Solskjaer continues to reform Bluebirds roster with addition of Juan Cala; Will many moves be enough for survival?

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Say this for Cardiff City: if the Premier League’s 19th place club is head into the black night of relegation, they aren’t doing so softly.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has added yet another player in his renovation of the Bluebirds: 24-year-old Spanish defender Juan Torres Ruiz, also known as Juan Cala.

RELATED: Premier League transfer window grade: Cardiff City

It’s a poorly kept secret that was confirmed this afternoon when Cardiff City sent out a photo of their new signing on Twitter:

Cala is another addition to the club since the new year, something that Vincent Tan had said was not going to happen at all (at least with Malky Mackay in charge).

But Tan hitched up his trousers and stood tall against Mackay, ultimately firing him. Now Solskjaer is in charge of the relegation scrap, and he’s brought in a whole mess of talent, from Norway to Manchester United and now Spain.

Cala is a 6-foot-1 central defender who played 35 times for Sevilla, partaking in European football and loan spells to AEK Athens and Cartagena.

His signing makes it more than $8 million spent in January by Tan, as he’s greenlit the arrival of Magnus Wolff Eikrem from Herenveen, Mats Moller Daehli and Jo Inge Berget from Molde, Fabio da Silva and Wilfied Zaha from Manchester United as well as Kenwyne Jones from Stoke (Only Zaha was a loan deal).

It takes time for a team to gel, especially with so many additions, but it’s hard to imagine that Cardiff City won’t be buoyed by their new manager and the energy of plenty of players with something to prove.

Tan’s had plenty of wackiness to his game and his character is certainly in question, but in time at least part of it has come to look more quirky than crazy. His hinting that they’d look for players with eights in their birthdays was just an odd nod to their interest in Eikrem.

Would you bet Cardiff for a trip to the Championship, or is survival in the cards?

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