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.

 

Soccer world reacts to the Manchester attacks

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NBC News is reporting that at least 19 people have been killed and another 50 are injured following a possible suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

Multiple senior U.S. intelligence officials who are monitoring British authorities told NBC News that preliminary reports indicate that a single explosion took place outside the arena on the southwest side opposite the train station. The explosion occurred as the concert ended, catching people as they exited.

Soccer personalities around the world are reacting to the horrible event.

Juventus purchases Cuadrado from Chelsea

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If you didn’t realize Juan Cuadrado still belonged to Chelsea, you’re forgiven.

The Colombian attacker will complete his second season at Juventus after the UEFA Champions League Final against Real Madrid, and won’t be headed back to Chelsea afterwards.

Juve has purchased Cuadrado, and the fee is $22 million, and Juve will pay it over three seasons. Cuadrado, 28, is now signed through 2020 with The Old Lady.

Cuadrado first went on loan to Juve in Aug. 2015, and has eight goals and 18 assists in 83 career appearances with the club.

Chelsea bought Cuadrado from Fiorentina for around $32 million in the January 2015 transfer window, but made just 14 appearances with the club.

Report: Jermain Defoe meeting with Bournemouth

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Sky Sports is reporting that Jermain Defoe may head back to the south of England following Sunderland’s relegation.

Defoe, 34, spent two seasons with Portsmouth between 2008-09, scoring 15 goals in 31 appearances.

[ MORE: ‘The Moment’ of each PL club’s season ]

The 56-times capped England striker had a clause in his Sunderland contract allowing him to leave the Stadium of Light were the Black Cats to be relegated, as they were this season. He’d have little interest in dropping into the Championship given his desire to stay a part of the England squad ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

Bournemouth’s strike corps includes Joshua King, who scored the most goals of any player not on a Top Seven side this season. King’s 16 goals were one more than Defoe’s 15, though the latter scored just one goal following a brace against Crystal Palace on Feb. 4.

Chelsea’s Conte wins pair of top managerial honors

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Antonio Conte took league and national honors from the League Managers Association on Monday night.

The Chelsea boss was named Premier League Manager of the Year and Manager of the Year after leading the Blues to the PL title and an FA Cup Final in his first year on the job.

Brighton and Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton nabbed another Championship boss of the year award after leading the Gulls to the Premier League. He also won the honor with Newcastle United in 2010.

The League One winner is Chris Wilder of Sheffield United. Wilder won the honor with Northampton Town last season.

In League Two, Paul Cook of Portsmouth was named the winner.