Juan Fernando Quintero

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Transfer rumor roundup: Arsenal, Man City linked with mids; New home for Mourinho?

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Pep Guardiola may’ve changed his mind on the whole “no January signings” stance.

The Manchester Evening News has quotes from Porto center midfielder Juan Fernando Quintero saying he’s having conversation with Manchester City.

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Quintero is adamant that he will only move if the deal is perfect, as he’s quite happy on loan at River Plate.

The purchase would be the latest big money sale for Porto, having been a regular loanee from the Portuguese outfit. The attack-minded soon-to-be 26-year-old midfielder can also play on the right side of the pitch.

Unai Emery is close to getting a much-desired reunion with Denis Suarez, who’d like an equally-needed change of scenery.

Suarez, who turns 25 on Sunday, has made just six appearances, scoring twice for Barcelona and has a reported $25 million price tag.

The pair spent a season together at Sevilla, where Suarez scored six goals with five assist but was not used in the final two rounds of the Europa League title run.

Meanwhile, Barcelona may be adding a midfielder after the season in mercurial Adrien Rabiot of Paris Saint-Germain.

Ernesto Valverde knows how to handle big personalities, and the lack of a transfer fee would make the risk worthwhile even at a reported $12 million salary.

And Jose Mourinho may be in the frame for his next job already, at the site of his first, very-brief foray into management.

Record (Portuguese link) says Mourinho could move to Benfica, where he presided over a nine-match run in 2000 before resigning after being denied a contract extension.

That was the only controversial stint in his managerial career, period (What’s that you say?).

Finally, The Daily Mirror says Nice outcast Mario Balotelli is preparing a move to Marseille, spuring Newcastle United after falling out of favor with manager Patrick Vieira.

Report: Chicago Fire chasing former Colombian wonderkid Quintero

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The Chicago Fire could make a big splash this MLS offseason or next summer with the latest name rumored to head to the Windy City.

According to a report from The Athletic, the Fire are in negotiations once more to sign Colombian playmaker Juan Fernando Quintero. The Fire nearly signed Quintero last July but reportedly couldn’t agree on a transfer fee with Quintero’s parent club, Porto.

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Quintero is currently in the midst of a career revival. Following his impressive debut for Los Cafeteros at the 2014 World Cup, Quintero was hailed as the next star after James Rodriguez for Colombia. But he nearly fell off the map for both club and country, and there were rumors he was ready to quit soccer to pursue a music career.

In January 2017, he returned on loan to his native Colombia to play for Indepediente Medellin, arch rivals of his former side Atletico Nacional. Since coming home, he’s found some of his old form that made jaws drop both in South America and abroad, scoring 13 goals in 25 league matches and another two goals in five Copa Sudamericana matches.

The report states that it appeared Quintero would move to Sevilla in the upcoming transfer window with his loan to Indepediente complete, but Sevilla has reportedly turned its sights on Wesley Sneijder, leaving Quintero available for a club like the Fire.

The Fire meanwhile are looking to make a splash this offseason, with Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas even mentioned as a possible signing.

Bastian Schweinsteiger is currently a free agent, though there’s a chance he could return for another season as well.

 

Canada undone by this quick James Rodriguez restart (video)

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Canada was hoping for stay unbeaten in 2014 and build on September’s 3-1 win over Jamaica by getting a result against dangerous Colombia on Tuesday night.

And it sure seemed like they could get the job done with 15 minutes to play.

But… James.

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James Rodriguez was fouled to set up a free kick for Colombia in the 75th minute and then called for the ball from Juan Fernando Quintero for a quick shot.

That was all she wrote for Canada in New Jersey.

You’ll notice the celebration heads for coach Jose Pekerman, who lost his mother on Monday.

And then later, while subbing off, James took a moment to sign a pitch invader’s shirt… while that fan was in the grips of security.

World Cup awards: Rodriguez, Neuer, Pogba, Colombia all honored

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Just after the final whistle was blown at the Maracana Stadium to bring the 2014 World Cup to a close on Sunday, FIFA began to dish out the awards.

Lionel Messi grabbed the Golden Ball award for the best player in the tournament (many would suggest that he didn’t deserve it…) and soccer’s world governing body also gave out the awards for the top scorer, goalkeeper, young player and a fair play gong.

Colombian star James Rodriguez won the Golden Boot after scoring six goals and two assists in five games, Germany’s victorious ‘keeper Manuel Neuer won the Golden Glove award as the best goalkeeper following four clean sheets, plus Frenchman Paul Pogba picked up the Young Player of the tournament award for some superb displays.

There was also special praise for Colombia who were handed the FIFA Fair Player award.

FIFA published the following statement on their website on Sunday. Congrats to all the winners.

