FA charge for Norwich’s Bennett after Twitter rant

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The FA’s disciplinary committee have been busy boys the last few days.

First they banned Luis Suaréz for 10 games, now they have issued Norwich City defender Ryan Bennett with a misconduct charge.

Bennett — who scored his first EPL goal for the Canaries in the 2-1 win over Reading at the weekend — has deleted his Twitter account after being involved in heated exchanges with opposition fans. The 23-year-old defender posted this on Twitter, “I’ll finish you in a couple of seconds” in response to taunts from Arsenal fans following their victory over Norwich on April 13.

The Norwich player then issued his anger at not being able to respond to fans in the same manner in which he was being targeted. “Officially going to delete twitter! Seems you can’t say what you want on here, public can say why they want bit seems I can’t reply!”

So it begs the question, should soccer stars still have Twitter? Of course fans across the globe love it, they get to interact with their heroes and get an insight into the lives of professional soccer players.

But should players only use it to post pictures or tweets about training and games, their lavish lifestyles and what they’ve had for breakfast? Or should they run the risk of getting in heated debates with opposition fans, or even their own fans, and be banned or fined by the governing bodies for speaking their minds via the social networking site? It is a tricky question, which will only crop up more in the years and months ahead.

Some players don’t help themselves. But the majority use it sensibly. Most EPL teams have a member of their PR or media team to explain the issues of posting on Twitter, but the players are left to their own accords. Which is the beauty of it.

Bennett’s exchange in inexcusable. Even if he didn’t mean what he sent via Twitter, in the FA’s eyes he has “breached FA Rule E3 – use of abusive and/or insulting and/or threatening words in comments posted on a Twitter account.”

But where do you draw the line? And it is a very fine one for EPL players, clubs and governing bodies to try and tackle tactfully and with the ultimate goal of still allowing freedom of speech, without players fearing a playing ban will ensue if they step out of line.

I bet the FA can’t wait for this eventful week to be over. But you know what that say… these things always come in three’s.

Barcelona GM: “We’re close to signing Coutinho, Dembele”

Philippe Coutinho
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Barcelona did not post a magical comeback versus Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup second leg, instead losing 5-1 on aggregate after Wednesday’s 2-0 loss at the Bernabeu.

[ MORE: Barcelona falls to Real… again ]

But perhaps the celebrated La Liga club has worked some wizardry in the transfer market, with not one but two big targets “close” to the Camp Nou.

Barca general manager Josep “Pep” Segura was on television after the match, and noted Spanish football expert Sid Lowe relays his words: Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho and Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele are coming to Barca, “but until it’s closed I can’t say anything.”

Well, you just said something about it, so what gives.

Now before anyone freaks out at Anfield or Westfalenstadion, this is a man speaking after a relatively embarrassing performance for one of the biggest clubs in the world. Segura could simply be treading water for new manager Ernesto Valverde after his club was simply worked over in 120 minutes versus its El Clasico rivals.

VIDEO: Asensio, Real Madrid outclass out-of-sorts Barca; PSG trolls?

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This one wasn’t even close, and is going to instantly have many Barcelona fans wondering if the loss of Neymar is going to be too much for Ernesto Valverde to handle.

Real Madrid rode a stunning Marco Asensio strike to a 2-0 first half lead at the Bernabeu on Wednesday en route to a 5-1 aggregate win over Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup.

It’s Real’s 10th Spanish Super Cup, and first since 2012.

[ MORE: Bacca to Villarreal ]

Karim Benzema also scored in the opening frame, which saw Barca looking out of sorts and rudderless.

As in the first leg in Barcelona, the Blaugranas had their moments but failed to show sharpness and class against the reigning La Liga and UEFA Champions League winners.

Lionel Messi hit the crossbar, Luis Suarez headed off the post. The second half wasn’t producing a magic comeback.

Both teams kick off their La Liga seasons on Sunday, with Barca hosting Real Betis and Real off to Deportivo de la Coruna.

Meanwhile, it seems like PSG spent the afternoon trolling Barca, first posting a shot of ex-Blaugranas stars Dani Alves and Neymar training, and then an incredulous Neymar accompanied by a laughing emoji.

Carlos Bacca joins Villarreal, Boateng leaves Las Palmas

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MADRID (AP) Colombia striker Carlos Bacca joined Spanish club Villarreal on loan from AC Milan on Wednesday.

Villarreal said the one-season loan agreement includes the option to buy the player at the end of the season.

Bacca returns to a Spanish league where the 30-year-old forward flourished in two seasons at Sevilla before joining Milan in 2015.

[ MORE: UCL Wednesday wrap ]

Bacca has made 39 appearances for Colombia, scoring 13 goals. According to Villarreal, he has scored 165 career goals in 336 matches. He scored 14 goals for Milan last season.

Elsewhere in Spain, Las Palmas announced that Kevin-Prince Boateng was leaving the club after both sides agreed to end his contract two days before its season opener.

Las Palmas said that Boateng was leaving due to “personal reasons of an irreversible nature.” The club thanked the former AC Milan standout for his “professionalism” that he displayed during his single season on the Canary Islands.

Las Palmas opens the Spanish league season on Friday at Valencia.

Man City has $23 million Evans bid shot down by WBA

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Could Jonny Evans be the latest player to cross Manchester’s red and blue divide, albeit with a stop in between?

Reports Wednesday say West Bromwich Albion has rejected a $23 million Manchester City bid for the Northern Irish center back.

[ MORE: UCL Wednesday wrap ]

$23 million? That’s like 40 percent of a Kyle Walker!

Evans, 29, is the Baggies captain and a key piece of the club’s aims to continue its long stay in the Premier League.

He joined Manchester United’s academy at age 16 and stayed at Old Trafford through 2015, taking loan opportunities at Royal Antwerp and Sunderland on the way.

At United, Evans won three Premier League titles and two League Cups, and also has a Championship win from one of his two stints at Sunderland.

The 61-times capped Belfast native would give City a key component for Premier League play along with a center back corps of Nicolas Otamendi, Vincent Kompany, and John Stones. Eliaquim Mangala completes their veteran depth, and is certainly City’s weakest position.

Would West Brom sell at any reasonable price? The Baggies are not deep at center back, either — not too many clubs are — and will be in a boatload of trouble without Evans. And given the transfer market, finding a proper replacement at under $30 million is going to be difficult (Reread that sentence. What a summer).

It’s another argument for the transfer window closing before the start of the season.