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Report: Sergio Ramos contemplating exit from Real Madrid

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According to a report by ESPN FC’s Paola Nunez, captain Sergio Ramos is exploring his options this summer and could be looking to move away from Real Madrid after 14 years with the club.

The report states that the club is planning to make every effort to keep hold of the defender, who has become a club icon during his long stay in Madrid. However, at 33 years old and coming off a down year for the club, it could be time to move on from Ramos and transition to a younger defensive unit.

During a year which saw Real Madrid finish without a single trophy, Ramos was once again a fixture at the back, making 28 league appearances and 42 appearances across all competitions. Since joining from Sevilla in 2005 as a 19-year-old, Ramos has made over 600 career appearances for Los Blancos.

Still, he is only under contract through the 2021 season, meaning should he leave, now would be the time to capitalize on his value and not let him either run his contract down or decline further.

Madrid showed defensive frailties this season, conceding 46 La Liga goals over the course of the campaign, the most of any of the clubs that finished in the top five. Raphael Varane’s sky-high value following the World Cup took a hit as well, and the club could look to introduce the likes of 22-year-old Jesus Vallejo, although his trial period with the senior team towards the end of the year did not go well. 29-year-old Nacho also saw 1,700 league minutes this season and could slide in effectively.

Spanish media outlet Marca, among others, have since reported that Manchester United and PSG have inquired about his availability. Ramos, already vilified by Liverpool for his clash with Mohamed Salah during last year’s Champions League final, would fit in well with Manchester United’s narrative as the hated giants of the Premier League, but his age would raise questions among Red Devil supporters as to the direction of the club after missing out on a Champions League spot this season.

Lastly, this could potentially be a ploy by Ramos’s camp to earn him one final contract before he retires, with the threat of departure alongside an otherwise thin Real Madrid defensive unit enough to convince them to re-sign him for one final payday. However, the ESPN report did say the source was “within the club” so Madrid very well may be facing the end of an era.

Rapids name Robin Fraser as head coach

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COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) The Colorado Rapids have named former Major League Soccer player and longtime assistant Robin Fraser as their head coach.

Fraser steps in for Conor Casey, who’s been the interim coach since the team fired Anthony Hudson in May. Colorado is 7-14-6 and at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

Fraser’s first match in charge will be Saturday at the New York Red Bulls.

The 52-year-old Fraser has served as an assistant coach at Toronto FC since 2015.

Fraser was the fourth overall pick in the 1996 MLS player draft by the Los Angeles Galaxy. Over his career, Fraser suited up for the Galaxy, the Rapids and the Columbus Crew. He said in a statement Sunday he considers Colorado home because he’s so familiar with the soccer community.

Rapids general manager Padraig Smith said Fraser has a “deep knowledge of what it takes to be successful in MLS.”

Pochettino upset with attacking stars, speaks on Eriksen status

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Mauricio Pochettino might’ve understood Tottenham Hotspur dropping points last week at Man City, but he didn’t plan on not taking anything from Newcastle United on Sunday at home.

“You need the capacity to step up in this type of situation but we didn’t show that quality today,” Pochettino said. “When the ball arrives in the last third you need something from the talent and quality we have there and today we didn’t have that.”

[ RECAP: Spurs 0-1 Newcastle | Bruce reacts ]

So that’s pretty straight forward, but Pochettino was less happy to answer the question of why he didn’t start Christian Eriksen. Some (read: this writer) have questioned the philosophy of putting a man you may sell for $50 million on the bench. Either put him in the Starting XI and risk him, or leave him off the 18.

“When you lose, the players who don’t play are the best. With Christian we win and we lose a lot of games. I accept that situation is like this. If we won 3-0 today no one talks about different names.

“I cannot find excuses about the transfer window being open to justify that performance or the result. We cannot find the way to be solid and to have consistency for different reasons. I am going to be happy in 10 days after we play Arsenal when the transfer window closes in Europe and to have the player involved until the transfer window again in January.”

We’re not gonna read too much into it, but it does sound a bit like Pochettino is daring teams to bid for Eriksen. Would it make sense for him to hold onto Eriksen until January before cashing in?

Newcastle’s Bruce heard criticism, happy to beat Spurs

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Steve Bruce heard a lot of the criticism from fans upon his hiring at Newcastle United, and it rang out louder after the Magpies started 0-2 including a loss at newly-promoted Norwich City.

[ RECAP: Spurs 0-1 Newcastle ]

He may well hear plenty more down the road, but the childhood Newcastle supporter was feeling relieved and maybe redeemed after a fortunate and wonderful 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday. From the BBC:

“We came to this fantastic stadium, this fantastic club and we performed. I mean, to say I ‘cannot even do a warm up’ is mad. I have managed 900-odd games and over the years you would think there would be some sort of respect but I go back to the fact that whoever took over from Rafa Benitez was going to get the abuse.”

Newcastle faces struggling Watford at St. James’ Park next week, and another result will ease a lot of nerves (though certainly not all of them.

Wolves snatch late point versus Burnley

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Raul Jimenez’s penalty seven minutes into stoppage time gave Wolves a point with a 1-1 draw against Burnley on Sunday at the Molineux Stadium.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

Wolves now have three draws in three matches, while Burnley has four points.


Three things

  1. We’re paying rent in Ashley Barnes‘ world — Known most for his combustible, some-would-say dirty nature, the Burnley striker now has four goals this early season and more than one, including Sunday’s opener, have been bangers.
  2. Nuno’s men could use a break — Wolves fought well, but you can tell the Europa League schedule has heavily taxed their spirit. How tired are they? Here are the thoughts of an exhausted Raul Jimenez, and you can read the “Thank you, God” inside them –> “I think [the penalty] is the right decision. When I get in possession he tried to kick the ball, then he kicked me. It came at a good moment for us.”
  3. Don’t ever bet against Sean Dyche — We’ve written it 100 times. The big man can get a result from anywhere, at any time.

Burnley was easily the better unit over the first 45 minutes, and was rewarded with a goal even after VAR ruled one out.

Barnes chested a neatly-headed flick into shooting position and unleashed a missile that zipped past Rui Patricio for a 1-0 lead.

Both sides began the second half brightly, with Morgan Gibbs-White lashed a shot offf the outside of the netting and Barnes unable to get purchase on a ball over the top of the Wolves back line.

But Erik Pieters cut down Jimenez in the box late to set the Mexican international up for a win.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]