Those following the Argentina football saga will now trace the path of federation leader Armando Perez across Europe as he seeks guidance and forgiveness from his country’s best.
Along the way, he’ll try to convince some high-profile coaches to give their nation’s top job consideration, and some superstars not to quit the squad.
It’s difficult to believe Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino or Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone would leave their UEFA Champions League campaigns to join a floundering unit that may not have Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano and any number of quality Argentine stars.
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While the headlines around the globe claim Perez wants Pochettino or Simeone to take over for resigned coach Tata Martino, courtesy of a La Nacion report, could either newly-extended coach possibly leave their cushy gigs simply out of national pride (for a federation widely considered a total mess).
On Thursday, reports emerged that Argentina was willing to “share” Simeone with Atleti, and that’s something that could set a standard throughout the world. If a federation had trusted pieces in place to identify and monitor talent, a big name coach could — theoretically — deal tactically in the same international break windows as his players come together. AS says that the same deal would be possible for Pochettino and Sevilla boss Jorge Sampaoli.
There are a lot of plusses and minuses for the idea, but having a Simeone behind the bench would add lustre to international friendlies let alone competitions like the World Cup. Clubs would be hard-wired against the idea, but imagine Man City’s Pep Guardiola also leading Spain or Zinedine Zidane leading France and Real Madrid.
As for Messi, Perez also is hoping to convince the world’s best player to quash his retirement from international football, something that would surely lead to stability from the rest of the team. At least in this regard, let’s hope Perez is a smooth talker.
N'Golo Kante is set to miss Chelsea’s Europa League final showdown with Arsenal on Wednesday after suffering a knee injury during a training session this weekend.
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Kante missed Chelsea’s two most recent fixtures — their Premier League finale and the second leg of the UEL semifinals — due to a hamstring injury suffered on May 5, but was on course to be fit and available from the start when the London giants meet in Baku, Azerbaijan. Now, though, the Frenchman’s latest injury has all but ruled him out with one final piece of silverware on the line.
According to a report from the Guardian, the injury occurred when the 2018 World Cup winner made a challenge to win the ball during Saturday’s training session. He left the field in “clear discomfort” and will undergo the requisite examinations to determine the severity of the injury.
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In the unfortunate event that Kante’s injury turns out to be serious and keeps him out of action into the start of next season, the Blues would find themselves in a world of trouble. The club’s season-long transfer ban would prevent them from signing even a single replacement for one of the Premier League’s most influential figures.
Antonio Rudiger (knee), Callum Hudson-Odoi (achilles) and Ruben Loftus-Cheek (achilles) will also miss out on Wednesday’s final due to long-term injuries.
As fallout begins from Barcelona’s losses in the UEFA Champions League semifinals and Copa del Rey Final, players are being linked with moves away from the Camp Nou.
Andre Gomes, 25, already spent a year away from Barca, playing around 2000 minutes on loan to Everton this season.
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The Times says that Everton would like to keep the player, but West Ham has made a $22 million bid for the EURO 2016 winner.
Meanwhile, Metro says that Xherdan Shaqiri could be one-and-done at Liverpool, making room for another Reds’ buy.
Samuel Chukwuese is the name, and the 20-year-old Nigerian plies his trade at Villarreal.
The Yellow Submarine flirted with relegation this season, taxed by the Europa League, and Chukwuese was a bright spot. He scored seven goals and added three assists in 38 matches across all competitions.
Tobin Heath, Mallory Pugh, and Christen Press all scored and then United States women’s national team was rarely threatened in a 3-0 win that stands as the final tune-up for the World Cup in France.
The U.S. will meet Thailand, Nigeria, and Chile in Group F play beginning on June 11.
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The match was barely 10 minutes old when Heath took advantage of terrible miscommunication between Mexican goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago and Rebeca Bernal.
There was still work to do when Heath got the ball, finding the angle to make it 1-0.
Carli Lloyd nearly slid a ball home after dribbling Santiago in the 48th minute, but was defied by a goal line clearance.
The second goal came when Lloyd dribbled toward the near post from a tight angle, sliding a pass to Pugh for a 2-0 lead.
Press completed the scoring with a classy finish in the final minutes.
Two of the biggest names in United States soccer history have been voted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
Legendary scorer Abby Wambach and former federation president Sunil Gulati have their place in the hall, and will be inducted in September (via NationalSoccerHoF.com).
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Wambach scored 184 times for the USWNT, winning two Olympic gold medals and the 2015 World Cup. She added 75 club goals between Washington Freedom, Ajax America Women, magicjack, and The Western New York Flash.
Along the way, the 38-year-old Wambach has been an outspoken voice in the fight for equality, and admitted to struggles with addiction. She has a three-goal lead over Canada’s Christine Sinclair for most international goals.
Gulati’s legacy is in American infrastructure. The 59-year-old helped organize the 1994 World Cup and was the deputy commissioner of Major League Soccer before his time as a three-term U.S. Soccer Federation president from 2006-18.