Mastroeni hopes to comeback, re-signs with Colorado

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The last time many of us saw Pablo Mastroeni, he was doing a few games worth of color commentary on local Rapids’ broadcasts. It’s not the ideal game day seat for Colorado’s captain, but at the time, Mastroeni was just starting his comeback from a head injury, with post-concussion symptoms sidelining the 36-year-old since the Rapids’ March 18 win at Philadelphia. He wouldn’t play again in 2012.

Mastroeni and the team gave longtime fans some good news today when he signed on for another year in Colorado, the midfielder set for a 12th season with the Rapids. There’s no word on the length of the deal, but it’s assumed to be a one-year pact.

“I am thrilled to have signed a new contract and I can’t wait to get back on the field in 2013,” said Mastroeni. “I want to thank the club for their support in helping me return, and I am excited about what we can accomplish next year with Oscar [Pareja] leading the group. I’m honored to continue representing the Rapids and the state of Colorado.”

Since joining Colorado from Miami in 2002, the Argentine-born U.S. international has made 227 regular seasons appearances for the Rapids, becoming the club’s all time leader in games played.

In 2010, he combined with fellow defensive midfielder Jeff Larentowicz to form the backbone of MLS’s 2010 champions.

“Pablo is our captain, and a true leader on the field and in the locker room,” said Rapids Technical Director Paul Bravo.

“We missed him last season and know how much his presence can help us, whether it’s directing play in a match or helping players develop their knowledge of the game during practice. We’re very excited that he’s decided to continue playing with the club into 2013.”

Last year, Mastroeni played only twice, and despite the late-season acquisition of Honduran international Hendry Thomas to fill the void next to Larentowicz, Colorado failed to contend for the playoffs.

During his late season broadcasts, Mastroeni revealed that one of the main struggles early in his comeback was regaining the confidence to not be afraid of the ball. The concern highlights just how bad his head injury was.

Should he return this spring, Mastroeni will have spent one year on the sidelines.

Report: Ola Kamara wanted by mid-table La Liga outfit

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Columbus Crew star Ola Kamara is ready to leave the side, but he may not be moving inside of Major League Soccer.

[ MORE: FA Cup replay roundup ]

Metro.Us reporter Kristian Dyer says the Norwegian star is subject to a bid from a mid-table La Liga club. He’d been linked with a trade to Colorado as well.

Kamara, 28, came to MLS from Austria Wien and has since scored 34 goals in two seasons, a year after bagging 21 goals on loan for Molde in Norway.

Seventh place and 15th are separated by just four points in Spain’s top flight. Leganes and Espanyol are having the hardest time scoring goals, in terms of mildly educated speculation.

Transfer rumor roundup: Fred to Man City; Aubameyang wanted

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Could this January transfer window rival last season’s in terms of activity?

[ MORE: FA Cup replay roundup ]

Last season saw Crystal Palace save its season and Hull City nearly do the same, Morgan Schneiderlin head to Everton, Leicester find a decent N'Golo Kante replacement, and much, much more.

This season has been less active, though Ross Barkley has headed to Chelsea while former club Everton nabbed Cenk Tosun and Liverpool added Virgil Van Dijk.

The BBC has news involving Napoli which could affect two Premier League clubs. The Neapolitans apparently want Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who wants to be an every week starter, to be a prime part of their push to end Juventus’ Serie A stranglehold.

That would unseat Pepe Reina, who’s been long linked with a reunion with former boss Pepe Reina at Newcastle United. Napoli currently has Luigi Sepe as a No. 2 to Reina, though UEFA Europa League fixtures mean it’s no guarantee Mignolet’s arrival would allow Reina to leave town.

Sky Sports says Manchester City would like to see Fred as a long-term replacement for Fernandinho. Fred went 90 minutes for Shakhtar Donetsk in a pair of UEFA Champions League contests against City, including the 2-1 home win over the Premier League leaders’ B-squad on Dec. 6. The 24-year-old has two goals and two assists in league play, and could cost more than $25 million.

Don Balon proffers news that could unsettle Arsenal fans, as Real Madrid is apparently entering the bidding for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Florentino Perez would like an upgrade to Karim Benzema for his struggling La Liga super powers, and goodness knows Real will tempt Borussia Dortmund’s bank account.

One liners:

— The BBC also says Besiktas want Islam Slimani to join the club from Leicester City.

— Ola Kamara’s move from Columbus to another MLS team may be hijacked by La Liga.

Mourinho reportedly close to Man Utd contract extension

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Jose Mourinho is scheduling an extended stay at Manchester United.

[ MORE: Donovan unveiled by Leon ]

The 54-year-old has a contract through the end of next season, the dreaded third at a club for Mourinho, but reports say United is keen to keep him around through 2021.

Mourinho has not tasted a fourth season with a club despite winning league titles at Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, and Real Madrid.

The 2019-20 season at Old Trafford would be Mourinho’s fourth. According to the BBC:

Talks have progressed well and it is now just a matter of time before Mourinho commits to remain at Old Trafford beyond the expiry of his present deal in 2019.

Somehow, this feels it should be deemed another loss for Antonio Conte.

Barkley ineligible to make Chelsea debut in FA Cup replay

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Ross Barkley was expected — and himself expected — to make his Chelsea debut on Wednesday, when the Blues host Championship side Norwich City in a third-round FA Cup replay at Stamford Bridge.

Alas, the 24-year-old English midfielder has been ruled ineligible due to a lesser-known and -applied rules surrounding transfers and player registration.

[ MORE: Tuesday’s 3rd-round replay roundup | Wednesday preview ]

Barkley completed his move from Everton to Chelsea, for $20 million, on Jan. 5, the day before Chelsea and Norwich drew 0-0 at Carrow Road. In order to be eligible for Wednesday’s replay, Barkley is required to have completed his transfer prior to the noon cut-off the day prior to the original tie. While the time of official approval is unknown, Barkley’s move wasn’t announced by the club until after 5 p.m. in the UK.

As such, Chelsea will attempt to set up a behind-closed-doors friendly this week, in order to provide Barkley a bit of game action as he builds fitness and sharpness ahead of a potential debut against Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com). Barkley hasn’t seen a single minute of first-team action this season after suffering a serious hamstring injury in the summer.