute goal for the visitors, on the other hand, was Udinese’s first shot on target. And Juve wasn’t... Read More

Brazil’s ‘Pass the Ball to Neymar’ Plan Not Working

Jun 19, 2015 by Alex Baker

Slapped with a suspension for a red card earned in the dying seconds of Brazil’s Copa America loss to Colombia Wednesday, Neymar will be forced to miss the Selecao’s final group stage match against Venezuela Sunday.

Last summer, with the Barcelona talisman knocked out of action with a cracked vertebrae at the World Cup, Brazil were undone by a German side that picked them off clinically on its way to becoming the first European team to win the Cup in South America. One popular narrative since then has it that had Neymar been fit things might’ve gone differently against the Germans. But on the evidence of Brazil’s showing in the Copa America so far, that doesn’t necessarily seem the case.

This was particularly apparent in Wednesday’s 1-0 loss to Colombia.... Read More

Copa America: Big Guns Struggle in First Round

Jun 15, 2015 by Alex Baker

Chile vs. Ecuador

They may have struggled at times in their 2-0 opening win against Ecuador, but of all the pre-tournament favorites, it looks like Chile who are off to the best start. While it admittedly took a 67th minute penalty won and converted by Arturo Vidal to open the scoring, Chile were largely successful at containing a formidable Ecuador attack led by Enner Valencia. Ecuador however, came close on a number of occasions, particularly in the 82nd minute when Valencia rocketed a header off the crossbar that could have leveled the score and changed the game.

But two minutes later Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez played in Eduardo Vargas who slotted a shot past Ecuador keeper Alexander Dominguez from the center of the box to make it 2-0. It... Read More

Transfers: Ibrahimovic To Stay at PSG

Jun 12, 2015 by Alex Baker

Despite persistent rumors linking him with a return to AC Milan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic insists he’s happy in Paris and will remain with Paris Saint-Germain. However the 33-year-old, who is on national team as Sweden prepare to face Montenegro, admitted he’d been in contact with Milan CEO Adriano Galliani and left the door open to the possibility by throwing the old “You never know what will happen in football” line out to reporters.

PSG are apparently readying a spectacular bid to eventually replace Zlatan with Cristiano Ronaldo. While Ronaldo is unlikely to leave Real Madrid this summer, L’Equipe reports that PSG will move for the striker ahead of the 2016-2017 season. Were the Swede actually to return to Milan this summer, that process could become accelerated.

Arsenal continue to be... Read More

Copa America Preview: Predictions for all 12 Teams

Jun 10, 2015 by Alex Baker

The Copa America has traditionally been seen as a clash between Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, but this year’s edition sees increased competition for South America’s traditional heavyweights. The emergence of host nation Chile as an international power, the resurgence of Colombia’s national team, and a promising Ecuador side that’s on the rise means there are nearly half a dozen teams in the tournament with a reasonable shot at lifting the trophy when the Copa concludes next month.

Group A:

Bolivia
With a squad of mostly domestic players, expectations are low for Bolivia, especially after they lost 5-0 to Argentina in their final warm-up before the tournament. Manager Mauricio Soria says his team will come out attacking. But with forwards who ply their trade at clubs like Changchun Yatai and Oriente... Read More

Barcelona President: Luis Enrique to Remain in Charge

Jun 08, 2015 by Alex Baker

It was a slightly awkward position for Barcelona club president Josep Maria Bartomeu to find himself in. Speaking to the press the Monday after Barcelona won its fifth European title and wrapped up a historic second treble, Bartomeu had to offer reassurances that Luis Enrique, the manager who’d won those three trophies – La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League - would still be at the club next season.

“You don’t have to suffer, Luis Enrique will continue,” said Bartomeu to Catalunya Radio. “His season has been a 10/10 and there is no need to break contract.”

Enrique, who like Pep Guardiola captured the treble in his first season in charge at Barça, had bypassed an opportunity to make similar assurances over the weekend, saying only, “These decisions will... Read More

Transfer Zone: Ins, Outs, Rumors

Jun 05, 2015 by Alex Baker

With a Champions League final to be played this weekend, the curtain is about to be drawn on the current season of European football. While there’s been plenty of news to follow courtesy of the unfolding FIFA scandal, in the background, the transfer rumor mill has been quietly powering itself up. With the summer window set to open at the end of the month, let’s take a look at some of the deals that could be in the works this summer.

Liverpool has announced that James Milner will be joining the club on a free transfer from Premier League runner-up Manchester City. Meanwhile, the already tiring saga of Raheem Sterling’s campaign to leave the Anfield club shows no sign of abating: The latest rumors have the 20-year-old winger linked to... Read More

Champions League: Juventus Face Mission Impossible in Stopping Messi

Jun 03, 2015 by Alex Baker

It’s tempting to cast Saturday’s Champions League Final in Berlin as a clash between two diametrically opposing styles: the possession-based, attacking tiki-taka of Barcelona; and the cautious, defensive catenaccio of Juventus. In reality, though, the only aspects of the game that will truly be that black and white will be Juve’s jerseys.

