Shortly after today’s draw with Atlético Madrid, Barcelona head coach Gerardo Martino he is leaving the club, quickly slapping the “former” title onto a head coach who was hired 10 months ago. After one season on the job at the Nou Camp, the Argentine boss leaves the club be mutual consent, as confirmed by the club’s Twitter account in the wake of today’s result:
[tweet https://twitter.com/FCBarcelona/status/467746128192995328 width=330]
Martino’s team drew 1-1 today in Catalonia, giving Atlético the title at Barça’s expense. Had the club overcome a visiting team that played most of the match without its two best attackers (Diego Costa, Arda Turan), Barcelona would have claimed its fifth Spanish Primera Division title in six years. Instead, Atleti wear their first crown since 1996, handing Barça a loss that leaves the club without a major trophy for the first time since 2007-08.
Moving from Argentina’s Newell’s Old Boys on July 22, Martino joined Barcelona late in the offseason after illness prevented Tito Vilanova from resuming his role as head coach. Within four weeks of assuming the job, Martino was managing his first Liga game, winning his Primera debut against Levante, 7-0.
Barcelona would go undefeated through Martino’s first three months before losing back-to-back games in late November and early December, ruining the team’s unbeaten marks in Champions League (Ajax) and Spain (Athletic Bilbao). A rocky winter and spring ended with La Liga’s holders in second place with 87 points – 13 less than last year’s mark .
With the team also falling short of the Champions League semifinals for the first time in seven years, speculation had grown as to Martino’s future with the club. Today, that speculation ends. Shortly after failing to produce the home win that would have retained Spain’s title, Barcelona has parted ways with its coach.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.