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Lukaku misses Man United training as Inter talks continue

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Romelu Lukaku didn’t train with Manchester United in Australia on Thursday as Inter Milan continue with talks to sign the Belgian forward.

It has been reported that Piero Ausilio, Inter’s sporting director, is meeting with Man United officials in London over the next 24 hours and the fact that Lukaku didn’t train with the Red Devils squad on Thursday in Australia will certainly raise eyebrows.

The reason given for Lukaku’s absence was that he was completing a gym session while the rest of the squad trained out on the pitch in an open session in front of fans.

Lukaku, 26, has spoken about his love for Italy and Serie A in the past and it is believed that Inter’s new head coach Antonio Conte wants to make Lukaku his main man up top.

It is believed that Inter have offered an initial two-year loan of Lukaku which would then see them buy him in the summer of 2021 for $78 million. That means United will recoup the vast majority of the $90 million that paid Everton for Lukaku in the summer of 2017, but they will have to wait for the cash.

Per reports, Inter will pay $13 million this summer, then two instalments of $32.5 million over the next two summers. Transfer deals are usually structured in a way where fees are paid in instalments over a period of time, so this isn’t surprising. Inter may also have certain financial fair play requirements they have to met considering they have already spent over $69 million this summer on new players.

Lukaku was surplus to requirements for a large chunk of last season at United as Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard became mainstays under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

With Alexis Sanchez also set to be given a fresh start, now seems like a good time for Lukaku and United to part way. The Belgian forward was heckled by his own fans at times last season and despite his impressive return of 42 goals in 96 games in all competitions, his hold-up play and consistency against the top six teams continues to be questioned.

The sooner this deal gets done the better, as United will be able to use the cash to strengthen in other areas. They are well-stocked in attack and need reinforcements at center back and in central midfield. Selling Lukaku makes sense.

Anderlecht introduces new mayonnaise in team colors

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Fans support their favorite soccer teams with shirts, scarves, and more apparel and merchandise.

Now, Belgium side Anderlecht is taking fandom to a new level: Food.

In an interesting marketing move, Anderlecht announced that it’s come out with its own version of mayonnaise that’s been dyed purple, the main color of the club (The team is called “The Purple and White” in French and Dutch). One of the most popular gameday snacks in Belgium are fries and mayonaise, according to an informal UEFA poll, and now, fans of Anderlecht can dip their fries into purple mayo!

Mayo is apparently so popular in Belgium that there are literally laws on the books governing its ingredients. The move to create a purple sauce comes from a continued business partnership with Brussels Ketjup, a national Belgian ketchup that has sponsored the team.

The purple mayo will be sold in stores around Brussels (where Anderlecht is located) and Belgium, and proceeds from the sales will go towards Child Focus, a pan-European foundation that helps missing and exploited children.

Could we see this come to the Premier League and the U.S.? Imagine red pies at Arsenal, Liverpool or Manchester United, or a bright green pie in Norwich.

What about green ketchup in Seattle for the Sounders, or orange fries at Houston Dynamo games.

It’s unlikely to happen – different colored ketchup from Heinz was a marketing failure – but it could be fun if it was ever tried again on a small scale, tied to a sporting event or team.

Perhaps we’ll be seeing Vincent Kompany downing some fries and purple mayo this fall.

Lukaku urged to leave Man United

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Romelu Lukaku‘s future seems to be far away from Manchester United, and his national team boss is urging the Red Devils to let the striker move on this summer.

In a statement released to our partners Sky Sports, Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez suggested that Lukaku and United need to come to an agreement soon and that he “has to leave United” this summer.

The 26-year-old has spoken glowingly about Antonio Conte, who has just take over as boss of Inter Milan, and also about Serie A in general as he’s been linked with a $75 million move to Inter.

“Romelu Lukaku and Manchester United need to find the right solution for both parties. If United and Rom are happy with a change, it will be a matter of finding the right club and challenge for Rom,” Martinez said. “Romelu is under contract with Manchester United, and the club will make the decision on his future. If the future is for Romelu to have a big role at Manchester United, Romelu will be ready to fulfill it.”

