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LISTEN: NBC Group Chat talks responding to difficult situations

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You can take the soccer away from the NBC Sports Soccer broadcast crew, but you can’t take the crew away from the soccer.

Rebecca Lowe, Lee Dixon, Graeme Le Saux, Robbie Earle, Robbie Mustoe and Kyle Martino all got together for the second edition of the Premier League on NBC Group Chat.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

This episode each member of the team shared a challenging moment they went through during their careers and discussed how they handled those difficult situations.

For Robbie Mustoe, there’s a tricky tale of former Italy star Fabrizio Ravanelli and some locker room drama at Middlesbrough.

“The Italians would be in one corner, the Brazilians another, and the Brits stuck together and were the majority, but it wasn’t a great scenario. The season before we did alright and finished in the top ten. The following season we had all these runs to cup finals but we were relegated.”

 

15 members of Spanish club Alaves have coronavirus

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MADRID — Spanish soccer team Alaves said Wednesday that 15 people in its club have become infected with the coronavirus: three players, seven members of the coaching staff and five other employees.

The club had already reported that two members of its staff were infected.

[ MORE: La Liga scores, schedule

Rival teams Valencia and Espanyol said earlier this week that their clubs have also been hit by the virus.

Valencia said Monday that 35% of its squad and coaching staff are infected, while Espanyol said on Tuesday that six members of its squad and staff have it.

The only player of the growing group of infected players in the league to reveal his infection is Valencia defender Ezequiel Garay.

All three clubs said their infected members are in good health.

Last week, Real Madrid ordered its players into home confinement after Madrid basketball player Trey Thompkins tested positive. Real Madrid’s soccer and basketball teams share the same training facility.

Leganes sports director Martin Ortega has also been diagnosed with the virus.

Spain has suspended all sports events for at least two weeks and is under a government-imposed lockdown to battle the pandemic.

Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez: ACL surgery went well

Josef Martinez
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Atlanta United star striker Josef Martinez says his ACL surgery was success.

Martinez posted a photo from his hospital bed following surgery to repair the ACL torn in the Five Stripes’ season opener versus Nashville SC.

He’s expected to miss six months, but the coronavirus suspension may not give him the chance to return to the club this season.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

According to the Associated Press, Martinez’s surgeon Freddie Fu is credited with saving Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s career following a 2017 ACL tear.

Martinez turns 27 in May. He’s had an explosive career in Atlanta, and had two goals and two assists in three 2020 matches spread between MLS and the CONCACAF Champions League.

He’s posted 90 goals and 12 assists in 103 matches for the Five Stripes following time with Torino, BSC Young Boys, Caracas FC, and FC Thun.

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In the midst of the humanitarian crisis we are all living through, in which more than ever we need to think about and take care of each other, just wanted to share that I'm blessed that my knee surgery today went well. I want to personally thank UPMC in Pittsburgh, doctors Freddie Fu and Volker Musahl (pictured), @atlutd , my teammates and most of all the city of Atlanta for the unconditional support. Also, everyone in Venezuela and around the world for the good wishes and support. God bless and protect us all in these challenging times 🙏❤️. En medio de todo lo que está padeciendo la humanidad, que nos tiene aferrados en cuidarnos, protegernos y orando por quienes más lo necesitan, quisiera hacer un paréntesis para anunciarles que gracias a Dios todo salió bien hoy en la operación de rodilla a la que fui sometido. Agradezco al Hospital UPMC de Pittsburgh; a los doctores Freddie Fu y Volker Musahl (foto); al @atlutd y a la ciudad por el apoyo constante; a mis seres queridos; y a todos ustedes mi gente querida de Venezuela y desde muchas partes del mundo por sus buenos deseos, muestras de cariño y darme fuerzas en la recuperación. Dios nos bendiga y proteja a todos por estos días que tanto lo necesitamos 🙏🏻❤

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Transfer rumor roundup: Man Utd chase Van de Beek, Spurs eye Kondogbia

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The transfer rumor mill is proving rather impervious to coronavirus, even as COVID-19 grinds the world close to a halt.

A report claims that Barcelona is willing to meet Lautaro Martinez’s release clause, and a pair of Premier League sides are linked with big additions.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Marca claims that Manchester United is hoping to hijack Real Madrid’s long-held plans to buy Donny van de Beek from Ajax.

Van de Beek turns 23 next month. He has 10 goals and 11 assists in 37 matches this season after registering 17 and 13 in 57 appearances in 2018/19.

The report says Van de Beek has been waiting on Madrid, who couldn’t free up the money to sign him in the summer and asked him to wait a year.

United would want Van de Beek in a deeper role behind Bruno Fernandes, and his move to Old Trafford would be yet another arrow to the exit door for Paul Pogba.


Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho is hoping that a drop in the pecking order for Geoffrey Kondogbia at Valencia will open the door to a North London move.

Marca again is the source, saying Kondogbia may be available due to the emergence of ex-Arsenal man Frances Coquelin at the Mestalla.

Kondogbia’s now been well above average at Monaco, Inter Milan, and Valencia, having been linked to a number of Premier League clubs over the years.

And Mourinho is still trying to find his Nemanja Matic or Marouane Fellaini at Spurs, though Eric Dier has clearly become a well-liked option in the midfield. Tanguy Ndombele theoretically has all the tools to do the job, but Mourinho is less-than-pleased with the Frenchman.

Kondogbia turns 27 next month and is unlikely to slip. Spurs sure could do worse if Valencia makes him available, though Ndombele remains an intriguing prospect who’s very much in-house and carries transfer record status.

Barcelona prepared to meet $124M release clause for Martinez

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Lautaro Martinez’s incredible season is paying off big time for Inter Milan.’

The Serie A side reportedly resisted big money overtures from Barcelona this summer, pointing to his approximate $124 million release clause.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Now Barca is said to be prepared to meet that clause in order to land Martinez.

Football-Espana says that a cash-plus-player deal is the other option. Barca would be willing to send Arturo Vidal or Ivan Rakitic, while Antonio Conte would prefer Nelson Semedo or Arthur.

Signing the 22-year-old Argentine could help sate the concern of countryman Lionel Messi, who’s watched Barca fail to provide him adequate reinforcements as Real Madrid stockpiled young talent. Messi was reportedly disappointed that the Blaugranas failed to pony up for Neymar this summer.

Martinez has 16 goals and four assists in 31 matches this season, including a goal against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League.

He’s Inter’s second-leading scorer behind Romelu Lukaku, and the Serie A side has nine points insulation on the UCL chasing pack with a match-in-hand.

Barca is going to have get rid of some players to pay big for Martinez, with Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele challenging the club on different levels. And who knows who else may want to leave Barcelona given its messy season (maybe really messy is a better choice)?