Pablo Mari to Join Arsenal on Loan

Pablo Mari is headed to Londontown…

The 26-year-old Spanish professional footballer, currently a central defender for the Brazilian club Flamengo, has agreed a move to Arsenal on loan until the end of the season, with the option to make the deal permanent in the summer.

Pablo Mari

The move ends what turned out to be a topsy-turvy transfer deal that initally stalled and saw the defender return to Brazil.

The clubs seemingly agreed to the deal last weekend, with Mari traveling from Rio de Janeiro to London to undergo a medical and sign with the Premier Leagueside.

However, negotiations suffered a setback on Mondaywith Mari then returning to Brazil.

Mari put pressure on the Flamengo’s hierarchy to accept Arsenal’s offer and sources told ESPN the deal was never dead despite Flamengo putting out a statement criticizing Arsenal’s attitude.

Nonetheless, the deal now sees Mari reunite with Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta. Mari was on Manchester City‘s books between 2016 and 2019 — where Arteta served as an assistant for Pep Guardiola— but never actually played for the first team.

He’s due to return to London now that the deal is agreed and become Arteta’s first signing at Arsenal.

“Pablo is an experienced player who will provide us with additional defensive quality,” Arsenal technical director Edusaid.

“We have been monitoring Pablo’s career for a while and we are very pleased to have reached agreement with Flamengo for him to join us initially until the end of our season.

“Together with Mikel and his coaching team, we are all looking forward to seeing Pablo in an Arsenal shirt.”

Mikel Arteta Reportedly to be Named Next Arsenal FC Manager

Mikel Arteta could be leading the Arsenal Football Club in the near future…

The 37-year-old Spanish professional football coach and former player, the current Manchester City assistant, is set to be named the next Arsenal manager in the coming days, according to ESPN, despite the Etihad club’s disappointment with the way the Gunners have pursued their former club captain.

Mikel Arteta

Chief negotiator Huss Fahmyand managing director Vinai Venkateshamtraveled to Manchester after Arsenal’s defeat to City over the weekend and spent more than two hours at Arteta’s home in Cheshire, discussing the job.

Arteta was set to meet with Josh Kroenke, the son of owner Stan Kroenke, on Monday. The American was at the game on Sunday and was set to interview the Spaniard alongside Raul Sanllehi, the head of football at the club, and Venkatesham and Fahmy.

City have not yet received a formal approach for Arteta and were left bewildered by the images appearing to show the Sunday meeting at Arteta’s home. And sources have told ESPN that City bosses were surprised they were not approached for talks — either formal or informal — on Sunday despite spending the day at the Emirates, although they will not stand in the way of the Spaniard if he decides to take the job at the Emirates.

Should Arteta be offered the job and decide to succeed interim manager Freddie Ljungberg, Arsenal would have to pay a substantial compensation fee, believed to be seven figures.

Arteta spent five years at the Emirates under Arsene Wenger(2011 to 2016) before spending the past three and a half years as Pep Guardiola‘s assistant at the Etihad. He has a contract with City until 2021 but is keen on rejoining Arsenal.

Arteta was nearly handed the job 18 months ago, but Unai Emerywas preferred by then-CEO Ivan Gazidis.

Freddie Ljungberg has been interim manager since the sacking of Emery last month, but the Swede, who pleaded with the club to resolve its manager situation quickly, has struggled to have an impact. The former Gunner could remain in Arteta’s staff, though, if the Spaniard does indeed replace him.

Arteta certainly lacks managerial experience, as he has never been in charge of a club’s first team, but he is highly thought of by the Arsenal hierarchy and by the people who have worked with him at Manchester City.The Gunners are in crisis at the moment with just one win in their past 12 matches in all competitions. Yet, they are still only seven points from fourth place in the table. and sources say Arteta believes he can turn things around once in charge.

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).

Arteta Joins Coaching Staff at Manchester City

Mikel Arteta is headed back to the field in a new role…

The 34-year-old retired Spanish professional footballer, a former captain for the Arsenal Football Club, is joining Pep Guardiola‘s coaching staff at the Manchester City Football Club.

Mikel Arteta

The midfielder’s contract with Arsenal expired on June 30 after a five-year stint at the club, and he had already stated that he expected to take up a coaching role next season.

His move to Manchester City had been widely expected, with Guardiola keen on making him part of the new backroom staff at the Etihad as the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach prepares for his first season in the Premier League.

“The opportunity to join Pep Guardiola and his team was an amazing opportunity for me and I am incredibly excited for the future,” Arteta wrote in a statement he posted on social media.

Arteta captained Arsenal over the last two seasons but struggled with injuries over the last year and was rarely part of Arsene Wenger‘s first-team squad.

He came on as a late substitute for a farewell appearance in the final game of the Premier League season in May and was given a rousing send-off by the Emirates crowd.

He leaves the club having won two Football Association Challenge Cup (FA Cup) titles, and also spent the last couple of years working on his coaching badges at Arsenal as he prepared for life after his playing career.

“Throughout my career I have always been interested in more than just the playing side and have had a passion for helping progress and develop the team outside of just my own role as a player,” Arteta said.

“Coaching has always been something I’ve been keen to go in to and over the past few years I’ve worked hard off the pitch as well as on it to develop my skills in order to put me in a position to be able to pursue a coaching role once I finished playing.

“I’ve been lucky enough to play under some amazing coaches and managers during my playing career and I hope to use elements of everything I’ve learnt from them as well as experience from my own playing career to help City achieve success.”

Robinho Reportedly Joining Chinese Club Guangzhou Evergrande

It looks like Robinho is headed to Asia…

The 31-year-old Brazilian soccer player, known for his ball control, attacking instinct and dribbling, is reportedly set to join former Seleção Brasileira de Futebol coach Luiz Felipe Scolari at Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande, according to Brazilian media.

Robinho

The news comes as Robinho wrapped up his third spell at Santos Futebol Clube.

The former Real Madrid, Manchester City and AC Milan attacker, known for his elaborate stepovers, said he was hopeful of returning to Santos in the future after the club said they couldn’t afford to match the offers from overseas.

“Unfortunately it will not be possible to renew my contract. But Santos FC will always be in my heart,” Robinho said in a statement.

“FC Santos will go great, because it is above any player. I will try to remain happy doing what I like best, which is play football and hopefully one day return.”

Brazil media said Robinho, who was part of the Brazil side that exited the Copa America on Thursday following a quarterfinal penalty shootout defeat by Paraguay, would be joining four-times reigning Chinese champions Guangzhou.

The Chinese club appointed 2002 World Cup winning coach Scolari earlier this month after sacking Italian Fabio Cannavaro after less than half a season in charge.

Scolari has been quick to make changes and signed Brazilian midfielder Paulinho from English outfit Tottenham Hotspur on Monday for a reported fee of around $15 million.

Manchester United Agrees to Loan Deal with AS Monaco for Falcao

Radamel Falcao is the man(chester)

Manchester United has agreed to a loan deal with AS Monaco for the 28-year-old Colombian footballer, who also plays for the Colombia national football team.

 

Radamel Falcao

Falcao, who cost Monaco 60 million euros last summer, is set to join Louis van Gaal’s squad subject to a medical and terms, according to ESPN FC.

Falcao had also been a target of Real Madrid and had been linked with Arsenal and Manchester City.

His arrival will be one of two transfers United is expected to complete on deadline day, along with finalizing Daley Blind‘s move from Ajax.

Van Gaal had already brought in Southampton left-back Luke Shaw, Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera, Sporting Lisbon defender Marcos Rojo and Real Madrid winger Angel Di Maria.

European champion Madrid had been the favorite to sign Falcao, whose departure from Monaco seemed to be signaled when he was omitted from their squad to face Lille on Saturday.

Falcao, who missed the World Cup due to a cruciate ligament injury, scored 70 goals in 91 games for Atletico Madrid and 72 goals in 87 matches for Porto before joining Monaco.

Messi Breaks Barcelona’s All-Time All-Game Goals Record

Lionel Messi is the ultimate goal man…

The 26-year-old Argentine footballer, a record-setting four-time Ballon d’Or winner, broke Futbol Club Barcelona’s all-time all-game goals count with a hat trick in the team’s 7-0 La Liga rout of Osasuna.

Lionel Messi

The previous tally of 369 goals had managed to stand for 87 years, and been held by Philippines-born striker Paulino Alcantara, who scored 142 official goals and 227 in friendly games in an era before the Spanish league had been formally established.

Messi’s latest feat raised his count to 371 goals [344 in official games and 27 in friendlies], at just 26 years of age and in less than nine years as a first-team player.

Monday’s local newspapers celebrated the achievement, with Mundo Deportivo going with a simple ‘Legend — 371 goals’ on its front page. Sport’s cover read ‘Historic Hat trick — Messi 371’, while inside the Catalan paper had a graphic breaking down both players’ goal-scoring feats.

Messi himself told Catalan station TV3 after the game that he had been well aware that the record was about to fall.

“I had heard everywhere that I was closing in on [Alcantara],” the Argentine said. “When you see you are close you want to do it, for what it means in the history of a club this big. A lot of years have passed since it was reached. Many more years will pass before it is overcome again.”

But he maintained that the three points, with Alexis Sanchez, Andres Iniesta, Pedro Rodriguez and Christian Tello also getting on the scoresheet, had been the day’s most important development.

“The important thing is that the team keeps winning, we have come from doing impressive things, and winning everything, and we deserve to keep going like this,” Messi said. “I am very happy for the game we played, we came in from another good one against [Manchester] City and we had to improve the image from the last time. Since the game against Valladolid we received a lot of harsh criticism. We know that we were not good, but this gives us confidence again.”

Messi also said that he now felt fully over his recent injury issues, and dismissed recent speculation which had suggested he was considering a transfer this summer.

