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Report: Barcelona in negotiations with PSG to sign Neymar

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In a stunning development, Neymar could be returning to the Camp Nou as early as this summer.

Brazilian media giant Globo Esporte reported Monday afternoon that Barcelona is currently negotiating with Paris Saint-Germain over the signing of Neymar. According to the report, the deal could include a payment of around $112 million along with one or more players moving to Paris, including Ivan Rakitic, Ousmane Dembele and Samuel Umtiti.

[READ: USWNT: We have the best, and second best team]

There’s so many layers to this deal, so let’s break it down.

The news that Neymar could return to Barcelona comes on the heels of an interview by PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and France Football, in which he called out Neymar, stating “nobody forced him to sign here,” and that Al-Khelaifi said earlier in the interview he didn’t want “to see stars anymore.”

“I want players willing to give everything to defend the honor of the jersey and to join the club project,” Al-Khelaifi told France Football. “Those who do not want, or do not understand, we see each other and we talk to each other. There are of course contracts to be respected, but the priority now is total membership of our project…nobody forced him to sign here. Nobody pushed him. He came knowingly to join a project.”

Meanwhile, Neymar has plenty of time now to think of his future. Ever since moving to PSG, it feels like he’s been stricken by the injury bug. While he’ll probably go down as a Brazil legend when he retires, he’s on the precipice of being a what if player, as in, what if he wasn’t injured for parts of the last two World Cups, and for picking up an ankle injury that’s kept him out of the 2019 Copa America.

It’s been ankle injuries as well in February of each of the last two seasons at PSG that has effectively ended his season just as it was reaching the important stages, the start of the UEFA Champions League knockout stage.

Remember, Neymar decided to force his way out of Barcelona and move to PSG in an effort to break the hegemony of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to win the Ballon d’Or and truly write his name in the history books. Instead, his time in Paris will be remembered abroad more for his antics, injuries, and of course, the incident with the fan at the Coupe de la Ligue final.

Of course, that’s not to say Neymar didn’t have success in France. He’s scored an incredible 49 goals in 55 games in all competitions, including in both Ligue 1 and the UEFA Champions League. But ultimately, Neymar wasn’t able to score goals when it mattered, like in the Champions League knockout stages or in high-pressure games.

At Barcelona, Neymar achieved some of his biggest club success and took his game to new heights after being a raw diamond needing polishing at Santos in Brazil. Perhaps Neymar has realized that it’s better to play in Messi’s shadow, and potentially win the UEFA Champions League again, than try and stake it out on his own. Neymar has a good relationship with Messi and Luis Suarez, among other South Americans on the team, and on paper he’d clearly be a big upgrade at left wing over the duo of Ousmane Dembele and Neymar’s Brazil teammate, Philippe Coutinho.

The deal makes sense for both sides, but will it get done? That’s the big question this summer, and it will remain unanswered until the second of September, the close of the Spanish transfer window.

Madrid signs Japanese teen Takefusa Kubo for reserve team

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MADRID (AP) Real Madrid has signed promising Japanese teenager Takefusa Kubo, who will join its reserve team.

Madrid described the 18-year-old attacking midfielder “one of the most promising youngsters in world football,” adding that “he possess wonderful vision, quick feet and has an eye for goal.”

Kubo joins the from FC Tokyo, with Spanish media saying he has agreed to a six-year contract.

Madrid says Kubo will initially play for its reserve team, which will be coached by former great Raul Gonzalez next season in Spain’s third division.

Kubo is playing for Japan at the Copa America, having made his international debut on Sunday in a match against El Salvador.

Kubo spent time at Barcelona’s youth training academy but was forced to leave at the age of 13 when the Catalan club was found guilty of violating youth transfer rules. Barcelona was reportedly interested in bringing him back as well.

He is the latest acquisition in a busy summer for Madrid, following the signings of Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic and Ferland Mendy for its first team.

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

Messi highest-paid athlete in the world

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Lionel Messi has been listed as the highest-earning athlete on the planet.

The Barcelona and Argentina star earned over $127 million in 2019, as the top three sportsmen in terms of earning were Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar.

It is the first time in the history of this list that three soccer stars have held the top three spots.

Forbes’ annual list of the top 100 highest-paid athletes in sport show that soccer stars feature heavily in the upper echelons, but plenty of superstars from the U.S. sporting realm make up the rest of the list. Serena Williams is the only women to feature in the top 100 with her earnings of $29.2 million, while Paul Pogba is the highest-ranked Premier League player as he ranks 44th with earnings of $33 million.

The American magazine calculated the earnings of athletes by adding their salary, endorsements and prize money from June 2018 to June 2019. Boxer Floyd Mayweather was top of the list last year, but has dropped out of it altogether.

Below is a look at the top 10 highest-paid athletes in sports over the past 12 months.


1. Lionel Messi $127 million
2. Cristiano Ronaldo $109 million
3. Neymar $105 million
4. Canelo Alvarez $94 million
5. Roger Federer $93.4 million
6. Russell Wilson $89.5 million
7. Aaron Rodgers $89.3 million
8. LeBron James $89 million
9. Stephen Curry $79.8 million
10. Kevin Durant $65.4 million

Report: Inter Miami makes huge offer to Luis Suarez

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A Catalan radio station has David Beckham swinging for the fences with one of his first Designated Player signings at Inter Miami.

Barcelona striker Luis Suarez has been offered a rich 4-year deal by the former Real Madrid and Manchester United playmaker, whose club is set to debut in 2020.

[ RECAP: France 2-3 U.S. U-20s ]

Suarez will turn 33 during next season, prior to the start of Major League Soccer’s campaign. He has scored 25 or more goals in each of his last seven seasons, the last five spent with Barcelona after a 30- and 31-goal campaigns with Liverpool.

Seeing what Zlatan Ibrahimovic is doing with the LA Galaxy shows that aging elite strikers can still terrorize MLS (and many other leagues). The Uruguayan has been durable, too, making 40-plus appearances in each of his seasons with Barca.

Barcelona shirt replaces stripes with checkerboard pattern

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says its new shirt for next season will be missing its stripe design for the first time in club history.

Instead, the club’s famous blue-and-burgundy colors will be distributed in a checkerboard pattern.

[ MORE: Liverpool looks to lock up Klopp ]

The club says that its first-choice uniform used for home matches has always used some form of stripes until now.

The shirt will be accompanied with blue shorts.

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