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Torres clears the air 5 years after contentious transfer from Liverpool to Chelsea

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I’m no traitor, says Fernando Torres with regards to his move from Liverpool to Chelsea, upon his official transfer request, during the January transfer window of 2011.

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Speaking to Simon Hughes for the author’s new book, “Ring of Fire: Liverpool FC into the 21st Century – the players’ stories,” Torres has given his version of the events that transpired and ultimately resulted in the two-time European and 2014 world champion trading red for blue in a then-record deal for a British club ($65 million).

Torres has been portrayed as the want-away villain in the years since his contentious move from Anfield to Stamford Bridge, but the now-32-year-old Spanish striker says his hand was forced when a new ownership group wanted to freshen up the squad with younger players and build for the club’s long-term future, rather than aim to win right away. That’s something Torres couldn’t stand for, because he didn’t have time to wait — quotes from the Liverpool Echo:

“[Damien] Comolli told me that the new owners (Fenway Sports Group), they had an idea of how to spend their investment.

“They wanted to bring in young players, to build something new. I was thinking to myself, this takes time to work. It takes two, three, four, maybe even 10 years.

“I didn’t have that time. I was 27 years old. I did not have time to wait. I wanted to win. Here we are five years later and they are still trying to build – around the same position in the league as when I left.”

“It was presented as if I was a traitor. It was not like this in the discussion(s). Liverpool could not admit they were doing something wrong with the whole team. They had to find a guilty one.”

After scoring 65 goals in 106 league games for Liverpool, Torres seemed destined to star on the biggest stage — something the Reds had fallen away from by that point in his career — and he did so to an extent, helping the Blues to the 2012 UEFA Champions League title, though as much less of a central figure than he would have hoped (20 goals in 110 league appearances; 45 in 172 in all competitions).

[ MORE: Wednesday’s transfer rumor roundup | Tuesday | Monday ]

It’s a shame that Torres’s Liverpool legacy has been reduced by his departure. For the majority of his time at the club, there was no striker more unplayable in the Premier League. If Torres didn’t fit into the new owners’ vision going forward, he could have been sold (for a massive fee to them), the whole thing framed as a deal done by mutual consent in order for all sides to come out looking better than they’ve actually done. Instead, this dramatic saga became the first of many public-relations disasters that will ultimately go down as FSG’s own Liverpool legacy once they inevitably sell the club and move on to their next business venture.

Watch Live: Brazil v. Mexico in U-17 World Cup final

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The 2019 U-17 World Cup final takes place in Bezerrão Stadium on Saturday as favorites Brazil host an inspired Mexico.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

With four goals and one assist, Kaio Jorge has been Brazil’s most productive attacking player this tournament, while Mexico’s and Los Angeles Galaxy’s Efrain Alvarez is hoping to end an incredible tournament in triumphant fashion.

History between both national teams in a U-17 World Cup final dates back to 2005, when LAFC’s Carlos Vela and Mexico routed Marcelo and Brazil 3-0 in Lima, Peru.

Click on the link above to watch the game live.


U-17 World Cup final
Brazil v. Mexico – 5 p.m. ET

England finishes EURO 2020 qualifying by beating Kosovo

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England’s 2020 European Championship qualification campaign wrapped up on Sunday with a slightly flattering 4-0 victory away to third-place, and playoff qualifiers, Kosovo.

[ VIDEO: Game stopped for racist chanting; player targeted later scores goal ]

Gareth Southgate‘s side was hardly at its best just three days after thrashing Montenegro and securing qualification to this summer’s tournament. They only led by a score of 1-0 through 78 minutes, before scoring a trio of late goals to put the game out of reach and rob the hosts of any potential moral victory.

Harry Winks opened the scoring, and his England account, in the 32nd minute. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain found Winks near the top of Kosovo’s penalty area and though Winks’ first touch appeared quite poor, every player in blue stopped and stood as the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder walked in on goal and coolly slotted the ball home to make it 1-0.

[ PREVIEW: Brazil v. Mexico in U-17 World Cup final ]

From that point forward, Kosovo enjoyed control of the game’s tempo and looked every bit the Three Lions’ equal. That is, until Harry Kane finished an open chance at the back post in the 79th minute and opened the floodgates.

Marcus Rashford added a third four minutes later, followed by another first England goal — this time, scored by Mason Mount — in the 91st.

England finishes EURO 2020 qualification with a record of 7W-0D-1L and a +31 goal differential, which is second only to Belgium who sit at +32 with one game still to play. England required Sunday’s victory to confirm its place as a Pot 1 team at the draw for the group stage.

Arsenal beat Spurs in front of WSL-record crowd of 38,262

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LONDON (AP) The first north London derby in the Women’s Super League produced a record crowd of 38,262 for the competition on Sunday when Arsenal claimed a 2-0 victory at Tottenham.

[ PREVIEW: Brazil v. Mexico in U-17 World Cup final ]

The newly fully professional side held out until the 66th minute when Kim Little struck for the champions and Vivianne Miedema extended Arsenal’s lead in the 82nd minute.

It was the first time Tottenham, in its first top-flight campaign, had staged women’s football at its main 61,000-capacity stadium, which opened earlier this year.

The crowd surpassed the 31,213 at Manchester City for the visit of Manchester United on the opening weekend of the season in September.

Tottenham hosted Arsenal on the first designated Women’s Football Weekend in England which also saw 23,500 at Anfield for Liverpool’s 1-0 loss to Everton.

[ MORE: Barcelona, Lionel Messi negotiating a new deal ]

Chelsea opened the season by hosting Tottenham in front of around 25,000 at Stamford Bridge.

League leaders Chelsea were back at their usual home of Kingsmeadow on Sunday. Maren Mjelde’s penalty sealed a 1-0 victory over promoted Manchester United in front of 4,790 fans – a WSL record crowd for a game not played in a large stadium usually used by the men’s team.

VIDEO: Dutch 2nd-division game stopped for racist abuse; player later scores goal

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A Dutch second-division game between Den Bosch and Excelsior was temporarily stopped on Sunday due to suspected racist chanting and Nazi salutes performed by some of Den Bosch’s fans.

[ MORE: Barcelona, Lionel Messi negotiating a new deal ]

The game was halted by referee Laurens Gerrets in the 30 minute. Dutch winger Ahmad Mendes Moreira, who plays for Excelsior, was the player targeted by the racist chanting. He was at that time seen gesturing toward the crowd, indicating to Gerrets and teammates that he was hearing racist abuse from the stands.

In a mixed zone for media availability after the game, Den Bosch manager Erik van der Ven is reported to have called Mendes Moreira a “pathetic little man” for pointing out the racist abuse to Gerrets. Den Bosch released a statement claiming that no racist abuse occurred, that the fans were instead making “crow sounds” and treating Mendes Moreira to a “crow concert,” which they claim is part of customary treatment of opposing players.

[ PREVIEW: Brazil v. Mexico in U-17 World Cup final ]

Mendes Moreira appeared emotional after scoring a goal to put Excelsior 2-1 ahead fewer than 15 minutes after the game was restarted.