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Prosecutors seek 10-year prison term for Eto’o for tax fraud

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MADRID (AP) Spanish prosecutors are seeking a prison term of more than 10 years for former Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o for alleged tax crimes committed when he played for the Catalan club.

In addition to a sentence of 10 years and six months, prosecutors are also demanding a fine of $15.1 million for the four counts of tax fraud for supposedly defrauding Spain’s tax authority of almost $4 million from 2006-09, according to court documents released Thursday.

Prosecutors are seeking the same punishment for the player’s representative at the time, Jose Maria Mesalles Mata. The administrator of a company that facilitated the deals, Manuel de Jesus Lastre Abreu, is facing more than six years in prison and a fine of $2.3 million.

Prosecutors also want Eto’o to relinquish any possible fiscal incentives for a long period.

Eto’o and his lawyers could not be immediately contacted for comment, but in the past the player denied wrongdoing, saying he was not directly involved in his tax matters.

Eto’o is among other current and past Barcelona players facing legal problems in Spain.

In July, Lionel Messi and his father were sentenced to 21 months in prison for tax fraud, although they were not sent to jail because sentences of less than two years for first offences are usually suspended in Spain.

Neymar and Barcelona are dealing with the Spanish authorities because of the player’s transfer from Brazilian club Santos in 2013. Prosecutors on Wednesday announced that they are seeking to punish the Brazilian player and his club, as well as his parents, his Brazilian club and its former president because of an investment group’s claim that they concealed the value of the star’s transfer fee.

In June, Barcelona paid a fine of $5.8 million after acknowledging to Spain’s tax authority it made “an error in the fiscal planning of the player’s transfer.”

Also this year, Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano was handed a suspended one-year sentence for tax fraud, and former defender Adriano was also charged with tax irregularities.

The 35-year-old Eto’o played for Barcelona from 2004-09. The Cameroon striker is currently playing with Turkish club Antalyaspor.

Samuel Eto’o appointed player-manager at Turkish club Antalyaspor

Associated Press
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One of the best strikers of his generation, Samuel Eto'o is making his first move into management.

The 34-year-old signed with Turkish club Antalyaspor this summer, and has now been appointed interim player-manager after former boss Yusuf Simsek had his contract terminated earlier this month.

[ MORE: MLS hot stove ]

Eto’o is currently the Super Lig’s leading scorer, grabbing 13 goals in his first 15 matches with Antalyaspor. The club has given the striker three matches to prove himself, and will then re-evaluate the situation after the league’s winter break.

The Cameroonian scored more than 100 goals during his tenure at Barcelona, where he won three La Liga titles along with two Champions League titles. After winning the treble with Barca in 2009, Eto’o moved to Inter Milan where he won the treble in 2010 under Jose Mourinho. He is the only player to win two consecutive trebles with two different teams, and is the only African player to win the Champions League three times.

[ RELATED: Wednesday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup ]

The striker would be reunited with Mourinho when he joined Chelsea for one season in 2013, then playing briefly for Everton before moving away from the Premier League.

In 2005, Eto’o finished third in the voting for FIFA World Player of the Year, and has been named African Player of the Year a record four times. The top scorer for the Cameroon national team, Eto’o competed in four World Cups and six African Cup of Nations. He won the Cup of Nations twice, and is the tournament’s all-time leading goalscorer.

2018 World Cup qualification draw: USMNT gets favorable group

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Begin the countdown as we are less than three years away from the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Today in St. Petersburg, Vladimir Putin and Sepp Blatter took the stage at the same time to begin the ceremonies, as qualification groups were drawn from pots by legends such as Ronaldo, Fabio Cannavaro and Samuel Eto’o.

[ MORE: Valcke to step down from FIFA post ]

Below are the groups from all the continents, as qualification begins later this year.

CONCACAF

Group A: Mexico, Honduras, Curacao/El Salvador, Canada/Belize

Group B: Costa Rica, Panama, Grenada/Haiti, Jamaica/Nicaragua

Group C: United States, Trinidad & Tobago, St. Vincent & the Grenadines/Aruba, Antigua & Barbuda/Guatemala

The United States has gotten a pretty favorable group here, paired with Trinidad & Tobago and the winners of two playoffs. They should win Group C with ease.

Group B is very intriguing as Costa Rica and Panama will face off, and could be joined by Jamaica should the Reggae Boyz defeat Nicaragua in their playoff. Jamaica has shown they can be contenders in CONCACAF by making it to the Gold Cup final, but have only qualified for the World Cup once, back in 1998.

