Fulham and QPR battle it out for Tottenham’s Scott Parker

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By the end of his career, 32-year-old Scott Parker may come close to playing for every professional team in London.

No joke.

Reports this morning suggest that the tenacious Tottenham Hotspur star could well be on his way to West London, with Queens Park Rangers and Fulham fighting it out to land the industrious central midfielder.

QPR are said to have the advantage, with Spurs apparently accepting a second bid from the Loftus Road side as they aim to bolster their Championship squad for an instant return to the Premier League.

But PL side Fulham may want Parker to lead the way at Craven Cottage. And that could be problematic for Harry Redknapp and QPR. So, Parker has down the rounds in London, working his way across the capital through various moves over the years.

He came up through Charlton Athletic’s ranks and shone as a youngsters coring spectacular goals. He then got a $15 million move to Chelsea in 2004. Following an ill-advised move to Newcastle, Parker returned to the capital and becoming club captain and fans favorite at West Ham United after a $11 million switch in 2007. He stayed there for four years before joining Tottenham for $9 million in 2011. Parker certainly loves to play in his hometown but where will he go? QPR or Fulham?

(MORE: Roberto Soldado’s arrival takes Tottenham’s summer spending past $75 million)

Parker has some affinity to Redknapp. He signed him at Spurs and often lauded his impact, leading to Parker featuring prominently for England at Euro 2012. There’s no doubt Parker likes playing under Redknapp but does he really want to drop down to the Championship at this stage of his career?

One more chance to establish himself at yet another London club in the Premier League would appeal to Parker. It’s the dream of every player to play in the PL week in, week out.

Fulham are good at drafting in former internationals who are coming towards the end of their careers. The likes of John Arne Riise, Danny Murphy, Dimitar Berbatov and others prove that. Small transfer fees and big wages have been their specialty in the past, will new owner Shadid Khan keep that trend going?

But back to Parker, rewinding to before AVB arrived at Spurs and even for most of last season he was an integral part of a side pushing for the top four. Yet Parker’s 2013-13 season was ravaged by injury and the arrival of Paulinho, Etienne Capoue and Nacer Chadli this summer will see him move further down the pecking order at White Hart Lane.

Wherever the England international ends up, looks like Parker will play for his fifth professional team in London. There aren’t many players who can say they’ve done that. Some achievement.

Andrija Novakovich: “It’s a good feeling” to earn USMNT call up

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As the U.S. Men’s National Team continues its transition towards qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, a new face has emerged for the Stars and Stripes ahead of its upcoming friendly against Paraguay.

[ MORE: USMNT adds Kekuta Manneh to roster ahead of Paraguay friendly ]

Striker Andrija Novakovich earned his first call up on Sunday when U.S. manager Dave Sarachan named the Telstar player in his squad, which will play the South American side on March 27 in Cary, North Carolina.

The 21-year-old forward has been nothing short of brilliant in his first season with the Dutch second-division club, scoring 18 league goals for Telstar — who sit fourth in the Eerste Divisie.

“It’s a good feeling to get the call-up and hopefully it will be a very good experience,” Novakovich said. “They [the U.S. national team] sent the club and myself an email saying that I was on the preliminary roster and we were just waiting, and then this week I got another email saying I was on the final roster.

“I called my Mum right away and she’s proud, she’s happy.

“I’m just there for the experience — of course I want to play, of course I want to get the opportunity and hopefully that will happen, It’s an honour to be called up and I’m very proud and very happy.”

Novakovich, a Wisconsin native, is currently on loan at Telstar from English Championship side Reading.

The young USMNT player moved to England back in 2014 to join Reading’s academy, despite originally planning on playing for Marquette University following high school.

Despite this being his first senior-team call up, Novakovich is familiar with the U.S. national team setup. Novakovich has previously represented the Under-17, U-18 and U-20 national teams.

Lionel Messi suggests 2018 will be his final World Cup

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Lionel Messi’s track record as a professional has encompassed just about every imaginable accolade, but one that has eluded he and his Argentina national teammates is winning the World Cup.

[ MORE: Kekuta Manneh added to USMNT squad ahead of Paraguay friendly ]

The Barcelona star has played a significant role for the Albiceleste since debuting for Argentina back in 2005, and even helped guide the South American power to the 2014 World Cup final, however, harsh criticism from local media could push Messi and many of his teammates towards not returning to the national team.

This wouldn’t be the first time Messi has contemplated international retirement, though.

Following the 2016 Copa America Centenario final — which resulted in a Chilean victory over Messi’s Argentina — the Blaugrana attacker announced his retirement from the Albiceleste. While he has since returned to the international scene, it appears Messi is once again considering a halt from representing Argentina.

“It’s just the feeling that this group of players has. It seems that having reached three straight finals didn’t mean anything,” Messi told La Cornisa TV. “Obviously, we depend on results and unfortunately, we reached three finals and we didn’t win them.

“A lot was said about us. The criticisms hurt back then. But the demand is going to be there for this group to get it done. We think that if we don’t do it, we are going to get a lot more [criticism] and we are not going to have another possibility.”

Argentina has fallen in three consecutive major finals dating back to 2014, including two Copa America competitions and the World Cup.

Messi says these shortcomings have weighed heavily on him, and that winning a World Cup is still the one goal that has left him hungry.

“I’ve cried many times for lost finals,” the Barca forward said. “I cried for not being able to fulfill the dream of our nation. My desire is the same as every Argentine, which is to lift the World Cup.”

He continued: “To win a World Cup is not easy. It doesn’t happen often. The last time we did things well but due to minor details we didn’t get it done. We are very enthusiastic and eager to lift the cup for our country. I hope God helps us and it happens.”

Messi has scored 61 international goals in his international career for Argentina, the most of any player from his native country.

Brazil to play Austria in final warmup game for World Cup

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VIENNA (AP) The Austrian soccer federation says Brazil will play its final warmup game for the World Cup against Austria on June 10, a week before the five-time world champions take on Switzerland in their Group E opener.

[ MORE: USMNT adds Kekuta Manneh to roster ahead of friendly ]

The match will be played in Vienna at Ernst Happel Stadium, the same venue where both teams last met in a 2014 friendly, which Brazil won 2-1.

Brazil has further build-up games against World Cup host Russia (March 23), world champion Germany (March 27) and Croatia (June 3) ahead of the June 14-July 15 tournament, where it also meets Costa Rica and Serbia in the group stage.

Austria failed to qualify for the World Cup but will also play friendlies against Russia on May 30 and Germany on June 2.

Fiorentina renames training ground for Davide Astori

Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images
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Fiorentina’s training ground has been renamed “Centro Sportivo Davide Astori” in honor of the club’s deceased captain.

[ MORE: Manneh added to USMNT squad ]

Davide Astori died in his team hotel room on March 4, shocking the Italian soccer world and triggering tributes around the world of soccer.

The respected Italian national team center back has had number retired by both Fiorentina and former club Cagliari.

Thousands packed a Florence piazza to salute the player en route to his funeral, and the club won its first match after his passing following vivid pre- and in-match tributes.