MLS Strike: Players have resolve, if not upper hand, in labor negotiations

MLS and the Players Union have reached an impasse as CBA talks continue down to the wire.

With just over two weeks to go until the start of the 2015 Major League Soccer season, the MLS Players Union (MLSPU) and the league have hit in an impasse with regards to agreeing on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

Time is ticking as the current CBA deal, agreed on back in 2010, ran out on Jan. 31. Last week a mediator was appointed to act on behalf of both sides, however the increasing feeling is that the players hold supreme power in the CBA talks of 2015 and are willing to strike to get what they want.

[ RELATED: Cameron on the CBA talks ]

Speaking to various stars around the league, past MLS players and the head of MLSPU, one thing is clear: change is needed. And it is needed now as MLS enters a new era with new teams, a new TV deal and plenty more star names entering the fray. MLS was contacted for this investigation into the mood of the negotiations but after initial contact, all we got was radio silence.

The two hot topics which MLS and the players union are still far apart on is some form of free agency and increasing the minimum salary levels.

Bob Foose, Executive Director of the MLSPU and the man heading up the talks on behalf of the players, believes that his players are willing to strike to achieve a new set of regulations, which they believe will allow the league to flourish for the foreseeable future.

“We are going to work on this as hard as we possibly can and to be fair, I have seen nothing from the league to suggest that isn’t their intention as well,” Foose explained. “The last thing we want is a work stoppage. It is not our goal and we don’t think it is good for the league. That is not what we are aiming for but the players have made it abundantly clear to the league, face-to-face, and publicly, that they can’t continue to play under the current system.  There has to be real change here or they are not willing to continue to play. That’s the framework we all have to work within and we will all do everything we can to resolve it in the time that we have left.”

[ RELATED: Garber’s “2014 State of the League” address ]

Foose believes the current group of players are the most savvy he’s had in terms of their knowledge of the negotiations and, most importantly, the unity among the group across the league’s 20 teams is remarkable.

Toronto FC’s veteran defender Steven Caldwell, who joined MLS in 2013 after spending the majority of his career playing in the Premier League in England, sets out the players’ stall in his gravelly Scottish accent. Caldwell, 34, is one of 63 players (around 10 percent of the league) on a board of committee members for the MLSPU that has been in recent meetings with the league and has been influential in spreading the word of the union across locker rooms at every single club. The passion in the voice of a player who is relatively new to MLS, and is speaking about CBA negotiations for the first time in his career, is startling.

“We are fully together… Very unified. Nobody wants a work stoppage at any point in their careers but we are fully prepared for that,” Caldwell said. “I have never seen a more unified group of players considering the distances we cover and the amount of people our group entails. We are very unified and committed to what we are trying to achieve. We will continue to negotiate and try to see a path to an agreement. But just now, it is quite difficult to see that. We are extremely far apart in the most important issues.”

[ RELATED: Bradley believes players willing to strike ]

source: Getty Images
Captain of Toronto in 2014, Caldwell has sent out a strong message to MLS.

Many question if and why MLS players would want to strike and what kind of message that would send out to not only the sports scene in North America, but across the globe. With high profile stars like David Villa, Kaka, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard all entering the league in 2015, a work stoppage could impact the image of the league across the world and create a significant divide between the players and high-ranking officials in the league office.

Senior pros were influential during the 2010 negotiations and the role of Michael Bradley, Bobby Boswell and other veterans up and down the league have united the players five years later as the CBA talks this time involve more money, more teams and the stakes are undoubtedly higher. The message from the players is loud and clear: they are not afraid to strike, and it will happen if the league doesn’t listen to them.

“The goal is to find a new agreement, one that works for the league and one that works for the players,” Bradley told reporters in January. “Nobody is sitting here right now saying to themselves, ‘We want a work stoppage.’ That’s not the end goal for anybody. Should we get to a point before the season where things and negotiations aren’t where they should be, we are ready to strike. And we are united as a group to make real progress in terms of the way players get treated in this league.”

