Manuel Pellegrini: “Manchester City are bigger club than Manchester United”

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In his press conference ahead of Manchester City’s massive match with Barcelona on Tuesday, City’s Chilean boss Manuel Pellegrini has added further fuel to the fire as the fierce rivalry in Manchester rumbles on.

Given Manchester United’s struggles this season, currently sitting in seventh place and 15 points off league leaders Chelsea, and the fact that City are just three points off top spot and tearing teams apart at will, Pellegrini has a point.

His point being: Manchester City are the best team in Manchester.

But are they the biggest team in Manchester?

In almost every other scale imaginable, United would tower above their “noisy neighbors,” But in the one that matters most, the Premier League standings, they are lagging far behind City this season.

Asked about that, this is what Pellegrini had to say.

“If we only consider this season, there is just one club in Manchester and it’s ours but you cannot forget what United has done in the previous years. We are aiming to keep growing by winning trophies – not just national but international trophies. We are fighting for four titles this year. We have to be patient because you cannot change the team from one day to another. We have to keep the philosophy of the style and for that you need time.”

When asked about the rivalry and City being bigger than United, Pellegrini replied in Spanish via a translator and said that “the biggest team is City now but we cannot forget the last few years.” The 60-year-old manager speaks good English and didn’t flinch when the translator uttered what the City boss had just said.

So, what do we think? Are City the biggest team in Manchester and if they aren’t… will they be in the not so distance future?

(MORE: Fernandinho’s return could give City huge boost ahead of Barcelona clash)

The massive last 16 UEFA Champions League clash with Barca, with the first leg coming up at the Etihad this week, will have a huge say as to how big City really are. Success in European soccer’s elite club competition has evaded them since Sheikh Mansour rolled in a few years ago and has splashed the cash ruthlessly ever since. If they make a deep run at the UCL crown this campaign, it could elevate City further ahead of United.

Stadium expansion, a huge new academy and training facility next to the Etihad almost finished and buying clubs in Major League Soccer, the Middle-East and the A-League are just some of the projects that have now made City the centerpiece of Mansour’s global soccer brand. United, of course, are one of the globe’s biggest sports brands. But that could dwindle in the next few years if success evades the Red Devils.

With United’s success dwindling on the field this season and a potentially rocky period ahead, it seems as though Pellegrini’s jibes of City being the bigger team in Manchester aren’t too far from the truth.

Right?

Croatia smashes disheveled Argentina

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Ante Rebic, Luka Modric, and Ivan Rakitic have Croatia in the knockout rounds and Argentina on the verge of World Cup disaster.

Croatia scored a pair of second half goals, one aided by a Willy Caballero howler, in a 2-0 win in Nizhny Novgorod on Thursday.

Argentina will enter its final match against Nigeria on the outskirts of the knockout rounds regardless of how Nigeria-Iceland ends on Friday.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Ivan Perisic forced a big save out of Wily Caballero for an early Croatia corner kick that came to nothing.

Messi had a chance stopped inside of 10 minutes, then started a play that Dejan Lovren blocked for a corner in the 13th.

Enzo Perez missed an open goal off a poor Croatia giveaway in the 30th minute.

There were a pair of fouls not out of place on a red card lowlight reel, one for each team, but neither resulting in a sending off.

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Croatia took the lead through Caballero’s gaffe and Rebic’s smash in the 54th.

Argentina nearly answered moments later. After a mazy Messi dribble, Argentina regained possession in the 64th minute, spearheaded by a Gonzalo Higuain run that led to a corner.

Croatia came close to making it 2-0, as Mario Mandzukic couldn’t turn a flick on frame and instead saw it glide into the outside of the goal.

Then Modric put the match to bed as the clock hit 80, an absolute beauty. Another huge defensive mistake allowed Mateo Kovacic to cue up Rakitic for the third.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ]

WATCH: Caballero blunder punished as Rebic rip puts Argentina on ropes

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Willy Caballero has made one of the bigger blunders in recent World Cup history.

His Argentina side needs at least a point from Thursday’s match-up with Croatia, and the match remained scoreless into halftime.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

But 10 minutes after the break, Caballero flubbed a clearance in a big way.

The Argentina goalkeeper then could only watch as Ante Rebic kept his composure to blast a side volley into the goal.

It was a fine finish, to be sure, but not possible without such a terrible gaffe.

Transfer rumor roundup: Chelsea in for Pjanic; Lozano to Juventus?

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Pro Soccer Talk examines some of Thursday’s top transfer stories, including a Premier League giant looking to add to its midfield.

[ MORE: Uruguay reaches Round of 16 courtesy of Luis Suarez ]


Chelsea could be set to join Barcelona in the race for Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic, according to the Daily Mail.

The Blues and new manager Maurizio Sarri are said to be open to looking to Serie A to solve some of the team’s troubled areas, including in the center of the park to join France international N'Golo Kante.

Sarri is already said to be keen on signing Napoli star Dries Mertens, whom he has coached for several years at the Stadio San Paolo


Meanwhile, Juve has interest in a World Cup star, with Mexico’s Hirving Lozano attracting significant looks from around the world.

Lozano scored for El Tri in their 1-0 victory over Germany to open their 2018 World Cup campaign, and has become an instant star in the Dutch Eredivisie with PSV Eindhoven.

PSV would reportedly be willing to complete a deal if the Serie A champions shell out over $40 million.


Sticking with Juve, Emre Can‘s move to the Turin side appears to be close to finalization.

Can is set to have a medical in Italy on Thursday, as the 24-year-old anticipates completing a five-year contract with the Serie A giants.


Finally, West Ham United is looking to add to its attacking options next season, and the club could be nearing a record move.

Lazio winger Felipe Anderson is reportedly set to come to the London Stadium in 2018/19 as the Hammers prepare a $46 million deal.

Anderson tallied four goals in 21 Serie A matches last season for the Biancocelesti.

RB Leipzig names Julian Nagelsmann future manager

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Julian Nagelsmann won’t take over at his new club until the 2019/20 season, but Red Bull Leipzig has put a lot of confidence in one of the youngest managers in global football.

[ MORE: Ronaldo’s tally gives Portugal win over Morocco ]

On Thursday, the Bundesliga side announced the appointment of the Hoffenheim coach, who will continue in his current capacity for the upcoming 2018/19 German campaign.

Nagelsmann signs on with Leipzig until the conclusion of the 2022/23 season.

The 30-year-old has spent two seasons managing Hoffenheim, guiding the club to back-to-back top-four finishes in the Bundesliga.

Leipzig is currently without a manager ahead of the next season, so it remains unclear who will take over until Nagelsmann assumes his role in 2019.