Rodriguez

WATCH: Top 10 goals from the 2014 World Cup

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Now for the fun part.

With Mario Götze’s 113th-minute winner against Argentina in the final, the 2014 World Cup tied the 1998 tournament in France for the most goals in any World Cup with 171.

That means fun for everyone!

But only 10 of those 171 can make this list, so we’re picking the best ones.

Hint: lots of James Rodriguez, because James Rodriguez is awesome.

10. Lionel Messi vs. Nigeria

The player who eventually won the Golden Ball picked up the first direct free-kick goal of the tournament when he blasted the set-piece past Vincent Enyema who hardly even tried, knowing he had no chance.

The goal would prompt Stephen Keshi to declare “he [Messi] is not from this planet. He’s from Jupiter.” Argentina would win the Group F game 3-2.

Messi had a late winner against Iran as well that was a very pretty goal, but free kicks are more fun.

9. Jermaine Jones vs. Portugal

John Brooks captured American hearts when he headed the United States past Ghana, but going on individual degree of difficulty, Jermaine Jones ripped a peach against Portugal that would put the US ahead and lead them to victor…a 2-2 draw (come on, Ronaldo).

Jones put some impressive curl on the ball and gave the Portuguese keeper no chance as the ball tucked into the far corner.

8. Arjen Robben vs. Spain

On a breakaway for the Netherlands in their opening match, Arjen Robben wasn’t able to get fully past the defense. No problems. He spun around with his back to the goal, cut into traffic, beat two defenders trailing the play, and left the goalkeeper on his rear end before putting the ball into the back of the net and giving the Netherlands a final touch of brilliance in their 5-1 win over Spain.

7. James Rodriguez vs. Japan

Yay! More James please! We’ve answered your pleas, and have grabbed one of the young Colombian’s six goals of the 2014 World Cup.  And there’s more after, don’t worry.

Against Japan in the group stage, Rodriguez put on some serious moves that sent Japanese defender Maya Yoshida tumbling embarrassingly to the ground. And then he scored. It was Rodriguez’s third goal of the tournament, but it wasn’t his best. We’re getting to that…

6. David Luiz vs. Colombia

We love great free kicks, and David Luiz had the best of the tournament. An absolute ripper against Colombia to break James Rodriguez’s heart, Luiz unleashed a knuckleball into the top right corner in the 69th minute.

The goal would end up being the winner, as Brazil went through 2-1.

5. Xherdan Shaqiri vs Honduras

The Swiss were looking to prove they were deserving of their much-criticized group seed, and they made it into the knockout stage. One of their best moments was against Honduras, when star youngster Xherdan Shaqiri delivered a hat-trick, the third of which was this insane strike from wayyyyyy far out.

4. Mario Götze vs. Argentina

How do you not place a World Cup final winner on the list? Then again, this wasn’t just any winner. It was filthy. First was the heck of a cross from Schurrle.  Götze snuck behind Martin Demichelis (the Manchester City version of Demichelis, clearly) and controlled the ball with his chest, firing home without the ball touching the ground.

A goal to win the World Cup in the 113th minute. That’s what legends are made of.

3. Tim Cahill vs. Netherlands

Oh. Wow. Australia means business. That’s what everyone thought to themselves when Tim Cahill ripped the back of the net with a ridiculous volley that put Australia level with the Netherlands.  The goal came moments after the Dutch took the lead, and announced to the world that the Aussies were here to play.

Cahill’s goal was stunning given he hit the shot one-time on a deep pass from behind the mid line, coming from around behind the defender to connect with the ball. Many would have this as the goal of the tournament, but for us, there are two others that edge it out. It’s still beautiful to watch over and over and over…

2. Robin van Persie vs. Spain

The flying header. One of the most iconic images from this World Cup is the Dutch striker midair, having just pounced on a stunning delivery from Daley Blind.  Van Persie began what would eventually become a Spanish onslaught, and he wow’d the crowd as well. He celebrated by sprinting to his manager Louis van Gaal and delivering a monumental high-five, maybe something we’ll see in England as Van Gaal has taken over at Manchester United.

1. James Rodriguez vs. Uruguay

It’s our man again! Undoubtedly the goal of the tournament, the Golden Boot winner unleashed a vicious volley that left the Uruguayans utterly befuddled. It announced Rodriguez on the world stage (although we had already fallen in love with him long before) and said Colombia would not be taken lightly.

This goal has everything as far as degree of difficulty. The ball pops up in the air, and Rodriguez chests it down facing away from goal. Before the ball touches the ground, he does a 90-degree turn and rips a howitzer with his left foot that clips the underside of the crossbar and caroms into the goal from a good 23-yards out or so. Enjoy.