It’s true that Juventus gave up fewer goals than any team in Italy on their way to winning their fourth consecutive Serie A title; they also scored more goals than any other in Serie A.

Meanwhile Barcelona racked up an astonishing 110 goals in La Liga this season (eight less than second-place Real Madrid), and managed to concede just 21 goals, three less than Juve. Of major sides across Europe, only Bayern Munich gave up fewer goals... Read More

Arsenal Retain FA Cup But Must Strive for More

Jun 01, 2015 by Alex Baker

With back-to-back FA Cups now safely ensconced in the Emirates Stadium trophy cabinet, Arsenal’s nine-year drought is well and truly a thing of the past. A third place finish in the Premier League this season relieves the North London outfit of the need for arduous Champions League qualification, a factor that’s often impacted the early stages of their league campaigns in recent years. And while winning the FA Cup ain’t what it used to be, these are signs of progress at Arsenal.

With the albatross of an impending decade of no trophies no longer hanging over their heads, the time is right for Arsene Wenger’s team to kick on and truly challenge for the Premier League, and possibly even the Champions League.

It’s been 11 years since Arsenal last... Read More

Arsenal Look to Make History in FA Cup Final

May 29, 2015 by Alex Baker

Arsenal face Aston Villa in the FA Cup final Saturday, knowing a win will make the Gunners the first team to lift the Cup 12 times. Victory at Wembley would also take Arsene Wenger’s FA Cup tally to six, making the Frenchman ironically the most prolific manager in modern times in terms of winning English soccer’s most-celebrated domestic cup competition. Wenger is currently even with Sir Alex Ferguson with five. Having won the Cup 12 months ago, Arsenal could also become only the eighth team in history to retain it.

But the pressure will be on Wenger and his team, as Arsenal are strong favorites to beat a Villa side that barely avoided relegation.

Apart from the injured Danny Welbeck, Wenger will have his full squad at his... Read More

Carlo Out, Rafa in at Real Madrid?

May 27, 2015 by Alex Baker

Was there ever really any doubt this was coming? Despite some in the media speculating it would be different this time, the inevitable sacking of Carlo Ancelotti by Real Madrid happened this week. Although he won the club’s 10th European title in his first season in charge, this season he won nothing. The last time a manager remained in charge at the White House after going trophy-less was in 1983; and that was Alfredo Di Stefano, a club legend.

Ancelotti has essentially been a dead man walking ever since Real Madrid were knocked out of the Champions League by Juventus. Barcelona clinching the title a few days later was just the final push down the staircase for Ancelotti. It’s unfortunate because there really aren’t many managers in world football better... Read More

Arsenal Target Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette

May 26, 2015 by Alex Baker

Olympique Lyonnais may have fallen short in their effort to overhaul Paris Saint-Germain in the French title race, but striker Alexandre Lacazette’s 27 goals in 31 appearances saw the Lyon man claim top scorer honors in Ligue 1 for the season. The 23-year-old is now reported to be on the radar of several top clubs around Europe. With Arsenal, PSG, Liverpool, and Bayern Munich all said to be interested in him, the Lacazette saga could be one to watch this summer.

Twelve months ago, Lacazette was relatively unknown outside of France, failing even to earn a call-up for the French squad for the 2014 World Cup. Having spent his entire career at Lyon, Lacazette has only managed to break into double digits on the season once before. Part of Lacazette’s... Read More

Can Anyone Challenge Juventus in Serie A Next Season?

May 22, 2015 by Alex Baker

Having already clinched the Serie A title and Coppa Italia, it’s been a big season for Juventus. It could get even bigger if they beat Barcelona in the Champions League final. The best team in Italy by a long shot, the Old Lady has already re-staked her claim to continental greatness just by making it into the final against Barça. Should they actually pull off a win, it might force fans and pundits alike to have a serious rethink about Serie A and Italian football in general.

Although the problem for Serie A currently is that Juve are establishing Bayern Munich-like dominance over the rest of the league. A full 16 points ahead of Roma in the standings, no one has come that close to challenging the Turin outfit... Read More

Juventus Move Closer to Treble with Coppa Win

May 21, 2015 by Alex Baker

Barcelona aren’t the only Champions League finalist that could be in line for a historic treble. Juventus just added the Coppa Italia to a haul that’s already seen Max Allegri’s team crowned Serie A champions this season. And while popular wisdom has it that Juve have no chance of beating Barça and winning a historic treble, the same was said before they beat Real Madrid in the semis.

