José Mourinho gives Wayne Rooney Chelsea ultimatum

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MANCHESTER — Chelsea manager José Mourinho is tired of waiting around for Wayne Rooney to make his mind up.

And following the dazzling display from Manchester United’s striker against Mourinho’s Chelsea team during Monday’s 0-0 draw at Old Trafford, Mourinho is pleading with the player to make a decision on his future.

“The person that started the story has to finish the story,” Mourinho said after being asked whether or not Rooney would ask to leave United. Mourinho also wants a clear statement of intent from Rooney.

“A club like us, a manager like me, we are not silly to try and get a player from a big club that doesn’t want to sell, we are not silly to try and start something if somebody didn’t start it. I think it’s time for the good of everyone to finish the story. From one side, or from the other side.”

(MORE: Manchester United 0-0 Chelsea; Stalemate at Old Trafford)

While Mourinho also gave Rooney a time-frame to make his mind up on a move to Stamford Bridge, stating it needs to happen in the next “24 hours, 48 hours” or the deal will be off and the long-winded chase for the 27-year-old England international will end without the desired conclusion. That’s when Mourinho issued the final warning to Rooney as Chelsea reportedly line up Samuel Eto’o as plan B.

“We are going to close another player,” Mourinho said. “If he’s [Rooney] not coming we are going to closer another player.”

But above all the speculation before las night’s massive, Rooney put in a great display and came closest to scoring when his blistering 77th minute shot in front of the Stretford End was well saved by Per Cech to his right. Rooney was a menace, constantly wriggling free of Chelsea’s defense and trying to delicately set up his teammates. He worked hard, chased back and dug deep to help United seal a point.

Mourinho is certainly a fan.

“I think the most important thing is that he [Rooney] played very well,” Mourinho said. “He was a real professional. He played for the club that pays him, tried to win, tried to score. He was fantastic. After that, if he wants to leave he has to say, or he decides now that he doesn’t want to leave anymore, it’s a problem.”

(MORE: Wayne Rooney dazzles for Manchester United, is this the end of the saga?)

But with all this speculation, all this talk swirling around Rooney’s head, the fact that he managed to put in a man of the match performance against the team that has openly been chasing him all summer, in front of the home fans who know he wants to leave, it was quite sublime. Again, Mourinho was impressed.

“No. But independent of every think we have to say fantastic, because many players in this situation they can’t express themselves on the pitch. They don’t feel enough confidence. He was fantastic, he played very, very well.”

(MORE: José Mourinho praises Cheslea’s “kids” after defensive masterclass)

Throughout the 90 minutes at Old Trafford Rooney was cheered by both sets of supports, as Chelsea’s traveling fans chanted, “Wayne Rooney, we’ll see you next week” to try and get under the skin of the United faithful. But it had the opposite effect. A real buzz was generated inside the stadium whenever Rooney got on the ball and on several occasions the home fans showed their adulation to Rooney, something Mourinho appreciated.

“In other countries it wouldn’t be possible, probably in other clubs it wouldn’t be possible. In other countries, if people know you want to leave it doesn’t matter the player you are they don’t want you. But they gave him a fantastic support, it was very good, very nice, very English.”

Maybe the cheers from United fans will have helped Wayne Rooney to make his mind to remain at Old Trafford.

José Mourinho has laid down the gauntlet. Rooney has 24-48 hours to decide his future.

Pardew laments firing, credits Palace turnaround to new players

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Alan Pardew knows why Crystal Palace was failing when he got fired, knows he could’ve fixed it, and seems pretty bummed he’s not there any more.

Pardew emerged to make the comments after Sam Allardyce helmed another upset win for Palace, a 2-1 win over Liverpool which joins defeats of Arsenal and Chelsea.

The win moves Palace 12th, and the Eagles have a legitimate shot at a top-half finish despite their poor start to the season. But Pardew wants fans to know it was about a personnel mistake, and that Palace dropped into the relegation zone after he was fired.

[ PL PREVIEW: Chelsea vs. Southampton ]

The Northeast Chronicle says Pardew aimed to bring former Newcastle left backs Davide Santon and Paul Dummett to Palace, but couldn’t get the moves over the line. Then Pape Souare was hurt in a car accident and Palace was in trouble.

Over to you, Pards (From the Chronicle’s Lee Ryder):

“We were kicking ourselves not to have any left-footed cover. We were playing right-footed players there and things were exploiting that situation. We became one dimensional.

