Rayo Vallecano

Man City sign Van Sas
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Reports: Man City, Barcelona land impressive youth stars

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Manchester City has added one of the more coveted young goalkeepers in Europe.

FC Utrecht announced that City had reached an agreement to bring Mikki van Sas from the Eredivisie club to the Etihad Stadium.

[ MORE: New PL schedule ]

Van Sas, 16, has not made his senior debut for Utrecht but had been linked with some of the biggest clubs in Europe including Barcelona, Manchester United, and Real Madrid.

He’s represented the Netherlands at the U-15 and U-16 levels.

From The Manchester Evening News:

“We say goodbye to Mikki with mixed feelings,” said Utrecht technical director Jordy Zuidam. “On the one hand, we regret that Mikki, an incredibly talented goalkeeper, leaves our academy. We would of course have liked to see Mikki shine in the Galgenwaard Stadium, which is what we train for. On the other hand, Mikki said that he really wanted to make this move and we also see his transfer to Manchester City as a compliment to our youth academy.”

Obviously it will be some time before Van Sas hits the first team level for City, who has Ederson as a No. 1 and youngster Arijanet Muric on loan at Nottingham Forest and American backstop Zach Steffen on loan at Fortuna Dusseldorf (but injured for some time). Veteran Claudio Bravo is out-of-contract this summer and has been linked with a move to NYCFC. And then there’s Kyle Walker.

It’s not all bad news for Barcelona, who has reportedly landed a teenage phenom at the center forward position.

Rayo Vallecano 16-year-old Fabian Luzzi was said to be pursued by Barca and both Atletico and Real Madrid, having made bench appearances in the Copa del Rey as a 15-year-old.

Luzzi was said to have caught Barca’s attention when he scored twice against England at youth international level. He also went 62 minutes for Spain’s U-16s in a 2-1 defeat of the U.S. U-17s in February.

Real Madrid has made a lot of big name youth signings while Barca has hung its hat on Ansu Fati and hopes in other homegrown talents like Riqui Puig and Alex Collado.

La Liga: Real Madrid lose again as poor away form continues

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MADRID (AP) Real Madrid continued to struggle in away matches under coach Zinedine Zidane with a 1-0 defeat to second-to-last Rayo Vallecano in the Spanish league on Sunday, practically ending the team’s chances of catching Atletico Madrid for second place.

A day after seeing Barcelona clinch its second straight title – and eighth in 11 seasons – Madrid stayed nine points behind Atletico with three rounds remaining.

Madrid, which was coming off a 0-0 draw at Getafe, is trying to avoid finishing third for the second straight season. It hasn’t finished outside of the top two in consecutive seasons since 1973-74.

Madrid is yet to win in four away matches under Zidane, with a loss against Valencia and draws against Leganes and Getafe, two other teams from Madrid, like Rayo. It has won all four matches at home with the former France great in charge in his second stint.

“I’ll usually always defend my players, but not today,” said Zidane.

“We can’t play like that, and I’m responsible as well. We didn’t do anything” he said. “I’m upset because we didn’t send the right message. I’m responsible for it. We have to apologize to the fans and to the club.”

It was one of Madrid’s worst games since Zidane — who quit last season after leading the team to three straight Champions League titles — returned to replace Santiago Solari eight matches ago.

“Everything was bad,” he said. “The attitude and the game. We didn’t give our best effort. There’s no explanation for it.”

Rayo, promoted this season, had won only one of its last 13 matches, with 10 losses. It was in last place entering the weekend.

The hosts got the winner with a penalty kick converted by Adrian Embarba in the 23rd minute after a foul awarded by video review.

Rayo moved above Huesca at the bottom of the standings, but it remained six points from safety.

La Liga: Messi bags incredible hat-trick, Villareal earns vital win

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That guy Lionel Messi’s pretty darn good.

Barcleona hammered Real Betis 4-1 behind an utterly stunning hat-trick from Messi to restore its 10-point lead atop the La Liga table.

Messi was fabulous the entire match, completing 51 of 57 passes, including eight of nine inside the penalty area, and created three chances outside of his three goals. He opened the scoring in the 18th minute, depositing a classic free-kick into the top-left corner. Just before halftime, Luis Suarez did wonderful one-on-two work down the middle and fed a charging Messi through the back line for the finish in front of net.

In the 63rd minute, Suarez contributed to the scoreline with a stunning one-on-four breakaway that left three defenders on the ground in his wake before he slotted past Pau Lopez. To finish things off, Messi grabbed his hat-trick in the 85th minute with the best of the bunch, blasting a one-touch left-footed strike from a tight angle that curled up and over Lopez and into the far corner, an absolute beauty fitting of the moment.

