French Journalist Explains Man Utd Fekir Offer as Report Claims Red Devils Submit Bid for Forward

Manchester United are hoping to capitalise on their rival’s misfortune this summer by signing Olympique Lyonnais talisman Nabil Fekir, according to reports in France.

The 24-year-old was tipped to join Liverpool earlier this summer but the Reds attempted to play hardball with the French club in the eleventh hour of negotiations, causing ‎Les Gones to pull out of the deal – leaving the Reds with egg on their face.

And now bitter rivals Manchester United will look to get one over on the Merseyside club by bringing Fekir to Old Trafford. Lyon based daily Le Progrès claims that the Red Devils have already launched an offer for the France international this summer.

Former Ligue 1 champions Lyon are having somewhat of a mass exodus this summer. Sergi Darder is the most experienced player to leave the Groupama Stadium, but youngsters Mouctar Diakhaby and Jean-Philippe Mateta have also moved on to join Valencia and Mainz respectively.

French journalist Romain Collet-Gaudin has also claimed that the interest could result in Liverpool upping their previous bid for Fekir, as the player still wishes to play for the Reds.

But Lyon’s most notable departure is that of 16-year-old wonderkid Willem Geubbels, who has left the club to join AS Monaco for £18m.

Manchester United, meanwhile, have been keeping themselves busy with incomings this summer. The club have signed teenage defender Diogo Dalot from FC Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk’s Fred for a combined £73m, but their pursuit of Fekir could take the club’s spending into nine figures.

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United’s attempts to sign Fekir could also put their hopes of bringing Sergej Milinković-Savić to Old Trafford to bed. The Serbia international is expected to leave Lazio this summer, but Juventus are now the favourites for his signature.

France, Uruguay Deservedly Oust Messi’s Argentina, Ronaldo’s Portugal From World Cup

MOSCOW — The two biggest stars in men’s world soccer, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, both went out of the World Cup on Saturday, with Messi’s Argentina falling 4-3 to France and Ronaldo’s Portugal losing 2-1 to Uruguay in two compelling World Cup round of 16 games.

The results set up a quarterfinal bout between France and Uruguay slated for Friday, while Argentina and Portugal are left to mull what could have been for them and their superstars.

If the excitement and energy of Saturday’s two games continues in the days ahead, well, we’re in for a treat.

Here are my three thoughts on the two results:

Argentina had the greatest player of his generation and never figured out how to win a World Cup with him

Argentina and Messi are out of the World Cup after a 4-3 loss to France that wasn’t as close as the score indicated, and we’re left once again wondering why a nation that produces so many talented club players has invariably been less than the sum of its parts as a national team.

Will Messi, now 31, play in another World Cup? It’s possible, but doubtful. He didn’t announce his international retirement, as he had done (and later rescinded) after the 2016 Copa América Centenario final, but Messi has long been frustrated by the chaos at the Argentine federation and has clearly suffered from the pressure of trying in vain to win a World Cup in a career that has been remarkably successful for him at the club level with Barcleona. Personally, I think Messi won’t play in another World Cup.

When you look at Messi’s World Cup legacy, he was mostly undone by others in three of his four tournaments. In 2006, Argentina coach José Pékerman failed to bring Messi on at all in a quarterfinal loss to Germany. In 2010, the federation made the horrible mistake of hiring Diego Maradona as Messi’s national team coach, and an exit before the final was inevitable.

History will view the 2014 World Cup, in which Argentina reached the final, as Messi’s best chance to win the trophy, and coach Alejandro Sabella deserves a ton of credit for overseeing a team that was more balanced—on and off the field—than any of Messi’s other World Cup teams. Messi himself missed a golden chance against Germany in the 2014 final, and the German would go on to win in extra time.

None of this is to say that Messi does not deserve some of the blame for Argentina’s World Cup failures. This year, in particular, he tried to control things too much, from the personnel on the field to the decisions that usually come from a coach and a federation. All that said, I still would argue that Messi is the greatest player of all time, even though he hasn’t won a World Cup. The best measure of a player’s legacy in the 21st century is the UEFA Champions League, which provides a bigger sample size than the World Cup and has all the best players in the world (unlike in the days when Pelé and Maradona played).

