Steven Gerrard turned down Bayern Munich last summer; urges Suarez to stay

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Steven Gerrard turned down a chance to join Bayern Munich last summer, deciding to stay at Liverpool, the only club he’s ever known, until the end of his career. Now the Red’s captain is hoping his loyalty to Liverpool will rub off on Luis Suarez.

The Liverpool midfielder decided to stay at the Merseyside club and become the club’s longest-serving captain instead of moving to Germany’s wealthiest and biggest club, reports the Liverpool Echo.

Yes, Gerrard,  turned down a chance to play for the team that went on to not only win its domestic league title and domestic cup, but also went on to dominate last year’s Champions League in favor of sticking around for another rebuilding season under another new manager. That’s loyalty.

Now Gerrard is trying to pass on some of his loyalty to reportedly want-a-way forward Luis Suarez, who he believes should stick around the confines of Anfield for at least one more season or until Real Madrid or Barcelona come calling.

“I had a chance to leave last year. It was for a club in the Champions League, not a Premier League club, but I wasn’t tempted. I’ve been through that before,” Gerrard told The Liverpool Echo.

“My message for Luis is that he will get many more chances to move on. I just think a player of his calibre should wait for the big ones to come,” Gerrard continued. “He deserves to maybe play in one of the best teams in world football in Barcelona and Real Madrid, and they will come calling for him again.”

Bayern Munich isn’t only successful, it’s also the wealthiest club in the German Bundesliga, and Gerrard would have taken home a nice payday if he had decided that he wasn’t ready to go through another season without Champions League action or another restart with a new manager at Liverpool. And people might not have hated him for it. This wasn’t a proposed move to Chelsea, Manchester United or Arsenal of course. This was a chance for Gerrard to add more trophies to his name while not completely alienating himself from his hometown fans, and, instead, he decided to stick with Liverpool and fight to bring the club back to where it had been in the past, which was refreshing.

Gerrard has lifted numerous trophies for Liverpool but never been able to hold the league title. Since the Reds finished second in 2009, Liverpool has drifted further and further from contention, but that didn’t stop Gerrard from rejecting Bayern Munich and sticking around for another go, which is admirable in an era where players so often leave a team for greener pastures when times get tough.

It’s rare in modern sports that a player plays for just a single team in their career. The likes of  Jamie Carragher, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs  and Gerrard just don’t come around that often anymore. They’re a dying breed of one-club players. But it’s even rarer that these kinds of athletes stick to a team and feel so heavily connected to a club that they turn down a chance to move to arguably one of the best teams in the world before the season starts.

Now the Liverpool captain can only hope Suarez shows one once of the same kind of loyalty to Liverpool because without the Uruguayan forward, Gerrard’s fight to bring Liverpool back to the Champions League before he retires seems almost impossible.

Report: Man City, Guardiola to discuss new contract this summer

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Manchester City does not want to let Pep Guardiola start the third year with the club without signing on for longer term.

Guardiola enters the third and final year of his deal in August, and the BBC reports that Man City plans to negotiate a new deal with the Catalan wizard this summer.

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This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given City’s outstanding sophomore season under Guardiola.

Unbeaten City has an 11-point lead on the Premier League table after 18 weeks, with one draw and a PL record 16-straight wins. They have 56 goals scored, conceding just 12.

They’ve won five of six UEFA Champions League matches, only losing a match their opposition needed and they did not, 2-1 to Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine. City faces Basel next, and visits Leicester City in the League Cup quarterfinals Wednesday.

Lanzini charged by FA for fooling ref with dive

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Manuel Lanzini dove to earn a penalty in West Ham’s 3-0 win over Stoke City on Saturday at the bet365 Stadium, and he may pay for it.

Lanzini, who also posted an assist in an influential performance, drew the penalty converted by Mark Noble when he hit the deck under minimal contact from Erik Pieters.

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He could miss two matches for “successful deception of a match official,” the same penalty given to Everton’s Oumar Niasse for a similar offense.

West Ham pulled out of the drop zone with the win, but has three bottom-half battles coming up over the festive fixtures: Saturday versus Newcastle, Dec. 26 at Bournemouth, and Jan. 2 versus West Brom.

Griezmann backtracks over ‘insensitive’ blackface tweet

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MADRID (AP) Soccer star Antoine Griezmann has apologized for any offense caused after posting an image of himself on social media in blackface as part of an NBA party costume on Sunday.

Griezmann, who is white, was also wearing a wig and holding a basketball in the photo which had “NBA 69 ALLSTARS” on the jersey.

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The photo on his official Twitter account was accompanied by the message “80’s Party” followed by basketball and laughing emojis.

One response called the photo a “bad idea” with others urging the France forward to delete the tweet.

Griezmann at first reacted to the criticism by tweeting: “Calm down friends, I’m a fan of the Harlem Globetrotters and of this great era… It’s a tribute.”

He later tweeted an apology to those he had offended.

“I recognize that’s it’s insensitive on my part. If I offended some people I’m sorry,” he wrote.

The 26-year-old Griezmann plays for Spanish team Atletico Madrid but has been linked to a move to Barcelona.

Alex Morgan named CONCACAF Female POY, Navas wins Male POY

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CONCACAF awarded some of its finest players and coaches on Sunday night, and two familiar faces took home the evening’s most notable awards.

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U.S. Women’s National Team forward Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride) and Keylor Navas of Costa Rica and Real Madrid each earned Female and Male Player of the Year honors, after boasting tremendous 2017 seasons.

Morgan who primarily plays for Orlando in the NWSL, was also a member of Lyon, who went on to win the Women’s Champions League this past season.

Navas, on the other hand, played a key role in Real Madrid’s UEFA Champions League run, as well as Los Blancos’ La Liga title.

For Morgan, the award is her third since CONCACAF began handing out its annual awards in 2013. Meanwhile, Navas has now won Male Player of the Year on two occasions.