Lautaro Martinez Becomes First Serie A Player to Score Four Goals Off Bench in Last 30 Seasons

Lautaro Martinez  has earned his place in the Italian soccer league history books.

The 26-year-old Argentine professional soccer player made Serie A history with four goals as a substitute to fire Inter Milan to a 4-0 victory at Salernitana on Saturday and propel them back to the top of Serie A.

Lautaro Martinez  Martinez is the first player to score four goals off the bench in the last 30 seasons in Serie A, since three points for a win were introduced in 1994-95.

The hosts had kept Inter Milan at bay for the first hour, but fell apart after Martinez came on nine minutes after the break and bagged four goals in 27 minutes, including one from the penalty spot.

Inter had dropped three points below AC Milan in the table after their rivals won 2-0 against Lazio earlier on Saturday, but returned to the summit with 18 points from seven matches. Salernitana are 19th with three points.

Inter captain Martinez has now scored nine goals in seven Serie A matches and holds a clear lead as the league’s top scorer.

“I scored four goals but the important thing is that Inter won the game,” he told Sky Sport Italia, adding that turning things around after the 2-1 loss to Sassuolo on Wednesday had been a priority.

“It was crucial for us. We lost a game at San Siro that I don’t think we deserved but we conceded two goals from our errors, so we had to win today.”

While Inter dominated the match’s early stages, Salernitana gradually found their footing and managed to control the tempo in a goalless first half.

Martinez opened the scoring for Inter in the 62nd minute when he expertly collected Marcus Thuram‘s low cross into the box and delicately chipped the ball over Salernitana keeper Guillermo Ochoa.

Three minutes later, Mateusz Legowski‘s apparent equaliser was disallowed due to an early offside run, eliciting boos from the home fans.

Martinez got his second goal after 77 minutes when he confidently finished a pass from Nicolò Barella, who set him up from 12 yards out, with a first-time strike.

Martinez completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot with five minutes remaining, after a foul by defender Matteo Lovato, who had pulled Thuram’s shirt.

He then concluded the evening by converting Carlos Augusto‘s cross, firing from 10 yards out, a minute before stoppage time.

Inter manager Simone Inzaghi had high praise for Martinez.

“It is an excellent start but in my two years here he was always consistent and tonight was the time to have a little rest,” he said, referring to Martinez’s start on the bench.

“He is our leader, the captain, he must continue like this.”

Inter Milan host a Champions League group-stage match against Benfica on Tuesday, followed by a Serie A home game against Bologna next Saturday.

David de Gea Announces Plans to Leave Manchester United This Summer

David de Gea is ready for his next chapter…

The 32-year-old Spanish professional footballer has announced he’s leaving Manchester United this summer, saying that now’s the right time to undertake a new challenge in his career.

David de GeaThe goalkeeper failed to agree to terms on a new contract to extend his stay at Old Trafford and will leave the club 12 years after joining from Atletico Madrid in 2011. 

De Gea was close to signing a new deal, only for talks to collapse at the end of season. Sources have told ESPN that United are in negotiations with Inter Milan for the transfer of Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana.

“I just wanted to send this farewell message to all Manchester United supporters,” De Gea wrote on social media on Saturday.

“I would like to express my unwavering gratitude and appreciation for the love from the last 12 years. We’ve achieved a lot since my dear Sir Alex Ferguson brought me to this club.

“I took incredible pride everytime I pulled on this shirt, to lead the team, to represent this institution, the biggest club in the world was an honour only bestowed upon a few lucky footballers.

“It’s been an unforgettable and successful period since I came here. I didn’t think from leaving Madrid as a young boy we would achieve what we did together.

“Now, it’s the right time to undertake a new challenge, to push myself again in new surroundings.

“Manchester will always be in my heart, Manchester has shaped me and will never leave me. We’ve seen it all.”

De Gea made 545 appearances for United — seventh on the club’s all-time list — and was part of the team that won the 2012-13 Premier League title under Sir Alex Ferguson. He also won the FA Cup in 2016, the Carabao Cup in 2017 and 2023 as well as the Europa League in 2017.

In a club statement released on Saturday shortly after De Gea’s announcement, manager Erik ten Hag said: “It takes great quality and character to reach the level of even playing one game for Manchester United.

“To do it 545 times over 12 years is a special achievement, particularly in the goalkeeping position where every game puts you in the spotlight. To have won player of the year awards from both the fans and his teammates, each on four occasions, shows the level of his performance and he will always be remembered as one of the very best goalkeepers in the history of the club.

“I am personally grateful for the 25 clean sheets he helped provide last season and his overall contribution on the pitch during my first year at the club.

“All the players and staff send him our very best wishes for the next phase of his outstanding career.”

Rafa Benitez Reaches Preliminary Agreement to Coach LaLiga Side Celta Vigo

Rafa Benitez is preparing for a homecoming of sorts…

The 63-year-old Spanish professional football manager and former player who most recently managed Premier League club Everton, has reached a preliminary agreement to coach LaLiga side Celta Vigo, the Spanish club has announced.

