La Liga relegation places decided

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After an exciting final round in La Liga, the relegation places have been decided: Real Betis, Real Valladolid and Osasuna will be playing in the Segunda Liga next season.

With just 25 points on the season, Real Betis’s fate was sealed long ago. Their unfortunate tangle with Europa League, and their loss of their best player to Bilbao, shaped their season – to devastating effect.

Valladolid fell to Granada in the weekend’s most nerve-wracking match, as Granada could’ve very well slipped down had they failed to win. But Valladolid dug their own grave, with Stefan Mitrović putting the ball in the back of his own net just before the break.

Osasuna had a bit of trouble at their match, with a retaining barrier collapsing twelve minutes in, after the first goal was scored. An estimated 40 fans were injured, although none are in serious condition. After a 35-minute delay, the game was restarted, with the decision made to delay the start of the second half in the three other matches. Osasuna scored a second almost immediately after, but ultimately it didn’t matter. They needed Granada, Getafe or Almeria to lose, and that didn’t happen.

It’s unknown yet who will move up to the top division. Deportivo la Coruna, who were relegated last season and very nearly slipped down to the third division thanks to a dispute over players’ wages, are currently top in Spain’s second division. But with three games left to go after this weekend, it’s really too soon to say who we’ll be welcoming to La Liga.

Here’s how everything else in La Liga shook out…

Champions

Atlético Madrid! They drew with Barcelona to clinch the La Liga title on Saturday.

Champions League

Barcelona and Real Madrid will skip qualifying and go straight into the group stages. Atheltic Bilbao will take the fourth spot, joining the tournament for the last playoff round.

Europa League

Sevilla, Villarreal and Real Sociedad round out Spain’s European teams. That’s particularly impressive for Villarreal, who spent last season in the second division.

Transfer rumor roundup: Matic to Manchester United; Barkley, Everton news

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Tottenham Hotspur’s depth means it can wait out Everton as the Toffees demand plenty of money for young star Ross Barkley.

The 23-year-old England international won’t sign a new deal with Everton, and Ronald Koeman has been clear that he’s ready to cash in on the wantaway midfielder.

[ MORE: Latest on Ronaldo ]

Spurs are interested according to Sky Sports, but rolling their eyes at a requested fee of close to $64 million. So the North Londoners will wait, a move that makes sense given Barkley’s up-and-down form.

The Liverpool Echo says that Koeman is close to making it official with Sandro Ramirez, as the ex-Barcelona prospect will join Jordan Pickford and Davy Klaassen as new Toffees in a $7 million deal.

The BBC says Koeman will quickly move onto two more transfers, aiming to woo Gylfi Sigurdsson from Swansea City and center back Michael Keane from Burnley.


The Manchester Evening News says Manchester United is close to reuniting Jose Mourinho with defensive midfielder Nemanja Matic.

The tough-minded Serbian turns 29 in August, and would give Mourinho flexibility with Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera. United also has Michael Carrick as a deep-lying option.

Matic has 121 Premier League appearances and two titles since returning to Chelsea in January 2014.


 

Germany mulls letting China under-20s play league soccer

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BERLIN (AP) The German soccer federation is mulling a proposal to allow China’s under-20 team to play friendly matches in the fourth tier of its league system.

Because the Southwest Regional League is comprised of 19 clubs, each currently has two match-days free that can be used for friendly games. The one-off action would allow China’s under-20 team to prepare for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

[ MORE: Juve confirms Alves release ]

“Nothing has been fixed yet but the clubs are all in favor,” league president Felix Wiedemann told The Associated Press on Thursday. “There’s a lot of interest in it. It’s important to say that there will be no points at stake, so it won’t influence the outcome of the league.”

Clubs would receive about 15,000 euros ($16,700) in compensation for two home games against the Chinese side, if the plan is approved. The Chinese are planning on a base near Heidelberg in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Southwest Regional League members are meeting on July 11, when a decision will likely be made in consultation with the German soccer federation, Wiedemann said. The league kicks off at the end of the month.

China and Germany agreed to a five-year soccer partnership last November, aimed at developing the game in China with training and other programs.

WATCH LIVE: Australia vs. Cameroon in Confederations Cup

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Australia and Cameroon fight for their Confederations Cup lives on Thursday at 11 a.m.ET live on Telemundo Deportes.

[ WATCH LIVE: Cameroon vs. Chile on Telemundo Deportes ]

Cameroon will have its top attacker in the form of Vincent Aboubakar in its bid to overcome an opening loss to Chile, while Australia will hope goalkeeper Maty Ryan can get the job done following a 3-2 loss to Germany.

Germany and Chile square off at 2 p.m. ET.

Reports: De Boer offered Crystal Palace manager’s spot

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Multiple reports claim Crystal Palace has offered its managerial position to Dutch boss Frank De Boer.

Palace has been without a manager since Sam Allardyce retired after the season. The Eagles finished 15th in the Premier League, five points behind eighth place Southampton and seven points clear of the drop zone.

[ MORE: Latest on Ronaldo ]

An accomplished defender at Ajax and Barcelona, the 47-year-old De Boer led Ajax in his first managerial stint before spending less than three months at Inter Milan last season.

De Boer twice won the Rinus Michels Award as the top manager in Dutch football, and would become just the second Palace manager from outside the British Isles.

He would inherit a very good group of attackers with Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke, and Andros Townsend. Palace also has a talented midfielders Luka Milivojevic and Yohan Cabaye to go with marauding Dutch back Patrick Van Aanholt.