Premier League team of the season

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There have many great performers in this season’s Premier League, but as it reaches its climax, who makes the cut in the best team of the season?

GOALKEEPER- BRAD GUZAN (Aston Villa)

The American international has been great for a struggling Villa side. Without his influence in goal there is every chance they would already be relegated. His form will be crucial from now until the end of the season.

RIGHT-BACK- PABLO ZABALETA (Man City)

In a season where many of his teammates have struggled for form, the Argentinian has been brilliant. His passion and hunger to win makes him very likeable, and he’s great both defensively and offensively.

CENTRE-BACK- PHIL JAGIELKA (Everton)

The England international has been a rock at the heart of the Everton defence all season long. His form has earned him a regular place in the England side, and on current form he is one of the best defenders in the Premier League.

CENTRE-BACK- JAN VERTONGHEN- (Tottenham)

Signed from Ajax at the start of the season, the Belgium international has been a revelation at White Hart Lane. Strong in the air but also classy on the ball, he’s been a great addition to both his club and the Premier League.

LEFT-BACK-LEIGHTON BAINES- (Everton)

Is he now England’s first-choice left-back ahead of Ashley Cole? He’s certainly getting very close now. Baines has been consistently excellent, and has created more chances than any other player in Europe this season. That’s how good he’s been. His crossing and set piece deliveries, in particular, are awesome.

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CENTRE MIDFIELD- MICHAEL CARRICK- (Man Utd)

This has been Carrick’s standout season at Old Trafford. He has been United’s most reliable, and possibly most important, player. The 31-year-old has played the holding midfield role to perfection: starting moves, showing great positional sense and displaying expert defensive qualities. Underrated by many.

CENTRE MIDFIELD- MAROUANE FELLAINI- (Everton)

Although his form has dipped slightly in the latter part of the season, with injuries affecting him slightly, the 25-year-old has been Everton’s key player along with Baines this season. A menace in the air but also a brilliant technique for a guy of his size, he tormented United on the opening day and was superb from that point on.

ATTACKING MIDFIELD- JUAN MATA- (Chelsea) 

The Spaniard has been a joy to watch. At times he has carried Chelsea, and his wonderful creativity and cultured left foot make him one of the most talented players in the league. He also has more steel to his game than some of his fellow countryman, which is essential in such a physical league.

ATTACKING MIDFIELD- GARETH BALE- (Spurs)

Bale has been incredible, particularly in 2013. His game has gone up a level, and he is now reminiscent of Cristiano Ronaldo when he was Bale’s age. When he runs with the ball at pace he is unstoppable, and he has now also added many goals and assists to his game. The best British winger since Ryan Giggs, the Welshman is favourite to win Player of the Year.

source: Getty Images

STRIKER- LUIS SUAREZ- (Liverpool)

The most talented player in the Premier League? Quite possibly. Sadly his personality sometimes takes the focus away from his genius, but if you judge his displays this season purely on football then he has been unplayable. His never-say-die attitude is combined with amazing dribbling, great skill and measured finishing, and he is currently the Premier League’s top scorer with 22 goals this season. Liverpool have to keep him in the summer, but if he does leave it will be for an astronomical amount of money.

STRIKER- ROBIN VAN PERSIE- (Man Utd)

The best player in the league up until Christmas, the 29-year-old has had an incredible first season at Old Trafford. He can do pretty much everything as a striker and is one of the most dangerous players in the world. Crucial goals against Liverpool, City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs show he really is the man for the big occasion too.

Who would you have in you side?

Rapids add longtime Bundesliga winger Aigner from 1860 Munich (highlights)

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The Colorado Rapids are hoping for an injection of offense from veteran Bundesliga right winger Stefan Aigner.

The soon-to-be 30-year-old has played 274 games between the first and second tiers of German soccer, with 25 goals and 25 assists in Bundesliga play and a further 31 and 25 in the second tier.

