New York Red Bulls v DC United - Eastern Conference Semifinals

Could somebody finally be stepping up to take Rafa Marquez from New York?


If reports that appear to originate with ESPN Deportes are correct, somebody’s about to deliver a Christmas present to Red Bull Global Soccer chief Gerard Houllier. The former Liverpool, Lyon, and Aston Villa boss has been burdened with Rafa Marquez’s contract as part of his oversight of New York, but if (as reported) Liga MX side León is willing to offer the Mexican international a two-year deal, Houllier will be able to swap his problem for a shiny new Designated Player spot.

Perhaps the best part of the report is Marquez’s willingness to walk away from his Red Bulls contract to make the switch to León. Each side signs a piece of paper and it’s over. Annulled.

It’s the best case scenario for Houllier. For over a year, Marquez has been rumored with moves to everywhere from Mexico, to Brazil, to a return to Europe. But most of those rumors never made total sense. Marquez’s situation in New York wasn’t that bad a year ago. His contract, however, was very good.

Now things have deteriorated to so much that the defender’s last appearance for the club ended with a reported confrontation with former-coach Hans Backe after one playoff half. Whereas last year Marquez may have wanted to stick out another year in New York, now he and the team may be on the same page. Time to part ways.

León may have just completed their first tournament back in the first division, but they’re a respected team with a deep history in Mexican soccer. They can bring in a player of Marquez’s profile.

The bigger question, though is why would they? After finishing third in the Apertura, they don’t seem to need him on the field, and while he will bring a degree of fame with him to León, he’ll could also prove a distraction.

Perhaps a return to Mexico will refocus Marquez. For New York, it doesn’t matter. If somebody’s willing to take a Designated Player off their hands, Red Bulls will likely pay the shipping.

And take their money back into the DP market.

Klopp to the Kop: Multiple reports say deal agreed at Liverpool

TURIN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 24:  Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp shouts to his players during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match between Juventus and Borussia Dortmund at Juventus Arena on February 24, 2015 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp is on his way to Liverpool to sign a contract naming him the next coach of the Reds.

The celebrated manager, 48, has been on “hiatus” from football since leaving Borussia Dortmund last season.

[ MORE: Messi to stand trial in Spain ]

Reports starting emerging earlier today that an agreement was imminent, and now the BBC is among those reporting that Klopp will be rolled out Friday morning.

From the BBC:

No contract has yet been signed but that is viewed as a formality when Klopp arrives in Liverpool later on Thursday. He will be officially unveiled by Liverpool on Friday morning at 10:00 BST.

There’s not much to say besides this: Klopp’s addition to the Premier League will give more color and brilliance to the country’s footballing scene. Only a certain class of manager can be instantly expected to find a better system for an inherited group of players.

This could and should be a game changer on Merseyside.

Appeal rejected! Lionel Messi will face court trial in Spain

VIGO, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 23:  Lionel Messi looks dejected after the La Liga match between Celta Vigo and FC Barcelona at Estadio Balaidos on September 23, 2015 in Vigo, Spain.  (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)
Alex Caparros/Getty Images
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It was a mere 48 hours ago that Lionel Messi looked close to in the clear when it came to tax evasion charges.

Now the question is whether a Spanish court will lock away the greatest active footballer, as a judge rejected the prosecutors’ (!!!) request to drop the charges.

[ WATCH: Hilarious spoof pegs Messi, Ronaldo as “Friends” ]

Messi and his father have already made a $5.5 million corrective payment, but there’s principle in play here. And the judge wants to know how Messi can claim he had no idea what was being done with his money.

From the BBC:

Lawyers acting on behalf of the tax authorities demanded 22-month jail sentences for both defendants.

“There are rational signs that the criminality was committed by both accused parties,” wrote the judge in a court filing, according to the AFP news agency.

Can you imagine one of the world’s richer men ending up in a Spanish prison? It’s very difficult to consider. In some ways it’s more plausible that he would buy his own island and start the “Messi Isle Premiership”.

Still, we won’t laugh off the idea, especially with FIFA apparently going down. Messi in prison. That’s something. Sepp in Switzerland. Lionel in Spain.