Official: Real Madrid sign Isco from Malaga

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Moving swiftly into the transfer market following Carlo Ancelotti’s arrival as Real Madrid manager, Malaga’s prized possession Isco has arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Many thought the 21-year-old attacker from Southern Spain was on his way to Manchester City, to work alongside his ex-Malaga boss Manuel Pellegrini. But Isco has decided to join Ancelotti’s new project, with the Spanish starlet costing a cool $35 million.

Isco’s stock went through the roof after he propelled Spain to the UEFA European U-21 title this summer in Israel. His supreme attacking play and creativity saw him pick up the 2012 ‘Golden Boy Award’ handed out to La Liga’s top young player.

And with plenty more signings reportedly on the way for Real, is President Florentino Perez ushering in another ‘Galacticos‘ era?

Question marks surround the future of Gonzalo Higuain and now Cristiano Ronaldo, but Real are set to bid for Gareth Bale and others as they aim to fight back against Barcelona’s recent dominance of Spanish soccer.

(MORE: Cristiano Ronaldo to “meet with Manchester United” about return)

But what can we expect from the diminutive Isco?

Well, first things first, his full name is Francisco Román Alarcón Suárez. But the man commonly as Isco has caused quite a stir for sometime. Born in Benalmádena, a sleepy coastal suburb of Malaga, Isco has dazzled at his hometown club. Taking Spain by storm, he is right out of the same mold as Cesc Fabregas, Xavi and Andreas Iniesta. Isco scored 14 goals in 69 games for Malaga but assisted on many more with his jinxing runs and superb interplay around the penalty box.

Real fans are in for a treat as Spanish soccer’s brightest young talent can steal the show in the Spanish capital.

(MORE: Reports say Real Madrid capture Isco signing)

With Isco’s arrival, some big name players will surely depart the Bernabeu as Ancelotti stamps his own authority on the side. The domino effect of the Italian manager’s arrival will continue in the coming days and weeks.

But will Angel Di Maria, Higuain and maybe even Ronaldo departing, Ancelotti need not worry. Isco is Madrid’s new ace and will be the future of Real’s attack.

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.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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Long-term absentee Santi Cazorla will leave Arsenal

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Santi Cazorla hasn’t played a match for the Gunners since suffering a gruesome Achilles injury back in October 2016.

[ MORE: No World Cup for Spanish Chelsea trio ]

And unfortunately for the Spaniard, Cazorla won’t feature for Arsenal again after six years at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal released a statement on Monday revealing the veteran midfielder won’t return to the club in 2018/19, which isn’t unexpected given the extent of his injury.

In his time with the Gunners, Cazorla made 180 appearances in all competitions for the club, and helped Arsenal win two FA Cups.

Cazorla was also a member of the Spanish national team squads that won back-to-back UEFA EURO competitions in 2008 and 2012.