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La Liga roundup: Casemiro’s brace earns injury-riddled Real Madrid win (video)

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Casemiro’s heroic performance against Sevilla highlights La Liga’s Saturday action.

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Real Madrid 2-1 Sevilla

Real Madrid’s goalscoring hero on Saturday wasn’t Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale, Eden Hazard, or even Sergio Ramos.

With two crucial goals in the second half, Casemiro single-handedly earned three points at the Santiago Bernabeu, days removed from cathartic Spanish Super Cup win against arch rivals Atletico Madrid.

With Bale, Hazard, Ramos injured, Benzema on the bench far from match-fit, and Federico Valverde suspended, Los Blancos were in dire need of someone to lead the way, and place pressure on struggling co-leaders Barcelona, who are now under Quique Setien’s tutelage.

By the time the first 45 minutes came to a close, the overall impression was that it would take a miracle for the home side to earn much-needed three points.

That all quickly changed in the second half as the Brazilian midfielder chipped Tomas Vaclik after a picture-perfect backheel from Luka Jovic. Madrid were edging Julen Lopetegui’s side, and Casemiro foreshadowed what was to come.

With the score level, the Brazilian leaped inside the box and headed home a lofting ball from the right flank, catching Sevilla’s defense completely off guard.

Casemiro’s brace came just five minutes after Luuk De Jong‘s left-footed goal in the 64th minute.

League leaders with 43 points, Madrid prepares for their Copa del Rey bout against third-division side Unionistas midweek. Sevilla, on the other hand, host Levante in the same tournament.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Eibar 2-0 Atletico Madrid

Osasuna 0-0 Real Valladolid

Levante 0-1 Alaves

LA Galaxy ‘serious’ about signing Chicharito

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Okay, this Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez to LA Galaxy report has moved on quite quickly.

Chicharito, 31, has been linked with a move from Sevilla to the Galaxy and it appears that a deal for Mexico’s all-time leading goalscorer is getting closer as the most successful team in Major League Soccer history badly need a new star man.

If it goes through it would be for a franchise-record transfer fee of close to $10 million.

The Galaxy’s general manager Dennis te Kloese told the LA Times that they are pushing hard to sign Hernandez, who has played in just two La Liga games for Sevilla since November after his summer transfer from West Ham in the Premier League.

“I think he could be good for us. We’ll give it a serious try,” te Kloese said, as the report claims LA and Sevilla are in advanced negotiations.

Hernandez would link up with El Tri teammate Jonathan dos Santos at the Galaxy and he knows te Kloese well as he previously was the director of Mexico’s national teams.

Over the years it is tough to keep count of how many MLS teams Chicharito has been linked with a move to but it always seemed like a LA would work out, somehow, for the former Chivas and Manchester United.

Chicharito recently stated that he would be open to a move to MLS and the Galaxy need a Designated Player, and new star striker, to replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic who left at the end of his contract following the conclusion of the 2019 season.

Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s side start preseason training this weekend and it is believed they want Hernandez to be part of it. Things may not move that quickly but the wheels are in motion for the Galaxy to replace Zlatan and for Hernandez to become the latest in a long line of stars to call the LA Galaxy home.

Mexicans Abroad: Tecatito shines for Porto; Chicharito close to Galaxy move

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This weekend, there was just as much action off the field as there was on the field for Mexicans abroad.

Jesus “Tecatito” Corona scored one of the best goals of the weekend, while Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez is nearing a move to MLS. 

Chicharito, who is currently at Sevilla, is reportedly meeting with LA Galaxy officials on Monday to negotiate a new contract. The Spanish club have approved a near $10-million bid, a franchise-record for the MLS side. 

Here is a list of several other Mexico national team affiliates making a name for themselves (or not) outside of Mexico this weekend.


Premier League

Raul Jimenez, Wolverhampton Wanderers —  Jimenez had a rare off-game against Newcastle United on Saturday. The forward played all 90 minutes but only registered a shot on target.

La Liga

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Sevilla — Chicharito played the final 12 minutes in Sevilla’s friendly 5-0 win over Escobedo on Sunday. It might have been his final game in Europe, as the 31-year-old striker is set to finalize a move to LA Galaxy soon.

Hector Herrera, Atletico Madrid — Herrera started and played 53 minutes in Los Colchoneros’ Spanish Super Cup final loss to city rivals Real Madrid.

Andres Guardado, Real Betis —  Guardado took the field in the 77th minute for compatriot Diego Lainez in Real Betis’ 3-0 win win over Cub Portugalete on Saturday.

Diego Lainez, Real Betis — The 19-year-old started and played 77 minutes in Betis’ win, recording two key passes and one shot on target.

Nestor Araujo, Celta Vigo — Araujo started and played 82 minutes in Celta’s 4-1 win over Merida in Copa del Rey play. The defender recorded one blocked shot and three interceptions.

Serie A

Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, Napoli —  Lozano is visible not positioned highly in Gennaro Gattuso pecking order. The 24-year-old struggles to get playing time under the Italian. On Saturday, he played a minute in Napoli’s loss to Lazio.

