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Arsenal confirm Torreira potentially done for season after ankle fracture

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The Gunners suffered a blow on Monday as Arsenal confirmed that midfielder Lucas Torreira would miss eight to 10 weeks with a fractured ankle, a timeline that could potentially leave him sidelined for the remainder of the season.

The 24-year-old Uruguayan was injured in the FA Cup match against Portsmouth a week ago in a 14th minute challenge with James Bolton, and was reportedly still on crutches over the weekend for Arsenal’s Premier League game against West Ham.

[ MORE: Manchester derby player ratings | 3 things ]

Torreira has been a mainstay in the Arsenal lineup since forcing his way in around early November. He had recently dropped out of a starting job the last few games, with a substitute role in the previous three league matches, but is still a valuable member of the Arsenal squad. With a game upcoming against Manchester City, Arsenal can ill-afford to lose a player with Torreira’s shielding abilities.

The rest of the Arsenal injury report was positive for the club, with Sead Kolasinac on his way back, targeting the end of the month, while January loan signing Cedric is scheduled to return to full training this week.

Torreira will also be sweating his availability for Uruguay this summer in the 2020 Copa America. He will likely be healed by that point, but match fitness will be in question as he could potentially come into June having not played a competitive match in three months. Uruguay has been drawn into Group A alongside the likes of Argentina, Chile, and guests Australia. Torreira is certainly in the plans for head coach Oscar Tabarez having been in the squad consistently since his debut in 2018, earning 23 caps since then, but in a crowded midfield that includes Rodrigo Betancur, Federico Valverde, Matias Vecino, Nahitan Nandez, they have replacements.

La Liga: Fati sets new scoring record for Barcelona

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Barcelona teenage sensation Ansu Fati set a new record on Sunday as Barcelona returned to winning ways in La Liga.

The 17-year-old winger scored two goals in two minutes as Barcelona defeated Levante, 2-1, at the Camp Nou stadium. With his brace, Fati became the youngest player to score two goals in a league match in the last two decades.

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Fati’s first goal came off a quick build-up by Barcelona, where it broke the Levante defensive lines with ease. Lionel Messi, attracting all the attention of the defense, then played Fati into space with a cross-field through ball that put Fati in on goal. Fati scored with a powerful finish past Levante goalkeeper Aitor Fernandez.

One minute later, it was Messi again playing creator. After running at the Levante defense, he picked out Fati on the left, who finished through Fernandez’s legs.

[ MORE: La Liga scores, schedule ]

Levante finally got on the board late through Rochina, but it wasn’t enough for the visitors to secure a crucial point in the relegation battle.

With the win, Barcelona moves three-points behind Real Madrid into second place in La Liga.

Elsewhere in La Liga on Sunday, Getafe moved into third place in the league with a 2-0 win on the road. Damian Suarez scored the opener before Jaime Mata scored five minutes into the second half. In addition, Leganes stunned Real Sociedad, one of the bright lights of the first half of the season, with a 2-1 win at home. Oscar Rodriguez curled home a beautiful free kick into the top corner in the fourth minute of second half stoppage time to earn his side a famous victory.

Here’s a look at how the rest of Sunday’s La Liga action played out:

Eibar 1-1 Real Betis

Sevilla 1-1 Deportivo Alaves

Villarreal 3-1 Osasuna

Xavi: ‘I can’t deny that my dream is to coach Barcelona’

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Barcelona legend and current Al-Sadd coach Xavi Hernandez confessed that his dream is to coach his former club, amid reports of current talks between the 39-year-old and the La Liga champions.

“I can’t deny that my dream is to coach Barcelona,” Xavi said on Saturday after leading his side to the Qatari cup final. “I’ve said it so many times, in a lot of interviews. Everyone knows that I’m a Barcelona fan, the club are in my heart and my dreams. But for now I’m focused on Al-Sadd.”

Current manager Ernesto Valverde is facing pressure at the Blaugrana after a late collapse against Atletico Madrid in the semifinals of the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia on Thursday. It’s the 55-year-old’s second consecutive poor result, with Barcelona dropping points against rivals and league-worst Espanyol in their last La Liga bout.

Barcelona’s Director of Football – and former teammate of Xavi – Eric Abidal and CEO Oscar Grau traveled to Doha, Qatar to meet with Xavi on Friday and watched Al-Sadd’s semi-final win on Saturday, which booked the club a spot in the final. Xavi, however, was tight-lipped about discussing what was said during their meeting.

“Abidal is my friend,” Xavi added, “I’ve met with him a lot of times. I respect Barcelona, I respect Valverde and I respect my contract. I’m doing my job here. I’ve been focussing on the semi-final and now I’m thinking about the final. I’m very happy to be coaching Al-Sadd and I respect this club a lot. I can’t say anything else.”

On Saturday, Al-Sadd confirmed that negotiations between Xavi and Barcelona for the former midfielder to return to Spain are ongoing. The Qatari club has dismissed the reports in the past, but Al-Sadd sporting director, Ghulam Al Balushi, confirmed otherwise following the game.

“There are negotiations between Xavi and Barcelona now and we wish him the best of luck wherever he goes,” Al Balushi expressed to Alkass.

A graduate from La Masia, Xavi spent 24 years at Barcelona, accumulating over 700 appearances and lifting eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues.

Orlando City hoping to secure prolific scorer from Pareja’s old club

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Orlando City is getting close to signing a veteran striker in the form of Argentine scorer German Cano, according to manager Oscar Pareja.

Cano has spent the last two seasons lighting up the scoreboard for longtime club Independiente Medellin, where he’s scored 94 times in 134 games in two stints (2012-14 and 2018-19).

[ MORE: MLS announces 2020 schedule ]

Cano will be 32 at the start of the season, and recorded 19 goals and six assists in parts of four seasons in Liga MX.

So there’s no guarantee he’ll walk into MLS and be Orlando’s missing striker, but Pareja will have a keen understanding of Cano due to their shared lineage at Independiente. Pareja was also born in Medellin.

Can he combine with Nani and Dom Dwyer to light up the scoreboard? Pareja has organized the right pieces at two different MLS clubs, but doing it in Orlando would be his biggest achievement.

Oscar Pareja back in MLS as Orlando City SC head coach

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Oscar Pareja has been named the fourth head coach of Orlando City SC, MLS’s proverbial revolving-door job, since the franchise joined the league five years ago.

[ MORE: Spurs’ Mourinho quotes Mandela in discussing Man United return ]

After spending 18 seasons with FC Dallas as a player, academy coach and head coach, Pareja left Dallas and MLS in November of 2018 to take over at Club Tijuana in Liga MX. The 51-year-old Colombian was relieved of his duties as Tijuana boss last week.

Pareja was highly regarded for his preference to play young, academy-developed players during his time in Dallas, something the hierarchy in Orlando will be hoping he can replicate while also guiding the Lions to their first-ever MLS Cup Playoffs appearance.

[ MORE: Agents made $650 million from player transfers in 2019 ]

“Oscar is the perfect fit for the Orlando City organization, something I can say with confidence from our history of working together,” Orlando City SC EVP of soccer operations Luiz Muzzi said in a team release. “He possesses the talent and passion to help our Club reach both its short term goals on the field and long-term plans for the organization. Oscar checked all the boxes we were looking to fill and his vision is aligned with the plans that we have as a Club – to invest in and develop players at all levels of our pyramid to be both proud and successful when wearing the Orlando City crest.”