Six players to leave Fulham, including veteran Mark Schwarzer

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If 40-year-old Mark Schwarzer wants to return home, there’s a nice Australian Marquee spot open for him with the Western Sydney Wanderers. Last year’s regular season champions may be league owned, and Western Sydney may be slightly distinct from Schwarzer’s home town of Sydney, but if the former Fulham man is looking for a cushy landing spot to play out the rest of his days, he could do worse than land next to Tony Popovic and Shinji Ono with the Wanderers.

That the Premier League stalwart is, in fact, a former Cottager was confirmed today. Having turned down a new deal in the wake of Fulham’s summer acquisition of Dutch international Maarten Stekelenburg, Schwarzer’s set to take his 16 seasons and 502 appearances worth of experience elsewhere. While he’s the only international player to ever cross the 500-appearance mark in the Premier League, it’s unclear he’ll get the add to his total, with few teams able to offer more than Fulham’s backup role to a man who turns 41 on October 6.

Also leaving Craven Cottage is Simon Davies, who was the longest tenured player at Fulham until his contract expired on Sunday. Davies, probably best known for his contributions during Fulham’s run to the 2009-10 Europa League final, had been with the club since 2007 but had seen playing time wane since the departure of Roy Hodgson.

Perhaps a slightly more surprising departure is that of Chris Baird, though with Sascha Riether having emerged at his right back position, the Northern Ireland international may be seeking first team opportunities elsewhere.

Giorgos Karagounis, the 125-time Greece international who arrived in London just after the start of last season, is also leaving the club. In his one season at Craven Cottage, the 36-year-old made 25 appearances, scoring once.

And perhaps the least renown departure will be Csaba Somogyi. The Hungarian goalkeeper was Martin Jol’s first signing two years ago but never made a first team appearance.

Italian soccer federation signs deal with Chinese government

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ROME (AP) The Italian soccer federation has signed a wide-ranging memorandum with the Chinese government to promote soccer between the two countries.

The deal foresees playing the Italian Super Cup or Italian Cup in China within the next three years.

[ MORE: Upsets in EURO qualifying ]

The Italian Super Cup – which pits the Serie A champion against the Italian Cup champion – has already been played in China four times over the last 10 years.

The meeting with China Media Group head Shen Haixiong also focused on TV content and rights, collaboration over developing young Chinese players in Italy and instruction for using the video assistant referee.

Shen was in Rome for the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Italian federation president Gabriele Gravina says, “Soccer has shown once again to be a bridge between different cultures.”

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

WATCH: Asprilla scores terrific bicycle kick on USL cameo

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Portland Timbers forward Dairon Asprilla has had to spend some time in the USL Championship this season, and the second tier would probably like to see Gio Savarese keep the Colombian in Major League Soccer.

[ REPORT: Liverpool to sell Keita? ]

Asprilla scored twice and added an assists on Saturday night in a defeat of Eric Wynalda’s Las Vegas Lights, and he put up a near picture perfect bicycle kick on the highlight reel.

Watch as he sets himself up, willingly or not, for the endeavor before splashing a shot in the side panel for an amazing aesthetic.

Report: Bayern, BVB ready to buy Keita from Liverpool

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A report claims that Liverpool is ready to admit defeat in the case of Naby Keita.

Keita, 24, was bought from RB Leipzig last season and arrived at Anfield in the summer, but has struggled to find consistent playing time under Jurgen Klopp.

[ VIDEO: USMNT’s Saief shines for FC Cincinnati ]

Viewed as the missing link between the Virgil Van Dijk and Liverpool’s torrential attack, Keita has not come close to replicating the form that saw his price tag reach $69 million.

Indeed, Team Talk says Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich look prepared to pay around $53 million to bring Keita back to the Bundesliga.

Keita has played 27 matches in all competitions for Liverpool, accumulating 1,388 minutes and just one assist. He had nine goals and seven assists in more than double the minutes one season ago.

According to WhoScored.com, he’s passing the ball better and taking almost a foul less than last season, but almost every other measurable has declined since he moved to England.

I’m as guilty as anyone of thinking Keita would be everything the Reds required after an improved 2017-18, but he’s either being used very poorly or having trouble adjusting to the culture.

It’s early to quit on a player so talented, but maybe Klopp and he just don’t mesh well. But if it isn’t a case of clashing with the club, it may be worth waiting out a player who looked a giant just eight months ago.

EURO qualifying: Hungary stings Croatia, Israel hangs 4 on Austria

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It wasn’t just Germany and the Netherlands staging a tight and entertaining match in EURO 2020 qualifying on Sunday.

[ VIDEO: Saief, Manneh lead FC Cincinnati ]

Hungary 2-1 Croatia

Ante Rebic’s early goal made a “business as usual” statement for the World Cup runners-up, but Hungary can be a handful against any opponents and rallied at home.

Hoffenheim striker Adam Szalai brought the hosts level at halftime, and Mate Patkai gave Hungary a deserved 2-1 win in Budapest.

Coming three days after a loss in Slovakia to start qualifying, it was an early almost-must-win for Marco Rossi’s men.

Israel 4-2 Austria

Marko Arnautovic‘s brace in defeat couldn’t have come with different vibes. His eighth minute marker gave the Austrians a leg up, his 75th minute goal meaning very little with the side having conceded four-straight in between.

China-based striker Eran Zahavi scored a hat trick for Israel, and RB Salzburg star Munas Dabbur scored the fourth goal to keep the hosts within sight of first place Poland.

Austria is winless through two qualifiers.

Elsewhere
Wales 1-0 Slovakia
Cyprus 0-2 Belgium
San Marino 0-2 Scotland
Netherlands 2-3 Germany — RECAP, VIDEO
Northern Ireland 2-1 Belarus
Poland 2-0 Latvia
Slovenia 1-1 Macedonia
Kazakhstan 0-4 Russia