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Mexicans Abroad: Jimenez earns Wolves point; Lozano assists in Napoli loss

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The clock was inching closer towards the 90-minute mark at the Emirates and Wolverhampton Wanderers needed a goal.

They had tried more than a dozen times, but the ball wouldn’t cross the white line.

Then, as its happened in the past, Raul Jimenez delivered the goods. The Mexican’s header inside the box flew towards the back of the net, earning Wolves a much-deserved 1-1 draw against Arsenal.

Over in Italy, Hirving “Chucky” Lozano came close to having a hero-like moment of his own; unfortunately, Napoli were playing two goals down to hosts AS Roma by the time he took the field.

Here is a list of several other Mexico national team affiliates making a name for themselves (or not) outside of Mexico this weekend.


La Liga

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Sevilla — Chicharito came on for Luuk De Jong in Sevilla’s 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid on Saturday. He recorded four touches, two passes, but didn’t register a shot.

Hector Herrera, Atletico Madrid — Shortly after Chicharito stepped on the field, Herrera did so himself. The midfielder played 12 minutes in Los Colchoneros’ draw in Seville.

Andres Guardado, Real Betis —  Betis’ captain started and all played all 90 minutes for Betis, who held Real Madrid to a 0-0 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu. Guardado completed 85 percent of his passes, but picked up a yellow card in the 85th minute.

Diego Lainez, Real Betis — The 19-year-old didn’t dress for Saturday’s match.

Nestor Araujo, Celta Vigo — Araujo started and every minute in Celta’s 1-0 loss to Getafe. The defender recorded three clearances, two blocked shots and one interception. Celta have lost four consecutive matches and are currently in the relegation zone.

Serie A

Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, Napoli — Lozano came on in the 58th minute for Carlo Ancelotti’s side. In the 72nd minute, Arkadiusz Milk capitalized on his valiant, right-wing run and subsequent cross into the box, tapping in the ball into the back of net. Despite the goal, Napoli lost 2-1 to AS Roma.

Premier League

Raul Jimenez, Wolverhampton Wanderers — Jimenez was instrumental for Wolves yet again. The 28-year-old went all 90 minutes and scored the leveler against Arsenal on Saturday, which is his fourth goal of the Premier League campaign.

Eredivisie

Erick Gutierrez, PSV Eindhoven — Gutierrez came off at halftime due to an undisclosed injury in PSV’s 2-2 draw against Sparta Rotterdam on Saturday.

Edson Alvarez, Ajax — Alvarez, too, was the victim of an injury in the Eredivisie this weekend. The 22-year-old took the field in the 23rd minute for an injured Lisandro Martinez, only to be taken off at the 63rd minute, after taking a gruesome elbow to the face. Ajax defeated PEC Zwolle 4-2.

Primeira Liga

Jesus “Tecatito” Corona, FC Porto — After starting the season as one of the team’s starting fullbacks, it seems that Tecatito is back in a midfield role for now. The 26-year-old played all 90 minutes in Porto’s 1-0 victory over CD Aves.

Jupiler Pro League

Omar Govea, Zulte Waregem — Govea started and played 76 minutes in Zulte’s 2-0 loss to Club Brugge.

Elsewhere around the globe:

Hector Moreno, Al Gharafa   On Saturday, Moreno started and played 90 minutes in Al Gharafa’s 3-1 win over Al Khor.

Pedro Arce, Panionios – Arce’s goal in the 66th minute opened the scoring in Panionios’ 1-1 draw against Aris Thessaloniki on Saturday.

Gerardo Ramirez Alonso, Roda JC – Ramirez Alonso and Roda take on Jong PSV Eindhoven on Monday.

 

Christian Pulisic named USMNT Player of the Year

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Who else could it be? Christian Pulisic has been named the USMNT player of the year for 2019.

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The Chelsea star, 21, excelled for club and country over the past 12 months and after taking a few months to settle into life in England, he’s now taking the Premier League by storm on a weekly basis.

Pulisic has now won this award for a second time after first winning it in 2017 and he becomes the youngest player in U.S. men’s national team history to win the award twice.

His achievements over the last 12 months are numerous, as he dragged a struggling USMNT to the 2019 Gold Cup final and also became the youngest player to reach double figures in goals for the USMNT.

MLS veteran Sacha Kljestan signs with hometown LA Galaxy

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Carson, Calif. (AP) Veteran midfielder Sacha Kljestan has signed with the LA Galaxy as a free agent.

