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Southgate stays quiet on new England contract

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Gareth Southgate is a man in demand.

After guiding England to the 2018 World Cup semifinals this summer, Southgate’s current contract with the Three Lions runs through the end of the EURO 2020 tournament.

Speaking ahead of England’s friendly against Switzerland at Leicester City’s King Power Stadium on Tuesday, Southgate was asked if he’d like to remain England manager and lead them through the 2022 World Cup.

“At the moment we’ve had initial discussions. That has been it. For me, I’ve got to focus on the job in hand. I’m contracted for the next 22 months or so and my focus, most importantly, is for tomorrow night and for this team to keep improving,” Southgate said. “This summer was an incredible experience for everybody. Those are the games you want to be involved in and the matches that matter. Beyond that I don’t really want to get into any more detail because I don’t want to distract things from the game.”

Southgate’s situation isn’t one that England fans should be overly concerned about.

The former England international has spoken many times about his love for the Three Lions and being their head coach. But his stock has never been higher as a coach and the former Middlesbrough, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa defender will no doubt interest plenty of Premier League clubs when they have a managerial vacancy over the next 12 months.

Martin Glenn, the head of the English FA, has already acknowledged that they probably won’t be able to pay Southgate a salary close to what he could demand if he took charge of a PL club. Yet Southgate is a man who has been embedded into the masterplan to revive the English national teams from the very start and he seems keen to lead the men’s national team with so many promising youngster ready to break through from England’s U-17 and U-20 World Cup winning teams.

Add in the respect England’s young team have for him and the clear identity in a 3-4-3 formation he has brought to the team and Southgate has done all he can up until this point. For now, songs about loving Southgate and idolizing his waistcoast will continue, but over the next six months we will see if this England team can regain the form they showed over the summer as they aim to keep improving and be among the top contenders for the European Championships in two years’ time.

Getting Southgate locked down to a new deal is essential to making that a reality.

Pique: Copa-losing Barca still “really hurting” from UCL exit

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Barcelona was the favorite to win La Liga, the UEFA Champions League, and the Copa del Rey for the majority of the season, but only claimed one.

Liverpool’s amazing comeback to beat Barca in the second leg of the UCL semifinals met Saturday’s loss to Valencia in the Copa del Rey Final to give Barca a league title alone.

[ MORE: Real, Chelsea debate Hazard fee ]

Even with that La Liga advantage being decisive — Barca carried the table by 11 points over Atletico Madrid and finished 19 ahead of Real Madrid — there’s a very dour mood and promised change for the Camp Nou set.

And Gerard Pique says it all traces back to the loss against Liverpool. From The Liverpool Echo:

“I believe that if we had gotten through at Liverpool, we would have won the treble. We would have come here [to the Copa del Rey final] with a different mood, and I’m convinced we would have won the Champions League final, but that is football. We are really, really hurting.”

There are hints of a massive clear-out at Barcelona, with Lionel Messi and Pique two of the only safe bets to stay. When will Barca get over it?

Brazilian team tangles in locker room futmesa (video)

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It was defense versus attack in the Brazil dressing room.

Neymar and Gabriel Jesus squared off with international teammates Filipe Luis and Ederson in a game of futmesa/table soccer this week.

[ MORE: Real, Chelsea debate Hazard fee ]

Neymar and Filipe Luis are used to be on different sides of the field from their time in La Liga, while Jesus and Ederson are teammates at Manchester City.

Brazil is hosting this summer’s Copa America and is the favorite to win its first tournament since 2007, when it claimed its fourth in five tries.

It’s really impressive stuff for us normal to subpar athletes, even if standard for those with such deft talent.

Quite a winner from Man City’s young striker.

Jovic could see himself in Premier League, Serie A

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Maybe Luka Jovic’s presumed move to Real Madrid won’t happen this summer.

Or at all.

[ MORE: Real, Chelsea debate Hazard fee ]

The Eintracht Frankfurt striker has been tipped for a move away from the Bundesliga after another strong campaign, and taking the center forward reins from Karim Benzema at Real Madrid.

Several outlets reported the deal as done, but Jovic isn’t speaking that way (or at least the Serbian is throwing us off the scent.

From Goal.com:

“In terms of the physique, the Bundesliga is very demanding, but after the games against Chelsea or Inter Milan, I personally had the feeling that I could feel even better [playing] in the Premier League or Serie A. … The way the teams play there suits me better.”

Jovic scored 27 times in 48 appearances for Frankfurt, adding seven assists at the tender age of 21. Ten of those came in the Europa League, and we’re not talking about flooding the nets of minnows; Jovic scored against Chelsea (twice), Marseille (three), Lazio (two), and Inter Milan (once).

Report: Chelsea, Real $38M apart on Hazard

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How much for Hazard?

Real Madrid are willing to pay $127 million, no small fee, to bring Eden Hazard from Chelsea, but that’s well off the Blues’ evaluation according to Sky Sports.

Chelsea sees Hazard’s price as $165 million. Belgian writer Kristof Terreur told Sky that Hazard wants his future sorted by June 4.

[ MORE: Bayern wins double ]

The Blues’ superstar is entering the final year of his contract, and could begin negotiating with other clubs in January and leave on a free transfer.

Hazard turns 29 in January. He recorded 19 goals and 16 assists in 51 matches this season, his best output in a Blues uniform.

The report says Chelsea feels no pressure to sell Hazard, but it would be a surprise if it dug in its heels too deeply considering the state of the Belgian’s contract.

Even for Chelsea, letting over $100 million walk out the door is wild, and for all Hazard’s won with Chelsea there’s also been consternation under several managers and a more than occasional habit of disappointing on the table.