Diego Costa Signs with Brazilian Club Atletico Mineiro

Diego Costa is mining new opportunities…

The 32-year-old Brazilian Spanish soccer player has signed with Brazilian club Atletico Mineiro, with the Spain international player set to return to action after eight months.

Diego Costa,

Costa, a former Atletico Madrid and Chelsea striker, had been without a club since December following his departure from Atletico Madrid after the LaLiga champions agreed to the Brazil-born player’s request to rescind his contract.

It was his second spell at Atletico Madrid, having earlier played for the club from 2010-14.

In the 2013-14 season, Costa helped Atletico to the Spanish title with 27 goals and they also reached the Champions League final but lost 4-1 to rivals Real Madrid in extra-time after Costa was forced off early with a hamstring injury.

Costa joined Chelsea in 2014 and was an instant hit, firing the London club to the 2014-15 and 2016-17 Premier League titles with 20 goals in each campaign.

He returned to Atletico Madrid in January 2018 but injuries limited him to 43 LaLiga starts in three years as he scored 12 goals, and opportunities were further limited by the signings of Joao Felix and Luis Suarez.

The enigmatic striker joins Atletico Mineiro, who defeated second-placed Palmeiras 2-0 earlier on Saturday and extended their lead at the top of Brazil’s Serie A to five points.

Ricardo Pepi Agrees to Five-Year Contract Extension with FC Dallas

Ricardo Pepi isn’t going anywhere…

FC Dallas has locked up the emerging 18-year-old star forward with a five-year contract extension.

Ricardo Pepi

Pepi, who has been linked with a move to Serie A‘s Bologna, has eight goals in 14 appearances (nine starts) this season.

“I’m very happy to give my everything to FC Dallas,” Pepi said in a statement. “I want to thank the club for having that trust in me. It’s a big step in my career, personally and for my family.”

Pepi scored three goals in a 4-0 win over the LA Galaxy on Saturday to become the youngest player in MLS history (18 years, 196 days) to score a hat trick.

The El Paso native is in his third season with FC Dallas. He has 10 goals and one assists in 38 MLS appearances (13 starts).

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.

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.

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.

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.”

Lola Ponce to Perform for AC Milan & Roc Nation’s Virtual Live Tribute Concert

Lola Ponceis honoring Italy’s frontliners…

Italian soccer club AC Milan and Roc Nation have joined forces to stage a virtual live event on Sunday, featuring the 37-year-old Argentine-Italian singer/songwriter and actress.

Lola Ponce

Headlined by Alicia Keys, the concert will pay tribute to workers fighting the coronaviruspandemic in Italy and beyond.

Funds raised through the event will benefit global humanitarian aid organization Direct Reliefand AC Milan’s philanthropic foundation.

Viewers will be able to donate via the “From Milan with Love” fundraising site and AC Milan’s Facebook page.

The hour-long tribute is scheduled for Sunday at 9:00 pm (1900 GMT) and will be hosted by Grammy-winning producer DJ Khaled and Italian TV presenter Diletta Leotta.

In addition to Ponce and Keys, other performers include Kelly RowlandRobin ThickeGavin Rossdale and Chris Traynor of Bush, and Jay Buchanan of Rival Sons.

“This crisis has presented unprecedented challenges for all of us, but the contribution that these key workers have made is humbling, inspiring and will never be forgotten,” Milan chief executive Ivan Gazid is said. “The participation of such an amazing array of talent in this event will provide a fitting tribute to them and I hope will help to spread a message of hope and optimism during this difficult period.”

Milan’s last Serie Agame was on March 8 before the league was suspended.

More than 27,000 people are known to have died from coronavirus in Italy. However, the number of daily new cases of COVID-19, as well as the fatalities, have steadily declined, and the country is set to ease lockdown measures on Monday, allowing individuals to practice sport outdoors.

Alexis Sanchez to Play for Inter Milan as Part of Season-Long Loan

Alexis Sanchez is headed to Italy…

The 30-year-old Chilean professional footballerhas joined Inter Milan on a season-long loan from Manchester United, the clubs have announced.

Alexis Sanchez

Sanchez, who joined United from Arsenal in January 2018, struggled to find his best form at Old Traffordand, despite manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaerhaving backed Sanchez to come good, has returned to Serie Awith Inter Milan.