“I feel good, in the last two weeks each time I feel better, I hope I can keep going like this,” Messi said. “The injury is passed now and forgotten, I am picking up rhythm and confidence. As long as the people want I will stay here. My intention is to retire with this Barca jersey. I am happy here.”

Iniesta told Canal Plus pitchside reporter that there was little left to say about a player unique in football history.

“It has all been more than said,” the midfielder said. “All the adjectives come up short. You must congratulate him and congratulate Barca for having a unique player.”

Next for Messi could be the all-time ‘clasico’ goalscoring mark held by Real Madrid’s Alfredo Di Stefano [19], which will fall if he scores at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu next Sunday. Also within range is the Champions League tally currently held by another former Blancos hero Raul Gonzalez [71], which Messi needs just four more goals to match.

Alcântara Leads All-Star UEFA European Under-21 Championship Squad

Thiago Alcântara is the leader of the pack at the European Under-21 Championship.

The 22-year-old half-Brazilian soccer player, Spain’s Under-21 captain and reported Manchester United target, has been named player of the tournament for the European Under-21 Championships in Israel.

Thiago Alcântara

Alcântara, a midfielder for Futbol Club Barcelona, was instrumental throughout La Rojita‘s victorious campaign and hit a first half hat-trick in the 4-2 final win against Italy.

A statement on UEFA’s official website read: “As captain of the title winners, Thiago displayed leadership qualities on and off the pitch and, throughout the tournament, was an influential figure in his team’s performance with impressive box-to-box work; exceptional ball control even in the tightest of situations; ability to dictate the tempo of play; intelligent ball-winning based on anticipation rather than tackling; and outstanding playmaking skills based on a wide variety of short and long passing.

“His three goals in the final represented a unique individual achievement and reward for his contributions to his team’s success.”

Thiago is free to leave the Camp Nou this summer if his release clause of €18 million is met and is being trailed by United and their Premier League rivals Chelsea.

He was also named in the 23-man squad of the tournament, alongside 10 of his Spain teammates, including Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, Manchester City and Real Madrid target Isco and Golden Boot winner Alvaro Morata.

Messi Could Pick Up a Fourth FIFA Ballon d’Or Award

Lionel Messi has the chance to make soccer history…

The 25-year-old Argentine fútbol star, who just claimed his second Golden Boot award, is among the 23 players in the running for the 2012 FIFA Ballon d’Or award.

Lionel Messi

Should he come out on top, Messi, who made history by claiming the award the last three years in a row, would become the only player to claim the award four times.

But Messi will face stiff competition from several noted players, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Xavi Hernandez, this year’s runners-up for the world’s best player award.

Here’s a look at the nominees:

Real Madrid Players:
Cristiano Ronaldo
Iker Casillas
Mesut Ozil
Karim Benzema
Sergio Ramos
Xabi Alonso

Barcelona Players:
Lionel Messi
Andres Iniesta
Sergio Busquets
Gerard Pique
Xavi Hernandez

Atletico Madrid Player:
Radamel Falcao

Manchester City Players:
Mario Balotelli
Sergio Aguero
Yaya Toure

Manchester United Players:
Wayne Rooney
Robin van Persie

Juventus Players:
Andrea Pirlo
Gianluigi Buffon

Shanghai Shenhua Player:
Didier Drogba

PSG Player:
Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Bayern Munich Player:
Manuel Neuer

Santos Player:
Neymar

The final three candidates will be revealed on November 29 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The Ballon d’Or ceremony will take place in Zurich on January 7, 2013, when the player who receives the most votes from coaches and captains of international teams, as well as reporters, will be announced.

Agüero Leads Manchester City to English Premier League Title

Call it “The Miracle in Manchester” as Sergio Agüero helps propel Manchester City to its first English Premier League title in nearly 45 years.

In one of the most exciting game endings in soccer history, the 23-year-old Argentine soccer star on Sunday scored late in stoppage time to lead his team to victory over the Queens Park Rangers.

Sergio Aguero

With Manchester United beating Sunderland 1-0, Manchester City needed a win over Queens Park to win the team’s first title since 1968.

Manchester City trailed the Rangers 2-1 after 90 minutes and needed two goals in stoppage time to win the title that had slipped from their grasp.

Edin Dzeko helped Manchester City even the game at 2-2 with a header off a corner kick in the 92nd minute. Then, in the 94th minute, Agüero and Mario Balotelli combined at the edge of the box. Agüero latched onto Balotelli’s ball, dribbled around a defender, and fired a shot to the left of Paddy Kenny that hit the back of the net.

Sergio Aguero

That remarkable goal by Agüero the son-in-law of the great Diego Maradona, completed a remarkable comeback to give Manchester City the title.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a finale like this,” City manager Roberto Mancini said. “We didn’t deserve to lose. We had a lot of chances and we deserved to win the game and championship. It’s fantastic for the club and the supporters after 44 years. It’s been a crazy season and a crazy last minute.”