Landon Donovan says another Everton stay highly unlikely

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Landon Donovan says he is highly unlikely to join up with Everton for yet another loan spell during the MLS off-season. He won’t be going anywhere else in January, by the sounds of it.

The L.A. Galaxy man and U.S. national team all-time leading scorer said so Saturday morning on the Soccer Today radio show/podcast.

“The chances of me playing again this off-season are very slim,” he said. “I’ve had, not since this January but last January [2011], a total of two weeks off. My soccer enthusiasm is not as high as it was two years ago. I’m kind of ready for a break when this [MLS] season is over.”

The rest of the interview is here. Donovan’s interview begins around the 34-minute mark.

Donovan made the comments on the show and podcast that that I co-host along with ESPN’s Marc Stein.  When I heard Donovan talking about it, a lot of things suddenly made sense.

The Galaxy attacker keeps scaring everyone with retirement talk. More than once this year, U.S. Soccer’s all-time leading scorer has said the competitive fires simply do not burn with the same white-hot intensity as before.

U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann says it’s natural for a player to have these ebbs and flows in professional enthusiasm over a long career, and likes to remind everyone that Donovan signed his first professional deal when he was just 17. And fair enough.

But how about this as a theory: Maybe Donovan just needs a break. Perhaps the man just needs some time away from the game to re-supply the competitive stores. Could that be it, I asked him?

“It’s possible. That’s why I’m really focused on doing my best this year and finishing up the year and then reevaluating. It could very well be. I’ve been out the last 10 days with this [hamstring] injury and I’m already chomping at the bit to get back on the field again, so that could very well be the deal.”

Donovan also revealed:

Due to that injury, he’s still iffy for tonight’s contest at the Home Depot Center against FC Dallas. (That match kicks off at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Network).

Also, as Donovan evaluates everything and considers his future, he will, indeed, think about his chance to become Major League Soccer’s all-time leading scorer and all-time assist leader. If that happens, there’s a reasonable chance that Donovan could be the only person to ever hold both titles – and wouldn’t that be something?

(MORE: Tracking Landon Donovan’s career record pursuits)

Wigan player races off for son’s birth after scoring 2 goals

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WIGAN, England (AP) It was better than a hat trick.

A player for English soccer team Wigan had a night to remember when he scored his second goal before dashing off the field and to the local hospital, where his girlfriend was in labor.

[ MORE: Chelsea advances to UCL Round of 16 after win over Qarabag ]

A picture of Ryan Colclough holding his new-born baby, Harley, while still in his soccer uniform was shared on social media by Wigan chairman David Sharpe.

Colclough said his father, sitting in the stands on Tuesday for Wigan’s 3-0 win over Doncaster in the second division, “gave me the action that the waters had broken,” but he didn’t want to come off until the ball was out of play.

“My head was a little bit battered, but I went and scored, looked at the manager and he said we’ll bring you off now,” Colclough said Wednesday of his 58th-minute goal, which he celebrated by pretending to rock a baby. “I came off and was straight down the tunnel, grabbed my keys and my phone, and went to hospital.”

Colclough had visited the midwife that day, and was told the baby was unlikely to arrive for “another couple of days.”

Lille suspends coach Marcelo Bielsa

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LILLE, France (AP) French club Lille has provisionally suspended coach Marcelo Bielsa following a string of poor results in the top tier.

[ MORE: Basel stuns Man United late to keep UCL hopes alive ]

The northern side said in a statement that Bielsa has been suspended “as part of a procedure started by the club.” Lille did not elaborate.

Bielsa joined Lille this season but has failed to make the club competitive again, with the team second to last after 13 matches.

The 2 Robbies podcast: PL sides in the UCL, Pulis sacking and more

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In today’s Euro Pod Edition, the Robbies breakdown the latest Champions League action. Man United lose at Basel, Chelsea cruise at Qarabag, Spurs impress against Dortmund, Man City continue to win, Liverpool surrender a 3-goal lead against Sevilla. Plus, the guys weigh in on the Oumar Niasse ban for diving and the Tony Pulis sacking.

Join Earle & Mustoe on The 2 Robbies Football Show, Saturdays at 5pm ET. Listen on the NBCSports Radio App and call 855-323-4622 in the U.S. for lively passionate debate.

All of the The 2 Robbies content can be accessed by clicking on this link:

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies

Europa League preview: Arsenal looks to wrap up Group H and more

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While several teams have already booked their place in the knockout phase, the Europa League reaches its penultimate round on Thursday with many big matches in hand.

[ MORE: Yannick Bolasie finally returns to Everton training ]

Of the two Premier League sides in the competition, only one will advance to the Round of 32, as Arsenal have all but assured themselves of the top spot in Group H. The Gunners can do so tomorrow with a win over Koln or a Red Star Belgrade defeat.

The other end of the spectrum features Everton, who has already been eliminated from reaching the next round after acquiring just one point in its first four matches.

European giants AC Milan can lock up a spot in the knockout phase on Thursday despite the club’s ongoing struggles in Serie A, while fellow Italian side Atalanta can move a step closer to the Round of 32 in Group E along with Lyon.

Here’s the full rundown of Thursday’s UEL matches.

Astana vs. Villareal — 11 a.m. ET
Konyaspor vs. Marseille — 1 p.m. ET
Rosenborg vs. Real Sociedad — 1 p.m. ET
Lazio vs. Vitesse — 1 p.m. ET
Viktoria Plzen vs. Steaua Bucuresti — 1 p.m. ET
Lokomotiv vs. Copenhagen — 1 p.m. ET
Zenit vs. Vardar — 1 p.m. ET
Red Bull Salzburg vs. Vitoria — 1 p.m. ET
Athletic Bilbao vs. Hertha Berlin — 1 p.m. ET
BATE vs. Red Star Belgrade — 1 p.m. ET
Ostersund vs. Zorya — 1 p.m. ET
Koln vs. Arsenal — 1 p.m. ET
Nice vs. Zulte Waregem — 1 p.m. ET
Lugano vs. Beer-Sheva — 1 p.m. ET
Ludogorets vs. Istanbul — 3:05 p.m. ET
Braga vs. Hoffenheim — 3:05 p.m. ET
AEK vs. Rijeka — 3:05 p.m. ET
AC Milan vs. Austria Wien — 3:05 p.m. ET
Lyon vs. Apollon — 3:05 p.m. ET
Maccabi Tel Aviv vs. Slavia Praha — 3:05 p.m. ET
Sheriff vs. Zlin — 3:05 p.m. ET
Partizan vs. Young Boys — 3:05 p.m. ET
Skenderbeu vs. Dynamo Kyiv — 3:05 p.m. ET
Everton vs. Atalanta — 3:05 p.m. ET