ProSoccerTalk daily soccer re-set

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Soccer Birthdays:

Cameroon’s Geremi, Mexico’s Israel Castro, and Argentina’s Martín Demichelis all have claims on December 20, but today we take a moment to talk about our favorite air rifle-toting left back: Chelsea’s Ashley Cole. In addition to being a world class defender who has a ridiculous seven FA Cup winners medals, Cole has given us an amazing transfer saga (his move from Arsenal), one of the higher profile celebrity relationships (Cheryl Tweedy), and an affinity for attacking interns. Legendary stuff here. Let’s wish him a happy 31st.

Big Important Stories of the Day:

UEFA’s going to commandeer your attention mid-day when they make the draw for this year’s Champions and Europa League knockout stages. For the big show, 16 teams will be drawn against each other – first place group finishers against second, no matches between teams from the same federation or group stage packet. For Europa, same rules apply except there are 32 teams, and the celebrity presenters are far less attractive.

RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day: Walker Zimmerman

*Ahead on the blog today:

It’s a Noah Davis day, so in addition to jumping in on the UEFA-y stuff, our Designated Player will be unloading the week’s worth of thoughts he’s stored up during his time away from the blog. That said, it’s always nice trick for us partners in crime to put out a list of re-set topics and see if our mates can hit them. So how about …

  • best MLS home openers for 2013,
  • Aron Johansson, and …
  • the best and worst things about Krasnodar?

What you should watch on TV today:

Spain’s back in action, so if you have access to it, check out the Real Sociedad-Sevilla match that kicks off at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. Else, I strongly recommend going out and catching Silver Linings Playbook. I know it may look like a “pass” from the outside, but it was the best movie I’ve seen all year. Im probably watching it again right now.

Background noise while blogging today:

Speaking of movies, I went and saw The Hobbit on Friday (skip it and thank me later), but it did inspire me to re-watch The Fellowship of the Ring. Has a movie ever had as spectacular a prologue as Peter Jackson’s first Lord of the Rings offering? The answer is no, reader. The answer is no.

We’ll leave you with this:

It’s a beagle puppy playing with a baby goat. Your Thursday is going to be amazing:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oci6WDk2KjI]

*Always subject to change; you know how it is

Soccer world reacts to the Manchester attacks

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NBC News is reporting that at least 19 people have been killed and another 50 are injured following a possible suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

Multiple senior U.S. intelligence officials who are monitoring British authorities told NBC News that preliminary reports indicate that a single explosion took place outside the arena on the southwest side opposite the train station. The explosion occurred as the concert ended, catching people as they exited.

Soccer clubs, players and personalities around the world are reacting to the horrible event.

Juventus purchases Cuadrado from Chelsea

Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images
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If you didn’t realize Juan Cuadrado still belonged to Chelsea, you’re forgiven.

The Colombian attacker will complete his second season at Juventus after the UEFA Champions League Final against Real Madrid, and won’t be headed back to Chelsea afterwards.

Juve has purchased Cuadrado, and the fee is $22 million, and Juve will pay it over three seasons. Cuadrado, 28, is now signed through 2020 with The Old Lady.

Cuadrado first went on loan to Juve in Aug. 2015, and has eight goals and 18 assists in 83 career appearances with the club.

Chelsea bought Cuadrado from Fiorentina for around $32 million in the January 2015 transfer window, but made just 14 appearances with the club.

Report: Jermain Defoe meeting with Bournemouth

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Sky Sports is reporting that Jermain Defoe may head back to the south of England following Sunderland’s relegation.

Defoe, 34, spent two seasons with Portsmouth between 2008-09, scoring 15 goals in 31 appearances.

[ MORE: ‘The Moment’ of each PL club’s season ]

The 56-times capped England striker had a clause in his Sunderland contract allowing him to leave the Stadium of Light were the Black Cats to be relegated, as they were this season. He’d have little interest in dropping into the Championship given his desire to stay a part of the England squad ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

Bournemouth’s strike corps includes Joshua King, who scored the most goals of any player not on a Top Seven side this season. King’s 16 goals were one more than Defoe’s 15, though the latter scored just one goal following a brace against Crystal Palace on Feb. 4.

Chelsea’s Conte wins pair of top managerial honors

AP Photo/Frank Augstein
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Antonio Conte took league and national honors from the League Managers Association on Monday night.

The Chelsea boss was named Premier League Manager of the Year and Manager of the Year after leading the Blues to the PL title and an FA Cup Final in his first year on the job.

Brighton and Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton nabbed another Championship boss of the year award after leading the Gulls to the Premier League. He also won the honor with Newcastle United in 2010.

The League One winner is Chris Wilder of Sheffield United. Wilder won the honor with Northampton Town last season.

In League Two, Paul Cook of Portsmouth was named the winner.