Samir Nasri considering retirement from French National Team

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After being left out of the second straight France World Cup squad, Samir Nasri is considering international retirement.

Nasri was a shock leave-behind by Les Blues coach Didier Deschamps, who left the Manchester City winger out of his 23-man squad and his list of seven replacements.

The controversial 26-year-old, who enjoyed a rejuvenated season under new manager Manuel Pellegrini this year, played a big role in Manchester City’s success scoring 12 goals and collecting 11 assists in all competitions, including big strikes in the Capital One Cup final and last Sunday’s Premier League finale.

Perhaps even more notable was Nasri’s attitude adjustment, a sign of maturity under Pellegrini that did not exist under previous club or national team managers. Nasri, himself, was conscious of the adjustment, which led to his disappointment at being dropped.

From his interview with Sky Sports:

“It’s a little bit hard to accept. I need to take some time now to think about the national team because it’s been twice now that they take away a World Cup from me.

“You can go around and ask any player if they’re happy to be on the bench, nobody’s going to say yes. I need to think a little bit during the holiday, what will be my future in the national team, because missing two World Cups is really hard for a player.”

Yet, despite his well-chronicled reaction to the news over Twitter, Nasri now admits he had a feeling he’d be left out.

“I must confess, I knew before. Sometimes you have the feeling, when you call to speak to the manager and he doesn’t want to speak to you, you know you’re not going to go to the World Cup.

“It was a shock but I was prepared mentally. I’m okay. I respect his choice. He wanted to not pick me … good on him. I wish good luck to the French national team.”

From Pellegrini’s viewpoint, Deschamps’ decision to leave out Nasri was wrong but one that, nevertheless, he’s afforded to make as manager. “I was talking with all of the players, with Samir of course, it’s not good news for him,” Pellegrini said at a press conference in Abu Dhabi. “He’s a very good player and deserves to be in the national squad but all teams have managers and it’s up to them to decide.”

 

Former Czech Republic defender Rajtoral kills himself

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PRAGUE (AP) Former Czech Republic defender Frantisek Rajtoral, who won the domestic league title four times before joining Turkish club Gaziantepspor, died on Sunday. He was 31.

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The Czech football federation said in a statement that Rajtoral had “committed suicide in Turkey.”

His agent Pavel Zika confirmed the player’s death, describing it as a “huge tragedy.”

Gaziantepspor announced Rajtoral’s death in a brief statement on its website.

Rajtoral played 14 international matches for the Czech Republic.

In the top Czech league, he won four titles with Viktoria Plzen and played in the group stage of the Champions League twice for the club. He moved to Hannover in the Bundesliga in 2014 for half of the season, on loan.

He left Viktoria Plzen last year to move to Turkey.

Bellerin wants to represent Spain U21s despite Wenger’s wishes

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Arsene Wenger has made it clear about Hector Bellerin representing Spain this summer but the Arsenal defender is prepared to go against his manager’s wishes if he is selected.

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The 22-year-old has said he hopes to play for Spain’s Under-21 side this summer during the 2017 European U-21 Championship but Wenger has been weary of Bellerin’s injury status and wants his fullback to maintain a clean bill of health throughout the offseason.

“I really want to play,” Bellerin told IBTimes. “Representing Spain is very important. If [Albert] Celades gives me the chance I’ll be there.

“Those are opinions of the managers. I have to keep working. The truth is that I had a difficult injury but I think that I am at 100% now and I’ll try to prove it when I get the chance.”

Bellerin signed a six-and-a-half year deal with the Gunners in November, where he has resided since coming up in the club’s academy. He has made 102 appearances for Wenger’s team in that span over all competitions.

Roma boosts bid for 2nd in Serie A by beating Pescara 4-1

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PESCARA, Italy (AP) Roma boosted its bid for second place in Serie A and automatic entry into the Champions League with a 4-1 win at Pescara, which was mathematically relegated on Monday.

[ MORE: Newcastle joins Brighton in promotion to Premier League ]

Roma moved four points clear of third-placed Napoli, which drew against Sassuolo 2-2 on Sunday. Third place in Serie A receives a Champions League playoff.

Pescara remained 15 points behind Empoli. There are only five matches left and Empoli has the better head-to-head record, which is the deciding factor if two teams finish level on points.

There were 48 goals in total in the 33rd round, matching the record set in October 1992.

Roma took control shortly before halftime, with Kevin Strootman breaking the deadlock after Stephan El Shaarawy unselfishly rolled the ball across the area.

Radja Nainggolan, who earlier hit the bar, doubled Roma’s lead two minutes later.

Mohamed Salah extended Roma’s advantage three minutes after the break and the winger doubled his tally on the hour following a swift counterattack.

Ahmad Benali got a consolation for Pescara and a Cristiano Biraghi free kick also hit the post for the home side.

Frank Yallop resigns as Phoenix Rising coach shortly after Drogba arrival

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The timing is a bit sudden and certainly leaves many questions up in the air, but Phoenix Rising will have to look for a new manager.

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On Monday, head coach Frank Yallop resigned from his position with the United Soccer League (USL) club less than one day after former Chelsea legend Didier Drogba joined the organization as a player-owner.

With Phoenix seen as one of several lower-level clubs with ambitions of making the leap to MLS over the coming seasons, Yallop’s departure is surely a shock to many.

According to ESPN FC, Rising lead owner Berke Bakay was quite surprised by Yallop’s decision to step down, as was Drogba.

“Didier was as surprised and disappointed as we were that Frank is unable to continue coaching our Club,” Bakay told ESPN FC. “But, we all respect his decision to put his family first.

“Didier’s focus will remain on improving our team as a player and assisting our MLS expansion team ownership group as a co-owner. Frank will be helping with our international search for a new head coach.”

Rick Schantz, the current Rising assistant coach, will head the team’s managerial duties for the interim while the club completes a full search for a new manager.