Copa Libertadores

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Former Sunderland forward Scocco scores five goals for River Plate

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Veteran forward Ignacio “Nacho” Scocco is quickly endearing himself to the River Plate faithful.

Nearly three months since joining River, Scocco scored an incredible five goals in the second leg of his team’s Copa Libertadores quarterfinal matchup with Bolivian side Jorge Wilstermann. Scocco scored a first half hat-trick and added two more in the second half as River turned around a 3-0 deficit heading into the second leg.

Scocco had a mostly frustrating spell in 2014 ahead of the World Cup with Sunderland, joining the club as they staved off relegation by one point. Scocco failed to score for Sunderland in eight appearances, all off the bench.

However, since then, he returned to his native Argentina and starred for his hometown club Newell’s Old Boys before moving this summer to River as a replacement for Sebastián Driussi, who completed a transfer to Zenit St. Petersburg.

Here’s a look at all of Scocco’s goals Thursday evening.

Ronaldinho agent claims Brazilian is prepared to play in 2017

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After over a year away from the game, Ronaldinho is reportedly prepared to make a return.

[ MORE: Will Chelsea remain title contenders if Costa leaves club? ]

According to the Brazilian midfielder’s agent and brother, Roberto de Assis, Ronaldinho is hoping to sign with a side involved in the Copa Libertadores during the 2017 season.

[ MORE: Spurs, Arsenal, Chelsea all win big in Saturday’s PL action ]

Assis has stated that multiple clubs have made contact with him over Ronaldinho’s playing status, including Uruguayan side Nacional.

“The project is to play in 2017,” Assis told Uruguayan outlet Ovacion Digital. “After a quiet year in which we had the opportunity to fly around the world, travel, see other countries we did not know, to be with people, to feel their affection, that’s the idea.

“The 2017 project is to play again and see how things happen. We think he will play in a team that is in the Libertadores.

“I spoke to some intermediaries [about Nacional], but things are still very quiet. When something official arrives, the club will be able to speak.”

The 36-year-old last appeared in a competitive match for Brazilian club Fluminense back in September 2015.

Ronaldinho had previously been linked with a move back to Brazil in December with Chapecoense following the club’s heartbreaking plane crash that left 71 people dead.

Mexican teams will not play in 2017 Copa Libertadores

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MEXICO CITY (AP) Mexican teams will not play in Copa Libertadores, at least in 2017, because the tournament’s new schedule makes it nearly impossible, league President Enrique Bonilla said Friday.

Last month, CONMEBOL changed its calendar to play the tournament between February and November, instead of the first half of the year like it the past. The Mexican teams, invited to play in the championship since 1998, have several conflicts because the new dates create a conflict with the CONCACAF Champions league among others.

Bonilla said that he had several meetings with Conmebol President Alejandro Dominguez and asked for a new schedule but was unsuccessful. After that, both held several meetings trying to make it work, eventually the Mexican side withdrew from the tournament.

Bonilla said that Mexico hopes to return to Copa Libertadores in 2018.

“We want to come back, but playing like this will be to take a step back, it*s too much of a burden for our teams,” Bonilla said. “If we work together we might get something solid for 2018.”

Dominguez, through a press release, said that Conmebol respected the decision and said that the doors are open for Mexico.

“We worked very hard with our Mexican colleagues, and we understand that 2017 will be a transition year. The doors are still open and when Mr. Bonilla gives us a new proposal we will take a look at it,” Dominguez said.

Infantino: Make Club World Cup 32-team, three week “World Cup”

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The Club World Cup could take a big step toward becoming a must-watch event, but at what cost?

FIFA boss Gianni Infantino would like to make the tournament, which currently brings together the winners of major club competitions in each of the world’s confederations plus a host.

Currently, the tournament has eight teams, and the winners of the UEFA Champions League and Copa Libertadores do not join until the semi-finals.

[ MORE: Guardiola defends Rooney’s “drunk” episode ]

Infantino would like to see the tournament, traditionally held before Christmas season, become a three-week event with 32 teams by 2019.

Infantino told the Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo.

“Today football is not only Europe and South America. The world has changed. So we must find a more interesting for the Club World Cup, but also for fans around the world. It’s what we try to achieve with the current much more attractive tournament with more quality among participants and clubs. That will attract sponsors, broadcasters worldwide.”

He’s right, of course, but let’s circle back to the cost. Schedule congestion is already very intense, so it stands to reason other competitions would need to be lessened or the season lengthened.

At the same time — with as much selfishness as possible — imagine a three week tourney in the South, one that has at least one MLS team competing against some of the world’s best. Or, in the event of an MLS team getting the job done in the CONCACAF Champions League, a tournament abroad with an MLS side going into a group stage against the best from three other leagues.

It’s one of the measuring sticks we’ve always wanted. Still, it seems unlikely to happen.

Brazilian clubs won the first three Club World Cups, but European sides have since won eight of nine.

Former PL midfielder Veron planning comeback with Estudiantes

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Who says 42 is too old to make a return to football?

[ MORE: Kane could return to Spurs lineup for North London Derby ]

That’s Juan Sebastian Veron’s mindset as the Estudiantes president plans a comeback to the Argentine side for next year’s Copa Libertadores.

[ MORE: Guardiola pleased with Yaya Toure apology ]

Veron exited the professional game in 2014 following his club’s triumph in the very same tournament, but now the executive has reportedly confirmed his return to football to current manager Nelson Vivas.

“I see him playing behind the forward in our 4-2-3-1, dropping back to the midfield line and lending his experience,” Vivas told reporters as he confirmed Veron’s comeback.

“And due to his personality he will always give a lot more than what we ask of him.”

Veron began his career with Estudiantes back in 1994, before venturing to Europe and playing with several major clubs. The midfielder spent time in Italy and England, which includes featuring for Lazio, Manchester United and Chelsea.