Rafa Benitez Benitez takes over the vacant coaching position after Carlos Carvalhal left the club earlier this month by mutual consent.

Benitez has agreed a deal that’ll keep him at the club until June 2026.

“Real Club Celta has reached an agreement in principle with Rafa Benítez so that the Madrid-born coach can lead the team in this very special year and two more campaigns,” a club statement said. “Both parties are confident that the signing will take place in July, coinciding with the start of the team’s preseason.”

Benitez had been out of a job since being dismissed by Everton in January 2022 after just six-and-a-half months in charge.

The former Valencia coach is best known in England for guiding Liverpool to Champions League glory in 2005.

He also guided Chelsea to the Europa League crown in 2013 and Newcastle United to promotion to the Premier League in 2017.

Benitez, who won two LaLiga titles and a UEFA Cup with Valencia, has also managed Inter MilanNapoli and Chinese Super League side Dalian Professional.

He last coached in Spain after taking over Real Madrid in the summer of 2015, although the Spanish giants relieved him of his duties six months later.

Benitez inherits a Celta team that was saved from relegation on the final day of the season with a 2-1 win over Barcelona at their Balaidos stadium.

The club finished 13th in the table, three points ahead of relegated Real Valladolid.

The 2023-24 season will revolve around the club’s centenary.

Benitez is unlikely to have Celta star Gabriel Veiga next season.

The Spanish midfielder expected to leave this summer.

A reported target of Liverpool, Chelsea and Napoli, Veiga, 21, is under contract until June 2026 but has a €40m release clause that clubs are willing to meet.

Inter Miami Expresses Interest in Jordi Alba

Jordi Alba‘s dance card is filling up…

Inter Miami have sounded out the 34-year-old Spanish professional footballer’s interest in joining the club but face competition to sign the Barcelona defender from Atletico MadridInter Milan and clubs in Saudi Arabia, sources have told ESPN.

Jordi Alba, BarcelonaAlba has reached an agreement to end his contract with Barca, which was due to expire in 2024, one year early and is looking for a new club this summer. 

Sources say Alba has not closed the door on any of the options and will make a decision after this week’s UEFA Nations League finals in the Netherlands, where he is part of the Spain squad that will meet Italy in the semifinal on Thursday.

After Lionel Messi announced he would join Inter Miami last week, and with sources confirming Barca midfielder Sergio Busquets has also held talks with the MLS side, Alba is the latest Europe-based player to be approached by the South Florida team.

Sources say there have not yet been any formal negotiations and there is no offer on the table, while Miami also has to consider how to manage its three designated player spots, but Alba would be willing to listen to the team’s proposal.

However, the left-back may prefer to stay in Europe with the European Championships coming up in Germany next summer and with his wife due to give birth to their third child next month.

LaLiga side Atletico and Serie A team Inter are among several interested European clubs, sources confirmed, while there are also offers on the table from Saudi Arabia.

Alba will evaluate his options with his family after the Nations League, with a decision expected to be made in the coming weeks.

Rodri Named Player of the Match After Leading Manchester City to Champions League Title

Rodri is ending his Champions League run with a bang…

The 26-year-old Spanish soccer player and Manchester City midfielder has been named the official Player of the Match after his historic goal won Saturday’s Champions League final against Inter Milan.

Rodri, Manchester CityRodri’s name was read out over the speaker system at Istanbul’s Ataturk Olympic Stadium following Manchester City’s 1-0 win over the Italian side.

He also received the highest rating on WhoScored.com – a site that uses a wide range of statistics to rank players.

In addition to his goal, Rodri made three interceptions – more than any other player on the pitch – and was on target with 92.4% of his 66 passes.

Rodri made more key passes, two, than any of his teammates on Saturday.

But he was not the only player who could have been chosen as the MVP.

Rodri Makes History while Leading Manchester City to First Champions League Title

Rodri is celebrating history…

The 26-year-old Spanish soccer player, whose full name is Rodrigo Hernández Cascante, earned a spot in futbol history on Saturday night by scoring Manchester City‘s first ever goal in a European Cup or UEFA Champions League final.

Rodri, Manchester CityManchester City had failed to find the net in their first UCL final in 2021 when they lost 1-0 to Chelsea in Porto.

But Rodri, a midfielder, made the breakthrough after 68 minutes in Istanbul to open the scoring against Inter Milan.

Rodri hammered home from 16 yards after Bernardo Silva‘s attempted cross had been deflected into his path.

This was only Rodri’s second ever goal in Europe’s top club competition.

His first had come during Manchester City’s 3-0 victory over Bayern Munich in the first leg of their quarterfinal.

Saturday’s strike proved to be the only goal of the game as Manchester City went on to beat Inter 1-0 and complete a famous treble.

Pep Guardiola‘s class of 2023 are only the second team ever to be English champions, European champions and FA Cup winners in the same season.

