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Kaká: “I would like to leave Real Madrid.” But who wants him?

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The great race for Kaká has started.

On Thursday the Brazilian midfielder claimed he is on the way out of Real Madrid, despite scoring twice in a friendly with Deportivo La Coruna.

“I have less and less of a place on the team,” says Kaká. “The club knows that I would like to leave and I want it to help me find a solution for my exit.”

And while a move to Major League Soccer has long been rumored for the former World Player of the Year, the Madrid playmaker believes staying in Europe is his only option and also ruled out a switch to any Brazilian sides.

“I cannot go to Brazil because the market is closed, the exit would be within Europe,” Kaká said. “I don’t want to talk about clubs because I have none at this stage.”

(MORE: Friday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup, Benzema, Ozil, Di Maria to Arsenal, Fellaini to Manchester United)

But why has Kaká all of a sudden decided to change his tune after largely being a squad player over the past three seasons at Madrid? His quality is undoubted but under José Mourinho, Kaká’s talents just didn’t fit into the managers philosophy. The 31-year-old Brazilian superstar may have thought things would change under new Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti, Kaká’s manager at AC Milan during the best years of his career, but he still finds himself on the fringes of Real’s starting lineup.

“Things are difficult for me here, there is less room in the squad all the time,” Kaká explained. “I am ready every day to train and work but that does not mean that I am happy.”

An unhappy Kaká has once and for all made it clear: he wants out of the Spanish capital.

But where can he go? Plenty of clubs would want to sign him, of course, but his huge wage demands whittle it down to just a few. But first things first, Kaká would have to take a huge wage-cut to move elsewhere and these comments suggest he is now willing to do that. A return to his former club AC Milan could be on, especially as Milan are to set to offload attacking midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng to Schalke later today.

(MORE: Kaká set to loose number 8 shirt at Real Madrid)

The most likely option is that Kaká will head back to Milan to regain his happiness and play for the team where he won the Champions League and numerous other titles. But could a move to the Premier League with Manchester United or Arsenal also be in the reckoning?

Both teams are on the lookout for influential attackers who have played at the highest level and can operate across the midfield, surely they must consider making a late swoop for the Brazilian as he looks to get regular soccer to try and break into Luis Felipe Scolari’s Brazilian national team before next summer’s World Cup.

With three days to go until the window shuts, Kaká’s search for a new club in Europe will have to be a quick one. But who wants him?

Southampton: Van Dijk won’t leave, selling days likely done

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 29:  Ralph Krueger the Southampton Chairman looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Newcastle United at St Mary's Stadium on March 29, 2014 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
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Ralph Krueger doesn’t plan on selling any more big Southampton stars, and there’s none brighter than Virgil Van Dijk.

The Dutchman is perhaps the best center back in the Premier League, regularly linked with transfers to anywhere from Manchester City to Liverpool.

[ MORE: Liverpool hires new CEO ]

But Krueger says Saints have had enough of selling big assets. Southampton has sold Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Sadio Mane, and Nathaniel Clyne in the past three seasons, and those are just the names to go to Liverpool. Morgan Schneiderlin and Victor Wanyama have also moved on from St. Mary’s.

From Sky Sports:

“We would like to move away from that and we feel confident this summer will be a lot quieter in Southampton and we can keep the core of this team moving forward for a few years.

“That is going to be important when you see how excellent the group is right now and how exciting the football is. The game we are playing is a pleasure to watch and a pleasure to be part of.”

Saints were the more effective side in a 3-2 EFL Cup Final loss to Manchester United this weekend, but are well off the pace in the race to make back-to-back trips into Europe.

It will be hard to hold onto Van Dijk and even new bright light Manolo Gabbiadini without Europe, but Krueger is a strong leader with the ability to convince almost anyone to buy into a plan.

Real Salt Lake signs Plata to multi-year DP deal

Real Salt Lake forward Joao Plata (8) gestures while walking during an MLS soccer game against New York City FC Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Sandy, Utah. (Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP) DESERET NEWS OUT; LOCAL TELEVISION OUT; MAGS OUT
Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP
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SANDY, Utah (AP) Real Salt Lake has re-signed forward Joao Plata to a multi-year contract and he will continue to hold a designated-player spot.

The 24-year-old was acquired from Toronto FC before the 2013 season and he has 30 goals and 30 assists in regular-season play with RSL.

[ MORE: Liverpool flops vs LCFC ]

Plata ranks No. 3 on the team’s all-time assists list and No. 5 in goals. He has 33 goals and 35 assists during his MLS career.

Real Salt Lake begins the season Saturday when it hosts Toronto FC.

Gotze out indefinitely with metabolism disorder

ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - NOVEMBER 06:  Mario Goetze (R) and Ann-Kathrin Broemmel attend the MTV Europe Music Awards 2016 on November 6, 2016 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for MTV)
Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for MTV
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Mario Gotze’s last few seasons have not fulfilled the expectations thrust about the World Cup-winning attacker.

Gotze, 24, scored the 113th minute goal that lifted Germany past Argentina in the 2014 World Cup, but has endured successive disappointing seasons between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

[ MORE: Liverpool hires new CEO ]

With just two goals this season, Gotze has played just 24 minutes since BVB came back from winter break. On Monday, the club revealed why: a metabolism disorder that will keep him out for an indefinite period of time. From Sky Sports:

“We are glad to know the reasons for Mario’s complaints and we are convinced that after recovering he will give us extra quality with his exceptional abilities,” said Dortmund’s director of sport Michael Zorc.

“Mario gets the full backing and maximum support from all of us at Borussia Dortmund on his way back.”

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Gotze at his best, and here’s hoping this problem is both curable and the reason for his struggles.

Liverpool hires EA Sports executive as new CEO

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Liverpool has named Peter Moore as the successor to chief executive office Ian Ayre.

Ayre, 53, is off to 1860 Munich this summer, and has stepped down early to allow Moore to take over.

[ MORE: Liverpool flops vs LCFC ]

A Liverpool-born executive, Moore was the chief operating officer at EA Sports and has also worked with Microsoft and SEGA.

The move “completes a transitional phase” which saw several new names join the fray. From The Liverpool Echo:

The appointment completes a transition plan by FSG which included appointing Michael Edwards as sporting director while Billy Hogan was promoted to the role of managing director and chief commercial officer.