Barcelona say Fabregas doesn’t want Manchester United move

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This Cesc Fabregas saga has taken another dramatic twist this morning.

Barcelona’s manager Tito Vilanova has said that Fabregas wants to remain at the Nou Camp and snub any potential transfer to Manchester United.

Essentially it’s another huge slap in the face for Red Devils boss David Moyes.

Speaking this morning, Vilanova addressed United’s bid for the Spanish international. “I know he has received offers from other teams,” said Vilanova. “But Cesc has told me he wants to stay here. He has told me it is his dream to stay with Barcelona.”

So that’s the end of that then… But are United really the big losers (Exhibit A, top right photo) in this one?

But why should Fabregas turn down a starring role at some of Europe’s top teams when he’s struggling to hold down a leading role at Barca? Because he loves the club.

Vilanova continued: “He doesn’t want to go to other teams for money reasons or playing time. He knows there is competition for places here, but his decision is to stay. I am relaxed about the situation.”

Fabregas could conceivably pick any club in Europe to play for. And probably captain them and be the leading star. Just like he was at Arsenal for many years and then he outgrew the North London club.

(MORE: Manchester United make $53 million bid for Cesc Fabregas)

But was this what he really wanted when he returned to his hometown of Barcelona? Should he be content with being used out of position and forced to watch on patiently as Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets clog up his midfield role?

If he just wants to play for the club he loves no matter what, you have to admire that. But a question of Fabregas’ ambition, drive and desire pops into my mind.

Doesn’t he want to be the star of the show and lead a European giant to titles? Because he can. Obviously he has already won plenty of trophies since switching the Emirates for Catalan back in 2011. But at Manchester United he would be a key cog in Moyes’ plans for the future.

To put it bluntly Tom Cleverley and Anderson aren’t quite up to the standard of midfielder you’d expect from United. And with the likes of Darren Fletcher’s long-term injury and Ryan Giggs continuing to drift to the peripheral, a key box-to-box midfielder is something Moyes strives to bring in. They tried and failed with Barca’s young star Thiago Alcantara. And now it looks like they’ve had a similar experience trying to pry Fabregas away from Blaugrana.

(MORE: Thiago Alcantara will join Bayern Munich, shun Manchester United)

But if the 26-year-old diminutive midfield genius doesn’t fancy a move to Old Trafford, plenty of other clubs are interested. After United’s bid of $53 million was made public yesterday, the ears of Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal all pricked up.

If Fabregas fancies a change, the EPL’s finest are waiting to court him. But if United can’t entice him to leave Barca, what chance have the others got?

MLS Snapshot: New York City FC 2-1 New England Revolution (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): For nearly 75 minutes, NYCFC couldn’t muster up any chances in the attacking third, but thankfully their captain did what he does best. David Villa scored his 19th goal of the season on Sunday night to pull out a 2-1 win against the New England Revolution, but it was rookie Jonathan Lewis that notched the winner. The visitors took the lead 20 minutes prior after Sean Johnson spilled a shot in front of his own goal, allowing Teal Bunbury to pounce on the rebound. NYCFC now moves to within four points of Eastern Conference leaders Toronto FC with nine matches remaining in the regular season.

Three four moments that mattered

16′ — Harrison breaks ankles, but Villa can’t finish — This might be the only time all see you’ll see David Villa miss a chance like this…

38′ — Johnson gets a finger tip to Rowe’s blast — Sean Johnson had no work to do in the first half, at least until Kelyn Rowe decided to rip a shot from distance just before halftime.

57′ — Johnson’s error grants Bunbury, Revs the lead — Look away, NYCFC fans.

77′ — Villa find the back of the net — When you need a goal, who you gonna call? That’s right. David Villa. The NYCFC captain is now up to 19 this season.

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Man of the match: David Villa

Goalscorers: Teal Bunbury (57′), David Villa (77′), Jonathan Lewis (90+4′)

Honoring victims of attacks, Barcelona wins league opener

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Wearing shirts honoring victims of the recent attacks in Spain, Barcelona opened its Spanish league season with a comfortable 2-0 win over Real Betis on Sunday.

[ MORE: Neymar double helps PSG cruise past Toulouse ]

Players had the word “Barcelona” instead of their names on the back of their shirts, and the Catalan hashtag “TOTSSOMBARCELONA” (We are all Barcelona) was on display around the Camp Nou stadium. The message was also shown on the stadium’s large screens, as well as on many banners carried by fans.

An emotional minute’s silence was held before the game as the music of Catalan cellist Pau Casals played in the background.

Before the minute was up, the more than 55,000 fans at the stadium broke into a round of applause and began chanting “No tinc por” (I’m not afraid), a chant which has become a symbol of people’s reactions to the attacks that killed 14 people and injured more than 120 in Barcelona and the nearby seaside resort of Cambrils.

Extra security was implemented in and around Camp Nou.

There was a minute’s silence before every Spanish league match this weekend.

Without Neymar and the injured Luis Suarez, Barcelona got off to a winning start in the league after consecutive losses to rival Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup final.

It scored two goals three minutes apart near the end of the first half – an own-goal by Betis defender Alin Tosca and a close-range shot by Sergi Roberto. Both goals came after plays started by Gerard Deulofeu, one of the players expected to try to replace Neymar after his world record transfer to Paris Saint-Germain.

“We lost depth with Neymar’s departure and we have to find a way to overcome that,” Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said.

Lionel Messi looked lively but wasn’t able to score his 350th goal in La Liga. He came close, though, being denied by the woodwork three different times.

AP Sports Writer Tales Azzoni contributed to this report.

More AP Spanish soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/LaLiga

Brighton breaks club record with signing of winger Jose Izquierdo

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Brighton hasn’t gotten off to the ideal start in its debut season in the Premier League, but a key reinforcement is on the way.

[ MORE: Chelsea tops Spurs at Wembley behind Alonso’s brace ]

After starting the 2017/18 campaign with back-to-back defeats, the Seagulls announced on Sunday the signing of Colombian winger Jose Izquierdo from Club Brugge in Belgium for a record fee.

The 25-year-old spent three seasons in Belgium’s top flight and totaled 38 goals across all competitions for Brugge, prior to making the move to England.

Additionally, Izquierdo has worked his way into the Colombia squad as of late, and scored his first international goal for his country in June 2017 in a friendly against Cameroon.

MLS Follow Live — NYCFC hosts Revs, Minnesota meets Sounders

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Only two matches will feature on the MLS docket Sunday evening, but luckily two of the league’s most exciting teams will take to the pitch.

[ MORE: Toronto tops Fire as East leaders reach 50 points on season ]

First, New York City FC will attempt to continue its ascent up the Eastern Conference ladder when they host Kei Kamara and the New England Revolution.

In the night cap, the Seattle Sounders look to extend their unbeaten streak to nine matches when they welcome newcomers Minnesota United to CenturyLink Field.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Here’s the schedule and kick-off times for Sunday’s two MLS fixtures.

New York City FC vs. New England Revolution — 6 p.m. ET
Seattle Sounders vs. Minnesota United — 10 p.m. ET