FBL-ESP-LIGA-BARCELONA

Xavi Hernández reportedly inching closer to New York City FC

13 Comments

After months of speculation linking him with moves to both Qatar and Major League Soccer, FC Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernández appears to be inching closer to the United States. According to reports out of Spain, the 34-year-old playmaker is set to “imminently” leave the only club he’s ever know, with 2015 Major League Soccer expansion franchise New York City FC his expected destination.

[RELATED: Xavi set for NYC FC deal ]

NYC FC has already signed former Barcelona forward David Villa and is expected to add former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard, but the acquisition of Hernández may be the impending superclub’s biggest get, with the Catalan midfielder recognized as one of the best central midfielders of his generation.

After debuting with Barcelona’s senior team in 1998, Hernández went on to win six league titles with the Blaugrana, capturing three UEFA Champions Leagues and two FIFA Club World Cups in the process. Over the course of 16 seasons, Xavi make 723 appearances for Barcelona, scoring 83 goals.

[RELATED: David Villa signs for NYC FC]

For his country, Hernández has been capped 133 times, winning two European championships and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

From Sport:

“The winningest player in club history will head to New York, into the open arms of New York City FC … both the player and Barça claim nothing will happen until Thursday, the day the player is supposed to return to training after the World Cup …

So next Thursday, the apparent ‘D-Day’ on Xavi’s future, is not just in the works, but it’s the day his move the New York club will be completed. Barça wants it and Xavi want it. The only thing left is a settlement and a tribute match for one of the most prolific players in the history of the Catalan club.”

[RELATED: Lampard agrees to join New York City ]

source:  That Xavi-to-New York has been rumored since the end of La Liga’s season gives this report a feeling of inevitability, but without confirmation from New York City FC, Barcelona, Major League Soccer, or Hernández, there still room for doubt. If every player linked with Major League Soccer arrived in North America, the league would have burst out of its adolescence long ago.

Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo, however, is moving forward with full confidence. After reporting the news on their site on Monday, they’ve put Xavi on the cover of their Tuesday print edition. The headline: Goodbye Xavi.

Ex-Guatemalan soccer chief pleads guilty in FIFA bribe case

PRATO, ITALY - APRIL 13: General view during the FIFA Futsal playoff match between Italy and Hungary on April 13, 2016 in Prato, Italy.  (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images
1 Comment

NEW YORK (AP) A former Guatemalan soccer federation president has pleaded guilty in New York to charges related to a sprawling corruption investigation of world soccer.

[ MORE: Christian Vieri ready for return, pursuing Chinese Super League ]

Brayan Jimenez pleaded guilty Friday to federal racketeering conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy charges, each carrying up to 20 years in prison. It’s unclear when he’ll be sentenced.

The 62-year-old Jimenez is among 40 people from around the world charged in a FIFA bribery scandal over lucrative broadcasting rights.

Prosecutors say Jimenez accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from a Florida-based sports marketing company. They say in exchange for the money Jimenez awarded the company media marketing rights to the Guatemalan soccer team’s World Cup qualifying matches in 2018 and 2022.

Jimenez’s attorneys haven’t returned a message seeking comment on his guilty plea.

D.C. United acquires Igboananike from Fire in trade

BRIDGEVIEW, IL - MARCH 06:  Andrea Pirlo #21 of the New York City FC looks to pass against Kennedy Igboananike #77 of the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on March 6, 2016 in Bridgeview, Illinois. The New York City FC defeated the Fire 4-3.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Leave a comment

With the playoffs still very much in sight, D.C. United is making another attempt to boost its struggling attack.

[ MORE: NYCFC, Rapids meet in Bronx on Saturday ]

After recently trading for New York City FC forward Patrick Mullins and New York Red Bulls midfielder Lloyd Sam, D.C. has completed a trade for Chicago Fire attacker Kennedy Igboananike in exchange for target allocation money and a third-round draft selection in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft.

In over a season-and-a-half in MLS with the Fire, Igboananike notched 11 goals and four assists in 49 matches. The Nigerian forward is a Designated Player, and is due to make over $900,000, according to the MLS Players’ Union website.

[ MORE: Christian Vieri trying to make comeback in Chinese Super League ]

D.C United is currently eighth in the Eastern Conference standings, sitting on 20 points through 21 matches. The team is four points behind the New England Revolution for the final playoff position.

Report: Atletico set to offer $52 million for Chelsea’s Costa

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09:  Diego Costa of Chelsea shoots past Thiago Silva of PSG to score a gol to level the scores at 1-1 during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, second leg match between Chelsea and Paris Saint Germain at Stamford Bridge on March 9, 2016 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Already with one of the world’s most dangerous attacks, Atletico Madrid is prepared to add another dimension into the mix.

[ MORE: Man City makes final bid for defender John Stones ]

Daily Mail is reporting that the Spanish side is prepared to offer Chelsea over $52 million for striker Diego Costa, who joined the team from Atletico back in 2014.

While the Blues have maintained their position that Costa isn’t for sale, Atletico looks to boost its already strong offense with the 27-year-old Spaniard. Diego Simeone’s group already features talented attacking duo Antoine Griezmann and Fernando Torres.

During his previous stint in La Liga, Costa netted 56 goals across all competitions in two seasons with the Rojiblancos.

[ MORE: Christian Vieri trying to make comeback in Chinese Super League ]

Chelsea is reportedly pursuing former striker Romelu Lukaku after signing Belgian Michy Batshuayi this summer. Antonio Conte’s side also features young forward Bertrand Traore, who has made a strong impression during the preseason.

Report: Manchester City makes final bid for John Stones

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 16:  Diego Costa of Chelsea and John Stones of Everton compete for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Everton at Stamford Bridge on January 16, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
1 Comment

Take it or leave it.

Manchester City has made a final push for Everton defender John Stones, and has set its last offer at $52 million. Last month, the Citizens made the same exact bid for the 22-year-old, which was rejected by Everton.

[ MORE: Italian legend Christian Vieri looks to join Chinese Super League ]

City is said to be looking to avoid overpaying for Stones, after compensating Porto over $55 million for centerback Eliaquim Mangala two years ago.

While Stones has gone on record saying that he wants to play for manager Pep Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium, it remains to be seen if Everton will part ways with its prized defender.