The man known simply as ‘Dave’ around West London, due to the rather complex pronunciation of his surname, has earned himself a new bumper contract at Premier League leaders Chelsea.
I am, of course, talking about Spanish international defender Cesar Azpilicueta who has signed a new five-year deal at Stamford Bridge after a breakout season in 2013-14. The versatile defender, who kept Ashley Cole out of the team at left back and also shone in his natural position of right back, arrived at Chelsea from Marseille in 2012 and has made 95 appearances for the Blues.
Azpilicueta, 25, was named Chelsea’s Players’ Player of the Year for the 2013-14 season as his contribution to the meanest defense in the PL didn’t go unnoticed.
He is a true unsung hero, as his endless running, covering, tracking back and well-timed tackles are often overlooked due to Chelsea’s rich array of attacking options.
Make no mistake about it, Dave is a key player for the Blues.
With a back four of Azpilicueta, John Terry, Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic this season, Chelsea look sturdy in defense but somehow shipped three goals away at Everton last weekend in their 6-3 victory. That annoyed Jose Mourinho but his sides’ defense will bail him out more often than not this campaign. Azpilicueta’s form at left back has kept new signing Filipe Luis out of the team, as the Atletico Madrid left back has yet to start a game in the PL.
After this new long-term deal and on current from, Azpilicueta’s complicated name will continue to be one of the first on the teamsheet for Mourinho each week.
LIMA, Peru (AP) Peru has extradited the country’s former soccer boss to the United States for his alleged involvement in a multibillion-dollar FIFA bribery scandal involving marketing and broadcasting rights.
Manuel Burga was sent to New York on a commercial flight before dawn on Friday.
He has been in jail since December 2015 as part of the investigation. Peru’s Supreme Court in June cleared the way for his extradition and President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski signed a decree authorizing the move a week ago.
Burga oversaw Peru’s football federation for more than a decade until 2014. He has denied any wrongdoing.
While the battle for MLS Cup 2016 has been dwindled down to two sides, the rest of the league continues to make roster transactions in preparation for next season.
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The San Jose Earthquakes announced on Friday that the club has exercised options on six players, including goalkeeper David Bingham, Fatai Alashe, Kip Colvey and Victor Bernardez.
Additionally, the Earthquakes have released nine players, including U.S. Men’s National Team defender Clarence Goodson, Marc Pelosi and Tommy Thompson, however, the latter two are reportedly in talks to return to the club in 2017.
NAPLES, Italy (AP) Napoli eased to a 3-0 win over Inter Milan in Serie A on Friday, with two goals in the opening five minutes.
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The home side got off to a lightning start as, following a wonderful team move, Jose Callejon headed back Marek Hamsik’s chipped pass for Piotr Zielinski to volley into the bottom left corner.
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Zielinski turned provider moments later as Hamsik beat the offside trap to run onto his pass and fire into the bottom right corner.
It was Hamsik’s 104th goal for Napoli, moving him level with Edinson Cavani in third in the clubs’ goalscoring charts. The Slovakia forward needs 11 more to equal Diego Maradona’s record.
Inter started the second half aggressively but hopes of getting back into the match were scuppered six minutes after the restart when Lorenzo Insigne netted his fourth goal in three league matches after visiting goalkeeper Samir Handanovic only flapped at a corner.
Napoli moved level on points with Atalanta, which visits league leader Juventus on Saturday, and fourth-placed Lazio, which hosts Roma in the capital derby on Sunday.
Inter, which beat Fiorentina 4-2 on Monday for its first win under coach Stefano Pioli, remained eighth ahead of the rest of the weekend’s fixtures.
On a day where Atlanta United added another young talent, the 2017 MLS expansion side could be preparing to make a major splash for a South American playmaker.
According to numerous Argentine media outlets, Atlanta is closing in on signing Paraguay international Miguel Almiron for an MLS-record fee of $13 million from Lanus at the end of 2016.
Almiron, 22, has scored three goals in 34 appearances for Lanus since joining the Argentine club in 2015. The young winger began his professional career back in 2013 with Cerro Porteno, where Almiron also played for the club’s youth academy.
On the international stage, Almiron has already earned seven caps for Paraguay after previously representing the nation’s Under-17 and U-20 national teams.