It appears the prolonged chase of transfer target Arturo Vidal has come to an end for Manchester United as Juventus announced today they will not be selling the midfielder.
News of the Serie A side’s unwillingness to part with the 27-year-old came from Juventus chief executive officer, Giuseppe Marotta, who explained that Vidal is “not for sale” and that the player expressed his contentment to remain in Turin.
The news will provide relief to Bianconeri supporters, who in the past 24-hours have seen their beloved Antonio Conte resign and former Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri hired. The loss of Conte, who spent 13 years at Juventus as a player before assuming the managerial reigns in 2011 and guiding Juve to three straight scudettos, was believed to be due to financial constraints preventing the club from keeping its best players and acquiring new talent.
With Conte out, popular conjecture was that Vidal and fellow midfielder Paul Pogba would follow suit on big money transfers out of Turin. Vidal quickly emerged as a top target of Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal, who tried to sign the Chilean midfielder in 2011 when he was manager of Bayern Munich. With reports of van Gaal’s willingness to spend $55 million to acquire Vidal, the transfer was thought to be nearing an inevitability.
But that line of thought came to a crashing halt this afternoon when Marotta spoke to reporters (via The Guardian):
“Vidal is not for sale. He is one of the most important players in the squad. He is happy to be here. Many things have been written. We’ve never put him up for sale. Important clubs have asked after him, but we have never sat down to talk. The player decides and yesterday Vidal showed that he is happy to continue with us.”
With Vidal seemingly off the racks, expect the clamor around Pogba to ramp up. The French midfielder is reportedly a $103 million target of Chelsea, with Jose Mourinho eager to beef up his midfield. Pogba, who was seen in West London earlier today, was a youth player at Manchester United but left at the end of his contract in 2012 after falling out with Sir Alex Ferguson.
The United States takes on Costa Rica in a friendly tonight at Red Bull Arena, as the USMNT must put the Mexico match behind them and focus on the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
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The biggest inclusion in tonight’s starting XI is that of Tim Howard in goal, marking his return to the national side after taking a self-imposed sabbatical. It will be Howard’s first appearance for the USMNT since his legendary performance against Belgium in the 2014 World Cup.
Klinsmann has chosen to go with a 4-4-2 tonight, and Geoff Cameron remains the only starter in the back-line from the Mexico match. He’ll partner with Michael Orozco in the center of defense, with Brad Evans and Tim Ream on the outsides.
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In the midfield, Klinsmann has put some speed on the wings through the likes of DeAndre Yedlin and recent call-up Brek Shea. Danny Williams joins Jermaine Jones as the central midfielders.
Up top, Jozy Altidore will play alongside Gyasi Zardes, who returns to his more comfortable position as forward.
Cristiano Ronaldo has added another trophy to the collection, winning his fourth Golden Boot as Europe’s top scorer for the 2014-15 season.
The award accounts for goals in league play only, which means the Champions League and domestic tournaments are not included. In La Liga, Ronaldo scored 48 goals in 35 appearances.
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Ronaldo first won the award after the 2007-08 season with Manchester United, and has now added three more with Real Madrid in 2010-11, 2013-14, and 2014-15.
With his fourth win, Ronaldo moves ahead of Lionel Messi as the only player to win the award four times. Messi has won three, while eight players have won two.
Below is a post from Ronaldo’s Facebook page reflecting on the award:
What a special moment in my professional life!
Winning four Golden Boots is a privilege for me and I’ll keep challenging myself because I want to do better every time and I want to keep chasing for more records.
I have to thank everyone in Real Madrid that made this possible and we want to keep winning more titles and more trophies. Thank you everyone.
Ronaldo alone scored more goals in La Liga play last season than 14 clubs did, which shows how prolific his season was. The only player to score more than 48 league goals in a European season was Messi, who scored 50 in 2011-12.
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While it was a successful year for Ronaldo personally, it was a very disappointing campaign for Real Madrid, who fired manager Carlo Ancelotti after finishing the season without a trophy.