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Champions League quarterfinal predictions

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UEFA Champions League action returns on Tuesday and Wednesday as we are down to the final eight teams in Europe’s elite club competition.

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Three La Liga teams remain, plus two from the Bundesliga, one from Ligue 1, Serie A and Leicester City from the Premier League.

With that in mind, it’s time to take a look at the ties with Atletico clashing with Leicester, Juventus slugging it out with Barcelona, reigning UCL champs Real Madrid up against Bayern Munich and Dortmund facing Monaco with plenty of goals expected.

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Below you will find score predictions on how all four quarterfinals encounters will play out over the two legs.


Atletico Madrid vs. Leicester City 
First leg in Madrid: April 12, 2:45 p.m. ET
Second leg in Leicester: April 18, 2:45 p.m. ET

The Foxes will fancy their chances of repeating their exploits against Sevilla in the last round. Leicester went to Spain and nabbed a vital away goal on the break and then followed that up with a typically committed display under the lights at the King Power Stadium. Yet, facing Atleti is easily their toughest challenge in the UCL to date. With Antoine Griezmann in fine form and Diego Simeone’s fine-tuned machine humming along nicely in recent weeks, the Spanish side could be out of sight before the second leg. Leicester will hang in there but Atletico’s star power will prove too much. 3-1 to Atletico Madrid on aggregate. 


Juventus vs. Barcelona
First leg in Turin: April 11, 2:45 p.m. ET
Second leg in Barcelona: April 19, 2:45 p.m. ET

If you thought PSG vs. Barca was fun in the last round (well, the second leg was absolutely nuts) then this should take things to another level. The Italian and Spanish giants collide with plenty of superstars on show and Barcelona will feel they are destined to go all the way after their amazing comeback win against Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16. Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain and Gianluigi Buffon will have other ideas as Juve aim to get revenge for their defeat to Barca in the 2015 final in Berlin. Barca’s shock defeat in La Liga at the weekend suggests they’re focused on success in the UCL and with Luis Enrique leaving at the end of the season he seems to be putting all his eggs in one basket. That may well see Barca come unstuck in the first leg but at home they can achieve the impossible with Messi, Suarez and Neymar in full flow. Expect Barca to sneak through in a classic encounter. 3-2 to Barcelona on aggregate. 


Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid
First leg in Munich: April 12, 2:45 p.m. ET
Second leg in Madrid: April 18, 2:45 p.m. ET

Another clash of European giants has neutrals salivating with the leaders of both the Bundesliga and La Liga colliding. Zinedine Zidane’s men are the reigning champs but this will be a huge test of their credentials as former boss Carlo Ancelotti guided Bayern past Arsenal 10-2 on aggregate in the last round. With Robert Lewandowski in fine form, Bayern will look to take the game to Real in the first leg but must be wary of getting countered with the pace of Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo on the break. You get the sense that although Bayern has looked unstoppable in spells this season, the challenge of a fired up Real may be a little too much. 4-2 to Real Madrid on aggregate.


Borussia Dortmund vs. AS Monaco
First leg in Dortmund: April 11, 2:45 p.m. ET
Second leg in Monaco: April 19, 2:45 p.m. ET

Fans of U.S. soccer are hoping and praying Christian Pulisic plays a leading role in leading Borussia Dortmund to a UCL semifinal. They may get their wish. That said, Monaco’s free-flowing style of soccer has wowed France, and most of Europe, as they breezed past Tottenham and Manchester City but they do take risks defensively. Dortmund’s talented attackers in Aubameyang, Pulisic and Dembele will have plenty of chances but you get the sense that everyone continues to underestimate Monaco. Expect Falcao, Mbappe and Lemar to make the difference for the French club. If this turns into a goal-fest (that’s what we are all hoping for, isn’t it?) then Monaco will prevail. 5-4 to Monaco on aggregate.

AC Milan completes signing of forward Kalinic

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MILAN (AP) Big-spending AC Milan has signed another player, completing the transfer of Croatia forward Nikola Kalinic from Fiorentina.

