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PSG owner labels season a “failure”; Laurent Blanc could be fired

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Laurent Blanc has led Paris Saint-Germain to three straight Ligue 1 titles, and three straight French League Cup and two straight French Cup triumphs in his three seasons at the helm of France’s richest club.

[ MORE: Giggs turns down new role under Mourinho, will leave Man United ]

Still, the 50-year-old former France manager might find himself unemployed by the end of the summer after his boss, PSG owner Nasser al-Khelaifi, labeled the club’s 2015-16 season a “failure” on Friday — all because Les Parisiens were knocked out in the quarterfinal round of the UEFA Champions League, by a fellow oil-rich behemoth, Manchester City of the Premier League — quotes from the Guardian:

“Honestly, I think we failed this season despite winning domestic trophies. We did not reach our goal so this is a bad season. I have been here for five years and it is the first time that we have this feeling of failure.”

“It’s not just the fact that we lost in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, it’s the way it happened. I am very disappointed. I did not feel there was pressure before the City games. This elimination is the worst moment since I have been in Paris. Two hours before the return leg I knew we were going to lose. I did not feel the players were ready. Whose fault is this?”

Given how little competition PSG face domestically — they wrapped up this year’s title on March 13, with eight games remaining in the campaign — it’s actually something of an overachievement to have reached the quarterfinals of the Champions League in four straight seasons. No one ever accused anyone rich enough to own a professional sports team of being practical or reasonable, though.

Franck Ribery signs for Fiorentina

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Franck Ribery has signed for Fiorentina in Serie A.

The French winger, 36, left Bayern Munich when his contract expired over the summer and many thought he may retire after a long list of injuries.

However, the tricky wideman has arrived in Italy after 12 seasons at Bayern which saw him win 23 major trophies, including the UEFA Champions League in 2013.

As for Fiorentina, this is a huge deal for them as Ribery will be unveiled in a press conference tomorrow.

The Florence club have slumped in recent seasons and barely avoided relegation from Serie A in 2018-19, and that came after six consecutive top eight finishes in Italy’s top-flight.

U.S. businessman Rocco Commisso bought the club for $181 million this summer and is promising to steadily rebuild the squad under Vincenzo Montella, who had a glorious spell in charge from 2012-15.

Adding Ribery means they have a big name on board, but can he stay fit and help this new-look side push up the Serie A table? Fiorentina have made 13 new signings this summer and a huge overhaul was needed.

If Ribery can stay fit and fresh, he showed at Bayern last season that he still has a little left in the tank.

First Leagues Cup will be an all-Liga MX affair

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Given Major League Soccer’s record against Liga MX sides when both teams are bringing their best players to the party, it’s no surprise that the former has been left out of the Leagues Cup Final.

Instead, Cruz Azul and Tigres UANL will meet on Sept. 18 for the first ever crown in the history of the competition pitting teams from Mexico, Canada, and the United States top flights.

[ MORE: Predicting the USMNT September call-ups ]

Choosing not to play Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Jonathan Dos Santos, and Carlos Pavon amongst others, the LA Galaxy fell 2-1 to Cruz Azul in Carson, California, getting an Emil Cuello goal but allowing the below delightful winner from Orbelin Pineda just after halftime.

The Galaxy were in the midst of a nasty four-match fortnight, and opted for this match — a tournament semifinal against a league which has bossed its league — to rest their men. Not a choice we love, but a fair choice given the Galaxy’s mere 4-point advantage on 7th place in the West.

Tigres needed penalties to get past Club America in an absolutely bonkers semifinal.

The match was level at 2 after regulation, with two own goals, a penalty, and a 90th minute red card doled out to Tigres’ Roger Martinez.

The second Tigres own goal, which came before the club outlasted America 5-3 in penalties, came deep in stoppage.

USWNT lawsuit goes to trial May 5

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LOS ANGELES (AP) A judge has set a May 5 trial date for the gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the women’s national team against U.S. Soccer.

District Judge R. Gary Klausner assigned the date at a hearing Monday in Los Angeles, which came less than a week after mediation between the two sides broke down.

[ MORE: Predicting the USMNT September call-ups ]

The players sued U.S. Soccer in March, alleging institutionalized gender discrimination that includes inequitable compensation when compared with their counterparts on the men’s national team.

The federation claims that compensation for each team is the result of separate collective bargaining agreements, and that the pay structures are different as a result.

The sides had agreed to mediate the dispute after this summer’s World Cup in France. The U.S. beat the Netherlands in July for its second straight title, and fourth overall.

The players and U.S. Soccer had requested a trial date after the Tokyo Olympics, which start July 25.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Report: Zappacosta off to Roma as Chelsea trusts youth

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Tuesday was a great day to be Reece James.

Not that it hasn’t been a good summer altogether with Frank Lampard in charge of Chelsea.

[ MORE: Predicting the USMNT September call-ups ]

Lampard sanctioned the loan of Zappacosta to AS Roma, which puts James firmly in line for first team reps at Stamford Bridge.

The 19-year-old James has earned his place after two seasons on loan at Wigan Athletic, and Cesar Azpilicueta will either need rest or time at center back at some point.

As for Zappacosta, he was a curiosity buy who was serviceable during his time at Stamford Bridge. At Roma, though, he’ll… also be second choice to club captain Alessandro Florenzi.

Lampard is definitely giving the Blues’ youth a chance to shine during this transfer ban, and this may well be the best opportunity of James’ career.