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The 34-year-old U.S. national team contributor officially returned to his native Southern California on Wednesday.

Kljestan has scored 49 goals over 10 MLS seasons in a career that began as the fifth overall pick by defunct Chivas USA, the Galaxy’s former stadium partners. After a successful five-year stint with Belgium’s Anderlecht, he spent the past five seasons with New York Red Bulls and Orlando City.

The Huntington Beach native also has made 51 appearances for the U.S. team, playing in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Kljestan will provide veteran leadership for a Galaxy roster in transition after the departures of its top two goal-scorers: Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Uriel Antuna.

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

Liverpool in talks to activate Minamino’s release clause

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On the face of it, this move makes perfect sense for everyone concerned. Especially Liverpool, who get a bargain.

Multiple reports state that the Premier League leaders are in advanced talks to sign Japanese winger Takumi Minamino from RB Salzburg.

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Minamino, 24, has a release clause of just $9.5 million and it has been reported that he will move to Liverpool in January with talks going well over a five-year contract.

RB Salzburg sporting director Christoph Freund confirmed talks are ongoing about the transfer, with Bayern Munich and Marseille also said to be interested in signing the tricky winger.

“I can confirm that there are talks with Liverpool at the moment. It is an honor [for us] to see the caliber of clubs who are interested in our players.”

Minamino’s goals, pace and trickery pushed Salzburg to within one game of reaching the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds and he impressed against Liverpool in both games in the UCL group stage as he scored at Anfield and gave their defense plenty of problems in the return game. His skillset would perfectly suit the way Liverpool play with his direct running, pace and nose for goal seemingly perfect for Jurgen Klopp‘s side.

With Klopp and his RB Salzburg counterpart Jesse Marsch hugging on the sidelines after Liverpool’s win in Austria on Tuesday, plus Klopp’s kind words on the job the American coach is doing at Salzburg, it’s safe to say there’s a strong connection between the two teams and their styles of play are very similar.

That’s an even better reason for Minamino to head to Liverpool as the Japanese star would slot in seamlessly and he would become the third former RB Salzburg player at the Reds alongside Naby Keita and Sadio Mane.

From the style of play of both player and the club, to the small transfer fee, this works out very well for everyone involved. Even Salzburg will be happy to become known as a feeder club to Liverpool and Europe’s other big boys as that will help them with their future recruitment.

Raul Jimenez’s future at Wolves uncertain

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Raul Jimenez has been talking about playing for one of Spain’s big boys.

That sound you can hear is Wolves fans everywhere sobbing.

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The Mexican striker was quoted by Spanish outlet Marca saying that he would one day like to return to Spain and play for one of the La Liga giants.

“I would never rule out returning to Spain. I have good memories, and I would like to go back at some point,” Jimenez said. “I want to try out LaLiga once more, as I didn’t get to play much the previous time. Returning is not off the agenda. I have played at the Nou Camp and the Bernabeu.”

Jimenez, 28, previously played for Atletico Madrid before moving to Benfica who loaned him to Wolves in the summer of 2018, and he has since made the switch to the West Midlands permanent for $40 million.

However, his manager Nuno Espirito Santo has moved to calm down fears the El Tri star will move at the end of this season.

“What he is doing is amazing – every day of his life is dedicated to Wolves so we are delighted with it,” Santo said. “Being ambitious and dreaming is something all of us have. But our present is very good with Raul here.”

The powerful Mexican striker has been superb over the past two seasons and has proved to be a phenomenal target man in the Premier League. He’s scored 32 goals in 71 appearances in all competitions for Wolves, leading them to an FA Cup semifinal appearance and seventh-place PL finish last season and his goals this campaign (15 in 27 appearances in total) have catapulted them into the top six and the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League. Aside from his goals Jimenez’s hold-up play has been vital to Wolves’ success.

It is worth pointing out that Jimenez revealed he is very happy at Wolves but the fact he is so ambitious and fancies moving on to either Real Madrid and Barcelona is a good thing for the club. This means Jimenez is striving to improve and do all he can to take his game to the next level.

Yes, Wolves will be desperate to keep hold of the Mexican star who is a fans favorite at Molineux. But if he continues to score goals and one of Spain’s big boys, or a title-chasing team in the PL, were to come calling, can they stand in his way?