First of all, let’s get something out of the way: The above photo is a super weird scarf, and I would’ve bought more than one of them.
Not many players can set up the lone goal of a match and be considered “quiet,” but Lionel Messi is a different breed.
The Argentine swept a cross to Luis Suarez that produced an own goal and Barcelona’s 1-0 win over Manchester United on Wednesday in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal at Old Trafford, but that was all Barca’s GOAT could manage in Manchester.
[ MORE: UCL summations for each quarterfinalist ]
That keeps Manchester United and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the tie, which will conclude Tuesday in Spain. From ManUtd.com:
“He’s a fantastic player and you see the cross for the goal, his awareness and his technique. We did as well as we could against him and we kept our shape well at times. It could have gone both ways.
“It wasn’t the night for chances, I don’t think we hit a shot on target once and that’s one of the disappointments because Rashy had a decent chance, Diogo had a chance there. When Anthony came through towards the end normally he takes a touch but he toe pokes it.”
Solskjaer also said he’s confident United can score in Barcelona, which is obviously an imperative part of the game plan.
Barca’s defense is stingy but not as tight as years’ past, having allowed 31 goals in 31 league matches this year, but has been very good in the Champions League. Through nine matches, opponents have scored six goals.
Only two of those have come at the Camp Nou.
Maurizio Sarri looks set for a second-straight offseason of “Will Chelsea or won’t they?”
One year after needing the Blues to sort out the removal of Antonio Conte and compensation with Napoli, Sarri could now be moving back to Italy.
[ MORE: Man Utd nears $20m signing ]
But Chelsea won’t make any decisions on his future until after the Europa League Final in Baku next week, and reportedly would let him leave for Juventus if the Serie A side pays a $7 million fee.
Sarri also criticized the Blues’ preseason trip to America, and Matt Law’s report says the manager is fine to stay in England but may want to return to Italy. Roma is also searching for a manager.
Chelsea’s playing style under Sarri drew criticism from supporters but the Blues are in the Europa League Final, finished third in the Premier League, and came within penalty kicks of beating Manchester City to the League Cup title.
Maybe the cigarette-chomping Sarri isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but his success on the table and tournaments with a transfer ban looming was pretty solid. Chelsea could do much worse.
Manchester United’s first signing of the summer will be a Welsh international forward, but not that one, presuming the clubs sort out the transfer fee.
Swansea City winger Daniel James has agreed to terms with United, according to Sky Sports.
The 21-year-old is expected to cost Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s men about $20 million.
[ MORE: Players to watch at U-20 World Cup ]
James scored five times with 10 assists for Graham Potter in all competitions this season, totaling 2800 minutes for Swans.
Only Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish was fouled more per game than James, who was taken to the turf 2.7 times per match. He mostly played on the left wing this season.
Twice-capped by Wales, James turns 22 in November. How long will it take him to make the jump from Championship star to Premier League contributor?
Roberto Martinez is going to suit up a manager as Belgium fights to qualify for EURO 2020.
Okay, okay, that manager is Anderlecht player-manager Vincent Kompany, mere days removed from sealing a domestic treble for Manchester City.
[ MORE: Players to watch at U-20 World Cup ]
Kompany, 33, has been called up by Belgium for the first time since November. He has 87 caps with four goals for the Red Devils, and perhaps the nickname will be a little less awkward now that he’s not a member of the Premier League’s “noisy neighbors.”
Here’s what Martinez had to say about Kompany’s inclusion.
“In modern football it is not easy to combine the job of player and coach,” Martinez added. “In England they have a tradition of that but less and less because the job of coach has become enormously demanding. We must give him time. We will support him in everything he does.”
Belgium is in a qualifying group with Russia, Cyprus, Scotland, Kazakhstan, and San Marino, and should waltz into the tournament.
MIAMI (AP) The United States will host Cuba on Oct. 11 and Canada on Nov. 15 in the first CONCACAF Nations League.
CONCACAF said Tuesday that the Americans, seeded in Group A, will play at Canada on Oct. 15 and at Cuba on Nov. 19.
Sites have not been determined.
Other Nations League groups are:
B – Bermuda, Mexico, Panama
C – Martinique, Honduras, Trinidad and Tobago
D – Costa Rica, Curacao, Haiti
The top team in each League A group advances to the semifinals in March, and the last-place team is relegated to League B.
The U.S. intends to play exhibitions on the September FIFA dates for national teams.
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