But will Messi forever regret not winning a World Cup? You’d better believe he will.

Teams are more important than stars

It seems like a basic point to make, but we hear all the time about “Messi vs. Pogba” and “Ronaldo vs Suárez” when the games today were Argentina vs. France and Portugal vs. Uruguay. And in both games the better team won against the team that was unbalanced with a superstar. Uruguay is good enough to win the World Cup, and much of that is due to Diego Godín, who has an argument for being the player of the tournament.

Uruguay beat Portugal 2-1 and showed an admirable balance all over the field, including in the midfield and up top with the electrifying Luis Suárez and Edinson Cavani. They played one of the best (and perhaps longest) give-and-gos I’ve ever seen on Uruguay’s first goal, and Cavani had a terrific finish on his second, the game-winner. European champion Portugal is out, not least because it failed to find other players who could take some of the load off Ronaldo. By the way, I think Ronaldo has a better chance of playing in another World Cup than Messi does, even though Ronaldo (33) is two years older. Portugal’s federation is less chaotic, and Ronaldo figures to continue to be in supreme physical condition for several more years.

France has the highest ceiling of any team in Russia 

If every team is playing at its best, France is the best team at World Cup 2018. We finally saw that on Saturday, at least on the attacking end, as Kylian Mbappé ate Argentina’s back line for lunch and fully announced himself on the international scene in France’s win.

Yes, it will be concerning for France that it conceded three goals and even went behind 2-1 for a bit in the second half, but Pogba and Mbappé were terrific and created danger all over the field. Also give some dap to Benjamin Pavard, France’s 22-year-old right back, who scored perhaps the goal of the tournament from distance—his first for the national team—to help preserve the victory.

Grant Wahl has covered soccer for 22 years at Sports Illustrated. His new book, Masters of Modern Soccer, details the craft of soccer position by position. You can order it here.

Twitter Erupts as France Dump Lionel Messi & Argentina Out of 2018 World Cup

Argentina bowed out of the 2018 World Cup on Saturday, having emerged on the losing end of a 4-3 result against France at the Kazan Arena.

Jorge Sampaoli came into the tournament with many expectations. But their first game – a draw against Iceland – showed just how ill-prepared they were and they were made to scrape their way out of the group stage in their final opening-round match against Nigeria.

Alexander Hassenstein/GettyImages

Coming up against France on Saturday, you could tell that La Albiceleste were out of their depth.

Kylian Mabappe won an early penalty which was converted by Antoine Griezmann. But the South American nation would stun their opponents, against the grain, with Angel Di Maria popping up with a worldie from distance ahead of half-time.

Argentina would even go ahead in the second half after Lionel Messi’s shot was deflected into the goal by Gabriel Mercado in the 48th minute. And for a moment, it seemed like Sampaoli’s side were set to grind out a win.

But Benjamin Pavard had other ideas, hitting his own belter from outside of the box with an insane volley to put the French back in level terms.

That was when Mbappe decided to take over and haul his country the rest of the way.

The precocious 19-year-old sent France ahead with a powerful shot from the left side of the goal after picking up a loose ball and creating a yard of space with an intelligent touch.

The Paris Saint-Germain attacker made it 4-2 with another strike after receiving Olivier Giroud’s measured pass in the box that resulted from a quick break that was actually started by Hugo Lloris in his own box.

Argentina, though, would have the final say on the scoring front in stoppage time, with Sergio Aguero, a substitute, getting a close-range header past the French keeper.

But that wasn’t to be enough, as the referee’s whistle brought an end to proceedings, breaking Argentinian hearts and sending the French into a frenzy. 

On to the quarter-finals!

Javier Mascherano Retires From Argentina After World Cup Ouster

Javier Mascherano has confirmed his retirement from international football after Argentina were defeated 4-3 by France.

