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Gremio players protest, walk onto the field with face masks amid coronavirus crisis

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Gremio players took the field on Sunday with face masks on as a sign of protest for having to play during the coronavirus pandemic.

No fans were allowed into Gremio Arena for Gremio’s Gaucho state championship match against Sao Luiz, but Renato Portaluppi’s men did wear white face masks as they walked through the tunnel and onto the field.

“This protest by the players makes implicit our support for the championship to be halted – life must take precedence,” Gremio’s director of football, Paulo Luz, said about the situation.

With goals a first-half goal from Pualo Miranda and second-half goals from Thiago Neves and Diego Souza, the hosts edges Sao Luiz 3-2. Gremio players did not wear the white masks during the game.

“The whole world has stopped – shouldn’t Brazilian football stop as well? That’s our message and I hope they listen. We hope that good sense will prevail,” Gremio coach Portaluppi said following the game.

Gremio’s protest comes after various South American clubs are starting to complain about having to play, mostly behind closed doors. On Saturday, River Plate refused to play their Superliga cup bout against Atletico Tucuman, closing the doors to their stadium, leaving league officials and Atletico Tucuman outside without access.

On Thursday, South America’s soccer governing body, CONMEBOL, suspended 2020 Copa Libertadores games through March 21.

More coronavirus connections to soccer:

Transfer rumor roundup: Everton to Everton, Koulibaly to Man Utd

Premier League transfer rumor roundup
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Sometimes, the gossip mill gives us legit laughs.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Gremio executive director Klauss Camara had the distinct privilege of giving a truly wondrous comment regarding one of his players.

“Everton in Everton is a situation that has been coming out more intensely. But there is no proposal put forward.”

The club is Premier League side Everton, and the player is 23-year-old winger Everton Soares. He’s scored 30 of his 47 career senior goals the past two seasons in becoming a 14-times capped Brazil international.

Sky Sports reports that Arsenal, Spurs, and a host of other clubs have registered interest in the player, but that Everton the club may leap into action this January.

That could also make for a lot of difficulties for media, not that that should discourage Carlo Ancelotti or Marcel Brands. Then again, Everton stars for Liverpool might make the world explode in irony.


Could Kalidou Koulibaly end years of life in the transfer rumor roundup by actually transfering this month?

Football.London says the 28-year-old center back wants out of Napoli, and that Manchester United may be willing to pony up the big bucks.

United reportedly bid over $100 million for the player in the summer, and it’s almost certain that United would have to break its own defender transfer fee record to land Koulibaly. He’s been an absolute monster for the Neapolitan set, racking up 232 senior appearances since arriving from Genk.

Partnering with Harry Maguire at center back or joining Maguire and Victor Lindelof in a three-man back line would allow attacking fullback talents Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Brandon Williams to create plenty of headaches for the Premier League.

Koulibaly also has been lauded for his class in discussing the racial abuse he’s suffered in his career.

Gremio, Flamengo draw in 1st leg of Copa Libertadores semi

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SAO PAULO (AP) Gremio and Flamengo drew 1-1 on Wednesday night in the Brazilian semifinal tie of the Copa Libertadores.

Striker Bruno Henrique opened the scoring for Flamengo with a header in the 69th minute. Substitute Pepe tied it in the 88th from close range to the relief of home fans at a crowded Arena do Gremio in Porto Alegre. Flamengo had two goals disallowed by video review in the first half.

The second leg will be played Oct. 23 at the Maracana stadium in Rio.

Gremio, the 2017 champion, is seeking its fourth Copa Libertadores trophy, and Flamengo its second.

The winner of the Brazilian semifinal will face an Argentinian rival in the Nov. 23 decider in Santiago. On Tuesday, defending champions River Plate beat Boca Juniors 2-0 at home in the first leg in Buenos Aires.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Barcelona formalizes Arthur purchase which could reach $47m

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Barcelona is making its first purchase of the summer, and it’s an exciting one (even if we’ve known it was likely for some time).

Arthur Melo is coming to the Camp Nou from Gremio in Brazil, where the 21-year-old has won the Copa Libertadores and is a box-to-box talent who can operate in defensive or attacking functions.

[ MORE: Bobby Wood staying in Bundesliga ]

You can call him just Arthur, if you like.

The cost is approximately $36 million with a potential $11 million in incentives.

Having sent Paulinho on loan to Guangzhou Evergrande and Gerard Deulofeu to Watford while losing Andres Iniesta on a free transfer to Vissel Kobe, there are openings in Barca’s set-up.

According to a Barca release:

Arthur likes playing with quick touches and short, triangulating passes involving his teammates. One of his virtues is his ability to get open, which makes him a dangerous right-footed threat near the penalty area. At 172 cm tall (5 ft 8 in), Arthur also stands for his skill at protecting the ball and his eagerness to play vertically up the field.

Arthur has been on the Brasileirao’s top-rated players for two seasons and represents an interesting piece to Barcelona’s long-term puzzle. We expect we’ll be hearing plenty from him.

Barcelona secures option to sign Brazilian midfielder Arthur

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says it has reached an agreement with Brazilian club Gremio for the option to buy midfielder Arthur for 30 million euros ($37 million) plus variables that could reach 9 million euros ($11 million).

Barcelona said Sunday it can exercise the option for the 21-year-old player in July.

[ MORE: Harry Kane injured ]

The Spanish club says Arthur “is a talented midfielder who stands out for his passing ability,” is “excellent at protecting the ball” and is “a danger close to the opponent’s area.”

Arthur was key for Gremio when the Brazilian team won last year’s Copa Libertadores, South America’s top club competition.

He has been a regular in Brazil’s youth squads and has a few call-ups to the full squad.

Arthur made his first-team debut with Gremio under former Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari.