Ligue 1

Chicago Fire signs new Designated Player
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Chicago captures Ligue 1 striker Beric from Saint-Etienne

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The latest Designated Player in Major League Soccer toasted his new deal with a spicy shot of local flavor.

The Chicago Fire rolled out veteran Ligue 1 forward Robert Beric this weekend, the Slovenian tossing back a shot of Jeppson’s Malort as a part of the team’s announcement.

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Beric, 28, comes with a solid resume, scoring 34 times in 104 matches for Saint-Etienne since 2015/16. He spent time with Maribor, Rapid Vienna, Anderlecht, Sturm Graz, Interblok, and Krsko prior to that.

He only has one goal this season in 777 minutes, still getting plenty of run in Ligue 1. Head coach Raphael Wicky will hope he’s found a force. From Chicago-Fire.com:

“Robert is hard-working, intelligent number nine who has the ability to score goals at a high rate. We are looking forward to welcoming him and his family to Chicago.”

The 24-times capped Slovenian has been with the national team as recently as October. He’ll be tasked with picking up the scoring in the place of Nemanja Nikolic. The departing forward scored 56 times in three seasons with the Fire, but just 12 last season.

Transfer rumor roundup: Kabasele to Arsenal, Man Utd; Spurs, Newcastle eye Cyprien

Premier League transfer rumors
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Oh, the rumors are picking up around England…

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Newcastle United is looking into perhaps the perfect cure for what ails them, but faces competition from Spurs.

The Magpies have incredible depth at the back and have made good investment across the top, but have been lacking a star midfielder to drive the attack since Yohan Cabaye or Georginio Wijnaldum.

Enter Wylan Cyprien, the $30 million rated Nice playmaker.

Cyprien, 24, has seven goals and three assists for Nice this season. Ranked 10th in Ligue 1 for goals and shots, he’s also a terrific passer and quality on set pieces.

Why Nice would sell him in season is the question, and it seems likely Patrick Vieira would revolt if his top playmaker left with the club in competition for the Champions League places.


The Magpies are the least likely of a host of teams reportedly chasing Watford defender Christian Kabasele.

The 28-year-old Belgian center back is very much wanted by the Vicarage Road set, but will enter the final year of his contract next summer.

If Watford cannot lock him down, he’ll have no shortage of suitors.Β Le 10 Sport links Newcastle, Manchester United, Arsenal, and West Ham wil his services.

Kabasele has appeared 88 times for the Hornets since arriving from Genk, pitching in five goals. It’s odd to see him linked with Newcastle, as he’s more needed at the other reported members of the trio.


Aston Villa is not messing around when it comes to January transfer targets.

The Villans have already added Pepe Reina, and are reportedly seeking another pair of Serie A stars.

Jose Callejon and Fernando Llorente will be familiar to most who watch the European game.

The former, 32, has a goal and eight assists for the Neapolitans this season as part of a glittering career. The latter arrived from Spurs this summer and has four goals on the season.

Villa definitely needs a center forward with Wesley Moraes out for the season, but Llorente has scored more than six goals in a season since his 15-goal campaign for Swansea City in 2016/17.

USMNT starlet Weah returns to Lille training after long absence

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American winger Timothy Weah is finally back training with Lille, five months after arriving on a $12 million deal with Paris Saint-Germain.

Weah started Lille’s Ligue 1 opener as an attacking mid and came off the bench in the second match on Aug. 17 before suffering a long-term injury.

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The “bad hamstring tear” cost the 19-year-old the chance to stake his claim to a spot in Lille’s young attack. Blossoming center forward Victor Osimhen (21) has 10 goals and four assists this season while attacking mid Jonathan Ikone has three and three.

A former Golden Boy nominee, Weah scored twice in six first team matches for PSG before going on loan to Celtic. His half-season in Scotland saw four goals and an assist in 17 appearances.

Lille’s fourth-place finish in its Champions League group mean its European season is over, but the side is still plenty busy.

Lille sits fourth in Ligue 1 with 31 points, two back of third and 14 behind leaders PSG. The club beat Amiens in the French League Cup quarterfinals on Wednesday and is in the French Cup’s Round of 32.

Will Weah be back in action before his 20th birthday on Feb. 22?

Monaco fires Jardim, hires former Spain boss Moreno

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MONTE CARLO — Monaco fired Leonardo Jardim for a second time on Saturday and announced former Spain coach Robert Moreno as his replacement.

[ MORE: Mourinho: Spurs keep making “same mistakes match after match” ]

Moreno has signed a contract through to the end of the 2021-22 season and will start his new job next week. He coached Spain for six games, helping the team qualify for next year’s European Championship.

Jardim’s first spell in charge was from 2014-18, during which time Monaco won the French league in 2017 and reached the Champions League semifinals in the same season.

