Wolves player of the year begs to leave as team continues to drop

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With the sad story of Wolverhampton Wanderers seeing the team relegated twice in two years, players have begun to search for greener pastures.

One of the few bright spots for Wolves last year in the Championship, winger Bakary Sako has said he expects to be heading to the Premier League and is confused why transfer talks have hit a snag.

“I was told I could speak to Fulham and now I don’t understand the delay. I would like things to be sorted out” said the 25-year-old.

Sako was awarded the player of the season last year despite the disappointment, as his pace and touch impressed not only his own club but Fulham manager Martin Jol as well.  Unfortunately for Sako, the two clubs have reportedly been haggling over the transfer fee, said to be in the £4 million ($6 million) range.

“At that first meeting, I sat with [the former Wolves manager] Stale Solbakken and Jez Moxey and they told me if we didn’t get promoted, the club would let me go” said Sako.  “I am only being ambitious. I believe the fans will understand that. In the difficult moments we had last season, they were very good to me and I hope they saw someone who gave everything back to them.”

Wolves were in the Premier League just two seasons ago, but have suffered successive relegations, prompting the chairman to release a stirring statement in May about how he has “failed the city.”

“Clearly a lot of mistakes have been made over the past two seasons” Wolverhampton chairman Steve Morgan said in the statement.  “Although every decision has been with the Club’s best interests at heart, we have clearly got some of those decisions wrong.  I understand the fans’ pain, anger and resentment towards me, the Board and the players, especially within the context of successive relegations.”

With Sako the first to take flight to avoid League One, a number of others could be out the door as well.  Morgan speculated in his statement that “quite naturally a number of players will leave in the summer, but they will only go if it is right for the Club.” Striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, who was a starter during both relegation seasons, left the club with the expiration of his contract.

Mexico receives FIFA fine for insulting chant

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FIFA handed a $10,400 fine down to Mexico on Wednesday for “discriminatory and insulting chants” that occurred during El Tri’s 1-0 victory over Germany.

[ MORE: Spain tops Iran after overruled goal ]

The FIFA disciplinary committee reportedly levied the fine to Mexico for directing a derogatory chant towards German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

“The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has sanctioned the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) with a fine of CHF 10,000 for the misconduct of a group of Mexican fans (cf. art. 67 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code) in relation to discriminatory and insulting chants during the first half of the 2018 FIFA World Cup match played between Germany and Mexico,” FIFA declared in a press release.

The Mexican Football Federation has aimed to eliminate an ongoing epidemic of homophobic chants that supporters have screamed during goal kicks for some time.

El Tri was sanctioned 12 times during CONCACAF World Cup qualifying for those chants.

Ronaldo explains his new chin hair at World Cup

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Now that Cristiano Ronaldo has taken to sporting a reasonable hairstyle atop his head, people are talking about the foliage on his face.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

Ronaldo, 33, drew speculation when he stroked his chin following a goal in his hat trick performance against Spain in the World Cup opener. Some said he was demonstrating defiance against Lionel Messi posing with a goat (Greatest Of All Time) in a recent photograph.

Ronaldo scored again on Wednesday, and there was seemingly little doubt his goatee was a wink to the speculators. But what did it mean, CR7? From ESPN:

“This goatee? It’s a joke I had with [Ricardo] Quaresma. “We were in the sauna [before Friday’s match against Spain] and I started to shave and I left the goatee. I said if I score tomorrow, I would leave it for the rest of the tournament. And it gave me luck.

“I scored in that game, I scored in this one, so it stays.”

Personally, I like to imagine Ronaldo starting to get as wild with his facial hair as he did his head hair.

Perhaps a beatnik style, or something like Serj Tankian from System of a Down. Get nuts, C-Ron.

Report: Southampton could sell Tadic to Ajax for $20m

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Could Southampton be selling one of its most creative forces?

Dusan Tadic, 29, is in the middle of a World Cup run with dark horse Serbia, but the Saints star is also being talked about as a purchase item for Ajax.

[ MORE: Serbia tops Costa Rica ]

The celebrated Eredivisie has traditionally been a selling club for the Premier League, but could be a $20 million buy for Ajax.

The report says director of players Marc Overmars and financial director Jeroen Slop have flown to Southampton to work out a deal.

Tadic starred for Dutch sides Groningen and Twente between 2010-14 before moving to St. Mary’s for a reported $12 million.

He’s scored 24 goals with 35 assists in 162 appearances for Saints, 21 and 30 of which came in the Premier League.

Toronto locks down USMNT backstop Bono with extension

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Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono is going to stay Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

The newly-capped USMNT backstop, 24, has been attracting interest from abroad since breaking past Clint Irwin to win the TFC job and guiding the club to multiple MLS Cup Finals.

Now general manager Tim Bezbatchenko has locked down his young goalkeeper to an undisclosed contract extension. From TorontoFC.com:

“Alex was a big part of our success last season. He set club records for wins and clean sheets and was a critical piece of our championship team,” said Toronto FC Sr. Vice-President, Soccer Operations & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Since joining the club as a first round pick in 2015, Alex’s ability to make key saves in big moments has been critical to our success.”

The Syracuse-born product of Syracuse University has made 64 appearances for the Reds.