February 2018 - Soccer Wiretap

Neymar To Undergo Surgery On Injured Foot

Feb 28, 2018 4:46 PM

Neymar will undergo surgery later this week in Brazil. Neymar suffered a sprained ankle and a cracked fifth metatarsal on Sunday.

"After an initial treatment period of three days, in line with a strict medical protocol," a PSG statement said. "A joint decision has been taken between the medical staffs of both PSG and the Brazil national team.

"In accordance with the player, it has been decided that Neymar will undergo surgery in Brazil at the end of this week.

"He will be operated on by doctor Rodrigo Lasmar and accompanied by PSG's Professor Saillant."

Neymar is expected to be out six to eight weeks.

Jonathan Johnson/ESPN

Tags: Brazil, Paris Saint-Germain, Injury

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Jose Mourinho Meets With Ed Woodward To Talk Old Trafford Atmosphere

Feb 28, 2018 2:29 PM

Jose Mourinho and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward have met to discuss the Manchester United manager's comments about the atmosphere at Old Trafford.

Mourinho has been critical of the atmosphere at Old Trafford.

According to sources, Mourinho has asked for a detailed history of the atmosphere problems at Old Trafford and charged members of his backroom staff with speaking to supporters around Manchester in a bid to better understand the problem.

In November, Mourinho turned down an invitation to meet supporters to discuss his comments, saying he could not meet "a quarter of the planet."

Rob Dawson/ESPN

Tags: Manchester United

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Arsene Wenger Dodges Question About Future With Arsenal

Feb 28, 2018 10:57 AM

Arsene Wenger dodged questions about his future with Arsenal.

Wenger is under renewed pressure after losing the Carabao Cup final 3-0 to Manchester City on Sunday as well as the possibility of Arsenal not qualifying for the Champions League for the second straight season.

"My position is my position. Honestly, that's the last worry I have at the moment. My worry is to focus to get the team ready for tomorrow," Wenger said a news conference ahead of Thursday's Premier League game against Man City. "I don't ask you if your position is reviewed at the end of the season."

Wenger was pressed on why he would not clarify whether he intends to see out the final season of his contract.

"I just told you the answer," he said. "If you need clarity, I can repeat exactly the same answer. Exactly, that's the clarity. Does it stop you from sleeping that my position is uncertain or would not be certain, or is certain? No. What is interesting in football is the performances of football, the game you will see on Thursday night. That is what is important.

"All the rest may make headlines, but it is not really interesting. I am just amazed that I have to always answer things that are exactly the same. I [have been] here for 21 years. I turned the whole world down to respect my contracts. So I am still amazed that I still have to answer these types of questions."

Mattias Karen/ESPN

Tags: Arsenal, Misc Rumor

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USA's 2026 World Cup Bid In Peril

Feb 28, 2018 10:31 AM

The North American bid for the 2026 World Cup is not as certain as it was once believed with Morocco believed to now be beating it in terms of support from the international community.

The United States, Mexico and Canada have been preparing their bid.

One official who is in regular contact with all of the continental confederations estimated that Morocco has the support of much of Asia and South America, as well as its home continent of Africa, which would put it over the 104 votes needed. All four bid nations cannot vote while the Guatemalan federation is currently suspended.

Sunil Gulati, the former president of U.S. Soccer who is heading the North American bid, declined to discuss specifics regarding support, but he said in an interview that it would be foolish for anyone to assume anything about the outcome.

"We've never taken anything for granted in this process," Gulati said. "We understand that in a competitive election -- and that's what this is -- a lot of different things go into a decision."

The North American bid has had to counter an anti-American sentiment that stems largely from actions taken by President Donald Trump's administration, multiple sources said. 

Sources said they expect the race to come down to the final days. 

Sam Borden/ESPN

Tags: United States, World Cup

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Premier League Expected To Have Winter Break In 19-20

Feb 27, 2018 2:19 PM

The Football Association, Premier League and Football League have reached a provisional agreement to play a round of the FA Cup in midweek to accommodate a winter break.

The deal would mean players take off the first two weeks of February from the 2019-20 season in the hope it will improve England’s chances in Euro 2020.

The 2020 European Championship will be held at the end of the first season with a winter break, in 12 cities across the continent. 

The final decision on a winter break rests with the FA but it is understood the Premier League is happy with the idea.

Martha Kelner/The Guardian

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Real Madrid To Exercise Buy-Back On Omar Mascarell

Feb 27, 2018 8:47 AM

Real Madrid is set to exercise their buy-back option on Omar Mascarell, bring him back from Eintracht Frankfurt. 

Mascarell has emerged as a solid defensive midfielder in the Bundesliga this season.

Real Madrid will have Mascarell in camp with the club this summer as their other midfielders will be returning late from the World Cup. Real Madrid could sell Mascarell on at a profit.

Mascarell joined Los Blancos' youth team in 2010.

Sergio Santos Chozas/As.com

Tags: Real Madrid, Misc Rumor, Transfer Rumor

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Kingsley Coman Out For Season With Ankle Surgery

Feb 27, 2018 8:43 AM

Kingsley Coman is expected to miss the remainder of the season with ankle surgery.

Coman was injured in a collision with Mathew Leckie during Saturday's match.

Coman has made 32 appearances in all competitions this season, scoring seven goals.

Coman's status for the World Cup is now in doubt.

