Barcelona bid for David Luiz – Is there any hope for the Blaugrana?

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After months of speculation Barcelona have made an official bid for Chelsea defender David Luiz, according to Sky Sports.

The bid is undisclosed but is thought to be worth somewhere in the region of $26-$34 million (£17-£22m), which is considerably less than the $53 million (£34.5m) bid the Catalan giants were rumored to be preparing.

Amount of the bid aside, Barcelona have signaled their intent to get a deal done for the defender as representatives flew into London on Tuesday for negotiations.

There is little to suggest that the subject bid will interest Chelsea. Earlier in the summer Manchester United and Bayern Munich made their interest in the Brazilian known, with the later being told by the Blues that only an offer in the $80 million (£52m) would entertain.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has further dulled the prospects of selling Luiz by publicly and privately saying that the club will not be selling the Brazilian. Mourinho issued flattery towards Luiz after his side’s 2-0 pre-season win over AC Milan: “David has come back with us fantastically and we have to use his quality. He has big self-confidence and self-esteem, especially when he comes up from the back with the ball.”

Any sale of Luiz at this point would also come as a shock given how well the player has adapted to Premier League football. Arriving at the club in January 2011 from Benfica, Luiz was an athletic but unpolished talent that frequently found himself out of position and prone to mistake. Last season, however, the center-back adjusted tremendously, making himself a regular in the starting lineup and a major threat going forward.

His defensive positioning still comes into question but the mistakes are fewer and far between. Further, Luiz has proven himself to be a valuable member in the locker room with his laid-back, jovial approach. The fan favorite also has many – including John Terry – believing that Luiz could be the future captain of the club.

All of this comes at odds with Barcelona’s approach. The Blaugrana appear to have accepted that a defense comprised of an aging and increasingly fragile Carles Puyol, a slowing Gerard Pique and full-backs who take more pride in going forward than defending is not a Champions League winning combination. Earlier this summer Barca failed in their attempt to scoop up Marquinhos from Roma and as of now, the move for Luiz looks like it’s heading in the same direction.

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.