Javier Mascherano has confirmed his retirement from international football after Argentina were defeated 4-3 by France in a classic World Cup tie on Saturday, stating it is now time for younger players to step up to the mark.

A Kylian Mbappe double alongside Antoine Griezmann’s penalty saw France through to the quarter finals by the skin of their teeth, despite Angel Di Maria’s rocket, Gabriel Mercato’s scrappy finish and Sergio Aguero’s late header.

Mascherano, who now plays in China after leaving Barcelona in January, told reporters as quoted by ESPN“This story has ended. We gave it our everything until the end,” the former Barcelona and Liverpool man told cameras after the match.

“It was a crazy match, in which we didn’t start well but we recovered and we turned it around. But their tying goal did so much damage to us.

“It cost us so much to lift ourselves up again. From this point on I will be just another fan of the Argentina national team. It is over. The illusion is shattered.

“It’s time to say goodbye and for the younger players to step in.”

Lucas Biglia has announced his international retirement, while there is also uncertainty over the future of Lionel Messi at international level, with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner previously quitting Argentina duty after failing to win silverware.

The Barcelona magician could not inspire an average Argentina team to improve upon their second place finish from four years ago, despite playing an integral role in the 2-1 win against Nigeria.

El sentido adios de Mascherano | Las mejores declaraciones tras el Francia-Argentina

Argentina cayó estrepitosamente contra Francia. Los albicelestes se vieron superados por el juego al contraataque de la selección gala. El partido estuvo muy disputado, habiendo incluso dos remontadas pero finalmente Francia, con Mbappé como estrella, se llevó el gato al agua. Las reacciones postpartido no se hicieron esperar. Todos los argentinos coincidían en una cosa, lo dieron todo pero no pudo ser.

Mascherano y Mercado hablaron con la prensa con un discurso muy parecido, los dos insistieron en que lo habían dado todo. El lateral declaró que “estamos muy tristes, nuestro sueño era llegar al final y no pudimos conseguirlo. Lo dimos todo para ello”. Mascherano también aprovechó sus palabras para anunciar que este había sido su último partido. “Es hora de decir adiós y alentar desde fuera. Se terminó la historia. Ahora soy un hincha más de la selección. Ojalá, en el futuro, los chicos puedan hacer algo”, declaró.

Muchos creían que la renuncia de Mascherano no sería la única del postpartido de Argentina. Las miras estaban puestas sobre las figuras de Sampaoli, uno de los grandes señalados. El técnico, sin embargo, descartó estar valorando cualquier posibilidad de dimitir. 

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Mbappé, nombrado MVP del partido, fue el primer francés en ponerse ante los micros de la prensa. El galo se mostró muy contento por “haber construido un gran equipo” y confiado en poder conseguir “cosas bonitas”. Mbappé también se restó importancia por sus comparaciones con Pelé y afirmó que el brasileño “es otra categoría” y ver el Mundial como un gran escenario “para mostrar lo que puedes hacer”. Deschamps siguió la línea de su pupilo y afirmó estar “muy feliz” y que “fue un partido muy difícil y hemos demostrado mucha calidad esta noche. Los jugadores se lo merecen”.

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Griezmann, que se paró en zona mixta, reconoció que el partido estuvo igualado pero que ellos habían “materializado las ocasiones. Esa ha sido la diferencia”. Destacó el hecho de “contener a Messi” como una de las claves del partido y la actuación de su compañero Mbappé, y su función de “darle los balones y el espacio que necesita, seguirá creciendo”. Varane se unió a los elogios a su compañero.

Wolves Announce Permanent Signings of Former Loanee Pair Leo Bonatini and Ruben Vinagre

Wolverhampton Wanderers have completed the permanent signings of Leo Bonatini and Ruben Vinagre, triggering options in the loan contracts of both players.

Bonatini, who scored 12 goals in 26 Championship appearances last season, signs from Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Hilal and has penned a four-year deal, while Vinagre, who played in nine league games, has been rewarded with a five-year deal after leaving Monaco.

