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La Liga & Serie A: Ronaldo paces Real and more

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A roundup of Saturday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights…

[ MORE: Chelsea ends Tottenham’s perfect start and more in PL action ]

Real Madrid 2-1 Sporting Gijon

Cristiano Ronaldo blasted Real Madrid in front after five minutes, and the reigning Champions League holders held on from there. The Portuguese star netted in the fifth and 18th minutes to give Los Blancos an early advantage, however, Sporting stuck with the Spanish giants for most of the match. Carlos Carmona pulled a goal back before halftime, but Duje Cop missed a penalty kick with 12 minutes remaining, ending Sporting’s chances of stealing a point.

Malaga 4-3 Deportivo La Coruna

Deportivo nearly stole a point on the road on Saturday, but it was Javier Ontivero that flipped the script for Malaga in second-half stoppage time of the seven-goal thriller. Michael Santos completed a brace for Malaga, netting on both sides of halftime, while Sandro Ramirez also netted for the home side. Following Saturday’s defeat, the visitors sit just one point above the drop zone in Spain’s top flight, while Malaga is up to ninth.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Espanyol 2-0 Leganes
Sevilla 2-1 Valencia

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Villareal vs. Alaves — 6 a.m. ET
Osasuna vs. Atletico Madrid — 10:15 a.m. ET
Celta Vigo vs. Granada — 12:30 p.m. ET
Real Sociedad vs. Barcelona — 2:45 p.m. ET


Torino 2-1 Chievo Verona

Iago Falque fired twice in three minutes during the first half to help propel Torino past Chievo on Saturday. The former Tottenham attacker helped push Torino up to sixth place in Serie A following the victory. Chievo’s afternoon nearly took a turn in the dying minutes when Roberto Inglese pulled a goal back for the visitors, however, any momentum was completely halted in the 89th minute when Fabrizio Cacciatore was sent off.

Empoli 1-4 AC Milan

AC Milan tentatively moves up to second place in Serie A following Saturday’s big win at Empoli. Gianluca Lapadula scored on both sides of halftime for the visitors, while Suso and an own goal also contributed to the victory. Empoli immediately responded following Lapadula’s opener, however, AC Milan could not be stopped. Vincenzo Montella’s side is now unbeaten in its last five matches, putting the Rossoneri within striking distance of Juventus at the summit of Italy’s top flight.

Sunday’s Serie A schedule

Palermo vs. Lazio — 6:30 a.m. ET
Bologna vs. Atalanta — 9 a.m. ET
Cagliari vs. Udinese — 9 a.m. ET
Crotone vs. Sampdoria — 9 a.m. ET
Genoa vs. Juventus — 9 a.m. ET
Roma vs. Pescara — 2:45 p.m. ET

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Chelsea still pursuing Roma duo, and more

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Chelsea is looking to make a big transfer splash as it searches for potential replacements for Michy Batshuayi and David Luiz.

According to multiple reports, Chelsea is attempting a double signing from AS Roma, forward Edin Dzeko and midfielder Emerson Palmieri. The Brazilian left-back is rated by Roma at $30.5 million but he could join Chelsea on loan. However the interest in Dzeko is much newer, and it’s unclear whether Roma would allow Dzeko to leave, especially in the middle of the season.

[READ: MLS SuperDraft 2018 Live Tracker]

With Roma preparing to face Inter Milan this weekend, talks between the two clubs have been put on hold until next week.

Dzeko’s agent confirmed that Conte is interested in the Bosnia and Herzegovina international but stated Dzeko’s desire is to remain at Roma.

After failing to beat out Sergio Aguero in the starting lineup for Manchester City, it would be interesting to see Dzeko give the Premier League another go, although he’d likely play second-fiddle again, this time to Alvaro Morata.

Here are some more transfer rumors from around Europe and the Premier League:

(more…)

MLS SuperDraft 2018 Live Tracker

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For a few dozen players, hearing their name called up to the big stage will validate all the hard work and sacrifices they’ve made since they were children.

Starting at 11:00 a.m. when Los Angeles FC is on the clock at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, the 2018 MLS SuperDraft will be underway. Many of the top college prospects will soon find out whether they’ll be headed to the Pacific Northwest, New England, the Southeast, Southern California or anywhere in between.

[MORE: 2018 MLS Mock Draft]

This year’s draft class is loaded with attacking talent, from Generation Adidas trio Ema Twumasi (Wake Forest), Mason Toye (Indiana) and Francis Atuahene (Michigan) to Twumasi’s college teammate Jon Bakero.

But potential No. 1 overall pick is a three-time national champion, Thomas Hilliard-Arce, who could become the anchor of a backline for a decade.

Follow along below as we update the picks live as we hear them:

(more…)

Bayern signs Germany midfielder Goretzka from rival Schalke

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MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich signed Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka on Friday on a free transfer from Bundesliga rival Schalke effective from next season.

Bayern said the 22-year-old Goretzka signed a four-year deal from July 1 through June 2022.

Schalke, which Goretzka joined in 2013 from hometown club Bochum, said the player informed the club this week of his wish to join Bayern when his contract expired.

[ MORE: Bundesliga scores ]

“We think we did everything in the last months to convince Leon to stay with us,” Schalke sporting director Christian Heidel said. “In the end, it wasn’t enough.”

Schalke had long been engaged in trying to get Goretzka to extend his contract, but was aware of reported interest from Bayern, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Liverpool.

“We’re very happy that Leon Goretzka, a German international with big potential, has decided in favor of Bayern despite big-name international competitors. This way it’s ensured that Leon Goretzka remains in the Bundesliga,” Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.

Goretzka scored 19 goals and set up 13 more in 130 appearances for Schalke.

The club had previously expressed its displeasure with Bayern making public statements about its player after Goretzka was praised by sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic and coach Jupp Heynckes.

Heidel said “we don’t need to hear every day from the Munich people how good our player is.”

Goretzka has six goals in 12 games for Germany.

Pele hospitalized overnight in Brazil

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The most famous soccer player in the world had a scare last night as he was hospitalized in Brazil for “severe exhaustion.”

Pele, 77, was set to travel to London this weekend to be honored by the Football Writers Association, though it looks like that trip has now been postponed.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, Pele collapsed and was taken to a hospital in Brazil where he has undergone a series of tests which appear to point to severe exhaustion,” a FWA statement said. “He remains on fluids while doctors monitor his recovery.

“Thankfully, there is no suggestion of anything more serious than exhaustion.”

Here’s to hoping Pele makes a full recovery.

[MORE: USMNT centerback heads to Championship club]