Can Aguero and Messi fire Argentina to victory in Brazil?

Lionel Messi begs Barcelona to sign Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero


For a long time now, rumors swirling about Lionel Messi’s influence on FC Barcelona’s decision making at all levels suggest the tiny Argentine star is not just running the show on the pitch at the Camp Nou.

This report is another example of his power at Barca.

Last year Barcelona were very interested to sign Sergio Aguero from Man City as Messi persuaded the Catalan club to try and sign up his good friend and strike partner for Argentina.

Sources close to 25-year-old Aguero say he misses Spain and believes his style would fit in superbly at Barcelona. It’s hard to argue with the latter point, as his tremendous predatory strike rate and sensational movement would surely see him finish off plenty of Barca’s beautifully flowing moves.

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Will Man City let Aguero join his good mate Messi at Barcelona?

Messi and Aguero are a match made in heaven. They proved that at the 2008 Olympics as Argentina won the Gold medal and the duo tore it up. Messi’s mazy dribbles and Aguero’s sharp, quick runs behind defenses make it a nightmare for opponents to defend them. After an injury hit campaign in 2012-13, this season Aguero has been firing on all cylinders for City after scoring 14 goals in 13 games.

But will the Citizens really allow their best player to move on to a UEFA Champions League rival? I find it hard to believe.

City have won the Premier League — with Aguero grabbing that memorable last-gasp winner on the final day of the 2011-12 season to hand them the title — and are now hell-bent on lifting the UCL title with Manuel Pellegrini in charge. Aguero is their main threat and there’s no reason why City would ever contemplate getting rid of the pint-sized striker. The Abu Dhabi based owners of the club do not need money, so surely this is the end of this particularly rumors?

I doubt it.

With Messi’s influence over the hierarchy at Barcelona and the chance for the four-time World Player of the Year to link up with a player he admires and loves playing alongside, don’t be surprised to see FCB pull out all the stops to land Aguero. If Messi wants it to happen, Barca will try and appease their star man.

VIDEO: Premier League Player of the Week – Matchday 9

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There was some eye-popping moments in the Premier League this weekend, yet still very little debate who shone brightest.

Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri scored a pair of Goal of the Month competitors in the same day in the Potters’ 2-0 win at Hull City on Monday.

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The first was a curling wonder from distance, while the second came from a bit closer as the big-calfed Swiss attacker bamboozled the Hull wall and goalkeeper.

The Potters are up to 16th in the Premier League table with nine points.

Finnish fans celebrate surprise title for IFK Mariehamn

IFK Mariehamm
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HELSINKI (AP) Fans of IFK Mariehamn have gathered in the main square of the remote Finnish town to celebrate their team’s surprise league title.

“I feel very proud,” the club’s managing director, Peter Mattsson, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on Monday, adding that “thousands” were expected to turn up for the party.

Watched by more than 4,000, Mariehamn clinched the Finnish title on Sunday with a 2-1 home victory over Ilves, from the industrial city of Tampere.

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Mariehamn held off 11 other teams, including the traditionally strong Helsinki club, HJK, and defending champion SJK from western Finland. It ended three points clear of second-placed HJK for its first league title.

Local media dubbed the team “Leicester” after the surprise English Premier League champions last season.

Mariehamn, which has a population of 11,500, is the capital of the Aland islands off the southwestern Finnish coast

Kroenke: “Very high” on Wenger who is “very hard” to replace

Jeff Fisher
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LONDON — Arsenal remains “very high” on Arsene Wenger and it will be “very hard” replacing the manager who is in the final year of his contract, owner Stan Kroenke told The Associated Press on Monday.

Wenger this month celebrated 20 years in charge of Arsenal and has offered no indication whether he wants to sign a new deal into next season.

The 67-year-old Frenchman became the Premier League’s longest serving manager when Alex Ferguson retired from Manchester United in 2013. United is now on its third manager in three years and has not competed for the Premier League title since Ferguson’s departure.

In a rare interview about Arsenal, Kroenke noted the tricky post-Ferguson succession at United while discussing the challenge of eventually replacing Wenger.

“You see it (at United), you bring up a comment like that,” Kroenke told the AP after Arsenal’s annual general meeting. “It’s very hard. He’s a great manager.”

Wenger signed his last three-year contract extension in 2014.

“We will sit down and discuss the future at the appropriate time,” Arsenal chairman Chips Keswick told shareholders at a meeting where Wenger didn’t address his contract situation in his speech.

Although Wenger has won the Premier League three times, the last success came in 2004 – a drought which frustrates fans.

“He’s been a wonderful influence on the club,” Kroenke said. “We are all very high on Arsene. We are (joint) top of the table right now.”

Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool are only separated on goal difference at the summit. Despite Wenger only winning the FA Cup twice since 2004, the team is in the lucrative Champions League for the 19th successive year thanks to its runner-up finish last season. Wenger is yet to win European football’s top prize.

“I know a number of (sports team) owners that are very successful that say the same thing – the hardest thing to do is be consistently competitive at the top of the league,” said Kroenke, who also owns the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams. “Arsene has always done that and Arsenal has always been in that position. We have always been competitive.

“We may not always win the things we want to win. We are very focused on winning for sure the league. Arsene’s been consistently at the top and I will tell you – it’s very, very hard to do if you look around sports.”


2016 MLS Cup playoffs bracket in full

TORONTO, ON - MAY 07:  Michael Bradley #4 and Jozy Altidore #17 of Toronto FC celebrate a goal by teammate Tsubasa Endoh #9 during the first half of an MLS soccer game against FC Dallas at BMO Field on May 7, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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With Major League Soccer’s Decision Day 2016 in the books, we now know who will battle it out for MLS Cup.

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Up first on Wednesday and Thursday are the four knockout round games, then the Conference semifinal first legs kick off this weekend.

We get into it thick and fast.

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The PST crew already selected their picks for the postseason and filled out their bracket. You can see that by clicking on the link above. FWIW, I have Toronto FC beating the Seattle Sounders in MLS Cup…

[ MORE: Ranking MLS playoff teams ]

Below is the MLS playoff bracket in full so you can make your picks and let us know who you went for in the comments section below.


MLS Playoff bracket, 2016

MLS Playoff bracket, 2016