Cristiano Ronaldo helps hugging pitch invader out of legal predicament

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Remember the guy who ran onto the pitch and hugged Cristiano Ronaldo during the second half of the International Champions Cup match between Real Madrid and Chelsea?

Following that incident he was promptly arrested and looked to be in hot water after being charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing.

Until Ronaldo himself intervened.

Upon hearing of 20-year-old Ronald Gjoka’s legal predicament, the Portuguese star penned a letter to the Miami prosecutor asking that the charges be dropped.

Much to the delight of Gjoka, the assistant district attorney agreed.

“We are happy to announce the prosecutor today dropped the charges against our client in open court,” said Gjoka’s lawyer Richard Hujber. “In particular, we thank Cristiano Ronaldo for all his assistance and consideration in this important matter involving a young college student with an extremely bright future.”

The incident came about on August 7th when Gjoka, wearing a Ronaldo shirt, sprinted onto the field and dropped into the traditional knee slide of his hero. Gjoka then rose and embraced Ronaldo, who calmly hugged the student and even chatted with him briefly, much to the delight of the 70,000 fans in attendance. Gjoka was then escorted off the field by security and arrested.

Let off for his misdeeds, Gjoka now hopes to thank the star personally. “My dream now is just to see him again to say thanks,” he said.

No surprise there. But what is surprising is how Ronaldo handled the whole situation. Perhaps he took note of Gjoka’s jersey and respected the knee-slide imitation but in this world of violent pitch invaders, it’s still impressive how calm he remained, not to mention that he took the time to speak to the kid.

It was a small but nevertheless telling moment about Ronaldo, who so many discard as being pretentious and callous.

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.