Orlando City SC Sign Alexandre Pato on a One-Year Deal

Alexandre Pato will be kickin’ it up in Central Florida…

The 31-year-old Brazilian professional footballer and former AC Milan forward is set to join Orlando City SC, according to ESPN.

Alexandre Pato

The Lions teased the signing with a pair of Tweets on Friday containing a picture of a duck. (Pato means “duck” in Portuguese.) An announcement could come as soon as this weekend.

Sources say Pato has signed a one-year deal and will not be a Designated Player.

His salary will be brought down with General Allocation Money and includes an option for an additional year. Orlando recently sent striker Daryl Dike on loan to English Championship side Barnsley.

The Mane Land were among the first outlets who reported the Pato deal.

Pato’s lengthy club career includes stints at AC Milan, Chelsea and Villarreal, as well several Brazilian teams and Chinese club Tianjin Tianhai. He was most recently on the books of Sao Paulo, his second stint with the club, and one where he scored nine goals in 35 league and cup appearances. But he has been without a team since he and Sao Paulo reached an agreement in August of 2020 to terminate his contract.

His most successful spell at club level came with AC Milan, where he played from 2007-13. In that time he scored 63 goals in 140 league and cup appearances, and helped the side to a Serie A title in 2010-11 and the Supercoppa Italiana in 2011.

Pato is an ex-Brazil international, scoring 10 goals in 27 appearances, the last of which came in 2013.

Pato is the latest Brazilian star to join Orlando, the club where ex-Milan and Real Madrid midfielder Kaka played from 2014-17. There are currently four other Brazilians currently on the team’s roster in Junior Urso, RuanAntonio Carlos and Matteus Aias.

Santiago Solari Named New Manager at Club America

Santiago Solari has joined the Club…

Club America has announced that it has hired the 44-year-old Argentine professional football manager and former player, a former Real Madrid manager, to fill the team’s vacant manager position.

Santiago Solari

The Liga MX giants fired Miguel Herrera on December 21 after the club crashed out of the Liga MX playoffs against bitter rival Chivas and then fell to LAFC in the semifinal of the CONCACAF Champions League on December 18.

Solari managed Real Madrid for a short spell between November 2018 and March 2019, before being sacked and replaced by Zinedine Zidane.

At club level, Solari played for River Plate, Real Madrid and Inter Milan, among others. He also made 11 appearances for the Argentina national team.

Solari will oversee his first match for Club America against Atletico San Luis when the Liga MX Clausura begins on January 9.

Lionel Messi Moves Past Pele to Become the New Leader in the Single Club Goal Tally

Lionel Messi has overtaken a legend…

The 33-year-old Argentine professional soccer star has surpassed Brazil’s legendary footballer Pele to become the player to score the most goals for a single club after taking his tally to 644 on Tuesday.

Lionel Messi

The record-breaking goal came in the second half of Barca‘s 3-0 win at Valladolid, with Messi taking the ball in stride off a nifty flick from Pedri for a finish into the corner of the net.

Pele struck 643 competitive goals for Santos during an 18-year stay with the Brazilian club. He left for the New York Cosmos in 1975 and until Messi’s goal, the record had stood ever since.

 

Gerd Muller came closest to matching Pele’s one-club goal-scoring feat. The former Germany international netted 565 times for Bayern Munich between 1964 and 1979. The top five is completed by Fernando Peyroteo (Sporting CP 1937-49, 544 goals) and Josef Bican (Slavia Prague 1950s, 534 goals).

 

“When I started to play football, I never thought I would break any record. Especially not the record held by Pele that I now hold,” Messi wrote on Instagram after Tuesday’s game. “I can only give thanks to everyone that has helped me throughout the years, my teammates, my family, my friends and everyone that supports me every day.”

 

The only other active player still in the top 10 is Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored 450 goals for Real Madrid. The Juventus striker is 10th behind Jimmy McGrory (Celtic 1922-37, 522 goals), Jimmy Jones (Glenavon 1951-62, 517 goals), Uwe Seeler (Hamburg 1953-72, 507 goals) and Eusebio (Benfica 1961-75, 473 goals).

Messi’s Barcelona goals have been spread across 16 years in the club’s first team. He scored his first professional goal in 2005 against Albacete as a 17-year-old.

Along with Ronaldo, who played for Manchester United before Madrid and Juve, Messi has taken goal scoring to new heights over the past decade. Everyone else in the top 10 has been retired for at least 40 years.

Messi reached his zenith in the 2011-12 season, Pep Guardiola‘s final year in charge of Barcelona, when he scored 73 goals in all competitions. That tally was sandwiched in between 53 the previous season and 60 the season after.

The Argentina forward has scored more than 50 goals in a season on six occasions, including 58 in 2014-15 when he won his second Treble as a Barca player.

Messi replaced Cesar Rodriguez (232 goals) as Barca’s top scorer in 2012 and overtook Telmo Zarra (251 league goals) as the record scorer in La Liga in 2014.

In addition to his 644 goals with Barca’s senior side, he scored 11 goals for the C team and the B team as a teenager.

Sergio Ramos Becomes Most Capped European Player Ever

There’s a new feather in Sergio Ramos’ cap(ped)…

The 34-year-old Spanish soccer player has become the most capped male European footballer ever, making his 177th appearance for Spain in their UEFA Nations League 1-1 draw with Switzerland on Saturday.

Sergio Ramos

But the milestone day almost turned into a nightmare as Ramos squandered two penalties in the stalemate, after not having not missed in his previous 24 attempts for either Spain or Real Madrid.

The defender — who captains both club and country — has now played one international game more than the previous record holder, former Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who retired from international duty in

Ramos is now targeting the world record held by Egypt‘s Ahmed Hassan, who played 184 games for his country between 1995 and 2012. The defender could reach that mark at next summer’s Euro 2020 tournament, if he features in all of Spain’s matches before then.

But Spain coach Luis Enrique said Ramos’s twin spot-kick misses wouldn’t affect his captain.

“Sergio’s numbers when it comes to taking penalties are in the reach of few players. If we had got a third penalty or a fourth one he would have taken them as well,” he said. “He had scored his last 25, but football has moments like this.”

The number one spot-kick taker for Real Madrid and Spain, despite being a defender, Ramos has turned penalty taking into an art in the last two years, with his last miss coming when he hit the crossbar in Madrid’s 3-2 defeat by Sevilla FC in May 2018.

He has confessed to relishing the high-stakes situation of a penalty, scoring a number of crucial spot-kicks in Real’s run to the La Liga title last season as well as netting from the spot in last month’s 3-1 win at Barcelona.

But he finally met his match in Swiss keeper Yann Sommer, who guessed the right way to parry Ramos’ first penalty early in the second half and then refused to be fooled by the Spaniard’s ‘Panenka‘ routine which has worked so well for him in the past.

“It’s a real shame that Ramos missed the penalties because he’s usually so good,” added Spain forward Dani Olmo.

“But he’s very strong mentally and I’m sure that the next time he takes a penalty he’ll score.”

Saturday’s start further entrenches a remarkable international career that began when he made his Spain debut in March 2005, coming on for Carles Puyol at half time in a 3-0 friendly win over China.

He initially featured as a right back — including at Euro 2008, Spain’s first tournament win in 44 years, and in the country’s only World Cup winning side in 2010 — before switching to centerback for their defense of the European Championship title in 2012.

Despite turning 35 next March, he has expressed a desire to feature not just at the Euros in June, but also the Tokyo Olympics, describing the possibility as “a nice idea, an event no-one would say no to.”

Robinho Returning to Santos for Just Above Brazil’s Minimum Wage Rate

Robinho isn’t afraid to earn a lot less to play for his boyhood club…

The 36-year-old Brazilian professional footballer and former Manchester City forward has signed a five-month contract with former club Santos, and he’ll earn $271 (R$1.500) a month, which is just above the country’s minimum wage.

Robinho

Robinho re-joined his boyhood club for a third stint as a free agent, having left Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir shortly after helping them win their first Super Lig title last season.

“I will play for a minimum wage, but the most important thing is to be here,” Robinho told the club’s official website.

“I am well physically and mentally, obviously there is still a little bit of rhythm [missing], but that over time we will gradually evolve.”

Robinho, who shot to fame after making his professional debut with Santos in 2002, went on to play for Real Madrid, City and AC Milan, among other clubs.

He won two national championships, two Paulista tournaments and the Brazilian Cup in his previous two spells with Santos.

“I have many fond memories here,” Robinho added. “The fans can be certain that I will give my best to help Santos FC on and off the pitch.

Santos FC is going through a difficult financial time. So this is the time for those who can do something. I want to help the club that always gave me everything. Santos FC has already done a lot for me and this return is still little.”

Santos are going through financial difficulties and could soon face a transfer ban from FIFA over unpaid debts.

Chilean club Huachipato are demanding Santos to complete the $3.4m deal over the signing of Venezuelan striker Jefferson Soteldo, while Colombian outfit Atletico Nacional claim they are still owed $774,000 from the sale of defender Felipe Aguilar.

Federico Higuain to Play Alongside Brother Gonzalo Higuain at Inter Miami

It’s a case of brotherly love for Federico Higuain

Inter Miami has signed the 35-year-old Argentine footballer from D.C. United in exchange for $50,000 in general allocation money, the club has announced.

Federico Higuain

The move means long-time MLS veteran Federico will join his younger brother Gonzalo, 32. at the 2020 expansion team, with D.C. honoring the former’s wishes to play alongside his brother.

“Federico has been a great player in this league,” said Paul McDonoughInter Miami CF COO and sporting director. “We were thrilled to add more attacking depth, experience and playmaking ability to our roster when this opportunity presented itself.”

Since joining MLS in 2012, Federico has scored 60 league goals and notched 68 assists in 217 appearances, while helping lead the Columbus Crew to the MLS Cup final in 2015.

Gonzalo Higuain made the move from Juventus to Inter Miami in September after the culmination of a lengthy pursuit of the former Napoli and Real Madrid striker.

The older Higuain signed with D.C. for the 2020 season as a player and development coach, but he expressed his desire to play alongside his brother in Miami and the club honored that request.

Inter Miami beat the Houston Dynamo 1-0 on Saturday afternoon for its second-straight win.

Edinson Cavani Nearing Two-Year Deal with Manchester United

Edinson Cavani is thisclose to switching sides…

Manchester United and the 33-year-old Uruguayan soccer player are close to agreeing to a two-year deal, according to ESPN.

Edinson Cavani,

Cavani, a free agent since leaving Paris Saint-Germain at the end of last season, has been offered to every major club in Europe but United are now actively working on an agreement that could see the striker travel to England on Sunday for a medical.

Sources told ESPN that talks accelerated quickly on Saturday with final discussions scheduled for Sunday morning.

Cavani is keen to move to Old Trafford and could sign an initial one-year deal with the option for another 12 months.

He has already held talks with a number of clubs this summer. The first offer arrived from Benfica, although they weren’t able to pay as much as he was hoping to receive.

Atletico MadridReal Madrid and Juventus also weighed up making a move but, for various reasons, dropped out of the running for his signature.

The Uruguay international scored 200 goals in 301 games for PSG following his move from Napoli in 2013.

James Rodriguez Leaving Real Madrid for Everton FC

James Rodriguez is officially headed to the England…

The 29-year-old Colombian soccer player has joined Everton FC from Real Madrid, the Premier League club has announced.

James Rodriguez

The clubs have agreed a €25 million fee, according to ESPN. The deal will officially be for two years with an option for a third.

