Are AS Monaco the real deal after signing Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez?

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Monaco are doing it big.

No surprise there, guys.

Today the mega-rich club from the Principality of Monaco announced they’ve signed FC Porto stars Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez in a deal worth $90 million.

$90 million for just two players. They have just won promotion from the second-tier in French soccer.

I truly believe manager Claudio Ranieri when he was quoted as saying this earlier this morning, “Monaco will become the new Chelsea. The president wants to do big things here. We won Ligue 2 and our goal now is to finish third in the top flight to qualify for the Champions League.”

Fair enough Claudio put your money where your mouth…. oh wait, you’ve already done that. Carry on.

And Monaco will certainly do that, and then some.

Already linked with a huge bid for Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao, Monaco will be chasing every top player in Europe as they aim to get back into European soccer’s elite.

But just how will they do all this under the new Financial Fair Play Act? I have no idea.

(More: Falcao and the specter of AS Monaco)

Their stadium, Stade Louis II, is perhaps one of the most iconic in Europe. Incredible, considering it only holds 18,523.

That’s right, it is that small. How they are going to balance the books for a charge to the Champions League trophy with miniscule budgets coming from attendances? I don’t know. But Monaco have already rallied to reach the Champions League final in 2004 where, ironically, they lost to FC Porto.

They have won titles and cups in France, but their last was over 13 years ago. Now they are aiming to win everything with owner Dmitry Rybolovlev’s billions bankrolling their success, as they aim to challenge Paris Saint-Germain for the Ligue 1 title.

Falcao, Jackson Martínez, and Victor Valdes have all been linked with a move to the tax-free haven and so will plenty of others.

This summer, every day a new rumor surrounding a player going to Monaco will crop up. Whether or not they do challenge Europe’s elite for the biggest titles, it seems as if they’re going to have a really good go at it.

It seems as if Monaco will try to throw money at every player for years to come.

Well, at least until the money dries up or Rybolovlev gets bored. But that hasn’t happened at Chelsea, yet. So until then, let’s sit back and enjoy the ride.

Antoine Griezmann reveals desire to play in MLS

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Antoine Griezmann is being chased by the biggest clubs in Europe and is the main attacking talent for the French national team.

He just signed a new deal with La Liga giants Atletico Madrid through the 2022 season and despite Manchester United and Barcelona, among others, linked with a move for the predatory striker, nobody really knows where the Frenchman will be beyond this season.

But which league does he want to play in, for sure? Major League Soccer. Yep. That’s right.

In his new book titled “Behind a Smile: The life of the Little Prince” Griezmann says that he wants to follow in the footsteps of his idol, David Beckham, and finish his career in MLS. Griezmann also stated his love for NBA star Derrick Rose and his admiration for David Villa, captain of NYCFC.

Given the fact that Griezmann is 26 years old, it could be some time before he arrives in MLS but maybe he will do so in time to become one of Beckham’s first handful of Designated Players at his long-awaited Miami franchise?

Given the fact that whenever he discusses a potential move to Man United he cites the cold weather as an issue against the transfer, it’s likely Griezmann would want to be in a warmer climate in MLS. His good friend from their time together at Real Sociedad, Carlos Vela, is swapping Spain for Los Angeles in a few months as LAFC’s first DP.

Take your pick, Antoine. LAFC? Miami? NYCFC? LA Galaxy? Atlanta United?

I’m sure anyone would want to sign in a few years on DP-level money if you keep scoring goals like this one last night against AS Roma in the UEFA Champions League…

USMNT move up in latest FIFA rankings

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The latest batch of FIFA World Rankings arrived on Thanksgiving Day and the U.S. men’s national team can be thankful for moving up three places.

Despite their failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, the managerless USMNT rose three spots to 24th in the latest rankings and are the fifth-highest ranked nation to not qualify for the World Cup.

Mexico remain the top team in CONCACAF and stay in 16th place, while the U.S. has jumped ahead of Costa Rica who fell four places to 26th.

Germany remain in top spot in the rankings, while there were no other movers in the top five with Brazil in second, Portugal third, Argentina fourth and Belgium fifth. Spain moved up two spots to sixth, while Chile is back in the top 10 despite failing to make the World Cup and Switzerland moves into eighth place.

In total, four teams in the top 20, Chile, Italy,Wales and the Netherlands, failed to reach the World Cup. Senegal are the big climbers after their World Cup qualification as they rose nine places to 23, while Sweden moved up seven spots to 18th.

Below is a look at the top 25 nations on the planet, according to FIFA, as the 2017 international season comes to a close.


1. Germany
2. Brazil
3. Portugal
4. Argentina
5. Belgium
6. Spain
7. Poland
8. Switzerland
9. France
10. Chile
11. Peru
12. Denmark
13. Colombia
14. Italy
15. England
16. Mexico
17. Croatia
18. Sweden
19. Wales
20. Netherlands
21. Uruguay
22. Iceland
23. Senegal
= 24. USA
= 24. Northern Ireland

Wigan player races off for son’s birth after scoring 2 goals

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WIGAN, England (AP) It was better than a hat trick.

A player for English soccer team Wigan had a night to remember when he scored his second goal before dashing off the field and to the local hospital, where his girlfriend was in labor.

[ MORE: Chelsea advances to UCL Round of 16 after win over Qarabag ]

A picture of Ryan Colclough holding his new-born baby, Harley, while still in his soccer uniform was shared on social media by Wigan chairman David Sharpe.

Colclough said his father, sitting in the stands on Tuesday for Wigan’s 3-0 win over Doncaster in the second division, “gave me the action that the waters had broken,” but he didn’t want to come off until the ball was out of play.

“My head was a little bit battered, but I went and scored, looked at the manager and he said we’ll bring you off now,” Colclough said Wednesday of his 58th-minute goal, which he celebrated by pretending to rock a baby. “I came off and was straight down the tunnel, grabbed my keys and my phone, and went to hospital.”

Colclough had visited the midwife that day, and was told the baby was unlikely to arrive for “another couple of days.”

Lille suspends coach Marcelo Bielsa

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LILLE, France (AP) French club Lille has provisionally suspended coach Marcelo Bielsa following a string of poor results in the top tier.

[ MORE: Basel stuns Man United late to keep UCL hopes alive ]

The northern side said in a statement that Bielsa has been suspended “as part of a procedure started by the club.” Lille did not elaborate.

Bielsa joined Lille this season but has failed to make the club competitive again, with the team second to last after 13 matches.