Monterrey

Cesar Montes to Valencia
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El Tri star Montes “ready” for Europe amidst Valencia report

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Mexican defender Cesar Montes is ready to make the jump to La Liga, and he’s excited to be linked with Valencia.

Monterrey star Montes, 23, stands about 6-foot-3 and has 10 caps for Mexico.

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He has 182 senior appearances for Monterrey, almost all of them at center back, and has chipped in 11 goals at the other end.

Reports earlier this week said Valencia was ready to bid $5 million and let Monterrey have 50 percent of any sell-on rights for the El Tri star.

Valencia has ex-Man City man Eliaquim Mangala, ex-Arsenal back Gabriel Paulista, and former Lyon defender Mouctar Diakhaby as center backs under contract next season.

From Marca’s Mexican outlet:

“It is a great leap and I am ready. I am 22 for 23 years old and since I was a boy I am fighting for this and I have a clear goal of playing in Europe.

“(Valencia is) a great team to go to play in Europe. … My agents will continue working on their own. It is clear that Valencia is one of the greats in Europe.”

Montes went 79 minutes against Liverpool at the Club World Cup, subbing off with the match tied at one (Roberto Firmino won it in stoppage time).

You can see him here bodying up Mohamed Salah before the Egyptian makes a silly pass to Naby Keita for an early Liverpool lead.

Inter Miami hires Diego Alonso as first head coach

Inter Miami hires Diego Alonso as first head coach
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Inter Miami finally has its first manager.

Diego Alonso is the man for the honor, the 44-year-old a two-time CONCACAF Champions League winner.

He led Pachuca to the Clausura 2016 title and a third place finish at the 2017 Club World Cup. He won 42 percent of his matches at Pachuca and 56 percent during his time with Monterrey.

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Inter Miami CF Sporting Director Paul McDonough said this about the hire, via the team’s web site.

“In Diego we found a manager that fits our culture and has a strong desire to build a winning club for our fans. He brings a lot of experience and championship-winning mentality as we begin our drive to be among the best clubs in the Americas. We have big aspirations for our club and believe Diego has the right drive, passion and leadership to accomplish our goals.”

A well-traveled striker during his playing days, Alonso was capped eight times.

Alonso will have some interesting ingredients for his first team. There’s plenty of MLS experience in goalkeeper Luis Robles, defenders Roman Torres and Alvas Powell, and forward Juan Agudelo.

Teenage playmaker Matias Pellegrini is the club’s first Designated Player, and more are sure to come in January. Pedro has been most recently linked, joining a long list of names connected to David Beckham’s long-awaited MLS project.

Rogelio Funes Mori scores bicycle kick stoppage time winner in Liga MX

Funes Mori bicycle kick
JULIO CESAR AGUILAR/AFP via Getty Images
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Rogelio Funes Mori is having himself quite a month.

Monterrey’s 28-year-old Argentine forward scored against Al-Sadd and Liverpool at the Club World Cup, then came back to Mexico and did one better.

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Mori left his feet to chest trap a stoppage time loose ball, then blasted a bicycle kick home to win the first leg of the Liga MX Apertura final over visiting Club America on Friday.

It’s an exquisite bit of balance and coordination, his second-straight league match with a goal.

Mori has 15 goals and an assist in 24 matches for Rayados this season. He’s closing in on 100 for his time with the club, and it’s a safe bet the century mark will be breached soon enough.

Rogelio is the twin brother of former Everton and current Villarreal defender Ramiro Funes Mori.

Klopp: ‘So many strange things happened’ in Club World Cup semifinal win

Club World Cup Liverpool
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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was happy to survive a scare in his Club World Cup semifinal on Wednesday.

The Reds got a late goal from super sub Roberto Firmino to get past game Liga MX side Monterrey 2-1 in Qatar.

Liverpool will now meet Brazilian side Flamengo in Saturday’s final at 12:30 p.m. ET

“So many strange things happened,” Klopp said, via The Liverpool Echo’s Ian Doyle. “It was the most offensive midfield I have ever put out in a competitive game. Henderson center back for the first time. We didn’t have much height at center back.”

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Klopp started Jordan Henderson and Joe Gomez at center back, as Virgil Van Dijk was sick and both Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren have injuries.

He left Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the bench, but needed all of them after Naby Keita‘s goal was leveled by Rogelio Funes Mori.

“I was afraid of extra time, to be honest,” Klopp said. “I was more than happy when Bobby scored that goal. We had to do a few changes as we had no other options. We left players out so we could have the opportunity if the game wasn’t decided. That Bobby scored was just wonderful.”

Monterrey had a fine night, and coach Antonio Mohamed had perhaps the best quote of the night when asked about Gomez not being given a second yellow card.

“For me, there was a red card especially the first foul and the second. So I talked to the referee, maybe the Liverpool shirt has more weight therefore the Liverpool player (Gomez) wasn’t sent off.”

Heavy shirts, team. Heavy ones.

Club World Cup semifinal preview: Liverpool aims for 1st world title

Jurgen Klopp
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Liverpool’s quest to become the second Premier League club to win the Club World Cup begins Wednesday in Qatar against Liga MX side Monterrey.

The Reds hope to join 2008 winners Manchester United as the lone English winners of the 19-year-old tournament. Liverpool (2005) and Chelsea (2012) have also lost CWC finals.

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The tournament crown has belonged in European hands since Corinthians surprised Chelsea in 2012.

The Reds are nearly -1000 favorites to beat Monterrey and the world will expect a tournament crown for the Premier League side, to be sure.

They’ve added Sepp van den Berg, Ki-Jana Hoever, and Harvey Elliott to the team following injuries to Dejan Lovren and Rhian Brewster.

Liverpool play Monterrey at 12:30 p.m. ET Wednesday, 24 hours after fellow favorites Flamengo meet up with Saudi side Al-Hilal.

Here’s a quick roundup of the other three competitors.

Monterrey

The most immediate threat to Jurgen Klopp‘s goals comes in the form of CONCACAF Champions League-winning Rayados. Leonel Vangioni scored a marvelous goal to lead the Liga MX side past Al-Sadd in the quarterfinal. Former Spurs flop Vincent Janssen is in the club, as are familiar faces Miguel Layun (Watford) and Rogelio Funes Mori (River Plate).

Al-Hilal

The Saudi club got here by beating Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds in the Asian Champions League, with Sebastian Giovinco and Bafetimbi Gomis leading the way. Gomis scored the lone goal of a quarterfinal defeat of Esperance Tunis, set up by ex-Watford man Andre Carrillo.

Flamengo

The Rio-based South American champions are led by Gabriel Barbosa, who is on loan from Inter Milan and scoring at will. Longtime Schalke and Bayern Munich man Rafinha is on the squad, as is former Chelsea man Filipe Luis. Diego Alves (Valencia) is the man between the posts.