Giovanni Reyna Scores Two Goals to Help Propel Borussia Dortmund Into German Cup Final

Giovanni Reyna has reached his first German Cup final…

The 18-year-old half-Argentine American soccer player, U.S. international, and a midfielder for Borussia Dortmund scored twice as his German team struck four times in 16 first-half minutes to crush second division Holstein Kiel 5-0 on Saturday to reach the German Cup final, where they will face RB Leipzig.

Giovanni Reyna

Top scorer Erling Haaland was sidelined with a muscle injury but his power was hardly missed as Dortmund exploded into action after 16 minutes, with Reyna finding just enough space inside the box to thread a shot into the back of the net.

Reyna then tapped in a second goal from close range after good work and a back flick each from Marco Reus and Raphael Guerreiro seven minutes later, before captain Reus got onto the scoresheet himself in the 26th.

Thorgan Hazard fired their fourth in the 32nd as hapless visitors Holstein, who had eliminated holders Bayern Munich in the second round, clearly lacked match practice after having come back late last month from 28 days of quarantine.

“Today we were very efficient in front of goal and we are happy to have reached the final,” Reus said. “What we want is to qualify for the Champions League and bring the Cup to Dortmund.”

Dortmund, who last won the Cup in 2017, will face Leipzig, who eliminated Werder Bremen in extra time on Friday, at Berlin’s Olympic stadium on May 13.

Catarina Macario Signs Two-and-a-Half Year Deal with Lyon

Catarina Macario is future Lyon queen

The 21-year-old Brazilian soccer player and USWNT prospect, who recently announced plans to leave Stanford and go pro, has signed a two-and-a-half year deal with Lyon, the club has announced.

Catarina Macario

Macario announced on Friday that she’d forego the final year with Stanford in favor of turning professional.

ESPN reported on Monday that Lyon were leading the race for Macario with a contract on the table but that both Real Madrid and Bayern Munich were also still interested in the midfielder.

“It’s an honor to have signed with such a fantastic club,” Macario said in a tweet.

“I can’t wait to get started and to continue to build on its legacy of success. Allez l’OL!”

Sources told ESPN that Macario was attracted to Europe rather than the National Women’s Soccer League as she wants to win the Champions League while competing in the Olympics and World Cup.

Macario scored 63 goals in 68 games for Stanford and contributed 47 assists.

She won the MAC Hermann Trophy twice and an NCAA College Cup in her three seasons at Stanford.

She became a United States citizen in October and has joined every USWNT camp since, including their ongoing January camp.

However, Macario is still waiting on approval from FIFA to allow her to play games with the national side.

She’ll travel to France after the USWNT training ends on January 22.

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.

Giovanni Reyna Named U.S. Soccer’s Young Male Player of the Year

Giovanni Reyna is the (young) man of the hour…

The 18-year-old half-Argentine American soccer player, a midfielder for Borussia Dortmund, has been voted U.S. Soccer‘s Young Male Player of the Year for 2020.

Giovanni Reyna 

Reyna burst onto the international scene with the German giants in 2020 and capped the year by making his first appearance for the United States in a 0-0 draw with Wales back in November.

The former NYCFC product received 79% of the vote and follows Sergino Dest, Alex Mendez, Josh Sargent and Christian Pulisic as the most recent winners of the award.

He also joins USMNT greats Landon Donovan (2000), Jozy Altidore (2006), and Michael Bradley (2007) on the list of honorees.

The award was first given out in 1998 when Josh Wolff took home the prize.

Reyna has made 39 appearances over all competitions in 2020, producing five goals and seven assists.

He has played in all 13 league games for Dortmund in the 2020-21 season, adding three goals and four assists. Reyna has also been a standout in the Champions League this campaign, appearing in all six matches thus far while starting in four.

Lionel Messi Dedicates Latest Goal to the Late Diego Maradona

Lionel Messi is paying tribute to a soccer legend… 

The 33-year-old Argentine futbol star dedicated a goal to the late Diego Maradona in his return to the F.C. Barcelona team in a 4-0 romp against Osasuna on Sunday.

Lionel Messi

Messi, who’d been rested for the 4-0 win against Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League on Tuesday, scored the fourth goal and celebrated by revealing a Newell’s Old Boys shirt in Maradona’s honor, following his death at the age of 60 on Wednesday.

Messi began his youth career at Newell’s before joining Barcelona and Maradona was on the books at the Rosario-based club at around the same time, toward the end of his playing career.

The Catalans had paid homage before kickoff to Maradona, who played for the club in an eventful yet disappointing spell from 1982 to 1984, hanging a framed signed shirt of his above the presidential box while the players held a minute’s silence in front of an old Barca shirt bearing the No. 10.

Barca, who had begun the day 14th in La Liga, won comfortably with Martin BraithwaiteAntoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho also on the score sheet.

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“Maradona deserved an emotional tribute like that, we have lost a global idol,” Coutinho said. “Everyone in football admired him and we’ll all miss him.”

Griezmann added: “We didn’t know what Messi had prepared in tribute to Maradona, it was a beautiful surprise.

Luis Suarez Signs with Atletico Madrid

Luis Suarez is headed to the capital city…

Atletico Madrid have signed the 33-year-old Uruguayan professional footballer from FC Barcelona.

