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UEFA Champions League Weds: Juve hits Wembley, Man City up big

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While Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League Round of 16 matches promised very little drama aside from how Paris would react when Neymar-less PSG failed to top Real Madrid, Wednesday’s at least throw us a bone.

[ MORE: UCL Tues. recap | Klopp reacts ]

Spurs welcome Juventus to Wembley Stadium in what will be a full-throated and potentially record-breaking crowd. The North London side enters the 2:45 p.m. ET kickoff with a pair of potentially critical away goals but a 2-2 deadlock with The Old Lady.

Speaking of Juve, Paulo Dybala was unavailable for the first leg but he’s here now. The bad news is that Gonzalo Higuain, author of both Juve goals in this tie, has ankle problems.

Spurs backstop Hugo Lloris will stare across the field and see legendary Gianluigi “Gigi” Buffon, who himself has history on his mind, praising Wembley as a “historic theater of football.”

Here’s Buffon on Tottenham:

“I think Spurs quite clearly have lots of great attributes with a tried and trusted style of play which means they like to go forward in an attacking way, be physical and be technical as well. At the same time, they have a style of play which also allows the opposition a few openings and opportunities for a goal, so I think the fans are in for a treat tomorrow and a great game. The team that has the best clinical edge will be the ones that win and goes on to the next round.”

The other Wednesday second leg sees Basel head to the Etihad Stadium down four goals to Manchester City, who hasn’t allowed four goals at home since a November 2015 loss to Liverpool.

City boss Pep Guardiola isn’t looking at the score line, at least not too often, as he continues to focus on how his men execute his system.

“How we control the game, how we create. Maybe tomorrow it’s more important nothing happens but we don’t concede, set pieces or counter attacks. We play simple. It’s a good moment to see how we can handle the situation for our future.”

The match at the Etihad also kicks off at 2:45 p.m. ET.

Ronaldo: “I always believe I am the best”

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You’ve got to appreciate the over-sized ego of Cristiano Ronaldo, even if it is deserved.

The 33-year-old Real Madrid striker was bestowed the 2017 Player of the Year award from the Portugal FA, earning 65 percent of the vote. But more than winning yet another trophy to add to his burgeoning case was what he told the media after accepting the award.

“We have to defend what is ours because there is always a Portuguese in the fight (for the top awards),” Ronaldo said, via AS. “I always believe and say that I am the best, whatever they say, and then I show it in the field. We are in the fight year after year.”

Ronaldo did score 42 goals last year for Real Madrid and has scored 18 goals in 2018 alone already for Los Blancos as the club look to go back-to-back-to-back in the UEFA Champions League.

Miazga: “We’re all ready to make an impression” with USMNT

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Last October, for reasons unknown, Matt Miazga didn’t make the U.S. Men’s National Team squad for its final two World Cup qualifiers.

Five months later, he’s risen to the top of the centerback depth chart.

[MORE: Digging into the USMNT roster]

The hulking centerback spoke on Tuesday as the USMNT started off its training camp in Cary, N.C., noting that the youth-laden squad wanted to make an impression to stay in the picture moving forward. With four years until the next World Cup and still more than a year until competitive matches, there is still plenty of shuffling and expanding of the player pool to do before then.

Have a listen to Miazga and enjoy the sights and sounds of the USMNT training camp ahead of its friendly match against Paraguay.


Banker Gaetano Micciche elected Serie A president

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MILAN (AP) Bank boss Gaetano Micciche has been elected president of Serie A.

Micciche, the president of Banca IMI, was chosen unanimously on Monday by the Italian league’s 20 clubs.

He succeeds Maurizio Beretta, who left the position nearly a year ago.

[ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

The league has been under emergency leadership, first by former Italian football federation president Carlo Tavecchio then by Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago.

Malago recommended Micciche for the position.

The federation remains under emergency leadership following Tavecchio’s resignation in the wake of Italy’s failure to qualify for the World Cup.

Report: Liverpool to resist all offers for Salah

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Liverpool has a message for any club looking to sign Mohamed Salah this summer: Not gonna happen.

The Merseyside club has reportedly said it will “not sell Salah under any circumstances this summer” as the Reds look to hold off the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona, according to The Telegraph. Salah’s four-goal tally against Watford on Saturday took his goal total to an incredible 28 in 32 Premier League games, with another seven goals in cup competitions.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Liverpool famously kept Barcelona – and Arsenal – off Luis Suarez after the Uruguayan striker wanted to leave in 2013, but Liverpool was only able to stop Barcelona from signing Philippe Coutinho for six months.

As things stand, Liverpool are qualified for the 2018-2019 UEFA Champions League with the club sitting in a top four Premier League place, and keeping Salah is absolutely vital if the Reds want to make a deep run in the competition and compete for a Premier League title. It remains to be seen though if Salah is happy to stay at Liverpool or if a big-money offer from Spain or France can tempt him otherwise to set himself and his family financially for life.