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Rio police want Neymar testimony in rape case; father-agent tells son’s tale

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Rio de Janeiro’s cybercrime police division wants Neymar to testify about a video he published with messages and images allegedly exchanged with the woman who accuses him of raping her in a Paris hotel.

The police interview has yet to be scheduled.

Investigator Paulo Sartori of Rio’s cybercrime police division confirmed to The Associated Press that two of his agents on Monday visited Brazil’s training ground, where the team is preparing for the Copa America.

The rape investigation is conducted separately by the Sao Paulo state police.

After the first reports of the rape allegation on Saturday, Neymar published a seven-minute Instagram video in which he denied any wrongdoing and showed messages and images he says were exchanged with his accuser. Images of the unidentified woman, some of them blurred because of sexual content, also appeared.

The two policemen did not talk to journalists.

Vinicius Rodrigues, a spokesman for the Brazilian Football Confederation said, “the CBF suggested that it (Neymar’s testimony to Rio police) be postponed.”

Brazil plays friendlies against Qatar on Wednesday and against Honduras on Sunday. It opens the Copa America on June 14 against Bolivia in Sao Paulo.

The woman told Sao Paulo police on Friday that Neymar raped her on May 15 at 8:20 p.m. at the Sofitel Paris Arc De Triomphe hotel.

Earlier on Monday, a spokeswoman for Instagram said the social media channel removed the video posted by Neymar for violating its rules.

Neymar’s father and agent said his son should not regret posting the video, even if it means being prosecuted for revealing images of a private conversation.

“I prefer an internet crime than a rape crime,” Neymar da Silva Santos told TV Band. “He preserved his image, his name. He needed to defend himself quickly. It is best to be true and show what happened. We knew of the blackmailing, but not of the guts to go to police in a situation like this.”

Santos insisted Neymar was set up by the unidentified woman. He said the player noticed something was wrong on the second day of their meeting in Paris.

“She wanted him to go to the hotel again. He went and stayed for 10 minutes. He saw a cellphone against the wall, recharging. But then he noticed it was filming. She sent a message saying she has that video. She attacks him, he jumps to the bed and tries to calm her down. Asks her not to create a mess,” the father-agent said.

“He then calms her down, leaves the hotel and asks for her return ticket. Neymar also tried to film the conversation, but couldn’t. After that second day they didn’t speak. She sent the threatening messages later.”

Neymar’s father, and the player’s spokeswoman, Day Crespo, said they don’t know when the player will speak to police.

Davi Tangerino, the player’s attorney, said Neymar will talk to police whenever investigators see fit.

“This incident will have its page turned soon,” Tangerino said.

Yasmin Abdalla, the attorney of the accuser, did not reply to a request for comment.

The rape allegation against Neymar also dominated Brazil coach Tite’s news conference on Monday, his first since the accusation was revealed.

Eighteen of the 25 questions were about Neymar.

“I know this is a personal matter and there needs to be time for people to judge the facts. I won’t allow myself to judge the facts,” Tite said. “What I can say to you is that I’ve been with Neymar for three years and in personal matters, between me and him, he is loyal and truthful.”

National team coordinator Edu Gaspar confirmed another police investigator visited the team’s training ground on Saturday to get information on the case.

“The first thing I did was to get some legal help,” Gaspar said. “The idea is that the legal help is here to solve the case as quickly as possible so the athlete can be with a cool head for Copa America.”

Gaspar also said Neymar will be released from training and matches whenever needed. The Copa America, being played in Brazil, runs from June 14 to July 7.

“The suggestion I have is that he is available as much as possible to respond to (police) requests,” Gaspar said.

Man United release latest financial results

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Man United have released their latest financial results and revenue has fallen by 20 percent year-on-year, while net debt has also risen.

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What is clear from the results is that not being in the UEFA Champions League has hit United hard but they continue to make money with commercial revenue on the up seven percent.

Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward revealed the latest results as Man United’s financial might is clear for all to see even.

“We have continued to make progress on our squad rebuild … the foundation for delivering the long-term success that we are all working towards is in place as we implement our plan and our footballing vision with Ole,” Woodward told investors. “We are pushing for a strong finish in the Premier League, the Europa League and the FA Cup as we enter the final third of the season.”

Man United are currently in fifth place in the Premier League table ahead of a pivotal run of games which will decide if they will once again dine at Europe’s top table under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. On the pitch they’ve beaten Chelsea and Watford in the last week without conceding and things are coming together nicely with new signings Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, Daniel James and Bruno Fernandes making a big difference. 

Man United face Everton, Man City, Tottenham and Sheffield United in their next four PL games and that will be crucial in deciding if they’re going to reach the Champions League next season. Given Man City’s European ban and the potential for a UCL spot to move down to fifth-place, Man United are exactly where Solskjaer hoped they would be right now.

Below we have a look at the main takeaways form the financial results, which are always a huge talking point among United fans all over the world.

Main talking points from Man United’s Q2 results:

  • Revenues of $218.3 million, down 20 percent year-on-year
  • Operating profit of $47.3 million
  • Commercial revenue up 7 percent
  • Broadcast revenue down 37 percent due to no UEFA Champions League qualification
  • Matchday revenue down 15 percent due to fewer home games
  • Player wages down 9 percent
  • Net debt is $506.9 million, up $94.6 million, 23 percent

USMNT’s Arriola likely will miss MLS season, six World Cup qualifiers

Paul Arriola
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WASHINGTON (AP) D.C. United midfielder Paul Arriola had major knee surgery Monday and likely will miss the entire Major League Soccer season and the United States’ first six qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup

The operation was to reconstruct his right anterior cruciate ligament. The team said there was no additional cartilage damage.