“Ronaldo, Messi too old to play for us” say Bundesliga club

Barcelona's Lionel Messi,foreground, escapes Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
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RB Leipzig currently sits top of the Bundesliga and they’ve taken the German soccer scene by storm.

[ MORE: Ranking the PL superstars

They’ve also upset plenty of traditionalists in Germany with the Red Bull energy drink company bankrolling their rise through the German leagues and after being founded in 2009, just seven years later they are top of the Bundesliga, three points clear of Bayern Munich after 13 games of the season.

Now, Leipzig may have upset Cristiano Ronald and Lionel Messi.

Speaking to the Associated Press, the man who has been plotting Leipzig’s success since 2012, sporting director Ralf Rangnick, had the following to say about Messi and Ronaldo hypothetically signing for Leipzig.

“It would be absurd to think that it could work with them here,” Rangnick said. “They are both too old and too expensive.”

Wow.

Ronaldo is 32 and Messi is 29 and both seem to have at least five or more years left in the tank for Real and Barca respectively.

However, Rangnick’s comments are perhaps more about the make up of Leipzig’s team which is the youngest in the Bundesliga and as the architect of this squad he has purposefully constructed a strong youth element which has helped his side rise from the fourth division and up into the German top-flight.

RB Leipzig is widely disliked in Germany for being owned by Red Bull who have spent huge sums of money, and now they’ve just blown their chance of ever signing Ronaldo or Messi.

Oh wait, they didn’t want them anyway…

One man takes blame for Swansea’s poor season

SWANSEA, WALES - DECEMBER 20:  Swansea Chairman Huw Jenkins (C) attends the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and West Ham United at the Liberty Stadium on December 20, 2015 in Swansea, Wales.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
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Huw Jenkins has been with Swansea City through the good times and the bad.

He is blaming himself for the recent bad spell.

[ MORE: Ranking the PL superstars ]

The long-time chairman of the Swans — Jenkins was part of a consortium which saved the south Wales club back in 2002 when it was teetering on the brink of extinction — has been at the forefront of their incredible rise from the fourth-tier to the Premier League plus becoming League Cup winners and also competing in the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa League.

Yet, this season Swansea’s progress has stalled as they currently sit two points adrift at the foot of the Premier League table and three points from safety with a massive relegation six-points against Sunderland at the Liberty Stadium coming up this Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET online via NBCSports.com).

Speaking about their struggles, Jenkins put the blame squarely on his shoulders.

“I fully understand their feelings, being a supporter myself,” Jenkins said. “When things don’t go well somebody has to take the blame and I fully accept the responsibility. But let’s not forget there’s a long way to go this season, and we’ve got a lot of choices to make between now and then to make sure we survive in this league.”

The local businessman has told it like it is, as well as admiting some errors with player recruitment over the summer as both Andre Ayew and Ashley Williams were allowed to leave and you easily argue they weren’t sufficiently replaced at the Liberty Stadium.

All of this has led to current manager Bob Bradley (he replaced Italian coach Francesco Guidolin after the Swans picks up just four points from their opening seven games of the season) reportedly already being under pressure, as a report in the Daily Telegraph suggested that a huge review is currently taking place at the request of American owners Steve Kaplan and Jason Levein who took sole control of the club in July.

Jenkins, who has been left in control of day-to-day matters by Kaplan and Levein, has also been taking plenty of stick from the fans for selling 8.2 percent of his 13.2 percent stake in the club which allowed the Americans to take their holdings up to 68 percent and take full ownership of the club. The local businessman made himself just over $10 million in the process which angered many. All is not well on and off the pitch in south Wales right now.

With Bradley’s team conceding 19 goals in his seven PL games in charge so far, the obvious area where they have to improve is in central defense. If given time, there’s no doubt Bradley can improve that but the most concerning thing for the Swans is the quality of players, especially defenders, they currently possess.

Until that changes (i.e. acquistions in the January transfer window) then Bradley’s hands are tied.

Jenkins believes the club will be able to spend big in the upcoming transfer window and boy will Swansea need to do some shrewd, and extensive, business if they’re going to drag themselves out of trouble and up the Premier League table.

The good news out of all of this is the next six games are pivotal in their season. Between now and Jan. 2 Bradley’s side face Sunderland, West Ham and Bournemouth at home, plus have trips to West Brom, Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace. All of those games are against direct relegation rivals and quite simply the Swans must win at least three or four to give themselves a fighting chance of staying up.

