Record-breaking Harry Kane surpasses Messi, Ronaldo

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LONDON — No player in Europe’s top five leagues has scored more goals in all competitions for club and country than Harry Kane in 2017.

Think about that.

Kane, 24, has been consistently excellent and on Boxing Day in the 5-2 win against Southampton, his final game of 2017, he scored a hat trick, his second in four days in the PL as he celebrated wildly at Wembley with Spurs’ fans.

His latest treble meant he had not only become the highest scorer in a calendar year in Premier League history but also surpassed the likes of Lionel Messi, Edinson Cavani, Robert Lewandowski and Cristiano Ronaldo as the top scorer among Europe’s top five leagues with 56 goals in 52 appearances all competitions for club and country over the past 12 months. He also played in the fewest games of those four aforementioned players.

Simply stunning.

Kane was beaming from ear to ear as he spoke to Sky Sports after the game about his exploits.

“It has been a fantastic year. To get compared to those players – the Messis and Shearers – is what it is all about. To get another hat-trick is a great way to end the year. It is always about improving every year. That’s what I always have done throughout my career and it is what I will continue to do,” Kane said.

“It was hard not to think about it, being level going into the game. I wanted to win the game but of course I wanted to score as a striker. Getting that record was a great feeling. I’ve improved physically – recovery for games, getting ready for each game, eating right and ice baths. I feel good and sharp and at my bet at this busy period. They are fantastic players here. It’s fantastic to play with them. We’re a hard team to stop and I said to them before the game to try and set me up and they did that, so I’ll have to take them out for dinner.”

Speaking to the media after the game, Hugo Lloris and Dele Alli praised his professionalism, so too did his manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Kane’s journey from being called a “one season wonder” following his breakout campaign in 2014-15 has been the stuff of dreams for the Spurs academy product.

His manager who gave him a chance in the first team at Spurs, Mauricio Pochettino, waxed lyrical about Kane’s achievements when he spoke to the media after the game.

“Harry is world-class. Of course, Messi and Cristiano are different. Today – one striker in the world, a specific position – who is better than Harry? It’s difficult to say he’s the best but he’s shown to everyone he’s one of the best,” Pochettino said. “Both of his records are massive – to break the Premier League record set by Alan Shearer and then, if you see that over the last seven, eight or nine years, it’s always Messi and Cristiano and now, it’s Harry as well.”

Kane said he was “honored” to be mentioned in the same bracket as Messi and Ronaldo but you seen a steely determination, and hunger, to surpass his wonderful achievements in 2017.

Breaking Alan Shearer’s longtime record as the leading scorer in a calendar year in the PL proved Kane’s incredible consistency over the past 12 months, but the two-time reigning PL golden boot winner has also hoisted himself onto the next level of goalscorers.

He is scoring goals in the UEFA Champions League regularly, battering opponents in the PL and is England’s main man heading into the 2018 World Cup next summer.

When all is said and done, we will look back at 2017 as being the year a true legend was made.

Harry Kane is certainly not a “one season wonder” and his amazing stats prove he is the best goalscorer, and one of the best players, on the planet right now.

Nainggolan pegs back Inter in draw with Cagliari

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Inter’s challenge of Juventus for the Scudetto this season continues to absorb punches, each one slightly more damaging than the last.

The most recent blow came on Sunday as Inter suffered its third straight draw, pegged back by Cagliari as Radja Nainggolan delivered a 78th minute equalizer in a 1-1 draw.

Lautaro Martinez put Inter in front in the first half, with a pinpoint header buried off new signing Ashley Young‘s cross just before the half-hour mark. Unfortunately, as has been the story of late, they were unable to tack on the all-important second. The best chance came via Romelu Lukaku who dazzled the San Siro crowd by dodging and weaving through midfield and charging forward towards net, but was ultimately let down as he dragged the big chance wide with 10 minutes remaining. Young also seemed to have won a penalty at one point in the second half, but none was given and VAR did not intervene.

Nainggolan was the man to keep Cagliari in the hunt for a Champions League place, delivering a 78th minute shot that deflected off the heel of Inter defender Alessandro Bastoni and tucked perfectly inside the bottom-left corner. The deflection was a stroke of luck, but not all that harsh as Cagliari finished the match with a whopping 60% possession on the road at the second-placed Inter side.

To make matters worse, Martinez – who has been so massively important to Inter this entire season – lost his head deep in stoppage time, sent off for dissent after arguing a non-call. That leaves him suspended for the next league match against Udinese.

The lone point leaves Inter three points back of Juventus, who plays later Sunday against Napoli. A victory would carry the Old Lady six full points atop the table, with Inter having drawn against Atalanta and Lecce previously. The draw also leaves Inter vulnerable to Lazio below them, who sits three points back with two games in hand. A January slump is not uncommon for Inter, having won more than one league game just once in the last seven seasons.

There are still other competitions for Inter to focus on, however, with a Coppa Italia quarterfinal game against Fiorentia this week plus the Europa League knockout stage which begins in late February with a matchup against Russian side Ludogorets.

Atletico Madrid held scoreless by lowly Leganes

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Diego Simeone was once again flummoxed up front as Atletico Madrid was toothless in a 0-0 draw with lowly Leganes, leaving them seven points behind leaders Barcelona in the La Liga table, and leaving them looking for answers up front as well.

