Getty Images

Transfer news: Coutinho to PSG; Meunier to Man United

Leave a comment

Paris Saint-Germain have made Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho their top target for next summer, according to TF1.

[ MORE: Morata unhappy in London? ]

The French outlet claim that Coutinho’s agent, Kia Joorabchian, met PSG’s sporting director in a London hotel last week to discuss the future of Coutinho among many other topics.

As the report points out, the fact that Coutinho’s good friend Neymar signed for PSG in a world-record $265 million transfer from Barcelona in the summer could play a key part in the Brazilian midfielder joining PSG over Barca.

Coutinho made his intentions clear in the summer that he wanted to leave Liverpool for Barcelona but with the Reds standing firm and rejecting multiple bids from the Catalan giants, it appears an all-out battle between PSG and Barcelona next summer could see Coutinho’s transfer fee increase further.

Liverpool’s stance will likely remain that Coutinho isn’t for sale at any price, but the other issue here is simply how PSG can get away with this.

Already accused of wrongdoing by many other clubs across Europe when it comes to UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules and the signings of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar over the summer, spending close to another $180 million on Coutinho would surely tip PSG over the edge of FFP regulations despite their Qatari owners able to bankroll any deal PSG need.

Liverpool fans have been treated to some stunners from Coutinho this season (see: free kick at Leicester; powerful curler at Newcastle) but despite him getting on with his business on the pitch the Brazilian continues to be at the center of speculation off it.


Staying with PSG, their Belgian right back Thomas Meunier is wanted by Real Madrid, Juventus and Manchester United, according to reports in Spain and Italy.

Meunier, 26, is said to be valued at around $40 million and the Belgian international has fallen behind Dani Alves in the pecking order at the Parc des Princes this season, much to his annoyance.

Speaking in a recent interview the former Club Brugge man revealed he was fine with rotating with Serge Aurier at right back for PSG last season but now feels totally out of Unai Emery’s plans.

“Since Alves arrived I asked myself questions, this is sure,” Meunier said. “After the good season I had last year, I told myself I would be needed, to be a bit more grateful and that my status within the line-up had changed. Emery tells me he didn’t forget the work done and that he considers me. The problem is that I feel like a second option.”

Outside of veterans Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young (who are wingers by trade) playing at right back, Mourinho’s other options in that position include an often shaky Matteo Darmian or playing center backs Phil Jones or Eric Bailly at right back.

Meunier’s ability to drive forward from right back and connect passes and whip in inviting crosses would be very useful for a United attack spearheaded by Romelu Lukaku or Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Mourinho was on the hunt for a wide player all summer long but didn’t prevail.

Is Meunier the man for Mourinho? In a World Cup year, perhaps Meunier will arrive at Old Trafford in January.

On This Day: Bornstein becomes national hero – in Honduras

Getty Images
Leave a comment

You know what today is? It’s Jonathan Bornstein day in Honduras.

Ten years ago today at RFK Stadium in our nations capital, a young, hot-shot kid with plenty of hair named Michael Bradley and Bornstein helped the U.S. Men’s National Team come back to draw Costa Rica, 2-2, in World Cup qualifying. In fact, it’s eerie watching Bornstein’s celebration, running to the corner flag and diving headfirst as he’s mobbed moments after by his teammates. It’s a bit similar to what Lanson Donovan did about nine months later.

[READ: USMNT looks to build in match v. Canada]

To add some context, it was the final day of qualifications matches in the Hex. Three days earlier, the U.S. had already secured a place in the World Cup with a wild 3-2 win at Honduras, meaning Los Catrachos needed to win over El Salvador on the final night and hope that the U.S. would keep Costa Rica from winning in the final match.

Who else, but Carlos Pavon gave Honduras a 1-0 win over El Salvador that night. Then, it was Bornsteins goal later that night that put Los Catrachos into the World Cup for the first time since 1982, and left Costa Rica to battle for the shared spot between CONCACAF and CONMEBOL.

In honor of the big day, hundreds of Honduras fans had been mentioning Bornstein on social media, and the veteran defender – currently of the Chicago Fire – retweeted quite a few of the thankful messages to him. Below, here’s video of the call from Honduras TV, as well as from Ian Darke and the ESPN crew.

Unfortunately for Bornstein, this may be the highlight of his national team career. He did make the 2010 World Cup squad and started twice, including the matches against Algeria and Ghana, but he never truly took the next step in his career to become a star left back.