Boswell, who is the team representative for D.C. United and has played in MLS for over 10 years, has been involved in plenty of discussions between the two parties and although he revealed civility, he’s not too optimistic about deals being reached on free agency and player compensation.

“There’s some progress,” Boswell told “We both are optimistic that we can get a deal done. But we have some fundamental issues. We don’t agree with each other on how to get where we want to go. It’s not like [negotiators] are in there yelling at each other. It’s civil, but there are some issues we’re not eye to eye on and we’re pretty far apart on some pretty important stuff.”

[ RELATED: Evans believes MLS strike is imminent ]

That issue of free agency has become a real issue in MLS in recent years as players continue to be traded freely within the league and are forced to move their families from club to club at only a phone-call’s notice. If your team and the league decide you are getting traded from San Jose to Montreal, you are getting traded to Montreal. You have no say in it. The players union are fighting hard to change that, with proposals on the table to protect MLS veterans from being traded here, there and everywhere after they’ve had a certain number of years in the league.

Michael Bradley believes MLSPU are unified and ready to strike.

Is that sort of agreement enough or is full free agency the best possible solution? Former Houston Dynamo and MLS All-Star Geoff Cameron, who now plays for Stoke City in the Premier League and the U.S. national team, believes a form of free agency needs to happen. And if the players are willing to strike for it, so be it.

“For people to say that a strike would look bad on the players, I think that’s completely false. Anybody can go online and look up the salaries and look up the situations where guys can get traded three of four times during a season,” Cameron said. “Is that fair for families to have to deal with that and not being taken care of properly? I believe the league now has a stable grounding, they have the stadiums and attendance figures are up. The wealth is there in the league. If MLS wants to be looked at as a major league around the world, and it’s getting there, then they need to respect the players the way other leagues around the world do.”

Caldwell echoes Cameron’s sentiments.

“It is a right enjoyed by every other soccer player in the world,” Caldwell explains. “I feel that MLS is in a position now where it has to reward good performances and it is certainly the way we need to go to build this league up to a stronger level. The league is growing all the time but the way we are going, free agency is extremely important. The system right now is unfair to players who are committed to and have built this league.”

[ RELATED: Vegas out of MLS expansion – Sacramento or Minneapolis? ]

Due to MLS still being a single-entity since it was formed in 1996, the whole free agency aspect is rocky ground. Lawyers have suggested that the league’s status as a single-entity could be called into question (especially with individual owners now in charge of every single club). And if an anti-trust lawsuit was filed by the players against MLS then they would have a decent case of winning. I put that option to Foose, but he reaffirmed the notion that the players aren’t looking to sue MLS. They just want what they think they deserve.

“There’s no question the league is a single-entity,” Foose said. “Our focus is on reaching an agreement. That is what our goal is and it is what we are putting all of our time and effort into. That is what we want to see happen.”

source: Getty Images
Cameron believes that MLS veterans deserve more respect as the league continues to grow.

So, what about the other big issue … How vital is it to increase the minimum wage?

Compared to other major league sports in North America, MLS is lagging way behind in the minimum salary it dishes out not only to rookies, that’s $36,500 per season by the way, but to squad players who occupy spots 12 to 18.

In the NBA the average salary for a player is $5 million, in MLB it is $3.8 million, while in the NHL it is $2.6 million and it’s above $2 million in the NFL.

The median salary for an MLS players is around $91,000 and with so much money coming into the league through expansion fees of over $100 million per club, upwards of $90 million a year in TV deals and more teams lined up to enter between now and 2020, players at the middle and the bottom end of MLS rosters are starting to wonder when things will change for them. MLS Commissioner Don Garber, somewhat predictably, chose his State of the League address in December 2014 to say that the league is losing over $100 million per season. With the CBA negotiations on the horizon, MLS had set out its stall that profits and progress weren’t as healthy as they had previously championed.

