For Napoli, hairstyle part of Marouane Fellaini’s appeal

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Two days after rumors connecting Marouane Fellaini to Napoli surfaced, the Serie A club has confirmed the Manchester United midfielder is “on the table.” Club president Aurelio De Laurentiis verified his team’s interest in Thursday, with the filmmaker/soccer executive telling an Italian radio station that the Belgian’s hairstyle helps make him an attractive options for the club.

Fellaini, know for his characteristic large, dark afro, has been linked with moves away Old Trafford, with new manager Louis van Gaal reportedly hoping to trim him from the Red Devils’ roster. Though United gave Everton $42.8 million for the 26-year-old last September, the club is willing to cut its losses to find a new home for David Moyes’s first major acquisition.

Though Napoli won’t be able to approach last year’s fee, the club’s still been Fellaini’s most prominent suitor, with the possibility of a season on loan reported on Monday.

Per De Laurentiis, Fellaini is one of a number of options, though the Belgian has one edge on the field. From England’s Press Association

“Fellaini is one of the names on the table, but not the only one,” the Napoli president told the Italian radio station Kiss Kiss when asked about potential transfers for the upcoming season.

De Laurentiis thinks Fellaini and Gökhan Inler would make a good centre-midfield pairing for Napoli, not because of their playing styles but because of their respective hair styles …

“Fellaini has long hair and the Swiss [Inler] is shaven. Together they have a hairstyle that looks like a lion’s mane and three years ago I presented Inler with the mask of a lion!”

Assuming Fellaini can move on from last year’s struggles, a holding tandem of him and Inler in Napoli’s double-pivot should be very effective. But De Laurentiis, being the entertainer he is, sees beyond that potential. Effective is one thing. Attractive is another.

How much is that worth to United, though? The Red Devils are going to have to take a hit on Fellaini’s sale, but are the aesthetics of a deal enough to get Napoli’s commitment? At this point, it’s difficult to imagine the Belgian international being with the club come Sept. 1.

Former Czech Republic defender Rajtoral kills himself

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PRAGUE (AP) Former Czech Republic defender Frantisek Rajtoral, who won the domestic league title four times before joining Turkish club Gaziantepspor, died on Sunday. He was 31.

[ MORE: Bayern scouted Kyle Walker, Alex Sanchez this weekend ]

The Czech football federation said in a statement that Rajtoral had “committed suicide in Turkey.”

His agent Pavel Zika confirmed the player’s death, describing it as a “huge tragedy.”

Gaziantepspor announced Rajtoral’s death in a brief statement on its website.

Rajtoral played 14 international matches for the Czech Republic.

In the top Czech league, he won four titles with Viktoria Plzen and played in the group stage of the Champions League twice for the club. He moved to Hannover in the Bundesliga in 2014 for half of the season, on loan.

He left Viktoria Plzen last year to move to Turkey.

Bellerin wants to represent Spain U21s despite Wenger’s wishes

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Arsene Wenger has made it clear about Hector Bellerin representing Spain this summer but the Arsenal defender is prepared to go against his manager’s wishes if he is selected.

[ MORE: Bayern scouted Kyle Walker, Alexis Sanchez over the weekend ]

The 22-year-old has said he hopes to play for Spain’s Under-21 side this summer during the 2017 European U-21 Championship but Wenger has been weary of Bellerin’s injury status and wants his fullback to maintain a clean bill of health throughout the offseason.

“I really want to play,” Bellerin told IBTimes. “Representing Spain is very important. If [Albert] Celades gives me the chance I’ll be there.

“Those are opinions of the managers. I have to keep working. The truth is that I had a difficult injury but I think that I am at 100% now and I’ll try to prove it when I get the chance.”

Bellerin signed a six-and-a-half year deal with the Gunners in November, where he has resided since coming up in the club’s academy. He has made 102 appearances for Wenger’s team in that span over all competitions.

Roma boosts bid for 2nd in Serie A by beating Pescara 4-1

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PESCARA, Italy (AP) Roma boosted its bid for second place in Serie A and automatic entry into the Champions League with a 4-1 win at Pescara, which was mathematically relegated on Monday.

[ MORE: Newcastle joins Brighton in promotion to Premier League ]

Roma moved four points clear of third-placed Napoli, which drew against Sassuolo 2-2 on Sunday. Third place in Serie A receives a Champions League playoff.

Pescara remained 15 points behind Empoli. There are only five matches left and Empoli has the better head-to-head record, which is the deciding factor if two teams finish level on points.

There were 48 goals in total in the 33rd round, matching the record set in October 1992.

Roma took control shortly before halftime, with Kevin Strootman breaking the deadlock after Stephan El Shaarawy unselfishly rolled the ball across the area.

Radja Nainggolan, who earlier hit the bar, doubled Roma’s lead two minutes later.

Mohamed Salah extended Roma’s advantage three minutes after the break and the winger doubled his tally on the hour following a swift counterattack.

Ahmad Benali got a consolation for Pescara and a Cristiano Biraghi free kick also hit the post for the home side.

Frank Yallop resigns as Phoenix Rising coach shortly after Drogba arrival

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The timing is a bit sudden and certainly leaves many questions up in the air, but Phoenix Rising will have to look for a new manager.

[ MORE: Chicharito talks heating up with LA FC ]

On Monday, head coach Frank Yallop resigned from his position with the United Soccer League (USL) club less than one day after former Chelsea legend Didier Drogba joined the organization as a player-owner.

With Phoenix seen as one of several lower-level clubs with ambitions of making the leap to MLS over the coming seasons, Yallop’s departure is surely a shock to many.

According to ESPN FC, Rising lead owner Berke Bakay was quite surprised by Yallop’s decision to step down, as was Drogba.

“Didier was as surprised and disappointed as we were that Frank is unable to continue coaching our Club,” Bakay told ESPN FC. “But, we all respect his decision to put his family first.

“Didier’s focus will remain on improving our team as a player and assisting our MLS expansion team ownership group as a co-owner. Frank will be helping with our international search for a new head coach.”

Rick Schantz, the current Rising assistant coach, will head the team’s managerial duties for the interim while the club completes a full search for a new manager.