Sergio Ramos In Advanced Talks to Return to Sevilla

Sergio Ramos is thisclose to returning to the place where it all began…

The 37-year-old Spanish soccer player is in advanced talks over a return to Sevilla.

Sergio RamosRamos has been a free agent since his Paris Saint-Germain contract expired in July.

The former Real Madrid centre-back attracted interest from Saudi Arabia’s Al IttihadGalatasarayFC Porto and MLS, sources said, but has opted for Sevilla as he prefers to stay closer to home.

Sevilla — whose LaLiga game at Atletico Madrid was postponed on Sunday on the advice of local authorities, due to a forecast of heavy rain — are hoping to close the deal in the coming hours.

Club president Pepe Castro appeared to rule out a move for Ramos last month, saying he had “never been an option” and said the defender had been offered to the club “directly and indirectly.”

Sevilla — who won the Europa League in May — have had a poor start to this LaLiga season, losing all three matches so far and are bottom of the table.

Ramos was born in Camas, a town just outside the city of Seville, and played for Sevilla as a teenager before joining Real Madrid in September 2005.

He spent 16 years at Real Madrid, becoming club captain and winning five LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues — providing one of the most iconic moments in the club’s history with his goal in the 2014 Champions League final — before joining PSG on a free transfer in July 2021.

After an injury-hit first season in Paris and a more impressive second campaign, Ramos left PSG this summer and has since been considering his options.

The former Spain captain retired from international football in February — two years after his last appearance — when he was told he was not part of coach Luis de la Fuente‘s plans.

Ramos was a key part of the Spain teams that won three back-to-back international tournaments between 2008 and 2012, including the 2010 World Cup.

Manchester United to Sign Sergio Reguilón on Season-Long Loan from Tottenham

Sergio Reguilón is the Man(chester) of the hour…

Manchester United is set to sign the 26-year-old Spanish soccer player on a season-long loan from Tottenham, according to ESPN.

Sergio Reguilón, Reguilón has been given permission to travel for a medical after the two clubs agreed terms following United’s decision to switch their attention from Chelsea‘s Marc Cucurella.

Manchester United is in the market for left-back cover having learned Luke Shaw is facing several weeks out with a thigh injury, joining back-up option Tyrell Malacia on the sidelines.

Cucurella was on United’s shortlist but Chelsea’s decision to play him in Wednesday’s EFL Cup win over AFC Wimbledon meant he could not join Erik ten Hag‘s side and then play for a third club this season if his loan spell at Old Trafford was cut short in January, when Shaw and Malacia are expected to be available.

Reguilon has been deemed surplus to requirements by new Spurs head coach Ange Postecoglou after spending last year on loan at Atletico Madrid.

He joined Tottenham from Real Madrid in 2020 for £25 million, making 52 Premier League appearances.

FC Dallas Signs LaLiga Veteran Asier Illarramendi 

Asier Illarramendi is headed to the Lone Star State

FC Dallas has announced the signing of the 33-year-old Spanish professional footballer and LaLiga veteran  for the remainder of the 2023 season.

Asier IllarramendiThe deal includes a club option for 2024 with the midfielder, a former UEFA Champions League winner at Real Madrid.

Illarramendi spent the past nine seasons at Real Sociedad, where he registered 11 goals in 167 appearances during his second stint with the Spanish side.

“Asier is a high-quality midfielder who brings more than a decade of experience in La Liga,including three years during a remarkable run at Real Madrid,” FC Dallas technical director Andre Zanotta said. “His leadership will be an asset to the entire organization.”

Illarramendi will occupy an international roster slot with FC Dallas.

Later Thursday, FC Dallas also traded homegrown midfielder Edwin Cerrillo to the Los Angeles Galaxy in exchange for $200,000 in 2023 General Allocation Money and up to $400,000 in conditional GAM if certain performance metrics are met.

Cerrillo played in 87 matches for FC Dallas since debuting for the club in 2019. He has four career assists.

New York City FC Star Valentín “Taty” Castellanos Joins S.S. Lazio on Permanent Transfer

Viaggi sicuri, Valentín “Taty” Castellanos.

New York City FC has completed the transfer of their 24-year-old Argentine professional soccer star forward to Italian side S.S. Lazio for a team-record transfer fee, the team has revealed.

Valentín "Taty" CastellanosThe MLS club did not disclose financial details, but multiple reports said Lazio paid about $16.7 million (€15m) to complete the transaction.

NYCFC also will receive a percentage if the Serie A side get a transfer fee in the future for the striker.

