Gabriel Jesus Leads Brazil to Copa America Title

Gabriel Jesus is being hailed a hero in his home country…

The 22-year-old Brazilian professional footballer, a forward for Premier League club Manchester City and the Brazil national team, scored and assisted on goals before being sent off in Brazil‘s 3-1 win over Peru in the Copa America final on Sunday in Rio de Janeiro.

Gabriel Jesus

The hosts opened the scoring in the 15th minute after Jesus slipped past two defenders and crossed the ball for Everton to finish first time past Peru keeper Pedro Gallese.

The two teams traded goals right before halftime with Paolo Guerreroconverting a spot kick for Peru after Thiago Silva was whistled for handball and Jesus cooly finishing from the top of the penalty area to restore Brazil’s lead at 2-1 before the break.

Peru had not won this tournament since 1975 and they bounced back quickly with an equalizer a minute before halftime when Paolo Guerrero scored from the penalty spot after Silva was adjudged to have handled the ball.

The goal was the first Brazil had conceded in six games since the Copa America began.

Jesus was controversially sent off in the 70th minute for a foul on Carlos Zambrano with the Man Citystriker being shown his second yellow card and leaving Brazil to finish the match with 10 players.

“I want to apologize,” said Jesus. “I could have avoided it and I also need to grow up a lot.”

Despite being down a man, Brazil was still able to force the issue on the field and goalscorer Everton drew a penalty, which substitute Richarlison converted to give Brazil their ninth Copa America title and first major trophy since 2007.

Peru coach Ricardo Garecarecognized Brazil was the superior side but said his team, who played at their first World Cupin 36 years in 2018, were competitive throughout.

“It was fair that Brazil won,” he said. “We had our momentum but the second goal…

“They took advantage of their opportunities.

“We came here hoping to win but they were very effective,” he added. “But looking beyond the pain of the defeat, I think we are on the right path, that is the feeling that I have.”

An injured Neymar and his son sat close to Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro among the crowd of nearly 70,000 at the Maracana as the Selecao secured a historic one for Brazil manager Tite, who becomes the first coach to oversee a win in the Copa America, the Copa Libertadores( Corinthians, 2012) and the Copa Sudamericana(Internacional, 2008).

Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez To Transfer to MLS’ Atlanta United

Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez is headed to the ATL

The 25-year-old Argentine footballer is planning to leave River Plate and join MLS side Atlanta United after the FIFA Club World Cup.

Gonzalo "Pity" Martinez

The winger, who scored River Plate’s third goal in Sunday’s 3-1 Copa Libertadores second-leg win over Boca Juniors in Madrid, will move after four seasons at the club.

“I want to inform people that in January I will not continue,” Martinez told TyC Sports. “It’s been a very difficult decision for me, but my journey continues. I think I’ve given people what they deserve, and that is everything for those who supported me.”

Atlanta have reportedly agreed to pay the Argentina international’s $17 million release clause.

Asked why he had chosen Atlanta, Martinez said: “It’s the club that has put its trust in me. European clubs did not put their trust in me at the time, and I thought long and hard about it with my family and my agent.

“The MLS is a league that has grown a lot, and I hope I can keep on making history at that club.”

After Sunday’s Copa final at the Bernabeu, Martinez posted an Instagram photograph of himself holding the Copa Libertadores trophy.

River’s win sees them qualify for the Club World Cup, which will kick off in the United Arab Emirates later this week.

“I will play at the Club World Cup,” Martinez said. “To experience these moments with this club is the most beautiful thing in the world. There are many things I achieved with this club, and I’m going to miss it a lot.”

River captain Leo Ponzio, meanwhile, said he hoped to come up against defending champions Real Madrid in the final.

“I wish that the Club World Cup final will be River vs. Real Madrid,”he told Cadena Ser radio. “We know who they are, how they play and it would be something to enjoy.”

Atlanta United won the title in only their second season on Saturday when they beat Portland Timbers 2-0 in the MLS Cup playoff final.

Veron Comes Out of Retirement & Officially Re-Signs with Estudiantes

Juan Sebastian Veron is ready to prove age is nothing but a number…

The 41-year-old Argentine retired footballer is back in the game after officially re-signing for Estudiantes de la Plata, two years after hanging up his boots.

Juan Sebastian Veron

The former Manchester United and Argentina midfielder quit playing in 2014 to become chairman of his boyhood club, having won 73 caps for his country, while he also played Chelsea, Inter Milan and Lazio.

Veron had promised to play in the 2017 Copa Libertadores if supporters bought 65 percent of the tickets for the club’s new stadium and has now made good on that pledge.

