Spain national team

David de Gea ready for Manchester United return. Should he play against Liverpool?

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David De Gea was back in action for the Spanish national team on Tuesday and he hopes he will be back in playing for Manchester United soon.

Vicente del Bosque gave the forgotten man a run out as De Gea, 24, started and played the full 90 minutes in Spain’s 1-0 win over Macedonia in their European qualifier.

[ MORE: Negative vibes surround USMNT ]

The Spanish international hasn’t featured for United since a July 29 friendly vs. Paris Saint-Germain and has sat in the stands for United’s first four games of the current Premier League season after Louis Van Gaal claimed he was unfocused and refused to play De Gea.

With his protracted potential move to Real Madrid collapsing dramatically on Deadline Day, De Gea is now expected to spend the 2015-16 season (or until the January window, at least) at Old Trafford as his current deal with the Red Devils runs out next summer.

[ MORE: MLS wants to set up Anglo-American cup with PL ]

Speaking to the Spanish press after the game, De Gea had the following to say about playing for Spain and his hopes of returning for United.

“I felt good out there,” De Gea said. “The coach has given me confidence. I am just happy to have played. I wanted to play. I am very grateful to my team-mates who have been superb, and to the manager.

“Now we need to continue to work and let’s see if I’m also lucky in my club. My future is going to be the same as it is now. I’m calm, will continue to work and improve.

“In conclusion, I’m enjoying football. I’m happy.”

So, the big question is: should De Gea return for United against bitter rivals Liverpool (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) on Saturday?

With De Gea clearly unwilling to commit his future to United, many believe the stance taken by van Gaal since the start of the season has been the correct one. However, not playing De Gea has been much easier to stomach so far with new Argentine goalkeeper Sergio Romero keeping four clean sheets in his first six games in all competitions. Romero was at fault for Swansea City’s winning goal in United’s 2-1 defeat at the Liberty Stadium before the international break, and at time his distribution has been sub-par to say the least.

After De Gea’s move to Real broke down, now seems like a good time to integrate him back into the starting lineup, or at least on the bench. He will be at United for at least the next four months and probably longer, so why not use the reigning Premier League Goalkeeper of the Year?

Yes, many will question De Gea’s commitment to United as it seems increasingly unlucky that he will re-sign next summer and will instead arrange in January — as players in the last year of their deal are allowed to do so — a move away to Real Madrid for a free transfer next July. But in the here and the now, DDG would help LVG and United this season. They are better time with him in and as his compatriot and United teammate Juan Mata has said in recent days, there doesn’t seem to be any underlying issue between the fans, club officials or the management towards De Gea.

Let him play. Would United’s fans love it if he returns to be the hero against Liverpool at Old Trafford on Saturday?

Barcelona’s Xavi set to sign deal in Qatar; will not join New York City FC, MLS

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After New York City FC’s head coach Jason Kreis cooled speculation surrounding a move for Xavi, it’s not much of a surprise to see the Barcelona legend reportedly closing in on a move to Qatar.

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According to reports from AS in Spain, Xavi will sign with Qatari outfit Al Sadd (the same club Real Madrid legend Raul played for) at the end of the current La Liga season and end his 24-year association with Barcelona after joining the Catalan club as an 11-year-old and becoming a influential figure for one of the best teams world soccer has ever seen.

[ RELATED: Messi earned $1.4 million per week in 2014 ]

Xavi, 35, has seen minutes hard to come by at the Nou Camp during the 2014-15 campaign and NYCFC recently confirmed that they came close to signing the Spanish national team legend last season and were monitoring his situation once again.

However the 2010 World Player of the Year will now head to Qatar on a three-year deal, a country which has close links with Barcelona, and get paid $11 million a year to play for Al Saad. The report in AS also states that Xavi will study for his coaching badges at the Aspire Academy in Doha.

Is his decision to move to Qatar a snub for MLS and NYCFC? Perhaps. It would have certainly been quite something to see Xavi, Frank Lampard and David Villa all in the same team at Yankee Stadium. Soccer fans in America and NYC will be left wondering “what if?”

Now that the Xavi to MLS ship has sailed, the tiki-taka god is about to begin a new adventure in the Middle East on one final pay day to end his stunning career which has seen him win three UEFA Champions League titles, seven La Liga crowns, two Copa del Rey’s and two FIFA Club World Cups with Barca, plus a World Cup and two European Championships with Spain.

Diego Costa urged to “not change” his game, but can he deliver for Chelsea?

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Following his $55 million transfer from Atletico Madrid this summer, Diego Costa is expected to do one thing at Chelsea: score goals.

And plenty of ’em.

Last season the Brazilian born striker led the Spanish side to the La Liga title and the UEFA Champions League final as he scored 35 goals in 44 appearances in all competitions.

[RELATED: Costa seals Chelsea move]

That form prompted Jose Mourinho and Chelsea to splash the cash as their three forwards (Demba Ba, Samuel Eto’o and Fernando Torres) scored 19 Premier League goals combined last season. They need a talisman and someone who can deliver goals on a regular basis.

Costa, who scored 64 goals in 134 appearances for Atletico, will have that expectancy weighing heavily on his shoulders ahead of the new season. However after chatting with his new manager Mourinho, the Spanish international told the clubs website that he isn’t going to changing much, if anything, about his game.

“One of the main things he [Mourinho] said was that he doesn’t want me to change,” Costa said. “It was Jose’s and the club’s decision to buy me and the reason they signed me was because of the way I played at Atletico. I just have to improve fine details to become a better player.”

Can Costa deliver the goals Chelsea desperately need after a trophyless season in 2013-14?

Time will tell if he turns into a Didier Drogba or Fernando Torres signing for the Blues. One thing we do know is that Costa is perfectly suited to the PL. Watching him come up against Chelsea live in Atletico’s Champions League semifinal second leg win over the Blues at Stamford Bridge back in April, Costa gave Gary Cahill and John Terry a torrid evening. His selfless running into channels, his workrate, hold up play and deft touches in and around the box make him a menace. He won a penalty, then dispatched it to put Atletico ahead in the second half. By that time he had already harassed Chelsea’s entire backline in to several giveaways. That’s why he can succeed in the PL, as it continues to be the most physically demanding league in the world.

At Chelsea he will get plenty of chances delivered to him on a plate. He’s finishing is great, but that’s not the most impressive thing about Costa. He had two separate spells at Atletico, spent several seasons out on loan with many smaller clubs and has reached the top through a long and winding route. He is not complacent, he works hard for the team and harder to engineer chances for himself. His hunger shows no sign of diminishing at the age of 25.

That is why, ladies and gents, I won’t be surprised to see Costa bang in 30 goals this season in the PL. He will get the service. If he plays like he did at Atletico, he will deliver.

Chelsea confirm Diego Costa deal, star striker signs on for $55 million

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On Tuesday Chelsea confirmed the capture of Spanish international Diego Costa from Atletico Madrid.

The Blues met Costa’s release clause over two weeks ago after Spain’s exit from the World Cup. However with personal terms still to be agreed, the deal has only just been confirmed by the Premier League side with Costa agreeing a five-year deal.

[ RELATED: Chelsea get their man ]

Costa, 25, spearheaded Atletico’s dramatic rise to the top of European soccer over the past two seasons, as the Brazilian-born striker banged in goals for fun in the UEFA Champions League and Spanish top-flight.

With Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea finishing third in the PL last season, they badly lacked firepower at crucial times of the campaign as strikers Samuel Eto’o, Demba Ba and Fernando Torres only scored 19 league goals between them.

Speaking to Chelsea’s website, Costa had the following to say.

“I am very happy to sign for Chelsea. Everybody knows it is a big club in a very competitive league, and I am very excited to get started in England with a fantastic coach and team-mates. Having played against Chelsea last season I know the high quality of the squad I am joining. I would like to thank everybody at Atletico who made me into the player I am, it was an incredible time for me, but now I am starting a new adventure and I hope to win many trophies with Chelsea.”

Costa scored 64 goals in 134 appearances for Atletico after two spells with the club which also included loan spells away from the Vicente Calderon. Last season was by far his most prolific as he bagged 35 goals in 46 appearances. He led Atletico to their first La Liga title in 18 years and the Champions League final where they lost to crosstown rivals Real Madrid.

Chelsea know all about Costa, as he scored and was a constant menace as the Spaniards dumped Chelsea out of the UCL in the semifinals last season thanks to a 3-1 second leg win at Stamford Bridge. Costa bullied Chelsea’s central defenders John Terry and Gary Cahill, that doesn’t happen often, and his movement in and around the box was so sharp. He can score all kinds of goals, works hard for the team, can hold the ball up under pressure and has a strong desire to win.

Costa ticks all the boxes.

However he did have a poor World Cup with Spain, as he started the first two games and looked a shadow of his usual self. Costa was carrying a persistent hamstring injury which limited his playing time at the end of the 2013-14 season for Atletico and meant he started but played just eight minutes in the Champions League final. You could put his bad displays with Spain down to injury, fatigue and the team not performing well. You could also put it down to the fact that he was public enemy No. 1 in Brazil after he snubbed the country of his birth to instead represent Spain at the international level.

It was a summer to forget, but Costa has now started a new journey.

When the Premier League season kicks off on August 16, Chelsea will have one of the hottest marksmen in world soccer wearing the famous blue jersey. Many are already predicting he will follow in the footsteps of Torres and prove to be a waste of money, but let’s wait and see.

For now, Diego Costa is Chelsea’s main man.

Report: Liverpool make $25 million bid for Spanish star Alberto Moreno

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Liverpool are set to be busy bee’s in the transfer market this summer, as reports from Spain state they have a made massive bid for Sevilla left back Alberto Moreno.

The Spanish international is just 21 years old and impressed for the Europa League winners in 2013-14, so much so that Liverpool have tabled a $25 million offer to test Sevilla’s resolve and have also chucked in midfielder Suso as part of the deal. Moreno is currenlty part of Vicente del Bosque’s preliminary 30-man Spain squad for the World Cup and is one of the rising stars of Spanish soccer.

Moreno has attracted interest from Napoli, Chelsea and Real Madrid in recent months but it is thought Liverpool are trying to nip in ahead of the pack before the World Cup. Moreno still isn’t assured of a spot on the plane to Brazil with the Spanish national team, so Sevilla are said to be waiting for the outcome of that before deciding whether or not to sell their academy product on.

Right now Liverpool do need some extra depth defensively, with Jon Flanagan playing at left back all of last season following Jose Enrique’s time on the sidelines and on-loan Valencia full back Aly Sissokho returning to his parent club after some lackluster displays.

Getting back into the UEFA Champions League after a four-year exodus means Liverpool must strengthen their squad considerably and defense is the one area where they struggled considerably last season. After conceding 50 goals in the Premier League, the worst in the top five, they need help at the back. Big time.

With Liverpool still trying to buy midfielders Adam Lallana and Emre Can, from Southampton and Bayer Leverkusen respectively, both deals will be complex and the asking prices seem to be somewhat of a stumbling block.

Signing Moreno should be the priority over two midfielders, as the Reds desperately need reinforcements at the back with a hectic schedule coming their way next season domestically and in Europe. If Rodgers can pull this one of it would be a real coup for Liverpool as the top teams in Europe are chasing the hugely talented Moreno.