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Klopp dismisses Bayern talk from Beckenbauer

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We don’t often talk about Jurgen Klopp‘s future at Liverpool, but it isn’t a huge surprise that the former Borussia Dortmund man’s elimination of Bayern Munich from the UEFA Champions League have eyes opened wide in Germany.

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This is so much so that Franz Beckenbauer, who played 567 times for Bayern, said it would be a “highlight” for the club to hire Klopp, crediting the manager with teaching “Germans how to play quickly.”

In response, Klopp does a pretty majestic job of giving Beckenbauer, Bayern, and Germany their due without opening the door to anything other than Anfield.

“There is no bigger legend in Germany than Franz Beckenbauer,” said Klopp. “It feels great he speaks positively about me. It is just like the king with his sword calling a man ‘sir’.”

But that’s where the flirtation ends.

From SkySports.com:

“So far, it has worked out, and hopefully it will last a lot longer. That would be cool. We are very happy about the situation and very positive about the future. We are fine with what we’ve done so far, but now we have to finish the season the best way possible.

“It is a big opportunity. We have improved a lot, but people judge it only on winning titles. We know that, but we can change it in the future.”

Klopp and Liverpool face Fulham on Sunday at Craven Cottage, but don’t sleep on the idea of his heading to Bayern at some point. While the Reds recently posted perhaps their most impressive win in his tenure at Anfield, pressure could increase if he fails to hold onto the side’s glorious chance to win the Premier League and finishes short of the UCL title again.

Swiss prosecutors confirm about 25 FIFA investigations

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ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) About 25 separate investigations of suspected corruption linked to FIFA and World Cup bidding are being led by federal prosecutors in Switzerland, the country’s office for the attorney general said Friday.

The office of Michael Lauber confirmed the scale of “football-related cases” after securing a first conviction since its FIFA probes began in 2014.

Cases were not specified, but criminal proceedings are open against former FIFA officials Sepp Blatter and Jerome Valcke, and some 2006 World Cup organizers, including Franz Beckenbauer.

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Swiss and American prosecutors worked together on a guilty plea made in a Brooklyn federal courthouse on Thursday by Jorge Arzuaga, a former employee of Swiss private banks from Argentina.

Arzuaga admitted to working with former FIFA finance chairman Julio Grondona and others in a money-laundering conspiracy linked to bribes. Grondona was senior vice president at FIFA when he died in 2014.

Arzuaga forfeited $650,000 in “unlawfully obtained” bonuses to the Swiss treasury, the federal prosecution office said.

The banker, who worked in Zurich for Credit Suisse and Julius Baer, is due to be sentenced on Jan. 4.

Lauber was invited by FIFA in November 2014 to begin investigating suspected wrongdoing in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contests which were won by Russia and Qatar, respectively.

“To date, 178 reports of suspected money-laundering transactions have been received in connection with the football investigations,” Lauber’s office said.

In May 2015, the scope of Swiss and American cooperation to prosecute corruption linked to FIFA was revealed when seven officials, including two FIFA vice presidents, were arrested in early morning hotel raids in Zurich. FIFA was also raided for evidence that day.

A further round of arrests, indictments and guilty pleas to U.S. courts were revealed in December 2015. More than 40 soccer and marketing officials have been indicted or made guilty pleas in the American case.

In Switzerland, authorities are now analyzing “seized documents containing some 19 terabytes of data,” Lauber’s office said Friday.

Schweinsteiger shares thoughts on MLS, much more in lengthy interview

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Ambassadors responsible for Bastian Schweinsteiger‘s move to America extend deep into the 1970s.

1977 to be exact. That’s when Franz Beckenbauer first came to the New York Cosmos from Bayern Munich, a three-season tenure that went so well he returned to New York for his final professional season after time with Hamburg.

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Schweinsteiger said Beckenbauer’s words meant a lot to him, and admitted that he’s not imparting that wisdom to other overseas players who ask him about MLS.

From TSN.ca (Full video here):

“I remember when David Beckham was playing here or even I know when Franz Beckenbauer was playing here, and I was talking to him and he said he had his best life in America,” Schweinsteiger said. “We spoke about it and I was thinking about it a little bit.For me it was a little bit different because I love to play soccer and in Manchester I couldn’t play enough soccer so that was the problem.”

Among several interesting soundbites from the interview with Schweinsteiger also spoke about Germany’s memorable destruction of host nation Brazil at the 2014 World Cup:

“I remember the semifinal that we won 7-1. Everyone speaks about the 7-1, but we were not talking so much about it because we felt very, in a way, sad, because you saw your teammates like Dante and Luis Gustavo and the Brazilian supporters and the team crying, so you couldn’t really celebrate. Our focus was so much looking forward to the final. I remember things like this, sometimes more than the final.”

Not something you consider often. Winning a match 2-1 against your club teammates is one thing, but sending them to international humiliation is another.

Prosecutors question Beckenbauer in World Cup fraud case

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BERN, Switzerland (AP) Swiss authorities say prosecutors have questioned Germany soccer great Franz Beckenbauer in their ongoing World Cup fraud case.

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Criminal proceedings against Beckenbauer and three other German members of the 2006 World Cup organizing committee were opened in 2015. The four are suspected of fraud, money laundering, criminal mismanagement, and misappropriation relating to a payment of 6.7 million euros ($7 million) to FIFA in 2005.

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The Swiss attorney general’s office said in a statement to The Associated Press on Thursday that federal prosecutors questioned Beckenbauer earlier in the day in Bern, adding that “Beckenbauer was cooperative.”

Beckenbauer’s home in Austria was raided last year for evidence on behalf of Swiss federal prosecutors investigating corruption linked to FIFA.

Beckenbauer paid 5.5 million euros for 2006 World Cup work

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BERLIN (AP) The German football federation (DFB) says former soccer great Franz Beckenbauer received payments totaling 5.5 million euros ($6.2 million) for his work leading the country’s successful bid to host the 2006 World Cup.

Beckenbauer was previously said to have worked in an honorary unpaid capacity for the bid, according to Der Spiegel magazine, which first revealed details of the payments Tuesday.

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The DFB, in responding to Der Spiegel’s story, says Beckenbauer conducted work for a betting agency that sponsored the bid, and that the DFB made five payments from the proceeds of the sponsorship agreement between February 2005 and October 2006.

Beckenbauer’s original contract with the DFB from Oct. 14, 2004 contained performance-related bonuses.

Beckenbauer is among several people under a Swiss criminal probe into suspected corruption around the 2006 World Cup.