France's men's World Cup title defense is already a chaotic, snowballing mess
Injuries galore for FranceBack in 2018, and in the surrounding years, Deschamps could have fielded two distinct squads capable of challenging for a World Cup. He initially opted against surgery, and attacked a rehabilitation process that put him on track to return before the World Cup. The last back-to-back men’s World Cup winner was Brazil in 1958 and 1962. He has been living with the associated trauma, and under police protection, as the World Cup nears. They are clouding France’s World Cup prep, which, remember, has been the opposite of smooth on the field.wftv.com
Paul Pogba's brother charged, held in jail in France after alleged extortion attempts
The brother of Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba was charged by French authorities on Saturday after he allegedly organized an armed extortion attempt against him, according to ESPN . Mathias Pogba was taken into police custody on Wednesday in France, and will reportedly wait in jail while a judge determines whether to grant bail. Paul, in several meetings with investigators last month , said he has been receiving threats and other forms of intimidation since March. During the final visit, Paul said he recognized his older brother and then notified police. Paul has now joined Juventus, where he played from 2012-16, after spending the last six seasons with Manchester United.wftv.com
Pogba's World Cup place in doubt amid scandal and bad knee
French prosecutors are investigating allegations that Pogba was the target of extortion by his elder brother Mathias Pogba and childhood friends. While the circumstances are different, Pogba's presence at the World Cup could also have an impact on another player: the star striker Mbappe. They are the last two games before France’s opening game of the World Cup against Australia on Nov. 22. They were close when growing up in a housing project with Florentin Pogba — Mathias' twin — in the eastern Paris suburb of Roissy-en-Brie. What if Mathias Pogba keeps posting such videos during the World Cup?wftv.com
French prosecutors probe alleged extortion against Pogba
PARIS — (AP) — French prosecutors are investigating allegations that World Cup winner Paul Pogba was targeted by extortion attempts by his brother and childhood friends. The Paris prosecutor’s office said Monday it opened an investigation earlier this month into attempted organized extortion, which is being handled by anti-corruption police. When the group approached Pogba about their demand at the Juventus training center in Turin, he said his brother Mathias Pogba was among them, according to France-Info. The case became public after Mathias Pogba posted a video and tweets this weekend threatening to share “explosive revelations” about his brother and France star Kylian Mbappe. The 32-year-old Mathias Pogba is also a soccer player who spent most of his career with lower-tier teams in England and other European countries.wftv.com
Weston McKennie is sidelined by injury, and with a World Cup looming, USMNT anxieties set in
And thus began three-and-a-half months of worry in a World Cup year unlike any other. Most of the 26 players who'll comprise the USMNT squad will play high-intensity games eight or nine days before their World Cup opener, and weekly or biweekly between now and then. For USMNT hopefuls, only two of whom have ever played in a World Cup, any wound that lingers beyond October will imperil a lifelong dream. It occasionally left the U.S. without key players for World Cup qualifiers, and ended McKennie's 2021-22 season months early. Together, they comprise a youthful and ambitious team that will take aim at a deep World Cup run.wftv.com
New stars, old problems for Man United in Champions League
Switzerland Soccer Champions League From left, Manchester United's Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Harry Maguire leave the pitch after of the Champions League group F soccer match between BSC Young Boys and Manchester United, at the Wankdorf stadium in Bern, Switzerland, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. Even new signings Ronaldo and Raphaël Varane — four-time Champions League winners together at Real Madrid — could not save the stellar and expensively assembled Man United team from defeat against unheralded Young Boys. Leading 1-0 from Ronaldo’s 13th-minute strike, Man United failed to get a shot on goal the rest of the way. The story of Solksjaer's managing in the Champions League has been highs and lows with little middle ground. Ronaldo has never played in the Europa League for Man United, Real Madrid or Juventus.wftv.com
UEFA asks Euro 2020 teams to stop removing sponsor bottles
Germany France Euro 2020 Soccer Germany's Antonio Ruediger, left, and Germany's Robin Gosens, right, challenge France's Paul Pogba during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group F match between France and Germany at the Allianz Arena stadium in Munich, Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Pogba, who is Muslim and does not drink alcohol, objected to the distinctive green bottle of official Euro 2020 beer sponsor Heineken. The 24 national federations will share 371 million euros ($442 million) in UEFA prize money, which typically helps pay player bonuses. The champions can get a maximum of 34 million euros ($40.6 million) from UEFA by also winning all three of their group games. Euro 2020 revenue will also fund 775 million euros ($925 million) UEFA has promised to its 55 member federations in annual grants and development project funds for the period of 2020-24.wftv.com