UEFA

Group A: Netherlands, France, Sweden, Bulgaria, Belarus, Luxembourg

Group B: Portugal, Switzerland, Hungary, Faroe Islands, Latvia, Andorra

Group C: Germany, Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, Norway, Azerbaijan, San Marino

Group D: Wales, Austria, Serbia, Ireland, Moldova, Georgia

Group E: Romania, Denmark, Poland, Montenegro, Armenia,Kazakhstan

Group F: England, Slovakia, Scotland, Slovenia, Lithuania, Malta

Group G: Spain, Italy, Albania, Israel, Macedonia, Liechtenstein

Group H: Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Estonia, Cyprus

Group I: Croatia, Iceland, Ukraine, Turkey, Finland

The biggest matchups in UEFA come from Group A, as the Netherlands, France and Sweden are all grouped together. The Dutch and French are two of the strongest teams in Europe, and you can never count out a side with Zlatan in the mix.

Group G sees heavyweights Spain and Italy paired together, although the rest of the group should be very easy. England will face Scotland in Group F, while Slovakia and Slovenia are always tough opponents to beat.

CONMEBOL

In South America, there is just one group as all the teams must play each other. Today, the first day of matches was drawn.

Colombia vs Peru
Chile vs Brazil
Argentina vs Ecuador
Venezuela vs Paraguay
Bolivia vs Uruguay

Oceania

Group A: Tahiti, New Caledonia, Winner of Round One, Papua New Guinea

Group B: New Zealand, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu

CAF

In Africa, the 26 lowest-ranking teams were drawn into 13 home-and-away ties, with the winners moving on to the second round of qualifying. After the second round matches are played, five groups of four teams will be drawn.

Somalia vs Niger (winner will play Cameroon)
South Sudan vs Mauritania (winner will play Tunisia)
Gambia vs Namibia (winner will play Guinea)
Sao Tome e Principe vs Ethiopia (winner will play Congo)
Chad vs Sierra Leone (winner will play Egypt)
Comoros vs Lesotho (winner will play Ghana)
Djibouti vs Swaziland (winner will play Nigeria)
Eritrea vs Botswana (winner will play Mali)
Seychelles vs Burundi (winner will play DR Congo)
Liberia vs Guinea-Bissau (winner will play Ivory Coast)
Central African Republic vs Madagascar (winner will play Senegal)
Mauritius vs Kenya (winner will play Cape Verde)
Tanzania vs Malawi (winner will play Algeria)
Sudan vs Zambia
Libya vs Rwanda
Morocco vs Equatorial Guinea
Mozambique vs Gabon
Benin vs Burkina Faso
Togo vs Uganda
Angola vs South Africa

Club president: Ronaldinho has agreed terms with Turkish side Antalyaspor

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Just last week it was announced that Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho and Liga MX side Queretaro had mutually agreed to part ways after the 35-year-old had spent less than a year at the Mexican club, which made the ex-Barcelona and AC Milan (among others) trickster a free to sign with any club in the world.

[ MORE: Monday’s transfer rumor roundup ]

Right from the start, I was banging the “I know it’s going to be tempting, but don’t do it, MLS teams” drum. In short, Ronaldinho’s best days are far, far behind him, and he’s not genuinely cared about playing and/or winning for roughly five years now — not even to mention the fact he’d want to be paid similarly to Sebastian Giovinco and Kaka, both of whom are producing at an All-Star level).

As it turns out, 20 Major League Soccer teams knew that Ronaldinho was available on a free transfer, and 20 MLS teams passed on the man who was for a short period of time arguably the best player in the world pre-Lionel Messi (or they were outbid, thankfully).

[ MORE: Chile defeats Peru to advance to Copa America final | Will they face Argentina or Paraguay? ]

So where’s ‘Dinho headed to next? According to Antalyaspor club president Gultekin Gencer, the answer is Turkey. Antalyaspor, a Turkish Super League (top division) side after gaining promotion from the second division last season, announced the signing of former Barcelona and Inter Milan (among others) striker Samuel Eto’o last week.

Gencer, speaking to TRT Spor on the club’s pursuit of Ronaldinho (quotes via the Daily Mail):

“We reached an agreement with Ronaldinho. I think within two days it’ll be made official.

“Besides Eto’o and Ronaldinho, we will make another big-name signing. When it’s done, we’ll set the world on fire!”

Ronaldinho mutually parts ways with Queretaro, could continue career in Turkey

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Both Ronaldinho and his Liga MX club Queretaro confirmed the aging Brazilian superstar has terminated his contract via mutual consent with one year left on the deal.

The 35-year-old former Ballon d’Or winner left on good terms after making 27 appearances and scoring eight goals, thanking the club and Mexican fans via Twitter, saying “every day I lived with you was special.” He also said, “To my team-mates thank you very much for every day of work, every moment, every laugh, our conversations in the hotel. I learned a lot during this stay.”

Queretaro’s press release, meanwhile, said, “The Brazilian’s experience was a major contribution in every way. Spending time with each of his teammates was key for personal and professional growth.”

Ronaldinho has been linked with newly-promoted Turkish club Antalyaspor, where the president has confirmed contract talks are set to begin. Former Chelsea star Samuel Eto’o has already signed for the Super Lig club after they bounced back to the top flight a year after relegation.