Okay, granted, we’re talking about a Real Madrid team that’s had its problems this season. Luka Modric’s injury has hit Carlo Ancelotti’s team hard. Gareth Bale is being persecuted by his own fans, and Cristiano Ronaldo’s conduct appears to be increasingly getting under his teammates’ skin. As opposed to a Barcelona side that’s recently regained its status as the best club side... Read More

Arsenal Draw With United But Still Need to Improve

May 18, 2015 by Alex Baker

It was something of a mixed bag for Arsenal against Manchester United Sunday. Yes, the Londoners came away from Old Trafford with a point, keeping them in-line for a third-place finish and automatic Champions League qualification next season. The draw also saw Arsenal maintain their good record against the top sides, which is much improved from last season. And while the resulting point suits them, apart from the excellent Aaron Ramsey, Arsene Wenger’s team looked rather flat against United.

It’s been a long season and the Gunners’ best players this term have all faded somewhat in recent matches, seemingly exhausted by the campaign. Alexis Sanchez had an anonymous match against United, as did Olivier Giroud. Mesut Ozil provided a few moments of inspiration and some excellent service on set-pieces. But... Read More

Barça Look to Clinch Title Against Atleti

May 15, 2015 by Alex Baker

With the threat of a La Liga strike over the new TV rights deal now averted, Barcelona will travel to the Vicente Calderon Sunday to face reigning champions Atletico Madrid as planned. A win at the Calderon will see Barça crowned Spanish champions and keep Luis Enrique’s team in line for what could be a historic treble.

Despite Atleti’s home field advantage, Barcelona are seen as favorites Sunday. Although their 18-match winning streak was snapped by Bayern Munich on Wednesday, Barcelona are into the Champions League final against Juventus next month and will also face Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final this month. A win Sunday would see the Catalans claim the first of the three major trophies available to them and be a huge step towards claiming... Read More

Four Teams that Could Challenge Chelsea Next Season

May 13, 2015 by Alex Baker

Although it took them until last week’s meeting with Crystal Palace to officially seal the deal, Chelsea were the only real contender in the Premier League title race for most of this season. While some have criticized the quality of the football Jose Mourinho’s side played, there was little doubt over the course of the season that the Londoners would be crowned champions come May.

With a team stacked with talent, the shrewdest manager in world football, and a winning transfer policy, Chelsea are already favorites to retain the title next season. Will anyone be capable of seriously challenging them? Maybe. Let’s take a look at the teams who could give Chelsea a run for their money, and what they need to do in order to do so.

Manchester... Read More

Ligue 1: PSG on Verge of Clinching Title

May 11, 2015 by Alex Baker

It seemed to finally come together for Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1 on Friday as Les Parisiens put on a command performance, demolishing Guingamp 6-0 at the Parc du Princes. A hat trick from Edinson Cavani, a brace from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and a single goal from Maxwell put PSG well out of reach for the mid-table side. The win put PSG in pole position for their third consecutive Ligue 1 title, and thanks to Lyon’s 3-0 loss to Caen Sunday, PSG can clinch with just a single point against Montpellier next week.

With two rounds left to play, PSG are six points clear of Lyon and have a superior goal differential. Ibrahimovic’s return from his recent suspension has come just in time for the club. The Swede has been in... Read More

Ibrahimovic, Ancelotti Linked with Milan Return

May 08, 2015 by Alex Baker

AC Milan are in the midst of their worst season in over 20 years, and the powers that be at the club apparently feel that the best way to bring the club forward is to look to its glorious past. Set to receive a badly needed injection of cash from its new mega-rich Thai businessman co-owner, Bee Taechaubol, the club is reportedly on the market for a marquee player to rebuild the team around. Apparently the first choice is former Rossoneri striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Zlatan enjoyed a successful spell at Milan between 2010 and 2012, winning the Scudetto and the Copa Italia before moving on to Paris Saint-Germain. But after being Ligue 1’s darling for the past couple years, it’s all come a cropper for Ibra in the City of... Read More

Messi Magic Elevates Barcelona

May 07, 2015 by Alex Baker

You can take the Ballon D’or, the Pichichi, and all the other records and throw them into the Tyrrhenian Sea. Because if you wanted an answer as to whom the best player in the world is, it came towards the conclusion of Barcelona’s first-leg, semifinal clash against Bayern Munich at the Camp Nou on Wednesday.

The match had been at a deadlock for well over an hour when Messi suddenly turned it on. His first strike came in the 77th minute when from out of nowhere, he fired home a shot from the edge of the box that left the otherwise outstanding Manuel Neuer no chance in the Bayern goal.

He struck again just three minutes later, when he was played in by a nice pass from Ivan Rakitic,... Read More

Ronaldo Responds to Pressure to Keep Real Madrid in Title Race

May 04, 2015 by Alex Baker

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the 29th hat trick of his Real Madrid career Saturday to lift his side to a 3-2 away win over Sevilla and keep them in the hunt for the La Liga title. The win was Real Madrid’s first at Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan since 2011 and brought an end to a 34-match unbeaten streak at home for Sevilla.

Ronaldo’s three goals also saw him once again overtake Lionel Messi to become the leader in the race for this season’s Pichichi award for the most goals. It was a clutch performance in a crunch game from a player who’s borne the brunt of much of the criticism surrounding Carlo Ancelotti’s team this year.

