Fans of New York City FC and Major League Soccer may have to wait a little bit longer than they thought to see Xavi Hernandez suit up in North America.
In fact, they might not get to see him at all.
If you believe the latest round of reports Xavi, 34, has made a dramatic last minute U-turn and decided against joining MLS newcomers NYC FC.
[RELATED: Xavi set to seal NYC FC move]
Previous reports stated that Xavi was expected to complete his move to the new MLS franchise joint-owned by Manchester City and the New York Yankees later this week. However with financial concerns complicating things and Barcelona pushing for the Spaniard to stick around in Catalan, it seems as though Xavi is staying at home. For now.
After spending his whole career at Barca, Xavi has become a symbol of the clubs supreme success over the past decade and is an idol in his home city. It is expected that he could arrive in MLS in January once more details are ironed out. That would allow him to spend the first half of the season at Barca and then transfer to New York ahead of their inaugural MLS season kicking off in March 2015. Our friends over at Soccerly have the details, here is the info as to why Xavi has made this dramatic U-turn.
34-year-old playmaker Xavi, who still has two years remaining on his contract, had made noises to friends and family about his intention to leave the club, which eventually made it through to the press. The physical exertion required at the Spanish giants coupled with some enticing offers from New York City and a Qatari club had influenced his thought process.
The same sources now reveal, however, that the player has turned down the aforementioned offers as he does not consider it to be an opportune moment to leave the club where he has won it all. The earliest possible departure date has now been moved back until January, when the Spain international will re-evaluate his position. A further factor is that the MLS season does not begin until next spring.
Xavi’s weekly wage on the remaining two years of his contract is the highest it has ever been during his career. A further hitch in the negotiations was the fact that the incoming offers did not match the player’s current salary, which led to protracted talks about a potential big-money payoff from Barça to offset this financial shortfall.
Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal has declared “ugly” Atletico Madrid unworthy finalists in the UEFA Champions League.
Bayern was eliminated in the Champions League semifinal by Atleti on Tuesday, with Diego Simeone’s Spanish side advancing on away goals.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s UCL coverage ]
However, Vidal believed Bayern were the better team in the second leg, saying Atletico played “ugly football” to get through.
Today ugly football – Atletico – played against the best football in the world. The only time they saw the ball was for the goal.
They are going to be dreaming about us right up to the final. They did not have the ball, they took on the best team in the world, they took their chances and got to the final.
The best does not always win in football, like today. They are not deserved finalists.
Bayern Munich controlled more than 70-percent of possession and had 33 shots compared to Atletico’s nine, but those stats mean little as Antoine Griezmann’s away goal was enough to send Atleti to the final.
[ MORE: Former England striker Joe Cole headed to NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies ]
Atletico may not play the most attractive football, but after eliminating Barcelona and Bayern Munich in consecutive legs, it’s hard to argue anyone deserves this more than Simeone’s men.
The second leg of the Europa League semifinals kick off tomorrow, with two La Liga sides looking to make it an all-Spanish final.
[ MORE: Premier League Playback ]
Villarreal holds a 1-0 lead over Liverpool, while Sevilla scored two away goals in their 2-2 draw at Shakhtar Donetsk.
Liverpool vs. Villarreal – 3:05 p.m. ET
Villarreal won first leg 1-0
Adrian Lopez’s late winner in the first leg has given Villarreal a slight lead, while the Spanish side did well not to concede an away goal. However, Liverpool have overcome deficits at Anfield before, including their memorable 4-3 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the quarterfinals. Emre Can is back fit for the Reds, as manager Jurgen Klopp will hope his fellow German can help the team to a cup final in his first year in charge.
[ RELATED: Liverpool preparing for another big Thursday night at Anfield ]
Sevilla vs. Shakhtar Donetsk – 3:05 p.m. ET
First leg ended 2-2 draw
Sevilla are looking to become the first team to win three consecutive Europa League titles as the two-time defending champions face off against Shakhtar Donetsk. Sevilla are in the driver’s seat after scoring two away goals in Ukraine, and will feel confident of advancing to the final with a great home record at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.
In the latest Men in Blazers podcast, Rog and Davo celebrate Leicester City’s improbable Premier League title with Leicester’s own Arlo White.
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LISBON, Portugal (AP) Portuguese and European police say they have broken up a cell of an important Russian mafia group that allegedly laundered money through European football clubs.
Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, said in a statement Wednesday the group identified EU football clubs in financial distress and infiltrated them with benefactors who brought much-needed cash.
[ MORE: Man City bounced from UCL ]
Once they were in control, the mobsters allegedly laundered millions of euros (dollars) through player transfers, TV rights deals and betting.
Portuguese and European police on Tuesday raided third-division Portuguese club Uniao de Leiria and arrested three key members of the Russian gang. Three other Portuguese clubs’ premises were searched.
Europol said the operation helped identify serious crimes in Austria, Germany, and the United Kingdom, though it gave no details.