Atletico Madrid coronavirus
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Atletico Madrid: No further positives amongst retested players

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Both of Atletico Madrid’s positive coronavirus tests were players, but there’s good news for the whole club.

First and foremost, both Angel Correa and Sime Vrsaljko are asymptomatic and isolating away from team.

Vrsaljko was already away from the team with an injury, but Correa was training with the team which would’ve led to plenty of concerns.

[ MORE: Atletico Madrid confirms positive COVID tests ]

But the team and staff have been retested and there are no further positives, as Atleti had not yet left for Portugal and Thursday’s UEFA Champions League bout with RB Leipzig.

Correa is a significant loss, having played in all but five of Atleti’s 49 matches this season. The Argentine winger, 25, has five goals and seven assists.

Croatian right back Vrsaljko, 28, has only made seven appearances for Atleti since returning from a loan to Inter Milan last summer. Atleti says there was less concern for him as he tested positive for antibodies earlier this year.

Now the 25-player traveling group includes the first team and academy players Alex Dos Santos, Manu Sanchez, Riquelme and Toni Moya.

Leipzig’s Nagelsmann: Real Madrid can call if I’m available

Nagelsmann to Real Madrid
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Julian Nagelsmann turned down Real Madrid two years ago, but don’t sleep on him becoming the boss of La Liga’s champions in the future.

Offered the job before Zinedine Zidane returned to Madrid, Nagelsmann says it was too big of a jump for him from Hoffenheim to Real.

[ MORE: Man Utd – Copenhagen preview ]

But again, as he makes plain below, tomorrow’s another day (and just a couple of days away from Real’s ouster from the Champions League).

From Marca:

“We had calls, but I was the one who decided in the end. I didn’t think it was the right step to go to Real Madrid. I was one of the candidates and that was important for me. I had a good chat with Jose Angel Sanchez and we agreed that it wasn’t yet the right move. We agreed that we could speak again in the future if Real Madrid were to need a coach and if I were available.”

Instead, he opted for RB Leipzig, where he’s certainly continued his collecting of bona fides. Now there could be little doubt that he’s ready for, well, whatever.

That said, Zidane’s as safe as he wants to be considering Real’s constant state of unsteadiness. Real took back La Liga this season and was missing suspended Ballon d’Or (in any other year) candidate Sergio Ramos for its second leg at Man City.

[ MORE: JPW’s European predictions ]

And Nagelsmann is a candidate for any opening in the world given what he’s done at the age of 33.

A couple other things: Beating Atletico Madrid in a knockout round match after Real fell to City will get more Real tongues wagging at the prospect of Nagelsmann, however unlikely the timing. And if Nagelsmann leaves, might Leipzig promote American boss Jesse Marsch from Red Bull Salzburg? And will Marsch still be in Austria?

World Cup winner Höwedes retires from soccer at 32

Howedes retires
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BERLIN — Benedikt Howedes, a defender who helped Germany win the World Cup title in 2014, retired from soccer on Friday citing family reasons.

The 32-year-old Howedes left Lokomotiv Moscow by mutual consent last month while the Russian league was suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Howedes told German magazine Der Spiegel that soccer felt “suddenly so unimportant” for him after spending time with his young son on vacation, and that he had struggled to be away from his family.

[ MORE: FA Cup Final preview ]

Howedes played 44 times for the German national team from 2011-17 and played every minute for his team at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

He came through the youth system at Schalke and played professionally for the club from 2007-18, including an injury-troubled loan spell at Juventus in 2017-18. Howedes moved to Russia with Lokomotiv in 2018.

His announcement comes two weeks after another member of the 2014 World Cup-winning squad, Andre Schurrle, retired at the age of 29 after Borussia Dortmund agreed to release him.

Schurrle also had most recently played in the Russian league on a loan at Spartak Moscow.