Granted, the cards did fall in Real Madrid’s favor to some degree. After 23 minutes... Read More

New La Liga TV Deal Could End Barça and Real Dominance

May 01, 2015 by Alex Baker

On Thursday Spanish legislators approved a new law governing the sale of football television broadcasting rights that could open the door to a sea change in La Liga. Under the current arrangement, clubs are allowed to negotiate their own individual TV deals – a system that heavily favors Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The new deal was intended bring La Liga more in line with the other major European leagues like the English Premier League and Serie A. Once passed, the law will rectify the imbalances to how the TV money is distributed in Spain and should bring about more financial parity in the league.

Spanish sports ministry spokesman Miguel Cardenal described the deal as “a historic measure and one that was necessary for Spanish football.”

“The league will be... Read More

Juventus Within a Point of Title

Apr 30, 2015 by Alex Baker

Juventus bounced back from their surprise loss to Torino last weekend with a 3-1 win over Fiorentina in midweek. But the Serie A leaders had to postpone their title celebrations as Lazio, who are currently in second, romped to a 4-0 win over Parma, keeping the title race alive, at least mathematically.

Despite holding a 14-point lead over Lazio, this was the second time in the space of a few days that Juve failed to close the deal on the Scudetto. But the Turin outfit will have a chance to wrap up their fourth consecutive title this weekend when they face Sampdoria away. Although even if the title is secured, manager Max Allegri has ordered that there be no celebrations until the following weekend.

“It would be better... Read More

Arsenal’s Shortcomings Exposed Against Chelsea

Apr 27, 2015 by Alex Baker

Arsene Wenger cut a familiar frustrated figure on the sidelines at the Emirates Stadium Sunday as Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea held his Arsenal side to a scoreless draw. It was the 13th time Wenger had pitted one of his teams against one of Mourinho’s and the Frenchman is still looking for his first win against the Portuguese.

And while Arsenal never looked in danger of succumbing to a demoralizing loss, like last season’s 6-0 hiding at Stamford Bridge, they also never really looked that likely to score either. A big part of the credit must go to John Terry. The Chelsea center back was exceptional at the Emirates, cutting out crosses, making clearances and being praised by his manager afterwards for having had his best game ever.

But as former Arsenal... Read More

Mancini’s Inter Faces Tough Test Against Roma

Apr 24, 2015 by Alex Baker

After playing out last weekend’s lackluster Milan Derby to a scoreless draw, Internazionale will welcome Roma to the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium Saturday. This Roma side, which spent the early part of the season hot on Juventus’ heels, is currently tied with Lazio on 58 points in second place.

Rudi Garcia has seen his team has draw 10 of its last 14 matches with goals having been the main problem for Roma this year. Despite not giving up too many, they’ve been unable to score more than one a match since early February. And finding the net against an Inter side that’s kept a clean sheet in its last three will be no easy task at the Giuseppe Meazza.

But Roma are in desperate need of all three points... Read More

Has Cavani Been a Failure at PSG?

Apr 23, 2015 by Alex Baker

By most accounts, Paris Saint-Germain was pretty woeful overall in yesterday’s second leg Champions League semifinal loss to Barcelona. But if one PSG player stood out for having an even worse game than the rest of his team, it was surely Edinson Cavani.

Like his teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Uruguayan was isolated up top and received little in the way of service. But while Ibra dropped deep and attempted to influence the match in midfield, Cavani was basically a bystander. And while in the first leg Cavani had a number of missed attempts on goal, in the second he failed to register a single shot, on-target or off. The 2-0 loss, that sees PSG eliminated on a 5-1 aggregate, was just the latest instance of Cavani failing to make an... Read More

Keepers in the Spotlight as Arsenal Reach FA Cup Final

Apr 20, 2015 by Alex Baker

Goalkeepers rarely make headlines for doing things well. When they do make the papers, it’s usually for high profile blunders. Like the two we witnessed in Saturday’s FA Cup semifinal at Wembley between Arsenal and Reading. The first howler came in the second half of regular time.

With Arsenal up 1-0, thanks to a first-half blast from Alexis Sanchez, keeper Wojciech Szczesny fumbled a save on a shot from Garath McCleary, allowing Reading the goal that would take the match to extra time. Szczesny has been relegated to bench warmer and Cup-keeper since his last headline-grabbing incident: being caught smoking in the showers at the Emirates Stadium after a culpable performance in Arsenal’s 2-0 loss to Southampton on New Year’s Day.

But this time it won’t be Szczesny who... Read More

Inter vs. Milan: The Derby That’s Fallen on Hard Times

Apr 17, 2015 by Alex Baker

This Sunday’s Milan Derby will be different from past clashes between Internazionale and AC Milan. While the match that in Italy is known as the Derby della Madonnina has historically been a clash between two footballing giants with title implications, Sunday’s edition, on paper anyway, will be little more than a clash between two mid-table teams who share a stadium.