Wolves sporting director Kevin Thelwell told the club’s website: “We are delighted to secure the services of two players we rate very highly, and we believe can play a huge part in our plans for our first season back in the Premier League and beyond.

“Both players have been part of this group for a season, and that means they can hit the ground running and won’t need any additional time to adjust to Nuno and his coaching staff’s high standards of preparation and training.

“Leo Bonatini was unstoppable for a long stretch last season – his goals played a huge part in our promotion – and we have no doubt he can reproduce that kind of goalscoring form in the Premier League.

“Ruben Vinagre is a hugely exciting prospect, and we are really looking forward to him developing further under Nuno’s tutelage.”

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Wolves have already signed Portugal international Rui Patricio, former Bournemouth striker Benik Afobe, who was then loaned to Stoke City and will be sold permanently in January 2019, defender Willy Boly and Diogo Jota this summer.

TRABAJO PENDIENTE: Beckham continúa eligiendo logo y nombre para el equipo de MLS en Miami

David Beckham y el grupo de inversionistas que lo respalda en el proyecto del nuevo equipo de la MLS que tendrá sede en Miami, se han enfrentado a un sinfín de problemas en el camino al debut del equipo para el 2020. 

Parece que el grupo ha ido descartando propuestas para elegir el nombre, los colores y el escudo o logotipo del equipo, y ahora están muy cerca de elegirlo. 

Jorge Mas, uno de los compañeros inversionistas de Beckham en este proyecto, comentó que están a punto de concluir detalles importantes para el equipo: ”Estamos pasando los exámenes finales, con todos los detalles y problemas de las marcas, todos esos detalles que no se pueden dejar pasar. Ese anuncio está muy cerca”.

Hay dos nombres en la mesa para esta franquicia, se trata de: Fútbol Club Internacional de Miami (Inter Miami) y Fútbol Club Atlético Miami (Atlético Miami).

La otra opción sería Miami Freedom, pero parece que por parte del Grupo Beckham la idea está descartada.

Sin embargo, no sólo les queda elegir nombre y colores, sino que también están en busca de formar el cuerpo operativo y necesitan un Gerente General. Parece que este puesto estará ocupado a finales de julio para poderlo presentar al mismo tiempo que se haga la presentación oficial del equipo. 

En cuanto al estratega que podría llegar, se habla de que posiblemente será Zinedine Zidane, pero aún no hay nada confirmado. 

Kylian Mbappe Confirms World-Class Status in Leading France Over Argentina

KAZAN, Russia – If that is it for Lionel Messi’s hopes of winning a World Cup–and he will be 35 by the time the next tournament comes around in Qatar–at least he went out in a classic, a 4-3 thriller that featured two goals of unimpeachable quality and will live forever in the collective memory of the World Cup. But if it marked the end of one era, it perhaps also marked the shift to a new one, as Kylian Mbappe confirmed his immense talent. That £166 million for which Paris Saint-Germain agreed to sign him last summer suddenly looks a lot more reasonable.

The Argentina defense cannot handle even moderate pace, and Mbappe is lighting fast. All France had to do was defend moderately well and hit balls over the top. It was something of a mystery that the game remained as close as it did for so long. This Argentina has been a shambolic side from the start of the tournament, and for Mbappe, it was the perfect victim. Whether France actually has found a coherence that had been lacking in the group stage or whether it just capitalized on the shortcomings of its opponent will only be seen in the quarterfinal.

It was clear from the very start that Argentina could not handle Mbappe. After 13 minutes Ever Banega miscontrolled 30 yards from the France goal. Mbappe picked up the ball and ran. Banega couldn’t catch him and neither could Javier Mascherano. Mbappe swept by Marcos Rojo, who did catch him, but only by using his arms to haul him down. It resulted in a clear penalty that Antoine Griezmann rolled in.