He has signed an 18-month contract, meaning he will be 43 years old when the deal expires. He will be paid a minimal salary, all of which will be “donated for the development of the club.”

His first game back in Estudiantes colors is set to be against Bayer Leverkusen in the Florida Cup on January 8 after he spent the last few months working on his fitness.

“He told us he wants to return, that from January he will return as a player,” midfielder Israel Damonte told La Oral Deportiva last month. “He will play from January for the tournament [league] and Copa [Libertadores in 2017].”

Veron won Apertura titles with Estudiantes in 2006 and 2010, and the Copa Libertadores in 2009 — his second spell with the club.

In European football, he won the UEFA Cup and Coppa Italia with Parma in 1998-99, before going on to lift the Serie A and Coppa Italia double with Lazio in 1999-2000, as well as the UEFA Super Cup in 2009. He then won the Premier League with Manchester United in 2002-03 and another Italian double with Inter in 2005-06. He also won the Coppa Italia with Inter in 2004-05.

Damião Arrives in Seville to Join Real Betis

Leandro Damião da Silva is ready to get Real

The 26-year-old Brazilian striker has arrived in Seville, Spain to finalize his move to Real Betis, a team he’ll commit to until the end of the season with a contract extendable for three years.

Leandro Damião da Silva

Damião comes from Cruzeiro in his country, with which he ended contract in late 2015, so he arrives at Betis on a free transfer and said on arrival at the railway station of Santa Justa that he is “very happy” to play in La Liga.

The delegate of the Betis first team, Victor Antequera, received the South American striker and accompanied him to the offices of the club, where he will sign a new contract if no hitch arises during the routine medical examination.

Damião had never played for clubs outside Brazil until now, having started his career at Internacional, with which he won a Copa Libertadores and a Recopa Sudamericana.

Neymar Signs Papers for His Transfer to FC Barcelona

It’s official… Neymar is headed to España…

The 21-year-old Brazilian striker made his move to Futbol Club Barcelona official on Monday, signing the papers for his transfer from Brazil’s Santos FC to this year’s Spanish champion.

Neymar

Next on the agenda is a visit to the office of Barça club president Sandro Rosell, where Neymar will ink his five-year deal.

The club expects to present Neymar to the fans next week, though the exact day will depend on his commitments with the Brazilian national team.

Barcelona has yet to reveal how much the team paid for Neymar, but some media accounts have mentioned a transfer fee in the realm of 100 million euros ($129.3 million).

Neymar still had a year left on his contract with Santos, which last Friday accepted offers from both Barça and archrival Real Madrid and left it up to the striker to decide where he wanted to go.

The latest soccer phenom to come out of Brazil joined the Santos organization as a youngster and was promoted to the senior squad in 2009.

Neymar’s 138 goals in 230 matches have been a big part of why Santos has won six titles, including the Brazilian Cup and the Copa Libertadores, in the last four years.

At Barça, he will be part of a lineup led by Lionel Messi, widely regarded as the world’s best player.

Neymar Agrees to Five-Year-Deal with FC Barcelona

It looks like Neymar is heading to Spain…

Futbol Club Barcelona has agreed to a five-year-deal worth a reported $36.12 million with the 21-year-old Brazilian striker, wooing him away from his club in Brazil, Santos.

Neymar

“FC Barcelona and Santos have agreed terms for Neymar. The 21-year old is one of the most promising footballers on the planet,” said FC Barcelona in a statement.

“On Monday, I sign a contract with Barcelona. I want to thank the fans of Santos by these incredible nine years,” wrote Neymar on Instagram.

The statement in Portuguese added: “My feeling for the club and the fans will never change. Titles, goals, dribbling, celebrations and songs that fans created for me will be forever in my heart.

Neymar had been considering his future after Santos revealed they had accepted two offers for their star player, with Barcelona confirmed as one of the bidders and Real Madrid widely assumed to be the other.

His contract with Santos was due to expire at the end of next season.

Neymar will say goodbye to the Santos fans at Sunday’s season-opening game against Flamengo before joining Barcelona after the Confederations Cup, which starts in Brazil on June 15 and finishes on June 30.

The signing ends years of speculation about which team would be the first to persuade the player to make the move to Europe.

As well as Real Madrid,  he has also been linked with Chelsea  and Manchester United  since making his debut for Santos in 2009.

Neymar led Santos to their greatest run since Pele stopped playing for the club in the 1970s, helping the team win the 2010 Brazilian Cup, the 2011 Copa Libertadores and three straight Sao Paulo state championships.

He’s the club’s leading scorer in the post-Pele era with 138 goals in 229 matches.

Neymar is also considered Brazil’s key player for the 2014 World Cup.