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La Liga & Serie A: Sevilla win big in race for 3rd; Juve go 7 points clear

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

[ MORE: La Liga — Real Madrid go 35 games unbeaten, set new club record ]

Celta Vigo 0-3 Sevilla

Sevilla’s 3-0 victory away to Celta sent Jorge Sampaoli’s side six points clear of Atletico Madrid, who play on Monday, in the race for Spain’s third and final automatic spot in the UEFA Champions League group stage.

The goals came from an unlikely source, Vicente Iborra, a defensive midfielder who entered Sunday’s game without a single goal scored in any competition for Sevilla this season. At the end of 90 minutes at Balaidos Municipal Stadium, the Spaniard had three goals to his name, all of which were scored in the second half.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Espanyol 2-1 Sporting Gijon
Real Betis 1-0 Athletic Bilbao
Eibar 0-0 Alaves

Monday’s La Liga schedule

Villarreal vs. Atletico Madrid — 2:45 p.m. ET


Torino 1-3 Juventus

Juventus fell behind early, to Andrea Belotti’s opener in the 16th minute (his 11th league goal of the season), but Gonzalo Higuain celebrated his 29th birthday with a pair of goals (nos. 8 and 9 in his first season in Turin) before Miralem Pjanic added the third in second-half stoppage time, as Juve prevailed in the Turin derby and went seven points clear of joint-second-place title chasers Roma and AC Milan, who will square off on Monday.

Cagliari 0-5 Napoli

Dries Mertens bagged a hat trick of his own as Napoli steamrolled 14th-place Cagliari away from home, moving to within a single point of Roma and Milan in the chase for Champions League qualification. Marek Hamsik and Piotr Zielinski also tallied on the day in extending a suddenly resurgent Napoli side’s unbeaten run to five games.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Inter Milan 2-0 Genoa
Atalanta 1-3 Udinese
Palermo 0-2 Chievo
Bologna 0-0 Empoli

Monday’s Serie A schedule

Fiorentina vs. Sassuolo — 1 p.m. ET
Roma vs. AC Milan — 3 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]