Marouane Fellaini

ProSoccerTalk’s daily soccer re-set – Thanksgiving version

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Happy Thanksgiving

We are not working much today. What are we, Wal-Mart? (And you shouldn’t be working either.) So blogging will be light today … unless there’s huge news, huge on the scale of “Franz Beckenbauer comes out of retirement to sweep for the Cosmos” kind of huge. That would be huge.

Soccer birthdays:

If you see Ghanaian international Asamoah Gyan today, tell him “Thanks! Thanks a lot! Thanks for scoring in the third minute of overtime against the United States back in 2010, bouncing Bob Bradley and the boys from World Cup South Africa. Thanks a ton!”

Also, tell the man happy birthday. The former Uninese and Sunderland man turns 27.

Former Vancouver Whitecap attacker Davide Chiumiento turns 28.

And Everton’s Belgian international Marouane Fellaini (pictured) reminds us that it just seems like he’s been around forever. Fellaini, having such a good campaign alongside Tim Howard at Goodison Park, turns 25.

Big Important Stories of the Day:

It’s not a holiday in England, and that’s where most of the David Beckham news tends to break from. (Those pesky British tabs work harder at digging into this stuff.) So don’t be shocked if something happens on the “Where is he going …?” front. And don’t be shocked if it doesn’t.

RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day:  Sasha Victorine

*Ahead on the blog today:

Major League Soccer will release the bulk of its awards next week as part of the build-up to MLS Cup; a few of the biggies are already out, like MLS Defender of the Year and Rookie of the Year. But we are too anxious to wait. So the ProSoccerTalk staff selections for MLS Best XI will be out at noon today.

Twitter daps:

source:

What you should watch on TV today:

Since this is a day to celebrate American, check out U.S. Soccer’s 2012 Male Athlete of the Year in action as Clint Dempsey and Tottenham visits Lazio of Italy in Europa League Action. Coverage begins at 1 p.m. ET on Fox Soccer Channel.

Immediately after on the same channel (No need to rise off the sofa!), American-owned Liverpool meet Swiss side BSC Young Boys at 3 p.m. ET

We’ll leave you with this:

Seriously, get off the computer. Go spend time with family or friends. The blog will be here when you get back on the laptop tomorrow … or later tonight when you’ve had it up to here already with family.

* Always subject to change; you know how it is

Bayern’s Vidal says “ugly” Atletico not deserved UCL finalists

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 27: Juanfran of Atletico Madrid and Arturo Vidal of Bayern Munich argue during the UEFA Champions League semi final first leg match between Club Atletico de Madrid and FC Bayern Muenchen at Vincente Calderon on April 27, 2016 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal has declared “ugly” Atletico Madrid unworthy finalists in the UEFA Champions League.

Bayern was eliminated in the Champions League semifinal by Atleti on Tuesday, with Diego Simeone’s Spanish side advancing on away goals.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s UCL coverage ]

However, Vidal believed Bayern were the better team in the second leg, saying Atletico played “ugly football” to get through.

Today ugly football – Atletico – played against the best football in the world. The only time they saw the ball was for the goal.

They are going to be dreaming about us right up to the final. They did not have the ball, they took on the best team in the world, they took their chances and got to the final.

The best does not always win in football, like today. They are not deserved finalists.

Bayern Munich controlled more than 70-percent of possession and had 33 shots compared to Atletico’s nine, but those stats mean little as Antoine Griezmann’s away goal was enough to send Atleti to the final.

[ MORE: Former England striker Joe Cole headed to NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies ]

Atletico may not play the most attractive football, but after eliminating Barcelona and Bayern Munich in consecutive legs, it’s hard to argue anyone deserves this more than Simeone’s men.

Europa League preview: Liverpool, Shakhtar look to overcome Spanish foes

VILLARREAL, SPAIN - APRIL 28:  Cedric Bakambu of Villarreal is watched by the Liverpool defence during the UEFA Europa League semi final first leg match between Villarreal CF and Liverpool at Estadio El Madrigal on April 28, 2016 in Villarreal, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
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The second leg of the Europa League semifinals kick off tomorrow, with two La Liga sides looking to make it an all-Spanish final.

[ MORE: Premier League Playback ]

Villarreal holds a 1-0 lead over Liverpool, while Sevilla scored two away goals in their 2-2 draw at Shakhtar Donetsk.

Liverpool vs. Villarreal – 3:05 p.m. ET
Villarreal won first leg 1-0

Adrian Lopez’s late winner in the first leg has given Villarreal a slight lead, while the Spanish side did well not to concede an away goal. However, Liverpool have overcome deficits at Anfield before, including their memorable 4-3 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the quarterfinals. Emre Can is back fit for the Reds, as manager Jurgen Klopp will hope his fellow German can help the team to a cup final in his first year in charge.

[ RELATED: Liverpool preparing for another big Thursday night at Anfield ]

Sevilla vs. Shakhtar Donetsk – 3:05 p.m. ET
First leg ended 2-2 draw 

Sevilla are looking to become the first team to win three consecutive Europa League titles as the two-time defending champions face off against Shakhtar Donetsk. Sevilla are in the driver’s seat after scoring two away goals in Ukraine, and will feel confident of advancing to the final with a great home record at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.

Men in Blazers podcast: Celebrating Leicester’s title with Arlo White

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In the latest Men in Blazers podcast, Rog and Davo celebrate Leicester City’s improbable Premier League title with Leicester’s own Arlo White.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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European police say Russian mafia infiltrating soccer clubs

LISBON, PORTUGAL - NOVEMBER 04:  Sporting Lisbon fans celebrate after their team score a goal during the Portuguese Liga match between Sporting Lisbon and Uniao Leiria at the Alvalade XXI Stadium on November 4, 2005 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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LISBON, Portugal (AP) Portuguese and European police say they have broken up a cell of an important Russian mafia group that allegedly laundered money through European football clubs.

Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, said in a statement Wednesday the group identified EU football clubs in financial distress and infiltrated them with benefactors who brought much-needed cash.

[ MORE: Man City bounced from UCL ]

Once they were in control, the mobsters allegedly laundered millions of euros (dollars) through player transfers, TV rights deals and betting.

Portuguese and European police on Tuesday raided third-division Portuguese club Uniao de Leiria and arrested three key members of the Russian gang. Three other Portuguese clubs’ premises were searched.

Europol said the operation helped identify serious crimes in Austria, Germany, and the United Kingdom, though it gave no details.