Landon Donovan rules out playing in 2018 World Cup, talks new media role

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If you’ve been paying close attention to ESPN’s World Cup coverage, you’ve seen Landon Donovan popping up here, there and everywhere from their studio in LA.

The U.S. National Team legend, who, as we all know, was a shock exclusion from Jurgen Klinsmann’s 23-man squad for the 2014 World Cup, somewhat surprisingly agreed to be a part of ESPN’S World Cup coverage.

[ RELATED: World Cup news, analysis from Soccerly ] 

He has been honest, insightful and intriguing to listen to thus far, especially when it comes to topics on the USA and their journey in Brazil.  SI.com’s Richard Deitsch caught up with Donovan for an excellent chat on the LA Galaxy star’s  media career, why he chose to kick-start it this summer and his future for the U.S. and in soccer.

Here are just a few of the tidbits, click here to read the piece in full.

On the difficulties of being a soccer analyst: 

“I have been on the other side of this and I’ve had people say things about me that I did not appreciate. I’ve said to [ESPN analysts] Taylor [Twellman] and Alexi [Lalas] on different occasions that, ‘I don’t appreciate what you said there.’ Now being on the other side of it, you realize how difficult it is. You only have a few seconds to say something and every word matters. That’s been a big learning curve.”

On his future with the USA…

“If I am playing in four years, that means we have not progressed enough, to be quite honest. As much as I would love to be there and play in Russia, I think it is better for our national team if I am not there.”

On talking about Klinsmann…

“I’m a little bit mindful that if I am critical of Jürgen, a lot of people are going to perceive that as bitterness, and that is difficult for me because there are things I want to say but I want to make sure that it does not come off that way. It’s a balancing act.”

On why he chose to be part of ESPN’s coverage during the World Cup…

“I’ve always thought it would be interesting to give insight on soccer because I have a lot of experience in my career. A lot of times I watch sporting events and there are things I want to say and things I see that don’t get said or talked about. I thought that would be a good thing to educate people. So I weighed the pros and cons and figured this is something I should do.”

Raiola: Zlatan to “100 percent” stay in Europe for two seasons

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be 35 and coming off major knee surgery, but that isn’t stopping suitors from lining up across Europe.

Ibrahimovic’s agent, Mino Raiola, says that MLS is not an option for the Swede over the next two seasons. From Sky Sports:

“Many clubs have asked for Zlatan. He can play two more years and will stay in Europe, 100 per cent.”

It would make sense for Ibrahimovic to stay around Manchester United, where he is admired by Jose Mourinho and coming off a season that showed he’s still capable of contributing at a high level.

But he remains beloved in Italy, and would be effective for most clubs in the Top 5 leagues should he return at even 75 percent of the Zlatan we’ve seen regularly.

Report: Manchester United, Inter Milan keen on Perisic deal

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Manchester United wants Ivan Perisic, and both the player and his current club are all about it.

Perisic, 28, is ready to leave Inter Milan, and the Serie A mainstays are happy to accept $46 million for his services according to Sky Sports.

[ MORE: No China for Costa ]

Primarily a left winger, Perisic moved to Inter from Wolfsburg at the start of the 2015-16 season. He scored 10 goals and added nine assists in Serie A play this season, and has kept up his production pace since moving from the Bundesliga to Italy.

United needs stars and depth for its Champions League campaign, and Perisic would buttress an attack with Marcus Rashford, Henrikh Mkhitaryan amongst others. He was a difference maker for Croatia at EURO 2016, and can do the same at Old Trafford.

Celtic secures trophy treble, ends Scottish season unbeaten

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GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) Celtic completed a trophy treble in Scottish soccer and finished the domestic season undefeated after beating Aberdeen 2-1 in the Scottish Cup final thanks to an injury-time goal on Saturday.

Midfielder Tom Rogic scored from an acute angle in the second minute of stoppage time at Hampden Park to ensure Celtic added the cup to the Scottish Premiership and the Scottish League Cup.

[ MORE: No China for Costa ]

Brendan Rodgers became the third manager, after Jock Stein (1967, 1969) and Martin O’Neill (2001), to lead Celtic to a treble of domestic titles.

Celtic hasn’t lost any of its 47 games across in the league and both cups, and is the first team to go through the whole of a Scottish domestic season unbeaten.

No China for Costa: It’ll be Chelsea or Atletico Madrid

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Blues striker Diego Costa offered some insight into his future following Chelsea’s FA Cup Final loss to Arsenal on Saturday.

The combustible striker was subject to a head-turning bid from the Chinese Super League this winter, but is only looking at two European locations for his future.

Those are his current club, Chelsea, as well as former home at Atletico Madrid.

[ JPW: Poignant FA Cup Final reflects English mood ]

The 28-year-old Costa has kept his scoring pace level since arriving in the Premier League. He scored 64 goals in 134 matches for Atleti, and has notched 58 goals for Chelsea in 120 appearances.

Costa reportedly said, “No, no, no” when asked about China, as well as the following: