ProSoccerTalk’s daily soccer re-set

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Soccer birthdays: Remember when we said “Ronaldo” and everyone assumed we meant the striker from Brazil?

The one-time scoring ace from South America, Ronaldo, turns 36 today. The guy once looked like he was destined to challenge Pele has one of the greatest of the greats. And in the end, he had a fine career – but you always felt he left something on the table, somehow.

And you just can’t help but wonder if we ever got the 100 percent, full version of the curious events leading up to the 1998 World Cup final?

Also in birthdays: When I was a wee lad, I thought I wanted to be a goalkeeper, so I really loved watching a couple of the greats whenever that was possible.

Peter Shilton was one of those “greats.” Dude was a rock, wherever he went: Leicester, Nottingham Forest, Southhampton, Derby County (a real parade of 70s and 80s stalwarts that began fading roughly around the day of new wave music.)  He had 125 caps for England by the time his long career was over.

Most of that is beside the point, which is this: Shilton turns 63 today.

Big Important Stories of the Day:  

What a joyous Tuesday this is

UEFA Champions League group stage matches begin today

This stellar day has landed with such a force around ProSoccerTalk headquarters that I find myself forgetting to punctuate

RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day): Brian Quinn

Twitter daps:

source:

*Ahead on the blog today: By the time Manchester City kicks off at the historic Estadio Santiago Bernabéu against Real Madrid (the feature match among eight in UCL group play … or did we already mention that?), we will have dropped the MLS weekly rankings, some thoughts on newly signed Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann, information on a new women’s professional league and much more.

What you should watch on TV today:

Real Madrid Manchester City is on Fox Soccer Channel at 2 p.m. ET

Montpellier-Arsenal starts on FSC (on delay) at 5 p.m. ET

And then Tauro-Real Salt Lake kicks off (live) on FSC at 8 p.m. ET

Galavision has the other CONCACAF Champions League match, Real Estili-Tigres, which kicks off live at 10 p.m. ET

If the MLS playoffs started today (following 28 rounds):

Eastern Conference

(Wildcard round)

  • Houston vs. D.C. United

(Second round)

  • Sporting Kansas City vs. Wildcard winner
  • Chicago vs. New York Red Bulls

Western Conference:

(Wildcard round)

  • Real Salt Lake vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

(Second Round)

  • San Jose vs. Wildcard winner
  • Seattle vs. L.A. Galaxy

PST background noise while blogging today: Loop of the iconic Champions League anthem. (Extended dance mix, of course.)

We’ll leave you with this: I’m just as excited as everyone else to see Man City at Real Madrid – but Borussia Dortmund vs. Ajax from the BVB Stadion in Dortmund? Yeah, that one is gonna rock, too. Group D really is a monster, isn’t it?

*Always subject to change; you know how it is…

Reina faces hearing over links with trio connected to mafia

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ROME (AP) Outgoing Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina has been summoned to a hearing at the Italian football federation over his association with people with links to the mafia.

Reina, along with Paolo Cannavaro and Salvatore Aronica, is to face the FIGC’s disciplinary committee after an investigation by Naples’ anti-mafia department.

It is reportedly one of the reasons why Napoli decided not to renew Reina’s contract, with the former Liverpool goalkeeper set to move to AC Milan on a free transfer.

The FIGC says Reina “has had and continues to have inopportune association and friendship with Gabriele Esposito, Francesco Esposito and Giuseppe Esposito.” It adds that that includes holidays and “an exchange of favors.”

Cannavaro, who had two spells with Napoli, retired at Sassuolo last year. Aronica also spent several years at the southern club before joining Palermo in 2013.

Iran names initial squad for World Cup

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) Jalal Hosseini and Vouria Ghaffouri have both been left off Iran’s provisional 24-man squad for the World Cup.

Iran coach Carlos Queiroz did not say why Hosseini, a Persepolis defender, and Ghaffouri were not included.

There was space for midfielders Masoud Shojaei and Ehsan Hajsafi, however. Both played with Greek club Panionios against Maccabi Tel Aviv in August 2017. Iran does not recognize Israel and its supreme leader has threatened the country in the past. Both Shojaei and Hajsafi missed matches with the national team after the game.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh, a 24-year-old forward who plays in the Netherlands with AZ Alkmaar, is also in the squad, which was announced Sunday.

In the midfield, Queiroz chose Saeid Ezatolahi, although the Amkar Perm player will miss the team’s first World Cup match because he was given a red card in a game against South Korea in qualifying.

Nottingham Forest midfielder Ashkan Dejagah was also chosen.

Goalkeeper Amir Abedzadeh of Portuguese club Maritimo made the squad. His father, Ahmadreza Abedzadeh, was Iran captain and goalkeeper at the 1998 World Cup in France.

Iran will play in Group B at the World Cup with Portugal, Spain and Morocco. The team will play warm-up matches in Turkey and Greece before heading to Russia.

Goalkeepers: Alireza Beiranvand (Persepolis), Rashid Mazaheri (Zob Ahan), Amir Abedzadeh (Maritimo)

Defenders: Ramin Rezaeian (KV Oostende), Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh (Padideh), Morteza Pouraliganji (Al Saad), Pejman Montazeri (Esteghlal), Seyed Majid Hosseini (Esteghlal), Milad Mohammadi (Akhmat Grozny), Roozbeh Cheshmi (Esteghlal)

Midfielders: Saeid Ezatolahi (Amkar Perm), Masoud Shojaei (AEK Athens), Mehdi Torabi (Saipa), Ashkan Dejagah (Nottingham Forest), Omid Ebrahimi (Esteghlal), Ehsan Hajsafi (Olympiakos), Vahid Amiri (Persepolis), Saman Ghoddos (Ostersunds FK), Ali Gholizadeh (Saipa)

Forwards: Alireza Jahanbakhsh (AZ Alkmaar), Karim Ansarifard (Olympiakos), Mahdi Taremi (Al-Gharafa Sports Club), Sardar Azmoun (Rubin Kazan), Reza Ghoochannejhad (SC Heerenveen)

Six Premier Leaguers named to Argentina, but no Icardi

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Argentina’s World Cup roster features a number of the usual suspects, particularly up front, but Serie A’s top goalscorer has been surprisingly left off the list of 23.

[ MORE: Belgium goes to World Cup without Nainggolan ]

Manager Jorge Sampaoli’s squad was made official on Monday, which includes the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain.

The Albiceleste won’t be taking Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi though, which has raised some questions about the decision.

Icardi led all scorers in Italy’s top flight this season, scoring 29 goals in 34 Serie A matches, while Paulo Dybala edged out the final striker spot in the Argentina squad.

Dybala is teammates with Higuain at Italian giants Juventus.

Meanwhile, six Premier League players were named into the South American nation’s squad, including goalkeepers Sergio Romero (Man United) and Willy Caballero (Chelsea), as well as Nicolas Otamendi (Man City), Marcos Rojo (Man United) and Manuel Lanzini (West Ham).

Men in Blazers POD: FA Cup recap, UCL final preview and more

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Rog and Davo recap a spite-fueled, snear-filled, peak Phil Jones FA Cup Final, preview this weekend’s Champions League tilt between Liverpool and Real Madrid and eulogize Big Sam… gone the opposite of too soon. Plus, World Cup rosters and MLS.

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