Neymar Signs with Puma for Long-Term Partnership

Neymar is reppin’ a new brand…

Puma has announced the signing of the 28-year-old Brazilian soccer star after the Paris Saint-Germain player left Nike following a 15-year association.

Neymar’s arrival was announced on the Puma website alongside the banner “The king is back” and “Welcome to the family Neymar JR.”

Neymar wrote in a statement on his Twitter page: “At the beginning of each new season, I take some time to think about my career and the choices I have made. I think about the dreams I had when I started this sport, and the path that lies ahead.

“This will be a different season, a special season. For that reason, as I have done in the past, I decided to write this text.

“I am about to live a unique experience, a new challenge. I consider myself privileged to have had a life filled with unique experiences and wonderful challenges.

“I grew up watching videos of great football legends such as Pele, Cruyff, Matthaus, Eusebio and Maradona … These were the kings of the pitch, the kings of my sport. And they had something in common — a love of the game, a drive to be the best version of themselves and a spirit that unites all. It’s not always about being the best or the greatest but instead, to inspire future generations. That is exactly what I have dreamt of for myself, to give all of me to football because football has given me everything I have. I want to do it my way, using my gift.

“New challenges, new responsibilities, I understand that. I wish to bring back the legacy that those athletes created on the pitch. I was to help bring back memories from each of their football histories and the magic they gave us in their classic leather boots — and through boots like those, leave behind my own legacy. They each played in PUMA, and each of them created their magic in The KING.

“And so now, as I begin this new season, I want the KING to reign on the pitch and inspire generations as it has inspired me and others.

“To be in this project, associating myself to those Kings of football, through KING, it is a dream. For these reasons, from today onward, I have the honour to unite with the brand that helped the biggest legends of football become what they are. Every time I lace my boots, my KING boots, I will do anything to achieve all of my dreams to honour my name and that of all those great ones who wore the KING before me. This will be my PUMA history. The KING is back!”

Sources told ESPN that only four executives knew about the deal to land Neymar and it was “a big secret in the company” that they had been working to sign the player for several months.

He returned to training with PSG on Friday after missing their opening Ligue 1 fixture of the campaign, a 1-0 defeat at Lens, following a positive test for the coronavirus.

Neymar joined PSG from Barcelona in 2017 for a world-record €222 million fee and has won three Ligue 1 titles in Paris. He also helped the French club reach the Champions League final in August, where they were beaten 1-0 by Bayern Munich.

During his time at Barca he won the Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup and two La Liga titles.

Nashville SC Acquires Jhonder Cadiz on Loan from Portugal’s Benfica

Jhonder Cadiz is ready to kick things up in Major League Soccer

MLS expansion side Nashville SC has a new Designated Player, with the club announcing they acquired the 25-year-old soccer player and striker on loan from Portuguese giants Benfica.

Jhonder Cadiz

Cadiz spent last season on loan in France with Dijon and becomes Nashville’s third DP signing, with the MLS club having an option to buy.

“Jhonder has been an outstanding striker at the highest of levels in both European and South American competitions, and we think his game is tailor-made for Major League Soccer,” said Nashville SC General Manager Mike Jacobs. “The combination of his athleticism and clinical ability around the box made him heavily sought after. We feel fortunate to be able to add him to our club.”

Cadiz, who scored two goals in 15 appearances with Dijon last season in Ligue 1, racked up 10 the previous season for Portugal’s Vitoria Setubal, leading him to sign a five-year contract with Benfica in June 2019.

“I’m very excited to join Nashville SC and to be a part of this inaugural year for the club,” Cadiz said in a statement. “I’m incredibly motivated to showcase my game in Nashville and Major League Soccer and to help the club reach every goal in 2020 and beyond.”

Nashville returns to action Saturday against Atlanta United.

