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Mandzukic could leave Juventus. Next stop, Man United?

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Does this pave the way for Mario Mandzukic to move to Manchester United?

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The Croatian forward, 33, is out of favor at Juventus and was linked with a move to the Red Devils in the summer but a move didn’t materialize. He hasn’t played at all for Juve so far this season.

Speaking to our partners Sky in Italy, Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici revealed that Mandzukic could train with a potential new team before leaving the Serie A giants in January.

“We are talking to Mandzukic to find the best possible solution. We remain open to any scenario, so staying here or going elsewhere. We are discussing it to find the best solution for both parties.”

Juve head coach Maurizio Sarri has previously stated that Mandzukic is not training per an agreement with the hierarchy of the club. Mandzukic has a contract with Juve until the summer of 2021 but if he leaves in January, Juve are unlikely to ask for a substantial transfer fee, if any, for his services.

Why would United sign the veteran striker?

The former Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid forward would likely be used for the Europa League and as back-up to Marcus Rashford and be a short-term fix up top.

With injuries hitting United hard early in the season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s options have been limited with Rashford forced to play plenty of minutes as Anthony Martial was out injured.

After selling Romelu Lukaku and loaning Alexis Sanchez to Inter Milan this summer, United didn’t bring in a replacement forward and Mandzukic would be a quick fix until the end of the season when they can reassess the situation and see which strikers are available.

United’s new philosophy is to sign young, hungry players and Mandzukic doesn’t fit the bill.

But he does bring experience and as Rashford continues to develop his finishing skills, the Croatian could be handy in the second half of the season when the top four battle and Europa League knockout rounds heat up. Mandzukic scored over 20 goals in three-straight seasons for Bayern Munich and then Atletico Madrid from 2012-15 and since he joined Juve in 2015 he’s hit double figures every single season, despite playing mostly in a wide role.

As a short-term solution this move makes sense. Nothing more. Nothing less.

VIDEO: Dutch 2nd-division game stopped for racist abuse; player later scores goal

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A Dutch second-division game between Den Bosch and Excelsior was temporarily stopped on Sunday due to suspected racist chanting and Nazi salutes performed by some of Den Bosch’s fans.

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The game was halted by referee Laurens Gerrets in the 30 minute. Dutch winger Ahmad Mendes Moreira, who plays for Excelsior, was the player targeted by the racist chanting. He was at that time seen gesturing toward the crowd, indicating to Gerrets and teammates that he was hearing racist abuse from the stands.

In a mixed zone for media availability after the game, Den Bosch manager Erik van der Ven is reported to have called Mendes Moreira a “pathetic little man” for pointing out the racist abuse to Gerrets. Den Bosch released a statement claiming that no racist abuse occurred, that the fans were instead making “crow sounds” and treating Mendes Moreira to a “crow concert,” which they claim is part of customary treatment of opposing players.

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Mendes Moreira appeared emotional after scoring a goal to put Excelsior 2-1 ahead fewer than 15 minutes after the game was restarted.

Defending champs Portugal qualify for EURO 2020

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Defending European champions Portugal booked their place at the 2020 European Championship with a 2-0 victory away to Luxembourg on Sunday, the final day of qualification.

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Portugal (17 points) finishes second in Group B behind Ukraine (20), three points ahead of third-place Serbia which will now go the qualification playoffs route in March.

Bruno Fernandes scored Sunday’s winner in the 39th minute, followed by a late insurance goal from Cristiano Ronaldo in the 86th.

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As things stand, Portugal, who won the European title in 2016 and followed it up with the inaugural UEFA Nations League crown earlier this year, will be placed into Pot 3, alongside Russia, Switzerland, Turkey, Austria and Sweden. Ukraine, meanwhile, is assured of being seeded in Pot 1.

Southgate: Gomez to ‘clear his head’ following injury, Sterling incident

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Gareth Southgate believes Joe Gomez has a chance to “clear his head” in the wake of this week’s incident with England teammate Raheem Sterling, thanks to the minor knee which forced Gomez out of the England team for Sunday’s game against Kosovo.

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Gomez suffered the injury in a clash of knees during Friday’s training session, but Southgate stated emphatically that Gomez is “absolutely fine” after undergoing a scan “and I think he’ll be fine in a couple of days.”

As Southgate sees, the injury could be something of a blessing in disguise for Gomez, who earlier this week was involved in a brief physical confrontation with Sterling, to “clear his head” before beginning his regular work week back at Liverpool. Southgate believes that both players have received closure over the incident and can now move forward without issue.

“I think now is a good moment for him just to go home for a couple of days, clear his head.”

“I think the fact that Raheem put out the tweet was real closure on that whole incident. We get Raheem back on the pitch tomorrow. We won the match on Thursday and we can now just look forwards.

“You couldn’t make it up, really, if you tried, but he’s absolutely fine. He took a clash of knees yesterday. We scanned it just to be certain and I think he’ll be fine in a couple of days.”

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England secured qualification to this summer’s European Championship with a 7-0 thrashing of Montenegro, a game for which Sterling was dropped. Even before Gomez’s injury forced him out of the team, Sterling was set to return to the England team for Sunday’s qualifying finale.

Players in Spanish women’s league go on strike

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MADRID (AP) Spanish women’s league players have gone on strike this weekend demanding better wages and worker protections. Both of Saturday’s games and the six games scheduled for Sunday were postponed due to the players’ refusal to play.

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Players had announced the strike last month after failing to reach a deal with clubs over wages and working hours. More than 90 percent of the 200 players who voted favored the strike, the first in women’s soccer in Spain.

The players’ and clubs’ associations in Spain have been mired in negotiations over a first collective agreement for more than a year.

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Among other issues is the protection of benefits for players in the event of pregnancy.

Spain has 16 first-division women’s clubs, but only a few are fully professional.

The clubs claim they can’t afford the changes currently proposed by the players.