AC Milan currently sits in ninth place, one point above Inter in tenth. With neither side anywhere near this season’s Scudetto race and realistically out of the race for Europe, there is little left to play for this season in terms of tangible goals. But as it is in other mid-table derbies around the world, when there is little else to play for, victory in the derby becomes all the... Read More

Ibrahimovic’s Bans Could Prove Costly for PSG

Apr 16, 2015 by Alex Baker

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was not on the pitch for Paris Saint-Germain’s 3-1 home loss to Barcelona in the Champions League this week. The striker was serving a ban for a red card he received when PSG edged Chelsea on away goals in a 2-2 thriller at Stamford Bridge last month. With Edinson Cavani continuing to flounder when deployed as a central striker, Zlatan’s presence was badly missed as PSG was cut open by a superior Barcelona side.

While he will be available for next week’s second leg at the Camp Nou, the towering Swede is also now facing a four-match domestic ban for a tirade against French football and France that was caught on video earlier this year. This leaves PSG without its most important player as the reigning champions head... Read More

Atleti Holds Advantage Ahead of Champions League Clash with Real

Apr 13, 2015 by Alex Baker

Real Madrid is in an interesting position at the moment. Although favorites to win this season’s Champions League, according to a new study put out by CIES Football Observatory, Carlo Ancelotti’s men must first get past Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid – a team they’ve failed to beat in their last six encounters.

The city-rivals square off against one another on Tuesday in the first part of a two-legged tie that will send one team through to the semis and the other back to Madrid. Atletico are the home team for the first leg so Real Madrid face the daunting task of meeting their bitter rivals in the intimidating atmosphere of the Vicente Calderon. The Calderon is never an easy place for visiting teams and the last time Real paid a... Read More

With Costa Out, is Chelsea Vulnerable?

Apr 10, 2015 by Alex Baker

It would have seemed folly to have this conversation a few short weeks ago. But with Arsenal and Manchester United in hot pursuit and Diego Costa out injured, people are starting to wonder; could Chelsea let the title slip?

It seems highly unlikely, but not impossible. It’s a pity that neither United nor Arsenal could have hit their good form a few weeks sooner. A boost of three to five points for either team would’ve potentially made this one of the most exciting Premier League title races in years. But seven points clear with a game in hand; Chelsea can afford to lose two games out of the remaining eight and still end up as Champions in May.

But the path to victory is by no means an easy or... Read More

Messi’s Fine Form Begs the Question: What Might Have Been?

Apr 08, 2015 by Alex Baker

Lionel Messi was on target again for Barcelona against Almeria on Wednesday, opening the scoring in the 33rd minute with a sumptuous curling strike from the edge of the 18. It was the first of four unanswered goals Barça put past Almeria on the day, Messi’s 33rd of the season, and his 21st in this calendar year. Begging the question: why couldn’t he have played like this a year ago on the runup to the World Cup?

The spring of 2014 was a very different time for Messi and Barcelona. Messi was nearly 10 pounds heavier and Barça was in the midst of what would prove to be its first trophy-less season since 2007-08.

They say the two things in life you can’t avoid are death and taxes and apparently... Read More

PSG Take Title Initiative with Marseille Win

Apr 06, 2015 by Alex Baker

As with practically everything else this season, it took Paris Saint-Germain longer than you would have expected to take the lead against Marseille in Sunday’s Classique. In fact there were long periods in the first half when it looked like it would never happen.

Marseille took the lead right on the half hour mark through Andre-Pierre Gignac. Blaise Matuidi equalized for Paris just five minutes later, Gignac restored Marseille’s lead just minutes before the break.

As the teams headed into the locker room for halftime, it felt as if PSG had just been dealt a demoralizing blow. And on the evidence of the majority of their performances this season, it wasn’t entirely clear whether they’d be capable of coming back against this Marseille side that had been stronger throughout the... Read More

High-flying Arsenal Take on Embattled Liverpool

Apr 03, 2015 by Alex Baker

Red-hot Arsenal welcome Liverpool to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday for what could prove a decisive clash between two teams vying for the top four. The Gunners are in the in-form team in the Premier League at the moment, having won nine out of their last 10 matches. With the injury crisis of earlier in the season behind it, Arsenal has come on strong in the New Year. Striker Olivier Giroud is playing confidently and has knocked in nine goals in his last nine matches.

Mesut Ozil too has hit a good run of form since returning from injury. While still criticized for his seemingly languid style, it was recently revealed that the German playmaker regularly covers more ground during a game than any of his teammates. Ozil’s return seems... Read More

Is Ligue 1 the Most Underrated in Europe?

Apr 02, 2015 by Alex Baker

It’s taken a long time but Paris Saint-Germain, strong favorite to retain the Ligue 1 title going into this season, has finally settled atop the league standings. Part of the reigning champion’s inability to top the table this season has stemmed from its own underperforming. A creeping sense of jadedness has underpinned much of what we’ve seen from the Parisians this term. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was also out injured for a key stretch of the season, with Edinson Cavani all-too-often failing to fire in his absence. Far too many matches PSG should’ve won have ended in draws. Apart from the dramatic way in which they knocked Chelsea out of the Champions League, there’s been precious little about PSG to get excited over this season.