Castellanos won the 2021 MLS Golden Boot with 19 goals and added three more tallies during NYCFC’s march to their first MLS Cup.

“Taty is a legend here at NYCFC,” sporting director David Lee said. “… We all wish Taty the best and are excited to follow his journey in Italy.”

Castellanos collected 50 goals and 20 assists in 109 MLS matches (91 starts) with New York City FC from 2018-22. He set a franchise record with four goals in a game against Real Salt Lake in 2022.

“I’d like to sincerely thank everyone at NYCFC and City Football Group for always looking after me so well and for making this move possible,” Castellanos said. “It’s like being part of a family. I’d also like to thank the fans who have always believed in me and supported me every single game.

“I will always be an NYCFC fan. The Club and the amazing people there have played such an important role in my career and my life. It has always been a dream of mine to play in Europe and in the Champions League and I couldn’t be more excited.”

Castellanos left New York in July 2022 on loan to the La Liga side Girona FC, where he had 14 goals and one assist in 37 matches. He scored four goals in a match against Real Madrid.

Lionel Messi On Track to Make Inter Miami Debut This Weekend Following First Training Session

Lionel Messi is still on track to make his Inter Miami debut this weekend. 

The 36-year-old Argentine professional footballer remains on track for his MLS debut after coming through his first official training session with the MLS club on Tuesday.

 

Miami has long targeted Friday’s Leagues Cup opener against Mexican side Cruz Azul for the Argentine superstar to make his first appearance following his blockbuster move to South Florida. 

It has been a whirlwind few days for Messi, with his signing on a 2 1/2 year contract that’ll pay him between $50 million and $60 million a year being confirmed Saturday before being unveiled in front of a sell-out crowd at Miami’s DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale the following day.

After Messi trained alongside former Barcelona teammate and fellow new signing Sergio Busquets, Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham confirmed that he expects the World Cup winner to play some part in Friday’s game.

“We don’t know if Leo will start the game or whether he’ll come on, because I think at the end of the day, he needs to be ready,” Beckham told ESPN. “We need to protect him and make sure that he’s ready because he’s had a vacation.

“He’s now been in Miami for a week and he’s been training really hard and he looks great. So I think Leo and [head coach] Tata [Martino] will decide when he plays and when he comes on on Friday, but the atmosphere here will be incredible, and hopefully we get a win.”

On Tuesday, a helicopter hovered overhead, drones buzzed around the field and about 200 media members lined up toward the back of the complex to get a look at Messi. He, like Busquets, went through a welcome tunnel as part of the first practice, which meant jogging past teammates as they lined up and clapped.

“It’s like Michael Jordan going to play, you know, overseas,” Miami’s United States international defender DeAndre Yedlin said. “You know it’s like I said, it’s not something that I would have thought would have happened in my time playing. But I’m so glad that it did.”

More international stars could soon be joining Messi, with Inter Miami’s managing owner Jorge Mas saying Tuesday that former Spain left-back Jordi Aba was set to sign later in the day, while also confirming an interest in another of Messi’s former Barcelona teammates, striker Luis Suárez.

For now, though, Mas, who also expects Busquets to make his debut Friday, said he was looking forward to a momentous occasion for a team struggling at the bottom of MLSEastern Conference after 11 games without a win.

“Friday’s match against Cruz Azul will be a very important for us because we expect to have Lionel and Busi [Busquets] debuts,” he told ESPN. “We are looking to improve our level and aiming for better results. But we also need Lionel and Tata to feel good and help them to get acclimated to the city and club.

“I personally like that Messi’s first game is going to be against a team from Liga MX for a global audience, and I hope Mexico and the United States can enjoy and celebrate this historic occasion.”

Some tickets for the game are going for as little as $275 or so on the secondary market; some of the very best seats are exceeding $19,000. Prices have been fluctuating quite a bit and likely will continue doing so until game time.

Perhaps the most emotional member of the crowd will be Beckham himself, 16 years on from making his own historic move from Real Madrid to the LA Galaxy.

“I might actually cry when I see him walk onto the pitch,” Beckham told ABC‘s Good Morning America.

“I’ve realized as I get older I get more emotional. I look at my kids I get emotional, I talk to my kids and my wife I get emotional. So I think the moment i see Leo step out onto the pitch in front of our fans, in front of this nation … I don’t know, I’ll be emotional for sure.”

