Manchester United announce U.S. games, trophy tour, as top European sides head to USA in summer of 2014

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On Tuesday Manchester United officially announced they will be returning to the USA for their preseason tour in 2014.

The 2014 tour marks United’s first preseason trip to the States since 2011, as they went back to back years with U.S. tours, playing multiple games and taking on the MLS All-Stars in venues across the country.

To celebrate their upcoming tour of the USA, and the clubs landmark 20th PL title from last season, United’s lates Premier League trophy and a traveling group of former will be stopping into four U.S. cities later this week and the start of next.

Full details of that coming up on ProSoccerTalk tomorrow.

Man United will be part of the 2014 Guinness International Champions Cup, with the full details set to be announced in the coming weeks. However the eight teams listed to participate in games are United, Manchester City, Liverpool, AC Milan, AS Roma Internazionale, Olympiakos and Real Madrid.

Manchester United Group Managing Director, Richard Arnold had the following to say on their U.S. tour:

“Since the Club’s last visit in 2011, the appeal of football in America has grown rapidly. NBC reported that this season’s Barclays Premier League opening weekend saw the average viewership rise by 78% from the 2012/13 season, with Manchester United’s match against Swansea being the most-watched game. Manchester United has over eight million followers in the United States and the 2014 Tour presents an exciting opportunity for these fans to get up close to the club they love.”

Cheers for the kind words, Manchester United. However there may be one snag. If United qualify for the Europa League this season, they may have to head back to England early in order for the opening rounds of the tournament. But we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

Anyway, the 2014 International Champions Cup will take place in cities across the United States from 26 July to 4 August, with Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Washington D.C. and Miami the chosen cities. One other venue will be announced soon.

The same format that has been followed in the previous ICC tournaments will take place as the teams will be divided into two groups, with the winners of each group meeting in the final at the Sun Life Stadium in Miami on August 4.

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.

WATCH: World Cup, Day 8 — Argentina on the edge; France aims for berth

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France, Denmark, and Croatia can clinch knockout round berths on Thursday in Russia, the last nation also holding the opportunity to help deprive the World Cup of an extended Lionel Messi run.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Messi’s Argentina drew Iceland in its opener, the megastar infamously missing a penalty, and will look to beat a Croatian side that looked quite good in dispatching Nigeria.

That’s the final match of the day, which begins with Denmark facing Australia and continues with a tasty match-up between France and Peru.

Below is Thursday’s schedule in full.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.


2018 World Cup schedule – Wednesday, June 20

Group C
Denmark vs. Australia: Samara, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
France vs. Peru: Yekaterinburg, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Group D
Argentina vs. Croatia: Nizhny Novgorod, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE