Roma downs Napoli as scorching hot start continues

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Who put Michael Jordan’s secret stuff in the Rome city pipelines?

Whatever the boost happens to be, they’re on an absolute tear at Stadio Olimpico.

Roma defeated second-place Napoli 2-0 today in the capital as Miralem Pjanic’s fabulous double provided all the offense for the Giallorossi.

The 23-year-old Bosnian midfielder converted a luscious free kick on the stroke of halftime to give his side the lead just before the break, and then blasted home a penalty in the 71st minute after Napoli’s Paolo Cannavaro was sent off for receiving his second yellow card.

Daniele De Rossi also acrobatically cleared a would-be Goran Pandev goal off the line after former Azzurri goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis got only half a touch on the 35th minute shot.   That, combined with a trio of bar-clattering shots left Napoli frustrated with their lack of luck.

At 8-0-0, this is officially the point in the season where it becomes more than just a hot start, and raised eyebrows change to thoughts of a season for the history books.  The only other team to start a Serie A season perfect through eight matches is Juventus, who have done it three times – the last being the infamous 2005/06 season.

Napoli themselves have had a wonderful start to their year, and for Roma to brush them aside in this manner says a lot about the quality of the squad.  The loss is the first Serie A defeat of Rafa Benitez’s tenure at Napoli.

The match also provided good news for USMNT star Michael Bradley as well, having been named to the bench as he looks to return from his ankle injury.

Football leaks: French police raid PSG HQ, 3 players’ homes

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PARIS (AP) A French official says police investigating suspected tax fraud linked to the soccer industry have raided the headquarters of Paris Saint-Germain and the homes of three Argentine players in France.

The official said anti-corruption police units searched the homes of PSG players Angel Di Maria and Javier Pastore, and that of Nantes forward Emiliano Sala on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Real Madrid signs $50m teen ]

Police also raided the head offices of PSG at Parc des Princes and other offices in Boulogne-Billancourt, outside the French capital, the official said.

The official, familiar with the case, declined to be identified because the investigation is ongoing.

The national financial prosecutor’s office opened an investigation in December after so-called “football leaks” reports allegedly detailed tax arrangements by top players, coaches and clubs.

Real Madrid signs most expensive Brazilian since Neymar

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Real Madrid didn’t wait long after learning Vinicius Junior was healthy.

The 16-year-old Flamengo star is committed to the Bernabeu after passing a physical, and Real Madrid announced Tuesday that they’ll have their new player no later than July 2019.

The reported fee is $50 million, which would be the most money spent on a Brazilian player since Barcelona landed Neymar for about $64 million in 2013.

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The forward has made two appearances for Flamengo, and turns 17 on July 12. He has 19 goals in 22 appearances for Brazil’s U-17 side.

Here’s Real’s announcement:

Real Madrid C. F. and Clube de Regatas do Flamengo have reached an agreement regarding the transfer of the federative rights of the player Vinicius Junior from July 2018. The player will remain at his current club until July 2019, although he will be able to play for Real Madrid before then if both clubs agree to it.

VOTE: 2016-17 Premier League Goal of the Season

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Okay, so you have 1064 to choose from, so choose wisely…

[ MORE: Full 2016-17 PL season reviews

The 2016-17 Premier League season is over but you can vote for your favorite goal of the campaign up until June 1.

Simply click on the video above to watch the contenders compiled by Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, and then you can vote by clicking here.

Enjoy!

Ex-Barcelona president Rosell held in money laundering probe

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MADRID (AP) Spanish authorities say former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell and his wife have been detained in a probe over his businesses in Brazil.

[ MORE: Full 2016-17 season reviews

The detentions early Tuesday are part of a money laundering investigation related to buying television rights for past matches of Brazil’s national team.

Three other people have been detained, but their identities were not immediately released by authorities.

Police raided offices, homes, and businesses in Barcelona and other locations in Spain as part of “Operation Rimet,” in reference to former FIFA President Jules Rimet.

Authorities said the operation used information from the FBI following the U.S. case against high-level FIFA officials in 2015.

Rosell is already standing trial for fraud and corruption charges involving the 2013 transfer of Brazilian striker Neymar.