[ RELATED: Latest MLS standings ]

Yet with a huge number of Designated Players arriving since 2007 and plenty of those guys earning upwards of $5 million per year as we speak, the inequality of the salary structure in MLS is fast becoming a humongous issue with the MLSPU. So much so, that it’s something they are willing to strike for in 2015. DPs like Bradley, Kaka and Clint Dempsey are putting their livelihoods on the line to try and ensure that the guys they train and play alongside every day don’t continue to earn less than $40,000 a year, while they earn upwards of $6 million.

“In some ways it is a good message,” Foose says of the increased number of DPs in MLS. “We are happy that they [MLS] are investing and committed to further investing in the league. The concern is that it doesn’t strike the right balance in how you make MLS better going forward. It generates attention and that is good. We have no beef with that. We certainly have no beef with the signings of the Designated Players. Our DPs are great additions to the league, we are happy to have them and they are supporters of the union. We have no beef at all with the Designated Player rule or the DPs. We are all together. But it can’t just be all you do, it has to be more than that.”

source: Getty Images
With packed stadiums and expansion franchises thriving, MLSPU want improved deals.

But what would increasing the minimum salaries actually do for the league? Foose believes it would help MLS compete better with Liga MX clubs in the CONCACAF Champions League and help MLS get to where it wants to be, one of the world’s top league’s by 2022.

“It bears itself out in very tangible ways when you look at things like the CCL and we are all very committed to competing successfully with the Mexican teams in that competition,” Foose said. “You really need to look no further to the depth and commitment of those teams and their salary structure to find out why we haven’t been successful. Across the Mexican league you see real depth in those rosters. So when you get into a competition like that, where you are not able to play your regular starting lineup in every game in the competition, due to the balance in the Mexican league you see a different level of player in those slots 12-18 than you can possibly expect in our league. That isn’t something which can be solved overnight, we acknowledge that, but it is something which needs to be addressed quickly or we are not going to be able to make the strides forward we want to make.”

[ RELATED: MLS statistics ]

Caldwell agreed that in order for MLS to develop and move to the next level, the minimum salary needs to increase.

“It is extremely important. It is very difficult just now with these young guys coming into the league with the minimum salary as it is,” Caldwell said. “For them to live like professionals, to be in a job where you have to be so dedicated in everything you do. In every form: where you live, what you eat, et cetera. It is very important that we raise that.”

Cameron arrived into MLS as a rookie in Houston after being drafted in 2008 from the University of Rhode Island. Thinking back to what it was like to be a young guy in MLS before the last CBA deal in 2010, Cameron is adamant that change is needed for the league to grow.

“I remember it was preseason and we were all planning on striking. The vote was something ridiculous like 385-2 in favor, or something like that. The players were really unified and that’s something they really have going on this time, and even more so this time around because the league is now more popular and more money is involved,” Cameron said. “But I vividly remember the warning that we all had as players. We were told to save money and to prepare for a strike. Throughout the whole preseason we were planning on striking and preparing ourselves for the possibility of a lockout or a strike. Fortunately they agreed to a deal a few days before the season started. It could come down to the wire this time but I think the players are fighting for even more than we did in 2010. It’s time that the core players who built this league need to be taken care of properly. My first year, I had a senior roster spot but I was making $30,000 a year and I was the lucky one. The guys who are on developmental deals were making $12,500 a year which was less than minimum wage”

[ RELATED: MLS schedules ]

David Villa and other superstars like Gerrard, Lampard and Kaka will enter MLS in 2015.

Foose believes that MLS is doomed if the league only continues to spend its money on attracting DP players and does not address the inequality across the roster as the league continues to grow.

“This inequality has become very, very stark in the last few years with the commitment to the top of the roster we have seen,” Foose said, sternly. “At a time when we have needed to close that gap, we have been accentuating that gap. You could attribute it to growth. Those signings at the top of the roster is growth, but it can’t be the only strategy. If it is, it is doomed not to succeed when it comes to improving the quality of the league.”

