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Report: Conte wants Andrea Pirlo as new Chelsea assistant

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Andrea Pirlo’s playing days could be over very soon.

[ MORE: Conte on Spurs’ title bid ]

The New York City FC midfielder, 37, is contracted to Major League Soccer through the end of th 2017 season.

However reports in the UK claim that Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, Pirlo’s former manager at both Juventus and the Italian national team, wants the bearded midfield genius to come in as his assistant manager for next season.

In an interview with former assistant manager and midfielder Ray Wilkins on talkSPORT in the UK, he claims that Pirlo is Conte’s preferred choice to replace outgoing assistant Steve Holland who will join England’s national team on a full-time basis at the end of this season.

“I know for a fact he has been around Stamford Bridge on a number of occasions this year,” Wilkins said. “He’s the one that Antonio Conte would like. He managed him at Juventus until he was 34. He is the one he will want to come in [to replace Holland].”

Pirlo has already been spotted at Chelsea’s training ground since Conte took over and it would seem to make a lot of sense, at least on the surface, that the Italian coach would want someone who knows him well alongside him.

Holland leaving is a big blow for Conte as the long-time Chelsea assistant wanted to move into his assistant coaching role with England on a full-time role now but decided to stay with the Blues until the end of this season.

With Chelsea currently seven points clear heading into the final weeks of the PL season, Conte seems to already be preparing for next season.

Pirlo has had a steady time in MLS since arriving in New York with his abilities from set pieces and in a deep-lying playmaker role still there but sometimes he has overlooked his defensive responsibilities. Incidents like this suggest so.

That said, the main issue here is that Pirlo would have to leave midway through the 2017 MLS campaign if he was going to be Conte’s new assistant. That would be a big blow for Patrick Vieira’s NYCFC and MLS with plenty of fans across the league still flocking to watch Pirlo in action wherever he goes.

The legendary Italian midfielder would bring a wealth of experience to Conte’s staff and, crucially, he knows exactly what his former boss wants from his players.

Cristiano Ronaldo announces birth of twin sons via surrogate

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Cristiano Ronaldo will not play in Portugal’s third-place match at the 2017 Confederations Cup this Sunday.

He has bigger things to sort out.

Ronaldo, 32, was released from Portugal’s squad late Wednesday after their defeat on penalty kicks to Chile in the Confed Cup semifinals in Russia.  The Real Madrid and Portugal superstar will now travel to visit his new twin sons, who were born via a surrogate earlier this month, with Ronaldo set to meet them for the first time after captaining Portugal in Russia over the past few weeks.

According to reports from Portuguese TV channel SIC, the surrogate mother was based on the west coast of the U.S. (I can already hear you guys asking ‘does that mean they’re eligible to play for the USMNT?’). Ronaldo is now the father of three children after already having a seven-year-old son, Cristiano Ronaldo Jr.

Reports also suggest that his 22-year-old girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez is five months pregnant, so soon he could be a father for the fourth time. He would then be able to field a five-a-side team of Ronaldo’s for indoor games…

Below is the post from Ronaldo confirming his departure from Portugal’s squad, which the national team also confirmed, as he is set to meet his new children for the first time.

“I was in the service of the national team, as always, body and soul, even though my two sons were born. Unfortunately, we have not been able to achieve the main sporting objective that we wanted, but I am sure we will continue to give joy to the Portuguese.

“The President of the Portuguese Football Federation and the national picker have today had an attitude that has touched me and I will not forget. I’m very happy to finally be with my children for the first time.”

Open Cup roundup: Poku lifts Miami; Red Bulls, Cincy win on PKs

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While MLS represents the majority of the remaining clubs in this year’s U.S. Open Cup, one side continues to defy the odds.

[ MORE: Minnesota United adds Hearts midfielder Sam Nicholson ]

Miami FC reached their first quarterfinal in club history after knocking off Atlanta United late on Wednesday, behind a goal and an assist from Kwadwo Poku. The victory for Miami sets up a date with FC Cincinnati — who pulled off an unbelievable shootout win against the Chicago Fire.

Meanwhile, the New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution both advanced on the night with wins over the Philadelphia Union and D.C. United, respectively. The Red Bulls and Revs will meet in the final eight as well.

Sporting KC kept its hope of hoisting a fourth U.S. Open Cup title alive on Wednesday with a 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo. The 2015 winners will take on FC Dallas — who defeated the Colorado Rapids on Tuesday night.

Here are all the results from tonight’s Open Cup action.

Houston Dynamo 0-2 Sporting KC
New England Revolution 2-1 D.C. United
Miami FC 3-2 Atlanta United
New York Red Bulls 1-1 (5-3 on PKs) Philadelphia Union
FC Cincinnati 0-0 (3-1 on PKs) Chicago Fire
San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 Seattle Sounders
LA Galaxy 2-0 Sacramento Republic

Report: City Football Group set to expand outreach with Girona deal

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City Football Group appears on the verge of adding to its global outreach, and it’s next destination looks to be in Spain.

[ MORE: Are Southampton’s days of selling behind the club? ]

The group of investors, which are known for controlling Premier League side Manchester City, are reportedly nearing a deal to purchase a partial stake in Spanish club Girona — which is set to make its La Liga debut in 2017/18.

CFG is said to be gaining a near “50 percent” stake in the club, with the rest of the club owned by Media Base, a company owned by Pep Guardiola‘s brother, Pere.

Over recent years, CFG has vastly expanded its ownership outreach and currently has a stake in five clubs around the world, with Girona set to be the sixth.

MLS side New York City FC, Australian A-League side Melbourne City FC, Japan’s Yokohama F. Marinos and Club Atletico Torque in Uruguay are all part of the CFG enterprise, alongside Man City.

New York Red Bulls ink goalkeeper Luis Robles to new deal

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The “Iron Man” will keep up his amazing journey with the New York Red Bulls, after signing a new deal with the club on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder on verge of joining Los Angeles FC ]

Goalkeeper Luis Robles has extended his contract with the reigning Eastern Conference champions, as the American continues to raise his consecutive starts streak, which stands at 157.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed in the club’s release.

Robles joined the Red Bulls back in 2012 after playing in Germany, and the shot-stopper hasn’t missed a start ever since.