Fulham takes hold of playoff tie v Cardiff through two magic goals

Cardiff - Fulham
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The Football League Championship’s playoff semifinals are half in the books, and the advantages are in the corners of familiar faces for Premier League followers.

[ MORE: Leeds promoted | West Brom, too ]

A day after six-seeded hosts Swansea City beat 10-man third-seed Brentford through a late, sweet Andre Ayew strike, fourth-seed Fulham took hold of its playoff tie with a first leg win at Cardiff City.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Ex-Spurs man Josh Onomah scored a wonderful goal with a mazy dribble at Cardiff City Stadium on Monday to give the Londoners the first of two goals in the 2-0 lead they take back to Wales.

Away goals do not count if the teams finish tied after two legs.

Former PSG youth Neeskens Kebano got the second goal in stoppage time with a delightful free kick (and yes he’s named after legendary Dutch midfielder Johan Neeskens).

Will it be Fulham and Swansea City in the playoff final, vying to join Leeds and West Brom in the Premier League? Fulham was relegated last season, while Swans went down after the 2017-18 campaign.

 

Tottenham seal Europa League spot, draw at Palace

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Tottenham qualified for the Europa League after drawing at Crystal Palace on the final day of the season and Wolves losing at Chelsea.

Harry Kane gave Spurs the lead and even though Jeffrey Schlupp equalized in the second half, Spurs held on for the point which sealed European qualification.

[ MORE: Mourinho on qualification, transfers ]

Jose Mourinho will be very happy with Spurs’ finish to the season as they finished in sixth place in the table on 59 points, while Palace won one of their final nine game of the season and finished in 14th place.

The only thing to now sort out is whether Spurs have to qualify for the Europa League or go straight into the group stage. If Arsenal win the FA Cup next week they will be in the qualifying rounds, but if Chelsea win then Spurs will be in the group stage.


3 things we learned

1. Kane continues hot streak: Kane was superb in the first half and battled hard, as always. His link up with Moura, Son, Lo Celso and others has improved and he is finally back fit. Kane is finding the right spaces in Mourinho’s system and he will get a lot of chances next season, even though people believe he won’t under Mourinho. Kane is back. That is great news for Spurs.

2. Palace in freefall: Roy Hodgson is a nice bloke but with one win from nine games since the restart, Palace are in freefall and need to freshen things up. Wilfried Zaha doesn’t want to be there and had a poor season and Steve Parish has a big decision to make. If I’m Parish, I’d go for Eddie Howe as soon as possible. Palace can build something special but need to overhaul their squad.

3. Mourinho delivers Europa League: It’s not the Champions League, but it’s something. Since Mourinho arrived in December, Spurs have been pretty good and they’ve recovered well after Mauricio Pochettino’s firing and the horrendous injury problems. Now that he has Spurs’ defense sorted out, with Kane back fit and scoring, Spurs should be a lot closer to the top four next season and you wouldn’t bet against them winning the Europa League. Mourinho has told the media once or twice in recent weeks that he’s won the Europa League trophy in the only two seasons he’s competed in the competition…

Man of the Match: Harry Kane – Fine finish to continue his great finish to the season and although Spurs may not be too exciting to watch, they are getting Kan chances to score.


Tottenham started well and were rewarded as they took the lead.

Giovani Lo Celso played in Kane who controlled and hammered home a low shot to continue his good form and make it 1-0.

Palace barely threatened in the first half as they whipped in a few dangerous crosses, but that was about it.

Spurs almost doubled their lead as Lucas Moura did brilliantly to get to the ball ahead of Vicente Guaita but Joel Ward cleared the ball off the line.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Palace started well in the second half and were soon level.

A corner to the back post found Scott Dann, who headed down for Jordan Ayew who missed his kick.

However, Schlupp was on hand to sweep home and make it 1-1.

Tottenham and Hugo Lloris had to withstand some heavy pressure from Palace but they did just that and sealed automatic qualification to the Europa League group stage.