Ashley Cole confirms he will not play for Chelsea next season

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Ashley Cole confirmed via his official Twitter account he has made his last appearance for Chelsea, and is unsure of his future going forward.

Just a week ago the 33-year-old defender was left out of the England squad for the World Cup, and thus announced his international retirement after a phone call with Roy Hodgson.

It’s been a trying season for the legend, who ended international duty with 107 caps for his country and currently sits on 229 league appearances for Chelsea.

His contract expires this summer, and despite it being reported that Chelsea were willing to discuss a new deal, Cole is hoping to secure more playing time elsewhere after spending eight seasons at Stamford Bridge.

He has been supplanted not only on the international stage by the younger duo of Leighton Baines and Luke Shaw, but also at the club level by 24-year-old Cesar Azpilicueta, who reduced Cole to just 17 Premier League appearances, mostly in the first half of the season.

Looking at his numbers, it’s no surprise Jose Mourinho slowly transitioned away from the aging star.  He was successful with just 47% of his tackles, according to Squawka statistics, compared to 53% for Azpilicueta.  In addition, he averaged much less involvement in the defensive play, with just half the defensive actions per match of his counterpart.

And while Azpilicueta wasn’t statistically as good going forward, he built a positive relationship with Eden Hazard on the left side, allowing the Belgian to take the spotlight but also supporting well in both the overlap and the cover.

However, all is not lost for Cole.  With Branislav Ivanovic suspended for the Champions League semifinal first leg against Atletico Madrid, Cole stepped in beautifully, and followed that one up with another great performance at Liverpool in Chelsea’s shocking 2-0 win.

There will be plenty of speculation over Cole’s future next season, but it would make sense to see plenty of interest for his services in and out of the Premier League.  Just not at Stamford Bridge.

Soccer world reacts to the Manchester attacks

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NBC News is reporting that at least 19 people have been killed and another 50 are injured following a possible suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

Multiple senior U.S. intelligence officials who are monitoring British authorities told NBC News that preliminary reports indicate that a single explosion took place outside the arena on the southwest side opposite the train station. The explosion occurred as the concert ended, catching people as they exited.

Soccer clubs, players and personalities around the world are reacting to the horrible event.

Juventus purchases Cuadrado from Chelsea

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If you didn’t realize Juan Cuadrado still belonged to Chelsea, you’re forgiven.

The Colombian attacker will complete his second season at Juventus after the UEFA Champions League Final against Real Madrid, and won’t be headed back to Chelsea afterwards.

Juve has purchased Cuadrado, and the fee is $22 million, and Juve will pay it over three seasons. Cuadrado, 28, is now signed through 2020 with The Old Lady.

Cuadrado first went on loan to Juve in Aug. 2015, and has eight goals and 18 assists in 83 career appearances with the club.

Chelsea bought Cuadrado from Fiorentina for around $32 million in the January 2015 transfer window, but made just 14 appearances with the club.

Report: Jermain Defoe meeting with Bournemouth

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Sky Sports is reporting that Jermain Defoe may head back to the south of England following Sunderland’s relegation.

Defoe, 34, spent two seasons with Portsmouth between 2008-09, scoring 15 goals in 31 appearances.

[ MORE: ‘The Moment’ of each PL club’s season ]

The 56-times capped England striker had a clause in his Sunderland contract allowing him to leave the Stadium of Light were the Black Cats to be relegated, as they were this season. He’d have little interest in dropping into the Championship given his desire to stay a part of the England squad ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

Bournemouth’s strike corps includes Joshua King, who scored the most goals of any player not on a Top Seven side this season. King’s 16 goals were one more than Defoe’s 15, though the latter scored just one goal following a brace against Crystal Palace on Feb. 4.

Chelsea’s Conte wins pair of top managerial honors

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Antonio Conte took league and national honors from the League Managers Association on Monday night.

The Chelsea boss was named Premier League Manager of the Year and Manager of the Year after leading the Blues to the PL title and an FA Cup Final in his first year on the job.

Brighton and Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton nabbed another Championship boss of the year award after leading the Gulls to the Premier League. He also won the honor with Newcastle United in 2010.

The League One winner is Chris Wilder of Sheffield United. Wilder won the honor with Northampton Town last season.

In League Two, Paul Cook of Portsmouth was named the winner.