Luis Suarez

Barca confirmed on Wednesday that Suarez will leave for the Spanish capital and will hold a farewell press conference on Thursday.

Suarez joins Atletico on a free transfer, although Barca could make up to €6 million on the move based on a number of performance-related variables.

The deal is expected to be for two years, with Atletico stating the deal is subject to a medical examination.

Atletico coach Diego Simeone was the driving force behind the move for Suarez, which fell into place once Alvaro Morata joined Juventus on loan on Tuesday.

The Rojiblancos, like Barca, are in a period of financial uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic and needed to make room on their wage bill before signing new players.

The move draws parallels with David Villa‘s switch from Barca to Atletico in 2013. With Villa up front, Simeone’s side won the La Liga title and reached the Champions League final, knocking Barca out along the way.

Suarez, who recently became the third-highest scorer in Barca’s history with 198 goals, was told he was surplus to requirements by new coach Ronald Koeman last month.

That prompted the player’s legal team to begin talks with the Catalan club over the early termination of his contract, which had one year left to run.

An agreement was eventually brokered on Monday, which would see Suarez give up a percentage of what he was owed in exchange for being allowed to leave for free.

But, when it came out that he planned to join Atletico, Barca, who didn’t want to strengthen a direct rival for free, backtracked on the original agreement.

Sources told ESPN that Suarez was furious at the club’s U-turn, but a meeting between Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu and the player’s lawyers on Tuesday helped get things back on track.

Suarez had previously rejected the chance to join Inter Miami, who offered him the chance to become the highest-ever paid player in Major League Soccer with a deal worth around €8m annually.

He also looked close to joining Juventus at one time. To move to the Serie A champions, though, he needed to obtain Italian citizenship, which meant passing a language exam in Perugia last week.

The striker leaves Barcelona six years after signing from Liverpool for €75m. During his time at Camp Nou, he won 14 trophies, including four La Liga titles and one Champions League.

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.

Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez Headed to Saudi Pro League’s Al-Nassr FC

Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez is headed to the Middle East…

Atlanta United FC have transferred the 27-year-old Argentine soccer player, an MLS All-Star midfielder, to Al-Nassr FC of the Saudi Pro League.

Gonzalo "Pity" Martinez

The transfer fee wasn’t disclosed. The transaction opens a designed player spot and an international spot on United’s 2020 roster.

Martinez tallied two goals and two assists in seven MLS matches this season. He added two goals and two assists in three games in Champions League competition.

In his first season with Atlanta in 2019, he was named an MLS All-Star with five goals and nine assists and helped the team win the U.S. Open Cup and the Campeones Cup.

“We want to thank Pity for his contributions to our club for the past two years,” said Atlanta United vice president and technical director Carlos Bocanegra. “He will forever be a part of Atlanta United’s history after playing an integral part in our 2019 season in which we lifted two trophies. We’ll look to be diligent in our efforts to fill that roster spot during this window.”

The native of Argentina transferred from River Plate and joined Atlanta as a designated player on January 24, 2019.

Arsenal Sign Gabriel from Lille

Gabriel Magalhaes has an arsenal behind him…

The 22-year-old Brazilian soccer player has been signed by Arsenal F.C. from Lille, the Premier League club has revealed.

Gabriel Magalhaes

ESPN reported last month that Gabriel, as he’s known, had agreed a deal that will cost Arsenal €30 million (£27m).

“So many fans were sending me messages asking me to join Arsenal, and that played a big part in me signing for this club,” Gabriel told Arsenal Digital.

“I know the history and traditions of this club and it is a pleasure being here. I am very happy and hope I can contribute to many titles with the Arsenal shirt.

“It was a very surreal experience, there were offers coming from a few different clubs.

“I spoke a lot with my family and my agents, I also spoke with some of Lille’s directors, but as I said, this club’s history and traditions and the team project for the next few years were very motivational for my decision to come here.

Manchester UnitedEverton and Napoli were all reported to be interested in the Brazil under-20 international, who has helped the French side secure Champions League football for the last two seasons.

“We welcome Gabriel to Arsenal. He has many qualities which will make us stronger as a defensive unit and as a team,” said Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta. “He has proved with Lille that he is a defender with many outstanding attributes and we are looking forward to watching him grow as an Arsenal player.”

Thiago Silva Agrees to Two-Year Deal with Chelsea F.C.

Thiago Silva is switching sides

The 35-year-old Brazilian professional footballer will sign a two-year deal for Chelsea F.C. this week after leaving Paris Saint-Germain, according to ESPN.

Thiago Silva

The PSG captain’s contract at the French club ran out at the end of the previous campaign, but he played all the Champions League knockout matches — including in the team’s 1-0 final defeat to Bayern Munich — but was not offered a new deal after eight years at the Parc des Princes.

Silva has agreed to personal terms with Chelsea, although minor details are still left to sort out. He’ll reportedly have his medical on Thursday ahead of his official signing.

The big attraction for Chelsea is they won’t have to pay a transfer fee for the former AC Milan defender.

Silva feels he can still play at the top European level for three or four years. He wanted a two-year deal and Chelsea were happy to offer it him.

PSG boss Thomas Tuchel wanted to keep him in Paris but sporting director Leonardo was against it.

Silva had also been offered a two-year deal by Fiorentina, but has opted to join Chelsea rather than return to Serie A.