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Real Madrid speak out about “strange” Ronaldo situation

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Real Madrid’s president Florentino Perez has been speaking about reports that Cristiano Ronaldo could leave this summer.

[ MORE: Mourinho tax fraud claim ]

After being accused last week of defrauding the Spanish authorities of over $16.4 million in tax payments regarding image rights, Ronaldo has reportedly stated he wants to move on from the reigning Spanish and European champs.

Speaking to Spanish radio station Onda Cero, Perez stated that Real Madrid doesn’t want to think about Ronaldo, who has a court hearing on July 31, leaving the club.

“I do not want to draw conclusions. I know Cristiano; he’s a great guy and a professional. All this is very strange,” Perez said. “I have not spoken with him since [the Champions League final in] Cardiff. I’ve heard everything through the newspapers. Not I nor anyone at Madrid is contemplating that Cristiano could leave the club. We are very relaxed about this. I have not spoken to any [other clubs]. No one has made us a single offer; not for Cristiano Ronaldo, not for Alvaro Morata, not for James Rodriguez.”

As for Ronaldo’s tax situation, Perez admitted it has damaged the credibility of the Portuguese star with the man who has led Real Madrid to three UEFA Champions League titles in the past four seasons more than a little upset.

“What happened to him has affected his credibility. He will surely tell us and we will see what happens,” Perez said. “The tax issue I do not know well. Our obligation is to comply with tax duties. The principle is that, starting from that principle, and Cristiano has always had the will to fulfill because I know him as a person. He has to fulfill his fiscal obligations, like all. His lawyers have said he has never hidden anything, and I believe in his credibility. If there is no concealment, there is no bad faith, and his lawyers say there has been no concealment so there is no will to cheat.”

Of course Real Madrid don’t wont to lose Ronaldo. He has scored 406 goals in 394 games in all competitions since joining them in 2009 from Manchester United. He is a goalscoring machine and even at the age of 32 he shows no signs of slowing down.

Yet with Ronaldo seemingly seeking sympathy from the fans and officials at Real Madrid, it’s hard to predict if he will get it. Last season he was even booed by a section of Real’s fans (you read that correctly) so they may not be too worried about massaging Ronaldo’s ego as he battles these serious allegations.

Ronaldo just wants to be wanted and loved and if he doesn’t feel that in Spain, or feel like he’s getting the required support from Real Madrid, then he will want out. This is the biggest issue Real Madrid face over the coming months.

Photo: Flamengo supporter tattoos club jersey on body

MAURÍCIO DOS ANJOS VIA VICE
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A supporter in Brazil has taken fandom to a whole new level with a piece of body art that shows his devotion to the club.

[ MORE: Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks ]

Maurício dos Anjos, a passionate Flamengo fan, has been a life-long supporter of the Rio de Janeiro-based club, and has the tattoo to prove it.

While it may look like body paint, Dos Anjos has a tattoo on the upper-half of his body depicting the Flamengo jersey, and it’s pretty awesome.

“People ask me if I don’t find it strange that I’m always wearing a Flamengo shirt. And I just don’t,” dos Anjos told VICE. “To me, it’s normal. But it doesn’t seem like anyone I talk to about it actually dislikes my tattoo.”

In total, Dos Anjos says the body work took over 90 hours and 30 sessions to complete the tattoo.

Has the perception of MLS really changed?

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When David Beckham arrived in Los Angeles back in 2007 his presence changed the complexion of Major League Soccer for all the right reasons, and the perception of the growing league changed.

[ MORE: Go behind the scenes at NYCFC’s new training facility ]

Over the years, MLS has strived to move into the upper-echelon of the global game, in an attempt to compete with the likes of the Premier League, Bundesliga and La Liga, but naysayers still indicate to this day that the United States’ top flight lacks the quality of the aforementioned.

Phrases like “retirement league” and “uninspired” have been used to describe MLS in the past, particularly when it comes to the league’s willingness to spend boatloads of cash on notable players well past their prime.

Examples such as Andrea Pirlo, Steven Gerrard and Rafael Marquez have at times dampened the perception of MLS due to the lack of quality on the pitch from those players, along with several others that had previously boasted extensive resumes.

Now, we’re at a time where MLS has picked up its scouting, with clubs focused more on younger, more skilled talents from South America and Europe.

That has led to major signings over the past several years, such as Ezequiel Barco, Miguel Almiron, Diego Rossi and Jesus Medina, to name a few.

Has that changed the overall complexion of MLS though?

On Thursday, Kevin De Bruyne‘s agent, Patrick de Koster, suggested in an interview that the Belgium international would likely “finish” his career in MLS.

“For now, he’s very happy at this club,” De Koster said. “We always look what the best solution for the player, both financially and football wise. Kevin’s future? I can see him finish at Los Angeles.”

This comes on the heels of a 36-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic joining the LA Galaxy in a move that has sent shockwaves across the league and the world because of the Swede’s great presence on a global scale.

It’s not to say that players like Ibrahimovic, or previous signings like David Villa and Didier Drogba cannot help the overall growth of MLS, because they certainly bring an awareness to the matches and draw attention to their respective clubs.

However, the long-term viability of MLS has been and will continue to be sustained on youth players succeeding in the league, as well as being able to draw promising young talents into the top flight of the U.S.

Report: USMNT likely to face Brazil, Mexico in September friendlies

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The U.S. Men’s National Team won’t have a busy schedule throughout the summer, but Dave Sarachan and his side will get a tiny taste of the World Cup in September.

[ MORE: Chivas’ Almeyda exhales after CCL title win ]

ESPN FC is reporting that the USMNT will likely face Brazil and Mexico — both of whom will travel to Russia in June — later this year, as the U.S. Soccer Federation is in the process of finalizing both friendlies.

The matches are set to be played during the September international window, which runs from Sept. 3 through Sept. 11.

Both fixtures will reportedly be played in the United States, although venues haven’t been determined yet.

The U.S. has already begun booking a slate of difficult matches to round out 2018, with England and Italy already confirmed opponents for the Yanks in November.

The Yanks are 1-17-0 all-time against Brazil in all competitions, while the U.S. hasn’t faced Mexico since its 1-1 draw at the Estadio Azteca in June 2017 during CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

Men in Blazers: Jurgen Klopp talks loss of Coutinho and more

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Roger Bennett talks with manager Jurgen Klopp about revolutionizing Liverpool, his Greatest Show on Turf-esque offense, the loss of Philippe Coutinho and how he keeps football in perspective.

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