Tracking MLS Most Valuable Player: Still a three-man race between Magee, Keane and Di Vaio

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1. Mike Magee:

Chicago took a big step toward the playoffs in Round 29 with a “six-pointer” win over New England, which, like the Fire, is scrapping away for one of those last playoff spots in the East.

That was No. 16 this year in league play for “Magic Mike,” still two off Marco Di Vaio’s league-leading pace.

But as we’ve said before, the critical element to consider as it relates to Magee MVP talk is this: The Fire has to make the playoffs for any real traction. Dwayne De Rosario is the only performer from a non-playoff MLS team to claim MVP, and it’s probably going to remain that way for a while.

In this case, there are two other wonderful choices, so Magee coming away with the big honor just won’t happen without a post-season appearance for the Toyota Park bunch.

2. Robbie Keane:

Truthfully, we should mark this list as 1, 1A and 1B in terms of their tracking for MVP. Because if Robbie Keane and Marco Di Vaio are not equals as potential choices, they are just a wee smidgen away from being so.

The Irishman is fourth in league goals (13) and third in assists (11), and no player can match his combined totals. His pace isn’t slowing one bit as the Galaxy jostles from playoff positioning: Keane had a goal and an assist in the team’s 2-2 weekend road draw at D.C. United. In fact, his offensive contributions would have been even greater but for two unusual booboos along the Galaxy back line, as three potentially huge road points devolved into a lone point.

L.A. has a huge match this weekend against Seattle; Keane doing something special in this one could propel him into the lead in this close-quarter, three-man chase.

3. Montreal’s Marco Di Viao

What is all this talk of retiring, Marco? Major League Soccer’s Golden Boot Winners have gone on to bigger, better things before, using a mighty season of league scoring as a launching pad for a move abroad. But to retire?

Yes, the man is 37. And of course he misses his family back in Italy. But … retire? When you continue to lead the league in scoring, now with 18 goals? Say it ain’t so!

By the way, 18 goals would have led the league at season’s in 10 previous MLS campaigns. So with just a little more continued production in Montreal’s seven remaining matches, we could be talking about something approaching a historically great scoring season. He probably won’t approach Chris Wondolowski’s record-tying 27 from last year, but even getting into the low 20s might be too hard for MVP voters to overlook.

Raiola: Zlatan to “100 percent” stay in Europe for two seasons

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be 35 and coming off major knee surgery, but that isn’t stopping suitors from lining up across Europe.

Ibrahimovic’s agent, Mino Raiola, says that MLS is not an option for the Swede over the next two seasons. From Sky Sports:

“Many clubs have asked for Zlatan. He can play two more years and will stay in Europe, 100 per cent.”

It would make sense for Ibrahimovic to stay around Manchester United, where he is admired by Jose Mourinho and coming off a season that showed he’s still capable of contributing at a high level.

But he remains beloved in Italy, and would be effective for most clubs in the Top 5 leagues should he return at even 75 percent of the Zlatan we’ve seen regularly.

Report: Manchester United, Inter Milan keen on Perisic deal

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Manchester United wants Ivan Perisic, and both the player and his current club are all about it.

Perisic, 28, is ready to leave Inter Milan, and the Serie A mainstays are happy to accept $46 million for his services according to Sky Sports.

[ MORE: No China for Costa ]

Primarily a left winger, Perisic moved to Inter from Wolfsburg at the start of the 2015-16 season. He scored 10 goals and added nine assists in Serie A play this season, and has kept up his production pace since moving from the Bundesliga to Italy.

United needs stars and depth for its Champions League campaign, and Perisic would buttress an attack with Marcus Rashford, Henrikh Mkhitaryan amongst others. He was a difference maker for Croatia at EURO 2016, and can do the same at Old Trafford.

Celtic secures trophy treble, ends Scottish season unbeaten

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GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) Celtic completed a trophy treble in Scottish soccer and finished the domestic season undefeated after beating Aberdeen 2-1 in the Scottish Cup final thanks to an injury-time goal on Saturday.

Midfielder Tom Rogic scored from an acute angle in the second minute of stoppage time at Hampden Park to ensure Celtic added the cup to the Scottish Premiership and the Scottish League Cup.

[ MORE: No China for Costa ]

Brendan Rodgers became the third manager, after Jock Stein (1967, 1969) and Martin O’Neill (2001), to lead Celtic to a treble of domestic titles.

Celtic hasn’t lost any of its 47 games across in the league and both cups, and is the first team to go through the whole of a Scottish domestic season unbeaten.

No China for Costa: It’ll be Chelsea or Atletico Madrid

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Blues striker Diego Costa offered some insight into his future following Chelsea’s FA Cup Final loss to Arsenal on Saturday.

The combustible striker was subject to a head-turning bid from the Chinese Super League this winter, but is only looking at two European locations for his future.

Those are his current club, Chelsea, as well as former home at Atletico Madrid.

[ JPW: Poignant FA Cup Final reflects English mood ]

The 28-year-old Costa has kept his scoring pace level since arriving in the Premier League. He scored 64 goals in 134 matches for Atleti, and has notched 58 goals for Chelsea in 120 appearances.

Costa reportedly said, “No, no, no” when asked about China, as well as the following: