Franck Ribery

Rocco Commisso
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Fiorentina raising money for hospitals; Ribery gives $55K

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Fiorentina owner Rocco Commisso says his club has “8-10 positive cases” and that he’s focused on helping Italy’s embattled medical community fight the coronavirus.

The Italian American, 70, bought the Serie A club in June. He also owns the American club New York Cosmos of the National Independent Soccer Association.

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Players Dusan Vlahovic, Patrick Cutrone, and German Pezzella previously tested positive for COVID-19.

Commisso is stuck in the United States, but has tried to raise funds to battle back home. He says the club has already brought in around $470,000 including about $55,000 from star Franck Ribery.

From Football-Italia.com:

“We both feel so at home in Florence, as we were given such a warm welcome by the people here,” said Commisso of Ribery and himself. “The situation in America isn’t as serious as in Italy, but I’ve been closed in my home for the last five days with my wife and daughter. (Fiorentina director) Joe Barone and my son Giuseppe are holed up in their hotel.”

La Viola sits 13th in Serie A with 30 points, five points clear of the bottom three and nine back of the final European qualification spot.

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Ribery banned for pushing assistant referee

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MILAN — Fiorentina winger Franck Ribery has been banned for three league matches after pushing an assistant referee.

The incident occurred after the final whistle of Fiorentina’s 2-1 loss to Lazio on Sunday and Ribery was given a red card after pushing the official twice.

The Italian league’s disciplinary commission announced Monday that Ribery has been banned for three matches and fined 20,000 euros ($22,200) for “seriously disrespectful behavior toward an assistant referee.”

Both teams disputed some refereeing decisions, including Ciro Immobile’s winner a minute from time as there appeared to be a foul in the buildup.

The 36-year-old Ribery had already been angered at being substituted with 15 minutes remaining and the score still 1-1.

Ribery apologized for his actions on Monday with a post on social media.

“I am really sorry about last night, I apologize to my teammates, the coach and the fans,” the former France international said. “I apologize to Mr. Passeri, because after the final whistle I was very nervous and disappointed, and I hope he can understand my mood.

“I always want to be on the pitch and to help my teammates, because I came to Florence for this city and this club, and I expect more care for Fiorentina, the same care that is given to other clubs, because of the hard work we put in on a daily basis.”

Ribery will miss the matches against Sassuolo, Parma and Cagliari.

Franck Ribery signs for Fiorentina

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Franck Ribery has signed for Fiorentina in Serie A.

The French winger, 36, left Bayern Munich when his contract expired over the summer and many thought he may retire after a long list of injuries.

However, the tricky wideman has arrived in Italy after 12 seasons at Bayern which saw him win 23 major trophies, including the UEFA Champions League in 2013.

As for Fiorentina, this is a huge deal for them as Ribery will be unveiled in a press conference tomorrow.

The Florence club have slumped in recent seasons and barely avoided relegation from Serie A in 2018-19, and that came after six consecutive top eight finishes in Italy’s top-flight.

U.S. businessman Rocco Commisso bought the club for $181 million this summer and is promising to steadily rebuild the squad under Vincenzo Montella, who had a glorious spell in charge from 2012-15.

Adding Ribery means they have a big name on board, but can he stay fit and help this new-look side push up the Serie A table? Fiorentina have made 13 new signings this summer and a huge overhaul was needed.

If Ribery can stay fit and fresh, he showed at Bayern last season that he still has a little left in the tank.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Watford looking to sign Senagal star Sarr

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Ismalia Sarr, one of the rising stars in Ligue 1 and on the international scene for Senegal, could be heading to the Premier League.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, Watford is closing in on a club-record $30 million transfer for Sarr, who is currently with Rennes in France. Sarr just finished helping lead Senegal to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations final, and having played for Senegal at both the 2018 World Cup and most recent AFCON, he’s likely enough to qualify for a UK work permit.

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Sarr, a 21-year-old winger, can play on either the right or the left, and scored 13 goals last season from those wide positions.

Watford and the Pozzo family have a good history of scouting and signing talented young players. From former Udinese stars such as Alexis Sanchez and Mehdi Benatia (among many others) to Brazilian talent Joao Pedro, who is joining Watford in January, the Pozzo family have a good eye for talent. Sarr should make a good impact for Watford in its effort to rise into the top seven and earn a spot in European competitions in the future.

Here are more transfer stories from across Europe:


Brazilian giant Flamengo reached out to Ribery

For many clubs outside of western Europe, free agent Franck Ribery is a highly coveted prospect.

According to Brazilian TV company O Globo, Brazilian giant Flamengo, with Portuguese head coach Jorge Jesus, even inquired about potential signing the long-time France National Team and Bayern Munich winger to be the team’s new striker. Unfortunately for Flamengo, Ribery’s contract demands were much higher than they could meet, with Ribery reportedly admitting he received a proposal from Brazil but rejecting it.

With numerous European players heading to MLS and even Liga MX, it would have been interesting to see Ribery play a season or two in Brazil, even at age 36. Alas, it may not happen at this point.

Toronto FC negotiating with Guingamp for Benezet

Toronto FC may be making yet another big European signing in the coming weeks, as a Nicolas Benezet is reportedly close to coming to MLS.

The French midfielder scored three goals to go with an assist last season for Guingamp last season wearing the No. 10 shirt. According to L’Equipe, Benezet is in advanced negotiations with TFC.

Of course, TFC already has its full allotment of Designated Players, with Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley and Alejandro Pozuelo already under contract. Perhaps Benezet will join as a TAM player, or one of the Designated Players will have their contract bought down with allocation money.

German Cup: Bayern Munich complete double by beating Leipzig

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BERLIN (AP) Captain Manuel Neuer returned from six weeks out injured to help Bayern Munich complete a domestic double after beating Leipzig 3-0 in the German Cup final on Saturday.

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Robert Lewandowski scored twice and Kingsley Coman grabbed the other as Bayern claimed a record-extending 19th cup win to make up for the disappointment of losing last year’s final to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Bayern coach Niko Kovac, who was in charge of Frankfurt at the time, boosted his chances of keeping his job in Munich after bringing a successful end to what had been a testing season.

Neuer, who missed Bayern’s Bundesliga triumph the week before due to a calf injury, produced two stunning saves in either half when a goal for Leipzig might have been decisive.

Neuer somehow denied Yussuf Poulsen’s header from close range in the 11th minute, when the ball crashed back off the crossbar, and got the better of Emil Forsberg in a one-on-one after the break, when the Swedish midfielder should have equalized.

“You couldn’t write a better script,” Neuer said.

Lewandowski opened the scoring with a header in the 29th, Coman doubled the lead in the 78th after Forsberg’s miss, and Lewandowski wrapped it up with a chip over the goalkeeper in the 85th.

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Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery went on late to make their last appearances for Bayern after 10 and 12 seasons respectively. Ribery became the only player to play in eight German Cup finals.

“They delivered a lot for the team and the club,” Lewandowski said. “We have to be grateful.”

Leipzig was appearing in its first, and had been hoping to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its founding date with a win. Thousands of fans made the relatively short journey from Saxony to cheer their side, though they found themselves outnumbered by Bayern fans at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, which hosts German soccer’s showpiece every year.

“It’s a huge disappointment,” Leipzig chairman Oliver Mintzlaff said. “When you come here, you want to win.”

The supporters had been warming up for hours before the encounter, downing beers and singing songs at various locations in the city before making their way to the game. Fans who arrived on chartered buses lit barbeques and shared crates of beer by the side of the road.

Leipzig coach Ralf Rangnick, the sporting director who took charge of the team on an interim basis before Julian Nagelsmann arrives from Hoffenheim, started with his strongest team, with American Tyler Adams lining up beside Kevin Kampl in midfield.

Leipzig looked sharper, fresher and quicker at the start, but one lapse was all Lewandowski needed to open the scoring. David Alaba whipped the ball in toward the penalty spot, where Lewandowski had too much space to head inside the left post.

Coman displayed a fantastic first touch to control the ball past the helpless Peter Gulacsi for Bayern’s second, and Lewandowski ensured the result was emphatic when he claimed his competition-leading seventh goal. Lewandowski was booked for removing his shirt in the celebrations, but he accepted the yellow card with a smile.

“We worked hard for the whole season. In the end you could say it was a good season for us,” the Polish striker said.