Instagram Transfer Rumors: Radamel Falcao heading to Real Madrid

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In one of the most shocking discoveries of the summer, Madrid-based newspaper AS has revealed that Radamel Falcao has begun following three Real Madrid players on Instagram.

Take a moment to catch your breath.

The report, which claims that the Colombian striker is now following Gareth Bale, Isco Alarcon and Sami Khedira, has sent shockwaves through the internet.

The significance of this bold social media move can not be understated – Falcao is on the next private jet to the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu. For months, nay years, rumors have been flying that Los Blancos were interested in buying the predatory striker known as El Tigre and now, we should all consider that deal as good as done.

It is of no importance that Falcao is currently recovering from knee surgery and is still on the mend, Madrid’s top-knotch social media investigators are clearly convinced he will return as good as new. His current club, AS Monaco, have spent the summer being peppered by rumors of Madrid’s desire to bring Falcao to the Spanish Giants, so much so that last week Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim uttered the dreaded concession: “At the moment, he is our player.”

That statement sent the higher-ups at Madrid into a tizzy, knowing their man was but a few pokes-and-prods away from caving in to their master plan. And now, if the almighty Instagram tea leaves are correct, it seems Madrid’s persistence has paid off.

But stop the presses.

Because I, too, have access to Instagram and after hours of investigative work have managed to uncover conflicting evidence to stoke the fire of silly season. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it appears that Mr. Falcao has been one bad boy because he also recently followed Carles Puyol, Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, meaning Madrid have stiff competition for Falcao’s signature from Barcelona and Manchester United.

And, as if the added competition wasn’t bad enough for Madrid, Falcao’s Instagram reveals yet another compelling interest: Babies. Yes, babies.

Paseo de los 3 papas @andreymolina @juancoflacortes

A post shared by Falcao (@falcao) on

As more information on Falcao’s Instagram comes available, we’ll be sure to pass it along. But for now, he’s definitely deciding between Madrid, Barca, United and Babies.

Instagram. The best damn transfer rumor app in the world.

 

Pep sticking with Bravo for final: “Locker room more important”

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Petr Cech and Ederson will watch from the bench as their clubs start the League Cup Final on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola announced that Manchester City will turn to Claudio Bravo between the sticks against Arsenal, which has already appointed David Ospina as its backstop for the final.

[ MORE: Europa League draw ]

And if you think Pep, having seen his side lose to Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup, should go back to Ederson for the final, he gets it.

“You can have an opinion, I am the manager. We are here for Claudio. He saved two lots of penalties. He deserves to play in the final. The locker room is more important than the final.”

The points aren’t completely independent, of course, but at this point the final is pretty darn important as Man City could see its trophy potential drop from 4-2 in little more than a week’s time.

Bravo has played just 45 minutes in the Premier League, against Liverpool in relief of Ederson, but has been the man for each of eight League and FA Cup matches.

City has just one clean sheet in that group, but won the seven matches apart from the 1-0 Wigan defeat. Two of those, against Wolves and Leicester, came in penalty kicks.

Arsenal gets AC Milan in Europa League Round of 16

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Arsenal’s path to the UEFA Champions League just got a whole lot tougher.

[ MORE: Arsenal loses 2nd leg, advances ]

Already eight points back of the Premier League’s Top Four, the Gunners have drawn Gennaro Gattuso’s AC Milan in the UEFA Europa League’s Round of 16.

The first leg is March 8 at the San Siro before moving to the Emirates a week later.

Milan is currently 7th in Serie A despite its big-spending summer, and faces a similar problem to the Gunners; Gattuso’s men need to make up eight points on Lazio and seven on fifth-place Inter Milan.

Elsewhere, Moscovian sides CSKA and Lokomotiv got no favors with trips to Lyon and Atletico Madrid, respectively.

Christian Pulisic and Borussia Dortmund will be pleased to see Red Bull Salzburg, while the latter’s sister club, RB Leipzig, was held apart from it by a draw with Zenit Saint-Petersbug.

Here’s the draw in full.

UEFA Europa League Round of 16
Lazio vs. Dynamo Kiev
RB Leipzig vs. Zenit St Petersburg
Atletico Madrid vs. Lokomotiv Moscow
CSKA Moscow vs. Lyon
Marseille vs. Athletic Bilbao
Sporting Lisbon vs. Viktoria Plzen
Borussia Dortmund vs. Red Bull Salzburg
AC Milan vs. Arsenal

CCL: Lodeiro from 45; Royer’s diving header — SEA, RBNY lead (video)

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After 45 minutes of their respective CONCACAF Champions League knockout-round quests, things are going unnervingly well for the Seattle Sounders and New York Red Bulls.

[ MORE: FC Dallas disappoint in CCL; Club America flying ]

If you’ve watched Major League Soccer teams try, try and try again — only to eventually fail in spectacular fashion — in CCL over the years, you might say things are going a little too well.

There’s still another 45 minutes to be played on Thursday — plus the return legs next week — but both the Sounders and Red Bulls hold 1-0 halftime leads, and the vitally important away goals which come with it. Nicolas Lodeiro’s 45-yard, first-time lob of the Santa Tecla (El Salvador) goalkeeper in the 15th minute has already been eternally etched into the memories of Sounders fans.

Just 15 minutes later, Daniel Royer perfectly executed the diving header and got on the end of Bradley Wright-Phillips’ curling ball into the box to Jesse Marsch’s side ahead of Honduran side CD Olimpia.

Villarreal DF Semedo charged with attempted murder

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MADRID (AP) A Spanish judge has charged Villarreal defender Ruben Semedo with attempted murder and ordered him to be temporarily detained without bail.

Court officials in Lliria say on Thursday the Portuguese player is also charged with assault, robbery, illegal detention, and illegal possession of firearms.

Semedo testified before a judge on Thursday, and left the court in handcuffs.

The 23-year-old Semedo was detained early Tuesday, accused of tying up, assaulting and threatening another man last week. Authorities say he and two other men allegedly held the victim captive while they robbed his apartment.

Semedo’s agents told Spanish media the player denies any wrongdoing.

Villarreal on Tuesday said it was investigating Semedo and would take appropriate disciplinary action.

Villarreal signed Semedo from Sporting Lisbon last summer for a reported fee of $17 million.