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The 25-year-old midfielder injured his knee Feb. 15 during D.C. United’s preseason match against Orlando in Tampa, Florida.

Arriola has been a regular starter for the U.S. national team under coach Gregg Berhalter. Arriola has five goals in 33 international appearances.

After failing to reach the 2018 World Cup, the U.S. starts qualifying for the 2022 tournament this year. The Americans have two matches each in September, October and November, then complete qualifying with two games apiece in March and September 2021.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

State of play in CONCACAF Champions League

CONCACAF Champions League
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Four of five Major League Soccer clubs alive in the CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16 are in fine shape to reach the quarterfinals after one leg.

The fifth has a tall hill to climb.

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LAFC trails Club Leon by two and did not collect an away goal in Mexico during first leg play last week.

“It’s 2-0, but we’re going to work hard,” said LAFC attacker Latif Blessing. “We’re going to prepare ourselves to win the next game. … We did good, but we want to win. It couldn’t happen that way but we’re going to prepare next game to win this game. We need to win.”

The second leg in L.A. is one of the last two matches of the round, kicking off at 10 p.m. ET Thursday just as Seattle Sounders square off with Olimpia.

The Honduran side managed a controversial comeback in the 2-2 draw with Jordan Morris-fueled Seattle last week, but the Sounders will be happy to have those two away goals and home field.

Montreal Impact has the same situation for Deportivo Saprissa’s visit at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday, while Atlanta United scored an away goal in a draw with Motagua and hosts the visitors from Honduras’ capital at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday.

That leaves us with NYCFC, who got a Heber hat trick amongst five away goals at Costa Rican side San Carlos in a 5-3 win. The second leg begins at 6 p.m. ET Wednesday at Red Bull Arena (yes, you read that correctly).

Elsewhere, Liga MX sides don’t have it much better. Cruz Azul leads Portmore 2-1 heading back to Mexico, while Club America scored an away goal in a draw with Comunicaciones.

Finally, Tigres UANL trails 2-1 after one leg with Alianza in El Salvador.

CCL second leg schedule
all times ET

Atlanta United v. Motagua (1-1) — 8 p.m. Tuesday
Cruz Azul v. Portmore United (2-1) — 10 p.m. Tuesday
NYCFC v. San Carlos (5-3) — 6 p.m. Wednesday
Montreal Impact v. Deportivo Saprissa (2-2) — 8 p.m. Wednesday
Tigres UANL v. Alianza (1-2) — 8 p.m. Wednesday
Club America v. Comunicaciones (1-1) — 10 p.m. Wednesday
Seattle Sounders v. Olimpia (2-2) — 10 p.m. Thursday
LAFC v Leon (0-2) — 10 p.m. Thursday

Eleven to go: Ranking obstacles on Liverpool’s unbeaten path

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Liverpool has won all five of its matches since the last time we evaluated its path to an unbeaten Premier League season.

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Those matches were ranked 14th, 12th, 11th, 10th, and 4th on our first rankings of obstacles to immortality, so very little of the heavy lifting has been conducted.

Let’s get something out of the way: If Liverpool is unable to overturn their first leg deficit against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League, you can probably etch that zero in the league loss column into stone.

That said, many expect the Reds to overcome that 1-0 disadvantage from Madrid, so here’s where we slot the difficulties moving forward.

Unranked — Crystal Palace at home (March 21) and Brighton away (April 18) — Both of these dates are very easy on the eyes, but will be moved if Liverpool is alive in the FA Cup.

9. Newcastle away, time TBD May 17 — We’re now calling this the easiest date left. Klopp’s men aren’t going to lose an unbeaten season at the altar just because Steve Bruce bunkers down. St. James’ Park is a hassle, but

8. Watford away, 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday Klopp probably feels like he’s already playing with house money in the FA Cup, so there’s no reason to think he’ll hand any priority at all to the following FA Cup meeting with Chelsea.

7. Bournemouth home, 7:30 a.m. ET March 7 Situated between Chelsea in the FA Cup and the home UCL second leg versus Atleti, it’s not easy…  but the Cherries have given us less reason to believe they’ll threaten the Reds than any other team besides Newcastle.

6. Aston Villa home, 11:30 a.m. ET April 12Dean Smith‘s desperate Villans will have Villa Park rocking before Liverpool’s possible UCL quarterfinals 2nd leg days later.

5. Burnley home, 7:30 a.m. ET April 25 — Taking place just before a possible UCL quarterfinal first leg, Burnley will try to trouble the Reds in a similar manner to West Ham.

4. Chelsea home, time TBD May 9 — Both the Blues and Reds could be coming off UCL semifinal second legs. Don’t forget that Chelsea took the Reds to the wire in the UEFA Super Cup despite it being very early in Frank Lampard‘s tenure.

3. Arsenal away, time TBD May 2 — Both sides may be days away from needing a result to qualify for the UCL or UEL final.

2. Everton away, 4 p.m. ET March 16 — This may as well be the only match left on the Toffees’ docket that matters more than another, as Carlo Ancelotti and his men know the message they could send regarding the building up of Everton.

Not only that, but Everton has nothing else left to circle, no other competitions, nothing.

1. Man City away, 11:30 a.m. ET April 5 — Taking place 3-4 days before the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals and on the heels of an international break, it’s the lone date on the calendar that Liverpool won’t be heavy favorites to win.