What followed was a game of extraordinary drama, one in which it seemed mystifying that France was ever in danger. Argentina may have been a mess, but its will to survive and endure is remarkable. Angel Di Maria lashed in a brilliant equalizer from 30 yards four minutes before halftime, and three minutes after the break, a Messi shot was redirected in by Gabriel Mercado.

Briefly, there was a thought that Argentina might somehow cling on, that it might somehow rekindle the spirit of 1990 when it produced dogged win after dogged win.

It did not last long. Argentina’s right flank was an open door all night. A cross from the left evaded everybody until it reached Benjamin Pavard, who almost caressed a curling volley into the top corner. Then it was Mbappe’s turn. A cross from the left, a sharp turn and shot and a goal from the sort of predatory instincts that mark out the best finishers.

Then, four minutes later, after another forward charge into space, a neat touch from Olivier Giroud and a calm finish, Mbappe became the first teenager since Pele in 1958 to score two goals in a World Cup knockout tie.

Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi greet each other in France's World Cup win over Argentina

Luis Acosta/AFP/Getty Images

“I’m very happy,” Mbappe said. “It’s flattering to be second after Pele. But let’s put things in context, Pele is another category. But it’s good to be among these people who score in knockouts.”

There was still time for Sergio Aguero to pull one back, but this was France’s day, and specifically Mbappe’s day. There will always be skepticism about those who play in the French league, even if they score 13 league goals in helping their side to a domestic treble. But this, after his performances for Monaco in the Champions League in 2017-18, confirmed him not merely as a player of the highest potential but of the highest quality.

“As I’ve always said,” Mbappe went on, “in a World Cup you have all the top-level players, so it’s an opportunity to show what you can do. There’s no better place to show your ability.”

Didier Deschamps, after the prickliness of the first couple of weeks of the tournament, cut a far more relaxed figure, joking about the fact Mbappe was born in 1998, five months after France, under Deschamps’s captaincy, had won the World Cup.

“This was a good year for him to be born, even if he didn’t see much of the 1998 World Cup,” he said. “But he adores football. He knows everything on clubs and players, and I’ve always said he’s very good. I’m very happy for Mbappe to be a French citizen, and he has a lot of room to make progress. But in such an important match, he’s shown all his talent. And even if he was supposed to defend, he still did attacks, and very good ones.”

That last line was presumably said in jest, although with Deschamps it’s often hard to be sure. This, though, was a far more relaxed Deschamps than he has been over the past two weeks, and he was even prepared to indulge comparisons of Mbappe and the Brazilian great Ronaldo.

“Ronaldo was a forward player who was very, very quick,” he said. “But I think Kylian is even quicker. He needs more space as well, even if he can play as a forward player, and he’s also in the central part of the field. But this is somebody who was a world champion compared to a young player who has lots of abilities.”

OFICIAL: Delantero de la selección peruana es nuevo jugador de Seattle Sounders

Era cuestión de días para que se hiciera oficial la llegada del delantero peruano, Raúl Ruidíaz, al Seattle Sounders de la Major League Soccer. Tras concluir la participación de la selección peruana en el Mundial de Rusia 2018, el jugador viajó de manera inmediata a territorio estadounidense para presentarse con el equipo. 

Los Seattle Sounders mediante su cuenta de Twitter oficializaron la llegada de Ruidíaz. 

Entre los detalles que dio el club sobre la contratación del peruano, es que llega como jugador franquicia, es decir, será de los mejor pagados en la MLS

Este sábado se enfrenta a los Portland Timbers y ahí se dará la presentación de Ruidíaz.

Ruidíaz se manifestó contento tras su llegada al conjunto de Seattle: “Quiero saludar a toda la afición del Seattle Sounders. Estoy muy feliz de estar acá y nos vemos muy pronto en el estadio”.

En la publicación de la llegada del jugador ,aparece un video que revela que el peruano utilizará el número 9.

Ruidíaz llega proveniente de Monarcas Morelia de la Liga MX, donde logró lucirse durante dos temporadas.