In a brief statement on Tuesday, Milan said it signed Kalinic “on a loan deal with obligation to buy.”

Kalinic has signed a four-year contract through to June 30, 2021.

Milan has been in negotiations with Fiorentina for the 29-year-old Kalinic for a while, and he missed training last week as he attempted to push through the move.

Milan, which was bought by a Chinese-led consortium in April, has spent more than 200 million euros ($234 million) in the offseason, signing Leonardo Bonucci, Andre Silva, Ricardo Rodriguez, Franck Kessie, Andrea Conti, Hakan Calhanoglu, Lucas Biglia and Mateo Musacchio.

Alan Shearer has a message for Wayne Rooney

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Alan Shearer finally has a friend.

On Monday Wayne Rooney scored in Everton’s 1-1 draw at Manchester City (see in the video above) and he became just the second-player in history to reach 200 goals in the Premier League.

Rooney, 31, still has some way to go to catch Shearer’s all-time record of 260 goals in the PL but the former Manchester United striker has a few more years left in the tank to try and get as close as he can.

Take a look at the video below as Shearer (or, Mary Poppins to Newcastle fans) delivers a message to Rooney.

What’s next for Julian Green, and what’s gone wrong?

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Julian Green will have a new team again soon, in all likelihood.

A Stuttgart publication says Green is on the transfer market this month, just eight months after moving from Bayern Munich to the then-2.Bundesliga side for less than $500,000.

Now 22, Green is three and a half years removed from Jurgen Klinsmann’s long campaign to get him into a USMNT shirt. It’s been a little less time since he scored in extra time against Belgium in the World Cup, but also less than a year since he scored goals in consecutive USMNT matches. That shouldn’t be overlooked.

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Green scored one goal in 10 appearances for Stuttgart, who was promoted to the Bundesliga at the end of last season. He fell out of favor there, but was far from poor. Green completed 87 percent of his passes and averaged 1.3 dribbles per game (only four teammates had more, though 10 matches is a smaller sample size).

Before that, he spent parts of three seasons with Bayern Munich and made just four appearances, taking a loan to Hamburg in 2014-15 that saw him banished to Hamburg II after just five appearances.

What gives? Whether attitude or skill, Green has a lot of work to do to get back to a level where he’s a reasonable USMNT call-up (Green has a respectable three goals in eight call-ups, netting against Cuba and New Zealand in Oct. 2016). Still, it’s far from over for Green at 22.

There are legit questions here, as the list of not high-profile players Bayern Munich has used in its senior team at a young age and blossomed elsewhere isn’t necessarily impressive (at least relatively speaking). Nils Petersen, Thomas Kraft, and Sandro Wagner are exceptions to the rule. Better put: Bayern has a really good idea what it’s doing when it lets young players walk, and it begs discussion on the best path for Green.

It seems likely he could get a move to another 2.Bundesliga club, and there’s an outside shot he could get a look in the top flight. It would be interesting to know where the interest lies abroad. Would it be hard to acquire a work permit for France or Spain (England seems a hard sell)? Could a move to a free-flowing Eredivisie club work?

Obviously Major League Soccer clubs would welcome his talent and it’s difficult to imagine he wouldn’t be a useful piece in the United States’ top tier, even if on a short-term move as he looks to regain confidence. Would Green see it as below him?

Arsenal’s Wilshere sent-off after brawling in U-23 match vs. Man City

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Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere isn’t standing around waiting for his next team, he’s fighting.

Period.

Wilshere got into with several members of Manchester City’s U-23 side in a match on Monday, with the English midfielder taking exception to a hockey-style hip check from City’s Matthew Smith.

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Shoving the 17-year-old Smith, Wilshere saw the City man take a tumble and stay prone. Still riled up, Wilshere tangled with City’s Tyreke Wilson.

Wilshere and Wilson were sent off.

Given his injury history, we’re not surprised Wilshere took exception to a hard and needless foul in a U-23 match.

The Arsenal man has been linked with moves to Newcastle, West Ham, AC Milan, and Sampdoria, but Arsene Wenger wants to keep Wilshere at the Emirates Stadium.