AS Roma v Calcio Catania  - Serie A

Michael Bradley’s deal with Toronto is complete, says Italian agent Alberto Faccini


In a fast moving story, more news has arrived as Michael Bradley’s impeding transfer to Toronto FC is edging ever closer.

Bradley, who was named in Roma’s initial squad for their Coppa Italia quarterfinal with Sampdoria on Thursday but then pulled out, has apparently agreed personal terms with Toronto and is just waiting for the two teams to iron out the transfer fee.

It has also been revealed that several other Serie A clubs, plus teams in England and elsewhere in Europe, had wanted to buy the 26-year-old midfielder but Bradley has a burning desire to “help the growth of American soccer.”

(MORE: Michael Bradley included in AS Roma squad for cup tie vs. Sampdoria… has he pulled out?)

This is all coming from an Italian based agent, Alberto Faccini, who spoke to Italian radio earlier today. Here are the highlights of what Faccini had to say:

“Things have worked out well,” the American’s representative told Radio Radio. “Michael made this choice and closed the deal with Toronto in just two days. There is a very important project there for him at Toronto, who have made an investment that is one of the most expensive in recent years.

“For Michael this was a difficult step to take but the choice was dictated by some market movements. Without waiting for January 31, he chose to follow this path also to help the growth of American soccer. There were many offers for him, also in Serie A, from clubs like Verona and Bologna. But Micheal chose to return in the States after 10 years in Europe. It was a tough decision, but one made with the heart. Roma wanted him to stay but it was his choice to move to Toronto.”

Done and dusted? Not quite yet, but it seems as though a few formalities of crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s is all it will take before Michael Bradley is seen wearing the red jersey of Toronto FC and playing back in MLS where it all began.

We will have more reaction, news and analysis at ProSoccerTalk, on this monumental transfer for Toronto and Major League Soccer.

Statement from suspended UEFA president Michel Platini

Michel Platini, UEFA & FIFA
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Statement from suspended UEFA President Michel Platini:

Early this afternoon, I was informed of the FIFA ethics committee’s decision to impose on me a provisional 90-day suspension with immediate effect. That decision, which I will of course contest in the appropriate manner at the appropriate time, had already been the subject of a deliberate leak, and I gave my opinion on that earlier in the day.

I reject all of the allegations that have been made against me, which are based on mere semblances and are astonishingly vague. Indeed, the wording of those allegations merely states that a breach of the FIFA Code of Ethics “seems to have been committed” and that a decision on the substance of the matter cannot be taken immediately.

Despite the farcical nature of these events, I refuse to believe that this is a political decision taken in haste in order to taint a lifelong devotee of the game or crush my candidacy for the FIFA presidency.

I want everyone to know my state of mind: more than a sense of injustice or a desire for revenge, I am driven by a profound feeling of staunch defiance. I am more determined than ever to defend myself before the relevant judicial bodies.

I want to reiterate in the strongest possible terms that I will devote myself to ensuring that my good faith prevails. I have received numerous messages of support today from UEFA’s member associations and the other confederations encouraging me to continue my work serving football’s interests. Nothing will make me give up on that commitment.

EURO 2016: Ireland shock Germany, Northern Ireland qualify

Shane Long, Ireland
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A recap of Thursday’s action in 2016 European Championship qualifying:

Ireland 1-0 Germany

Southampton striker Shane Long scored the goal that knocked off the defending world champions and pushed Ireland one step closer to next summer’s European Championship in France. Long, who entered the game in the 65th minute, latched onto Darren Randolph‘s ball over the top in the 70th minute, took one touch to settle and fired for the far post, beating Manuel Neuer for the game’s only goal.

With one game still to play, Ireland (18 points) sit third in Group D, level on points with Sunday’s opponent Poland. While the winner of Sunday’s clash could leapfrog Germany (19), they will more likely finish second in the group and qualify automatically. A draw on Sunday could still see both sides qualify automatically through the ranking of third-place finishers (the top third-place finishers from group play earns an automatic berth at EURO 2016).

Northern Ireland 3-1 Greece

Norther Ireland (20 points) topped Greece (3), 3-1 on Thursday to officially book their place at EURO 2016. Steven Davis scored twice and Josh Magennis added the third for Michael O’Neill’s side.

With one game still to play (Sunday, at Finland), Northern Ireland can finish no lower than second. A draw against Finland, or any points dropped by Romania (17) would see Northern Ireland finish top of Group F.

Portugal 1-0 Denmark

Joao Moutinho scored the only goal of the game to secure Portugal’s (18 points from just seven games) place at next summer’s tournament. The defeat sees Denmark remain second in Group I, a point ahead of third-place Albania, who lost to Serbia on Thursday. Having played all eight of their group games, Denmark can go no higher than 12 points, meaning they would fail to qualify if Albania beat Armenia on Sunday. A draw between Albania and Armenia would see Denmark qualify based on tiebreakers.

Elsewhere in EURO 2016 qualifying action

Group D

Scotland 2-2 Poland
Georgia 4-0 Gibraltar

Group F

Hungary 2-1 Faroe Islands
Romania 1-1 Finland

Group I

Albania 0-2 Serbia