But the flipside of that is that... Read More

Messi Named Top Forward in 2015, Ronaldo is 29th

Mar 30, 2015 by Alex Baker

An analysis conducted by the CIES Football Observatory has named Barcelona attacker Lionel Messi the top performing forward in Europe’s elite leagues for 2015, while Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo came in at 29th. The study analyzed players based on six Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, including rigor, recovery, distribution, take-ons, chance creation, and shooting.

Messi has scored 17 goals in La Liga in 2015; Ronaldo has netted just six.

According to the study, it’s Arjen Robben who is Messi’s closest competition. The Bayern Munich winger came in second with his Netherlands teammate, Bas Dost coming third. Messi’s Barça teammate Luis Suarez came in fourth, followed by Chelsea striker Diego Costa in fifth and Tottenham striker Harry Kane in sixth.

While Ronaldo came in at a relatively lowly 29th, that’s significantly... Read More

Brazil vs. Chile: Match Preview

Mar 27, 2015 by Alex Baker

Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium will be the backdrop for the friendly between rival South American superpowers Brazil and Chile on Sunday.

On the evidence of its showing in Thursday’s 3-1 friendly win over France, it seems that confidence has been restored to this Brazilian side. While France took an early lead through Raphael Varane, Brazil were able to equalize before the end of the first half through Oscar. By the time Neymar put Brazil ahead 15 minutes into the second half, that 7-1 loss to Germany at the Maracana last summer was beginning to seem like a long time ago; when Luis Gustavo popped up with a third a few minutes later, France no longer looked like they believed themselves capable of getting back into the match.

It wasn’t what... Read More

Fiorentina’s Giuseppe Rossi Nearing Return to Action

Mar 25, 2015 by Alex Baker

Fiorentina striker Giuseppe Rossi is reportedly making a quicker than expected recovery from his latest knee surgery and could return to training within two weeks. The New Jersey-born Rossi, who represents Italy internationally, has been sidelined for seven months following the latest bout with a recurring knee ligament injury that has dogged him throughout much of his career.

Rossi, 28, has yet to make an appearance for Vincenzo Montella’s Fiorentina side this season, but could be in line for a return to action before the season ends in May. The former Villarreal man missed last summer’s World Cup after aggravating his knee and suffered a further setback in preseason, which required additional surgery.

While the club had initially hoped Rossi would be back on the pitch this month, it now... Read More

El Clasico: Neymar Frustrates, Suarez Soars in Barca Win

Mar 23, 2015 by Alex Baker

In a game that Real Madrid dominated for long periods, it took a moment of stardust from Luis Suarez for Barcelona to gain the edge. With the score tied at 1-1 in the 56th minute, the Uruguayan used one touch to control a long ball in from Dani Alves and another to side-foot it just beyond the reach of the sprawling Iker Casillas into the far corner. It was a moment of brilliance worthy of the grandiosity of the El Clasico. Jeremy Mathieu had scored the opener for Barcelona, heading in an exquisite set-piece delivery from Lionel Messi in the 19th minute. Cristiano Ronaldo equalized on the half-hour mark, firing home from close range after receiving a cheeky back-heeled pass from Karim Benzema. Still, it was Suarez’s night, with the... Read More

Messi has ‘Dropped the Pizza’ and Is Ready for El Clasico

Mar 20, 2015 by Alex Baker

After admitting in his own words that 2014 was “a not very good year,” Lionel Messi has lately regained the mercurial form that made him the undisputed best player on Earth for most of the last half decade. As this weekend’s El Clasico looms, the four-time Ballon d’Or winner is flying high once again.

Reports in the Spanish media have it that Messi’s return to form is in part due to a renewed commitment to fitness that included giving up pizza and shedding eight pounds from this time last year.

According to the Catalan daily, Mundo, Messi has refocused his training efforts and has been showing up early for team sessions to do extra work. He’s apparently also been working with a dietician and the kinesiologist for the... Read More

Barcelona Blow Past Man City En Route to Clasico

Mar 19, 2015 by Alex Baker

Barcelona’s 1-0 Champions League defeat of Manchester City at the Camp Nou was tougher than it might have been, mainly thanks to City keeper Joe Hart, whose many saves kept the Premier League champions in the game if not the tie. Barça also hit the post twice and were unlucky not to win the game by a greater margin.

But all in all, despite the narrow scoreline, it was a masterful performance from Barcelona with Lionel Messi in particular shining brightly. The Catalans now head into Sunday’s El Clasico against Real Madrid in excellent form, with only two losses in 20 matches this calendar year.

