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Dani Alves at peace with injury that put him out of World Cup

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SAO PAULO (AP) Brazil right back Dani Alves said he’s at peace despite the knee injury that forced him out of the World Cup in Russia. The 35-year-old also revealed Saturday he knew he was going to miss the tournament as soon as he felt the first pains on Tuesday.

Alves, who is one of the main leaders of Brazil’s team, said in a video that he wants fans and teammates to take nothing but good energies from him.

“Maybe my ego is a bit hurt right now, but my soul is at peace because I always tried to do my best,” Alves said in his social media channels.

In a text published by The Players’ Tribune, the Brazilian said he felt he was out of the World Cup as soon as he injured his right knee Tuesday in the French Cup final win with Paris Saint-Germain. PSG said his anterior cruciate ligament detached. The Brazilian Football Confederation said in a statement on Friday he needs surgery.

“When I felt the pain in my knee, my soul went out of my body. I knew from the moment I hit the ground that I was not going to be on the plane to Russia for the World Cup,” Alves wrote.

“In the changing room, the PSG doctors told me that we would have to wait until the next day to get the results of some tests, but I knew in my heart that it was over,” he continued. “I only cried one time, when I was by myself. And let me tell you something: I don’t want anybody to cry for me. I don’t want anybody to feel sorry for me. I have lived my dreams.”

Brazilian football confederation doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said Alves will be sidelined for about six months after his surgery.

Lasmar said the date of the operation will be decided by PSG and Alves, who played for Brazil in the last two World Cups and has 107 appearances for the team since his 2006 debut.

Brazil coach Tite will announce his squad Monday in Rio de Janeiro. Previously he played Manchester City’s Danilo, Corinthians’ Fagner, and Bayern Munich’s Rafinha in Alves’ position.

On Sunday, Lasmar is expected to examine Fagner, who has been recovering since April 29 from a thigh injury.

Danilo and Rafinha have had few chances under Tite, who counted on Alves as a leader.

Brazil’s Dani Alves will miss the World Cup after knee injury

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The Brazilian federation has confirmed that right-back Dani Alves will miss the World Cup after suffering a serious knee injury playing for Paris Saint-Germain in the Coupe de France final against third-tier club Les Herbiers on Tuesday.

While initial tests confirmed at least an three-week absence necessary, team doctors were unable to immediately diagnose the full extent of the injury, meaning Brazil fans were left waiting to learn his fate. On Friday, the Brazilian federation confirmed that Alves suffered an ACL tear which would require surgery.

The 35-year-old was withdrawn late in the match, replaced in the 86th minute by Thomas Meunier. PSG eventually won the match 2-0.

“The technical team of the Brazilian national team feels for the event and wishes Daniel Alves a prompt recovery so that his technique, commitment and leadership are back at the service of the national team as soon as possible,” said the Brazilian federation in a statement released on Friday.

Alves has 106 caps in his national team career after his debut in 2006, scoring seven times for Brazil. He has appeared in the last two World Cup squads for the Selecao, but found himself benched for the latter stages of the 2014 World Cup after playing every minute of the team’s first four matches.

Replacements for Alves in the squad could be his PSG teammate Marquinhos or Manchester City’s Danilo, while Corinthians’ Fagner is also considered to be in contention. Monaco’s Fabinho and Bayern Munchen’s Rafinha also both have slight national team experience.

Ligue 1: Alves secures late win for PSG; Depay does same for Lyon

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PARIS (AP) — Memphis Depay scored in the last minute of a frantic match to give Lyon a 3-2 win at third-placed Marseille that keeps alive its chances of Champions League soccer next season.

In the fight for a Champions League playoff spot, fourth-placed Lyon closed the gap on Marseille to two points with eight games left. Monaco is seven points ahead of Marseille in second spot.

The match at Stade Velodrome ended with players pushing and shoving after the final whistle. Lyon defender Marcelo then mockingly brandished a Lyon jersey in front of Marseille’s players as they were walking off. It sparked a further melee which took more than a minute before security officials brought it under control. Several players from both sides tried to get at each other, rather than walking away when they had the chance.

It was the latest volatile incident in the French league.

On Thursday, several police officers were injured after clashes with Lyon fans before a Europa League game against CSKA Moscow.

This followed on from a mass pitch invasion by angry fans of struggling Lille on March 10, when about 200 fans charged onto the pitch to confront players after a home draw with Montpellier.

The acrimony continued Sunday.

As the players walked back through the tunnel to the dressing rooms, Marseille center back Adil Rami had to be held back as he launched himself at Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes. Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda also had to be pushed away moments later as he sought to back Rami up.

“When I see that it just makes me sad,” said Lyon defender Jeremy Morel, who formerly played for Marseille. “This isn’t even about football. I think we’ve really had enough of this, we don’t need it.”

Marseille winger Florian Thauvin saw it differently.

“Some Lyon players took the liberty of mocking us. It’s not professional on their part,” Thauvin said. “They lacked respect. (Marcelo) is a professional player, he should be leading by example. They shouldn’t behave like that.”

Greece striker Kostas Mitroglou’s looping header in the 84th minute appeared to have earned Marseille a point, after Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar put Lyon ahead 2-1 shortly after the break with a sweetly struck shot from winger Betrand Traore’s pass.