[ MORE: Rodgers ‘so proud’ of Leicester after making nine changes, winning ]

He returned as coach in January as a replacement for Thierry Henry.

Monaco is seventh in the league, 17 points behind leader Paris Saint-Germain.

MbappΓ© enjoys turning 21 with 2 goals as PSG routs Amiens

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PARIS — Kylian Mbappe celebrated turning 21 with a silvery-looking haircut and two more clinical finishes as league leader Paris Saint-Germain beat struggling Amiens 4-1 on Saturday.

It was a familiar sight as the lightning-fast France star with his new dyed hair – after his birthday on Friday – latched onto a long pass from Neymar and adroitly clipped the ball over the advancing goalkeeper.

Mbappe has been involved in 15 goals in his last 12 league games – 11 goals and four assists – and his partnership with Brazil star Neymar continues to flourish.

Neymar danced in front of the home fans after tapping home from close range early into the second half. Mauro Icardi’s effort was blocked and the loose ball rolled kindly across to Neymar.

Angel Di Maria then set up Mbappe with a clever reverse pass down the right, with Mbappe drilling a low shot into the corner in the 65th.

However rampant in attack, PSG remains prone to lapses in concentration at the back and Colombian forward Steven Mendoza was left unmarked when he pulled a goal back five minutes later.

Icardi has been in prolific form since joining on a season’s loan from Inter Milan and notched his ninth league goal in only 11 games, showing his usual dexterity when sliding to the back post to volley in a cross from the left with minutes remaining.

The win kept PSG seven points clear of second-place Marseille heading into the mid-season winter break. PSG has played one game less and has a vastly superior goal difference.

Marseille enjoyed a comfortable 3-1 home win against 19th-place Nimes for a sixth win in seven games. Midfield schemer Dimitri Payet was involved in all the goals – and in another disallowed goal – after a tight first half.

Nimes players were exasperated not to get a penalty on the stroke of halftime, following a video review after center half Duje Caleta-Car appeared to impede Sofiane Alakouch.

Alakouch inadvertently sent the ball into his own net in the 47th after sliding to stop a cross from the right from reaching Payet.

Marseille then had a goal ruled out by VAR after Payet’s deflected shot from the edge of the penalty area clipped striker Dario Benedetto, who was in an offside position.

Benedetto’s next effort stood as he volleyed into the roof of the net from close range in the 66th, after midfielder Morgan Sanson’s saved shot from Payet’s pass bounced up invitingly to him.

Payet got an ovation when he was substituted soon after his well-struck goal in the 82nd. Payet was one of France’s best players at the European Championship in 2016, but then lost his place.

With Euro 2020 looming, he is pushing for a return to coach Didier Deschamps’ squad and has four goals and three assists in six games.

The French league resumes on Jan. 10.

OTHER MATCHES

Striker M’Baye Niang’s late goal gave Rennes a 1-0 home win against Bordeaux and moved it two points above Lille into third place.

Lille was routed 5-1 away to Monaco, despite Nigeria striker Victor Osimhen’s 10th league goal of the season giving Lille a 14th-minute lead.

The prolific Wissam Ben Yedder grabbed two second-half goals to take his league-leading tally to 13 – two more than Mbappe.

Nantes is two points behind Lille in fifth spot after losing 2-1 at home to Angers.

Midfielder Ludovic Blas celebrated his goal after a shot from outside the penalty area in the 18th. Goalkeeper Ludovic Butelle clumsily spilled what was otherwise a comfortable shot to stop.

Midfielder Antonin Bobichon leveled for Angers in the 51st and Algerian striker Farid El Melali pounced late on.

Lyon was missing top scorer Memphis Depay and attacking midfielder Jeff Reine-Adelaide to serious knee injuries sustained last weekend, but still took an early lead at sixth-place Reims through midfielder Lucas Tousart.

After midfielder Mathieu Cafaro leveled from the penalty spot for Reims in the 44th, striker Moussa Dembele missed a late penalty for Lyon in a 1-1 draw.

Center forward Gaetan Laborde netted twice as ninth-place Montpellier easily beat Brest 4-0.

Headers from Malang Sarr and Hicham Boudaoui put 10th-place Nice 2-0 up inside 20 minutes at home to last-place Toulouse, and a brilliant curling shot by midfielder Pierre Lees-Melou. also in the first half, made it 3-0.

Saint-Etienne slumped to a fifth defeat in the last seven games overall, losing 2-1 at 11th-place Strasbourg.

Dijon midfielder Romain Amalfitano’s first league goal since January 2016 was worth the wait in a 2-2 home draw with Metz. As the ball dropped on the edge of the penalty area he struck a superb volley into the bottom corner to equalize moments after Senegal striker Habib Diallo’s 10th of the season gave Metz a 15th-minute lead.

Metz had a player sent off in the second half but earned a point thanks to Habib Maiga’s injury-time goal.