Eugenio Pizzuto Signs with Ligue 1’s Lille OSC

Eugenio Pizzuto is headed to France…

The 18-year-old Mexican professional footballer joined French Ligue 1 club Lille OSC, the team has confirmed.

Eugenio Pizzuto

Pizzuto captained Mexico at the under-17 World Cup in 2019 and was awarded the Bronze Ball for his performance as El Trireached the final.

“I feel confident in myself,” Pizzuto said at a news conference. “I think I’ll be able play this year without any problem.

“Like in any team, if you are the new guy you have to come in and work really hard so you can win a place in the starting 11 or on the bench, but I’m just going to work and do my best to be on the field.”

Pizzuto joined Lille on a free transfer after coming through thePachuca youth system.

Hector Herrera and Hirving Lozano also came through the youth system and were signed to European clubs.

Pizzuto only made one appearance in Liga MX, fracturing his fibula and dislocating his ankle in a horror injury just nine minutes after coming off the bench against Leon last January.

“About the injury, I’m much better, I’m just finishing the last things to be back on the field, but I’m 100% to play for Lille,” Pizzuto added.

The Ligue 1 season begins on Saturday, August 22 with Lille taking on Rennes at home.

The team was in fourth position when the 2019-20 Ligue 1 season was ended on April 28 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Neymar Leads Paris Saint-Germain to Coupe de France Win with Sole Goal Against Saint-Etienne

Neymar’s celebrating a big kick…

The 28-year-old Brazilian professional footballer and Paris Saint-Germain forward kicked a goal early in the game to give his team a 1-0 win over 10-man Saint-Etienne on Friday in a near empty stadium.

Neymar & Paris Saint-Germain

Neymar’s goal gave PSG the Coupe de France as French football came out of a four-month break due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Neymar scored on the rebound in the 14th minute after PSG striker Kylian Mbappe sprinted clear and saw his shot blocked by goalkeeper Jessy Moulin, with only 5,000 fans in the 80,000-seater Stade de France due to strict health protocols.

Earlier, French President Emmanuel Macron had met the players on the pitch but kept his distance and wore a face mask.

The atmosphere in the run-up to the first professional game in France after the long hiatus was far from festive with only a handful of people around the stadium before the match.

The contest got off to an eventful start with Yvann Macon felling Neymar in the opening seconds to earn a yellow card and St Etienne’s Denis Bouanga hitting the post in the fifth minute.

But it was the Parisians who scored when Neymar pounced on Moulin’s save to fire in.

Mbappe was injured in the 26th minute from a rough challengeby Saint-Etienne captain Loic Perrin, who was sent off.

“We won the final and that is what matter(s),” PSG coach Thomas Tuchel said. His team had lost last year’s final to Stade Rennes on penalties.

Tuchel was also not happy with the way Saint-Etienne had played from the start.

“It was complicated with all the fouls to Thilo Kehrer, Neymar and Mbappe. In the last three matches against Saint-Etienne they get a red card in the first 30 minutes. I don’t know what is being said in their dressing room. It is horrible I can’t understand it.

“We won and we have a lot of things to improve, to talk about and analyze.”

With Ligue 1 champions PSG chasing a quadruple of titles 

this season, the few fans in the stands breathed a sigh of relief when Mbappe returned on crutches to the bench after the interval, joking and laughing with his teammates.

Lionel Messi: The World’s Highest Paid Latino Celebrity

Lionel Messi isn’t just making goals… He’s makin’ some serious bank…

Forbes magazine has released its list of the world’s highest-paid celebrities, with the 32-year-old Argentine professional footballer coming in at No. 5 with $104 million, making his the highest-paid Latino celebrity in the world.

Lionel Messi

Messi has been awarded both FIFA‘s Player of the Year and the European Golden Shoe for top scorer on the continent a record six times. His 438 goals, including 36 hat tricks for Barcelona, is a club and La Liga record.

Neymarcomes in at No. 7…

The 28-year-old Brazilian professional footballer, who plays as a forward for Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain and the Brazil national team, had reported earnings of $95.5 million.

