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Transfer Rumor Roundup: Mahrez wants out; Brooks to Wolfsburg

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Riyad Mahrez has revealed he wants to leave Leicester City.

The Algerian midfielder, 26, was the subject of huge speculation last summer but remained at Leicester despite reported interest from Arsenal and Barcelona, among many other clubs.

However, the star of Leicester’s 2015-16 title win has now released a statement where he reveals his intent to leave the King Power Stadium this summer.

Via Sky Sports, here is the statement in full.

“Out of the huge admiration and respect I hold for Leicester City Football Club I wanted to be totally honest and transparent with them and have therefore informed the club that I feel now is the time for me to move on.

“I had a good discussion with the Chairman last summer and we agreed at that time that I would stay for another year in order to help the club as best as I could following the transition of winning the title and in the Champions League. However, I am fiercely ambitious and feel that now is the time to move on to a new experience.

“I’ve always enjoyed a good relationship with the Chairman and everyone at the club, and I hope I have been able to repay the faith shown to me by my performances and commitment on the pitch during my time here. I’ve had the four best seasons of my career at Leicester and have loved every moment. I feel immense pride to have been a part of what we have achieved during my time at the club, culminating in becoming Premier League Champions.

“The relationship I share with the club and our amazing fans is something I will treasure forever and I truly hope they will understand and respect my decision.”

Where will Mahrez go? Surely a whole host of clubs in the PL would love to sign the Algerian wizard who scored 18 goals in Leicester’s title winning season but managed just 10 strikes in 48 games in all competitions this term.

This could turn out to be one of the transfer sagas of the summer.


USMNT defender John Brooks has been linked with a $18.9 million move from Hertha Berlin to Wolfsburg.

If the deal did go through then the fee for Brooks would be the highest-ever paid for an American player.

It is believed Wolfsburg have bid for the 24-year-old who had a steady season in central defense for Hertha who finished sixth in the German top-flight and qualified for the UEFA Europa League. Brooks struggled with injuries and after coming through the youth ranks at Hertha they may feel like this is a good time to move on the German-American.

Wolfsburg survived relegation by winning their playoff against second-tier Eintracht Braunschweig and now want to strengthen to ensure they don’t fight for their lives next season. Just two seasons ago Wolfsburg were in the UEFA Champions League and also had the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Dante and Andre Schurrle around.

For Brooks, this move would probably represent a pay rise and almost guarantee regular action in the Bundesliga. Over the past 18 months he has been in great form for the U.S. and alongside Geoff Cameron they have formed a formidable partnership at the heart of the USMNT’s defense.

VIDEO: Portugal lead Iran at HT; Spain 1-1 Morocco

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We’re through the first 45 minutes of Monday’s Group B finales at the 2018 World Cup, and things are happening. A quick rundown…

[ SCENARIOS: Who needs what, to finish where, in final round of group games ]

Andres Iniesta and Sergio Ramos combined to commit a disastrous gaffe at midfield, resulting in a goal for Khalid Boutaib in the 14th minute. At this point, Spain would have finished second, behind Portugal, and headed to the far more difficult side of the knockout bracket.

Five minutes later, it was Iniesta who, with a little help from some slightly lesser geniuses, unlocked the Moroccan defense to set up Isco for an emphatic finish. La Furia Roja moved back to the top of the group, on goals scored.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

In the afternoon’s other game, Portugal and Iran appeared destined for a 0-0 scoreline at halftime, until Ricardo Quaresma unleashed a stunning, outside-of-the-foot curler from outside the box to beat the goalkeeper and put Portugal ahead — both on the day, and in the table. As things currently stand, Portugal would win the group and Spain would finish second.

Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show: Episode 4

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In the fourth episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, England players have been preparing for their next match in an unusual way, Argentina has a huge meltdown, and more.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

Click play on the video above to watch the fourth episode in full.

Atlanta leads way with six All-Star Fan XI selections

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It may be hard to believe with all the World Cup festivities going on, but the Major League Soccer season is nearly halfway over.

[ MORE: Toronto FC’s 2018 has been far from their cup-winning 2017 ]

And that means it’s almost All-Star time.

The MLS All-Stars will continue their recent tradition of facing a European superpower in August, with Juventus being welcomed to the United States in early August.

But, which players from MLS will we see in action?

Last season’s expansion sweetheart Atlanta United leads the way in the fan voting with six players from the Eastern Conference side voted into the Fan XI, including attackers Miguel Almiron, Ezequiel Barco, Darlington Nagbe and Josef Martinez.

Goalkeeper Brad Guzan and defender/captain Michael Parkhurst also made the team from Atlanta.

In all, only five clubs were represented based on the Fan XI, with the LA Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Los Angeles FC’s Carlos Vela and Laurent Ciman, Sporting KC’s Graham Zusi and Portland Timbers star Diego Valeri each rounding out the squad.


Goalkeeper: Brad Guzan (Atlanta United)

Defenders: Michael Parkhurst (Atlanta United), Laurent Ciman (Los Angeles Football Club), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

Midfielders: Miguel Almirón (Atlanta United), Ezequiel Barco (Atlanta United), Darlington Nagbe (Atlanta United), Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers)

Forwards: Josef Martínez (Atlanta United), Zlatan Ibrahimović (LA Galaxy), Carlos Vela (Los Angeles Football Club – EA SPORTS™ “More Than a Vote” Challenge)

Saudi Arabia steals late win over Egypt in Group A finale

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Saudi Arabia pulled off a late 2-1 win against Egypt on Monday in their Group A finale, as the two nations ended their 2018 World Cup run in the group stage.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]

Salem Al Sawsari scored in the fifth minute of second half stoppage time to give the Saudis a late winner in the match, as the attacker struck the post in the dying moments before the ball crossed the line.

The Pharaohs took the lead in the 22nd minute, after a tremendous run from Mohamed Salah and lob over the Saudi Arabia goalkeeper.

Salah has two goals at the World Cup for Egypt, who were already eliminated heading into Monday’s match.

Saudi Arabia was granted a chance to equalize prior to halftime, however, goalkeeper Essam El Hadary brilliantly stopped Hattan Bahebri’s penalty kick in the 41st minute to preserve the Egypt advantage.

El Hadary became the oldest player in World Cup history to appear in a match at the age of 45.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

The Egypt keeper wasn’t as lucky the second time around though, with Salmon Al Faraj converting a penalty kick in the 51st minute.

Saudi Arabia finishes group play in third place on three points, while Egypt goes winless in its three matches.