“I was really disappointed I didn’t get to the window because Sam Allardyce followed me and the results didn’t really improve until the new players got bedded in and they made a big difference.”

Allardyce brought in Patrick Van Aanholt from Sunderland and Jeff Schlupp from Leicester to shore up the left side.

The story is made more amusing by the fact that Allardyce has not hesitated to make Palace’s return to form almost exclusively about his influence, while Pardew bleeds the very same blood.

Who’s on first?

Atletico Madrid at CAS to fight FIFA transfer ban

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) Atletico Madrid officials are at sport’s highest court to appeal against a FIFA transfer ban that will prevent the club from signing youth players from overseas during the coming offseason.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport is hearing the appeal Monday, but says a verdict is not expected immediately.

Atletico and FIFA previously agreed to seek a CAS verdict by June, before the summer trading period opens.

[ MORE: Griezmann’s advisor speaks on future ]

FIFA imposed a one-year ban on registering new players as punishment for Atletico breaking rules introduced to prevent child trafficking and luring youngsters from their home country.

Atletico denies wrongdoing, though it agreed not to sign players in January while its appeal went ahead.

Spain’s soccer federation has been criticized for its role in player registrations, with Barcelona and Real Madrid also having served FIFA transfer bans.

Premier League Preview: Chelsea vs. Southampton

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  • Chelsea won 2-0 on Oct. 30
  • Saints won fixture 3-1 last season
  • Chelsea 13W-2L at home this season
  • Blues lead all-time 40W-28D-28L

Chelsea aims to stack some wins following a momentum-restoring weekend win when Southampton visits Stamford Bridge on Tuesday (Watch live at 2:45 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The Blues have lost two of four inside the Premier League — home to Crystal Palace and at Manchester United — but beat Spurs 4-2 in a thrilling FA Cup semifinal this weekend, extending their season to a May 27 final against Arsenal.

Saints are coming off their first loss in four outings, a 3-0 home beatdown at the hands of Manchester City. Now to the road, where Southampton has the eighth-best record in the Premier League. And Saints boast Manolo Gabbiadini, who Chelsea boss Antonio Conte says has one of the world’s best left foots.

What they’re saying

Chelsea’s David Luiz on Antonio Conte“He’s a fantastic person before a fantastic manager, so we talk a lot, every day, because we have a great relationship,’ he explained. We try to give our best for our club and he tries to help me with his intelligence for football to improve my football so I am very happy to work with him. He did an amazing job in this game.”

Southampton’s Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg on facing Chelsea“Of course, you say every game is important, but somehow, when you play against number one, it gets a little bit more important. I saw the game they lost against Manchester United, and now they are a little bit under pressure, and we also want to continue getting good results. Chelsea away is, of course, maybe the toughest game this year, but I think that we have the possibility to get the result.”

Prediction

Rested Southampton provides a real test, but one which Chelsea finds a way to pass thanks to a relatively rested Costa and Hazard. This is Costa’s day, with a brace in a 2-1 win.

Griezmann’s advisor namechecks Man Utd, 4 others

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Antoine Griezmann has maintained a desire to stay at Atletico Madrid, but his advisor says the French striker has five realistic destinations for next season if he doesn’t stay at the Vicente Calderon.

Speaking on the French outlet Telefoot, advisor Eric Olhats says the 26-year-old Griezmann is limited by his $109 million release clause.

[ MORE: Zlatan’s comeback vow; Mata close ]

Griezmann has 25 goals and 11 assists this season, slightly lighter on the goals and a step up in helpers with Atleti alive in two competitions this season. He’s still played centrally and wide right, and Yannick Carrasco is starring on the left.

From Sky Sports:

“There is an unavoidable 100m clause so that restricts the number of candidates. You have United, City, Chelsea, Barcelona and Real Madrid.

“United were the first to come and see us and the most concrete in their wishes.”

Griezmann to the Premier League is a move many would love to see, or at least a new challenge for the fantastic attacker. With respect to Barcelona and Real Madrid, we’ve seen plenty of top La Liga talents move within the division.

Of course, there would be something special to both Diego Simeone and Griezmann winning the UEFA Champions League and defending it at Atleti. Something tells us their fate in this year’s semifinal against Real Madrid may tip the scales for both men, or at least Griezmann.