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Champions League Weds. preview: Pogba returns to Turin

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Manchester United knows a result against Juventus in Turin will be important on Wednesday, but it will know just how important by the time it kicks off at 3 p.m. ET

Valencia and Young Boys meet in Spain at 12:55 p.m. ET, fresh off a draw in Switzerland last month. A Valencia win would move the Spanish side ahead of United, while a Young Boys win or draw would keep United second regardless of how it fares at Juve.

[ MORE: Liverpool falls in Serbia ]

Paul Pogba is a key part of United’s hopes in Italy, and he’ll be very much in focus given his former status as a key player for The Old Lady. The new key attacker? Some guy named Cristiano Ronaldo. Here’s Pogba, via ManUtd.com:

“Obviously having such a top player like Cristiano is always positive,” Pogba said. “I think definitely that he’s very happy to be here and I believe that it’s a remarkable achievement for Juventus as they succeeded to have a player like him, because basically he scores goal just like he drinks water, so very easily.”

Ronaldo’s former club, Real Madrid, will be knocked from its Group G perch after the early match. AS Roma is in Moscow to face CSKA, and Real’s 3 p.m. kickoff at big underdogs Viktoria Plzen will be under plenty of scrutiny given the result and a tighter than expected meeting in Madrid last month.

Let’s get to the other Premier League club in action: Group F leaders Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola‘s men are home to Shakhtar Donetsk, looking to produce something similar to the Oct. 23 3-0 win in Ukraine.

City fullback Kyle Walker said the team is laser-focused, having learned from its loss to Liverpool to end its last Champions League run. From ManCity.com:

“I don’t think anything changes within the set-up of the week and the focus of the players but we have to take into consideration that the teams are different to the ones we’re facing week in, week out in the Premier League. The standard is definitely a level up. It’s something we have to think about and hopefully, we’ll put it right on Wednesday evening.”

A win for City would clinch a spot in the knockout rounds if Lyon defeats Hoffenheim in France.

Full Weds. schedule

12:55 p.m. ET kickoffs
Valencia vs. Young Boys
CSKA Moscow vs. AS Roma

3 p.m. ET kickoffs
Man City vs. Shakhtar Donetsk
Lyon vs. Hoffenheim
Viktoria Plzen vs. Real Madrid
Juventus vs. Manchester United
Benfica vs. Ajax
Bayern Munich vs. AEK Athens

Oxlade-Chamberlain back in Liverpool training

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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is back in Liverpool training, nine months after a horrible injury cost him the chance to appear in the UEFA Champions League Final.

Initially ruled out for the duration of the 2018-19 season following an ACL year, “The Ox” is giving the Reds a boost in Dubai.

[ MORE: Latest on Emiliano Sala ]

The 25-year-old Oxlade-Chamberlain posted five goals and seven assists in his first season at Liverpool.

Oxlade-Chamberlain has 32 England caps and 283 senior appearances between Southampton, Arsenal, and Liverpool. He left the Gunners in part because of a desire to play a more central role in the midfield.

Oxlade-Chamberlain detailed his recovery late last year. There’s yet to be discussion of when he might be fit to return to match play, but Liverpool will be careful with its industrious playmaker.

Montreal owner Saputo hands presidency duties to Gilmore

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Montreal Impact owner Joey Saputo is giving the reigns of his club to a new president.

Saputo announced Tuesday that he’s handing over presidency duties to Kevin Gilmore, the former chief operating officer of the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens.

[ MORE: Latest on Emiliano Sala ]

The Saputo family founded the Impact in 1992, and Joey Saputo shepherded the club into Major League Soccer.

The Impact is coached by Remi Garde, the former Aston Villa boss, and has Designated Players in Ignacio Piatti and Saphir Taidir. The Bleu-blanc-noir just started training camp.

Cardiff “very distressed,” “praying for positive news” regarding Sala

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Cardiff City executive director Ken Choo has released a statement on the missing flight from France to Wales which carried new signing Emiliano Sala.

Crews in Wales continue to search for the plane, which disappeared from radar late Monday night.

Fans have flocked to Cardiff City Stadium and Nantes town square to lay flowers in hopes of a miraculous recovery for Sala and his pilot.

From Cardiff City’s official site:

“We were very shocked upon hearing the news that the plane had gone missing. We expected Emiliano to arrive last night into Cardiff and today was due to be his first day with the team.

“Our owner, Tan Sri Vincent Tan, and chairman, Mehmet Dalman, are all very distressed about the situation.

“We made the decision first thing this morning to call off training with the thoughts of the squad, management staff and the entire Club with Emiliano and the pilot.

“All of us at Cardiff City FC would like to thank our fans, and the entire footballing family for their support at this difficult time.

“We continue to pray for positive news.”

Ronaldo pleads guilty to tax fraud at Madrid court

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MADRID (AP) Cristiano Ronaldo has pleaded guilty to tax fraud and received a two-year suspended sentence.

The Juventus forward, who was facing charges stemming from his days at Real Madrid, was in court for about 45 minutes and signed an agreement which will cost him nearly 19 million euros ($21.6 million) in fines.

[ MORE: Latest on Emiliano Sala ]

Ronaldo arrived at court in a black van and was wearing a black sports coat and black pants. He walked up some stairs leading to the court house and even stopped to sign an autograph.

Ronaldo made the deal to plead guilty with Spain’s state prosecutor and tax authorities last year.

In Spain, a judge can suspend sentences for two years or less for first-time offenders.

In 2017, a state prosecutor accused Ronaldo of four counts of tax fraud from 2011-14 worth 14.7 million euros ($16.7 million). Ronaldo was accused of having used shell companies outside Spain to hide income made from image rights.

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