Soccerex Finance Report
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PSG No. 1, as Premier League and MLS all over Top 100 finance rankings

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If you’re wondering why businessmen are flocking to Major League Soccer in the hopes of landing one of the league’s select franchises, the latest Soccerex rankings help ease that concern.

The 2020 edition of Soccerex’s Football Finance Report, intended to show financial power in the soccer world, is very good to the Premier League (no surprise) and MLS (probably surprising to many).

Only the Premier League has more teams in the Top 100 than MLS, with LAFC in 18th place and ahead of names like Leicester City, Inter Milan, and Ajax.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

The rankings are constructed by a combination of factors including value of players, available finances, potential owner investment, tangible assets, and net debt.

Of the five categories measured, Man City is top in player value, Spurs the runaway leaders in tangible assets, Manchester United the leaders in cash in the bank, and PSG the top in potential owner investment.

Paris Saint-Germain has taken to the throne at No. 1, rising above Manchester City and Bayern Munich. Player value certainly matters big here, with Kylian Mbappe and Neymar amongst the most valuable assets in world football.

The Premier League has five of the top ten teams, with Spurs (4), Arsenal (6), Chelsea (7), and Liverpool (8), joining No. 2 Man City.

All 20 Premier League clubs are higher than 96th, with Norwich City bringing up the rear, while Championship sides Fulham (38), Stoke City (63), Barnsley (65), West Bromwich Albion (86), and Derby County (100) make the list.

Germany’s Bundesliga is the only league with two top ten teams: Bayern Munich (3) and Borussia Dortmund (10).

Some surprises included Barcelona in 12th, Manchester United in 16th, and Guanzhou Evergrande of China in 15th.

Back to MLS, the LA Galaxy are 22nd, Seattle Sounders 27th, and Colorado Rapids 36th.

Less than a handful of Liga MX teams make the list: Monterrey, Chivas Guadalajara, and Club America.

The report, however, concludes with a warning:

“At the moment, a battle is raging between clubs with huge state-oriented backing (Qatar and Abu Dhabi) and as these clubs get more powerful, it seems inevitable the gap will widen.”

You can download the full report in exchange for some personal information here.

Fernandes scores first goal, says Ronaldo backed Manchester United move

Bruno Fernandes Ronaldo
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It’s probably not a surprise that a young Portuguese player would fancy Manchester United given the heroics of Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford early his career.

Bruno Fernandes admits that those images danced through his head well before he signed with the Red Devils in January.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

It’s also not a shock that United would turn to their former player for a take on the playmaker before buying him from Sporting Lisbon.

Fernandes says he’s grateful that CR7 endorsed BF18. From Sky Sports:

“I know some people asked Cristiano what he thought of me and what I was like as a player and a person,” Fernandes said. “I know he spoke highly of me and gave me a good reference, so I sent him a message after to thank him for his kind words.”

Fernandes has 19 caps and two goals for Portugal, while Ronaldo has a few more with 164 and 99.

He now has a goal and an assist in four appearances for United. Ronaldo finished with 118 goals and 69 assists in 292 appearances for the Red Devils.

Here’s the finish:

Eden Hazard suffers fracture ahead of Man City in UCL, El Clasico

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Eden Hazard is set to miss the Real Madrid’s UEFA Champions League first leg against Man City with a broken fibula.

Hazard had only returned to the lineup for two matches following a three-month absence with an ankle injury.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

The 29-year-old has made just 15 appearances for Real since arriving in a big-money move from Chelsea, scoring once with five assists.

He has never appeared in less than 30 league matches over the course of his career, five times missing one or zero matches.

Of course, all of his absences show that Real is very comfortable playing and winning without Hazard. Zinedine Zidane’s men lost Sunday to drop behind Barcelona in La Liga, but that was just its second loss of the league season.

Real will be taxed in depth like its rivals, with Wednesday’s visit from Man City followed by an El Clasico at the Bernabeu on March 1. Barcelona hosts Napoli on Tuesday.

Whether you like the playmaker or despise him, there must be some sense of sympathy for his latest ailments (even if Man City and Barca fans will likely offer a Jerry Seinfeld-esque, “That’s a shame”).

Watch Live: Manchester United, Wolves host bottom three battlers

Manchester United Watford live stream link
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A pair of Premier League basement dwellers face stiff tests in their bids to win another season in the top flight.

Manchester United hosts Watford on NBCSN while Wolves welcome Norwich City on CNBC as both home sides aim to improve the health of their top four hopes in 9 a.m. ET kickoffs.

[ WATCH: Man Utd-Watford | Wolves-Norwich ]

Lineups notes from both matches:

LINEUPS

Manchester United

Watford


Wolves

Norwich City

Three Serie A matches suspended due to virus deaths in Italy

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ROME (AP) Three Serie A soccer matches scheduled for Sunday in the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto were suspended late Saturday after the deaths of two people infected with the virus from China.

On orders from the Italian government, the games called off were: Inter Milan vs. Sampdoria, Atalanta vs. Sassuolo and Hellas Verona vs. Cagliari.

Three other matches in Genoa, Turin and Rome on Sunday are going ahead as scheduled.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

A dozen towns in northern Italy effectively went into lockdown on Saturday after the deaths of two people infected with the coronavirus from China, and a growing cluster of cases with no direct links to the origin of the outbreak abroad.

“The government is working on urgent measures to decisively confront and contain the cases of coronavirus contagion,” read a letter from Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora to Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago shortly before midnight local time on Saturday. “Those measures also include the sports world in order to prevent risks and to better take care of the health of those involved in the events and competition.

“Following measures taken by the cabinet for protective reasons and maximum precaution, on orders of the government I’m asking you to suspend all sports events of every level and discipline planned for the Lombardy and Veneto regions on Sunday.”

The secondary contagions prompted local authorities in the Lombardy and Veneto regions to close schools, businesses and restaurants and to cancel sporting events and Masses.

The mayor of Milan, Italy’s business capital and the regional capital of Lombardy, shuttered public offices.

A 78-year-old man infected with the virus died in Veneto. A postmortem on a 77-year-old woman in Lombardy came back positive, though it wasn’t clear if illness from the virus caused her death.

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

Andrew Dampf on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndrewDampf