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Aldewerireld says he never wanted to leave Spurs last summer

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Toby Alderweireld has revealed that he was never close to leaving Tottenham Hotspur this summer, despite reported interest from Manchester United, after he was informed that “Tottenham wanted to keep me.”

[ MORE: Moshiri increases Everton stake, plans more by the summer ]

Speaking about the summer-long saga for the first time, Alderweireld classified reports that he was wanted to force through a move away from Tottenham as “not true.” An agreement was never reached between the two clubs, however, so he can say what he likes without ever having had to actually make a choice one way or the other.

The Belgian center back has one year remaining on his contract, but the current deal has a one-year extension option which features a $32.5-million release clause. With another transfer saga looming in nine months’ time, Alderweireld insists his place in Spurs’ first team is the only thing that matters — quotes from Sky Sports:

“Everyone was saying everywhere that I absolutely wanted to leave Tottenham. That’s not true. This summer, I quickly understood Tottenham wanted to keep me.

“So, I had to battle to get my place back in the team. To be in the first team again is a victory for me. I just try to help Tottenham as best I can with my qualities. Regarding my future, everything that was said in the press was not right all the time.

[ MORE: Gareth Southgate stays quiet on new England contract ]

Alderweireld will turn 30 before the end of the 2018-19 season, and while he won’t have a million miles on his body after playing sparingly for two years as he transitioned from Ajax to Atletico Madrid and finally to Southampton before becoming the full-time workhorse at Spurs, his lengthy history of lingering lower-body injuries will give Mauricio Pochettino and Co., the most pause for concern as they weigh up one more potential long-term deal.

2 Robbies: Manchester Derby, Liverpool win, draws for Chelsea, Arsenal

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Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle look back at a defining derby match between Man City and Man United (00:30), Liverpool’s comfortable win against Fulham (25:45), the stalemate between Chelsea and Everton (31:30) and a hard fought match between Arsenal and Wolves (41:30).

[ VIDEO: An unprecedented goal ]

Join Earle & Mustoe on The 2 Robbies Football Show, Saturdays at 5pm ET. Listen on the NBCSports Radio App and call 855-323-4622 in the U.S. for lively passionate debate.

All of the The 2 Robbies content can be accessed by clicking on this link:

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]

MLS Best XI unveiled with awesome foosball video

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Major League Soccer, wow, this is terrific #content.

MLS released its Best XI on Monday with a dynamite video of the players passing the ball from Zack Steffen in goal to Josef Martinez up top… via a virtual foosball table.

[ VIDEO: An unprecedented goal ]

The XI is set in a 3-4-3, with the New York Red Bulls, DC United, and Atlanta United leading the way with a pair of players each.

My predictions? Well, I only got six correct. Whoops. The only absence that really surprises me is Graham Zusi, and Sporting KC not having representation at all. I guess that explains why SKC manager Peter Vermes is going to be announced as the next USMNT– Wait, what’s that? Oh. I’ll stop talking.

2018 MLS Best XI

Goalkeeper: Zack Steffen (Columbus)

Defenders: Kemar Lawrence (RBNY), Aaron Long (RBNY), Chad Marshall (Seattle)

Midfielders: Miguel Almiron (Atlanta), Luciano Acosta (DC), Ignacio Piatti (Montreal), Carlos Vela (LAFC)

Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA Galaxy), Josef Martinez (Atlanta), Wayne Rooney (DC)

WATCH: Striker scores potentially unprecedented goal while helping teammate

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“Look, I know you’re injured, but I’m gonna be right back. Got a goal to score for us.”

Maccabi Petah Tikva forward Habib Habibou scored what can only be described as an unprecedented goal — at least in terms of being captured on video — Israel this weekend.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings ]

Habibou, 31, and his club were locked in scoreless tussle with Maccabi Netanya on Saturday when one of his teammates was injured in the box.

The CAR striker, formerly of Zulte Waregem and Royal Charleroi, was taking care of said teammate when he spotted an 87th minute spilled rebound.

What was he gonna do, really, other than dart onto the loose ball, score the match-winner, and then return to his ailing mate?

Petah Tikva won 1-0.

Juventus executive: Bring season Serie A game abroad

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Juventus chief revenue officer Giorgio Ricci likes La Liga’s idea of taking a regular season match outside of its domestic borders.

Ricci would like Serie A to explore a similar move, saying Italian soccer can only benefit from putting its brand in other markets.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings ]

Serie A lags behind other top European league in TV money, which has hindered its ability to recruit top end talent relative to its competitors.

Ricci says if American sports see value in bringing their top leagues to Europe, it holds that the reverse would be true. From the BBC:

“If we look at some other more developed leagues in terms of commercial strategy; the NBA and NFL, they are exporting one or two of their matches abroad, to the UK or elsewhere in Europe. I think it is a good strategy. It is a way to export something that is not an exhibition.”

Would a regular season match bring any more eyes or attention than the International Champions Cup, at least enough to offset the sacrifice of atmosphere? It seems doubtful, but the money is the key here. Italy wants to catch up with Spain, Germany, and England.