Contract extensions are nigh an everyday occurrence in the world of soccer, but to have an existing contract shortened by a number of years is almost unheard of.
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Alas, Atletico Madrid supporters will be on high alert after reports this week that the length Diego Simeone’s current contract has been reduced by two years, now set to expire in the summer of 2018. The Argentine, who’s been in charge of Atleti since December 2011, signed a new contract in March 2015, which was originally set to expire in the summer of 2020.
The alterations were reportedly made by Simeone himself, or at his request. For what it’s worth, a handful of Atleti players, including Fernando Torres, have since said they don’t believe the reports to be true.
Most likely scenario: Simeone feels he has achieved all he can at Atleti — he’s been to two UEFA Champions League finals in three years, losing both times to Real Madrid — and has his sights set on a “bigger” job at a “higher” level. By shortening his contract, his prospective employers would then owe Atleti a smaller compensation fee upon hiring the former Atleti, Inter Milan and Lazio destroyer.
[ MORE: Premier League power rankings — a clear favorite emerges ]
Paris Saint-Germain pursued Simeone in each of the last two summers, and ultimately lured Unai Emery away from Sevilla this go-round after reluctantly deciding to give it one last go with Laurent Blanc last season. With most of the Premier League’s biggest clubs having all recently appointed a new manager, only Arsenal figure to be in the market for a new boss anytime soon. Juventus have Massimiliano Allegri for the foreseeable future; Bayern Munich just replaced Pep Guardiola with Carlo Ancelotti; and Simeone would surely — surely — never cross the capital lines and represent the other Madrid club.
Where could “up” possibly be from Atleti?
Christian Pulisic is the best American soccer player in the world.
Of this, there is little debate.
But there is a debate to who is second, third, and well down the line, and we’ve got our last chance to really assess the full crop with Major League Soccer now out of season for a few months.
[ USMNT: Most to gain/lose from November ]
Let’s set some ground rules:
- The ranking is meant to illustrate who would be most likely to positively affect a USMNT match, regardless of manager or teammates, right now.
- Health doesn’t matter to our rankings if a current injury isn’t one which could drastically alter the player’s skill set moving forward.
- Age/potential/experience doesn’t matter either, at least not much; It’s how likely you are to contribute to the team if put on the field right now. Obviously Chris Richards of Bayern Munich II is a better long-term prospect than 32-year-old Tim Ream, but most would rather have the Fulham man in a big spot right now.
Top 25 USMNT players – November 2019
*not currently a part of USMNT squad due to injury
**not currently a part of USMNT squad due to coach’s decision
- Christian Pulisic, Chelsea*
- Tyler Adams, RB Leipzig*
- John Brooks, Wolfsburg
- Weston McKennie, Schalke
- Alfredo Morales, Fortuna Dusseldorf
- Sergino Dest, Ajax
- Jordan Morris, Seattle Sounders
- Matt Miazga, Reading (on loan from Chelsea)**
- Josh Sargent, Werder Bremen
- Zack Steffen, Fortuna Dusseldorf (on loan from Man City)*
- DeAndre Yedlin, Newcastle United
- Jozy Altidore, Toronto FC*
- Tim Ream, Fulham
- Timothy Weah, Lille*
- Julian Green, Greuther Furth**
- Cristian Roldan, Seattle Sounders
- Ike Opara, Minnesota United**
- Michael Bradley, Toronto FC*
- Fabian Johnson, Borussia Monchengladbach**
- Cameron Carter-Vickers, Stoke City (on loan from Spurs)**
- Tyler Boyd, Besiktas
- Sebastian Lletget, LA Galaxy
- Miles Robinson, Atlanta United*
- Paul Arriola, DC United
- Jackson Yueill, San Jose Earthquakes
Next up, established: Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC), Eric Lichaj (Hull City), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge), Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas), Duane Holmes (Derby County), Bill Hamid (DC United).
Next up, youth: Konrad de la Fuente (Barcelona U19), Alex Mendez (Ajax U19), Giovanni Reyna (Borussia Dortmund U19), Ulysses Llanez (Wolfsburg U19), Chris Richards (Bayern Munich II), Richie Ledezma (PSV Eindhoven), Donovan Pines (DC United), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids)
Frank Lampard‘s ready to go into his players’ wallets if they disobey his laws.
A posted list of fines for Chelsea players, signed by the manager, has been confirmed and we would completely understand if the Blues were on time all the time.
[ MORE: Salah out for Egypt ]
A player is fined about $640 per minute he’s late to a meeting, and if he misses a practice, well, wow: The fine is nearly $26,000.
If a phone rings during a meeting, that’s gonna be $1,300.
And if any fine isn’t paid within two weeks, it doubles! Seems like Christian Pulisic and his teammates will have a lot of alarms set on their phones.
From The Telegraph:
Lampard has also banned agents from the training ground, unless on official business, and players must inform the club if they intend to travel abroad, even on scheduled days off.
The average Chelsea salary last season was approximately $6.6 million, meaning players make on average $127,000 per week.
The full list of fines is below.
Vincent Kompany says history could help Manchester City climb back into the Premier League title race even after his former team dropped nine points back of first place Liverpool.
[ MORE: Salah out for Egypt ]
Now at Anderlecht, the center back also said history might’ve played a role in City’s 3-1 setback at Anfield. In a rare bit of explicit honesty, the often interesting Kompany said that players do deal with demons of a club’s past.
“We always struggle at Anfield,” he said, according to Sky Sports. “I said that on Super Sunday, you’re fighting 25 years of not winning at Anfield and that’s difficult, it’s two games in one game: You’re playing a great team and you’re fighting history.”
“Flip it around and the same will happen for Liverpool. They will fight the history of not winning the league for 30 years. That should be to City’s advantage I still think.”
Do you buy that? Most of the buzz around the Premier League is that this Liverpool is a different team than even the dominant one of last season, and City has suffered big injury problems. The Reds players almost went out of their way last year to say they weren’t worried about blowing their table lead last season (which was bigger, later in the season).
Kompany also said that he believes City doesn’t need to add a center back in January, which is bonkers unless he’s coming back, but the Belgian has proven time and again that he’s one of the better minds in the game.
The guy did title his MBA dissertation, “How professional football clubs in the Premier League can benefit from home game advantage and achieve game-changing levels of improvement” after all. Then again, I’m not sure any of our dissertations on the same topic would’ve been approved had we done that.
Good news for Liverpool, not so much for Egypt.
Mohamed Salah will not suit up for the Pharoahs this month as Egypt begins qualifying for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
[ MORE: Will Zlatan rejoin LA? ]
Salah has been dealing with ankle problems since a rough tackle from Leicester City’s Hamza Choudhury, and it’s acting up following a tackle from Fernandinho in the Reds’ 3-1 defeat of Man City on Sunday.
Egypt needs Salah, but it’s no surprise he’s erring on the side of caution given the tumultuous relationship between the superstar and his country (and Liverpool’s status as a contender in five (!!) tournaments).
Salah, 27, has 41 goals in 67 caps. The next five leading active Egyptian scorers have a combined 31 goals in their careers over 284 caps. The youngest of those is Aston Villa’s Trezeguet (25), followed by Besiktas’ Mohamed Elneny (27).
Egypt are heavy favorites to finish in one of the top two spots and qualify for AFCON 2020, even with the injury. The 49th ranked Pharoahs (FIFA ranking) are in a group with Kenya (108), Togo (124) and Comoros (142).
Egypt hosts Kenya on Thursday to kick off qualification, and visits Comoros on Monday.