United States, Scotland play out a 0-0 draw in Glasgow

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A snoozer of a first half improved slightly after the half Friday in Scotland, but the United States and its European hosts still played out a scoreless draw in a friendly at Glasgow’s famed Hampden Park.

It was just the fourth scoreless draw for the World Cup-bound Americans in 26 months under manager Jurgen Klinsmann, and the team’s first since playing Mexico to a valuable 0-0 draw at Azteca Stadium in March.

Young U.S. forward Aron Johannsson (pictured), who came off the bench, had a couple of chances late for Klinsmann’s team, and Jozy Altidore got had a couple of near misses, too, as the visitors were the more dangerous team after the break.

Tim Howard was tested just once at the other end; the longtime United States No. 1 saved impressively on a well-placed Robert Snodgrass 53rd-minute free kick.

This was the first of two friendlies in Europe connected to this November FIFA fixture window; the United States travels east into Austria for a friendly Tuesday in Vienna. Neither Scotland nor Austria qualified of the World Cup, whereas the United States just advanced into its 7th consecutive finals tournament.

Scotland had more of the ball and most of the half-chances, which is about all either team could muster in an uneventful and slightly ragged opening period. Craig Conway scruffed his team’s best chance of the first half, shooting harmlessly wide after some good arrangement work from Steven Fletcher and Snodgrass.

At the other end, Sacha Kljestan arranged something for Altidore to create the best U.S. chance before intermission, but the luckless-of-late Sunderland man went well high from 17 yards with his side-winding volley.

The lack of punch in the U.S. attack probably wasn’t suprising considering the chief U.S. playmakers in the final third, Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan, were out due to injury. So Kljestan had the keys to the offense, assigned to the role Dempsey or Donovan would typically occupy. Playing just ahead of Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley in Klinsmann’s preferred version of a 4-3-3, came out after 60 minutes having held his own, although no one would call it a game-changing performance.

Second half introductions of Brek Shea, Mix Diskerud and Johannsson put a little more pop in the U.S. attack; Klinsmann’s team had gained just 43 percent of possession prior to intermission.

Bradley was back into the U.S. lineup, as the linchpin midfielder – truly, the most important man to next year’s World Cup endeavor – got on the field for the first time since his freak injury just before a September World Cup qualifier.

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.

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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.