But what is it like to be a young player who is worrying day in, day out about how they can get the bills paid in some of the most expensive cities in the country? Cameron explains.

“You have to bunk up with each other, players share a place. Being a rookie back then, it was tough. It was not easy,” Cameron said. “You were living from paycheck to paycheck, you weren’t able to save because you were just trying to get to the next month. After coming out of college, you are not hitting the big bucks. During my rookie year, a lot of the older guys knew how much the rookies were making and that is why they always passed off player appearances for us. It would always be the rookies doing it because there would be a small fee involved but that made a huge difference to the rookies. The older guys, they knew we needed the extra cash.”

The unity and togetherness between MLS players shone through throughout my talks on and off the record with plenty of them, from Portland to Toronto, D.C. to L.A. Caldwell revealed that the group connect on multiple conference calls and are involved in every decision the players union make, but it was the face-to-face meetings in Las Vegas last December that really provided an opportunity for the players to sit down and make sure every team was being represented properly and fairly. Simply put, across the board MLS players are ‘all in’ as their pursuit of a new and improve CBA agreement continues to the bitter end.

[ RELATED: Gerrard signs for LA Galaxy ]

In 2010 an agreement was reached between the league and the players union just a few days before the start of the season. Can we expect the negotiations to go down to the wire once again? Now that a mediator has been appointed, just like in 2010, the hope is that both parties are willing to work together to figure this out. But the fact of the matter is, the mediator can be dismissed at any time if neither party is happy with the progress, or lack thereof.

Between now and the opening day of the MLS season on March 6, plenty needs to be done. Technically the players could carry on playing without a CBA deal agreed throughout the 2015 season, but that’s not an option for them. They will strike if they don’t agree on a deal and that would be bad news for everyone. Even though MLS owners don’t look like initiating a lockout, the players will walk away as one word dominates their mindset. Unity.

“We want to come to a solution but are far apart at this moment,” Caldwell said. “We want to negotiate and hopefully we can do that, but we are very unified and very together in this.”

Kaka and Orlando City will enter the league in 2015.

New York City FC’s Jeb Brovsky echoed that sentiment in Manchester last week during his team’s first-ever preseason before they enter MLS.

“I would echo my colleagues in that the players are united and that is something very dear to a lot of guys in Major League Soccer,” Brovsky said. “We are going to stay united and we have strength in numbers.”

[ RELATED: Lampard on deal with MLS, NYCFC ]

Brad Evans, the MLSPU rep for the Seattle Sounders, believes the current crop of players deserve to be rewarded for their hard work in the last five years which has seen the league grow beyond many people’s wildest dreams.

“We feel we deserve it now,” Evans told reporters recently. “We feel we’ve put in another five years of growing this league and especially those that have played in the league for 10 years. We think we should be able to choose where we go. We don’t want astronomical prices. We understand the economics of it. We’ve had a phenomenal economics team look at where the league stands, where we stand as players, and we want what is fair for everybody.”

Agreeing on what is fair for everyone is the hard part. MLS is unlikely to commit to any arrangements with regards to free agency as they won an anti-trust lawsuit in 2000 when the structure of the league was called into question during plenty of financial mismanagement which saw the downsizing of MLS and more prudent growth models mushroom from it. Even though Garber and MLS claim the league is still losing money, the legal implications of allowing a form of free agency could hit the league hard as several anti-trust lawsuits could be filled against MLS. What the players want, well, MLS is simply not willing to give it up.

“We will meet every week from here on out,” said a determined Foose. “That would be the expectation. It is not that we aren’t trying, on both sides, but we are very, very far apart in two key issues. That’s free agency and player compensation.”

As for the deadline, the pressure continues to build on both sides of the ball to ensure a damaging work stoppage doesn’t become a reality. Crucial meetings between the players union and MLS will take place on Feb. 21-23, as talks will go down to the wire.

