Credit: Blackpool Gazette

Serbian club FK Jagodina set to sign Freddy Adu

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Morning speculation has given way to afternoon publicity. After whispers early Thursday that Freddy Adu was about to sign in Serbia, the SuperLiga’s FK Jagodina is ready to take the plunge. According today’s announcement on the club’s website, the final details are being ironed out in a deal that will land the American midfielder in the Balkans.

Adu has recently been on trial in the Netherlands and with Blackpool in the English second division. Now the increasingly exotic list of clubs that dot the former prospect’s résumé is about to add an another name. Jagodina’s set to be the 10th club in the 25-year-old’s 11-year career, not counting trials.

Jagodina finished third in last year’s SuperLiga, albeit 23 points behind second place Partizan. The finish earned the Blues a chance to qualify for this years Europa League, an opportunity lost when they were defeated by Romania’s CFR Cluj in the second play-in round.

Though the team has never won a first division title, Jagodina have made the last two Serbian Cup finals, winning the trophy in 2013.

For those holding out hope Adu can still make an impact for the United States, today’s news is a discouraging reminder of where his career has done. At the same time, it’s also a credit to his agent, who continues to find places willing to sign the former prodigy. While you could argue the player’s stature (or, standards) has made him into a vagabond, his representation continues to find new places willing to buy into the hype.

That may sound weird from this half of the world, where the hype died out a long ago, but consider the nature of Jagodina’s announcement. Even before officially signing the former U.S. international, Jagodina’s promoting his mere arrival. The tour of the facility? Meeting executives? It’s all up on the website. If something falls through as the sides work out the details? At least the club got some publicity out of it.

Is Adu a player that can close the gap between Jagodina and Partisan? Probably not, but is this a player that can get the club mentioned throughout international soccer media? In the United States, at least, yes.

Perhaps Adu’s not a pure publicity stunt, but he’s a dice roll that comes with some unique benefits, and for an ambitious club that’s gone from the third tier in 2007 to three straight Europa League qualifying appearances, it may represent the next step in the club’s progression.

And only 25, it may yet represent a chance to progress for Adu, too.

Mourinho’s agent: Coach paid $27 million in taxes in Spain

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04:  Jose Mourinho manager of Manchester United stands alongside his substitute Marouane Fellaini of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park on December 4, 2016 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
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MADRID (AP) Jose Mourinho’s agent says the Manchester United manager paid more than 26 million euros ($27 million) in taxes when he lived in Spain from 2010-13.

The information was made public on Tuesday by Gestifute, a company run by Mourinho’s agent, Jorge Mendes.

[ MORE: Pulisic wanted by Arsenal, Spurs ]

The Portuguese company has been releasing details about its clients’ tax declarations after European media outlets published what they claimed were details of apparent tax arrangements made by top soccer players and coaches, including Mourinho, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil.

Gestifute, which also has Ronaldo as a client, has already published documents allegedly showing that Spanish fiscal authorities have certified that Mourinho and Real Madrid star Ronaldo are “up to date on … obligations.”

Mourinho coached Real Madrid from 2010-13 and took charge of United this season.

Staying in Dallas: New contract for MLS Defender of the Year Hedges

HOUSTON, TX - MARCH 12:  Giles Barnes #10 of the Houston Dynamo battles for the ball with Matt Hedges #24 of FC Dallas during their game at BBVA Compass Stadium on March 12, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
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This is going to turn out to be one of the most exciting years of Matt Hedges’ life.

The FC Dallas man lead one of the best back lines in Major League Soccer to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the Supporters’ Shield.

[ MORE: PST talks with Hedges, Zimmerman ]

He’s also likely set for a chance to return to the USMNT fold under new coach Bruce Arena, as Hedges is one of the best players to be largely ignored by Jurgen Klinsmann.

Hedges, 26, was named the MLS Defender of the Year and made the Best XI, and now he’s inked a new long-term deal with FC Dallas.

The four-year deal will keep Hedges in Dallas through his 30th birthday. Capped once, Hedges has 159 appearances with 11 goals for FCD.

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Two more Pulisic suitors in North London? USMNT teen in demand

Dortmund's Emre Mor, left, celebrates with Dortmund's Felix Passlack and Dortmund's Christian Pulisic, right, after scoring during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and SV Darmstadt in Dortmund, Germany, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016. Dortmund defeated Darmstadt with 6-0. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
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Christian Pulisic is one of the most exciting young prospects in the world.

It’s a statement that isn’t often said without hyperbole when it comes to American standouts, but the 18-year-old Borussia Dortmund man has seen his names in the gossip pages a few times this year.

While Liverpool has often been the destination, Italian site Calcio Mercato says Premier League interest is wider than Merseyside. The clubs? Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.

[ VOTE: Who should win USMNT player of year? ]

Dortmund doesn’t want to sell the youngster, who is locked up through 2019. The whispered price has been $31 million at a minimum, but perhaps BVB would be tempted given their wealth of young attacking options.

Pulisic has made 27 appearances for Borussia Dortmund, nabbing four goals and six assists. He has 11 caps and three goals for the USMNT as well.

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Real Madrid asks for “utmost respect” to Ronaldo following tax drama

BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 03:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid reacts after missing a chance during the La Liga  match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF at Camp Nou on December 3, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
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Cristiano Ronaldo had been linked with massive tax evasion, but Real Madrid would ask you to kindly go back to treating him like a king now that he’s proven his innocence.

In a move usually reserved for politicians aiming for high office, Ronaldo’s agent released some of his tax documents to prove everything’s above board.

It all looks good, unlike what befell Neymar and Lionel Messi, so back off, huh?

[ MORE: Wednesday’s Champions League preview ]

From Real Madrid:

In view of the stories published over recent days and in consideration of the certificate issued by the Spanish Tax Agency which confirms that our player Cristiano Ronaldo is up to date with all of his tax obligations, Real Madrid C. F. call for the utmost respect to be shown towards Cristiano Ronaldo, whose conduct has been absolutely exemplary throughout all of his time at our club.

Only the utmost for CR7.

Real Madrid hosts Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday in a match which will decide Group F of the UEFA Champions League.

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