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River Plate to sponsor car in Indy 500

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There will be a soccer presence at the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, the Indianapolis 500.

On Thursday, Club Atletico River Plate announced, along with car owner Juncos Racing that Kyle Kaiser’s No. 32 car will feature a River Plate logo on the front of the vehicle. Juncos Racing is named after founder Ricardo Juncos, an Argentine native and clearly a big River fan.

Per a press release from River Plate, it’s the first time a soccer team is sponsoring a car in the Indy 500, which takes place this Sunday, May 26.

[READ: Pochettino hopeful Kane will be ready to make an impact in UCL final]

“As a River fan, I always wanted to have the logo of the Club in the car,” Juncos said in a press release.
“This race is very important for me. I am very happy and I believe that in the goal of River to expand into the Indy 500. From here to there will come positive things for both.”

Kaiser, just 23, is one of the new guys on the main IndyCar scene, especially after winning the IndyCar Lights title in 2017. It’s the racing equivalent of winning the Europa League. Unlike River’s reputation as one of the biggest clubs in South America, Kaiser just barely made it into the field all together, bumping former Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso out of the field by about one hundredth of a second.

While it’s cool to see a soccer team get involved in the Indy 500, a worldwide viewing event that’s also akin to a religious holiday throughout the state of Indiana, it’s another Buenos Aires club that really should have been the first to sponsor a car.

Racing Club, defending Argentine league champs, would have been terrific, Racing in Uruguay, or Racing de Santander in Spain. Perhaps one day in the future the three clubs can combine forces to sponsor an IndyCar event or a car competing in a race.

Must-See: River Plate fan gets tattoo of Copa Libertadores triumph over rivals Boca Juniors

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Fans have been known to get their favorite team’s logo, or a legendary player tattooed on their body. One fan in Brazil, of the club Flamengo, even got his entire torso tattooed to make it look like he was always wearing the club’s kit.

Now, one River Plate fan took the art of the tattoo and combined it with modern technology to take trolling your rivals to the next level.

Argentine journalist Ariel Cristofalo posted a video on Thursday on Twitter of a River Plate fan who got a new tattoo. But it’s not just any tattoo. It’s a QR code that when scanned, takes users to the Youtube video featuring highlights of the fan’s beloved River Plate beating rivals Boca Juniors in last fall’s Copa Libertadores finals. River beat Boca, 5-3, on aggregate with the second leg of the final played in Madrid after the shocking displays of fan violence on the streets in Buenos Aires suspending play and forcing the match to be postponed.

Getting a tattoo of a QR code that seems innocent, only to taunt your rivals is a pretty cool troll these days. The kicker? Since the person got that tattoo, that video has been pulled from YouTube for copyright infringement, making the tattoo completely worthless.

At least it was worth something at the time. That’s all that counts.

Transfer rumor roundup: Arsenal, Man City linked with mids; New home for Mourinho?

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Pep Guardiola may’ve changed his mind on the whole “no January signings” stance.

The Manchester Evening News has quotes from Porto center midfielder Juan Fernando Quintero saying he’s having conversation with Manchester City.

[ MORE: Chong debuts for Man Utd ]

Quintero is adamant that he will only move if the deal is perfect, as he’s quite happy on loan at River Plate.

The purchase would be the latest big money sale for Porto, having been a regular loanee from the Portuguese outfit. The attack-minded soon-to-be 26-year-old midfielder can also play on the right side of the pitch.

Unai Emery is close to getting a much-desired reunion with Denis Suarez, who’d like an equally-needed change of scenery.

Suarez, who turns 25 on Sunday, has made just six appearances, scoring twice for Barcelona and has a reported $25 million price tag.

The pair spent a season together at Sevilla, where Suarez scored six goals with five assist but was not used in the final two rounds of the Europa League title run.

Meanwhile, Barcelona may be adding a midfielder after the season in mercurial Adrien Rabiot of Paris Saint-Germain.

Ernesto Valverde knows how to handle big personalities, and the lack of a transfer fee would make the risk worthwhile even at a reported $12 million salary.

And Jose Mourinho may be in the frame for his next job already, at the site of his first, very-brief foray into management.

Record (Portuguese link) says Mourinho could move to Benfica, where he presided over a nine-match run in 2000 before resigning after being denied a contract extension.

That was the only controversial stint in his managerial career, period (What’s that you say?).

Finally, The Daily Mirror says Nice outcast Mario Balotelli is preparing a move to Marseille, spuring Newcastle United after falling out of favor with manager Patrick Vieira.

Report: Pity Martinez could cost Atlanta United almost $14 million

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It’s not as much as the club spent on Ezequiel Barco, but Atlanta United has again reportedly shelled out a boatload of money compared to most MLS transactions to sign its latest Argentine star.

According to a report from Argentine daily newspaper Ole, Atlanta United and River Plate agreed on a base $10 million transfer fee for midfielder Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez. The fee could rise to nearly $14 million should Martinez make 10 MLS starts, or should he be sold to a new club, which-ever comes first, along with agent fees and taxes. In addition, Atlanta United and River Player will play a friendly match in the future, with River Plate keeping the proceeds of the match.

The agreement is lower than Martinez’s reported release clause, which has been cited at both $15 million and $17 million from different outlets.

Martinez, 25, scored the third goal in River Plate’s wild 3-1 win over Boca Juniors in the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final, which took place at the Estadio Bernabeu in Madrid. Martinez decided to take Atlanta United’s offer reportedly because they “put their trust” in him, while European suitors did not. At 25, Martinez is entering the prime of his career and is a major coup for MLS.

Although not many clubs can afford to pay those fees, if more of the top South American stars are looking to come to the U.S., it will only raise the level of the league, as European sides miss out on the available talent. For Atlanta United, it leaves them in an interesting situation.

More than likely Martinez will be a Designated Player, but at the moment, Atlanta United’s three DP spots are all filled by Josef Martinez, Miguel Almiron and Barco. Almiron is reportedly close to a move to the Premier League, with Newcastle reportedly his potential destination, but no announcement has been made yet.

Like the LA Galaxy, Atlanta United has until March to finalize their season-opening roster with three DPs, but expect plenty of movement in January as the transfer window in Europe and abroad opens.

River Plate loses on penalties to Al Ain at Club World Cup

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AL AIN CITY, United Arab Emirates (AP) South American champion River Plate was upset by Al Ain FC in the Club World Cup on Tuesday, losing in a penalty shootout after the semifinal finished 2-2 following extra time.

Al Ain’s players converted all five penalty kicks, before goalkeeper Khalid Eisa saved Enzo Perez’s fifth shot for River to seal a 5-4 victory in the shootout.

[ MORE: Leicester 1-1 (1-3 pens) Man City ]

River endured the humbling loss to the team from United Arab Emirates less than two weeks after thrilling its fans with a memorable win over fierce Argentine rival Boca Juniors in the final of the Copa Libertadores.

Real Madrid plays Kashima Antlers on Wednesday in the other semifinal.

Marcus Berg put Al Ain ahead in the third minute before Santos Borre scored twice to give River the lead in the 16th.

Brazilian forward Caio pulled Al Ain level at 2-2 in the 51st.

Gonzalo Martinez had an opportunity to put River back in front from the penalty spot after Mohamed Ahmad fouled Milton Casco in the area. But Martinez hit the 68th-minute spot kick against the crossbar.

The final is on Saturday.

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