As.com

Tags: Bayern Munich, France, Injury

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Neymar Out Until May With Surgery On Foot

Feb 27, 2018 8:12 AM

Neymar suffered a fractured metatarsal in his right foot and will undergo surgery.

Neymar is expected to be out until at least May, which will be just one month before the start of the World Cup.

Gabriel Jesus missed 10 weeks for Manchester City with the same type of injury last season.

ESPN

Tags: Brazil, Paris Saint-Germain, Injury

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Antonio Conte Identified As Italy's Top Choice For Manager

Feb 27, 2018 7:58 AM

Antonio Conte has been confirmed as Italy's first choice to become their next manager.

Conte's future with Chelsea remains uncertain.

Roberto Mancini, Carlo Ancelotti, and Claudio Ranieri are also being considered.

“I haven’t chosen yet but I think Conte is the one who could do the best,” said football association’s vice-commissioner Alessandro Costacurta.

“[Conte] has already shown he knows how to be national team coach while the others haven’t yet,” said Costacurta, the former Milan and Italy defender who is in charge of selecting the coach under the federation’s emergency administration.

“That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be happy with Mancini or with Ancelotti – although [Ancelotti] seems to have removed himself from consideration.”

Conte left Italy to join Chelsea in 2016 after the European Championships.

The Guardian

Tags: Chelsea, Italy, Misc Rumor

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Atletico Sells Yannick Carrasco, Nicolas Gaitan To Dalian Yifang

Feb 26, 2018 3:05 PM

Atletico Madrid have sold Yannick Carrasco and Nicolas Gaitan to Dalian Yifang of the Chinese Super League.

Carrasco's move is believed to be worth around £26 million. 

The relationship between Carrasco and Diego Simeone had become increasingly strained.

Liam Prenderville/Mirror

Tags: Atlético Madrid, Misc Rumor, Transfer Rumor

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Gianluigi Buffon Receives Surprising Recall To Italian National Team
Gianluigi Buffon had planned on retiring from international duty following Italy's elimination from the World Cup playoff.

Ben Gladwell/ESPN

Neymar Stretchered Off With Ankle Injury
A false step while tracking back saw Neymar's right ankle roll over despite suffering no contact.

ESPN

Jordan Morris Suffers Torn ACL
Jordan Morris missed the end of the MLS regular season after suffering a hamstring injury in September.

Stuart Holden/Fox Sports

Arsenal-Milan Headlines Last-16 Of Europa League
Arsenal have drawn AC Milan in the last-16 round of the Europa League while Atletico Madrid will play Lokomotiv Moscow.

The Guardian

David De Gea Expected To Reject Real Madrid, Extend Deal With United
David de Gea has 18 months remaining on his current deal.

Rob Dawson/ESPN

Robert Lewandowski Parts Ways With Longtime Agent
The agent had reportedly "offered" Robert Lewandowski to Real Madrid.

Stephan Uersfeld/ESPN

Video: The Blueprint Of A Roster: Barcelona
Barcelona's roster is a mix of La Masia graduates and expensive transfers.

RealGM Staff Report

Barcelona Wants To Avoid Selling Any Players In Summer
Barcelona hopes to avoid a repeat of the Neymar situation last summer when Paris Saint-Germain triggered his buyout clause.

Sam Marsden/ESPN

Mesut Ozil Dealing With Immune System Issues
Mesut Ozil is sick for the fourth time in just over a year.

Mattias Karen/ESPN

Steve Nash Likely To Join Turner's Coverage Of Champions League
There are no plans currently for Steve Nash to join Turner's NBA coverage.

Andrew Marchand/New York Post

Antonio Conte Needs To Resolve Relationship With Chelsea Board To Stay
Antonio Conte expects to have other options available to him if he leaves Chelsea.

Dominic Fifield/The Guardian

Arsene Wenger: Pep Guardiola Had Interest In Playing For Arsenal
Arsene Wenger revealed that Pep Guardiola visited him at his house during his playing career.

Mattias Karen/ESPN

Zinedine Zidane Hints At Leaving Real Madrid After Current Season
Real Madrid are 17 points behind Barcelona this season in La Liga as Zinedine Zidane's tactical ability has been criticized.

Dermot Corrigan/ESPN

Netflix To Air Docuseries On Juventus
Netflix will air a six episode docuseries following Juventus on and off the field.

As.com

Toni Kroos Out Two Weeks With Knee Injury
Toni Kroos suffered the injury in Wednesday's Champions League match against Paris Saint-Germain.

As.com

Jose Mourinho Denies Claims Paul Pogba Wants To Leave United
Paul Pogba and Jose Mourinho have had a fractured relationship.

Paul Wilson/The Guardian

Nasser Al-Khelaifi: Neymar Will Remain With PSG Next Season
Neymar has had an inconsistent first season with PSG as the club has had mixed results.

Jonathan Johnson/ESPN

Cristiano Ronaldo Began Practicing Penalty Kick Volley With United
Cristiano Ronaldo disturbed the turf under the ball, which made it move up to create a volley effect.

ESPN

Marco Verratti Doesn't Rule Out Transfer To Barcelona
Marco Verratti was close to joining Barcelona last summer.

As.com

Spurs Have Option To Extend Erik Lamela's Contract
Erik Lamela joined Spurs from Roma in 2013 for £30 million.

David Hytner/The Guardian