Report: Xabi Alonso heading to Manchester United

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Another day means one thing,  another star is reportedly heading to Manchester United. This time Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso is the man linked with a move to Old Trafford.

Alonso, 32, has played in the Premier League before, for United’s bitter rivals Liverpool. The Spanish international left Liverpool in 2009 and won the UEFA Champions League with Real last season, while also having the 2010 World Cup and both the 2008 and 2012 European Championship titles with Spain under his belt.

[RELATED: United sign Marcus Rojo]

Tidy on the ball and possessing a biting tackle, Alonso compliments Real’s superstars superbly as he wins the ball and distributes it to Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and co. with minimum fuss. Could he soon be doing the same for Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie? Having Alonso sit in midfield alongside fellow Spaniards Juan Mata and Ander Herrera would be a joy to behold. He would bring the right amount of grit and determination but could also knock the ball around with Herrera and Mata in the middle to create a hub of ingenuity in Louis van Gaal’s new-look team. Earlier on in the summer van Gaal was said to be in for AC Milan midfielder Nigel de Jong but interest in the player he coached for the Dutch national team has since dwindled.

[RELATED: Thursday’s Rumor Roundup]

According to the Daily Express, Alonso is available to move as Real Madrid try to trim their ridiculously large squad which is at least two deep in every position. At Real he has to compete with Toni Kroos, Sami Khedira, Asier Illarramendi and Luka Modric just to get in the team. With United chasing Arturo Vidal and Kevin Strootman this summer, Alonso could be a great buy in the meantime. Vidal’s protracted move from Juventus seems to be fizzling out, while Dutch international Strootman is out inured until at least December.

[RELATED: Di Maria wants to leave Real Madrid]

Plus, if United move in for Alonso it will actually scupper Arsenal and Chelsea’s plans to buy Khedira from Real. However with news arriving on Thursday that Khedira has rejected a new deal at Real Madrid, perhaps Alonso will remain in Madrid.

A few stumbling blocks could line this deal, one being Alonso’s refusal to play for United having formally been a fans favorite after starring for Liverpool in a five-year spell where he won the Champions League and numerous other trophies. However if the Spaniard fancies a return to the North West of England, a move to United would seal that. But why shouldn’t Alonso remain at Real and fight for his spot?

Following United’s opening day defeat to Swansea City, new boss van Gaal is hurriedly knitting together a new team with less than two weeks until the transfer window slams shut. Will Alonso be a part of that team?

Podolski goes out with super goal; Germany tops England

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The highlight of Wednesday’s international friendly docket was Lukas Podolski‘s final match for Germany, and the former Arsenal man did not disappoint his crowd.

But first, Canada plays its first match since unveiling new coach Octavio Zambrano.

[ MORE: Zlatan still bitter with Guardiola ]

Scotland 1-1 Canada

Zambrano saw plenty to like from his new side, as Canada went ahead early with a goal from former Scottish youth Fraser Aird. Toronto-born, the ex-Rangers and current Falkirk man got his first Canadian goal against the team he represented at U-17 and U-19 levels.

Norwich City’s Steven Naismith redirected Tom Cairney‘s shot to make it 1-1 before the break, but Scotland never found its way back into Canada’s net.

Germany 1-0 England

Lukas Podolski scored his 49th international goal in his final cap for Germany, and it was spectacular.

Joe Hart didn’t stand a chance.

The match saw big stops from both ‘keepers, as Hart thwarted Leroy Sane on a second half break after Marc-Andre Ter Stegen defied Dele Alli in the opening 45.

Podolski subbed off in the 84th minute to wild applause, but it must sting slightly to know you finished an illustrious career one goal short of a nice, round 50. We guess he’ll have to rest on his millions and millions of earnings and loads of on-field honors.

Elsewhere
Vietnam 1-1 Chinese Taipei
Philippines 0-0 Malaysia
Cyprus 3-1 Kazakhstan
Yemen 0-1 Palestine
Cambodia 2-3 India

McClean to wear No. 5 in honor of deceased ex-teammate

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James McClean is a colorful personality who doesn’t shy away from strong opinions — he once called Jurgen Klopp “a bit of an idiot” — and the West Brom man is using the big stage of World Cup qualifying to proudly honor a deceased ex-teammate.

McClean has long before friends with Derry City captain Ryan McBride, who shockingly died hours after leading his side to a league win this weekend. Given his age (27), few saw it coming even after McBride admitted to feeling ill after the match.

[ MORE: Zlatan still bitter with Guardiola ]

McBride and McClean played together at Derry, and the latter was excused from Republic of Ireland training to attend funeral services this week.

He’s still expected to play a role in Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Wales on Friday, and McClean will don the No. 5 of McBride. Irish defender Richard Keogh usually wears the number and agreed to the change.

NASL side to broadcast all its matches on Twitter

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It’s fair to expect the San Francisco Deltas to be trendsetters in tech given their location and pedigree, and the first-year NASL club is doing just that.

The Deltas announced Wednesday that all of their home matches will be broadcast live on Twitter — in English, Spanish, and Portuguese — making them the first North American pro club to broadcast all of their matches on social media.

[ MORE: Zlatan still bitter with Guardiola ]

Twitter senior executive Josh McFarland had previously named as one of the investors in the Deltas, which makes the announcement even more natural. Other investors include tech execs from around the Silicon Valley.

Zlatan: Guardiola falling out “still drives me”

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Time heals all wounds, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic can still feel the scars from his falling out with Pep Guardiola.

The megawatt personalities saw their relationship deteriorate at Barcelona, with Ibrahimovic loaned to AC Milan one year after scoring 21 goals in 45 matches for Guardiola and the Blaugranas.

[ MORE: How will U.S. line up vs Honduras? ]

Ibrahimovic never played for Barca again, and now has a chance to stare down Man City’s Guardiola in a Manchester Derby which could alter the Top Four fortunes of both sides. And he’s still powered by Pep.

From The Guardian, quoting a Sky Sports Italia interview:

“The problem wasn’t with me, it was with him, and he never came to terms with it. I don’t know what his problem was with me. It is something that drives me, gives me adrenaline and extra motivation. It is normal after what has happened. I’m using it as a positive, not negative.”

United visits City at the Etihad Stadium on April 27, and Ibrahimovic will be extra motivated (if that’s possible for the Swede, who seemingly would be fired up to beat someone in arcade bubble hockey).