VIDEO: Fan violence, protests engulfs West Ham defeat

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Ugly scenes played out at the London Stadium on Saturday as West Ham United lost to Burnley 3-0 in the Premier League and are now just three points above the bottom three.

Home fans had planned a huge protest ahead of the game but most of the supporters’ groups called that off with reports stating the club had been negotiating with them during the week.

Yet when West Ham went 2-0 down early in the second half to Burnley, all hell broke loose.

Fans ran on the pitch, picked up the corner flag and one put it down in the middle of the pitch, while many supporters left their seats in order to protest against the ownership of the club under co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan.

The owners left the directors box as fans gathered nearby towards the end of the game as Burnley’s players brought young West Ham fans onto their bench to get them away from the awful scenes erupting around them.

Speaking after the game West Ham captain Mark Noble, who tried to push supporters off the pitch as the local lad remonstrated with them to stop, was brutally honest about the Hammers’ current plight.

“It’s well known fans haven’t been happy for a long time. The only way to squash that is to win games,” Noble said. “We should have been two up in the first half and as soon as we conceded, the atmosphere changed. The fans’ feelings took over. I’m a human being. I know I’m out on the pitch, under scrutiny, but if someone approaches me I will protect myself. So will a lot of other players. The crowd weren’t happy. No matter what happened today, it seemed they were planning something anyway.

“I wouldn’t say I felt in danger, but you never know in this world. I’m a West Ham fan and I’ve always protected the club. If someone approaches me, I’ll protect myself. It’s been like this for the past two seasons, since we moved to this stadium. Every time we lose we and the board get a lot of stick. It seemed today that the fans had had enough. They wanted to show their emotion. When fans come to the game with the hump, they know how to show their emotions.

“The atmosphere was horrible. We know a lot of it isn’t aimed at the players, but we have to be man enough to play in that atmosphere. I’m really hoping the fans have got it off their chest. They are a true, honest and passionate bunch of people. I’m hoping that they have had their outburst, because all that matters is staying in the Premier League. if they can help us get over the line, maybe we can sort it out in the summer.”

Noble’s manager, David Moyes, said he “wants the supporters behind us” and said the Hammers played well despite losing 3-0. This was West Ham’s third-straight PL defeat and their fourth in their last five outings.

“We want the supporters behind us, since I’ve been here they’ve been really good. But you can’t cross the line and come on the pitch. A lot of my players did well with the way they acted,” Moyes added.

The club has since issued a statement on the situation, saying the following.

Burnley’s striker Chris Wood, who came off the bench to add an assist and grab two goals in the final 30 minutes, had this to say when asked about the situation.

“What was going through my mind? Hopefully they wouldn’t stop the game. It’s a tough situation, I can sympathize with the fans,” Wood said. “They just want to see their team win. It’s tough for them at the moment but they need to stick with the players. You don’t want that to happen on the pitch, it creates problems and safety issues. We were fine, they were just voicing their frustration.”

No matter how bad the situation is off the pitch, there is simply no place for scenes like this in the photos below or the video above.

Battle-tested United could turn attention to Neymar this summer

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Last summer’s drama surrounding Neymar could be nothing compared to what is in store for the Brazilian in 2018.

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Diario Gol is reporting that Manchester United is exploring the possibility of making a bid for Neymar this summer, which would come at a record fee for the Premier League side.

The report suggests United would be willing to pay over $367 million for the Paris Saint-Germain star, while possibly sending Paul Pogba to the French giants in the swap.

Neymar, who joined PSG in 2017 after a messy ending at Barcelona, has been heavily linked to his former’s side bitter rival Real Madrid

Man United boss Jose Mourinho is reportedly keen on the move for Neymar after the club’s signing of Alexis Sanchez didn’t live up to the billing.

The Chilean international has scored just once in 10 appearances for the Red Devils, and Mourinho has let it be known that he wasn’t pleased with the player after United crashed out of the UEFA Champions League against Sevilla.

Meanwhile, Pogba’s relationship with the Portuguese manager has been anything but steady in their time together at Old Trafford, making the reality of the French midfielder leaving Manchester a strong one.

Nothing has been indicated for certain that Neymar will leave PSG following the World Cup in Russia, but all signs are pointing to the currently-injured attacker moving from the Parc des Princes.