The Latest: Finland fans make noise in St. Petersburg
Russia Finland Euro 2020 Soccer Finnish players warm up prior to the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Russia and Finland at the Saint Petersburg stadium, in St. Petersburg, Russia, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, Pool) (Dmitri Lovetsky)The Latest on soccer’s European Championship:___Finland fans wearing the white-and-blue colors of the national team are starting to make themselves heard inside Saint Petersburg Stadium ahead of the European Championship game against Russia. ___Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand expects Christian Eriksen to wear his match jersey while watching the team’s European Championship game against Belgium from the hospital. Denmark faces the Belgians in Copenhagen on Thursday in the team’s first game since Eriksen’s collapse against Finland. ___Austria forward Marko Arnautovic has been suspended from the team’s game against the Netherlands on Thursday for insulting a North Macedonian opponent.wftv.com
'We can rest when we retire': Rashford rejects burnout fears
Manchester United's Marcus Rashford rests during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and West Ham United at Old Trafford, Manchester, England, Sunday, March. “It’s the life of a footballer — we can rest when we retire,” Rashford said Wednesday, a day before appearance No. Indeed, his priority is winning trophies with United, which hasn’t happened for nearly four years now — since capturing the Europa League under Jose Mourinho in 2017. Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the semifinals have been the ceiling for United in cup competitions and Rashford said it’s time to put that right. “We unfortunately got kicked out of the Champions League and our focus was to win the Europa League," he said, "and we are not going to be happy with anything less than that.
Players walk off in protest against alleged racism in CL
(AP Photo/Francois Mori)In a powerful protest against alleged racism, players from Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir walked off the field during a Champions League game on Tuesday and didn’t return after a match official was accused of using insulting language about a Black coach. It sparked a commotion in the technical area that led to Webo being sent off by the referee. UEFA said it would “thoroughly investigate” the incident, while stating the match would restart with a different fourth official inside an empty Parc des Princes stadium. PSG’s players will return to their stadium knowing they have already qualified for the knockout stage. Ronaldo converted spot kicks for Juventus in either half, after briefly embracing with Messi before kickoff when the pair also exchanged a few words.
Fans return to the EPL as Chelsea, Man U enjoy comeback wins
The fans — 2,000 from West Ham, 2,000 from Chelsea — had contrasting experiences on opposite sides of London. Chelsea’s players treated their select group of attending fans to a comeback of their own at Stamford Bridge. The match saw respective managers Frank Lampard, of Chelsea, and Marcelo Bielsa, of Leeds, meet for the first time in the Premier League. Meanwhile, Guardiola didn’t make a single substitution, at a time when he is pushing the Premier League to increase the number of replacements from three to five for player-welfare reasons. It’s now 11 goals in 11 games for the Everton striker after scoring the equalizer in a 1-1 draw at Burnley.
Cristiano Ronaldo returns to Italy to finish isolating
The Portuguese soccer federation says Cristiano Ronaldo has tested positive for the coronavirus. He has been dropped from the country's Nations League match against Sweden on Wednesday, Oct. 14. Ronaldo tested positive two days before the team’s Nations League match against Sweden in Lisbon. He had played in the Nations League match against France on Sunday, and against Spain in a friendly last week. Other soccer players who have tested positive for COVID-19 recently include Neymar, Kylian Mbappé, Paul Pogba, Paulo Dybala, Ángel Di María, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Diego Costa.
Disjointed and overrun, Man Utd slumps to loss on EPL return
(Richard Heathcote/Pool via AP)Manchester United began its Premier League campaign with a performance as disjointed as its offseason. Maybe the 3-1 home loss to Crystal Palace on Saturday shouldn’t really have come as a surprise. After all, United only ended a pandemic-prolonged 2019-20 season 33 days ago with a demoralizing loss to Sevilla in the Europa League semifinals. “We knew Manchester United didn’t play last week and that we had the mental advantage,” Palace winger Andros Townsend said. On a day when 21 goals were scored in four games, there were also wins for Everton, Leeds and Arsenal.
PREMIER LEAGUE 2020-21: Rodriguez, Havertz among signings
James Rodriguez joined Premier League club Everton on Monday, Sept. 7, 2020 in an attempt to revive a career that faltered at Real Madrid. Now, they are both at Everton, a team without a trophy since 1995 and living in the shadow of neighbour Liverpool, the recently crowned Premier League champion. KAI HAVERTZ (Chelsea)The most expensive signing of the offseason at a fee rising to $92 million, Havertz might also be the most interesting. Havertz is the youngest player to reach 100 Bundesliga appearances and scored 36 goals in four seasons with Bayer Leverkusen in the German league. With Timo Werner, Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech making up Chelsea's likely attack, Havertz won't be short of quality around him.
The Latest: Roma winger Carles Prez positive for virus
The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___Spanish winger Carles Prez is the second Roma player to test positive for the coronavirus as the team opens its training camp for Serie A. Prez writes on Instagram that he feels fine and is totally asymptomatic.About 10 players have tested positive during the Italian leagues preseason. ___France coach Didier Deschamps says midfielder Paul Pogba has tested positive for COVID-19 and has been left out of the national team squad. Deschamps says "he had a test yesterday which was positive this morning.Pogba has been replaced in the squad by 17-year-old Rennes midfielder Eduardo Camavinga ahead of upcoming Nations League qualifiers against Sweden and Croatia. ___More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Where next, Messi ? Few clubs can meet his financial demands
The money in that contract is daunting: a reported 100 million euros ($118 million) annual salary package and release clause demanding a 700 million euros ($827 million) transfer fee. What coach says no to Messi? said Tuchel, whose side lost the Champions League final to Bayern Munich on Sunday. GERMANYBayern Munich appears in little need of reinforcement after winning a Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup treble. The Bavarian powerhouse has grown on and off the pitch thanks to smart financial management, with revenue of 750 million euros ($886 million) in the most recent annual accounts and profit after tax of 52 million euros ($61.5 million). When World Cup-winning France defender Lucas Hernndez arrived last year for a club-record 80 million euros ($95 million) from Atltico Madrid, it was an exception.
Premier League reaches climax with plenty still at stake
Manchester United's Paul Pogba runs during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and West Ham at the Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England, Wednesday, July 22, 2020. Intriguingly, two of them face off on the final day, with Leicester hosting United at King Power Stadium. Chelsea is guaranteed a return to the Champions League with a win or a draw. One of Chelsea, Leicester and United is sure to take one of the spots while the other will go to Wolves or Tottenham. FAREWELLSDavid Silva will play his final Premier League game for Man City before he leaves the club after 10 years.
Man United back in Champions League spots, West Ham stays up
Manchester United's Mason Greenwood scores his side's opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and West Ham at the Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England, Wednesday, July 22, 2020. (Clive Brunskill/Pool via AP)MANCHESTER Manchester United nudged into the Champions League places for the first time since September after Mason Greenwood sealed a 1-1 draw against West Ham in the penultimate match of the Premier League season on Wednesday. West Ham moved four points clear of the relegation zone to secure its Premier League survival. Paul Pogbas needless handball allowed Michail Antonio to give West Ham a surprise lead from the spot. United only needs to avoid defeat to fifth-placed Leicester in its last game of the season to secure a return to the Champions League.
Rashford back to the day job after activism during pandemic
FILE - In this Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019 file photo, Manchester United's Marcus Rashford celebrates during an English Premier League soccer match against Manchester City at Etihad stadium in Manchester, England. Manchester United and England player Marcus Rashford is urging the government to provide free meals for needy students over the summer holidays. My day job, the Manchester United striker tweeted this week alongside a picture of him at practice at the teams training facility. They are qualities the United manager sees in Rashford the soccer player, too, having already made him his No. He has changed the lives of so many kids this summer, Solskjaer said, which is more important than any game of football he will probably play.
PL teams prepare for restart with practice games at stadiums
LONDON Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal were among the clubs who stepped up their preparations for the Premier Leagues return by holding practice matches on Saturday. The league also announced Saturday that the sixth round of COVID-19 testing of 1,195 players and staff across the 20 clubs on Thursday and Friday produced no positives. Arsenal, which will be in action on the first night back away to Manchester City, hosted second-tier side Charlton at the Emirates Stadium. Eddie Nketiah scored a hat trick in a 6-0 win for the Gunners, with forwards Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette also netting. Players drove to the stadium in their match kit and the match was refereed by fitness coach Charlie Owen.
'We won't tolerate': Sports world unites behind Floyd
In this Monday, June 1, 2020 photo, Dnico Perry-Ellis leads a chant on Station Street in Pittsburgh, protesting the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. Dismayed by the death of Floyd and inspired by the actions of Colin Kaepernick, athletes from around the world have come together during one of the most politically charged periods in modern history. Soccer players may also take what has happened to Floyd more personally because of how often black players have been abused inside stadiums around Europe in recent years. Baer-Hoffman said the reaction of sports stars was a reflection of uncertain times around the world since the outbreak of the coronavirus. It scares you and forces you to think I think it stands for something much greater.