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Atletico Madrid signs Mexican international Hector Herrera

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As expected, Mexican midfielder Hector Herrera has moved from one established Champions League side to another.

La Liga giants Atletico Madrid announced the signing of Herrera on Wednesday, a widely-reported move after the 29-year-old bid farewell to his club Porto on social media the day before, leaving the Portuguese giants after six seasons and nearly 250 appearances, serving as captain last season.

Herrera joins Atletico Madrid on a free transfer after the expiration of his Porto contract, and will have plenty of competition at the Wanda Metripolitano. The club already has Koke, Saul Niguez, and Thomas Partey in the middle of the pitch who all racked up at least 2,700 minutes last season, plus the addition of big-money signing of 24-year-old Marcos Llorente from Real Madrid. Herrera likely joined as a replacement for 22-year-old Rodrigo who left to join Manchester City.

The club announced Herrera’s deal with Atleti is for three years.

The Mexican international owns 70 international caps but was one of the many stars not called into the squad for the 2019 Gold Cup by new head coach Tata Martino, alongside Carlos Vela, Javier Hernandez, and Jesus Corona. Martino opened the door for a return to the national team on Tuesday, saying that, “Like I’ve said, aside from the case of Carlos, who made a public statement, there is no other player that the doors are closed for.”

Transfer gossip: Brahimi to Arsenal; Ndombele to Man Utd

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Arsenal’s summer transfer rumors revolved around defending, but the last few weeks have focused on attack options (outside of endless Kieran Tierney talk).

Last week, it was Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace.

Enter Yacine Brahimi.

[ MORE: Lampard, Chelsea take next step ]

The 29-year-old Porto man may be joining the Gunners on a free transfer, providing plenty of experience to Unai Emery‘s attack corps.

Capped 48 times by Algeria with 11 goals, Brahimi had been with Porto since 2014. The left winger has 54 goals and 43 assists in 215 appearances over that time.

There are a lot of questions here, but the price tag of free-99 makes them all pretty palatable.


TalkSport claims that the many reports of Tanguy Ndombele’s eventual move to Tottenham Hotspur may have jumped the gun.

Or maybe Manchester United has jumped the line.

Last week saw reports that the 22-year-old Lyon man’s fee may go up soon if Spurs can’t sort the price for the midfielder.

And perhaps United will pay the $82 million fee and give Ndombele whatever he wants.

It would be a huge blow to Spurs, if only to Mauricio Pochettino who has publicly complained about how other clubs get to dictate terms on transfers while he just plays a role in Daniel Levy’s structure (He’s also given plenty of respect and credit to Levy over the years).

The same report mentions a potential breakthrough for United when it comes to its attacking ranks, and that’s in the form of Wissam Ben Yedder.

The $44 million price tag is not insignificant for the 28-year-old Frenchman, who scored eight goals in Europa League and 18 goals with nine goals in La Liga play at Sevilla.

That was his best season since his final four seasons with Toulouse, where Ben Yedder scored 15, 16, 14, and 17 league goals at Ligue 1.


O Jogo is linking Newcastle United with Dutch striker Bas Dost, but we wonder how much of that is based on long-term interest versus reality. Dost, 30, was linked with the Magpies in the past but is now well past the age mentioned as their transfer age limits. But it’s a rumor, so it makes the wrap, along with Sevilla interest.

UCL Live: Can Spurs hold on v. Man City? Liverpool 2-0 up at Porto

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Two more places in the UEFA Champions League semifinals are up for grabs on Wednesday, and two Premier League sides could very well be headed for the last-four.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

The PL is guaranteed at least one spot in the semis once Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur conclude their quarterfinal clash at the Etihad Stadium. Mauricio Pochettino‘s side holds a narrow 1-0 lead on Pep Guardiola and Co., but must protect — or build upon — their advantage without the services of world-class forward Harry Kane (ankle ligament damage). Man City’s ongoing pursuit of the unprecedented quadruple hinges upon overturning the deficit.

The other remaining PL side, Liverpool, takes a 2-0 lead to Portugal, where they’ll attempt to send Porto out of the competition and reach back-to-back semifinals for the first time since 2008. Jurgen Klopp‘s side advanced all the way to the final in 2018 before the Reds fell to Real Madrid in Kiev, Ukraine.

Barcelona and Ajax were the first two sides to reach the semis on Tuesday.

Below is the full schedule for Wednesday’s games, and PST will have you covered with recaps, analysis and reaction from both games.

Wednesday’s UCL quarterfinal schedule

Manchester City v. Tottenham Hotspur – 3 p.m. ET kickoff

Porto v. Liverpool – 3 p.m. ET kickoff

Milner: Liverpool’s style, flair mean little without trophy

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The only point at which Liverpool can be considered one of the world’s best teams is if/when the current squad wins a trophy, according to Reds midfielder/defender James Milner.

[ MORE: Messi scores 2 in first 20 minutes to sink Man United (video) ]

Milner admitted this week that it’s been nice for Liverpool to receive plaudits from all over the world regarding their exciting brand of attacking soccer, but it matters very little if they can’t soon secure a first major trophy under Jurgen Klopp.

Indeed, Porto manager Sergio Conceicao, whose side will host the Reds in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals on Wednesday, has joined the chorus in praising Liverpool for playing the game in a way which is very pleasing on the eye.

“I like the Liverpool dynamics. I like the Liverpool game model,” he said this week. “I like the way they play and the way they are with the ball, and also without it. It is similar to how I see football and in a lot of these moments in a game they are the best team in the world.”

[ MORE: Unplayable Messi reacts as Barca “finally” returns to UCL semis ]

It’s the last little bit against which Milner pushed back — “the best team in the world.” Whether it’s the Champions League or the Premier League, only a shiny piece of silverware can validate such a title — quotes from the Guardian:

“That’s a nice compliment, and you get those compliments by playing good football over a sustained period. But to be that, you have to win trophies. That’s something we haven’t done yet and something we are trying to do this season. There are a lot of good teams left in the Champions League and it’s down to us to prove that and win these games and hopefully win at least one trophy this season. But there are a lot of good teams between us and the last game of the season. We have to keep improving and keep playing as we have been at the moment.”

Liverpool lead Porto 2-0 after their victory in the first leg at Anfield last week.

UCL Weds. preview: Spurs visit Man City; Liverpool at Porto

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Even neutrals can feel the tension in the air as Premier League powers Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur collide in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal on Wednesday.

[ UCL: Ajax ousts Juve | Barca past Man Utd ]

Spurs emerged from the first leg with a terrific 1-0 score line coming off the boot of Heung-Min Son. That means no away goals to Pep Guardiola‘s potent City, a draw, or a scoring one-goal loss will be enough for Spurs to advance to the UCL semifinal and a date with Ajax.

“We have a small advantage but everything can turn very quickly so it’s important to come here with ambition, to stick with our basics as usual but if we come here with the mentality to score goals it’s going to make the game harder for Manchester City,” said Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. “We know it’s going to be tough, we’re going to suffer, but it’s important to be ready in our minds not just to defend but to be ambitious in our performance. … The mentality is very important in a big game like this one and we’ll see what we will deserve.”

On the City side, there’s good news in that Pep Guardiola’s possession-based, attack-heavy model doesn’t yield a lot of chances and the players will be well-drilled when teams play on the counter.

Pep Guardiola obviously knows how to motivate players, but he used the press conference to get City supporters in the right frame of mind. He basically dared them not to find a high level at the Etihad Stadium. From The Manchester Evening News:

“Do it for the guys, they are so proud,” Guardiola said. “We need them in our bad moments, at this stage we cannot go through. … I want to see that they want to get to the semi finals, not just the players, the fans too. I want to see that.”

Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool would need to fall flat on their face at the Estadio do Dragao, relatively speaking, to avoid a second-straight semifinal.

The Reds hold a 2-0 advantage after one leg at Anfield, which means Porto would require a three goals or better win to advance in Liverpool’s place.

That’s not to say Porto lacks the fire power to score, but one goal from the visitors means the hosts will need to bag four. Liverpool has only allowed three goals once this season, in a 4-3 defeat of Crystal Palace, and last allowed four against Roma in last season’s UCL semis.