Mitroglou then almost went clean through from the halfway line in the 89th, only to be incorrectly called back for offside. It proved a key moment as Depay scored the winner one minute later.

Lopes took the free kick after the offside decision, striker Mariano Diaz headed the ball on just outside the edge of the penalty area and Depay read it well to nod it over the advancing Mandanda from just inside the area.

Rami’s own-goal late in the first half canceled out center back partner Jorge Rolando’s opener in the 31st.

“We defended really badly,” Mandanda said. “We just didn’t match them in the challenges.”


Dani Alves took Paris Saint-Germain a step closer to the French title, scoring his first league goal of the season with a late header as PSG won 2-1 at Nice.

The 34-year-old Brazil defender met midfielder Adrien Rabiot’s astute curling pass with a powerful header into the bottom right corner in the 82nd minute.

PSG is 17 points clear of defending champion Monaco and almost certain to win its fifth title in six seasons. PSG has seven games left and Monaco has eight.

Nice took the lead in the 17th minute. Mario Balotelli expertly chested down a high ball to the feet of strike partner Alassane Plea near the halfway line, and Plea’s pass sent Allan Saint-Maximin scampering though to finish coolly.

Four minutes later, Angel Di Maria took advantage of slack defending to equalize. It was his ninth goal in 25 league games and he needs one more to match his career-best tally.

The match started at 1 p.m. local time (1200 GMT) to capture a prime-time television audience in Asia. This follows on from the opening of a French league football office in Beijing last year.

“The Spanish and the English did this before. We train in the mornings, so it shouldn’t be a problem,” said Nice coach Lucien Favre, referring to the early kickoff. “I hope it was a good advert (for Ligue 1). It was a good game.”

Nice is in eighth place, three points above Saint-Etienne in ninth.

UEFA Champions League Tuesday: PSG hosts Real, Liverpool leads big

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The first two entrants into the UEFA Champions League’s quarterfinals will be anointed early Tuesday evening, though drama has been stripped from both.

In the case of Porto‘s trip to Liverpool, it’s been torn almost completely off the bone. The Reds scored five times in Portugal, and would need to fold in wild fashion at Anfield in order to give the tie any intrigue.

[ MORE: Recap | Matic reacts | Mourinho, too ]

Liverpool scores loads of goals, so to consider Porto could push for a minimum five away goals without adequate Reds response is bonkers… but could provide for some fun.

Jurgen Klopp is not going to flip his lineup despite a weekend date with Manchester United which will determine who lives the following week in second place.

“We could [rotate], but I’m not sure I will do it because it could be misunderstood,” Klopp said. “I really want to show respect. I want to show respect to the opponent, to the tournament, and I want to have the best line-up possible and the best line-up which makes sense to win the game, because that’s why we are here.

“We are unbeaten so far in the Champions League this season and I would love to stay unbeaten as long as possible. That would help a lot.”

The match kicks off at 2:45 p.m. ET Tuesday, as does Real Madrid‘s visit to Neymar-less Paris Saint-Germain.

Real has a 3-1 lead after coming back from Adrien Rabiot’s opener to haul a two-goal lead into Parc des Princes.

Marco Asensio had a pair of assists and Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in the first leg, and Real is laser-focused on the Champions League given their substandard season in Spain.

PSG will have a lot of talent for the second leg, but won’t have presumed Ballon d’Or finalist Neymar. He’s out for multiple months after suffering a leg injury against Marseille.

Dani Alves says he thinks the key is home field, via PSG’s site:

“I think the important thing is to work in the best possible conditions. The club is the key: the club, the supporters and us, the players. It’s all one. We need to be all connected and then we can try and reach our goals. Then it also depends on what we do on the pitch. A fantastic atmosphere inside the stadium isn’t enough if we don’t do the job on the pitch. But a great atmosphere can be the difference in our favour. I repeat: we need to be up to the standard of our fans and their expectations.”

PSG would need a less dramatic reversal of fortunes than the megawatt comeback Barcelona pulled at the Camp Nou last season, and the Parisian side will be well aware of that possibility.

Depay strike downs PSG, brings Lyon second in Ligue 1

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Memphis Depay‘s time in England may not have gone according to plan, but the young Dutchman is tearing it up in France.

[ SPAIN & ITALY: Bale, Real Madrid soar with seven-goal outburst and more ]

The former Manchester United winger scorched the game-winner into net on Sunday, as his Lyon side went on to defeat league leaders Paris Saint-Germain, 2-1, at the Stade des Lumières.

Stunning first-half strikes from Nabil Fekir (15th goal of the season) and Layvin Kurzawa had the two clubs level at 1-1 going into the halftime break, but there was more action to be had after the mandatory stoppage.

A straight red card from Dani Alves in the second stanza put the Parisians at a major disadvantage, and Lyon would capitalize down the stretch with the extra man.

The hosts putting the finishing touches on the match four minutes deep into second-half stoppage time when Depay struck a beauty of a shot past goalkeeper Alphonse Areola.

Depay is now up to 10 goals on the season in all competitions for Lyon, including eight in league play.

PSG may have suffered its biggest loss though in the first half when Kylian Mbappe was taken off the field on a stretcher after a rough collision with Lyon shot-stopper Anthony Lopes.

The victory brings Lyon up to second place in France’s top flight, while PSG still holds an eight-point  lead over the runners’ up with 16 matches left in Ligue 1 play.