Primeira Liga

Tecatito” Corona, FC Porto — Many may not be speaking about it, but Tecatito is having himself a solid season in Porto. The frenetic, crafty winger scored this beauty over the weekend:

Eredivisie

Erick Gutierrez, PSV Eindhoven —  Gutierrez played the final 45 minutes in PSV’s friendly on Saturday.

Edson Alvarez, Ajax — Alvarez played the final 23 minutes in Ajax’s friendly on Saturday.

Jupiler Pro League

Omar Govea, Zulte Waregem — Govea played the final 45 minutes in Zulte’s friendly on Friday.

Elsewhere around the globe:

Pedro Arce, Panionios –  Panionios were inactive over the weekend.

Gerardo Ramirez Alonso, Roda JC – Ramirez Alonso didn’t feature for Roda JC on Sunday.

Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez open to MLS move

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Javier ‘Chicharito‘ Hernandez is keen on a move to Major League Soccer.

Mexico’s all-time leading goalscorer has been linked with a transfer to MLS many times during his career but it appears now could be a good time.

Hernandez, 31, moved from West Ham United to Sevilla in the summer on a three-year contract but has been restricted to most of his appearance off the bench and in the UEFA Europa League.

Asked by the LA Times if he would be interested in a move to Major League Soccer in the future, here was the response from the former Chivas Guadalajara, Man United and Bayer Leverkusen striker.

“Yes. Definitely,” Hernandez said. “Look, I am always thinking about my future. I want to be as open as I can to any opportunity. MLS is a league that is improving. It is an opportunity. Every league is an opportunity.”

Okay, this is the most positive Hernandez has been about a move to MLS so far in his career.

He is now approaching the latter stages of his career and it is clear he’s fed up of sitting on the bench at Sevilla, just like he did for a lot of his time at West Ham. He has scored three goals in 10 appearances for Sevilla in all competitions this season as they sit third in La Liga and cruised into the last 32 of the Europa League.

Chicharito still has plenty of years left in the tank and the way he plays means he is able to adapt his game to being less physical and relying on his instincts, like he has done his entire carer.

Where could he land in MLS? The LA Galaxy seems to make perfect sense, as they have a Zlatan Ibramihovic sized hole in their attack and are obviously keen to close the gap on crosstown rivals LAFC. It is believed Hernandez makes around $3.3 million per season at Sevilla after taking a hefty pay cut to leave West Ham in the summer and the Galaxy certainly need to freshen up their attack this offseason.

Hernandez is also close with Galaxy general manager Dennis te Kloese, who was involved with Chivas while he was a youngster, and given his status as one of Mexico’s greatest players of all time, he’d been an undoubted success wherever he goes in MLS.

Another destination could be with the Chicago Fire FC after their rebrand and move to downtown Chicago to play at Soldier Field they need a few marquee players to help them get close to filling that stadium and Hernandez would fit the bill after the departure of Bastian Schweinsteiger and some of their other DPs. Miami would obviously be another city where Hernandez would love to finish up his playing days, as would most players, and with so many new teams in Nashville, Austin and Sacramento entering the fray in the coming years, Hernandez will have options.

It appears “Chicharito to MLS” finally has legs, and it will be intriguing to see where he ends up.

La Liga Roundup: Sevilla squeeze past Valladolid, go third (video)

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Sevilla’s thin victory at Jose Zorilla Stadium highlights La Liga’s Sunday action.

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Real Valladolid 0-1 Sevilla

If it wasn’t for video assistant referee (VAR), there’s a good chance that Julen Lopetegui and company would have walked away from Valladolid with a point, not three. 

 

Following a heavy challenge from Valladolid captain Javi Moyano on Nolito, VAR’s intervention concluded that the visitor’s were to be awarded a penalty. Ever Banega’s strike from the spot was stopped by Jordi Masip, only for VAR to overturn the sequence due to encroachment from Masip.

A second time around, Banega rifled the ball into the top right corner of the goal, scoring the first and lone goal of the match.

With the win, Sevilla moved ahead of Atletico Madrid and remain one point away from leaders Barcelona and Real Madrid.

“There is a long way to go and I think my team has a big margin for improvement,” Sevilla manager Lopetegui said following the game. “We are competing well and are happy we got the three points.”

After receiving his second yellow card of the night, Lucas Ocampos was sent off in stoppage time for the visitor’s. The Argentine has accumulated five goals in 12 appearances this season, leading the team.

Sevilla’s win brings and end to Valladolid’s – owned by Brazilian legend Ronaldo – unbeaten streak at home this season.

Unbeaten in eight straight games across all competitions, Sevilla travel back to Seville to host Qarabag in Europa League competition, while Real Valladolid –  now in the 14th spot – travel to Celta to try and overturn their two-game losing streak.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Espanyol 1-1 Getafe

Osasuna 1-2 Athletic Bilbao

Eibar 0-2 Alaves

Villarreal 1-3 Celta Vigo