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Ajax “punishes” new signing who made past pro-Feyenoord comments

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Finally, someone has a good time with past comments on social media, as the medium was intended.

Ajax signed 19-year-old goalkeeper Kjell Scherpen on a four-year deal from fellow Eredivisie club FC Emmen, and had a little fun with it. With rumors of Scherpen’s signing for the past few months, Ajax fans dug up old tweets from 2011 when the teen was just 11 years old and rooting for Feyenoord, one of Ajax’s biggest rivals.

While a number of Ajax fans COULDN’T BELIEVE that their potential new goalkeeper would have DARED to root for a team when he was in sixth grade, the club itself decided to instead poke fun at the situation while officially announcing the signing. In the video, Scherpen is seen being made to write “Ajax is de mooiste club van Nederland” over and over again, which translates to “Ajax is the finest club in the Netherlands.”

Ajax is a club that has recently built itself on developing and then selling young talent, and they weren’t going to be stopped from adding a bright young star just because he rooted for a rival club as a boy. Any professional athlete will tell you all that goes out the window when you’re employed by a team, and your career always comes first.

“Kjell is a very big talent and it is great that he has opted for Ajax,” said technical director Marc Overmars in the official team release. “We are very satisfied with [current first-team starting goalkeeper] Andre Onana’s recent contract extension, but we are of course also looking to the future. Kjell will be 1 of the 4 keepers in the A-selection and will therefore be on the training field with the first team on a daily basis. He is also young enough to be able to keep matches in the Kitchen Champion Division at Young Ajax.”

If anybody knows young goalkeeping talent, it’s Edwin van der Sar, former Manchester United legend between the sticks and current Ajax CEO. In the video, van der Sar and Overmars can be seen presiding over Scherpen’s “homework,” telling him sternly to pen his chosen phrase 100 times.

If there’s ever a way for a club’s PR team to drop a mic, this is most certainly it. Now the fans who campaigned to keep Scherpen out of the club should have no more gripe.

Finlay goal gives Minnesota win over former club Columbus (video)

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It had to be him.

As Columbus continues to search for itself under new management, it’s no surprise that one of its old heroes broke its heart on Saturday.

[ RECAP: Man City 6-0 Watford ]

Ethan Finlay, he of the 166 Crew appearances before being traded to Minnesota United, said earlier this week, “I’d be lying to you if I said I didn’t want to beat up on them pretty bad.”

So of course Finlay scored a 70th minute tap-in to give his Loons a 1-0 win over Columbus on Saturday in St. Paul. It wasn’t “pretty bad,” but it probably felt pretty good.

The goal was Finlay’s first of the season for United, keeping the hosts unbeaten at home.

Columbus falls to 1-5 away from home under Caleb Porter, and has won just once in its last seven outings.

Brighton ready to pay release clause for Swans manager

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Brighton and Hove Albion is ready to bring one of England’s brightest managerial prospects into the Premier League.

The Seagulls are set to pay a $3 million release clause to lure Graham Potter away from Swansea City, one year after the manager left Swedish club Ostersunds FK.

[ RECAP: Man City 6-0 Watford ]

Potter was 35 when he was hired by the Swedish club in 2010, and helped Ostersunds to three promotions before moving to Wales in 2018.

Swans finished 10th this season, its first in the Championship after relegation from the Premier League.

Brighton regressed in a big way during the second half of this season, and remains in the top flight largely because Cardiff City was unable to take advantage of the Seagulls’ huge struggles.

The report says Swansea offered Potter a new deal to stay at the Liberty Stadium, but the manager wants to try the Premier League.

If he takes the job, Potter will manage against one of his former clubs; Potter played eight times for Southampton in the Premier League.

Pep: Domestic treble harder than winning Champions League

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Manchester City won its third tournament of the season on Saturday, battering Watford 6-0 at Wembley Stadium to add an FA Cup to its League Cup and Premier League titles.

[ RECAP: Man City 6-0 Watford ]

In doing so, City is the first club to win a domestic treble. Manager Pep Guardiola wants to win every competition he enters, but said winning all three is extra special.

“I love the Champions League but it is more difficult to do what we have done than to win the Champions League,” Guardiola said.

Wait, what?

From ManCity.com:

“It’s not easy being there every three days. We lacked a little bit of energy but it’s normal. It’s been so tough this week. We could not have had more energy but we kept it at the right time.”

Well, that makes sense. Whereas Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp risked less with his cup lineups, knowing his desire for the Premier League and Champions League, Guardiola’s lineups were aimed at winning everything.

And that’s largely why they’ve done it. City might’ve needed penalty kicks to beat Chelsea in the League Cup Final and a John Stones clearance to win the Premier League (or a Vincent Kompany thunderbolt), but the treble is impressive.

AC Milan boss Gattuso insists fifth “not a failure”

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For a solid four months, it appeared AC Milan was on track for a return to the Champions League for the first time in six years. Then, it all fell apart.

Still, manager Gennaro Gattuso is insisting their season is not a failure, adamant that a fifth-placed finish would not be considered a disappointment for the club. His reasoning will not be exactly endearing to fans.

“Fifth place absolutely wouldn’t be a failure, not because I want credit myself, plus what would Roma and Lazio say?” Gattuso said during his pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday’s game against Frosinone. “There’s regret because for two months we’ve had our fate in our hands and we dropped so many points, but it’s not a failure.”

Milan was as high as third place in the Serie A table in mid-March and seemed close to wrapping up a return to Champions League play, but a stretch of one win in seven league matches saw them tumble down into the crowded battle below, with Atalanta, Roma, Torino, and Lazio all in a pack. AC Milan now sits sixth, and while they still remain in the mix for the fourth position, they would need to make up a three-point deficit in just two matches. Fifth-placed Roma drew today, so they can jump to fifth with a win against Frosinone.

Milan was a European powerhouse for decades until the club declined following its 2007 Champions League victory, ultimately falling out of the running for Europe’s top competition, with just a few Europa League appearances since 2014. Gattuso’s comparison to Lazio and Roma, two strong Italian clubs without Milan’s history, is bound to infuriate fans, along with his acceptance of the club’s shortcomings.

The late-season collapse has called Gattuso’s job security into question, but he said that will wait until the end of the season. “Both the club and I have put aside our small talk to reach our objective,” Gattuso said during the presser. “There will be time to talk about the future.”

“There are two games left and we’re still playing for our objective.”