Argentina

Must-See: River Plate fan gets tattoo of Copa Libertadores triumph over rivals Boca Juniors

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Fans have been known to get their favorite team’s logo, or a legendary player tattooed on their body. One fan in Brazil, of the club Flamengo, even got his entire torso tattooed to make it look like he was always wearing the club’s kit.

Now, one River Plate fan took the art of the tattoo and combined it with modern technology to take trolling your rivals to the next level.

Argentine journalist Ariel Cristofalo posted a video on Thursday on Twitter of a River Plate fan who got a new tattoo. But it’s not just any tattoo. It’s a QR code that when scanned, takes users to the Youtube video featuring highlights of the fan’s beloved River Plate beating rivals Boca Juniors in last fall’s Copa Libertadores finals. River beat Boca, 5-3, on aggregate with the second leg of the final played in Madrid after the shocking displays of fan violence on the streets in Buenos Aires suspending play and forcing the match to be postponed.

Getting a tattoo of a QR code that seems innocent, only to taunt your rivals is a pretty cool troll these days. The kicker? Since the person got that tattoo, that video has been pulled from YouTube for copyright infringement, making the tattoo completely worthless.

At least it was worth something at the time. That’s all that counts.

Argentina, Colombia to co-host 12-team Copa America in 2020

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Argentina and Colombia will share hosting duties for the 2020 Copa America, which will be played with a new format.

South America’s soccer body CONMEBOL confirmed the dual hosts on Tuesday during a meeting in Rio de Janeiro, where the final of this year’s tournament will take place on July 7.

CONMEBOL said 10 South American teams plus two guests will play in the competition in 2020, the same number as this year’s edition. However, they will be divided into two groups of six based on geography with a north and south region.

Colombia will be paired with Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru and one of the guests.

Argentina will welcome Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay and the other guest.

The top four teams from each group advance to the quarterfinals.

Racing Club wins Argentinian national championship

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) Racing Club, one of the five giants of Argentinian soccer, won its ninth national league trophy Sunday after a 1-1 draw against Tigre. It was the team’s second title in the tournament in five years.

The traditional blue and white team from Avellaneda, in the outskirts of Buenos Aires, lifted the league title with one game in hand after second place Defensa y Justicia also drew 1-1 with Union de Santa Fe.

Sunday’s results kept the distance between the two leaders in four points, with Racing at 56 and Defensa y Justicia at 52.

Racing opened the score at the Jose Dellagiovana stadium with midfielder Augusto Solari at 57 minutes. Tigre levelled in the dying seconds of the match with a free kick by defender Lucas Rodriguez.

Racing’s campaign added 17 wins, five draws and only two defeats in 24 matches. The champions will face second place Defensa y Justicia in the last round of the tournament.

Coach Eduardo Coudet won his first title in his short career, after losing two finals of the Copa Argentina with Rosario Central.

“We deserved to be champions because we held the first place since the fourth round,” Racing’s coach said.

Racing’s main player in the tournament was striker “Licha” Lopez, Argentina’s league top goal scorer with 17 goals.

Fans have taken the streets of Avellaneda and Buenos Aires to celebrate.

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

Spalletti calls Icardi’s feud with Inter ‘humiliating’

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ROME (AP) Nearly two months after it started, the ongoing feud between Mauro Icardi and Inter Milan is making more noise than ever.

Inter coach Luciano Spalletti let his fury run loose following a 1-0 loss at home to Lazio on Sunday that could be costly for the Nerazzurri’s chances of qualifying for the Champions League.

[ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule

Spalletti explained why he kept Icardi off Inter’s squad for the match, even though the striker had resumed training with the club over the international break – which followed a six-week exile after being stripped of the captaincy amid protracted contract negotiations.

“He could have played 20-30 minutes, even half a game, but that’s not the point,” Spalletti said. “Those who are in the locker room need to play. You need to have credibility in a group. … I’ve left players out for far less in my time. You must have respect and behave in the locker room.”