It’s a far cry from the shambolic Barcelona side of earlier this season that was beset by talks of a crisis and rumors about... Read More

Real Madrid Right the Ship Against Levante

Mar 16, 2015 by Alex Baker

It was somewhat telling that Real Madrid’s two most spectacular moments during Sunday’s 2-0 win over Levante were near misses. The first came early in the first half when Gareth Bale controlled the ball in midair before trying flick it to the far post for Cristiano Ronaldo. It was a magical bit of control that unfortunately came to nothing. The same could be said of Karim Benzema’s Zlatan-like scorpion kick, which rocketed off the crossbar in the second half: impressive, but ultimately futile. Between these two spectacular near misses, however, Real put in a convincing, if not awe-inspiring performance.

Gareth Bale, increasingly the target of Real Madrid fans’ ire, came good with two first-half goals that essentially took the fight out of the visitors. Bale, who’s so often seemingly made... Read More

Match Preview: Lyon vs. Marseille

Mar 13, 2015 by Alex Baker

Paris Saint-Germain astounded the football world by rallying past Chelsea in the Champions League this week, despite having been reduced to ten men early in the match. But back home in France, Les Parisiens are locked in the throes of a three-way dogfight at the top of the table where every point counts. Their chief rivals – first-place Lyon and third-place Marseille – are set to go head-to-head this Sunday at the Stade Velodrome.

A victory at home would bring Marcelo Bielsa’s Marseille within one point of Lyon and potentially into second place, depending on how PSG fares against Bordeaux. Marseille set the pace early on in the Ligue 1 season, and last week ended a four-match winless streak with a 6-1 demolition of Toulouse. But Lyon have... Read More

Shorthanded PSG Triumphs at Chelsea

Mar 12, 2015 by Alex Baker

It’s taken a couple seasons and admittedly, they basically spent their way to the big time. But we have possibly seen the emergence of a new power into European soccer’s big stage this week. Paris Saint-Germain, the Qatari-backed Ligue 1 side that’s risen to the top in France, took their biggest scalp to date in Europe, eliminating Chelsea deep in extra time at Stamford Bridge to advance to the Champions League final four. More impressively, PSG played 90 plus minutes with only 10 men after Zlatan Ibrahimovic was contentiously sent off in the 32nd minute for a collision with Oscar. Sending Ibra off was in fact the first of many bad calls from referee Bjorn Kuipers, who nearly stole the headlines himself early on.

It was supposed to be Zlatan’s... Read More

Second Draw in a Row Sees Atletico’s Title Hopes Slipping

Mar 09, 2015 by Alex Baker

In a weekend that basically saw the La Liga title race turned on its head, Atletico Madrid missed an opportunity to close the gap on Real Madrid and Barcelona by giving up a draw at home to Valencia.

Diego Simeone’s men had taken a first half lead through Koke who, with a little help from Tiago, got onto the end of a set-piece delivery from Gabi to put Atleti ahead with just over half an hour gone by.

Normally you’d expect Atletico to go on to win after taking the lead. Since Simeone’s arrival, the Los Colchoneros have proved masterful at managing out 1-0 leads. They give nothing away, especially at the Calderon, and as their opponents become increasingly frustrated, Atleti often strike again. This season they’ve run up several... Read More

Real Madrid Face Tough Test Against Bilbao

Mar 06, 2015 by Alex Baker

League leaders Real Madrid head to San Mames Saturday to face an Athletic Bilbao team currently sitting in 10th. Over the years, the Basque side has become something of a favorite target for Cristiano Ronaldo, who’s scored 14 goals in 11 matches against Athletic.

Of course the embattled Portuguese forward, who’s lately suffered abuse from his own fans, has often been an object of ire and derision from Bilbao’s fans. His contentious relationship with the San Mames faithful has boiled over on more than one occasion. It will be a measure of the man to see how Ronaldo responds to the pressure this weekend.

The firestorm surrounding his ill-timed birthday celebration has largely blown over. But his performances are still being criticized by the Spanish press and the latest rumors... Read More

Francis Coquelin Continues to Shine in Arsenal Win

Mar 05, 2015 by Alex Baker

Francis Coquelin continued to impress in midfield as Arsenal put two unanswered goals past Queens Park Rangers Wednesday. It’s easy to forget the French midfielder was on the verge of being released at the end of the season just a couple of months ago. But after another commanding performance against Everton on the weekend, during which he had his nose broken by teammate Olivier Giroud but remained on the pitch until the 89th minute, Arsene Wenger wasn’t about to drop him for the midweek trip to Loftus Road.

Wearing a protective facemask, Coquelin was at the heart of everything that worked in the center of the park for the Gunners. The 23-year-old had a perfect tackle rate of six out of six against QPR. He also made some impressive contributions... Read More

Roma’s Scudetto Hopes Dashed by Juventus Draw

Mar 03, 2015 by Alex Baker

If there was a moment when the title race well and truly slipped beyond Roma’s grasp, it likely came in the 62nd minute of Monday’s Serie A clash with Juventus at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Defender Vasileios Torosidis came in for a reckless tackle on Juve’s Arturo Vidal. Already on a yellow, the Greek defender was shown a red card and ejected from the match.