This is the third time Rodriguez has linked up with coach Carlo Ancelotti, having worked together at Real Madrid during the 2014-15 season and Bayern Munich in the 2017-18 season.

“I am really, really happy to be at this great club, a club with so much history, and here with a manager who knows me really well,” James told the Everton’s website.

“I’m looking forward to achieving great things here — and winning things, which is what everyone’s aim is. I’ve come here to try to improve, to get better. I’ve also come here to help the team to win, to play good football — entertaining football.”

Ancelotti’s presence at Goodison Park is understood to have been critical in getting a deal done.

“James… is a fantastic player with a lot of quality and a lot of ability to make assists for the strikers,” Ancelotti said.

“He was really excited to sign and I didn’t spend time to convince him — he was already convinced.”

Rodriguez is Everton’s second major signing in the close-season following the arrival of Brazilian midfielder Allan from Napoli.

Everton finished 12th last term and begin their new Premier League campaign with a trip to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Rodriguez was desperate to leave the Bernabeu this summer to restart his career after a disappointing final season in La Liga.

James had been given permission by Real Madrid to skip preseason training last week as the move was being finalized.

The playmaker signed with Real Madrid from AS Monaco for €80m in 2014 after excelling at the World Cup.

David Silva Signs with Real Sociedad

David Silva is ready to kick things up in Spain…

Real Sociedad have signed the 34-year-old Spanish footballer and former Manchester City midfielder as a free agent, the La Liga side has announced.

David Silva

Silva recently left Man City after a decade of service, in which he won 11 major trophies including four Premier League titles.

Manchester City had recently announced that they’d be honoring Ruiz by building a statue of him outside the Etihad Stadium.

La Real, who finished sixth in La Liga, were searching for a new playmaker after Martin Odegaard ended a one-year loan spell to return to Real Madrid.

Silva had been linked with a move to Italian club Lazio, but instead returns to his home country, having begun his professional career at Valencia.

In a social media post, Silva said goodbye to Man City fans:

“I look back and it’s clear I could not have made a better decision than to accept City’s proposal to join their project back in 2010,” he said.

“Manchester City and I have grown together. In 10 years, I have developed personally and professionally. I have celebrated many victories and titles and lived through epic moments.

“I have seen my lovely child, Mateo, born and I have even started to feel comfortable under heavy rain! City are a fantastic family. I won’t ever forget the way they threw themselves into helping me when I suffered the hardest moments of my life, offering me support and empathy.”

Real Madrid’s Marcelo Takes Knee & Raises Fist in Solidarity with BLM Movement After Scoring Goal Against Eibar

Marcelo is taking a new in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement…

The 32-year-old Brazilian soccer player and Real Madrid left-back took a knee and raised his fist after scoring in the team’s 3-1 La Liga victory over Eibar on Sunday.

Marcelo

Marcelo tallied the Real Madrid’s third goal of the day — pouncing on a poor clearance and beating Eibar goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic with a low, driven shot from the edge of the penalty box. 

He then immediately dropped to his knees, lowered his head and raised his right fist — a gesture which is often seen as a symbol of the Black Power movement that gained prominence in the United States in the 1960s and ’70s and associated with the current Black Lives Matter movement.

The display comes as players, clubs and leagues throughout the sport have expressed solidarity in the wake of the May 25 killing of George Floyd, a black man, who died after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes in Minnesota. Floyd’s death has spurred demonstrations against racial injustice around the world.

Several clubs paid tributes earlier this month to Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement on their warm-up shirts prior to league matches. Marcus ThuramJadon SanchoAchraf Hakimi and United States international Weston McKennie have been among the players who have showed their support. And last week, the Premier League announcedit will allow players to replace the names on the back of their jerseys with the words “Black Lives Matter” for one round and that teams will wear a patch to show support for the movement for the rest of the season.

FIFA, whose rules prohibit “any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images” on equipment, made a rare public statement last week in which it urged competition organizers to apply “common sense” and consider not sanctioning players for solidarity during matches.