Mike Magee-Chicago 3

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.

Mourinho’s agent: Coach paid $27 million in taxes in Spain

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04:  Jose Mourinho manager of Manchester United stands alongside his substitute Marouane Fellaini of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park on December 4, 2016 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
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MADRID (AP) Jose Mourinho’s agent says the Manchester United manager paid more than 26 million euros ($27 million) in taxes when he lived in Spain from 2010-13.

The information was made public on Tuesday by Gestifute, a company run by Mourinho’s agent, Jorge Mendes.

[ MORE: Pulisic wanted by Arsenal, Spurs ]

The Portuguese company has been releasing details about its clients’ tax declarations after European media outlets published what they claimed were details of apparent tax arrangements made by top soccer players and coaches, including Mourinho, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil.

Gestifute, which also has Ronaldo as a client, has already published documents allegedly showing that Spanish fiscal authorities have certified that Mourinho and Real Madrid star Ronaldo are “up to date on … obligations.”

Mourinho coached Real Madrid from 2010-13 and took charge of United this season.

Staying in Dallas: New contract for MLS Defender of the Year Hedges

HOUSTON, TX - MARCH 12:  Giles Barnes #10 of the Houston Dynamo battles for the ball with Matt Hedges #24 of FC Dallas during their game at BBVA Compass Stadium on March 12, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
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This is going to turn out to be one of the most exciting years of Matt Hedges’ life.

The FC Dallas man lead one of the best back lines in Major League Soccer to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the Supporters’ Shield.

[ MORE: PST talks with Hedges, Zimmerman ]

He’s also likely set for a chance to return to the USMNT fold under new coach Bruce Arena, as Hedges is one of the best players to be largely ignored by Jurgen Klinsmann.

Hedges, 26, was named the MLS Defender of the Year and made the Best XI, and now he’s inked a new long-term deal with FC Dallas.

The four-year deal will keep Hedges in Dallas through his 30th birthday. Capped once, Hedges has 159 appearances with 11 goals for FCD.

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Two more Pulisic suitors in North London? USMNT teen in demand

Dortmund's Emre Mor, left, celebrates with Dortmund's Felix Passlack and Dortmund's Christian Pulisic, right, after scoring during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and SV Darmstadt in Dortmund, Germany, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016. Dortmund defeated Darmstadt with 6-0. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
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Christian Pulisic is one of the most exciting young prospects in the world.

It’s a statement that isn’t often said without hyperbole when it comes to American standouts, but the 18-year-old Borussia Dortmund man has seen his names in the gossip pages a few times this year.

While Liverpool has often been the destination, Italian site Calcio Mercato says Premier League interest is wider than Merseyside. The clubs? Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.

[ VOTE: Who should win USMNT player of year? ]

Dortmund doesn’t want to sell the youngster, who is locked up through 2019. The whispered price has been $31 million at a minimum, but perhaps BVB would be tempted given their wealth of young attacking options.

Pulisic has made 27 appearances for Borussia Dortmund, nabbing four goals and six assists. He has 11 caps and three goals for the USMNT as well.

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Real Madrid asks for “utmost respect” to Ronaldo following tax drama

BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 03:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid reacts after missing a chance during the La Liga  match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF at Camp Nou on December 3, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
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Cristiano Ronaldo had been linked with massive tax evasion, but Real Madrid would ask you to kindly go back to treating him like a king now that he’s proven his innocence.

In a move usually reserved for politicians aiming for high office, Ronaldo’s agent released some of his tax documents to prove everything’s above board.

It all looks good, unlike what befell Neymar and Lionel Messi, so back off, huh?

[ MORE: Wednesday’s Champions League preview ]

From Real Madrid:

In view of the stories published over recent days and in consideration of the certificate issued by the Spanish Tax Agency which confirms that our player Cristiano Ronaldo is up to date with all of his tax obligations, Real Madrid C. F. call for the utmost respect to be shown towards Cristiano Ronaldo, whose conduct has been absolutely exemplary throughout all of his time at our club.

Only the utmost for CR7.

Real Madrid hosts Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday in a match which will decide Group F of the UEFA Champions League.

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