Carlos Tevez stepped up to take the ensuing free kick, bending in a right-footed effort from outside the box that floated into the bottom left corner, leaving Roma keeper Morgan De Sanctis no chance. And just like that Roma found themselves a goal and a man down with 30 minutes left to play, and any remaining title aspirations hanging in the balance.

However,... Read More

Chelsea Eye Season’s First Silverware in League Cup

Feb 27, 2015 by Alex Baker

Already favorites to win the Premier League and advance to the last eight of the Champions League, Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea could lift one of the three remaining trophies available to them this season in this Sunday’s League Cup final at Wembley. Standing in their way will be a determined Tottenham Hotspur side that arguably threw away its chance to advance in the Europa League in order to save its best for this final.

And while earlier in the season Chelsea’s Diego Costa was the in-form striker in the Premier League, of late it’s been Tottenham’s homegrown goal-getter Harry Kane who’s been banging them in. Kane was on target twice the last time the two sides met, on New Year’s Day, when Spurs handed Chelsea a surprise 5-3 defeat at White... Read More

Can Juventus Finally Make It In Europe?

Feb 25, 2015 by Alex Baker

Juventus took one step towards the Champions League last night with a narrow 2-1 victory at home over Borussia Dortmund, an impressive overall performance from the Serie A side who now find themselves at least slight favorites to go through.

But Juventus have a habit of winning home, both domestically and in Europe. They’ve lost just one of 15 European home fixtures since moving to the new Juventus Stadium in 2011. And while Juve have been the dominant force in Italy of late, if they do progress, it will only be their second appearance in the last eight since 2008.

Antonio Conte, the manager who ushered in this new era of Juventus' dominance, always saw his teams fall short somewhat in Europe. His successor, Massimiliano Allegri, now at least... Read More

Abidal: Messi Could Leave Barcelona to Join PSG

Feb 23, 2015 by Alex Baker

Former Barcelona defender, Eric Abidal, has reignited the rumors about Lionel Messi leaving the Catalan capitol by suggesting the four-time Ballon d’Or winner could join Paris Saint-Germain.

In a Sunday evening interview with Telefoot, the former Barcelona, Monaco, Lyon, and Olympiacos star suggested it might be time for Messi to move on from the club he joined as a 13-year-old.

“He’s won everything at Barcelona and so he might be interested in the challenge of winning with another club,” said Abidal, who left Barcelona in 2013.

“PSG have put together a good squad with determination and many objectives to achieve. It’s a club that might appeal to Leo.”

Abidal and Messi played together for six years at Barcelona, winning four La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues. Abidal, now 35,... Read More

Arsene Wenger Rubbishes Cazorla to Atleti Rumors

Feb 20, 2015 by Alex Baker

Arsene Wenger has thrown cold water on new rumors about Santi Cazorla leaving Arsenal for Atletico Madrid. The Spanish playmaker had been linked with a move to Atleti last summer. And it’s no secret the La Liga champions covet Cazorla’s silky skills as a potential compliment to their often steely midfield.

But in his Friday press conference, the Arsenal boss was quick to rubbish such talk.

Speaking to AS, Wenger said: “He extended his contract last year. I don’t think there’s anything to worry about, we’ve not been approached.”

In a midfield running over with talent, it’s Cazorla who’s so often been the key man this season. His link-up play, ability to slip past defenders, and reliability in taking penalties in Mikel Arteta’s absence, have earned him two consecutive... Read More

Ronaldo Answers Critics with Champions League Goal

Feb 19, 2015 by Alex Baker

Cristiano Ronaldo ended his three-match goal drought in emphatic fashion, heading in the go-ahead goal for Real Madrid 27 minutes into the La Liga leaders’ Champions League meeting with Schalke 04. The goal was Ronaldo’s 34th in the knockout rounds of Europe’s elite club competition and put his side in the driver’s seat for the first leg of the tie against the Bundesliga outfit.

Ronaldo has been under pressure since social media photos of his 30th birthday surfaced, just hours after Real Madrid were handed an embarrassing 4-0 defeat from Atletico Madrid. Missing a sitter and having a forgettable game against Deportivo on the weekend did little to alleviate that pressure. However the current Ballon d’Or winner found himself unmarked in the box at Veltins Arena, essentially being granted a... Read More

Chelsea Get FA Cup Rest Ahead of PSG Match

Feb 17, 2015 by Alex Baker

The English champions-elect got a weekend’s rest heading into Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain, as FA Cup action brought a one-week halt to Premier League play. Meanwhile their opponents for Tuesday’s meeting were hit with the equivalent of a six-month Arsenal injury crisis in the course of 90 minutes.

PSG had no less than seven players forced off the pitch due to injury during their Ligue 1 clash with Caen Saturday. Of those seven, at least four are expected to be unavailable to face Chelsea.

Granted Chelsea had a more difficult time than expected knocking PSG out of the Champions League last season. However this year’s model is a different animal than the one that squeaked by on away goals last year. Mourinho is often known as a... Read More

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