Spalletti added that it was “humiliating” for Inter’s fans that it required negotiations with Icardi’s lawyer “just to get him to pull on the shirt that they love.”

“Do I need to email 20 lawyers and ask them if I can call someone up?” Spalletti said.

Icardi last played for Inter on Feb. 9 in a 1-0 win at Parma. After he was stripped of the captaincy four days later, the 26-year-old Icardi had said he had a knee injury, although the club has said tests did not reveal any problem.

“It’s obvious for everyone to see what happened,” Spalletti said.

Inter remained third but is only two points ahead of city rival AC Milan, and five points ahead of rising Lazio (which has a game in hand) and Atalanta.

It remains to be seen if Icardi will return for Wednesday’s match at Genoa.

“If he continues to behave the way he has done recently, then he can start to come back in,” Spalletti said.

Wanda Nara, Icardi’s wife and manager, said her husband “is ready and it’s all down to the decision of the coach.”

TOTTI’S POSITION

Retired Roma captain Francesco Totti could be about to take on a greater role within the club’s management.

Totti has been a special ambassador for Roma since he stopped playing in 2017 following a 25-season career with his hometown club.

But with the recent departure of sporting director Ramon “Monchi” Rodriguez, Totti has been mentioned as a possible replacement.

“Everyone is talking about the possibility of a different role. We’ll see what happens in the future,” Totti said. “I can tell you that if I were to take on a new position, I would change some things. I’ve already spoken to the club about it, but this isn’t the right time to discuss it.”

Totti spoke before a 4-1 loss at home against Napoli on Sunday added another chapter to Roma’s season of discontent.

Roma was also recently eliminated from this season’s Champions League by Porto, which resulted in the firing of coach Eusebio Di Francesco, and routed 7-1 by Fiorentina in the Italian Cup.

“Everyone knows what’s gone wrong this season and that’s why we had to make changes,” said James Pallotta, Roma’s American president. “But the time for excuses is over. … No more alibis for anyone.”

JUVENTUS’ MAGIC NUMBER

Juventus needs to win only four more matches to clinch a record-extending eighth straight Serie A title.

If the Bianconeri compile the victories in succession they could celebrate another championship as soon as April 20 against Fiorentina.

That would give Juventus 90 points, which is the most that second-place Napoli could achieve – since Juventus holds the tiebreaker over Napoli.

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

Andrew Dampf on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AndrewDampf

Lionel Messi hits out at the media

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Lionel Messi rarely speaks publicly and when he does, let’s be honest, it is hardly groundbreaking stuff.

But this is very intriguing, and uncharacteristically animated from the Barcelona and Argentina superstar.

Speaking to Radio 94.7 Club Octubre in Argentina after the international break which saw Argentina lose 3-1 in Madrid to South American minnows Venezuela and then edge by Morocco 1-0, Messi didn’t hold back regarding the criticism he gets in his homeland.

“It makes me really mad, the stupid things they say. They say my father manages the national team… my friends and family suffer from the lies… the people buy it. Then I’m the son of a b****.”

Messi, 31, has already come back to play for Argentina after announcing his retirement in 2016 and has taken breaks from playing for La Albiceletse during his international career.

After moving to Barcelona as a teenager, Messi has been criticized by many back in Argentina for not replicating the form he shows for Barca when captaining the national team.

Messi revealed that despite being told not to return, he wants to achieve the one thing he hasn’t done in his career: led Argentina to a trophy.

“I want to win something with the national team, I’m going to play all the important things,” Messi said. “Many people told me not to return, family, friends … my son asked me why do they kill you in Argentina?”

Messi has scored 65 goals in 129 games for Argentina, but his situation regarding the national team has been complex throughout his career. The near miss at the 2014 World Cup was followed by heartache in back-to-back Copa Americas, and after crashing out in the last 16 of the 2018 World Cup to eventual winners France, many believed Messi would call it a day.

He returned to play for Argentina for the first time since the World Cup over the past week, but the same issues have cropped up for Messi. He says he will keep playing for Argentina, but with criticism in his homeland, should he bother?