Report: Conte, Pirlo could spearhead Italy managerial team

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Various nations are still mourning their failure of missing out on the 2018 World Cup, but arguably none bigger than powerhouse Italy.

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The Azzurri, who lost to Sweden in a UEFA playoff series in 2017, will not take part in soccer’s most-prestigious competition in Russia for the first time since 1958.

Former manager Gian Piero Ventura has received heavy criticism for the nation’s failure, and stepped down from his role as head coach immediately after Italy’s dismissal from World Cup qualifying.

A familiar face could now be in line to replace Ventura though, as Football Italia reports that Chelsea manager Antonio Conte could make a return to the Azzurri.

Conte remains under contract at Stamford Bridge, however, Chelsea’s dip in form this season after winning the title in 2016/17 has many speculating that the Italian won’t survive to coach the Blues next year.

Meanwhile, Italian legend Andrea Pirlo has also expressed his interest in joining the technical staff if Conte is appointed.

The two have a close history together from their days with the national team and at Juventus.

In addition to Conte, Carlo Ancelotti is reportedly being considered for the job as well, and Pirlo is believed to be willing to join the managerial staff is the former Bayern Munich coach is hired.

Former Sevilla player Diego Capel training with Sounders

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A former Sevilla star is training in MLS, as the veteran midfielder looks to continue his career stateside.

Diego Capel was spotted training with the Seattle Sounders on Thursday, despite club manager Brian Schmetzer initially playing coy on who the player was.

[ MORE: Where does Zlatan rank in MLS superstar signings? ]

“We have a player that’s in camp,” Schmetzer said. “He’s a good player. He’s probably worn the number 10 in his career. Maybe as a youth player. Maybe it’s just a player borrowing Nico’s jersey.”

The Sounders have suffered several major injuries in their attack to start the 2018 MLS season, which also contributed to the team’s derailment in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.

While Capel traditionally has played on the wing throughout his career, the Sounders could use all the help they can get in the attacking third.

Jordan Morris has already been ruled out for the season with an ACL tear, while Nicolas Lodeiro and Will Bruin are currently sidelined for the club with respective injuries.

Capel came up through the ranks of Sevilla, while also playing for notable European sides such as Sporting Lisbon and Anderlecht.

The 30-year-old last played for the Belgian side in 2017, but has been a free agent since.

Int’l friendlies: Lingard guides England; Colombia tops France

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A roundup of Friday’s international friendlies….

England suffered an early setback in Holland after Joe Gomez limped off the pitch with an injury. However, the Three Lions bounced back with a 1-0 victory when Jesse Lingard struck after halftime.

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A drastic second-half turnaround for Colombia gave the South American side a 3-2 victory over France. Olivier Giroud and Thomas Lemar had Les Bleus out in front in the first half with a 2-0 lead, but the Colombians responded with three unanswered finishes to grab the win.

Mohamed Salah‘s second-half strike wasn’t enough to pace Egypt due to Cristiano Ronaldo’s late brace for Portugal (his 80th and 81st international goals), while Victor Moses‘ penalty kick helped Nigeria top Poland.

Meanwhile, Brazil picked up a convincing 3-0 win over this summer’s hosts Russia. Barcelona teammates Philippe Coutinho and Paulinho each scored in the second half, after Miranda opened the scoring for the Selecao.

Germany and Spain settled for an exciting 1-1 draw, while Argentina topped Italy, 2-0, without Lionel Messi or Sergio Aguero in the lineup.

Below are all the scores from today’s friendlies involving teams that will play in Russia this summer.

Portugal 2-1 Egypt
Argentina 2-0 Italy
Germany 1-1 Spain
Netherlands 0-1 England
Poland 0-1 Nigeria
Scotland 0-1 Costa Rica
France 2-3 Colombia
Uruguay 2-0 Czech Republic
Japan 1-1 Mali
Russia 0-3 Brazil
Saudi Arabia 1-1 Ukraine
Greece 0-1 Switzerland
Tunisia 1-0 Iran
Serbia 1-2 Morocco
Peru vs. Croatia — 8:30 p.m. ET
Mexico vs. Iceland — 10 p.m. ET