Amid departure rumors, Yaya Toure says he hopes to end his career at Barcelona

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The internet has been alight with jokes about Yaya Toure’s birthday snub at Manchester City, but now we have a more concrete look into the mind of the talented midfielder.

In an interview with beIN Sport, Toure said he hopes to end his career at his former club Barcelona.

“Yes, I will say that in front of the camera, I will say it to the news, I would like to one day end my career there [at Barcelona],” Toure said. “Barcelona has always been one of my favorite teams in the world, I think because when I was there all of them were like my brothers.”

He spoke highly of his time at the Nou Camp, where he made 118 appearances between 2007 and 2010 before making a $41 million move to Manchester City, where he’s spent four seasons as their midfield rock.  But he still misses his old club.

“When I look at the TV and I look at the Spanish league, I always watch Barcelona, even in the Champions League.”

It’s interesting comments from the Ivorian, whose agent Dimitri Seluk has made scathing comments about Manchester City’s treatment of Toure.  And when asked about Seluk’s comments, Toure skirted the question, but still threw his support behind his agent, worrying for Manuel Pellegrini’s side.

“I trust him a lot, the main thing is trust, and I just try to focus on the World Cup, and Dmitri knows what he has to do.  Everything is open now and the club is talking about me. We will wait until after the World Cup and see where we are.”

Toure played things diplomatically, but he clearly has been chatting internally with his agent, and they are definitely on the same page.  It’s unclear what exactly Toure is unhappy with at City, but the likely scenario is he believes he should be paid on the same level as the best in the world, and if City are unwilling to do that, maybe his favorite club Barcelona is.

Also, this afternoon Seluk said Toure would sign back on immediately for Manchester City if they were to offer him a coaching role.  He then compared Toure to a child, saying “players are like children, they like a lot of attention.” Way to pump up your client, Dimitri.

CCL: Lodeiro from 45; Royer’s diving header — SEA, RBNY lead (video)

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After 45 minutes of their respective CONCACAF Champions League knockout-round quests, things are going unnervingly well for the Seattle Sounders and New York Red Bulls.

[ MORE: FC Dallas disappoint in CCL; Club America flying ]

If you’ve watched Major League Soccer teams try, try and try again — only to eventually fail in spectacular fashion — in CCL over the years, you might say things are going a little too well.

There’s still another 45 minutes to be played on Thursday — plus the return legs next week — but both the Sounders and Red Bulls hold 1-0 halftime leads, and the vitally important away goals which come with it. Nicolas Lodeiro’s 45-yard, first-time lob of the Santa Tecla (El Salvador) goalkeeper in the 15th minute has already been eternally etched into the memories of Sounders fans.

Just 15 minutes later, Daniel Royer perfectly executed the diving header and got on the end of Bradley Wright-Phillips’ curling ball into the box to Jesse Marsch’s side ahead of Honduran side CD Olimpia.

Villarreal DF Semedo charged with attempted murder

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MADRID (AP) A Spanish judge has charged Villarreal defender Ruben Semedo with attempted murder and ordered him to be temporarily detained without bail.

Court officials in Lliria say on Thursday the Portuguese player is also charged with assault, robbery, illegal detention, and illegal possession of firearms.

Semedo testified before a judge on Thursday, and left the court in handcuffs.

The 23-year-old Semedo was detained early Tuesday, accused of tying up, assaulting and threatening another man last week. Authorities say he and two other men allegedly held the victim captive while they robbed his apartment.

Semedo’s agents told Spanish media the player denies any wrongdoing.

Villarreal on Tuesday said it was investigating Semedo and would take appropriate disciplinary action.

Villarreal signed Semedo from Sporting Lisbon last summer for a reported fee of $17 million.

Wenger: Arsenal “complacent, had no ideas” in Ostersunds loss

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Perhaps Sunday’s League Cup final had already reached the forefront of their minds, but Arsene Wenger admonished his players, whom he said were “complacent, not focused” and “had no ideas” for much of Thursday’s Europa League defeat, at home, to Swedish side Ostersunds.

[ MORE: Premier League TV schedule | Man United vs. Chelsea ]

The Gunners advanced to the round of 16 on the back of their 3-0 first-leg victory last week, but Wenger was understandably displeased by the effort he saw and expressed such feelings in no uncertain terms, before quickly easing up and praising the fact they were able to pull back a goal against the current fifth-place team from Sweden — quotes from the BBC:

“We were not at the races in the first half,” said Wenger, who saw his side booed off at half-time and full-time. I think in the second half it was much better and we should have scored a few goals.

“In the first half, we were in trouble and in danger because we were complacent, not focused and were open every time we lost the ball. We had no ideas with the ball and that’s why we were in trouble.

“We responded very well because we did the job to qualify, but that’s what we have to take from the night and that’s all.”

With Arsenal now trailing fourth-place Chelsea by eight points (and seven back of fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur), winning the Europa League might just be the Gunners’ last chance at qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

Batshuayi racially abused by Atalanta fans

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Borussia Dortmund striker Michy Batshuayi says he was subject to racist chants from Atalanta fans during a Europa League game in Italy.

The Belgium international, on loan from Chelsea, tweeted:

Dortmund advanced to the round of 16 by drawing 1-1 to beat Atalanta 4-3 on aggregate on Thursday.

The game was played at Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia because Atalanta’s home stadium is unsuitable for UEFA games.

There have been several incidents of racism at Serie A matches this season.