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Spain’s Nolito hints Man City move is in the works — “I don’t lie; we’ll see”


Chances are quite good that Pep Guardiola will spend a significant amount of money (the plummeting-in-value British pound, to be specific) this summer, as the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager prepares for his debut season in the Premier League, at Manchester City.

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With no doubt, Guardiola will — like every manager in the world — lean heavily on players with whom he’s familiar and/or previously worked. (Translation: expect a handful of Spaniards and/or Germans to arrive at the Etihad Stadium in the coming weeks and months.

One such player, Celta Vigo and Spanish national team attacker Nolito — Manuel Agudo Duran is his legal name — is reportedly close to making the move to the northwest of England after Guardiola and Co. satisfied the 29-year-old’s $20-million release clause. Nolito went so far as to imply a deal is in the works, but stopped short of calling himself a City player — quotes from the Guardian:

“We’ll see what happens with my future, but I’m not complaining about how things are going on the pitch for me. For now, I’ve not signed for City, I don’t lie – we’ll see.”

When asked if he had spoken to Guardiola, Nolito added: “No. In life you have to be brave and make decisions and I dedicate myself to playing football, which is my passion.”

Nolito is currently with the Spanish national team at EURO 2016, where he started all three of the two-time defending champions’ group stage games — scoring once and assisting once in the process — after notching 12 goals and seven assists (in 29 appearances) for Celta during the 2015-16 La Liga season. Nolito made two first-team appearances for Barcelona under Guardiola before leaving the club for Benfica in the summer of 2011. He would join former Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan in Guardiola’s inaugural transfer window class.

Jamaica edges Panama, earns first Women’s World Cup berth (video)

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Jamaica is joining the United States and Canada as CONCACAF representatives in this summer’s Women’s World Cup in France after a thrilling 2-2 draw gave way to penalty kicks in Wednesday’s third place match at the CONCACAF Women’s Championship.

It’s a first World Cup for the Reggae Girlz, who won 4-2 in kicks.

[ MORE: Henry looks to Pep, Wenger ]

Jamaica held a pair of leads but allowed equalizers in regulation and extra time to push the match into kicks.

That’s when Jamaica coach Merron Gordon rolled the dice, subbing out goalkeeper Sydney Schneider in favor of Nicole McClure.

The backup saved two of four Panama attempts, and Sheyla Diaz buried her attempt to clinch a spot in France.

Olympiakos’ Fortounis gets ban for obscene celebration

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) Olympiakos midfielder Kostas Fortounis has been handed a one-match ban in the Greek league as punishment for an obscene goal celebration during a game this month.

[ MORE: Henry looks to Pep, Wenger ]

Fortounis will miss this weekend’s match against OFI on the island of Crete after the penalty was announced Wednesday.

The 26-year-old Greece international mouthed obscenities toward opposing fans after scoring against AEK Athens on Oct. 7 during a 1-1 draw. He later apologized for the incident.

PAOK currently leads the Greek league standings with 16 points from six matches, level with Atromitos. AEK and Olympiakos follow with 13 points.

Ramos posts video to refute ‘stamp’ on Sterling

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Let’s start here: Sergio Ramos is a darn good center back and a filthy player. Both of those things are true.

And opponents are always going to try to use the latter to deprive a match of the former.

[ MORE: Henry looks to Pep, Wenger ]

But the Real Madrid center back is having the last laugh regarding the latest furor over one of his tackles.

It all started when a Twitter user spied what he believed to be a Ramos stamp on Raheem Sterling in Spain’s 3-2 loss to England in the UEFA Nations League (although the still frame of the video shows you where this is going).

Perhaps knowing that Ramos would come near, it turns out Sterling is playacting or having an extremely delayed response to another tackle.

Check the other angle.

Sure he probably stamped on someone else during the match, especially after being trucked by Eric Dier, but this is pretty funny from the Real Madrid antagonist.

Henry prepares for first Monaco match, cites Guardiola, Wenger

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Thierry Henry in the role of manager is an intriguing endeavor.

The “star player becomes the star instructor” is a tall ask across many sports. For every Pep Guardiola or even Zinedine Zidane, there’s a boatload of Ruud Gullits and Diego Maradonas (Well there’s really only one Maradona, but we digress).

[ MORE: Surgery for Mane ]

Henry, by all accounts and the proverbial smell test, seems the kind of mind who can make it happen for himself. The new AS Monaco boss helped Roberto Martinez organize Belgium to a strong World Cup run, and has been selective about his first coaching opportunity.

And, hey, he served as a pretty decent mentor for Alex Hunter in FIFA 18.

Now he takes over a Monaco team with nowhere to go but up, and that hasn’t happened too often in the club’s celebrated history (though Monaco was relegated to Ligue 2 for two seasons from 2011-13).

Taking his first prematch media day ahead of Monaco’s trip to Strasbourg, Henry pointed to two of his managers as guides on his way: Pep Guardiola and Arsene Wenger.

To be fair, Henry’s praise for Guardiola was much loftier considering he arrived at Barcelona after playing for Wenger at Arsenal:

“Pep is the reference, for me,” said Henry. “The invention he had in the game; he’s well ahead of the game. … We learnt how to play the game when I went to Barcelona under him. With Pep you can talk about the game; he will not even go to sleep and will still talk about the game, you will fall asleep and he’s still talking.”

Henry credits Wenger with awakening the professional inside of him.

“Arsene unlocked a lot of stuff in my mind, made me understand what it was to be a professional, what it was to perform,” Henry said.

A lot of managers look to Guardiola and Wenger as examples, but Henry played for both. Considering the two are likely still in his list of contacts, this can only bode well for 18th place Monaco as it looks to embark on a run up the Ligue 1 table and its Champions League group table.