“We have not articulated any type of specific deadline but clearly we all have an eye towards the end of preseason and the beginning of the season,” Foose said. “That is the crucial juncture. We certainly feel pressure, and I think the league would agree that we all feel pressure. Over the next few weeks the aim is to make progress and to get ourselves to a point where we can make an agreement.”

If that agreement doesn’t arrive, the players will have made the ultimate sacrifice to prove their point: change is needed, and it has to happen now.

MLS was contacted by ProSoccerTalk to comment on this article but after initial discussions, a league spokesperson was not made available.

Premier League transfer news live, today! Latest updates on the summer window


We are all set for a very summer transfer window, as the latest transfer news keeps flooding in and plenty of big names are expected to be on the move.

[ VIDEO: Premier League analysis ]

The 2023 summer transfer window opens on June 14, 2023 for Premier League clubs and it will close at 6pm ET on September 1, 2023.

From superstars like Declan Rice, Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham in-demand, to speculation around the future of Lionel Messi and plenty of money set to be spent by the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool, this will be a fun summer.

[ TRANSFER NEWS: Arsenal | Liverpool | Chelsea | Tottenham | Man City | Man United

Below we roundup the latest transfer news, done deals, reports and rumors and give our analysis on what’s going on as Joe Prince-Wright (JPW), Nicholas Mendola (NM) and Andy Edwards (AE) will guide you through a hectic last few weeks of the window.

Transfer news live today! Latest from the summer window, so far…

June 3 – In-demand $40M back name checks Liverpool

Wolfsburg defender Micky van de Ven has had a dream to play at Anfield since attending a game there as a youngster. An excellent ball progressor, Van de Ven is viewed as a $40 million target and reports have said Jurgen Klopp is an admirer. So it’s a mutual appreciation society.

“I once went to the Liverpool stadium with my dad,” he told AZ WAZ. “That was over Christmas on Boxing Day. Liverpool vs Arsenal. That was madness. Then when ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ comes [on] – that’s a goose bump moment, that was very cool. It’s a dream to play there.”

The 6-foot-4 Van de ven turned 22 in April and has served as the captain of the Dutch U-21 national team. He moved from Volendam to Wolfsburg in the summer of 2021 and became a full-time starter in his second season, occasionally swinging to left back. (NM)

June 2 – Man United in ‘detailed talks’ for young forwards

According to The Athletic, Manchester United have been in ‘detailed talks’ over the signing of Randal Kolo Muani and Rasmus Hojlund. The young forward duo are both being chased by the Red Devils as Erik ten Hag wants to add one of them and a more experienced striker. Per the report, John Murtaugh has spoken to both Eintracht Frankfurt and Atalanta multiple times about Kolo Muani and Hojlund respectively and United are hoping to move on with chasing summer targets despite uncertainty surrounding their ownership status as the Glazer Family continue to explore the option of a full or partial sale of the Premier League giants. Kolo Muani and Hojlund both fit the mould for the type of player Erik ten Hag wants and if United can land one of them and somehow pull off an unlikely move for Harry Kane (unlikely due to Daniel Levy’s unwillingness to do business) then it will be a heck of a summer for the Red Devils. (JPW)

June 2 – Gvardiol wanted by Manchester City

According to a report from The Times, Josko Gvardiol is at the top of Pep Guardiola’s wish-list this summer. The Croatian defender, 21, is thought to be valued at $108 million by RB Leipzig and although the German giants don’t want to sell, it is believed Gvardiol is keen on a move to City. The report says that City plan on moving on at least one of their center backs and all of John Stones, Ruben Dias, Manuel Akanji and Nathan Ake seem certain to stay with Aymeric Laporte perhaps the most likely to move on. Gvardiol has long been linked with a Premier League move and his power in the air as well as his pace and ability on the ball is a perfect fit for the Premier League and City. Josko Gvardiol also got a good look at City this season as Leipzig were hammered by Erling Haaland and Co. in the UEFA Champions League. We’ve seen this season how Guardiola’s side dominated the final months of the season not only due to their incredible goalscoring exploits but largely thanks to a solid defensive unit. Having mobile center backs who can slot in at full back and step into midfield is key to the way they play. Gvardiol can do that. (JPW)

