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Report: Vardy, Sanchez lined up by Atletico Madrid

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When you think about it, these two players are perfect for Atletico Madrid.

Absolutely, positively, perfect.

[ MORE: United’s top transfer target? ]

A report from Miguel Delaney in The Independent states that both Jamie Vardy and Alexis Sanchez are high on the list of striking options for Diego Simeone this summer.

Of course, these moves are dependent on two very important factors: a) Simeone still being in charge next season and b) Atletico get an 18-month transfer ban lifted by FIFA. A decision on the latter is expected in June (Atleti have appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport) after Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid were both sanctioned by soccer’s governing body due to breaking rules regarding signing U-18 players.

And, the other big factor around all of this is Antoine Griezmann potentially leaving Atletico this summer with the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea constantly linked with a move to sign the Frenchman. Griezmann scored in Atleti’s 2-1 win on Wednesday night in their UCL semifinal second leg but his side crashed out to Real Madrid 4-2 on aggregate and reports suggest he could move on for a fee of around $100 million.

Sticking with Vardy and Sanchez, both would likely snap up a move to La Liga and be part of a team which always seems to overachieve and goes deep in the UEFA Champions League. With Leicester not in the UCL next season, plus Arsenal struggling massively to make the top four, it would be tough to turn down guaranteed Champions League action for both.

It would sort of be a two-for-one deal as Griezmann would leave and both Vardy and Sanchez could come in, and of course it was Arsene Wenger‘s plan to pair Vardy and Sanchez together at Arsenal this season but Vardy rejected the move to remain at Leicester.

With their pacey, hard-working style of play under Simeone, both Vardy and Sanchez would surely be at home at Atletico and the former is said to have impressed Simeone during their UCL quarterfinal win over Leicester and there are surely few people at the club who would stand in his way if a move was arranged.

When it comes to Sanchez, we know that his future is uncertain with just one year remaining on his contract and even though Arsenal would sell him reluctantly this summer, they’d be much happier to sell him to La Liga rather than a PL rival. The Chilean forward became the first Arsenal player since Robin Van Persie to score 20 PL goals with his fine strike at Southampton on Wednesday but his future remains uncertain at the Emirates Stadium.

As Atletico prepare for life at their new 70,000 home at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium next season, they could well have some new strikers to smooth over any big-name sales this summer as goalkeeper Jan Oblak is also rumored to be interesting Manchester United and many others.

Signing both Vardy and Sanchez would be a stretch but not out of the realms of possibility, especially if Griezmann moves on.

FIFA force pace on $25B Club World Cup, global league plan

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GENEVA (AP) FIFA is forcing the pace on talks over a $25 billion offer to revamp the Club World Cup and create a global national team competition.

FIFA says President Gianni Infantino hosted a meeting last Friday with invited officials from some top European clubs.

[ MORE: Everton gets past Newcastle behind Walcott strike ]

The European Club Association has strongly opposed FIFA’s hope for a four-yearly club tournament starting in 2021, which could rival the UEFA-organized Champions League.

UEFA has also proposed a Global Nations League. A similar project is tied to the FIFA-controlled $25 billion, 12-year offer from a consortium including investors from Saudi Arabia and China.

FIFA says it’s holding “informal ongoing discussions with different stakeholders on the topic of the future Club World Cups.”

Infantino is set to meet confederation presidents and general secretaries “in the near future,” FIFA says.

Video: De Rossi, Roma make classy visit to Hillsborough memorial

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On many occasions there are instances where teams and individuals exemplify the fact that real-life occurrences are more meaningful than sports.

Ahead of Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League meeting, Italian giants AS Roma visited Anfield –where they will face Liverpool in the competition’s semifinals.

After walking around the venue where the two sides will compete in less than 24 hours, Roma captain Daniele de Rossi and the rest of the Roma squad visited the Hillsborough memorial at Anfield to pay tribute to the 96 victims lost in the 1989 event that rocked the entire country.

De Rossi was seen laying a floral arrangement on the site, along with a note from the club that read, “In memoria delle vittime di Hillsborough AS Rome.”

Liverpool, Roma ride major emotions into the UCL semifinals

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Four clubs remain in this season’s UEFA Champions League competition, and while two of the teams have been considered heavy dogs in the fight all year long the other two sides look to continue on their storybook run.

Liverpool, Roma, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have found themselves in the semifinals of this season’s UCL, creating a strong mix of storylines as the tournament heads towards its most critical point.

[ MORE: Everton gets past Newcastle behind Theo Walcott’s strike ]

Anfield will be the site for Tuesday’s first leg between Liverpool and Roma, with both sides still riding major highs from their victories in the last round.

The Reds enter the final four after having disposed of fellow Premier League side Manchester City in relatively dominating fashion. Meanwhile, Roma completed a seemingly impossible comeback against Barcelona to progress in the competition.

Liverpool is led by three of the year’s top goalscorers, including Mohamed Salah — who has scored eight goals in the UCL and 41 across all competitions.

For Roma, much of the side’s success has been predicated on finding defensive strength at the right moments throughout the tournament.

Despite falling behind 4-1 in their first leg defeat to Barca in the previous round, Edin Dzeko and Co. rallied for a 3-0 win at the Stade Olimpico to stun the Catalan club by holding Lionel Messi and his side in check.

Manager Eusebio Di Francesco will have to find creative ways to halt the Liverpool attack though over the course of two legs, with the Reds boasting the top attack in this year’s UCL.

Liverpool has scored 33 goals in 10 UCL matches, while only conceding seven in the process.

Keeper Ederson hopeful he can score this season for Man City

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The prospects for a goalkeeper scoring during a match are usually uncommon, but that hasn’t halted Manchester City’s number one choice from aiming to break the trend this season.

Ederson — who has moved into the starting role at the Etihad Stadium with relative ease in 2017/18 — has dreamt of scoring a goal of his own for the Premier League champions in waiting.

“I heard the fans chanting my name, asking me to take the penalty but Gabriel went there,” Ederson said. “Unfortunately he missed it and Bernardo happily scored. But if the manager have asked me to go there, definitely I’d score.

“I’m not sure if I would be able to do set-pieces, but I’m good at penalties, either using power or technique on shooting it. But City have [their] regular penalty-takers and we are well-served.

Citizen supporters chanted for the goalkeeper to take a penalty kick over the weekend in the team’s 5-0 win over Swansea City.

However, Gabriel Jesus was the man selected for the opportunity, but had his attempt saved by Lukasz Fabianski before Bernardo Silva was in the right spot to score the game’s fifth goal.

“If Pep asks me to take it, I’m there,” Ederson said of the penalty kick. “Hopefully it will happen [before the end of the season], I’d like to score.”

This isn’t the first time Ederson has discussed exploring opportunities outside of the net, though.

The Brazilian shot-stopper has long been a fan of former Brazil international goalkeeper Rogero Ceni — who scored 65 goals for club side Sao Paolo.

Earlier this season, the 24-year-old joked around with the media, saying that he’d be more than happy to fill a role in the midfield when City was experiencing some injury issues within the squad.