Adriano Galliani out, Paolo Maldini possibly in at AC Milan

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The saga that is AC Milan’s front office took a surprise, dramatic turn today with the abrupt resignation of Adriano Galliani. The Rossoneri vice president had been at the club for 27 years, a span that’s seen the club win eight league titles and five European Cups, yet set to take the blame for the team’s disappointing Serie A start, Galliani will end his time at Milan on the wrong side of the club’s political turmoil.

That turmoil had pitted critics of head coach Massimiliano Allegri against Barbara Berluconi, daughter of club owner Silvio Berluconi. With her father in legal trouble, Barbara has reportedly stepped into the political void at the club, targeting her criticism at Galliani. With Milan sitting 13th through 13 rounds, the 69-year-old appears to have taken the fall.

From Sky Sports’ report:

“I will resign after the (Champions League) match against Ajax,” Galliani told Ana news agency. “I quit for good reason.

“I understand a generational change but it should not be like that, I deserved more elegance. There has been a severe damage to my image.

“I will resign with or without agreement (on the severance pay).

“My future? I’ll wait some time before deciding. My affection for president Berlusconi is not changed and it won’t change.”

If Galliani’s timeline holds up, Dec. 11 will be his final day with the club.

In his place, the Rossoneri appear set to welcome an exiled legend back to the club. Paolo Maldini, who has not been a part of the club since his retirement in 2009, is set to take up a role in management, reportedly to be named technical director and inherit some of the responsibilities Galliani will leave behind. Whereas the former vice president initially declined to create a position for Maldini (saying the role proposed after his retirement did not exist), the 45-year-old may get to take Galliani’s nameplate off the door.

Maldini’s is a name synonymous with the club, having spent the entirety of his 24-year career at the team. By the time he retired at the age of 41, the 126-time Italian international had won five European cups, seven scudetti, and three world club titles. He holds the record for most appearances in Serie A (647), Champions League (168), and for AC Milan (902). A long-time captain for both club and country, his absence from Milan has been a point of persistent conversation around the club.

Now, at Galliani’s expense, he returns, the legendary defender the beneficiary of  a political battle that finally seems resolved. Whether that will translate into better results remains to be seen, but with one chapter of the club’s boardroom drama closed, a little more attention can be focused on the field.

2-year doping ban upheld for Finland, CSKA Moscow player

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) The Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld a two-year ban for CSKA Moscow midfielder Roman Eremenko for a positive test for cocaine.

[ MORE: Morata signs five-year contract at Chelsea ]

CAS says the ban imposed by UEFA was “appropriate” and dismissed the Finland international’s appeal.

[ MORE: Vertonghen says Spurs need to “level up” like rest of PL contenders ]

The ban will expire on Oct. 5, 2018, when Eremenko will be 31.

Eremenko tested positive after playing in a Champions League game for CSKA Moscow against Bayer Leverkusen last September. The 2-2 result was not affected despite Eremenko scoring CSKA’s second goal.

Born in Moscow, Eremenko grew up in Finland and has represented its national team 73 times.

Webb says De Jong would have been sent off with video review

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NEW YORK (AP) Howard Webb says he would have given Dutch midfielder Nigel De Jong a red card in the 2010 World Cup final if a video assistant referee had been in place.

The retired English referee showed De Jong a yellow card in the 28th minute for his karate kick into the chest of Spain’s Xabi Alonso. Hired in March to oversee video technology for professional soccer in the U.S. and Canada, Webb held a media seminar Friday ahead of its Aug. 5 launch in Major League Soccer.

Webb says: “Yes, it was a clear red card. It was a clear and obvious error on my part not to send the player off, and VAR would have been able to recommend a review to me, and I would have been able to make the right call.”

Now 46, Webb was a Premier League referee from 2003-14. He worked the Champions League and World Cup finals in 2010, became director of referees at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, and started in March as manager of video assistant referee operations for the Professional Referee Organization.

MLS Snapshot: Orlando City 0-1 Atlanta United (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Friday night’s effort at Orlando City Stadium wasn’t the prettiest for either side but Atlanta United will gladly take three points from the fixture as the Central Florida venue proved to be a fortress once more. The Lions were far superior in their attacking threats throughout the match, testing USMNT and Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan on multiple occasions. However, it was Hector Villalba that proved to be the difference when he blasted a long-distance effort to beat Joe Bendik in the 86th minute. Atlanta extends its unbeaten streak to four matches with Friday’s decision, keeping Tata Martino’s side in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, while Orlando City moves into fifth.

Three moments that mattered

36′ — Guzan stands tall, denies Rivas — Carlos Rivas thought he scorched this one (and he did…), but Brad Guzan acted like it was nothing as he held his ground to make the stop.

39′ — Spector gets ripped off by Guzan — The U.S. goalkeeper is at it again… What a save!

86′ — Villalba unleashes stunner to propel Atlanta — Sometimes it just takes one good hit as a striker.

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Man of the match: Brad Guzan

Goalscorers: Hector Villalba (86′)

Report: Man City adding Mendy to continue backline restoration

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Fresh off of completing a record deal to help bolster the club’s back line this summer, Manchester City is back at it with the Premier League season looming.

[ MORE: Alvaro Morata signs five-year contract at Chelsea ]

The Citizens are reportedly on the brink of signing Monaco left back Benjamin Mendy to yet another world-record fee — which will total over $67 million.

Confirmation of the deal has yet to be announced by either team, but L’Equipe is reporting that the Citizens are hot on the 23-year-old’s trail in adding to their pricy back four.

Manager Pep Guardiola and Man City have not been shy readjusting their defensive unit over the past year, adding expensive first-team choices John Stones and Kyle Walker.