June 1 – Manchester United move to front of queue for Mason Mount

A report from ESPN says that Manchester United have moved to the front of the queue when it comes to signing Mason Mount this summer. Mount, 24, has just one year left on his contract at Chelsea and is expected to move on this summer. Mount has been linked with moves to United and Liverpool but the report says that Mount is keen on heading to United although the Red Devils have some reservations over the $75 million transfer fee Chelsea are asking for. Per the report, clubs are waiting for later in the summer to try and buy Mount as they known Chelsea will have to move players on due to the enormous squad Mauricio Pochettino has inherited and will have to trim. Does Mount to United make sense? It does. He can slot in anywhere in Erik ten Hag’s midfield and is the perfect kind of player to add depth to their squad and be a great 12th man or step in when key midfielders are injured or need a rest. His time at Chelsea is clearly coming to an end and even though Mount has struggled this season at Chelsea, his quality is proven in the Premier League in recent years and on the international stage with England. (JPW)

May 31 – Liverpool eye Bundesliga midfielder

Bild says that the Reds are turning to the Bundesliga to address their midfield. Jurgen Klopp will turn to Borussia Monchengladbach’s Kouadio “Manu” Kone this summer, as Liverpool has reportedly told the player that it will be approaching Gladbach. Kone, 22, has been linked with several big clubs including a late March report regarding Manchester United interest. A ball progressor who reads the game very well, Kone is said to carry a price tag of more than $40 million. (NM)

May 30 – Chelsea all-in on Ugarte

Chelsea are in talks to sign Manuel Ugarte, according to Fabrizio Romano. The Uruguayan and Sporting Lisbon holding midfielder is admired by new Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino. Romano says PSG are in the race for Ugarte too. Ugarte, 22, is exactly the kind of player Pochettino loves as he will dig in, win the ball and get it to others to create. Alongside Enzo Fernandez, Ugarte will add extra defensive stability to Chelsea’s midfield and improve the balance of their squad. Our partners in the UK at Sky Sports says that Ugarte has a $65 million release clause in his contract. (JPW)

May 30 – Declan Rice linked with Bayern Munich

Our partners at Sky Germany say that Bayern Munich are very interested in signing Declan Rice from West Ham. Bayern, who won their 11-straight Bundesliga title on the final day of the season, have made Rice, 24, their top target as Thomas Tuchel is a huge fan of the England international.

Here is more from Sky Germany reporter Uli Kohler: “Tuchel had a phone call with Rice. I don’t know what they were talking about – maybe money, maybe about what he can expect here [in Munich]. Bayern is keen on him. They need a strong defensive midfielder but everybody knows there are a lot of other clubs interested in him. Bayern could afford it. They would like to keep it below €100m [£86.4m]. They have to look at their accounts very closely but I think they can afford it.”

Rice has long been linked with a move to Arsenal or Manchester United but it is believed that West Ham’s asking price for their captain and central midfielder (who is out of contract next summer) is putting up Premier League clubs. Bayern appear to be ready to pay close to the $120 million West Ham want for Rice. Is he worth it? He is. There is perhaps no better two-way central midfielder under the age of 25 in Europe and Rice’s ceiling is extremely high. (JPW)

May 25 – Harry Kane, Declan Rice, Mason Mount are summer targets for Man United

A report from our partners in the UK at Sky Sports says that Manchester United are trying to sign a trio of England internationals: Harry Kane, Mason Mount and Declan Rice.

