Brandan Barkladge, Ramiro Corrales

San Jose stalwart Ramiro Corrales set to retire from Major League Soccer

1 Comment

The last man standing from Major League Soccer’s inaugural campaign will retire at the end of the season, with San Jose’s Ramiro Corrales finally set to call it a career. The club made the news official this morning, announcing the 36-year-old’s ready to end a professional career that started in 1996.

Should the sixth place Earthquakes fail to jump into the West’s top five and secure a playoff spot, Corrales’s 18-season professional career will end Oct. 26 at Buck Shaw when San Jose hosts FC Dallas.

“It’s been an honor playing much of my career here in San Jose,” Corrales said, via a release distributed by San Jose. “I have a lot of great memories, from that first season in 1996 to the MLS Cups in 2001 and 2003 to the expansion season in 2008. It’s been a great ride and I’d like to thank everybody – fans, players, coaches – for their support along the way.”

Along that way, Corrales appeared in 15 Major League Soccer seasons, a run put on pause by a three-year stint in Norway from 2005-2007.  After returning to San Jose, the defender/midfielder ran his MLS career totals to 306 games played, 24,537 minutes, 16 goals and assists. Along the way, he won two league titles (2001, 2003), was part of a Supporters’ Shield winner in 2012, and won a Norweigan title with SK Brann in 2007.

“Ramiro was a phenomenal player and one of the best this club has ever had,” according to Earthquakes general manager John Doyle. “I think it was great to be able to play with Ramiro and see him mature from a 19-year-old kid to a grown man. His contributions over the years have meant a lot to this organization.”

That contribution will live on in the team’s record books. He is the San Jose’s all-time leader in games played (249), starts (227) and minutes (20,117). Combined with three seasons split between the Miami Fusion and MetroStars (1998-2000), Corrales’s career appearance total ranks 17th in league history.

While he was a significant contributor to San Jose’s 2012 success (recording seven assists in 22 games), Corrales has only made 11 appearances this season. In that sense, perhaps it was time for him to go. After all, San Jose’s depth chart won’t be thinning out any time soon.

Still, even at 36, Corrales had something left to give. If he’d stayed on for another season, we would have been able to contribute in some capacity. When healthy, he was still capable of doing a job.

But with today’s announcement, Corrales exercised the right few players get, one earned through 18 seasons of work. He gets to walk away of his own volition.

Bayern’s Vidal says “ugly” Atletico not deserved UCL finalists

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 27: Juanfran of Atletico Madrid and Arturo Vidal of Bayern Munich argue during the UEFA Champions League semi final first leg match between Club Atletico de Madrid and FC Bayern Muenchen at Vincente Calderon on April 27, 2016 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal has declared “ugly” Atletico Madrid unworthy finalists in the UEFA Champions League.

Bayern was eliminated in the Champions League semifinal by Atleti on Tuesday, with Diego Simeone’s Spanish side advancing on away goals.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s UCL coverage ]

However, Vidal believed Bayern were the better team in the second leg, saying Atletico played “ugly football” to get through.

Today ugly football – Atletico – played against the best football in the world. The only time they saw the ball was for the goal.

They are going to be dreaming about us right up to the final. They did not have the ball, they took on the best team in the world, they took their chances and got to the final.

The best does not always win in football, like today. They are not deserved finalists.

Bayern Munich controlled more than 70-percent of possession and had 33 shots compared to Atletico’s nine, but those stats mean little as Antoine Griezmann’s away goal was enough to send Atleti to the final.

[ MORE: Former England striker Joe Cole headed to NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies ]

Atletico may not play the most attractive football, but after eliminating Barcelona and Bayern Munich in consecutive legs, it’s hard to argue anyone deserves this more than Simeone’s men.

Europa League preview: Liverpool, Shakhtar look to overcome Spanish foes

VILLARREAL, SPAIN - APRIL 28:  Cedric Bakambu of Villarreal is watched by the Liverpool defence during the UEFA Europa League semi final first leg match between Villarreal CF and Liverpool at Estadio El Madrigal on April 28, 2016 in Villarreal, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

The second leg of the Europa League semifinals kick off tomorrow, with two La Liga sides looking to make it an all-Spanish final.

[ MORE: Premier League Playback ]

Villarreal holds a 1-0 lead over Liverpool, while Sevilla scored two away goals in their 2-2 draw at Shakhtar Donetsk.

Liverpool vs. Villarreal – 3:05 p.m. ET
Villarreal won first leg 1-0

Adrian Lopez’s late winner in the first leg has given Villarreal a slight lead, while the Spanish side did well not to concede an away goal. However, Liverpool have overcome deficits at Anfield before, including their memorable 4-3 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the quarterfinals. Emre Can is back fit for the Reds, as manager Jurgen Klopp will hope his fellow German can help the team to a cup final in his first year in charge.

[ RELATED: Liverpool preparing for another big Thursday night at Anfield ]

Sevilla vs. Shakhtar Donetsk – 3:05 p.m. ET
First leg ended 2-2 draw 

Sevilla are looking to become the first team to win three consecutive Europa League titles as the two-time defending champions face off against Shakhtar Donetsk. Sevilla are in the driver’s seat after scoring two away goals in Ukraine, and will feel confident of advancing to the final with a great home record at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.

Men in Blazers podcast: Celebrating Leicester’s title with Arlo White

meninblazers
Leave a comment

In the latest Men in Blazers podcast, Rog and Davo celebrate Leicester City’s improbable Premier League title with Leicester’s own Arlo White.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

Subscribe to the podcast OR to update your iTunes subscriptions ]

Click here for the RSS feed ]

European police say Russian mafia infiltrating soccer clubs

LISBON, PORTUGAL - NOVEMBER 04:  Sporting Lisbon fans celebrate after their team score a goal during the Portuguese Liga match between Sporting Lisbon and Uniao Leiria at the Alvalade XXI Stadium on November 4, 2005 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

LISBON, Portugal (AP) Portuguese and European police say they have broken up a cell of an important Russian mafia group that allegedly laundered money through European football clubs.

Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, said in a statement Wednesday the group identified EU football clubs in financial distress and infiltrated them with benefactors who brought much-needed cash.

[ MORE: Man City bounced from UCL ]

Once they were in control, the mobsters allegedly laundered millions of euros (dollars) through player transfers, TV rights deals and betting.

Portuguese and European police on Tuesday raided third-division Portuguese club Uniao de Leiria and arrested three key members of the Russian gang. Three other Portuguese clubs’ premises were searched.

Europol said the operation helped identify serious crimes in Austria, Germany, and the United Kingdom, though it gave no details.