Ronaldinho to Co-Host Celebrity Soccer Match “The Beautiful Game” in Orlando This June

Ronaldinho is organizing a legendary match…

The 43-year-old Brazilian retired professional footballer has co-created and will co-host The Beautiful Game, a celebrity soccer match, with fellow legend Roberto Carlos.

RonaldinhoIn partnership with Loud and Live, the match will take place on Friday, June 23, at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Fla. The gam is set to kickoff at 7:30 pm ET.

The match will feature a star-studded lineup of players from around the world, coming together to celebrate the diversity, connection and passion that centers around the global love for soccer.

Fans can purchase tickets to the match here, with more information including additions to the roster announced at a later date.

Ronaldinho, a two-time FIFA World Player of the Year and Ballon d’Or winner, is known for his mesmerizing footwork, incredible ball control and signature ‘joga bonito’ style. The former FC Barcelona, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain icon has a legion of fans worldwide and is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.

Roberto Carlos, a former Real Madrid star and World Cup winner, is known for his trademark runs down the left flank and powerful left foot. He has featured for some of the world’s most prominent clubs, including Inter Milan, Fenerbahçe and Corinthians.

“Following the amazing success in South Florida last year, it is great to take this experience to Orlando. We are looking forward to meeting the fans and to making a lifetime memory for everyone,” said Carlos.

“I had the opportunity to play in many parts of the world, but being able to reunite my friends and our families in Central Florida for a soccer fest in Orlando, with many legends, is a dream coming true. This place is magical and I am sure the soccer fans in Orlando will showcase how passionate they are for the beautiful game,” said Ronaldinho.

“We’re excited to host this fantastic game and give our fans a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see this collection of legends play, all on one field, at Exploria Stadium,” said Orlando City President of Business Operations Jarrod Dillon. “We’ve been able to host so many fantastic events at Exploria Stadium and really solidify ourselves as Florida’s home for the world’s game. We look forward to once again showcasing our fantastic venue and The City Beautiful to the world.”

In addition to the action-packed match, the event will also feature pre-game and halftime entertainment.

Lionel Messi Becomes Argentina’s Most-Capped Player

Lionel Messi is Argentina’s player with the mostest…

The 34-year-old Argentine professional footballer became Argentina‘s most-capped player on Monday when he captained the Albiceleste in their 4-1 win over Bolivia at the Copa America.

Lionel Messi

The Barcelona star has now turned out 148 times for his country, moving him ahead of former Barca teammate Javier Mascherano, who had 147 caps.

Ex-Inter Milan defender Javier Zanetti held the record before Mascherano and completes the podium with 143 international appearances.

With 75 goals for Argentina, Messi is also his country’s all-time leading scorer, having moved past Gabriel Batistuta (54 goals) in 2016.

Sergio Aguero, who won his 100th international cap against Bolivia, is third in the rankings with 42 goals.

Messi, who turned 34 last week, has won everything in the game at club level but is yet to taste success in senior international football.

He won the Under-20 World Cup in 2005 and an Olympic gold medal with Argentina’s U23s in 2008, but has lost four major finals with the first team.

With Messi in the side, Argentina were beaten by Germany in the 2014 World Cup final and have lost at the last stage in the Copa America in 2007, 2015 and 2016.

As Messi focuses on winning a first major trophy with his country this summer, his future at Barca remains unresolved.

His contract with the club expires on Wednesday and if a new deal is not agreed upon before then, he officially becomes a free agent on Thursday.

However, Barca are working hard to reach an agreement over a new contract and are confident he will extend his 20-year relationship with the club.

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.

Inter Milan Agrees to Sign Alexis Sanchez on Permanent Three Year Deal

Alexis Sanchez is staying put in Italia

Inter Milan have agreed to sign the 31-year-oldChilean professional footballer from Manchester United on a permanent three-year deal, the Serie A club’s CEO Giuseppe Marotta has announced.

Alexis Sanchez

Sanchez signed with Inter Milan on loan at the start of the 2019-20 season following a disappointing spell at United where he scored only five goals in 45 matches.

Although Sanchez scored only four league goals this season, he seemed to have rediscovered his touch in Italy, where he topped the club’s charts with eight assists as Antonio Conte‘s Inter finished runners-up behind Juventus.

“It will be official tomorrow [Thursday] in the morning,” Marotta told Sky Sports.

“The player is completely ours and we have a three-year contract with him. We think he can be a full member of our squad.”

The transfer will also allow Sanchez to play in the rest of Inter’s Europa League campaign after they advanced to the quarterfinals on Wednesday with a 2-0 win over Spanish side Getafe in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.,

Following Manchester United’s win over LASK in the Europa League, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also confirmed a deal was in place.

“We’ll announce it tomorrow [Thursday],” Solskjaer said. “He’s agreed and we’ve agreed. He enjoyed his time there and they’ve liked him. He’s a top player who we want to see playing his best football. We didn’t see the best of him for whatever reason. He’s a top professional, now we just wish him all the best.”