“Manchester United will try to sign Harry Kane, Declan Rice and Mason Mount this summer. Their No. 1 target is Kane. He is the player Erik ten Hag wants most. It is unlikely they will sign all three players and everything depends on what happens with the takeover. Kane, Rice and Mount are exactly the kind of characters Ten Hag wants in his dressing room.”

It is clear Kane will be the top target for United as Erik ten Hag has spoken about signing a new striker and that is their main transfer need. It is tough to see Tottenham selling Kane to a direct top four rival in Manchester United for anything less than $130 million, even with Kane’s contract winding down. That said, do you take that money this summer and use it to rebuild? Or let him go for free in the summer of 2024?

Next up, Declan Rice will surely be their next main target, as all three of these players have just one year left on their contract. Rice, 24, is just the type of player United need alongside Casemiro in central midfield and the England international has become one of the best two-way central midfielders in Europe under the age of 25. Rice’s close friend is Mason Mount and the latter clearly doesn’t want to sign a new contract at Chelsea, so he could be the cheaper option of the three. All of this hinges on Manchester United’s takeover but if, as expected, they qualify for the Champions League, then signing two of these three players would be a huge upgrade on their current options and gives them quality, depth and experience in midfield and attack. First choice would be Kane and Rice but Kane and Mount would still be pretty decent. (JPW)

Barcelona wins Women’s Champions League with stunning comeback


Midfielder Patricia Guijarro ignited a stunning second-half comeback as Barcelona overturned a 2-0 deficit to beat Wolfsburg 3-2 and win its second Women’s Champions League title on Saturday.

“We didn’t make it easy for ourselves,” Barcelona and England defender Lucy Bronze said in a pitchside interview after securing her fourth Champions League crown. She won it three years in a row with Lyon.

[ MORE: Man City beats Manchester United in FA Cup Final ]

Fridolina Rolfö capped the fightback by calmly firing the winner into the far corner of the net after a mix-up in the Wolfsburg defense in the 70th minute.

Guijarro is one of 15 Spanish players, including Bonmati and four other Barcelona teammates, who renounced playing for Spain last year, citing differences with their coach. They have not played since and their participation in this summer’s Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand is in serious doubt.

Wolfsburg led 2-0 at the break thanks to goals from Ewa Pajor and Alexandra Popp.

But Barcelona kept believing it could win.

“We were never worried about scoring three goals,” Bronze added.

Barcelona earned its second league crown – the first was in 2021 – from its fourth final since 2019 in front of 33,147 fans at PSV Stadium, a record crowd for a women’s game in the Netherlands.

Guijarro’s double in the 48th and 50th minutes swiftly overturned a first half in which Wolfsburg’s pressing play and clinical counterattacking earned two goals.

First, the Barcelona midfielder slammed the ball into the roof of the net in the 48th. Aitana Bonmatí then made room for herself on the right before crossing for Guijarro to head past Merle Frohms for the equalizer. Guijarro was named player of the match.

It was a remarkable turnaround for coach Jonatan Giráldez’s Barcelona Wolfsburg took the lead inside three minutes when tournament top scorer Ewa Pajor robbed Bronze of the ball close to the Barcelona penalty area and fired a powerful shot that goalkeeper Sandra Paños touched but could not stop from flying in. The goal improved Pajor’s tally in the competition to nine.

It was a rocky start for Bronze, who returned to the Barcelona lineup for the first time since she was injured in the semifinal first leg against Chelsea and underwent knee surgery.

[ MORE: Pep Guardiola reaction – Okay to talk treble now ]

Irene Paredes clasped her hands to her face when she squandered a great chance to equalize 10 minutes later, heading wide at the far post a corner from the right by María Pilar León.

Wolfsburg doubled its lead when veteran forward Alexandra Popp ran into space between two defenders and headed a cross from the left by Pajor past Paños from close range in the 37th. Popp equaled Ada Hegerberg’s record of scoring in four finals.