After a calamitous performance against Mexico in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup final, which also Bob Bradley his USMNT job, Bornstein was dropped and hasn’t been seen from again on the national team stage.

However, even though he’s only a club player these days, he’ll never have to buy a drink in Honduras, that’s for sure.

Euro 2020 qualifying: France settles for draw with Turkey

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Euro 2020 qualifying continued on Monday and included a top-of-the-group clash in Group H.

[READ: England rout Bulgaria in game marred by racist chants]

France 1-1 Turkey

France spoiled a chance at home to put one foot in Euro 2020 after conceding late in the match and settling for a draw with Turkey.

Despite playing without a lot of starters – Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, and Hugo Lloris are all out injured – France still was strong in the first half and peppered Turkey with 12 shots. Goalkeeper Mert Gunok made an outstanding double-save in the first half and Leicester City’s Çağlar Söyüncü did his best to keep Antoine Griezmann in front of him.

In the 72nd minute, Olivier Giroud came on the field as a substitute and four minutes later, he put France in front to the delight of the home crowd at the Stade de France. What else, but a header off a corner. However, the lead didn’t last long. Off a free kick in the 82nd minute, Hakan Calhanoglu’s delivery was nodded home by Kaan Ayhan. The 1-1 draw leaves both France and Turkey tied with 19 points from eight qualifying matches. It also means that Turkey hasn’t lost to France over two games in this qualifying cycle.

Here’s a look at the rest of Monday’s scores:

Monday’s Euro 2020 qualifying scores

Group A

Bulgaria 0-6 England

Kosovo 2-0 Montenegro

Group B

Lithuania 1-2 Serbia

Ukraine 2-1 Portugal

Group H

Iceland 2-0 Andorra

Moldova 0-4 Albania

Ronaldo scores 700th goal for club and country

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Cristiano Ronaldo achieved yet another personal milestone in his star-studded career on Monday evening with a simple penalty kick goal.

With his 72nd minute strike, Ronaldo tallied his 700th goal for club and country in his career. It’s an incredible achievement, and one indicative of his incredible goal-scoring exploits and his long career.

Ronaldo was already leading all active players globally in terms of goals scored, so his 700th is only adding to the list. His former club nemesis, Lionel Messi, still sits a reported 28 goals behind him, according to Soccerway. After them, LA Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the closest, and he has “only” 542 goals.

The Portuguese icon becomes the sixth male player to score 700 goals in his career. The others include Pele, Romaro, Josef Bican, Ferenc Puskás, and Gerd Muller.

Ronaldo made his debut for Sporting Lisbon in the 2002-2003 season as a 17-year-old and quickly was snapped up by Man United and Sir Alex Ferguson, where he transitioned from a tricky winger to a clinical striker who couldn’t stop scoring.

The 34-year-old has scored 40-or-more goals on three occasions in his career and he scored 25-or-more goals in all nine years he was at Real Madrid. For Portugal, he’s now scored an incredible 95 goals in all competitions. He had 15 goals in World Cup qualifying alone for the 2018 campaign.

Watch the video of Ronaldo’s breaking goal below. Unfortunately for him, Portugal fell, 2-1 to Ukraine.

Southgate, England players discuss racist abuse

Getty Images
Leave a comment

England took care of business in Monday’s 6-0 thrashing of Bulgaria, but the Three Lions had to endure some horrendous racist abuse from the crowd during the game.

The match was paused on two occasions I’m the first half by the match officials after racist chanting could be heard from a section of supporters, and a large group of Bulgarian fans were ejected towards the end of the half. However, racist abuse continued during the match from small pockets of fans in the stadium.

[READ: England v. Bulgaria delayed after racist abuse from stands]

“I have to say that the officials were on to everything very quickly,” England manager Gareth Southgate told ITV after the match. “We reported everything immediately when we heard things, we had constant communication with the fourth official and the referee. I was in contact with the players, all the way through the first half in particular, and then again at halftime.

”We know it’s an unacceptable situation, and I think we’ve managed to make two statements. By winning the game, but also we’re raised the awareness of everybody to the situation. The game was stopped twice, I know for some people that won’t be enough, but we as a group were on board with that process.”

Raheem Sterling, who scored a brace in the win, also sounded off on social media, as did former England and Arsenal star Ian Wright.

Ultimately, UEFA and the match officials followed the protocol, but the sad part about this is that England and the officials had a plan for racist abuse, and it was predictable that it would happen.

In a statement after the game, the FA confirmed they would be asking UEFA to investigate what happened. However, any punishment is too little, too late for the players who endured the abuse.