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David Villa announces retirement

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Legendary Spanish forward David Villa, 37, has announced his retirement.

Villa will end his playing career on Jan. 1, 2019 as his final game will be for current team Vissel Kobe, if they reach the Emperor’s Cup final in Japan.

The former Sporting Gijon, Real Zaragoza, Valencia, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, New York City FC and Melbourne City star holds the record for being Spain’s all-time leading goalscorer (with 59 goals in 98 appearances) and won the 2010 World Cup and 2008 European Championships as a key part of their golden generation.

He also won two La Liga titles and the UEFA Champions League with Barcelona and another La Liga with Atletico Madrid as he scored 376 goals in 752 appearances and also won Copa del Rey trophies with Barca, Atletico, Zaragoza and Valencia.

“After 19 years as a professional, I have decided to retire from playing football at the end of this season. Thank you to all the teams, coaches and teammates that have allowed me to enjoy this dreamed career,” Villa said. “Thank you to my family, that has always been there to support me. It is my objective to put the cherry on top by winning the Emperor’s Cup with Vissel Kobe on January 1st. From then on, I will continue to enjoy football through all the projects that we’re currently developing with DV7 group. Thank you for all the love.”

Villa announced on Tuesday that he is part of the ownership group which will bring a USL Championship side to Queens, New York City. The plan is for Queensboro FC to start play in 2021 in the second-tier of North American soccer and Villa is expected to be a key part of the organization as he heads back to NYC.

During his four seasons in Major League Soccer he was the shinning light for New York City FC and was a model professional as well as being a great goalscorer in the Bronx.

His legendary status will live on, with his goals and performances so key to some of the biggest moments in Spanish, and world, soccer history.

Champions League wrap: Dortmund’s epic comeback to beat Inter

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Tuesday saw its fair share of crazy encounters across the continent — from Chelsea’s 4-4 draw with Ajax, to Borussia Dortmund’s amazing comeback to beat Inter Milan, to Barcelona’s helpless 0-0 draw with Slavia Prague.

[ RECAPS: Chelsea 4-4 Ajax | Liverpool 2-1 Genk ]

A roundup of all of Tuesday’s action in the world’s preeminent club competition…

 

Borussia Dortmund 3-2 Inter Milan

Dortmund trailed 2-0 after 50 minutes, at home, before flipping the script on Inter Milan and completing an epic comeback to win 3-2.

Lautaro Martinez scored a sensational solo goal put the visitors ahead after just five minutes, only to be upstaged by an even more delightful team goal in the 40th minute.

It was 2-1 far too early for Inter to hold on, though, thanks to Achraf Hakimi’s close-range finish in the 51st minute. Julian Brandt made it 2-2 with a strike from a nearly impossible angle in the 64th, and there was only ever going to be one outcome.

Jadon Sancho got the ball atop the penalty area and slipped it through to Hakimi. The Moroccan international had no trouble locating the goal and picking out his spot inside the far post.

Dortmund now sit second in Group F, just a point behind Barcelona for top spot. The victory over Inter avenges their 2-0 defeat at the San Siro last month and puts them in prime position for a place in the knockout rounds.

Barcelona 0-0 Slavia Prague

Barely three months into the 2019-20 season, it’s already been a campaign to forget for Barcelona. With three losses from 11 league games, including a 3-1 hammering by Levante on Saturday, a third straight La Liga title is far from a forgone conclusion. Now, Ernesto Valverde is under even more pressure after failing to beat Czech side Slavia Prague on Tuesday.

Lionel Messi went closest to breaking the deadlock in the 35th minute, but the Argentine found only the corner of the goal frame. Slavia Prague goalkeeper Ondrej Kolar made six saves and turned in a man-of-the-match performance.

On the bright side, Barca extended their run of 34 home games without a defeat in Champions League play, an all-time record which dates back to 2013.

Valencia 4-1 Lille

Group H is as tight as it realistically could be after four rounds of play, with Chelsea, Ajax and Valencia all sitting on seven points, thanks to Valencia’s 4-1 thrashing of Lille on Tuesday.

The visitors went ahead through Victor Osimhen in the 25th minute, but Valencia hit back for four straight goals beginning in the 66th minute. Dani Parejo converted from the penalty spot, followed by an own goal turned home by Adama Soumaoro in the 82nd minute. Geoffrey Kondogbia made it 3-1 in the 84th and Ferran Torres completed the scoring six minutes later.

What’s left on the schedule for Los Ches? A visit from Chelsea and a trip to Ajax.

Elsewhere in UEFA Champions League action

Chelsea 4-4 Ajax — FULL RECAP
Liverpool 2-1 Genk — FULL RECAP
Napoli 1-1 Red Bull Salzburg
Zenit St. Petersburg 0-2 RB Leipzig
Lyon 3-1 Benfica

La Liga wrap: Benzema stars, Real Madrid routs Leganes

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Real Madrid answered the performance of title rivals Barcelona by climbing back into second place via a five-star performance at the Bernabeu, while Athletic Bilbao also posted a comfortable win and Nabil Fekir played last-minute hero for Real Betis.

All of the above is in La Liga’s wrap-up of action from Wednesday.

Valencia 1-1 Sevilla

Ruben Subrino’s goal in the 81st minute sent the home crowd home a bit happier than it would’ve been had Lucas Ocampos’ late first half goal been the only marker, but a drab match will have both sides well aware of what it left on, or off of, the table.