Jennifer Lopez is the highest-paid Latina celebrity on Forbes’ list.

The 50-year-old Puerto Rican superstar,one of the more popular celebrities when it comes to endorsements, had earnings of $47.5 million. She has deals with VersaceDSWQuay sunglasses and her own fragrances.

The multi-hyphenate also produced and starred in the 2019 film Hustlers.

Lin-Manuel Miranda has made Forbes’ list for the first time…

The 40-year-old Puerto Rican Broadway star had reported earnings of $45.5 million.

The Hamilton creator and star added to his haul from the Broadway hit in February when Walt Disney paid $75 million for the rights to air the filmed version of his Founding Father musical. 

Other Latino/a celebrities making the list include Howie Dorough (along with his fellow Backstreet Boys), Sofia VergaraRobert Trujillo (along with his fellow Metallica band mates), Rafael Nadal and Canelo Alvarez.

Here’s a look at the Latino/as making this year’s list:

No. 5 Lionel Messi, $104 million
No. 7 Neymar, $95.5 million
No. 56 Jennifer Lopez, $47.5 million 
No. 62 Lin-Manuel Miranda, $45.5 million
No. 64 Backstreet Boys, $45 million
No. 71 Sofia Vergara, $43 million
No. 78 Metallica, $40.5 million
No. 80 Rafael Nadal, $40 million
No. 91 Canelo Alvarez, $37 million

Mauro Icardi Signs Permanent Four-Year Deal with Paris Saint-Germain

Mauro Icardi is making things permanent…

The 27-year-old Argentine professional Inter Milan soccer player, who plays the Argentina national team, has signed a permanent four-year deal with Paris Saint-Germain.

Mauro Icardi

Icardi spent the 2019-20 season in the French capital on loan and the Ligue 1 champions have taken their option to sign him permanently, keeping him in Paris until 2024.

The deal would be worth €50 million euros plus €7m euros in potential add-ons, which is significantly less than the €70m release clause included in his loan agreement, according to ESPN.

Inter Milan recognized that due to the current situation with the coronavirus pandemic, it was fair to lower their asking price. Inter Milan have long wanted to sell the striker, who joined the Nerazzurri seven years ago from Sampdoria.

In a statement on Inter Milan’s website, the club thanked the striker for his contribution to the team during the six seasons he spent with them.

Icardi made his mark on PSG last season, making 31 appearances in the 2019-20 season. He scored 20 goals and provided 4 assists on the team’s road to picking up the Ligue 1 title.

PSG had a 12 point lead on nearest rivals Marseille when the league was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Lionel Messi Claims His Fourth European Golden Shoe Award

Lionel Messi is soccer’s Golden boy…

The 30-year-old soccer star received his fourth European Golden Shoe on Friday after netting 37 times in La Liga play during the 2016-17 season.

Lionel Messi

Messi beat out Sporting CP‘s Bas Dost (34 goals in Portugal‘s Primeira Liga) and Borussia Dortmund‘s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (31 in the Bundesliga) in the top three to claim the prize, which is presented to Europe’s top goal scorer.

After also winning the award in 2012-13 (46 league goals), 2011-12 (50) and 2009-10 (34), Messi is tied with Real Madrid‘s Cristiano Ronaldo for most regular winner of the Golden Shoe.

Messi’s 37 goals last season came in 34 Spanish top-flight appearances, but they were delivered as part of losing cause, as Real Madrid beat out Barca to the title.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has netted 12 goals in 12 games in the 2017-18 La Liga campaign.

He’s trailing Lazio‘s Ciro Immobile and Paris Saint-Germain‘s Edinson Cavani, who have netted 15 goals in Serie A and Ligue 1, respectively, in the race for this year’s Golden Shoe. Meanwhile, Bayern Munich‘s Robert Lewandowski, AS Monaco‘s Radamel Falcao and Inter Milan‘s Mauro Icardi have all netted 13 times.

