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FIFA force pace on $25B Club World Cup, global league plan

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GENEVA (AP) FIFA is forcing the pace on talks over a $25 billion offer to revamp the Club World Cup and create a global national team competition.

FIFA says President Gianni Infantino hosted a meeting last Friday with invited officials from some top European clubs.

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The European Club Association has strongly opposed FIFA’s hope for a four-yearly club tournament starting in 2021, which could rival the UEFA-organized Champions League.

UEFA has also proposed a Global Nations League. A similar project is tied to the FIFA-controlled $25 billion, 12-year offer from a consortium including investors from Saudi Arabia and China.

FIFA says it’s holding “informal ongoing discussions with different stakeholders on the topic of the future Club World Cups.”

Infantino is set to meet confederation presidents and general secretaries “in the near future,” FIFA says.

Romero leads Club America to semifinal of Club World Cup

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SUITA, Japan (AP) Silvio Romero scored two second-half goals on Sunday as Mexico’s Club America beat South Korean side Jeonbuk Motors 2-1 in the Club World Cup.

Romero converted a corner kick by Michael Arroyo in the 74th minute to send his team to a semifinal clash with tournament favorites Real Madrid on Thursday.

“This was a night I’ve dreamed about,” Romero said. “To be able to score two goals in such a big tournament I feel like I’ve achieved something big.”

Kim Bo-kyung gave Asian champions Jeonbuk a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute but Romero, who hit the crossbar with a solo effort before the break, equalized in the 58th.

Club America lost to China’s Guangzhou Evergrande in the first round of last year’s tournament.

“We were able to exceed the results of last year,” said Club America coach Ricardo La Volpe. “Mexican football is competitive and I think we were able to demonstrate that.”

Club America were crowned CONCACAF champions for the second year in a row in April, after beating compatriots Tigres 2-0 away and 2-1 at home in the two-legged final.

Yasushi Endo and Mu Kanazaki scored in the second half as Japanese side Kashima Antlers beat African champions Memelodi Sundowns 2-0.

Endo gave the J-League champions a 1-0 lead in 63rd with a left-footed shot that beat Mamelodi goalkeeper Denis Onyango. Kanazaki sealed the win with two minutes left in regulation when he converted a pass from substitute Yuma Suzuki.

Kashima will face South American champions Atletico Nacional of Colombia in the other semifinal on Wednesday.

The African champions dominated the first half and would have led at the break if not for the spectacular play of Kashima goalkeeper Hitoshi Sogahata, who robbed Percy Tau with a diving save midway through the first half.

The Club World Cup features international football’s six continental champions plus a team from the host nation.

Paulinho’s stoppage time goal knocks Club America from Club World Cup

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Guangzhou Evergrande shocked Club America to set up a Club World Cup semifinal date with mighty Barcelona.

Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Guangzhou side got goals from Zheng Long and Paulinho in the final 15 minutes to overcome Oribe Peralta’s 55th minute tally and eliminate the CONCACAF champions in Japan early Sunday.

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Paulinho’s goal came in the third minute of stoppage time.

Club America’s loss ensures that a CONCACAF side will not make its first CWC final appearance. America defeated Montreal in the CCL final this summer.

Here’s America coach Ignacio Ambriz:

I warned the players about this in our training sessions and team meetings and it actually happened. We were in complete control of the game, we started well – got the goal, but errors cost us.

Barca has won the competition twice and is the heavy favorite to win this go-round. The UEFA champs will face Guangzhou on Wednesday in Yokohama.

The other semifinal sees River Plate joined by Sanfrecce Hiroshima, who blanked former CWC finalist TP Mazembe (Democratic Republic of Congo) by a 3-0 score on Sunday.

The Club World Cup final will be staged next Sunday in Yokohama.

A day of Ronaldo: Real Madrid star erects statue of himself, thinks Real can win Champions League again

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Along with Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo is the most noteworthy soccer name across the world, and he paid homage to this view by unveiling a statue of himself in his home island of Madeira.

Additionally, subsequent to Real’s 2-0 Club World Cup victory over Argentina’s San Lorenzo, signifying a 22nd straight win for Los Blancos,  Ronaldo noted that his club will be in excellent position to contend for another Champions League crown.

[RELATED: Real Madrid come away with FIFA Club World Cup]

Carlo Ancelotti’s crew currently holds the highest UEFA club coefficient rankings and sit at the head of Champions League Group B with a significant 18-point total.

“I hope that 2015 will be just as good as 2014 and we can win everything we have won this year,” Ronaldo said. “Especially the Champions League. Winning the Club World Cup is an historic moment that will have a special place in my life. It gives me motivation to move forward. Thank you to everyone who has helped me achieve something special.”

source: FOX Soccer
Ronaldo’s statue

As for the Portugese international’s life-size bronze statue, which, through Spanish news agency Europa Press, the former Manchester United man said was “prettier” version of himself.

“This is a very special moment, to have a statue of me,” said Ronaldo at the ceremony with close relatives and numerous fans present.

“Ronaldo has never forgotten his origins,” his mother, Dolores Aveiro, stated.

Meanwhile, a great deal of stir has arose regarding the depiction of Ronaldo’s tight pants. If you look in that region, it’s pretty obvious what appears to be going on.

What news anchor legend Ron Burgundy would say in this scenario: “Great, so I pick you up, eight o’clock. Hmm…nine.”

Bayern Munich has easy time in 3-0 win over Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande at FIFA Club World Cup

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If Bayern Munich wants to remind everyone it has the best team in the world, the Bavarian giants are certainly going about it the right way.

As expected, Bayern made easy work of its opening match of FIFA’s Club World Cup, galloping past Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande, the Marcello Lippi-coached champions of Asian, in Tuesday’s semifinal from Morocco.

Bayern now gets the winner from Wednesday’s semifinal, a matchup of South American champions Atletico Mineiro and the tournament host team, Raja Casablanca.

Remember, Pep Guardiola’s team is bidding for its fifth trophy of 2013, a truly outstanding and unprecedented accomplishment. The German heavyweight already has trophies in this calendar year from the Champions League, Bundesliga, German Cup and European Super Cup.

The reigning champs of Europe will probably face Mineiro, a Brazilian team that features former Barcelona attacker Ronaldinho in the tournament final. And the German team is not a bit likely to enjoy the kind of carefree afternoon seen Tuesday in North Africa.

Guangzhou had no answer for Bayern’s relentless press, never even beginning to gain a foothold on the match. No surprise, either, considering that Guardiola named a strong lineup, one featuring most of his regulars: Manuel Neuer, Rafinha, Daniel Van Buyten, Jerome Boateng, David Alaba, Franck Ribery, Thiago Alacantara, Philipp Lahm, Toni Kroos, Mario Gotze and Mario Mandzukic.

Ribery got the inevitable breakthrough in the 40th minute after Mandzukic (pictured from Tuesday) and Thiago Alcantara did a lot of the heavy lifting. Mandzukic put one in himself just before the half, and Gotze scored just after the teams returned, in the 47th minute.

Bayern did not stop pressing until the very end, continuing to assert its dominance ahead of this weekend’s final.

Guardiola’s team took 27 shots and put four of them off the crossbar or post.