The home Real Betis fans saw the brilliance in the accomplishment, so much that they cheered Messi to the point where he gave back the love postgame. “I don’t remember a night like this,” Messi said to beIN Sports after the match. “I’m very grateful for the way the fans responded here.”

Real Valladolid earned all three points in stunning fashion with a 2-1 comeback win with both goals coming in stoppage time. Fabian Orellana put Eibar in front in the 54th minute, but Daniele Verde bagged a penalty in the first minute of added time after a VAR review, and Sergi Guardiola was on hand to earn the win in the 93rd minute winner.

Sevilla scrapped to a 1-0 victory over Espanyol in a game that featured 25 total shots but just six on target split both ways, with both teams finishing down a man. Wissam Ben Yedder scored the game’s only goal, coming from the spot after Mario Hermoso clearly bundled over Andre Silva right on the left edge of the area. The game finished with both Sergi Darder and Juan Soriano receiving red cards after the final whistle to cap off an otherwise dull match.

Meanwhile, Valencia and Getafe played to a 0-0 draw that featured just three total shots on target, allowing Sevilla to climb three points ahead of Valencia in sixth, a point back of fifth-placed Alaves and three behind fourth-placed Getafe.

Finally, Villareal took care of Rayo Vallecano 3-1 with a second-half comeback. The visitors went in front in the 20th minute at El Madrigal, with Mario Suarez producing a fabulous header that picked out the far corner from a good distance out. Yet, in the 50th minute, it all began to go wrong for Rayo as Emiliano Velazquez unluckily deflected a cross right to Karl Toko Ekambi waiting on the doorstep for the finish.

Ekambi picked out his brace just two minutes later on a wonderful feed from Vicente Iborra right through the channel for the one-on-one finish. As the game wore on, Villareal killed things off in the 88th minute via Gerard Moreno thanks to a brilliant long-distance switch by Manuel Morlanes. The win pushed Villareal four points clear of the drop in 17th place, while Rayo Vallecano remained in 19th, two back of Celta Vigo in 18th and seven from safety.

Three hurt in clash between radical fans before Barca vs Rayo

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MADRID (AP) Emergency services say three people were hurt when radical fan groups supporting Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano clashed before a Spanish league match on Saturday.

[ RECAP: Barca comes back to win ]

Emergency services for Madrid say the three were taken from near Vallecas Stadium to a hospital to receive treatment for cuts and bruises.

Barcelona says in a statement it “laments and condemns” the fighting, which was near Rayo’s stadium according to Spanish media reports.

Barcelona says it “reaffirms its commitment to fight against any form of violence in the world of sport and once again puts itself at the disposition of the police and security forces to eliminate these groups.”

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

Amid European interest, Geoff Cameron close to Stoke exit

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USMNT veteran Geoff Cameron is close to leaving Stoke City following their relegation from the Premier League last season.

Cameron, 33, hasn’t featured for Stoke this season in the second tier. He missed the season opener at Leeds United due to flying home to the USA to be with his father who suffered a stroke, and he wasn’t included in Gary Rowett’s 18-man squad for their 1-1 home draw against Brentford on Saturday.

Pro Soccer Talk understands Cameron is getting plenty of interest from elsewhere in Europe and has a $9.5 million buyout clause in his contract. We understand Cameron has been eager to move on since the end of last season when the Potters were relegated from the Premier League, but is relaxed about the situation with a few weeks of the transfer window to go outside of the Premier League in England and across most of Europe.

A report from the Daily Telegraph stated that Cameron, Charlie Adam, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Giannelli Imbula are all allowed to leave before the end of the transfer window for Football League clubs which is on August 31.

Pro Soccer Talk understands that clubs from Spain, Germany and Scandinavia want to sign Cameron with Odense BK in Denmark, Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga and Rayo Vallecano in La Liga potential destinations for the holding midfielder, who can also play at center back and right back.

Cameron has spent the past six seasons in the Premier League at Stoke and was a regular under both Tony Pulis and Mark Hughes. He joined Stoke from the Houston Dynamo in 2012 after becoming an MLS All-Star and reaching an MLS Cup final during his five years in the league.

The versatile Massachusetts native has made 55 appearances for the U.S. national team as he played a starring role at the 2014 World Cup.

Cameron had previously been linked with a move back to MLS with the LA Galaxy, but the contract offer wasn’t deemed to be viable.