Ronaldo, though, does not look like troubling the upper echelon of the European Golden Shoe rankings anytime soon, as he has netted just once in La Liga this season.

Messi will be looking to add to his tally on Sunday when top-of-the-table Barca travel to face second-place Valencia at the Mestalla.

Rodriguez Scores Two Goals to Lead Colombia Into Its First World Cup Quarterfinal

World Cup 2014

It looks like James Rodriguez is emerging at this year’s FIFA World Cup superstar…

The 22-year-old Colombian footballer scored a pair of goals to give Colombia a 2-0 victory on Saturday over Uruguay, earning his team its first-ever World Cup quarterfinal berth.

James Rodriguez

The Uruguayans came into the match at Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Maracana Stadium with a chip on their shoulder after Luis Suarez was given a nine-match international ban for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini in Group D action Tuesday, but the loss of their star striker proved too much against Jose Pekerman’s talented squad.

Both teams started off the match at an unhurried pace, patiently looking to mount their attacks in the Round of 16 knockout match.

But when it seemed that the crowd of 73,804 might have to wait a while for the action to heat up, Rodriguez produced one of the most stunning goals of the 2014 World Cup in the 28th minute.

The play started with midfielder Abel Aguilar lofting a ball in the direction of forward Jackson Martinez, who was standing just outside Uruguay’s penalty area.

Uruguayan defender Maxi Pereira tried to clear the ball but it went back to Aguilar, who headed to Rodriguez.

Rodriguez proceeded to bounce the ball off his chest to give himself some space and then, without letting it hit the ground, fired a left-footed rocket from 25 yards out that hit the crossbar over the outstretched arm of net minder Fernando Muslera and ricocheted into the goal.

It was Rodriguez’s fourth goal of the World Cup and tied him for the tournament lead along with Argentina’s Lionel Messi, Brazil’s Neymar and Germany’s Thomas Müller.

But Rodriguez, who plays for AS Monaco in Ligue 1, wasn’t done yet.

Just five minutes into the second half, midfielder Juan Guillermo Cuadrado received a cross from defender Pablo Armero and headed it back across the box to Rodriguez, who knocked a right-footed shot into a practically empty net for his tournament-leading fifth goal.

Nearly an entire half of soccer still remained to be played but Uruguay, lacking Suarez’s firepower, was unable to cut into the lead against a well-organized defense backed by stellar goalkeeper David Ospina.

Next up for this history-making Colombian squad will be host nation Brazil, which topped Chile on penalties earlier Saturday.

That quarterfinal clash will be played Friday at Castelao Stadium in the northeastern city of Fortaleza.

Cavani Signs Lucrative Five-Year Deal with Paris Saint-Germain

Edinson Cavani has landed a record salary en Francia

The 26-year-old Uruguayan soccer star – a prolific goal-scorer known for his ability to score impressive goals – has signed a five-year contract with  Paris Saint-Germain.

Edinson Cavani

The defending Ligue 1 champion paid Napoli $84 million – a record in French soccer – for Cavani, who led Italy’s Serie A with 29 goals last season.

Napoli drove a hard bargain, PSG owner Nasser el-Khelaifi said at a press conference to introduce the soccer club’s latest acquisition, though adding that the deal was indispensable to his project of making the Parisian side “the best team in Europe.”

The transfer announced on Tuesday is the fifth most costly in the history of professional soccer.

Cavani, who helped the Uruguayan national team win the 2011 Copa América, will receive a salary of 10 million euros a year.

“I have been able to verify the confidence the team has in me from all the efforts they have made and all the money they have invested in my signing,” said Cavani.

PSG’s first league title in almost two decades was due in great part to the scoring prowess of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who led Ligue 1 with 30 tallies, and the addition of Cavani is likely to take some pressure off of the Swedish international.