Lukaku’s future is more than a little up in the air and his agent Federico Pastorello has previously said his future would be sorted by the end of the 2018-19 campaign.

And here we are.

Despite a poor 2018-19 campaign where he struggled with confidence and found himself out of the team under both Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Lukaku’s record since joining United from Everton in 2017 for $90 million isn’t that bad.

He’s scored 42 goals in 96 games in all competitions, which is just under the hallowed ratio all strikers aim for of a goal every other game. But Lukaku’s hold-up play and the fact he has missed big chances for United have seen fans turn on him, plus the likes of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard are better suited to the counter-attacking style Solskjaer prefers.

United will want to get a large chunk of the $90 million that paid Everton for Lukaku back if they do sell him, but that’s unlikely given his poor second half of last season. His transfer value will drop even further if, as expected, he isn’t one of the main men for Solskjaer early in the upcoming season.

Like the situation with Paul Pogba, now is the best time for everyone involved for Lukaku to move on.

USMNT drops six more spots in latest FIFA rankings

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The United States men’s national team has dropped to No. 30 in the world ahead of the 2019 Gold Cup, though we can all admit that feels a bit generous right now.

[ MORE: Gold Cup predictions ]

The Yanks fell six spots in the latest FIFA Rankings, 12 below Mexico and nine ahead of Costa Rica. It’s the biggest drop of any nation in the Top 50, though Greece dropped nine spots to sit 52nd.

The 30 marker is six spots higher than its lowest ranking since the system began in 1993. The Yanks are 39th overall in Elo Ratings.

Belgium remains world No. 1, with France, Brazil, and England next. Portugal climbs into fifth.

Austria (26th) is up 8 spots, Czech Republic (41st) goes up 7 places, and Hungary (42nd) is up 9.

Euro 2020 qualifying: Germany routs Estonia, Belgium knocks off Scotland (video)

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Euro 2020 qualifying wrapped up for the summer on Tuesday, but not before some wild scorelines and impressive results.

Here is a rundown of the top matches:

[READ: USWNT thrashes Thailand in World Cup opener]


Germany 8-0 Estonia

Like Thailand for the U.S. Women’s National Team, Germany had its way on the field against Estonia at the Opel Arena in Mainz, Germany, as Die Manschafft rolled to an 8-0 victory. Estonia’s backline was too easily broken and was too weak to stand up to Germany’s strong attack, which found a way to score from close range time and time again. The match was punctuated with Marco Reus’ terrific free kick in the 37th minute, giving Germany its first five-goal first half since the famous 7-1 over Brazil in the 2014 World Cup semifinals. Leroy Sane late put the finishing touches with a quick strike that took Estonia’s goalkeeper Sergei Lepmets by surprise. Sane’s teammate Ilkay Gundogan also scored, along with a brace from former Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry and a goal each for Timo Werner and Leon Goretzka. With the win, Germany move three points back (with a game in hand) from Northern Ireland, which has remained unbeaten and holds a perfect 4-0 record so far in qualifying.

Belgium 3-0 Scotland

Romelu Lukaku has had a rough season in the Premier League and multiple reports state he could be leaving, but on Tuesday, he showed everyone what he’s capable of. Lukaku scored a brace, the first on a header just before halftime and the second on a rebound off a save by Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall. Lukaku nearly grabbed a third a few minutes later, flashing a strike on his weaker right foot just wide of goal. An abject Scotland side were constantly under pressure on the road and after many near-misses, Kevin De Bruyne fired a low missile home from outside of the box to put the finishing touches on the game. With the win, Belgium move to the top of Group I with 12 points while Scotland, with their second loss of qualifying, sit in fourth place behind Kazakhstan and Russia.

Here are the rest of the results around Europe on Tuesday:

Belarus 0-1 Northern Ireland

Azerbaijan 1-5 Slovakia

Hungary 1-0 Wales

Albania 2-0 Moldova

Andorra 0-4 France

Iceland 2-1 Turkey

Kazakhstan 4-0 San Marino

Russia 1-0 Cyprus

Greece 2-3 Armenia

Italy 2-1 Bosnia and Herzegovina

Liechtenstein 0-2 Finland