Soccer birthdays: Philadelphia Union defender Bakary Soumaré (shown above, shuffling) turns 27. The former MLS Best XI member is still searching for his form, but he has a bit of time. Maybe it’s in his birthday cake.
And Norwich City’s Michael Turner turns 29.
Big Important Stories of the Day: The conference finals are set. Who ya go? Who’s Steve got? What about Farley? Me, I’m taking the New England Revolution in 2013. Right now, though, it’s all about Houston. DYNAMOOOOOOOOO.
RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day: Paul Bravo.
*Ahead on the blog today: We break down the conference semifinals, while previewing the weekend action in the United States and over there in Europe. What else would you expect on a Friday? NFL previews? Sorry brah.
Twitter daps: jlakfjsldk
Everyone’s talking about the weather:
What you should watch on TV today: There aren’t a whole lot of options out there. Would you settle for Mainz 05 vs. Nürnberg? Or Nancy vs. Rennes? Man, it seems like Rennes is always on in this Friday afternoon timeslot. Weirdness.
We’ll leave you with this: Is this the best MLS season ever? Compelling storylines throughout, a rising level of play, drama on the last day thanks for Mr. Chris Wondolowski, and some fun playoffs so far. What do you think?
ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) Paraguay’s top court has rejected a petition by Nicolas Leoz, the former head of the South American football confederation, to halt his extradition to the United States.
Leoz is being held under house arrest in Paraguay. He is accused of receiving millions in bribes and kickbacks and was among dozens of top officials indicted in the FIFA corruption scandal.
[ FOLLOW: Leicester City’s miracle ]
Leoz’s lawyer Ricardo Preda told The Associated Press that his petition was turned down, but that he would continue to appeal against the extradition.
Leoz was the head of CONMEBOL from 1986 until 2013 when he resigned, and was replaced by Eugenio Figueredo of Uruguay.
Figueredo is under house arrest in Uruguay on similar charges. Figueredo was replaced by Juan Angel Napoul of Paraguay, who is under house arrest in Miami.
Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo is “100-percent” for Wednesday’s Champions League semifinal match against Manchester City.
Ronaldo missed the first leg at the Etihad while recovering from a thigh injury, which ended a scoreless draw.
[ MORE: UCL semifinal preview ]
The Champions League’s all-time leading scorer with 93 goals, Ronaldo has not featured for Real since suffering the injury in a La Liga match against Villarreal on April 20.
Real Madrid had the better of chances in the first leg in Manchester, but Joe Hart’s heroics stopped Zidane’s side from grabbing an all-important away goal. However, Ronaldo’s absence was clearly visible and his return is a massive boost for Real.
[ RELATED: Atletico Madrid eliminate Bayern Munich, advance to UCL final ]
Even if Ronaldo is not 100-percent fit as Zidane claims, his inclusion in the lineup is still vital for Real’s success. A threat in so many different aspects of the game, his presence alone can throw off opposing defenses, leaving more time and space for his teammates to expose a City back-line that has its flaws.
Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore has been around football for a long time, but even he can’t explain Leicester City’s miraculous title run.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s Leicester coverage ]
With the Foxes now officially champions of England, Scudamore hailed the achievement as “the biggest sporting story ever.”
Speaking to BBC Sport, the Premier League’s top exec said Leicester’s run has silenced all the bookmakers and critics who said it could never happen, but that he wouldn’t want it any other way.
It’s probably the biggest sporting story ever and the biggest sporting achievement ever.
Nobody saw it coming and even when it was halfway through the season nobody said it could be sustained.
We don’t know what the future holds because we’ve all become completely hopeless at predicting anything, including the bookmakers and everybody else – because this one nobody saw coming.
It’s made mugs of all of us and that is just the most fantastic feeling.
If the bookmakers had it as a 5,000-1 event, you would imagine you should achieve these type of things once every 5,000 years. It gives us 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years of being able to say: ‘Leicester 2016. Just remember Leicester 2016.’
Pegged as pre-season favorites for relegation, Leicester defied the odds (5,000-1 odds) and claimed the most unlikely of championships. A top executive with the Premier League since 1999, even Scudamore had to admit he had a bit of egg on his face.
[ VOTE: What is the top moment from Leicester’s fairytale run? ]
Scudamore may not have believed in the Foxes, but few outside the city really did. One thing the chairman did have right though, is that we will all remember ‘Leicester 2016.’
Atletico Madrid are headed to their second Champions League final in three seasons.
Antoine Griezmann’s away goal was enough to lead Atleti past Bayern Munich in the semis as they must now await their opponent in the final, either Manchester City or Real Madrid.
[ MORE: UCL semifinal preview ]
Atleti lost the 2014 final to Real Madrid, but they currently look the strongest side in Europe with a leader in Diego Simeone who has risen up the ranks of the game’s elite managers.
Speaking after Tuesday’s match, Simeone said the performance his side put in against Bayern Munich was thanks to the work they have put in over the past few seasons.
Very emotional. It was a very good first half by Bayern, they’re a great team. The missed penalty gave us life.
We had to change a bit from the first leg in terms of how we played and we showed our strengths as a team. The penalty miss by Torres hurt us but in the end it was like a movie, thrilling, with five minutes extra time.
I’m proud of what has happened to this club. We are beating the best teams in the world. Over the course of 180 minutes we showed the work of three years.
I hope that destiny will eventually help us in the final. It doesn’t matter who we play.
Barcelona and Bayern Munich entered the Champions League as favorites to lift the trophy in Milan, but both of those sides failed to get past Simeone’s Atletico.
[ REPORTS: Man City to trigger $60 million Aymeric Laporte release clause ]
Simeone’s name has been linked with the Premier League and other top clubs in Europe, but is there a reason for him to leave Madrid? Atleti’s two legs against Bayern truly did show the work of three years, as the manager has stuck to his guns and built the team around his values as a manager. They may not have been mentioned in the elite tier of clubs in the past, but Simeone has proven they should be now.