Report: Alexis Sanchez offered $505,000 per week to play in China

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24:  Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal celebrates scoring his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on September 24, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
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This is outrageous.

Alexis Sanchez, 27, has reportedly been offered a contract worth over $505,000 a week (that’s around $26.2 million a year) to play in China.

[ MORE: Ranking the PL superstars ]

The Daily Mail claims that several clubs from the Chinese Super League have already reached out to Sanchez and have offered the huge contract to try and entice him to play in China.

With just 18 months left on his current contract at Arsenal, the Chilean forward is in the form of his life with 11 Premier League goals in the opening 14 games of the season. That included a hat trick in the 5-1 demolition of West Ham last weekend which underlined just how important “El Nino Maravilla” is to the Gunners.

Reports on Tuesday claimed that both Sanchez and Mesut Ozil (the latter also only has 18 months left on his current contract) want over $370,000 per week from Arsenal if they’re going to sign new deals. That would put them in line with the top earner in the Premier League, Manchester United’s Paul Pogba, but it is believed the Gunners do not want to break their wage structure and pay any player over $252,000 per week.

In truth, in world soccer right now only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are above Sanchez with the Chilean forward strutting his stuff out wide and up top in a center forward role.

Ronaldo is currently paid $34.3 million per year by Real Madrid and Messi is paid $42.9 million a year by Barcelona. So, you can see why Sanchez’s head is being turned as he continues to churn out world-class displays for Arsenal and huge offers are coming his way.

With Arsene Wenger‘s future uncertain as his contract runs out at the end of this season, if he can’t entice Sanchez and Ozil to remain at the Emirates Stadium by this summer then Arsenal will have to think about selling both of their attacking superstars or else they’ll lose them for nothing in the summer of 2018.

And when it comes to China there’s no real surprise that this kind of money is being offered to Sanchez, if the reports are true.

Over the past 12 months a huge influx of foreign stars have joined the CSL with China’s President Xi Jinping a huge soccer fan and eager to not only grow the domestic game but links with European clubs and also develop top players for the Chinese national team moving forward with world-class facilities popping up and soccer is now on the school curriculum nationwide too.

Graziano Pelle. Jackson Martinez. Hulk. Ramires. Alex Teixeira. They’ve all joined the CSL in recent years on huge wages. Is Sanchez the next man to make the move if Arsenal can’t pay him what he wants, and probably deserves?

Man United announce squad for crunch Europa League clash

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: Memphis Depay of Manchester United in action during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Burnley at Old Trafford on October 29, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Mark Robinson/Getty Images)
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Jose Mourinho has named his 19-man squad for Manchester United’s final group game in the UEFA Europa League.

There are some surprising omissions.

[ MORE: Europa League schedule ]

Both Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin aren’t included in the squad for the game at Zorya Luhansk in the Ukrainian city of Odessa, as Zorya cannot play games in their home stadium due to the ongoing conflict with Russia in eastern Ukraine.

United need a draw to guarantee their passage into the Round of 32 in the Europa League but a defeat to Zorya would see the Red Devils crash out of Europe’s second-tier club competition.

With Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw out injured they haven’t traveled, plus Bastian Schweinsteiger is ineligible after not being registered for the tournament and veterans Michael Carrick and Antonio Valencia have been rested. It is the exclusion of Memphis, Schneiderlin and Matteo Darmian which will raise eyebrows and it suggests they have no future at Old Trafford under Mourinho.

[ MORE: Europa League standings ]  

Plenty of teams such as Everton and Fenerbache have already shown interest in signing Memphis on loan in January and the Dutch winger is way down the pecking order in Mourinho’s forward options. As for Schneiderlin, with Pogba’s arrival, Ander Herrera‘s good form and even Schweinsteiger getting some minutes recently, his time at United looks up.

Darmian also looks set for a move with Timothy Fosu-Mensah preferred for this trip and it is telling that Memphis, Schneiderlin and Darmian are all seen as some of the biggest disappointments of Louis Van Gaal‘s era. Mourinho obviously wants to clean house and he is sending them the message loud and clear that they aren’t needed, even if he doesn’t say it publicly.

Below is the full squad for United’s trip to Ukraine, which kicks of at 1 p.m. ET on Thursday.

Man United squad vs. Zorya Luhansk: De Gea, Romero, Johnstone; Fosu-Mensah, Jones, Bailly, Rojo, Blind, Young; Fellaini, Herrera, Pogba, Lingard, Mata, Mkhitaryan; Martial, Rashford, Rooney, Ibrahimovic.