Most recently with 2.Bundesliga side 1860 Munich for a third time, he’s played most of his career between Munich and Eintracht Frankfurt.

[ MORE: BVB’s Merino to Newcastle ]

Aigner has the resume to succeed and perhaps star in MLS, especially if he wasn’t slowed too much by a knee injury last season (He returned and produced at the 2.Bundesliga level).

Here’s what Rapids interim general manager Padraig Smith said:

“We’re excited to add a player of Stefan’s caliber to our roster for the next three-and-a-half years,” said Smith. “As an organization we are committed to fielding a forward-thinking side and bringing in Stefan – a technical and versatile player who can excel in multiple attacking roles – will help us achieve that vision.”

UEFA Champions League wrap: Celtic held; U.S. GK Horvath busy

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It was a busy night in the UEFA Champions League, with clubs battling for berths in the playoff round where they could draw big names Liverpool, Napoli, Sevilla, Sporting CP or Hoffenheim.

[ MORE: How will USMNT line up? ] 


Club Brugge 3-3 Istanbul Basaksehir

American backstop Ethan Horvath was under siege at home, but his Club Brugge side overcame throwing away a 2-0 deficit to claim a 3-3 draw with İstanbul Başakşehir. The three road goals will give the Turkish visitors every reason to feel good about the Aug. 2 second leg.

Celtic 0-0 Rosenborg

Brendan Rodgers‘ Scottish champions outshot the visitors 12-8, but couldn’t find a way into the goal. Now the Bhoys will have to score in Norway to advance to the next round.

Nice 1-1 Ajax

Mario Balotelli‘s 32nd minute staked Nice to a halftime lead, but the UEFA Europa League finalists snared an away goal through Donny van de Beek to send Ajax back to Holland with a slim advantage.

UCL first legs

Tuesday
Qarabag 0-0 Sheriff
Slavia Prague 1-0 BATE Borisov
AEK Athens 0-2 CSKA Moscow
Steaua Bucharest 2-2 Plzen
Vardar 1-0 Copenhagen
Partizan Belgrade 1-3 Olympiacos

Wednesday
Astana 3-1 Legia Warsaw
Dynamo Kyiv 3-1 Young Boys
RB Salzburg 1-1 Rijeka
Hapoel Be’er Sheva 2-0 Ludogorets Razgrad
Viitorul 1-0 APOEL Nicosia
Maribor 1-0 FH

Terim steps down as Turkey manager after restaurant fight

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ANKARA, Turkey (AP) Turkey’s soccer federation says it has parted ways with national team manager Fatih Terim.

The announcement on Wednesday came weeks after Terim and his two sons-in-law were involved in a fight with a restaurant owner.

[ MORE: How will USMNT line up? ] 

The Turkish Football Federation statement said Terim, 63, and the federation agreed that “it would be healthier for both sides to part ways,” saying non-football related issues were harming both Terim and the federation.

It also thanked Terim, who has headed the national team since 2013, for his services.

Terim previously managed Galatasaray, Milan and Fiorentina. There was no word on who would replace him.

BVB mid Merino reportedly undergoing Newcastle medical

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It’s been a wild year for Mikel Merino, and now the Spaniard is close to playing for a legend from his home country.

Merino joined Borussia Dortmund from Osasuna last summer, and the 21-year-old had a hard time getting playing time under Thomas Tuchel.

[ MORE: Gold Cup Final preview ]

A defensive midfielder who also plays center back and a bit further up the pitch, Merino is set to join Rafa Benitez on loan at Newcastle United for the club’s return to the Premier League next month.

Merino was photographed in Newcastle on Wednesday, and would join a central midfield with Jonjo Shelvey and Isaac Hayden. Both players thrived in the Championship last season.

The Magpies turned Christian Atsu‘s loan permanent to start the summer, and then purchased Florian Lejeune, Jacob Murphy, and Javier Manquillo.