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Chapecoense air crash survivor Neto retires

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SAO PAULO (AP) One of the six survivors of the air crash that killed almost all of the Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense in 2016 announced his playing retirement on Friday.

Neto, a 34-year-old defender, spent two years rehabilitating after the crash that killed 71 people in Colombia. He returned to training in March. But in an interview he said his pain was too intense to play again.

“I am in agreement with doctors and the club. I wanted a farewell match, but I chose not to,” Neto told TV Globo.

“My body couldn’t take it anymore. The pains were bigger than the pleasure.”

He said his knees and back hurt the most.

Chapecoense’s plane went down en route to the team’s first South American tournament final against Colombia’s Atletico Nacional. It ran out of fuel near Medellin.

The southern Brazilian team was later awarded the Copa Sudamericana title, despite not playing the final.

Neto said Chapecoense was considering keeping him as a board member. The club was mired in debt and relegated to the second division this year.

Two other players survived the crash: Alan Ruschel, a 30-year-old defender, was still active and on loan to first division club Goias, and Jackson Follmann, a goalkeeper who lost part of his right leg, has hopes of becoming a Brazilian Paralympic athlete.

Cruzeiro relegated from Brazilian top flight for first time

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Brazilian side Cruzeiro was relegated from the top flight for the first time in the club’s 98-year history following a 2-0 defeat to Palmeiras on the final day of the season.

Cruzeiro required victory and a loss by Ceara at Botafogo to stay safely in the Brazilian Serie A, but neither came to pass.

Palmeiras midfielder Ze Rafael scored in the 58th minute to send the visitors on their way, with fellow midfielder Dudu finished things off in the 84th minute. Referees ushered the players off the field immediately after the conclusion of the match as Cruzeiro fans rioted in the Mineirao stadium, ripping out seats, setting off smoke bombs, and clashing with police.

Cruzeiro finished 17th in the 20-team table, three points back of Ceara in 16th. In the Brazilian top flight, the bottom four teams are relegated. CSA, Chapecoense, and Avai were also relegated. Cruzeiro had won the Brazilian Serie A as recently as 2013 and 2014, winning four titles in its history. They also have six Copa do Brasil titles, most recently winning the league cup in 2017 and 2018.

Flamengo ran away with the championship, finishing on 90 points, 16 points clear of second-placed Santos and third-placed Palmeiras who both finished level on 74 points. Palmeiras had challenged for the title, but fell off at the end of the season with a five-match winless run through November.

FIFA bans Brazilian soccer official Teixeira for life

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GENEVA — FIFA banned Brazilian soccer official Ricardo Teixeira for life on Friday for taking millions of dollars in bribes, four years after he was indicted by American federal prosecutors.

In an overdue judgment by the FIFA ethics committee, Teixeira was found guilty of taking bribes linked to commercial contracts for South American competitions from 2006-12.

[READ: Fabinho out injured until January]

Teixeira was also fined 1 million Swiss francs ($1 million), but it is unclear how FIFA can enforce payment.

The ban cuts formal ties to soccer for the 72-year-old Teixeira, who resigned from the FIFA executive committee in 2012 ahead of being formally implicated in a decade-old World Cup kickback scandal.

Teixeira became identified with an era of corruption linked to FIFA during the long presidencies of Joao Havelange, his former father-in-law, and Sepp Blatter.

In December 2015, Teixeira was named in a sweeping indictment unsealed by the U.S. Department of Justice that detailed racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy charges. He has evaded extradition to the United States, where he kept a home in Florida.

Teixeira cited health reasons seven years ago when he left the executive committee. He also stepped down from organizing the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Also in 2012, longstanding allegations were confirmed that Teixeira and Havelange took seven-figure kickbacks from the ISL agency which marketed World Cup broadcasting contracts.

A Swiss supreme court ruling ended years of secrecy about the case. It led FIFA to publish a document detailing a 2010 agreement for Teixeira and Havelange to repay $2.5 million and $500,000, respectively, to close a criminal prosecution.

At a FIFA ethics committee hearing in July, investigators presented evidence from the U.S. federal case that Teixeira took bribes linked to commercial deals for the Copa America, Copa Libertadores and Brazil’s national cup competition.

The FIFA ruling states Teixeira banked his bribes “in Middle East, in far Asia, in Andorra, in Europe, and always with beneficial owners that were very common names in Chinese or in each region, which was impossible to know who it was.”

His lawyers countered that “Teixeira vehemently denies all charges, which are no more than assumptions made by U.S. attorneys, without any evidence to support the indictment.”

FIFA dismissed the defense, noting “bribe payments and promises of such payments of several million dollars, money which could otherwise have been invested into the development of football in Brazil and South America.”

Brazil beat Mexico to win U-17 World Cup (video)

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Brazil became Under-17 world champions for a fourth time in dramatic fashion as Lazaro Vinicius Marques’ scored a 93rd-minute winner to edge Mexico 2-1 at Estadio Bezerrão on Sunday.

Brazil’s comeback started in the 84th minute when Kaio Jorge converted from the penalty spot, following VAR’s decision which ruled contact on the tournament’s Golden Ball winner, Gabriel Veron, inside the 18-yard box.

With Brazilian legends Ronaldo and Cafu in attendance, the host’s had the better of chances throughout the first 45 minutes. Without any luck, however, Brazil were unable to get the ball past Eduardo Garcia, instead hitting the bar on several occasions.

Then in the 66th minute, Mexico – winners of the tournament in 2005 and in 2011 – stunned the home crowd when Bronze Ball winner Eugenio Pizzoto’s cross into the box was headed into the back of the net by Bryan Alonso Gonzalez Olivan, breaking the deadlock between two sides that had met in the same game back in 2005.

What was going to be a stunning, underdog victory for El Tri, turned into a heartbreaking night for Marco “Chima” Ruiz and company.

Brazil, on the other hand, are now only one championship away from tying Nigeria’s record of five championships.

Watch Live: Brazil v. Mexico in U-17 World Cup final

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The 2019 U-17 World Cup final takes place in Bezerrão Stadium on Saturday as favorites Brazil host an inspired Mexico.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

With four goals and one assist, Kaio Jorge has been Brazil’s most productive attacking player this tournament, while Mexico’s and Los Angeles Galaxy’s Efrain Alvarez is hoping to end an incredible tournament in triumphant fashion.

History between both national teams in a U-17 World Cup final dates back to 2005, when LAFC’s Carlos Vela and Mexico routed Marcelo and Brazil 3-0 in Lima, Peru.

Click on the link above to watch the game live.


U-17 World Cup final
Brazil v. Mexico – 5 p.m. ET