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Report: Griezmann plus cash could finally get Neymar back to Barcelona

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Neymar’s long-rumored return to Barcelona hasn’t quite reached the point of exhaustion, but it’s close.

A new report has said Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain may be coming to terms with what’s been a fairly obvious swap deal for some time.

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According to Sky Sports, PSG would send Neymar to Barcelona in return for French hero Antoine Griezmann and money.

The $167 million price tag attached to Neymar is significantly more than the $110 million on Griezmann, and there’s no doubt the former is more of a gamechanger at this point on their careers.

While Neymar gets both the #whenhealthy and #whenavailable tags to his rep, he’s scored 18 times with 10 assists in 22 matches across all competitions this year.

Before the full phrase ‘Ligue 1’ exits your lips, he’s scored against Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Celtic, Galatasaray, Liverpool, Anderlecht, and Red Star Belgrade in his three seasons with PSG.

Griezmann is a full year older than Neymar and, while one of the world’s elite attackers, he’s a step below the Brazilian’s tier. He’s also said to want to keep finding his way at Barca, with Gerard Pique and others ready to lend support.

Burning question: Which soccer stadium do you have to visit?

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This week at ProSoccerTalk we will be asking some burning questions we have when it comes to the beautiful game and the first one focuses on something we all love: a stadium.

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Each day we will release a burning question, as now seems like a good time to take stock of where the game is at and take a look at what we love and what we’d like to change as we await its return following the suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

First question: What is one stadium you have to visit in your lifetime?

We are talking specifically for a soccer game here. What is one stadium you have on your bucket list and why?

Want to hear mine? Of course you do.

Well, I checked one off my lengthy list back in 2016 as I went to the San Siro to see Southampton against Inter Milan in the UEFA Europa League and I have to tell you, when I saw that stadium for the first time it was one of those moments when the hairs literally stood up on the back of my neck and my jaw dropped. As a kid I had a huge book full of the best players, stadiums and managers in history and would flick through it front to back night after night and I always paused on a photo of the San Siro in awe. Dreams became reality.

It was a foggy day in November and the four pillars of the brutalist structure ascended into the clouds and dominated the local skyline like the Coliseum. With very few buildings around it, that further reinforced how iconic of a stadium the San Siro. With plans to demolish it announced recently, I’m glad I got to visit it when I did, even though the plans to tear it down may be delayed or changed such has been the public outrage.

So that’s one ticked off the list.

In terms of the others, Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu and Boca Juniors’ La Bombonera in Buenos Aires are others, so too is Rangers’ Ibrox home in Glasgow and Borussia Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion. In short, I have a lot of stadiums I want to visit in the coming years and I’m sure you do too and have discussed this very question at length in soccer bars across the USA.

And you’ve been letting us know across our social accounts too.

 

Let us know in the comments section below the ONE stadium you have to visit in the soccer world and why, and it doesn’t have to be a mega-stadium. What about those incredible small stadiums you see in Norway tucked away in the fjords? Or a wild atmosphere in eastern Europe or central America?

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Transfer rumor roundup: Four bids for Gabriel, Barca offer five for Martinez

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The transfer rumor mill has not paused often during the coronavirus suspension, with — nickname alert — French Eddy being linked to Arsenal along with RB Leipzig back Dayot Upamecano.

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It seems like more than links when it comes to Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes, as four clubs including Premier League side Everton are said to have made bids for the 22-year-old.

Gabriel moved from Brazil to France in 2016, and he was loaned by Lille to Dinamo Zagreb and Troyes before establishing himself as a first-teamer.

The center back has two goals in 52 appearances and is averaging 1.7 tackles per game, 3.3 clearances, and .9 interceptions in Ligue 1 play while passing at 82 percent.

Gabriel is set to cost more than $36 million. He’s repped Brazil at the U-20 level.

Elsewhere, a better-known South American is being linked to his usual destination in a wild exchange.

Calcio Mercato reports that Barcelona is willing to offer five players to Inter Milan in order to drive down the price on Lautaro Martinez.

There’s plenty of smoke to infer fire when it comes to the prolific 22-year-old Argentine striker, though a five-player exchange is different than meeting the $124 million release clause.

Those players are midfielders Arturo Vidal, Carles Alena, and Arthur, fullback Nelson Semedo, and Jean-Clair Todibo, who are worth a combined $167 million according to the loose estimates of Transfermarkt.

Michel Hidalgo, who coached France to EURO 1984 glory, dies

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PARIS (AP) Michel Hidalgo, the coach who led France to the 1984 European Championship title and the 1982 World Cup semifinals, died on Thursday. He was 87.

The French Football Federation confirmed the death.

Hidalgo coached the national team from 1976-84 and led host France to its first major title at Euro 1984 with midfielder Michel Platini scoring nine goals.

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Les Bleus reached the World Cup semifinals two years earlier but lost to West Germany in a penalty shootout.

Soccer purists adored the way Hidalgo’s teams were almost fixated on creativity, even at the expense of defending. The midfield, led by Platini, was known as the “Magic Four” and was arguably the best in the world at the time. Alain Giresse, Jean Tigana and Bernard Genghini were the other three.

“I would like to express all my affection and my support to his wife Monique, to his family and all of those close to him,” Platini said in a statement. “As a coach, Michel lifted France to the summit of its art, with determination choosing the beautiful game and allowing each one of us to express all of our ability and individual talent.”

Hidalgo coached France in 75 games, behind only Raymond Domenech and current coach Didier Deschamps.

FFF president Noel Le Graet spoke of his “immense sadness and deep emotion” upon hearing of Hidalgo’s death.

“The federation, our football, are in grieving,” Le Graet said. “With his style of play, his personality and his exemplary passion, he contributed to our sport shining at international level and its popularity in France.”

During his playing days from 1952-66, Hidalgo was an attacking midfielder who scored regularly for Le Havre, Reims and Monaco.

He won French titles and French Cups as a player, and scored in the European Cup final when Reims lost to Real Madrid 4-3 in 1956. He put his club ahead 3-2 after the Spanish team rallied from a 2-0 deficit.

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

LeBron James praises Liverpool, Kylian Mbappe

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LeBron James, minority owner in Liverpool Football Club, has praised Kylien Mbappe.

That sound you can hear is Liverpool fans everywhere furiously typing out #Mbappe2020 once again.

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The legendary NBA star hosted an Instagram chat on Monday and was asked about his favorite soccer players. Here was the answer James gave.

“Favorite soccer players … I got a few,” LeBron James said. “First of all, every player on Liverpool. Straight up. Every player on Liverpool. Mbappe, Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo, those guys are legends, I love those guys. Those are just a few of them.”

James also gave praise to Lionel Messi and someone else said Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Zlatan? His crazy ass. He crazy, but he damn good, though,” LeBron James responded. 

It is unlikely Liverpool would sign Neymar or Cristiano Ronaldo but the fact James mentioned Mbappe as one of his favorite players is intriguing.

Look, it’s not like James has any say in who Liverpool sign and their transfer policy. Of course he doesn’t. However, with Liverpool moving to Nike as their kit sponsor from this summer, James could be popping up at lot more at Anfield and Mbappe is also sponsored by Nike.

Did somebody say, synergy? Could Liverpool afford Mbappe? Probably not anytime soon. Still, the rumblings about him coming to the Premier League one day continue.

LeBron James is a keen soccer fan and when his playing days are over in the NBA, you could certainly see him branching out and owning a team, maybe in Major League Soccer, maybe in Europe. Who knows?

It remains to be seen if Liverpool fans everywhere will now start to send the Mbappe to Liverpool rumors into overdrive again.