Luis Suarez does Liverpool proud amidst badgering by Spanish media

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A mere three days after the Premier League season concluded and Liverpool striker Luis Suarez is already fighting off questions of a release clause.

In Barcelona for a sponsor’s event through 888 Poker, Suarez was bombarded by questions about his future and in particular, potential links to Barcelona and Real Madrid.

To the delight of Kopites everywhere, the Uruguayan deflected each probe with the skill and guile that saw him score 31 goals this past season. The Guardian’s Sid Lowe relays the drill down:

Q: ‘Any chance of a move to Spain?’

A: “My head now is focused on the World Cup. I had a very good season with Liverpool but now I am focused on the World Cup. Everyone knows that there is always too much media speculation.”

Q: ‘Is there a contractual clause that allows you to leave Liverpool for Madrid or Barcelona?’

A: “No, no, not as far as I am aware. There is no clause that suggests a priority for a specific team.”

Q: ‘Would you like to play with Neymar and Messi?’

A: “Everyone knows they are great players.”

Q: ‘Do Barcelona need a No9 and could you fit in their system?’

A: “I’m not the coach. They know what they need. I have a contract with Liverpool.”

Q: ‘What do you do when you see reports about you moving?’

A: “I turn the page. . . you know what the press is like, how they speculate, and you try to not take any notice. I know what I want. My agent tells me what’s there and what’s not. It’s more speculation than reality.”

Q: ‘What do the words “Real Madrid” mean to you?’

A: “Real Madrid? The only thing I think is Cristiano Ronaldo and that he doesn’t score. He’s one of the best in the world with Messi. I kill myself to score goals; they do it so easily. If he scores, it’ll be a pity.”

Q: How did you feel after the Crystal Palace game?’

A: “I was so angry on the inside. A week before we had real hopes of winning the league and after the Palace game, we knew that it had gone. We had lost the chance. I felt frustration and rage at the fact that the opportunity had been lost. I covered my face because I was so hurt and frustrated. I preferred people not to see me.”

Q: ‘How would you classify the season?’

A: “In the end it was a pity: we had the opportunity but didn’t take it. But if you look at the previous years, at what Liverpool had done before and at what we did this season, it was a magnificent season.”

Bottom line, Suarez seems to be in a good place with Liverpool. And rightfully so. The club backed him through thick and thin last summer, even when he appeared to have his head turned by the transfer bid of Arsenal. Now, he seems relaxed and content in his role as the lead striker at a club with high aspirations that is bound for the Champions League.

 

Messi could face CONMEBOL suspension for verbal abusing official

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Already facing some uncertainty with a depleted roster, Argentina could face a significantly greater challenge.

[ MORE: Aguero left out of Argentina starting XI vs. Bolivia ]

Barcelona star Lionel Messi could face suspension after reportedly verbally abusing linesman Marcelo Van Gasse during the second half of Thursday’s 1-0 win over Chile.

Messi was reported to CONMEBOL for yelling, “F*** off, your mother’s c***” at Van Gasse and refused to shake the official’s hand at the end of the match.

The officiating crew from the match didn’t initially include Messi’s rant in the post-match report, however, it was added on Monday and submitted to CONMEBOL.

The South American federation must now decide if and when it will punish Messi for his reported actions, and there is the potential that the world-class attacker could be suspended for Tuesday’s clash against Bolivia if the federation acts quickly.

There are several other scenarios though for CONMEBOL to action, including disregarding Messi’s verbal assault.

La Albiceleste currently sit third in World Cup qualifying on 22 points.

Arena speaks about USMNT turnaround, says “no secret formulas”

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It’s only been one competitive match since Bruce Arena regained control of the U.S. Men’s National Team and there’s already been a noticeable difference in form.

[ MORE: Three keys for the USMNT ahead of Panama clash ]

The former LA Galaxy manager wouldn’t have you believe that though following Friday night’s convincing 6-0 victory over Honduras in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

“It’s nothing I can write a book on,” Arena said about his team’s turnaround in form against Honduras. “You have a sense of your group, and you go about doing your business. There’s no secret formulas to this stuff. Work together, take ownership in what you’re doing, treat them like responsible professional athletes, and you get on with your business.

He added, “They want to be successful. They want to play in a World Cup. Is that a recipe for success? I don’t know. I’m sure Honduras wants to play in a World Cup too.”

Arena, who took over for Jurgen Klinsmann following the U.S.’ collapse during the first two matches of the Hexagonal, is unbeaten in his first three games in charge since getting his job back with the Stars and Stripes.

Although there has been a considerable turnaround in the way the USMNT has performed in the first three matches of 2017, Arena wouldn’t stoop to comparing his style to that of Klinsmann.

“I’m not doing anything differently,” he said. “I’m not taking a survey [of the players]. I know it’s different. We lose tomorrow, there will be articles written that, ‘This a—— is letting these guys run loose.'”

“I have spent no time on the past. There’s nothing I can do about it. I kind of have a sense about things, but there’s no point in me spending time investigating what went on in the past. The idea was to get it going the right way from the start.”

Arena’s next test with the U.S. will be on Tuesday when the Yanks travel to Panama City to take on Panama.

Report: American teenager linked with Manchester United

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The U.S. Men’s National Team is always looking for more Christian Pulisic-like players, and another star-in-the-making could be on his way to Old Trafford.

[ MORE: Three keys for USMNT ahead of Panama clash ]

American teenager Will Vint is reportedly being pursued by Premier League giants Manchester United after previously having trialed with Fulham and Everton.

Vint, the 15-year-old son Everton academy director Peter Vint, has reportedly impressed the Red Devils while on trial as of late. Additionally, the teen’s Instagram page describes him as a “Footballer at Manchester United.”

The number of Americans in England’s top flight have dwindled down over recent years, however, USMNT mainstays like Geoff Cameron and Brad Guzan (moving to Atlanta United) still reside in the PL.

Chapecoense announces match against Colombia’s Nacional

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SAO PAULO (AP) Brazilian club Chapecoense will play Colombia’s Atletico Nacional on April 4 in what will be an emotional home match.

[ MORE: Aguero left out of Argentina XI to face Bolivia ]

In November, 19 members of the Brazilian team died in an air crash outside Medellin as they travelled to play Nacional in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final. Out of 77 passengers, 71 died in the incident, including players, journalists, and club officials.

Chapecoense says they will play at 22,000-seat Arena Conda in southern Brazil in the first leg of the Recopa Sudamericana.

The tragedy made Atletico Nacional pronounce Chapecoense as champions, and the South American confederation agreed.

The Recopa Sudamericana is between the champions of the Copa Sudamericana and the Copa Libertadores.