Bacary Sagna reveals he will leave Arsenal

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Out of contract at Arsenal next month, Bacary Sagna’s future has been up in the air for quite some time as his contract negotiations hit a snag with the Gunners.

Now, it seems to be sorted.

Sagna, 31, confirmed to French newspaper L’Equipe that he will not be at the Emirates Stadium next season as he moves on from Arsenal after seven seasons in North London.

Manchester City are said to be courting Sagna and offering him a big pay rise from what he could expect at Arsenal, although Sagna didn’t confirm his next destination.

Currently away preparing for the 2014 World Cup with the French national team, this is what Sagna had to say.

It’s no longer a secret, I will leave Arsenal for sure. They tried to make an effort, but the discussions have not gone in the direction I wished it. There are a lot of calls, a lot of speculation. Frankly, it gives headaches. I’ll sort it all out before the start of the World Cup.” 

An experienced right back who is thought to be demanding way in excess of $150,000 per week, only a handful of clubs across Europe could snap up Sagna on a free transfer. City are the favorites but don’t rule out a move away from the Premier League for the powerful French full back.

This may be the perfect time for Sagna to leave, as his lifted a trophy for the first time in his Arsenal career at the end of last season when they clinched the FA Cup at Wembley. He will go out on a high.

Will Arsenal miss him? Of course. However they do have England international Carl Jenkinson who has developed into a solid and dependable right back (especially during the 2012-13 season when he deputized for Sagna during the Frenchman’s spell on the sidelines through injury) that is versatile and is improving all the time. The 22-year-old is likely to be given a starting role next season rather than Arsene Wenger spending money on a direct replacement for Sagna.

This news has been coming, so it was better for Sagna to try and get things sorted out before he jets off to Brazil for the summer.

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