Ronaldinho leaves Atletico Mineiro, could be headed to MLS

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Former Barcelona great and FIFA World Player of the Year, Ronaldinho, has left Brazilian club Atletico Mineiro after the two sides agreed to terminate the player’s contract with one year remaining.

“I can’t call on Ronaldinho anymore,” Mineiro manager Levir Culpi told SporTV on Tuesday. “His cycle with us has ended. It’s unfortunate because he’s an idol to all of us. Everyone loves his football, the way he plays and he’s a very charismatic person. But that’s the way it goes. He’s leaving and we must move on without him.”

He will not, however, be retiring.

“He’ll play until he’s 42,” Ronaldinho’s agent and brother Roberto Assis reportedly told Brazilian publication Globo after being questioned about the player’s future.

Where, exactly, that future lies is anyone’s guess. Anywhere from Brazil to Argentine side Bocas Juniors, to the Middle East to Major League Soccer have been proposed as possible destinations. This wouldn’t be the first time Ronnie has been linked with a move stateside after reports in 2010 and 2011 had him moving to LA Galaxy.

While a move to the City of Angels would seem logical from a marketing point of view, from a practical one it’s a near impossibility as the Galaxy don’t have any Designated Player spots remaining.

An option with slightly more potential would see Ronaldinho move to New York Red Bulls, a side long in need of an attacking midfielder. The addition of ‘Dinho would not only satisfy the need for a playmaker but could be also prove a key move to encourage Thierry Henry, rumored to be retiring after this season, and Tim Cahill, reportedly interested in a move to Australia ahead of Asia Cup 2015, to remain at the club for at least one more season.

Downsides to a deal for Ronaldinho are aplenty as the Brazilian remains a flight risk (as became obvious in his time with Flamengo and Mineiro) and the lure of partying in New York City could disrupt his output. There’s little question that the city and the league would embrace Ronaldinho and his entertaining style of play. Whether he’d be a smart fit, however, is a much bigger issue.

 

Bundesliga wrap: Dortmund wins in Stoger’s managerial debut

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For the first time since late September, Borussia Dortmund has won a league match, while Leipzig’s slip up opens the door for Bayern Munich to extend its lead in Germany’s top flight.

[ MORE: Chelsea tops Huddersfield, level on points with Man United ]

Here’s a brief look at all of Tuesday’s Bundesliga action.

Mainz 0-2 Borussia Dortmund

10 points separates Dortmund from league leaders Bayern Munich, who also have a match in hand, but for the moment, the bleeding his stopped. BVB picked up a crucial win on Tuesday to end its domestic woes upon manager Peter Stoger’s debut. The side’s drought stretched over an eight-match winless period. Second-half goals from Sokratis and Shinji Kagawa moved Dortmund into the top four, while Mainz remains 15th in the league table.

 

Wolfsburg 1-1 Red Bull Leipzig

Meanwhile, RB Leipzig’s form continues to slide downward after the second-place side dropped points in its fourth straight match across all competitions. The road side’s fortunes were dampened early on when Paul Verhaegh converted from the penalty spot, however, Marcel Halstenberg did manage to pull a goal back for Leipzig in the 52nd minute. Leipzig’s misfortunes carried on in stoppage time though when Dayot Upamecano was sent off after picking up his second yellow card of the day.


The rest of Tuesday’s scores

Hamburg 1-2 Frankfurt
Freiburg 1-0 Borussia Monchengladbach

Inter beats 3rd-division Pordenone 5-4 on penalties in Cup

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MILAN (AP) Inter Milan scraped into the Italian Cup quarterfinals after the Serie A leader was taken to penalties by third-division Pordenone on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Chelsea tops Huddersfield, moves level on points with Man United ]

Pordenone goalkeeper Simone Perilli pulled off several saves in regulation time to keep the game scoreless, and he almost proved to be the hero during the shootout, stopping two penalties.

But Inter prevailed 5-4, with Yuto Nagatomo tucking away the final spot kick.

Both sides hit the woodwork during the 120 minutes.

Inter coach Luciano Spalletti rang the changes, and only Milan Skriniar and Matias Vecino remained in the starting 11 from Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Juventus.

[ MORE: Burnley moves into top four after win over Stoke ]

However, he was forced by desperation to bring on Marcelo Brozovic at halftime as well as star forwards Ivan Perisic and Mauro Icardi.

Report: Cosmos coach Savarese to be named new Timbers manager

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In a time where NASL’s status moving forward is hanging in the balance, one of the league’s top managers is set to make the jump to Major League Soccer.

[ MORE: LA FC close to acquiring Red Bulls captain Sacha Kljestan ]

According to ESPN soccer analyst Taylor Twellman, New York Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese is set to be named the next Portland Timbers manager.

Savarese will take over for the recently departed Caleb Porter, who stepped down from his head coaching role with the Timbers in November.

The former professional player spent five seasons in MLS during his career, including stints with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars (now the Red Bulls), as well as the New England Revolution and the San Jose Earthquakes.

The 46-year-old has managed the Cosmos from 2013 to present, and guided the NASL side to three Soccer Bowl titles in that span.

Report: LA FC close to acquiring Red Bulls captain Sacha Kljestan

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First Dax McCarty ahead of the 2017 season, and now Sacha Kljestan?

It seems as though the New York Red Bulls could be on the verge of trading away yet another club captain this offseason.

[ MORE: LA FC continues active offseason with addition of Laurent Ciman ]

According to Metro, Los Angeles FC is close to trading for Red Bulls midfielder Sacha Kljestan.

The U.S. Men’s National Team attacker has led Major League Soccer in assists over the last two seasons, and has served as an integral piece in the Red Bulls midfield since joining the club in 2015.

The Red Bulls made Kljestan club captain ahead of the 2017 season when former midfielder Dax McCarty was traded away to the Chicago Fire in exchange for allocation money.

Kljestan spent the first five seasons of his MLS career with now-defunct side Chivas USA, before playing in Europe Belgian club Anderlecht.