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.

Daly collapses during match, treated for heat illness

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HOUSTON (AP) Houston Dash forward Rachel Daly collapsed during the final minute of a National Women’s Soccer League match against the Seattle Reign as temperatures climbed into the 90s.

The 25-year-old Daly was stretchered off the field and taken to the hospital, where the team said she was being treated for heat illness.

The temperature at BBVA Compass Stadium was 92 degrees at the 3 p.m. kickoff. The Reign won 2-0.

[ MORE: Perisic talking with Man Utd? ]

The NWSL issued a statement that said the league had worked with the Dash before the season to schedule any afternoon games early in the year to help avoid heat issues. The teams took a hydration break late in the match.

“We will immediately review these measures to prevent this situation from occurring in the future,” the statement said.

Reign coach Laura Harvey posted to Twitter: “Proud of the team today. Some of the hottest conditions I’ve seen. Road games are tough but that was crazy.”

MLS roundup: Outrageous dive, posts doom ‘Caps; Ramirez stays red hot

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Six matches are in the books on a busy Saturday in Major League Soccer, and five of them finished 1-0.

How they got there? Much different stories. With the Cali Clasico still to play, let’s dig into the five that followed Seattle 1-0 Portland.

[ MORE: Perisic to Man Utd? ]


Vancouver Whitecaps 0-1 DC United

It’s especially difficult to win on the road in Major League Soccer, unless the hosts fritter away four good chances off the woodwork — including a Cristian Techera PK — and give away a spot kick of their own. Lamar Neagle converted the 61st offering after a sinister dive from Jose Guillermo Ortiz. He was taken off soon after, and is probably going to miss sometime when the DisCo is done with him. Outrageous.

New York Red Bulls 2-1 New England Revolution

Not one, not two, nor three, but four New England players saw a low cross slide by them for Daniel Royer to finish as New York came from behind to take all three points at Red Bull Arena. Cody Cropper committed a gaffe that allowed Bradley Wright-Phillips to equalize after a Lee Nguyen PK had put the Revs ahead early.

Colorado Rapids 1-0 Sporting KC

Homegrown defender and University of Denver product Kortne Ford has his first MLS goal, as the Rapids surprised the Western Conference leaders on Saturday. SKC outshot Colorado by nearly 20 attempts (Shoulder shrug emoji).

Minnesota United 1-0 Orlando City

There were questions as to whether NASL superstar Christian Ramirez could translate his game to Major League Soccer.

Yes. The answer is yes.

Ramirez has eight goals in 13 MLS matches, and should be hearing his name from a certain Bruce Arena around Gold Cup time. Those USMNT dreams of last season should come true.

Bobby Shuttleworth made six saves for his third shutout of the season. All have come at home.

Real Salt Lake 1-0 Philadelphia Union

Joao Plata keeps shooting, and the tiny Ecuadorian menace keeps scoring, too. His 36th minute goal was enough for the hosts at Rio Tinto.

Raiola: Zlatan to “100 percent” stay in Europe for two seasons

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be 35 and coming off major knee surgery, but that isn’t stopping suitors from lining up across Europe.

[ MORE: Perisic to Man Utd? ]

Ibrahimovic’s agent, Mino Raiola, says that MLS is not an option for the Swede over the next two seasons. From Sky Sports:

“Many clubs have asked for Zlatan. He can play two more years and will stay in Europe, 100 per cent.”

It would make sense for Ibrahimovic to stay around Manchester United, where he is admired by Jose Mourinho and coming off a season that showed he’s still capable of contributing at a high level.

But he remains beloved in Italy, and would be effective for most clubs in the Top 5 leagues should he return at even 75 percent of the Zlatan we’ve seen regularly.

Report: Manchester United, Inter Milan keen on Perisic deal

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Manchester United wants Ivan Perisic, and both the player and his current club are all about it.

Perisic, 28, is ready to leave Inter Milan, and the Serie A mainstays are happy to accept $46 million for his services according to Sky Sports.

[ MORE: No China for Costa ]

Primarily a left winger, Perisic moved to Inter from Wolfsburg at the start of the 2015-16 season. He scored 10 goals and added nine assists in Serie A play this season, and has kept up his production pace since moving from the Bundesliga to Italy.

United needs stars and depth for its Champions League campaign, and Perisic would buttress an attack with Marcus Rashford, Henrikh Mkhitaryan amongst others. He was a difference maker for Croatia at EURO 2016, and can do the same at Old Trafford.