Among the fascinating subplots to tomorrow’s titanic Champions League Clash, where Real Madrid and Manchester United meet in the Spanish capital, is Jose Mourinho’s march on legend status.
Yes, the man is full of bombast and bluster, and he might be more irritating than a nasty rash. But who can reasonably diminish his accomplishments? Winning a Champions League crown at relatively unheralded Porto was nothing short of stunning. He also won at Inter Milan, which has backslid since.
The long shadows may now be falling on Mourinho’s time at the Bernabeu. Little cracks are forming, the biggest indicated by Real Madrid’s inability to be competitive with major rival Barcelona in this year’s La Liga chase.
That doesn’t mean Mourinho and Madrid cannot still take European soccer by the scruff of the neck; Champions League provides that very opportunity. It’s provides the opportunity to show that Mourinho can still be a commanding force.
To put a finer point on it, he is striving to become the game’s first manager to claim Champions League glory at three different clubs. This piece from ESPN FC spells out exactly what that would mean – and what the missed opportunity would mean for Madrid’s 50-year-old manager.
The article wonders whether an “an inability to deliver the Champions League to Real Madrid constitute an ultimately failed period at the club?”
Of course, Manchester United stands in Mourinho’s way. Starting tomorrow.
PARIS (AP) A French official says police investigating suspected tax fraud linked to the soccer industry have raided the headquarters of Paris Saint-Germain and the homes of three Argentine players in France.
The official said anti-corruption police units searched the homes of PSG players Angel Di Maria and Javier Pastore, and that of Nantes forward Emiliano Sala on Tuesday.
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Police also raided the head offices of PSG at Parc des Princes and other offices in Boulogne-Billancourt, outside the French capital, the official said.
The official, familiar with the case, declined to be identified because the investigation is ongoing.
The national financial prosecutor’s office opened an investigation in December after so-called “football leaks” reports allegedly detailed tax arrangements by top players, coaches and clubs.
Real Madrid didn’t wait long after learning Vinicius Junior was healthy.
The 16-year-old Flamengo star is committed to the Bernabeu after passing a physical, and Real Madrid announced Tuesday that they’ll have their new player no later than July 2019.
The reported fee is $50 million, which would be the most money spent on a Brazilian player since Barcelona landed Neymar for about $64 million in 2013.
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The forward has made two appearances for Flamengo, and turns 17 on July 12. He has 19 goals in 22 appearances for Brazil’s U-17 side.
Here’s Real’s announcement:
Real Madrid C. F. and Clube de Regatas do Flamengo have reached an agreement regarding the transfer of the federative rights of the player Vinicius Junior from July 2018. The player will remain at his current club until July 2019, although he will be able to play for Real Madrid before then if both clubs agree to it.
Okay, so you have 1064 to choose from, so choose wisely…
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The 2016-17 Premier League season is over but you can vote for your favorite goal of the campaign up until June 1.
Simply click on the video above to watch the contenders compiled by Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, and then you can vote by clicking here.
MADRID (AP) Spanish authorities say former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell and his wife have been detained in a probe over his businesses in Brazil.
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The detentions early Tuesday are part of a money laundering investigation related to buying television rights for past matches of Brazil’s national team.
Three other people have been detained, but their identities were not immediately released by authorities.
Police raided offices, homes, and businesses in Barcelona and other locations in Spain as part of “Operation Rimet,” in reference to former FIFA President Jules Rimet.
Authorities said the operation used information from the FBI following the U.S. case against high-level FIFA officials in 2015.
Rosell is already standing trial for fraud and corruption charges involving the 2013 transfer of Brazilian striker Neymar.