Romelu Lukaku confirms he wants out of Chelsea

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After a breakout year last season on loan at Goodison Park, 21-year-old Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku is hoping to make even bigger waves next season, and knows that can’t happen at Chelsea.

For some reason Jose Mourinho doesn’t rate Lukaku highly, despite scoring 15 times for Everton and establishing himself as one of the most dangerous physical threats up front in the Premier League.

And he wants no part of Chelsea’s merry-go-round at the striker position.

“You know Chelsea, every year they buy a new top striker,” Lukaku, with the Belgian national team, told reporters. “I remember me coming into the dressing room last year and seeing Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba and going, ‘Whoah! What’s happening here?'”

“But no problem. Many clubs are interested in me. At this stage, I have to look to myself. I have to play a good World Cup. That’s very interesting for all the players looking for a transfer. And I must be one of them. Chelsea know my point of view.”

With Diego Costa rumored to be on his way into Stamford Bridge shortly, it appears Mourinho has long been preparing for this to happen.  Lukaku hinted at different points last season that he was fed up with how he was an outsider at Chelsea, and Mourinho never completely denied the accusations.

There will be no shortage of teams looking to get in on Lukaku’s services, as finding someone so young yet so established is extremely rare.  In Mourinho’s time at Chelsea, he’s established his intentions of selling high-profile parts he deems excess to requirements for amazing value.

Since the manager’s arrival, the club has sold the likes of Juan Mata, Kevin de Bruyne, and David Luiz, netting nearly $170 million for a trio of players that were on the fringes of the squad at best.

If Mourinho could add Lukaku to that list for a significant fee, it would give the Blues serious spending power.

However, a sale of the Belgian would prove the most head-scratching of the four, given Chelsea’s struggles to get production from their frontmen last season. While Mourinho’s defensive style of play and midfield buildup strategy doesn’t lend itself to a striker, it’s still an area lacking on his roster.

Podolski after golazo finale: “This is like a great movie”

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Lukas Podolski has won a EURO, a World Cup, and the Bundesliga with two different sides.

Only Lothar Matthaus and Miroslav Klose have been capped more than Germany’s Polish born Podolski, and he received a hero’s send-off from the home crowd at Germany’s 1-0 win over England on Wednesday.

And of course he sent himself off in style with a gorgeous goal.

[ MORE: Guardiola close to adding $43m GK? ]

Podolski said there were more than 30,000 people from Cologne at the match, where he won one of his two Bundesliga titles.

“That’s when you know where you home is, and that you’ve done a lot of good, also off the pitch,” Podolski said. “That makes me very proud.”

It was a perfect night to say goodbye, and the goal made it almost surreal (Thomas Muller called it “cheesy”).

From Goal.com:

“This is like a great movie,” he told ARD. “We win 1-0 and I score the goal.

“I know I have a left foot that was probably gifted to me by God, or someone up there, and I can always rely on it. I am proud of these last 13 years.”

Feel good hit of the Spring.

Report: Guardiola close to adding $43m Benfica goalkeeper

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Year Two of the Pep Guardiola era at Manchester City could feature another big goalkeeper purchase.

Claudio Bravo hasn’t panned out in sky blue, and Joe Hart doesn’t look likely to be coming back. Wily Caballero is getting the lion’s share of the minutes right now, playing every minute aside from a trio of FA Cup matches since February.

[ MORE: Podolski scores screamer in German finale ]

$43 million is the fee noted by Abola when it comes to the latest target for Guardiola, a neck-tattooed Brazilian by the name of Ederson.

The Benfica backstop, 23, has 20 clean sheets in 32 appearances this season. He signed a new six-year deal in late January, but money may talk here.

Podolski goes out with super goal; Germany tops England

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The highlight of Wednesday’s international friendly docket was Lukas Podolski‘s final match for Germany, and the former Arsenal man did not disappoint his crowd.

But first, Canada plays its first match since unveiling new coach Octavio Zambrano.

[ MORE: Zlatan still bitter with Guardiola ]

Scotland 1-1 Canada

Zambrano saw plenty to like from his new side, as Canada went ahead early with a goal from former Scottish youth Fraser Aird. Toronto-born, the ex-Rangers and current Falkirk man got his first Canadian goal against the team he represented at U-17 and U-19 levels.

Norwich City’s Steven Naismith redirected Tom Cairney‘s shot to make it 1-1 before the break, but Scotland never found its way back into Canada’s net.

Germany 1-0 England

Lukas Podolski scored his 49th international goal in his final cap for Germany, and it was spectacular.

Joe Hart didn’t stand a chance.

The match saw big stops from both ‘keepers, as Hart thwarted Leroy Sane on a second half break after Marc-Andre Ter Stegen defied Dele Alli in the opening 45.

Podolski subbed off in the 84th minute to wild applause, but it must sting slightly to know you finished an illustrious career one goal short of a nice, round 50. We guess he’ll have to rest on his millions and millions of earnings and loads of on-field honors.

Elsewhere
Vietnam 1-1 Chinese Taipei
Philippines 0-0 Malaysia
Cyprus 3-1 Kazakhstan
Yemen 0-1 Palestine
Cambodia 2-3 India

McClean to wear No. 5 in honor of deceased ex-teammate

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James McClean is a colorful personality who doesn’t shy away from strong opinions — he once called Jurgen Klopp “a bit of an idiot” — and the West Brom man is using the big stage of World Cup qualifying to proudly honor a deceased ex-teammate.

McClean has long before friends with Derry City captain Ryan McBride, who shockingly died hours after leading his side to a league win this weekend. Given his age (27), few saw it coming even after McBride admitted to feeling ill after the match.

[ MORE: Zlatan still bitter with Guardiola ]

McBride and McClean played together at Derry, and the latter was excused from Republic of Ireland training to attend funeral services this week.

He’s still expected to play a role in Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Wales on Friday, and McClean will don the No. 5 of McBride. Irish defender Richard Keogh usually wears the number and agreed to the change.