Montreal’s Marco Di Vaio not retiring, will return to Montreal Impact for 2014

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Ordinarily, no one would be too surprised about a 37-year-old striker talking retirement. Heck, most 37-year-old strikers (or midfielder … or defenders) who remain active are being steered towards it, sometimes aggressively so.

But something seemed out of place last month when Marco Di Vaio began talking about it, contemplating a departure even while his steely finishing of 2013 was driving the sophomore MLS side toward an unlikely playoff spot. Aside from the team accomplishments, the guy still has a great chance at Major League Soccer’s Golden Boot, now dead level with Chicago’s Mike Magee with 19 goals. Further, the veteran Italian finisher is this close to a 20-goal season – and remember, those are few and far between in Major League Soccer.

All of that, and Di Vaio is also holding a reasonable place in the league MVP sweepstakes; that thing remains up for grabs with two rounds remaining, so one big performance from Di Vaio, Magee, Robbie Keane or even a couple of late-comers could prove highly influential to the voters.

So good news arrived on Tuesday when the Impact exercised the option on Di Vaio, the club’s first Designated Player when he signed originally to play at Stade Saputo late in the spring of 2012.

Here is what Di Vaio said a month ago, beginning with “Maybe,” as reporters asked about possible retirement plans. “…because it hasn’t been easy for me,” he said. “I decided to come here with my family, and my family’s not in Montreal anymore. It changes things a lot. Of course, if my family were here with me right now, I’d keep going one more year.”

Although he had been rumored to return to Bologna at some point, this increases the chances that Di Vaio will cap a fine career – one that included stops at Parma, Juventus, Valencia, Monaco and Genoa – in Major League Soccer.

Another American heads to Schalke: Zyen Jones

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Schalkamerica?

Bundesliga mainstays Schalke have added yet another American, this one 17-year-old Zyen Jones of Atlanta United. Jones is a forward with the U.S. U-17 national team.

Like Josh Sargent, who signed his deal with Werder Bremen on Tuesday, he’ll head overseas and sign a pro contract on Aug. 25, his 18th birthday.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

Jones will join several potential USMNT teammates in Gelsenkirchen, including injured senior team midfielder Weston McKennie and youngster Nick Taitague (19). Forward Haji Wright is on loan at Sandhausen.

Report: Simon Dawkins making move to Minnesota

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The Loons are taking a flier on Simon Dawkins.

The London-born Jamaican international hasn’t done a ton since returning to MLS from Derby County, and turned 30 over the offseason, and Paul Tenorio says the player is on his way to Minnesota United.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

Dawkins scored 14 goals between 2011-12 with San Jose, but scored just five times in his return to California and was blanked in 14 appearances last season. He registered just 10 shots in those matches.

The left winger would join an attack with Christian Ramirez, Kevin Molino, Ethan Finlay, and a pair of Generations Adidas forwards: Abu Danladi (2017 SuperDraft) and Mason Toye (2018).

Champions League Weds. preview: Sevilla-Man Utd, Shakhtar-Roma

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Jose Mourinho says Manchester United is one round away from having legitimate hopes of winning the UEFA Champions League.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

That makes the Round of 16 tie against Sevilla — beginning Wednesday in Spain — a bit of a dream qualifier for the Red Devils.

“I normally say that Champions League dreams start around the quarter-finals and not yet in the last 16,” Mourinho said on ManUtd.com. “Last 16 still looks a long way to go. When a team reaches the quarter-finals, I think it’s the moment where even the teams that are not favourites – which is our case – they start realising that anything is possible.

The injury-hit side got a bit of a boost on Tuesday in Sevilla, where Paul Pogba, Antonio Valencia, Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera all trained ahead of the first leg.

As for the hosts, manager Vincenzo Montella admitted that he hopes Pogba won’t play, and joked that he’d prefer to tie up and “padlock” Alexis Sanchez in a bid to defend against the Chilean star.

The final Round of 16 tie to start will be Roma’s pairing with Shakhtar Donetsk, with the first leg taking place in Ukraine.

Shakhtar hasn’t played in some time, but the great equalizer is the bitter cold at Donbass Arena, where the temperature is set to be between 21 and 28 degrees Fahrenheit come kickoff.

Don’t worry, Roma fans, Daniele De Rossi is busy breathing fire into any teammates angling for excuses:

“The cold weather could affect things a little because we’re not used to it but at the end of the day it comes down to how well you perform out there. We must be mentally ready from the get-go because the cold might hit us in the opening minutes.

“If it was that much of a factor, these teams would win the Champions League every year. You don’t go through because of the weather.”

Villarreal opens probe into Semedo’s reported arrest

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MADRID (AP) Spanish club Villarreal says it is investigating the actions of defender Ruben Semedo after reports that he was arrested for a violent incident.

The club said it is “highly concerned” about the issue and “will take the appropriate disciplinary actions with utmost rigor based on the seriousness of the events.”

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

The statement was released after Spanish media reported that the Portuguese player was taken into custody early Tuesday for allegedly being involved in a hostile confrontation with another man last week.

Police did not immediately confirm Semedo’s arrest.