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Brazil, Argentina league soccer players seek full pay amid coronavirus

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SAO PAULO — As soccer players around Europe accept pay cuts amid the coronavirus pandemic, some of their less-well-compensated South American counterparts are fighting for every penny.

In Brazil and Argentina, players aren’t budging during the league shutdown despite forced cuts to staffing and wages in other leagues around the continent.

Negotiations in Brazil between an association of clubs and the players’ union have failed to reach a deal on pay and early vacations. Team captains and executives are now trying to reach individual decisions, but those could end up in court.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Brazil’s top clubs, fearing a loss of sponsors and rising debts, wanted to cut player salaries by 25% until the pandemic ends. But some players – including those who have been paid late in the past – have asked for the Brazilian soccer confederation to step in. So far it hasn’t, but the union did give some ground on the issue of vacations.

Former players, executives and coaches said they were inspired by the example set by Lionel Messi, who took a 70% cut in pay to help Barcelona keep its staffers during the pandemic. But the voices in Brazil sound more like that of Atlético Mineiro defender Guilherme Arana.

“I don’t think there is a reason (to cut). We are stopping because we need to,” the 22-year-old Arana told Fox Sports. “It is the world that is stopping.”

Atlético, however, said Sunday it will cut salaries by 25%, except for staff members on lower wages.

In Argentina, which has about 4,000 male and female professional soccer players, clubs have not cut salaries and the country’s national federation has not made any recommendations on the issue.

Players’ union leader Sérgio Marchi was, unsurprisingly, against any cuts. He insisted in a radio interview that “it is fundamental” to respect the salaries of soccer players because it would allow the league to resume “without any sort of conflict after this contingency is over.”

“Some (officials) are seeking excuses or mitigating factors for their bad management or to their flawed behavior at the time they are setting up a budget,” he said.

[ MORE: Serie A could return in late May ]

Players in Colombia asked for full pay, but clubs acted swiftly to start saving money.

Jaguares suspended the contracts of 13 members of its squad, Millionarios reduced wages without much debate and Santa Fé pitched fans against players on Twitter by asking them if salaries should be cut. The query ended with 62% of fans voting yes.

Colombian league organizers are also asking the government to broaden some economic policies to help clubs, including those that have suspended players’ contracts so they wouldn’t go bankrupt.

“We don’t want taxpayer money to deal with the financial difficulties during this mandatory stop,” Jorge Enrique Vélez, the head of the league, said in an interview with Radio Caracol. “We are asking for policies that the government has already set for tourism and aviation industries. We also had to stop 100%, and we have no revenues during this time.”

In Uruguay, some players are now claiming unemployment benefits after several clubs, including Montevideo powerhouse Peñarol, suspended their contracts. The country’s soccer association has also cut pay for staff, including 73-year-old national team coach Oscar Tabárez.

The biggest exception is in Peru, where Alianza Lima players openly suggested they should be paid less so the club can afford to keep all its workers. Goalkeeper Leao Butrón said the decision was “easy to make.”

“Yes, the offer actually came from us. We wanted to give the club a break,” Butrón said in a radio interview. “They told us that it is not necessary for now. But we don’t know when this will end. We are still willing. Beyond being an economic problem, it is a liquidity issue. A financial issue. We can give a hand if extreme measures are needed.”

Nominees revealed for FIFA Coach of the Year award

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FIFA have revealed their 10 nominees for the “Coach of the Year” award.

Comprising of managers who coach at the club and international level, there is a wide range of coaches with four managers coming from European club soccer.

The Premier League is well represented when it comes to nominees, as Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino are all included.

National team coaches who excelled over the past 12 months include Ricardo Gareca who led Peru to the Copa America final, while Djamel Belmadi who the Africa Cup of Nations with Algeria and Fernando Santos led Portugal to the UEFA Nations League title.

Below is a look at list of nominees in full, as Klopp will fancy his chances after Liverpool’s Champions League success, but so too will Guardiola after he led Man City to a domestic treble.

But, would someone like Pochettino or Ajax’s Erik ten Hag actually deserve this award more due to the miracles they worked with their respective teams given the resources at their disposal?

The winner will be announced in Milan on September 23 at FIFA’s The Best awards.

Djamel Belmadi (Algeria)
Didier Deschamps (France)
Marcelo Gallardo (River Plate)
Ricardo Gareca (Peru)
Pep Guardiola (Manchester City)
Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool)
Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham Hotspur)
Fernando Santos (Portugal)
Erik ten Hag (Ajax)
Tite (Brazil)

Copa America team of the tournament announced

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The 2019 Copa America team of the tournament has been announced, and Lionel Messi hasn’t been included in the best XI.

Hmm. I wonder why…

Messi slammed CONMEBOL officials and referees for “corruption” and said the tournament was “fixed” for Brazil to win it.

That led to South America’s governing body releasing a statement defending its officials and a ban is likely coming up for Mr. Messi. So, yeah, he’s not in the team of the tournament and his one goal in six games could also suggest why that was the case.

The Selecao did win the tournament, beating surprise finalists Peru 3-1 in the final, as the hosts were dominant throughout.

Five Brazilian players feature in the team of the tournament with Alisson, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, Arthur and Everton all included. But Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino both had very good tournaments for the hosts, while Alexis Sanchez also had his moments before he suffered an injury.

Peru’s Miguel Trauco and Paolo Guerrero were also in the best XI, while James Rodriguez from Colombia, Leandro Paredes from Argentina, Chile’s Arturo Vidal and Uruguay’s Jose Gimenez are all the lone representatives from their nations.

Below is the team of the tournament in full.


2019 Copa America Team of the Tournament

Goalkeeper: Alisson
Defenders: Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, Jose Gimenez, Miguel Trauco
Midfielders: Arthur, Arturo Vidal, Leando Paredes
Forwards: Everton, James Rodriguez, Paolo Guerrero

Jesus scores, assists, sent off as Brazil beats Peru in Copa America final (video)

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Gabriel Jesus assisted on the opening goal and scored the winner before being sent off in Brazil’s 3-1 victory over Peru in the final of the 2019 Copa America on Sunday.

[ VIDEO: Watch the USWNT lift the World Cup trophy ]

The triumph is Brazil’s ninth as South American champions (sixth of the Copa America era) and their first since 2007. It’s the first time Brazil has lifted the trophy on home soil since 1989.

The scoring began quickly — though, not quite as quickly as when Brazil beat Peru 5-0 during group play — courtesy of Everton, in the 15th minute. Jesus floated a ball to the back post and Everton slotted it home with a powerful finish just inside the near post.

Peru drew level not long before halftime, thanks to a handball by Thiago Silva. Paolo Guerrero stepped up to the spot and converted the penalty kick in the 44th minute.

The 1-1 scoreline didn’t quite last until halftime, though, as Jesus tucked a tidy finish into the back of the net in the third minute of first-half stoppage time. Arthur dribbled past a whole host of Peruvians before slipping a tough pass through to Jesus near the edge of the box.

The red card came midway through the second half. Jesus had been clattered into moments earlier, prompting him to raise his elbow as he went up for an aerial duel. It was a hard foul with clear intent, plenty worthy of a yellow card — his second of the game. Clearly upset at the decision — or, maybe himself — Jesus melted down as he left the field (WATCH HERE) before he was seen crying atop the stairs inside the tunnel at the Maracana.

Richarlison tacked on a penalty kick in the 90th minute, resulting from a highly questionable decision by the referee. It was a shoulder-to-shoulder challenge that seemed to heavily favor the home team.

Watch Live: Brazil v. Peru, 2019 Copa America final

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Brazil has its sights set on becoming South American champions for the ninth time, while Peru hopes to claim its third continental title, when the two nations meet in the 2019 Copa America final in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Sunday (4 p.m. ET).

[ STREAM: Brazil v. Peru, Copa America final on Telemundo Deportes ]

The host nation is yet to concede a goal this tournament and has outscored opponents by a combined margin of 10-0, including a 5-0 thrashing of this same Peru side during the group stage.

The degree to which Peru beating Brazil in the final, in Rio, would be an upset is almost incomprehensible. The Selecao has won its last four final appearances, dating back to 1997, while Peru hasn’t appeared in a final since last winning it in 1975.

Watch game live online in Spanish via Telemundo Deportes and via the NBCSports App. All you have to do is click on the link above.