Getty Images

Benitez frustrated over lack of Newcastle signings

Leave a comment

Rafael Benitez has called the transfer market “crazy” as Newcastle United’s preparations for their Premier League return continue to go at a snails pace.

[ MORE: Lukaku joins United for $96.5 million ]

Surely Newcastle won’t make the same mistakes they’ve made in the past.

Benitez, 57, spoke at a fan event in Newcastle and revealed that his side are struggling to bring in the players they would like to push on after gaining promotion from the Championship.

“It’s not easy for a lot of teams because the market is a little bit crazy. We have to try to do our best,” Benitez said. “The top sides have a lot of money. The other teams are spending too, but we will see what we can do. We know where we are – that is not ideal because everybody wants to see a lot of players signing already, but we have to keep working and see what we can do. We can do nothing other than just keep working to find the players that we want, and hopefully we can do it.”

The timing of this comment is clever from Benitez and the former Liverpool, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid manager has always been keen to push the owners and board as much as he can to get what he wants.

With Newcastle starting preseason, the Magpies boss is giving owner Mike Ashley a nudge to remind him that he needs backing in the transfer market before the new season kicks off on Aug. 12.

Benitez was given huge funds last season (Dwight Gayle, Mohamed Diame and Matt Ritchie all arrived) when Newcastle were in the second-tier after Benitez came in late during the 2015-16 campaign but couldn’t save them from relegation. For the past six months reports have popped up stating Benitez was unhappy with the lack of transfer funds available and it was thought he could walk away in May after guiding Newcastle back to the PL.

However, the club released a statement early in the summer stating that Benitez would be staying on and he commented on how happy he was with the transfer policy as the owner had promised every penny from promotion would be spent on the squad. Benitez obviously isn’t too happy with Newcastle’s transfer dealings right now (they missed out on signing the likes of Willy Caballero and Tammy Abraham) but there’s still over eight weeks left in the summer window to get deals done.

Christian Atsu has arrived on a permanent deal from Chelsea this summer, while defender Florian Lejeune arrived from Eibar but it’s been hard going apart from that. Yes, the likes of Gayle and Jonjo Shelvey provide Premier League experience and will be vital if Newcastle are to kick on and finish in the top half of the PL table as they hope to, but adding more quality is essential if Newcastle aren’t going to embroiled in yet another relegation battle.

Benitez knows that. Hence, these comments.

Real Madrid come from behind to win in Club World Cup semis

AP Photo/Hassan Ammar
Leave a comment

Real Madrid made things on Wednesday a bit more complicated than they would have preferred, but the two-time defending European champions are through to the final of the Club World Cup for the second straight year.

[ MORE: Newcastle sale closer after improved bid of $400 million ]

Zinedine Zidane’s men came from behind to beat United Arab Emirates side Al Jazira (winners of the U.A.E. Pro League, the tournament’s host country), courtesy of second-half goals scored by Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, 2-1 at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Al Jazira held a 1-0 halftime lead, thanks to Romarinho’s opening goal in the 41st minute. The advantage lasted just a dozen minutes, though, as Ronaldo used Madrid’s first genuine chance of the game to bring Los Blancos back onto level terms in the 53rd minute. Luka Modric slipped the Portuguese superstar through, and the recently crowned Ballon d’Or winner finished with ease to make it 1-1.

[ MORE: West Ham targeting Wilshere in January transfer window ]

The winner didn’t come for quite some time after that, as Madrid were made to wait — and work — for their place in Saturday’s final, where they’ll face Brazilian side and Copa Libertadores winners Gremio. Bale had only just come off the bench seconds earlier, when Lucas Vazquez cut the ball back for Bale to hit it hard and low past the goalkeeper.

The Welshman nearly made it 3-1 with four minutes to go in regular time, but his scissor from the edge of the box was saved to deny Madrid a stunning insurance goal very late on.

Madrid are aiming to become the first side to win back-to-back Club World Cup titles after beating Kashima Antlers, 4-2 after extra-time, in the 2016 final.

Watch Live: Man City, Man United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs in action

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Seven Premier League games are coming your way from 2:45 p.m. ET on Wednesday, and you can watch them all live online.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ]

Manchester City head to Swansea looking to extend their winning streak to a record-breaking 15-straight in a season, while Manchester United host Bournemouth and Tottenham welcome Brighton to Wembley. There’s a big London derby between West Ham and Arsenal, while Liverpool host West Brom, in-form Leicester head to Southampton and struggling Newcastle clash with Everton.

[ MORE: Sign up for NBC Sports Gold ] 

You can access additional games by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold which also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.

[ STREAM: “Goal Rush” here ]

For those of you familiar with the Premier League Breakaway Show during busy days (Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Championship Sunday etc.) in the PL, this will follow that model of being similar to the NFL RedZone with action shown from all of the games in the 10 a.m. ET window. More info is available here.

The schedule for the seven games on Wednesday is below and you can stream each game live by clicking on the links.


Wednesday’s Premier League schedule

2:45 p.m. ET: Swansea City vs. Manchester City – NBCSN [STREAM]
2:45 p.m. ET: Newcastle United vs. Everton – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
2:45 p.m. ET: Southampton vs. Leicester City – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM

3 p.m. ET: Liverpool vs. West Bromwich Albion – NBC Sports Gold  [STREAM]
3 p.m. ET: Manchester United vs. Bournemouth – NBC Sports Gold  [STREAM]
3 p.m. ET: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Brighton & Hove Albion – NBC Sports Gold  [STREAM]
3 p.m. ET: West Ham United vs. Arsenal – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

Copa Sudamericana finals, leg 2: Flamengo vs. Independiente

AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko
Leave a comment

SAO PAULO (AP) Independiente, relegated for the first time in its history in 2013, can complete a remarkable turnaround by winning the Copa Sudamericana at the Maracana Stadium on Wednesday.

The Argentine team will go into the second leg of the final holding a 2-1 lead over Brazilian club Flamengo from the first leg.

Independiente, which has won multiple titles in South American tournaments, will be counting on 18-year-old midfielder Ezequiel Barco, one of the best players in this year’s competition.

Flamengo is also seeking to restore some pride in Rio de Janeiro. The big-spending Brazilian club, playing in its first Copa Sudamericana final, finished its domestic championship in a disappointing sixth place.

The Rio team will be without Peru striker Paolo Guerrero, who is serving a one-year doping ban.

Instead, veteran midfielder Diego will be the key player as Flamengo looks to claim its first regional title since winning the now-defunct Copa Mercosur in 1999.

After Independiente won the first leg, the club posted on its social media channels a picture of its players celebrating at the Maracana in 1995 when the two teams played for the Supercopa.

If the Argentines lose 1-0 on Wednesday, there will be a penalty shootout to decide the winner.

Last year, Brazilian club Chapecoense was awarded the title before the final after 19 players, plus club directors and several members of staff, died in an air crash.

The Copa Sudamericana is the continent’s second most prestigious tournament after the Copa Libertadores.

Germany’s players have big-money incentive to win World Cup

Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
Leave a comment

BERLIN (AP) Germany’s players will each receive $410,000 bonus if the team defends its World Cup title next year in Russia.

The German soccer federation says it has agreed to a performance-related bonus system for the team, as it did for the successful 2014 World Cup campaign and the last two European Championships.

Bonuses will only be paid upon reaching the quarterfinals, when each player would receive $90,000. That will increase to $150,000 for reaching the semifinals, $175,000 for third place and $235,000 for reaching the final.

Only Italy (1934 and 1938) and Brazil (1958 and 1962) have won back-to-back World Cup titles.