Manchester City have been handed a huge boost ahead of the new Premier League season.
Midfield powerhouse Yaya Toure has quashed any rumors he’s set for a move away from the reigning PL champions and has claimed he will stay with the Citizens “for as long as possible.”
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Previously it had been thought that Toure, 31, was unhappy at City after his agent Dimitry Seluk claimed the Ivory Coast star felt disrespected by the club he joined from Barcelona in 2010. That all stemmed from the infamous “birthday cake” fiasco where Toure was apparently upset due to his birthday being ignored by the clubs owners during a end of season trip to the United Arab Emirates. All of that seems to have been brushed under the carpet now, as Toure is looking forward to a long career at the Etihad.
Toure spoke to Manchester City’s website after linking back up with the squad following his participation at the 2014 World Cup. This is what he had to say on rumors about his future.
“I am very happy to join the team and the manager,” Toure said. “He [Pellegrini] is a fantastic manager and everyone is very happy and positive because last season was a good season. This year, I hope it is going to be amazing with all the other teams signing very good players. For me, it was not a case of leaving the club. It was difficult because my situation was quite difficult. I was always quiet and my decision is that I will stay at Manchester City for as long as possible.”
Toure was an integral part of City’s title winning squad in 2013-14 as he scored 20 goals from midfield in the PL. He was City’s top scorer, drove them forward from midfield and along with Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany and Joe Hart, Toure is part of City’s spine of important players. He signed a new four-year contract last season but his future was up in the air following some negative comments to the press, the birthday incident and the tragic death of his younger brother Ibrahim over the summer.
Losing him this summer would have been a huge blow, but Toure is sticking around after regaining focus over the summer.
Since arriving on the New York City scene two years ago it’s fair to summarize Mix Diskerud’s tenure with New York City FC as a disappointment.
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While the expectations of a quick transition from life in Europe to MLS were surely massive, the 26-year-old midfielder has failed to live up to the billing of not only being one of the NYCFC’s highest-paid players but also as a potential U.S. Men’s National Team candidate.
Diskerud saw his playing time dwindle down from 23 starts in 2015 to nine this past season under new manager Patrick Vieira, and it doesn’t appear that the Norwegian-American will see an influx of opportunities during the upcoming 2017 season.
Rumors have surfaced throughout the offseason about NYCFC potentially buying out Diskerud’s contract, however, the midfielder’s cryptic post to social media on Sunday afternoon suggests that he may not be in New York for much longer.
It has been suggested that Diskerud would possibly consider a return to Europe in the event that his contract was in fact bought out, however, the difference in salaries would likely be drastic.
According to figures released by the MLS Players’ Union, Diskerud made $761,250 in 2016, which was the fourth-highest salary on NYCFC books behind only David Villa, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo, each of whom were classified as Designated Players.
Gabriel Jesus was a revelation for Manchester City before suffering an injury, but even with a spot in the lineup for the time being Sergio Aguero may not be coming back to Manchester City next season.
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According to the Sun, Spanish giants Real Madrid are eyeing up a move for Aguero in the hopes that the Argentine striker will join the club at the conclusion of the Premier League season.
Prior to joining City back in 2011, Aguero played five seasons in La Liga with Atletico Madrid, where he scored 101 goals in all competitions for the Rojiblancos.
While Aguero is likely to hold his starting spot for some time due to Jesus’ injured metatarsal, manager Pep Guardiola had heavily favored the young forward over Aguero since officially joining the club in January.
Tab Ramos’ side completed their first task, but now the U.S. Under-20 national team has its next challenge lying in front of them.
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The U.S. U-20s finished second in Group B at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship after winning two of its three group stage matches.
Now, Mexico and El Salvador await the U-20s in the classification stage with a spot at May’s Under-20 World Cup in South Korea on the line.
During the classification round there will be two groups of three teams, with the top two teams advancing to the World Cup. Each group winner will meet in the CONCACAF Championship final.
Classification stage schedule
Feb. 27 — U.S. U-20s vs. Mexico
Mar. 1 — Mexico vs. El Salvador
Mar. 3 — U.S. U-20s vs. El Salvador
Feb. 27 — Panama vs. Honduras
Mar. 1 — Honduras vs. Costa Rica
Mar. 3 — Panama vs. Costa Rica
Manolo Gabbiadini performed brilliantly in Sunday’s EFL Cup final, but was the Southampton striker unfairly gipped of a hat-trick?
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Saints manager Claude Puel certainly believes so.
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While the back-and-forth final between Southampton and Manchester United presented a tremendous matchup, the Saints had every right to be furious with the officiating in the early going after Gabbiadini’s 11th minute finish was called off for offsides.
“I would like, of course, video in the future for these situations,” said Puel. “It’s very hard when we see this game to lose. It was cruel.”
Gabbiadini went on to score a pair of goals at the tail end of the first half and early in the second stanza, but Puel was pleased with his side’s resilience after going down 2-0 inside the opening 38 minutes.
“We kept the good attitude and spirit to stay in the game after going 2-0 down,” said the Southampton boss. “We played since the beginning of the season every two or three days. We played to a strong and fantastic level. It’s important now to continue this work, to put away this disappointment and come back in the Premier League with this strength and this quality.”
Video replay has been a common discussion for some time now, but more leagues are beginning to examine the possibility. FIFA is prepared to introduce new experimental trials over the coming months and could present a form of replay at next summer’s World Cup in Russia.