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Pep Guardiola backs down on retirement talk, says he’s happy at Man City

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New Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has come under fire recently for saying he is starting to “say goodbye to my career.”

Guardiola backed down from those comments – made to NBC in a sitdown interview aired last week – suggesting the media took his words out of context and also taking responsibility for poor word choice.

“I said in the interview I am not going to be training when I am 60 years old,” Guardiola said in the prematch press conference prior to Friday’s FA Cup match against West Ham. “But guys, I am 45! I am not going to retire in two or three years. I love my job and am in the perfect place to do my job, especially here in England.”

“I won’t be training at 60 years because I want to do something else in my life. I started playing football as a young guy and my whole career was on the pitch, so I want to do something else in my life. But not in the next three, four, five or seven years. Maybe it was inappropriate to say I am starting to say goodbye to my career, but I know what I am thinking about when I am going to retire.”

Guardiola also praised his team’s ability to be fluid amid a season of bumps in the road. His tone was a significant U-turn from the previous months that have seen him throw players under the bus and show concern for his team’s ability to adapt to his tactics.

“I think all managers have to be so demanding,” Guardiola said. “But what I feel now – what I saw in the last few games – every time the situation is not going well, it’s my fault, not the fault of the players. That is my feeling now.”

The Spaniard pointed towards the most recent 2-1 win over Burnley where the team gritted out a victory despite playing the final 60 minutes with 10 men after Fernandinho was sent off. “The players have been amazing,” Guardiola said. “We have changed many things about the way we’re going to play this season so it was a special moment against Burnley. To see how they fought in such difficult circumstances, it was so emotional for me as a coach. So when I say to them I love them, it’s because really I love them.”

Finally, Guardiola backed his goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, who was brought in from Barcelona to replace incumbent starter Joe Hart, who was shipped out on loan to Serie A club Torino. “He has to adapt but all the goalkeepers, central defenders, full-backs and strikers do,” Guardiola said in support of his goalkeeper. “I know people are focused on Claudio but why does Claudio need to adapt and others don’t? I see many goalkeepers who had the same problems as Claudio with these balls and when they fight for them. It’s not only Claudio Bravo in this way.”

France veteran Malouda loses appeal in Gold Cup case

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) Former France winger Florent Malouda has lost his appeal against being ruled ineligible to play for French Guiana at the 2017 Gold Cup.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport says its judges dismissed Malouda’s appeal against North American soccer body CONCACAF.

French Guiana fielded Malouda in a 0-0 draw against Honduras last July despite being told he was not eligible. CONCACAF awarded a 3-0 win to Honduras and suspended Malouda.

The Gold Cup uses FIFA eligibility rules which bar players from transferring allegiance after playing a competitive game for one country.

Malouda played 80 times for France including a 2006 World Cup final loss against Italy.

The French Guiana soccer federation hoped Malouda, now aged 37, could play in the Gold Cup because it is not a FIFA member.

Report: Bobby Wood unlikely to come to MLS this summer

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A U.S. Men’s National Team forward will probably have to wait a bit longer to come to Major League Soccer if that is the path that he chooses.

Reports have recently surfaced linking Bobby Wood to MLS at the conclusion of the Bundesliga season, however, is reporting that a move for the American likely won’t come in 2018.

Wood, who remains under contract for three more seasons at Hamburg, is currently fighting relegation in Germany with his club side.

Hamburg currently sits 17th in the German top flight, eight points buried in the relegation zone with four matches remaining.

The report suggests that MLS clubs aren’t willing to compensate Wood at the current rate of his contract in Germany.

Currently, Wood is making “several million dollars” per season, and even if Hamburg is relegated in 2017/18 Wood’s contract wouldn’t decrease to a number that clubs are comfortable paying.

If Wood was to join MLS, he would be considered a Discovery signing as he is not currently on the MLS player allocation list. The Washington Post previously reported that an MLS club has Wood included on their Discovery list, although the team’s identity isn’t known.

Report: Fellaini eyes MLS, China after shooting down Man United terms

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Marouane Fellaini‘s time in Manchester looks to be numbered, and a move abroad could have the Belgian in line for one last payday during his career.

The Manchester United midfielder has rejected multiple offers to stay on at Old Trafford ahead of his contract expiring this summer, which would allow Fellaini to pursue other opportunities come June.

Fellaini is being linked to moves to Major League Soccer and the Chinese Super League, as the veteran aims to secure a sizable contract upon leaving the Red Devils after over five-and-a-half years with the club.

The Daily Mail is also reporting that Fellaini would be open to hearing options that could keep him in the Premier League, although it is unclear if there is any serious interest from English sides at this time.

Since the arrivals of Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic, Fellaini has struggled to find playing time under manager Jose Mourinho.

This season, the Belgium international has appeared in just 14 PL matches and 19 in all competitions. Fellaini has scored four goals in that span.

Chicago Fire venue to be renamed SeatGeek Stadium

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The Chicago Fire won’t be moving into a new stadium 2019, however, their venue will have a new name donned on the side of it.

For years, the Eastern Conference side has played its home matches at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois, but starting next season the Fire’s home turf will be called SeatGeek Stadium as part of a rebrand.

SeatGeek is one of the largest online after-market ticket distributors, and was created back in 2009.

Toyota Park will undergo its transformation at the conclusion of the 2018 MLS season.

The venue is also home to the NWSL’s Chicago Red Stars.