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Conte’s tumultuous season concludes with Chelsea glory

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When Antonio Conte arrived on the London scene in 2016 he ruffled some feathers, and for the most part it worked out in his favor during his debut campaign at Stamford Bridge.

Several innovative changes resulted in a Premier League title for Chelsea last season, and immediately it seemed as though the Italian manager would be in line to become a fan favorite for many years to come in the English capital.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Chelsea’s FA Cup win over Man United ]

Conte’s second year in charge resulted in significantly more ups and downs though, including inconsistent form in the UEFA Champions League and dropping points on the very first day of the Premier League season.

Fast forward to May 19 though, and Conte has added yet another piece of silverware to his and the club’s trophy case with Saturday’s FA Cup victory over Manchester United.

For months it has seemed like a foregone conclusion that Conte would no longer be in charge of the Blues in 2018/19 — which still may be the case — but regardless of what Saturday’s result was there’s no arguing Conte’s prowess as a manager.

It was always going to be a difficult season for Chelsea, having been the reigning PL champions, losing Diego Costa and Nemanja Matic heading into the new campaign and seeing the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool fine-tune their squads to challenge both in the league and European competition.

All things considered, a finish outside the top four isn’t completely unexpected, which isn’t to let Conte and Co. off the hook.

It’s simply a reminder that an FA Cup victory, along with a squad that still possesses a lot of talent, can be the driving force that the Blues need heading into the summer to once again challenge for the PL title again next season.

Whether the club opts to continue its journey with Conte remains to be seen, but Saturday’s performance at Wembley Stadium proved once more that the veteran shot-caller is more-than-capable of guiding the Blues to glory.

There’s no question that heading into next season Chelsea will have to address striker once again, especially if both Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud aren’t retained.

There are also questions in the midfield surrounding Tiemoue Bakayoko, who was less than underwhelming in his first season in England.

Defensively, the club has a lot of nice pieces, particularly with Andres Christensen likely to grow into a bigger role in the future, not to mention a number of young defenders on loan like USMNT center back Matt Miazga.

Rumors will likely persist until a public declaration in favor of Conte is made by Chelsea ownership, especially with Luis Enrique and Laurent Blanc just a few names currently available on the managerial front, but there’s a case to be made for what the Italian has done in his short time in charge at Stamford Bridge, and an even bigger one for Conte to be retained ahead of August.

Griezmann: Playing for Barcelona is ‘not the easiest’

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Over the summer, Barcelona shelled a whopping $135 million to land Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid.

It was a match made in heaven; the rest was supposed to be history.

Only that hasn’t been the case for the Frenchman in Barcelona.

Despite scoring a brace in his debut at the Camp Nou, Griezmann’s impact and influence on the field has quickly dwindled. In 11 league appearances with the Catalan giants, the 28-year-old has scored four goals and added three assists, signs that the World Cup winner is, in fact, struggling with his new team.

Speaking to Telefoot, Griezmann revealed that playing for Barcelona is not an easy thing to do, but that with hard work, his fortunes will turn around for the best:

“It is hard, I knew it would be, it is not the easiest place. This is a new team, a new club, new tactics, a new position. I have to work, try to understand my team-mates, after they will understand me too and it will work just like that… Critics will always be there. But I am good, I am proud of where I am. Only work pays off. I have to take confidence and it will all come just like that.”

This season, Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has frequently deployed the Frenchman as a left winger, with the hope that he will link up with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. The positives form such an ideology have yet to be reaped, however. Griezmann is scoring a goal every 224 minutes, a career worst.

The 28-year-old, too, has played in a central role on a couple of occasions, specifically during the absences of Messi and Suarez, but it hasn’t worked out for a player that has made a career from roaming that part of the field.

The building clamor at the Camp Nou is borderline justifiable – mainly because it’s now evident that Griezmann is wrestling with adapting to the expectations and systems in place in Barcelona.

But the high-flying attacker has proven he’s worth the price time and time again, and now he’s on the record saying that he’ll do everything in his power to do so with his new club.

Real Monarchs beat Louisville City to win first ever USL Cup

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Real Monarchs scored three unanswered goals as they routed Louisville City 3-1 at Lynn Stadium to win their first ever USL Cup title.

Noah Powder’s goal in the 66th minute sealed the deal for the visitor’s, adding to the goals scored by defenders Erik Holt and Konrad Plewa in the first half.

Surprisingly enough, it was Lou City who got off to a superb start on Sunday night, though.

Only six minutes after the initial whistle, Lou City’s leading goalscorer, Magnus Rasmussen, scored the game’s first goal, breaking a record for the fastest goal in a USL Cup final.

The defeat brings an end to Lou City’s historic run of consecutive USL Cup-winning seasons.

On July 1, former Real Salt Lake defender, Jamison Olave, took over as the Monarchs interim coach following Martin Vasquez’s unexpected resignation.

Man arrested after English soccer player reports homophobia

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TRANMERE, England — A footballer in England’s third tier reported being subjected to homophobic abuse from the stands, leading to police making one arrest.

Wycombe goalkeeper Ryan Allsop told the referee of the abuse at halftime of the League One soccer game at Tranmere as his team won 2-0.

Tranmere says it is very disappointed to learn of a homophobic comment made.

In a statement, Merseyside Police condemned abhorrent incidents.

Police Chief Inspector Jason Crellin added that “hate crime has no place in our communities, and not least at a showcase sporting event attended and watched by many people.”

Brazil beat Mexico to win U-17 World Cup (video)

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Brazil became Under-17 world champions for a fourth time in dramatic fashion as Lazaro Vinicius Marques’ scored a 93rd-minute winner to edge Mexico 2-1 at Estadio Bezerrão on Sunday.

Brazil’s comeback started in the 84th minute when Kaio Jorge converted from the penalty spot, following VAR’s decision which ruled contact on the tournament’s Golden Ball winner, Gabriel Veron, inside the 18-yard box.

With Brazilian legends Ronaldo and Cafu in attendance, the host’s had the better of chances throughout the first 45 minutes. Without any luck, however, Brazil were unable to get the ball past Eduardo Garcia, instead hitting the bar on several occasions.

Then in the 66th minute, Mexico – winners of the tournament in 2005 and in 2011 – stunned the home crowd when Bronze Ball winner Eugenio Pizzoto’s cross into the box was headed into the back of the net by Bryan Alonso Gonzalez Olivan, breaking the deadlock between two sides that had met in the same game back in 2005.

What was going to be a stunning, underdog victory for El Tri, turned into a heartbreaking night for Marco “Chima” Ruiz and company.

Brazil, on the other hand, are now only one championship away from tying Nigeria’s record of five championships.