Joao Felix and Thomas Partey were bright, but Alvaro Morata was quieted by a well organized Leganes side as Atletico failed to produce any type of solid chance on net until Saul and Ivan Saponjic each missed decent efforts in the final minutes of play, including the latter’s which came in the 93rd minute and left the hosts with just the lone point. The meek result against La Liga’s 19th-placed team is the most recent setback in a season of spotty performances.

All season long, scoring goals has been an enormous problem for Atleti. They haven’t scored more than two goals in any game since a 3-2 win over Eibar way back on September 1, and have been blanked in eight league matches this year, including two in a row now. They have scored 22 goals this season in La Liga play, a paltry total only matched by eighth-placed Atletic Bilbao and those in 14th and below.

Felix has drowned in abuse from fans over the last month given the team’s struggles, but in all honesty he was the team’s best attacker at the Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday. The young Portuguese forward worked both flanks and earned four fouls, including two in the attacking third. Still, he had little support and was unable to get by a packed-in Leganes defense on his own. Partey was good as well, producing a quality shift in his defensive midfield role but unable to chip in moving forward.

In contrast, Morata was a complete no-show. Producing just two total shots in the 90-minute performance, Morata has now failed to score in three straight league games and owns just two in his last eight. Simeone’s attack was completely devoid of answers, resorting to futily pummeling the Leganes box with crosses, finding a teammate with just six of their 23 attempts. They won just two of seven aerial duels in the Leganes area, and over the 90 minutes produced an expected goal total of 1.02 with 14 shots, including nearly half of that xG value (0.45) on the aforementioned two late chances coming in the final three minutes of play.

With a Champions League matchup against Liverpool on the horizon, Simeone has plenty to sort out as Atletico Madrid looks to challenge both domestically and in Europe.

FOLLOW LIVE: Man City, Man United, Liverpool in FA Cup

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It’s a big Sunday slate in the FA Cup fourth round as Manchester City, Manchester United, and Liverpool all take the field, each with their own time slot. Click the link below to follow along with the action.

[ LIVE: Follow all the FA Cup scores here ]

Fulham and Tranmere have already knocked off Premier League opponents. The Whites took down Aston Villa 2-1 in the third round on Harry Arter‘s absolutely stunning winner with 16 minutes to go, while Tranmere topped Watford just three days ago in extra time of their replay.

Manchester City has delivered a strong starting lineup at the Etihad to face Fulham, with David Silva, Riyad Mahrez, and Ilkay Gundogan all in the eleven, while 19-year-old Spanish defender Eric Garcia also appears alongside Nicolas Otamendi. Fulham, meanwhile, is struck by injuries at key places, with talismanic striker Aleksandr Mitrovic out as is the goalscorer Arter from last round.

Full Sunday FA Cup schedule

Manchester City v. Fulham – 8:00 a.m. ET
Tranmere Rovers v. Manchester United – 10:00 a.m. ET
Shrewsbury Town v. Liverpool – 12:00 p.m. ET

Transfer rumor roundup: Mari to Arsenal; Defoe makes permanent Rangers move

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s biggest transfer rumors, including those involving Premier League outfits.

[ MORE: Premier League January transfer needs ]

Arsenal are reportedly hours from adding a defender to Mikel Arteta‘s squad.

Flamengo’s Pablo Mari has reportedly arrived in London and set for a medical at Arsenal, Sky Sports reports. The 26-year-old Spaniard will join the North London side for the remainder of the season with an option to buy.

It won’t be Mari’s first time signing for a Premier League side, however.

In 2016, the center-back signed with Manchester City, but never featured for the defending champions, instead making appearances for Girona, NAC and Deportivo La Coruna on loan.


Jermaine Defoe is not returning to Bournemouth.

On Saturday, Rangers announced that Defoe signed a pre-contract to join Rangers on permanent basis in the summer.

The storied 37-year-old English striker has 20 goals in 57 appearances since joining the Scottish giants last January on a 18-month loan. Defoe’s new contract runs through the 2020-21 season, a one-year deal.

“It’s fantastic news,” Rangers manager Steven Gerrard told the club’s website. “It’s something we have been working on over the weeks and it is great to finally get that done and dusted.”

“He is an incredible professional with the way he goes about his work on and off the pitch – he is a credit to himself and his family. And also on the pitch, which is the main thing. He is still contributing heavily – he is a major part of this group, this team and this squad and hopefully together we can go and share some success as I think he deserves that.”

This season, Defoe has scored 16 goals in 28 games.


Crystal Palace are in talks to sign Belgium international Yannick Carrasco, according to Sky Sports.

Carrasco, 26, wants to leave Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang and is currently training in Belgium, ahead of a return to European play.

Carrasco has scored 24 goals in 52 appearances since making a move to China from Atletico Madrid in February 2018.


Norwich City are actively pursuing Danel Sinani, according to the Daily Mail.

The 22-year-old Luxembourg winger is out of contract with Luxembourg side FC Dudelange this summer. If the parties involved can’t reach a deal this week,  the Canaries are reportedly ready to propose a pre-contract agreement.