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Zlatan open to MLS after United; could play at World Cup

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic is never far away from being headline news. These comments from the veteran Swedish striker ensure this is once again the case.

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Ibrahimovic, 36, hasn’t featured for Manchester United since December after suffering a setback following his speedy comeback from a serious knee injury last April which saw him feature seven times this season in all competition before breaking down.

Asked in his homeland this week if a move to Major League Soccer, with the LA Galaxy repeatedly linked with signing him, is close to happening, here was Zlatan’s response to Swedish media.

“I did not know that several Swedes went to MLS,” Ibrahimovic said. “That means it’s tempting to play in the United States. Los Angeles is a nice city and I’ve been there a lot on vacation. It is laid back. I think it’s rumors all the time [about my future]. When I play and when I do not play it is rumors. That’s good, that means I live.”

Ibrahimovic appears to firmly open the door to a move to MLS and his manager at United, Jose Mourinho, has previously stated he will not stand in Zlatan’s way if he wants to end his career playing in North America’s top-flight and said the following on Friday.

“We all think it is his last season at Manchester United. It will be a very personal decision about whether to play or to stop. He has won the right to choose his future, his life with an amazing career. This season it has been really difficult for him. Is he injured? No. Does he feel totally ready and totally convinced to help the team in this moment? No. He is such an honest guy and such a champion that he only wants to be back with that feeling that ‘I’m totally ready for it.’ He is working hard.”

The concern for the Galaxy will be Ibrahimovic’s knee injury which kept him out for seven months and still seems to be nagging the former Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Barcelona and PSG striker.

Still, his return of 28 goals in all competitions for United in the 2016-17 season proved all the doubters wrong and if he can regain full fitness in the final months of this season, perhaps his move to LA will be wrapped up by May 1 when the transfer deadline is over. There is also the option of Zlatan being a free agent on May 13 when his short-term deal with United expires.

Moving from his club future to his international future, Sweden’s all-time leading goalscorer retired from the national team after EURO 2016 but calls for him to go to the 2018 World Cup this summer are mounting.

Here’s what he had to say about that about being part of Janne Andersson’s squad as Sweden have been placed in a Group of Death in Group F alongside Germany, Mexico and South Korea.

“I miss the national team. If I want, I do it. I want to feel I can deliver a good performance,” Ibrahimovic said. “We’ll see, it’s a tough question. I want to feel that I can perform and give back. I don’t want to come just because I’m somebody. The door isn’t closed for anything… I don’t think anyone needs to call. If I want to, I’m there, that’s how it is. But one thing at a time. When I can do what I want to, I’ll have other thoughts.”

That chilly draft you can feel is because Zlatan is leaving the door open to literally everything…

But why wouldn’t he? His contract his soon up at United with clubs in the U.S., China and elsewhere all interested and if Sweden need him, he should go to the World Cup and come on late in games to deliver goals, like he always has done.

Report: Liverpool agrees to terms for Roma keeper Alisson

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Liverpool has been in search of a new first-choice goalkeeper for several months, and now it appears that Jurgen Klopp and his side have their man.

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The Reds reportedly have a deal in the place for Roma shot-stopper Alisson in excess of $84 million, which would make the 25-year-old the most expensive goalkeeper in football history.

Chelsea had also been viewed as a potential landing spot for the budding star in net, however, it seems likely that Liverpool has beaten their Premier League rivals for the player.

The previous transfer record for a keeper came 17 years ago when Italy legend Gianluigi Buffon completed a $69 million move from Parma to Juventus.

Alisson started in all five of Brazil’s World Cup matches this summer in Russia, including the team’s 2-1 defeat to Belgium that knocked the Selecao out of the competition in the quarterfinals.

He managed to keep three clean sheets in the tournament.

The move for Alisson will likely spell the end for Loris Karius at Anfield, after starting 33 matches in all competitions last season for the Reds, including the team’s UEFA Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid.

Iceland coach steps down after 7 years in charge

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REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) The coach that led Iceland to its first World Cup has stepped down.

The Icelandic Football Association says Heimir Hallgrimsson has decided to leave at his own request, ending seven years in the role.

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Hallgrimsson was the co-coach with Lars Lagerback of Sweden at the European Championship in 2016, when Iceland reached the quarterfinals after beating England.

After Lagerback left, Hallgrimsson assumed sole control of the national team, which became the least populous team to ever play at a World Cup. Iceland drew with Argentina in its opening group game but failed to advance to the knockout stage.

Hellgrimsson is a part-time dentist.

Report: Real Madrid close to Courtois, Hazard deals

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According to radio network RMC Sport in France, Real Madrid has an agreement with Chelsea for the transfer of Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

The report states that Courtois would cost Los Blancos $41 million, and the transfer is imminent. That would be significantly cheaper than Liverpool’s widely reported bid for Roma goalkeeper Alisson, who is supposedly costing the Reds $81 million, which would be a record for a goalkeeper.

This could likely be attributed to the player’s contracts, with Courtois’s set to run out at the end of the coming season, while Alisson’s contract at Roma is good through the summer of 2021.

Courtois has been at Chelsea since 2011 when he arrived from Belgian club Genk, but spent the first few years out on loan at Atletico Madrid in Spain. He won the Golden Glove at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the award for the top goalkeeper in the tournament.

Meanwhile, the same RMC Sport report states that Real Madrid is close to an agreement for Courtois’s Chelsea teammate and Belgian countryman Eden Hazard. The 27-year-old has spent six years at Stamford Bridge since his move from Lille, and has heavily been speculated to be Real Madrid’s preferred replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo.

Both players are currently on holiday at different vacation destinations inSpain following the conclusion of the 2018 World Cup.

Cazorla returns to field for first time in almost 2 years

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Arsenal fan favorite Santi Cazorla saw his time with the Gunners come to an unceremonious end this summer. He had struggled for almost three full seasons with an ankle injury that continued to baffle doctors.

At one time, it got so bad that doctors told him he was lucky to walk again. Now, Cazorla is doing much more than walking.

The 33-year-old Spaniard, who is training with his old club Villarreal this summer after the expiry of his Arsenal contract, returned to the field for the first time in 636 days when he entered in the 67th minute of Villarreal’s friendly against Segunda B side Hercules.

Beaming with a massive smile, Cazorla received a hearty reception from the home Villarreal fans at the Mini Estadi on his enterance to the match. The match eventually ended in a 1-1 draw.

Cazorla posted on Twitter a week ago to say how happy he was to “feel like a footballer again” while training with Villarreal and said while there’s “much more work ahead” he has “more enthusiasm than ever.”

The Spaniard made 180 appearances for Arsenal across all competitions during his six-year stint in the Premier League, providing fluid creativity at the front of the Gunners’ attack, but the last three seasons were a nightmare. First a knee injury kept him out nearly the entire second half of the 2015/16 season, and then he ruptured his Achilles in October of 2016. It was not a standard recovery, eventually requiring a total of eight operations. A nasty infection required more surgery, forcing doctors to graft tendons from his left arm into his foot.

Gunners fans may not see him at The Emirates again, but they will be happy to know Cazorla has crossed a major hurdle in his attempt to return to the field competitively.