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Icardi ends six-week exile at Inter as he resumes training

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MILAN (AP) Mauro Icardi has resumed training with his Inter Milan teammates, ending a six-week exile.

Icardi has not been on the field in more than a month, since being stripped of the captaincy amid protracted contract negotiations.

The 26-year-old Icardi has said he has a knee injury, although the club has said tests did not reveal any problem.

The Argentine forward returned to team training on Thursday with others who had not been called up for international duty.

Icardi could be called up for Inter’s next match on March 31, at home to Lazio in Serie A.

With 29 goals, Icardi was the joint top scorer in Serie A last season, sharing the honor with Ciro Immobile of Lazio. He has nine goals in 20 Serie A appearances this season.

Fellow Argentine Lautaro Martinez has stepped up in his absence, weighing in with four goals in his past nine matches.

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Sampaoli gives pay back to Santos until players are paid

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SAO PAULO (AP) Santos coach Jorge Sampaoli has given his pay back to the Brazilian club until his players get paid.

The Argentine says the club should pay every worker on the same day.

Brazilian media say Santos has not paid its players since the beginning of February. Club executives pledged to solve the problem in early March, but that did not happen.

Sampaoli, a former coach of Argentina’s national team, also criticized the club’s executives.

After an impressive start to the season, Santos has failed to win its last three matches in the Sao Paulo state championship. The team lost to Botafogo 4-0 on Wednesday.

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

Report: Man United stars lined up for exit

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It appears that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer already knows the players he wants to get rid of this summer.

We know that Antonio Valencia, the club captain, will leave this summer after the club declined to offer him a one-year contract extension, but a few others may be joining the 33-year-old Ecuadorian in heading through the exit door at Old Trafford.

A report from the Daily Star claims that both Alexis Sanchez and Marcos Rojo will be sold this summer, as caretaker boss (for now) Solskjaer plans to offload the injury-prone South American duo.

Sanchez, 30, has been a big disappointment at United following his arrival from Arsenal last January, as the highest-paid player at the club has scored just once in 17 Premier League appearances this season. The Chilean star was injured in their 3-2 win against Southampton earlier this month and isn’t expect to return to fitness until mid-April at the earliest.

As for Rojo, the 29-year-old Argentine center back suffered a serious knee injury early in the season and has struggled for fitness since as he then picked up a back injury. With Chris Smalling and Phil Jones handed new contracts and United constantly linked with moves for new center backs in Toby Alderweireld and Kostas Manolas, it seems like Rojo’s five-year stay at United is almost up.

Would these exits make sense? For both the club and the player, 100 percent.

Sanchez just hasn’t looked happy at United since he arrived, as Solskjaer clearly has other players ahead of him in the pecking order. A move to PSG or maybe one of Italy’s big boys either permanently or on loan seems like the best bet for everyone, although Sanchez will be in no hurry to leave United as he still has over four years left on his huge $650,000 a week contract.

As for Rojo, the writing is on the wall for him given his poor record with injuries and United’s persistence to try and sign a new center back. He is a solid defender who can play at either center back or full back, and he did rebound well in Jose Mourinho’s first season after struggling under Louis Van Gaal. Rojo’s current contract runs until the summer of 2021 with an option to extend by a further year so, like Sanchez, he probably won’t be in a hurry to go anywhere and a loan move is probably more likely.

It remains to be seen how ruthless Solskjaer will be if and when he does take charge of United on permanent basis, but it is likely Sanchez and Rojo will not be alone in being available.

Declan Rice apologizes for pro-IRA comments on social media

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Ahead of his potential debut for the England national team on Friday, Declan Rice has had to apologize for his past comments on social media. 

Rice, 20, switched his allegiance from the Republic of Ireland to England last month after his rise to stardom in the Premier League over the past 12 months.

The West Ham academy produce made three friendly appearances for the Ireland senior team, as well as playing for their U17 side, but was born in England and FIFA approved his switch to represent the Three Lions.

Rice has apologized for the comments he made on social media in 2015 in response to his Irish teammates as he responded “up the RA” which is short for the IRA and “Wait until we get England” on Instagram.

“I am aware that a poorly-expressed comment I made when I was a junior player has been circulated on social media,” Rice said. “I recognise now that my attempt to show support for my team-mates at the time could be negatively interpreted. While my naive words were not meant to be a political opinion and do not represent who I am, I sincerely apologize for any offence caused.”

Rice was called up to the England national team for the first time on Mar. 13 and is in line to play against the Czech Republic on Friday and against Montenegro next Monday in the Three Lions’ EURO 2020 qualifiers.

USWNT name final roster before World Cup squad announcement

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The USWNT are getting ready for the big dance. The 2019 Women’s World Cup, of course.

Jill Ellis named her 24-player roster for the April friendlies against Australia and Belgium, as this is the final squad announcement before the World Cup roster is confirmed.

This is the last chance to impress.

The big news on this roster is that Ali Krieger returns for the first time since 2017, as she joins her fiancee Ashlyn Harris in the squad fresh from their engagement announcement last week. Midfielder Lindsey Horan returns after missing the SheBelievesCup through injury but Kelley O’Hara misses out with an ankle injury.

Before the U.S. play Australia at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Apr. 4 and Belgium at LAFC’s Banc of California Stadium on Apr. 7 they will embark on a training camp in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Ellis likely already knows the USWNT squad she would like to take the World Cup in France, but this is the final chance for players to change her mind and get on the plane to Europe as the U.S. aim to defend their title as world champs.

Below is the roster in full for the upcoming friendlies.


USWNT roster for games v. Australia, Belgium

GOALKEEPERS (3): Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC; 1/0), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 20/0), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 41/0)

DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 35/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 17/1), Crystal Dunn (NC Courage; 80/24), Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride; 98/1), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC; 153/0), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 27/0), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC; 30/0)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 77/18), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 64/7), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit; 23/6), Allie Long (Reign FC; 40/6), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 45/8), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 11/0), McCall Zerboni (NC Courage; 8/0)

FORWARDS (7): Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 146/27), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 269/105), Jessica McDonald (NC Courage; 6/1), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 158/99), Christen Press (Utah Royals FC; 111/47), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 48/13), Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC; 149/43)