Golden Boot: James Rodriguez (Colombia) – 6 goals, 2 assists
Colombia’s No10 made an instant impact at Brazil 2014, setting up Los Cafeteros’s opening two goals and scoring in the last minute in their 3-0 win over Greece, earning the Budweiser Man of the Match Award in the process. He picked up the same accolade in the next match, a 2-1 win over Côte d’Ivoire, having provided an assist for Juan Fernando Quintero and found the target once more. The Monaco man was at it again in the final group game against Japan, entering the fray as a second-half substitute, yet making time to create two goals for Jackson Martinez and score himself. Rodriguez then made history when he scored twice in the 2-0 win over Uruguay, ensuring Colombia qualified for the quarter-finals of a FIFA World Cup for the first time. There he tasted defeat for the first time against Brazil, but converted a consolatory penalty and earned a standing ovation from the crowd in Fortaleza for his efforts.

Silver Boot: Thomas Muller (5 goals, 3 assists)
Bronze Boot: Neymar (4 goals, 1 assist)

Golden Glove: Manuel Neuer (Germany) 

After winning the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup with Bayern Munich, the 28-year-old now has the adidas Golden Glove to add to his growing collection. The Germany No1 was in fine form for the Nationalmannschaft during Brazil 2014, conceding just four goals in seven games and impressing FIFA’s Technical Study Group with his shot-stopping ability, his commanding presence and his ability to start attacks from his own penalty area. Indeed, he has been dubbed a ‘sweeper-keeper’ by sections of the media for his performances at this World Cup, featuring plenty of evidence of his desire to come off his line and play accurate passes when under pressure.

Young Player Award: Paul Pogba (France) 

The France midfielder was considered to be the pick of the players born after 1 January 1993 at this World Cup. The Juventus midfielder played in all five of Les Bleus’ games, having an impact in the 5-2 win over Switzerland by creating a goal for Karim Benzema and then scoring in the 2-0 win over Nigeria, in which he was named as the Budweiser Man of the Match. In winning this award, he becomes only the second player to be named as the Golden Ball winner at the FIFA U-20 World Cup and the senior equivalent in successive tournaments, following in the footsteps of Robert Prosinecki.

FIFA Fair Play Award: Colombia 

The Group C winners who reached the quarter-finals were given this award, not only for collecting just five yellow cards in their five matches at Brazil 2014, but for scoring highly in the criteria set by FIFA’s Technical Study Group, which includes positive play, respect towards the opponent and match officials, as well as the behavior of their team officials and supporters.

FT: Colombia holds off Ivory Coast in raucous Brasilia

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The World Cup Group C match between the Ivory Coast and Colombia was not without drama, action or skill — let alone a yellow-clad crowd at full-throat — but it sure took a while to find its finishing touch.

But when it did…

James Rodriguez scored off a corner kick midway through the second half and Juan Fernando Quintero added his first international goal six minutes later to propel Colombia to the knockout rounds with a 2-1 win.

By the time Gervinho tallied for the Ivory Coast in the 73rd minute, there had been three goals in a frenetic 9-minute span.

Dinged cross bars, flubbed sitters and a raucous crowd were all part of a fun affair in Brasilia.

Didier Drogba was again a bench player, not coming on until the 60th minute (just as he did in sparking Les Elephants 2-1 come-from-behind win over Japan in the group opener).

Colombia was the better team for the match’s first half-hour, maybe even 35 minutes. There was constant danger from the Coffee Makers, but they couldn’t finish; The best example of their failure to finish was Teo’s inability to tap home a gorgeous cross.

The Ivory Coast found some danger in the final 10 minutes before halftime, but couldn’t find their way through, either. Here’s what we were saying at halftime.

James –pronounced “Ham-ez” — Rodriguez finally provided the opening goal in the 64th minute when he crushed a header past Boubacar Barry off Juan Cuadrado’s picturesque near post corner.

Quintero made the most of a bad Ivory Coast giveaway when he latched onto a terrific through ball to double the lead.

But just three minutes later it was Gervinho giving Les Elephants life with a tremendous off-balance dribble capped with a right-footed shot past Ospina to make it 2-1.

The drama didn’t stop with the goals, as Drogba threatened multiple times including off a horrific mistouch by Yepes. The defender was bailed out by Ospina.

Also of note was a drive by Quintero from just past half that almost cost Barry off his line.

LINEUPS:

Ivory Coast –  Barry; Aurier, Bamba, Boka, Zokora; Tiote, Yaya Toure, Die, Gradel (Kalou, 67′); Gervinho, Bony (Drogba, 60′)

Goals: Gervinho (73′)

Colombia — Ospina; Armero (Arias, 71′), Zapata, Yepes (c), Zúñiga; Aguilar, Sánchez, James, Cuadrado, Ibarbo (Quintero, 53′); Teo

Goals: Rodriguez (64′), Quintero (70′)