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Morata: London is stressful; “I would never have left Juve”

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If you see Alvaro Morata in a pub in London anytime soon, give him a hug.

[ MORE: Lukaku defended by Mourinho ]

Morata, 25, has been talking about life in England’s capital city after his summer transfer from Real Madrid and it’s safe to say he is still adjusting.

Speaking to Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, Morata revealed he finds life in London a little too stressful and also waxed lyrical about Italy (where his wife is from) as Chelsea prepare to play AS Roma in a UEFA Champions League clash on Tuesday.

“I’m fine. I live in downtown Chelsea. London fascinates me with its multi-ethnicity, the coexistence of cultures and religions, but I do not see myself living here for very long. Too much, too much stress, too many metropolises,” Morata said. “Italy for a Spaniard is the best country to live. You have everything: beauty, history, art, cooking, fashion. I would never have left Italy and Juve. The disappointment [of leaving Juventus] was enormous, I found myself back to the starting point. They [Real Madrid] treated me like the guy I was before the two Italian seasons.”

Very interesting.

On Monday, Morata spoke to the media in Rome alongside his manager Antonio Conte ahead of Chelsea’s game at the Stadio Olimpico.

The Spanish international striker wanted to clarify his comments and said he would signed a “10 year” contract if Chelsea offered it to him.

“Maybe there was a connection problem. I’m really happy here and enjoying London with my wife,” Morata said. “When I finish my career, I prefer to come back to my country. I prefer the place where I was born, that’s normal. When I say London is a stressful city, I’m talking about the traffic and a lot of people. It’s an incredible city.”

“If Chelsea proposed 10 years, I’d probably sign it. I’m happy with everything. If I make good and improve, I can stay here more than five years.”

Conte then said he knows Morata is happy in London and that he’s a good person.

Hmm. Okay then. I guess that’s the end of it…

Morata has settled in the Premier League as if he’s played there his entire career with six goals in eight PL appearances so far. It did take him a little while to get settled but he is producing top displays under Conte and is doing a mighty fine job of replacing Diego Costa after his departure to Atletico Madrid.

The Spanish striker admitted the main reason he signed for Chelsea was to work with Conte, his former manager at Juve during a two-year spell from 2014-16, but with Conte’s future questioned on multiple occasions already this season, it seems like Morata would be quite happy to follow his manager out of the door and return to Italy.

Inter Milan? Juve? AC Milan?

Report: Orlando’s Justin Meram could be traded back to Columbus

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A former Columbus Crew midfielder could be on his way back to the Eastern Conference side.

[ MORE: Whitecaps teen Davies on brink of Bayern move ]

Several reports have suggested that Orlando City’s Justin Meram could be on his way back to Columbus, as the Lions look to trade the midfielder back to the club that drafted the 29-year-old.

The veteran attacker joined the Lions back in January in a trade after spending seven seasons with the Crew.

Reliable Twitter account MLS Transfers first reported the story on Sunday, also naming the Portland Timbers, Vancouver Whitecaps and FC Cincinnati as potential landing spots for Meram.

Meram was traded to Orlando back in January after requesting a move away from Columbus due to ongoing talks of the club being relocated out of Ohio.

The Iraq international has struggled in his first season with Orlando, scoring just one goal in 17 appearances for the club — who currently sit in ninth place and six points outside of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Three Eastern Conference sides on record-setting pace

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2017 saw Toronto FC dominate the MLS regular season before going on to hoist the club’s first MLS Cup in club history.

[ MORE: Whitecaps teen Alphonso Davies nearing Bayern Munich move ]

Fast forward to this season, and three more Eastern Conference sides are poised to break barriers as they continue a near record-setting pace.

Atlanta United, New York City FC and the New York Red Bulls have created a sizable gap over the rest of the East with nearly one-third of the season remaining.

Toronto’s 69-point regular season total a year ago looked like a record that wouldn’t be touched for some time, however, the current trio of dominating forces in the East are all on pace to finish 2018 with 68 points.

Atlanta, NYCFC and the Red Bulls are all averaging two points per game, while Toronto averaged slightly above that total (2.03 ppg) during their MLS Cup-winning run.

The Red Bulls and NYCFC, in particular, could be in line to follow in the footsteps of last season’s Toronto FC.

Manager Chris Armas and the Red Bulls play 10 of their final games against teams outside the current playoff lines in their respective conferences, while Atlanta and NYCFC face five and four playoff teams, respectively.


Here’s a look at how the three teams will finish up the 2018 regular season:

Atlanta United (12 matches)

Montreal Impact, Toronto FC, Columbus Crew, Orlando City, D.C. United, Colorado Rapids, San Jose Earthquakes, Real Salt Lake, New York Red Bulls, New England Revolution, Chicago Fire, Toronto FC

New York City FC (14 matches)

Orlando City, Seattle Sounders, Vancouver Whitecaps, Toronto FC, Philadelphia Union, New York Red Bulls, Columbus Crew, New England Revolution, D.C. United, Montreal Impact, Chicago Fire, Minnesota United, D.C. United, Philadelphia Union

New York Red Bulls (15 matches)

D.C. United, Columbus Crew, Los Angeles FC, Chicago Fire, Vancouver Whitecaps, New York City FC, D.C. United, Houston Dynamo, Montreal Impact, D.C. United, Toronto FC, Atlanta United, San Jose Earthquakes, Philadelphia Union, Orlando City

Mesut Ozil discusses critique of Turkish background

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Germany’s dismissal from the World Cup came as a shock to many, but one of its players received heavier scrutiny for off-the-field actions.

[ MORE: Whitecaps teen Alphonso Davies nearing move to Bayern ]

Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil appeared in two of the three group stage matches for the Germans in Russia, however, his play was overshadowed by his meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan prior to the start of the tournament.

The meeting between the two caused several German media outlets to criticize Ozil due to the heated relations between the two European nations.

Additionally, Ozil says his brand was affected as well, with various sponsors pulling their support due to the meeting with Erdogan.

The 29-year-old is of Turkish and German descent, which would have made him eligible to represent either country.

Ozil took to Twitter on Sunday to discuss how the ordeal has affected how the media and sponsorship has affected him over the last month.

Barcelona, Sevilla to play Spanish Super Cup in Morocco

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La Liga champions Barcelona will meet Sevilla in the 2018 Spanish Super Cup in Tangier, Morocco on August 12.

[ MORE: Klopp talks Pulisic, Liverpool spending ]

The Real Federación Española de Fútbol (RFEF) announced the decision on Sunday, as Barca looks to kick off the 2018 season against last year’s Copa Del Rey runners’ up.

Lionel Messi and Co. defeated Sevilla, 5-0, in the 2017/18 Copa Del Rey final, giving the Blaugrana a domestic double for the first time since the 2015/16 campaign.

La Liga play opens up in Spain on August 19, however, the full fixture list will be revealed on Tuesday.