“We can confirm that Alexis Sanchez joins Inter Milan on loan until 30 June 2020. We wish @Alexis_Sanchez the best of luck in Italy,” United wrote in a Twitter post.

Sources told ESPN FC earlier this week that Manchester United had agreed to loan Sanchez for 10 months while contributing around £6 million of his £391,000-a-week salary. Inter are set to pay £9.46m of the 30-year-old’s wages plus a loan fee to United. The deal does not include an option to buy.

Sanchez will join up with Belgium forward Romelu Lukaku who left United for Inter this month in a deal reported to have cost the Serie A club around €80m ($89.15m).

Sanchez, who previously spent three seasons in Serie A with Udinese before moving to Barcelona, is his country’s all-time leading scorer with 43 goals.

“On behalf of the entire Nerazzurri family, we’d like to wish [Sanchez] a very warm welcome and the best of luck,” Inter said in a statement.

He arrives at San Siro as a replacement for Ivan Perisic, who signed for Bayern Munich.

Lionel Messi Claims His Fourth European Golden Shoe Award

Lionel Messi is soccer’s Golden boy…

The 30-year-old soccer star received his fourth European Golden Shoe on Friday after netting 37 times in La Liga play during the 2016-17 season.

Lionel Messi

Messi beat out Sporting CP‘s Bas Dost (34 goals in Portugal‘s Primeira Liga) and Borussia Dortmund‘s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (31 in the Bundesliga) in the top three to claim the prize, which is presented to Europe’s top goal scorer.

After also winning the award in 2012-13 (46 league goals), 2011-12 (50) and 2009-10 (34), Messi is tied with Real Madrid‘s Cristiano Ronaldo for most regular winner of the Golden Shoe.

Messi’s 37 goals last season came in 34 Spanish top-flight appearances, but they were delivered as part of losing cause, as Real Madrid beat out Barca to the title.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has netted 12 goals in 12 games in the 2017-18 La Liga campaign.

He’s trailing Lazio‘s Ciro Immobile and Paris Saint-Germain‘s Edinson Cavani, who have netted 15 goals in Serie A and Ligue 1, respectively, in the race for this year’s Golden Shoe. Meanwhile, Bayern Munich‘s Robert Lewandowski, AS Monaco‘s Radamel Falcao and Inter Milan‘s Mauro Icardi have all netted 13 times.

Ronaldo, though, does not look like troubling the upper echelon of the European Golden Shoe rankings anytime soon, as he has netted just once in La Liga this season.

Messi will be looking to add to his tally on Sunday when top-of-the-table Barca travel to face second-place Valencia at the Mestalla.

Veron Comes Out of Retirement & Officially Re-Signs with Estudiantes

Juan Sebastian Veron is ready to prove age is nothing but a number…

The 41-year-old Argentine retired footballer is back in the game after officially re-signing for Estudiantes de la Plata, two years after hanging up his boots.

Juan Sebastian Veron

The former Manchester United and Argentina midfielder quit playing in 2014 to become chairman of his boyhood club, having won 73 caps for his country, while he also played Chelsea, Inter Milan and Lazio.

Veron had promised to play in the 2017 Copa Libertadores if supporters bought 65 percent of the tickets for the club’s new stadium and has now made good on that pledge.

He has signed an 18-month contract, meaning he will be 43 years old when the deal expires. He will be paid a minimal salary, all of which will be “donated for the development of the club.”

His first game back in Estudiantes colors is set to be against Bayer Leverkusen in the Florida Cup on January 8 after he spent the last few months working on his fitness.

“He told us he wants to return, that from January he will return as a player,” midfielder Israel Damonte told La Oral Deportiva last month. “He will play from January for the tournament [league] and Copa [Libertadores in 2017].”

Veron won Apertura titles with Estudiantes in 2006 and 2010, and the Copa Libertadores in 2009 — his second spell with the club.

In European football, he won the UEFA Cup and Coppa Italia with Parma in 1998-99, before going on to lift the Serie A and Coppa Italia double with Lazio in 1999-2000, as well as the UEFA Super Cup in 2009. He then won the Premier League with Manchester United in 2002-03 and another Italian double with Inter in 2005-06. He also won the Coppa Italia with Inter in 2004-05.