Wolfsburg goalkeeper Merle Frohms made sure her team went into the break without conceding by racing off her line in stoppage time to smother an effort by Salma Paralluelo.

But she couldn’t stop Barcelona’s onslaught after the break.

With Barcelona leading and the minutes ticking down, Giráldez brought on two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas, who has recently recovered from an ACL injury. Barcelona’s vocal fans in Eindhoven roared as Putellas replaced Bonmatí.

It was Putellas who accepted the trophy from England coach Sarina Wiegman after Wolfsburg players formed a guard of honor for their opponents as they walked up to collect their medals.

Manchester City vs Inter Milan: How to watch Champions League Final, odds, predictions


Manchester City is on the chase for a historic treble and standing in the way is Inter Milan, one of Europe’s precious few clubs to claim such an honor.

[ LIVE: Manchester City vs Inter Milan ]

The Premier League winners three times running have an FA Cup under their belt after beating Manchester United on June 3 and the final jewel in their treble crown awaits with a win in Istanbul on June 10.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

Pep Guardiola could lead a second club to a treble after he did it with Barcelona in 2008-09, and they would give heated rivals United domestic company on the treble stage right down the road.

Guardiola says it’s now okay to talk about the treble. We agree, and we’ve laid out why the achievement is so special after the jump.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Manchester City vs Inter Milan.

How to watch Manchester City vs Inter Milan live, stream link and start time

Dates: 3pm ET June 10, 2023
Online: Live updates via
How to watch: TUDN, Paramount+

What Premier League clubs have won the treble?

Manchester United won the Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League in 1998-99.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s Red Devils are the lone Premier League club to win it.

That’s it. For now.

How many times has the treble been won?

Nine times in history has a team won its domestic league, top domestic cup, and the European Cup.

Bayern Munich and Barcelona have each done it twice, with Bayern doing it in 2012-13 and 2019-20 and Barca pulling it off in 2008-09 and 2014-15.

Celtic was the first to win a treble, doing it in 1966-67, while Ajax was the next in 1971-72.

PSV Eindhoven then won it in 1987-88 before Man United made it happen 11 years later. Inter Milan is the only Italian team to pull it off, winning in 2009-10.


Champions League Final odds (Betting odds provided by our partner, BetMGM )

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Man City (-250) vs Inter Milan (+625) | Draw over 120 mins (+380)

Over 2.5 goals (-160). Under 2.5 goals (+110)

Champions League Final predictions

Joe Prince-Wright: Man City 2-1 Inter Milan
Andy Edwards: Man City 3-1 Inter Milan
Nick Mendola: Man City 2-0 Inter Milan

Manchester City team news, injuries, lineup options


Inter Milan team news, injuries, lineup options

QUESTIONABLE: Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Joaquin Correa. OUT: Dalbert.

Pep Guardiola after FA Cup win: Man City ‘can now talk about the treble’


Pep Guardiola is giving Manchester City’s players a couple of days to celebrate their FA Cup Final, but now they can admit there’s something even bigger than the Champions League final at play.

“We can now talk about the treble,” Guardiola acknowledged after Man City topped Manchester derby rivals Man United on Saturday at Wembley Stadium. “It is one game away.”

[ MORE: Man City vs Inter Milan preview ]

Nine times in history has a team won its domestic league, top domestic cup, and the European Cup, and only once has it happened for an English team: The 1998-99 Manchester United team.

“What a privilege we are one game away.  I said to the players you have to put the pressure on yourself to be recognized as something good you have to win Europe.”

Guardiola said Erik ten Hag’s set-up surprised City, as a narrow formation forced the Citizens to find different routes to goal.

And he was asked about his post-game tears of joy, spotting by cameras on the pitch.

“It was so important for us today,” Guardiola said. “The FA Cup is so nice. I’m a Barcelona fan but I will love this club for the rest of my life. I know today we gave our fans a good gift to enjoy against our neighbors.”