Angel Di Maria Returning to Benfica

It’s a special homecoming for Angel Di Maria

The 35-year-old Argentine professional footballer’s career in Europe came full circle on Wednesday as the winger rejoined Portuguese side Benfica, the club he played for between 2007 and 2010 when he moved from Argentina.

Angel Di Maria, “Welcome home, Di Maria!” the club said following a video announcing the signing of Di Maria who, according to reports, has agreed a one-year contract.

Di Maria’s first stint with the Portuguese champions was the prelude to his big move to Spanish giants Real Madrid, with whom he won a league title, two domestic cups and the Champions League.

He spent last season with Serie A side Juventus after seven successful years with Paris Saint-Germain.

Di Maria will join close friend and compatriot Nicolas Otamendi, his teammate for Argentina in last year’s World Cup-winning campaign, in Portugal.

Roberto Firmino Agrees to Three-Year Deal with Saudi Arabian Club Al Ahli 

Roberto Firmino is headed to the Middle East… 

The 31-year-old Brazilian professional footballer has joined Saudi Arabian club Al Ahli as a free agent after his contract at Liverpool expired at the end of last season, it was announced Tuesday.

Roberto FirminoFirmino, a forward, has agreed a three-year deal with the Saudi team and joins former Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy at the Jeddah-based club.

The Brazil forward spent eight years at Anfield, scoring scoring 110 goals in 361 games.

Firmino won seven trophies with Liverpool including the Champions League in 2019 and the club’s first-ever Premier League title in 2020.

Clubs in Saudi Arabia have pursued an aggressive recruitment strategy in recent months, persuading some of the sport’s biggest names to sign lucrative deals with teams in the country — Cristiano Ronaldo joined Al Nassr in January and Karim Benzema left Real Madrid for Al Ittihad earlier this month.

Al Ahli won the Saudi First Division League title last season to achieve promotion back to the Saudi Pro League for the 2023-24 campaign.

Nacho Fernandez Signs New One-Year Contract with Real Madrid

Nacho Fernandez isn’t going anywhere…

The 33-year-old Spanish soccer player and captain of Real Madrid has signed a new one-year contract at the club.

Nacho Fernandez The defender announced earlier this month that he’d decided to accept Real Madrid’s offer of a new deal, having previously considered a move away from the club in search of more playing time.

club statement said: “Real Madrid and Nacho Fernández have agreed an extension to our captain’s contract, keeping him tied to the club until the 30th of June 2024.

“Nacho has represented Real Madrid for 22 years, ever since joining the club’s Under-11s academy side back in 2001.

“He has made 319 appearances for the Real Madrid first team, winning 23 trophies: three European Cups, five Club World Cups, four European Super Cups, three LaLiga titles, two Copas del Rey and four Spanish Super Cups.”

Fernandez, a Spain international, has taken on the role of club captain since the departure of Karim Benzema earlier this month.

“There are always offers from elsewhere, but I’ve decided to stay for one more year,” Nacho told TVE on June 11. “I’m really happy and excited about staying.”

The versatile defender, whose favorite position is centerback but can also play at full-back on either flank, has fallen behind Eder MilitaoDavid Alaba and Antonio Rudiger among coach Carlo Ancelotti‘s options in central defense.

Nacho played 27 LaLiga games last season, starting 18 of them, but became increasingly important over the course of the campaign, which convinced him to continue at the Bernabeu.

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.

Joselu in Advanced Talks to Leave  Espanyol for Real Madrid

Things could soon get pretty Real for Joselu

The 33-year-old Spanish professional footballer is in advanced talks with Real Madrid for a season-long loan from Espanyol, a source has told ESPN.

JoseluJoselu joined Espanyol after suffering relegation with Alaves last season but included a clause in his contract, which would allow him to move on loan to another club if Espanyol were relegated.

Espanyol’s relegation was confirmed last weekend after a draw against Valencia, which has accelerated negotiations for the Spain international to return to the Bernabeu.

The striker played for Castilla between 2010 and 2012, winning promotion to the second division in his second season at the club. He also made his first-team debut under Jose Mourinho that season and scored in an 8-1 victory over Almeria.

Joselu, who has scored 16 goals in LaLiga this season, would arrive at Madrid to fill the void left by the departure of Mariano.

Madrid could also look to bolster their attacking options this summer with ESPN reporting that Karim Benzema is mulling his future after receiving a million-dollar offer from Saudi Arabia.

Real Madrid have already signed Fran Garcia to bolster their left-back position but a busy summer is expected at the club after a disappointing end to the season in which they failed to compete in LaLiga with Barça and were knocked out of the Champions League by Manchester City.