Real Madrid 5-0 Leganes

Zinedine Zidane’s men got the feel-good, straight-forward win it wanted when Rodrygo and Toni Kroos scored a minute apart to make it 2-0 within eight minutes of kickoff, and Luka Jovic scored his first Real goal in stoppage time to hopefully signal a return to the form the left at Eintracht Frankfurt.

Karim Benzema had a goal and two assists for Madrid, who also got one from a Sergio Ramos penalty in their move back into second place.

Athletic Bilbao 3-0 Espanyol

Iker Munian is not having the career many expected, but he was the man on Wednesday. Munian scored his second and third goals of the season as the Basque side denied its Catalan visitors the chance to climb out of the drop zone.

Real Sociedad 1-2 Levante

Goals from Enis Bardhi and Borja Mayoral held up to boost the hosts into sixth.

Real Betis 2-1 Celta Vigo

Nabil Fekir scored in the 90th minute as Real Betis overcame a blown lead to claim all three points for what, at least for the moment, was a relegation six-pointer.

Standings

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Barcelona 10 7 1 2 28 11 17 5-0-0 2-1-2 22
 Real Madrid 10 6 3 1 21 9 12 4-1-0 2-2-1 21
 Granada 10 6 2 2 17 10 7 4-0-1 2-2-1 20
 Atlético Madrid 11 5 5 1 11 6 5 3-3-0 2-2-1 20
 Sevilla 11 6 2 3 14 12 2 3-1-1 3-1-2 20
 Real Sociedad 11 6 1 4 18 12 6 3-0-2 3-1-2 19
 Villarreal 10 5 2 3 24 14 10 3-2-0 2-0-3 17
 Athletic Club 11 4 4 3 11 7 4 4-1-1 0-3-2 16
 Osasuna 10 3 5 2 10 9 1 2-3-0 1-2-2 14
 Levante 11 4 2 5 12 13 -1 2-2-1 2-0-4 14
 València 11 3 5 3 15 17 -2 2-4-0 1-1-3 14
 Valladolid 11 3 5 3 11 14 -3 1-3-0 2-2-3 14
 Getafe 10 3 4 3 14 14 0 2-2-1 1-2-2 13
 Alavés 11 3 3 5 9 14 -5 3-2-1 0-1-4 12
 Betis 11 3 3 5 14 21 -7 3-2-1 0-1-4 12
 Mallorca 10 3 1 6 7 13 -6 3-1-2 0-0-4 10
 Eibar 10 2 3 5 10 15 -5 2-0-2 0-3-3 9
 Celta Vigo 11 2 3 6 6 14 -8 2-1-3 0-2-3 9
 Espanyol 11 2 2 7 5 18 -13 0-0-5 2-2-2 8
 Leganés 11 1 2 8 5 19 -14 1-1-4 0-1-4 5

LIVE La Liga, Serie A: Real Madrid, Juventus, Napoli all in action

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There are 12 games across Serie A and La Liga on Wednesday, with plenty of big hitters in midweek league action.

Juventus have the chance to go back to the top of Serie A as Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. host Genoa, while Napoli host Atalanta in what should be a cracking game. Roma travel to Udinese and Lazio host Torino as Italy’s top-flight continues to stay tight early in the season.

[ LIVE: La Liga scoresSerie A scores ]

Over in Spain, things are very congested at the top of the table as Real Sociedad can move joint-top with a victory against Levante, so too can Sevilla with a win at Valencia and Real Madrid move into second with a win over Leganes and other results going their way.

Click on the links above to follow the scores from both leagues


La Liga schedule
Valencia v. Sevilla – 2 p.m. ET
Real Sociedad v. Levante – 2 p.m. ET
Athletic Bilbao v. Espanyol – 2 p.m. ET
Real Betis v. Celta Vigo – 4 p.m. ET
Real Madrid v. Leganes – 4:15 p.m. ET

Serie A schedule
Napoli v. Atalanta – 2 p.m. ET
Sassuolo v. Fiorentina – 4 p.m. ET
Sampdoria v. Lecce – 4 p.m. ET
Udinese v. Roma – 4 p.m. ET
Cagliari v. Bologna – 4 p.m. ET
Juventus v. Genoa – 4 p.m. ET
Lazio v. Torino – 4 p.m. ET

LIVE, UCL: Genk v. Liverpool, Inter Milan v. Dortmund headline

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The reigning UEFA Champions League champions can take a big step towards the UCL last 16 on Wednesday.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Premier League leaders Liverpool head to Genk as Jurgen Klopp‘s men aim to end their run of four-straight defeats away from home in the UCL group stage. Following their defeat to Napoli in their Group E opener and a narrow home win against RB Salzburg in Week 2, Klopp knows a big win is needed to get them back on track ahead of some tough games to close out to group stage.

Elsewhere, in Group F Borussia Dortmund head to Inter Milan in a monster clash at the San Siro, while Barcelona travel to Slavia Prague. Napoli head to RB Salzburg as Jesse Marsch’s upstarts have the chance to cause a huge shock in Group E, while Benfica host Lyon in Group G and Lille host Valencia in Group H.

Below is the full schedule for Wednesday’s late games, with all games kicking off at 3 p.m. ET.

Click on the link above to follow all of the action live, while we will have you covered with a roundup of the action right here on Pro Soccer Talk.


Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League schedule

Group E
Genk v. Liverpool
Red Bull Salzburg v. Napoli

Group F
Slavia Prague v. Barcelona
Inter Milan v. Borussia Dortmund

Group G
Benfica v. Lyon

Group H
Lille v. Valencia