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UEFA Champions League Preview: Real Madrid visit Liverpool; Injury-ravaged Arsenal face Anderlecht; and more

The UEFA Champions League rolls on with a storied matchup between Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid visiting Liverpool and Steven Gerrard.

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Villa’s loan to Melbourne City cut short due to commercial obligations

New York City FC’s David Villa is set to return to the U.S. in early November following just four games on-loan with Melbourne City.

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Wednesday Kickoff: CAF hits out at Platini; Kompany questions fan involvement; and more

The Confederation of African Football has hit back at UEFA President Michel Platini for questioning the upcoming African Nations Cup.

Video: Cameron discusses Stoke return, willingness to fight for central role

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Photo by Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports
 
 

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U.S. Soccer, MLS sign international media rights deal with IMG

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Photo by Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports

 

By RYAN TOLMICH

Both U.S. Soccer and MLS have experienced rapid growth domestically in recent years, but the two leading U.S.-based soccer entities have now found a partner to increase their presence on the global scale.

The two announced Wednesday that the organizations have formed a new partnership with global sports media giant IMG, who will now market and distribute both MLS’ and U.S. Soccer’s global media rights for the next eight years.

The agreement, which will run until 2022, will exclude media rights in both the U.S. an Canada.

“As Major League Soccer approaches its 20th season, the worldwide interest in the league is at an all-time high and growing dramatically,” said Gary Stevenson, President and Managing Director, MLS Business Ventures. “With two new expansion clubs in New York and Orlando, global stars like David Villa, Frank Lampard and Kaka set to join the league, and players representing almost 60 countries, 2015 will be an exciting year for MLS. IMG’s expertise and unique position in the global marketplace make them the right partner for us and together we’ll grow the league’s global footprint.”

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Posted in Major League Soccer, U.S. Soccer | 7 Comments

UEFA Champions League Preview: Real Madrid visit Liverpool; Injury-ravaged Arsenal face Anderlecht; and more

CristianoRonaldoRealMadridAthleticBilbao1-2014LaLiga (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Two of European soccer’s most decorated clubs meet for only the fourth time in history as UEFA Champions League matchday three continues on Wednesday afternoon.

Defending Champions League winners Real Madrid make the trip to Anfield without two of their starters in Gareth Bale and Sergio Ramos, but with more than enough firepower and talent to give Liverpool their toughest test of the Champions League group stage. Daniel Sturridge is out for the Reds, which likely means another opportunity for Mario Balotelli to prove that he can succeed in a Liverpool shirt after some early-season disappointment.

It’s also a return to Liverpool for Real Madrid wing back Alvaro Arbeloa, who spent two and a half seasons at the club.

Arsenal were boosted this week as they travel to face Sacha Klejstan and Anderlecht with Aaron Ramsey back in the lineup. However, 12 first-team Arsenal regulars are missing for the match, including the top two goalkeepers due to suspension (Wojciech Szczesny) and injury (David Ospina), leaving Arsenal to give Damian Martinez his European debut.

Elsewhere in Champions League action on Wednesday, last season’s finalists Atletico Madrid host Malmo FF, Juventus travel to Greece to take on Olympiacos, and Turkish giants Galatasaray host injury-riddled Borussia Dortmund.

Here’s a full list of today’s UCL action:

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Villa’s loan to Melbourne City cut short due to commercial obligations

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By RYAN TOLMICH

David Villa’s loan spell in Australia could be over just four games into the season.

The New York City FC Designated Player, who is currently on-loan with sister club Melbourne City, is set to return to the U.S. in November in order to fulfill marketing and commercial commitments for the MLS club. Villa’s return would come just four matches into the 2014/2015 A-League season, although Melbourne City is hoping Villa could return to Australia after fulfilling his obligations to NYC FC.

“We would obviously want a player of his caliber to represent the club in as many games of the guest allowance as possible between now and the commencement of MLS preseason training in January,” a Melbourne City spokesman told Reuters.

“The precise number of A-League games that David will play will be determined by the best interests of the player and his now New York-based family and the prioritization of the requirements of both New York City FC and Melbourne City FC. That means that his playing and training schedule will be the product of all of those factors and subject to ongoing assessment.”

NYC FC have not yet released a comment on the situation.

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Wednesday Kickoff: CAF hits out at Platini; Kompany questions fan involvement; and more

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By RYAN TOLMICH

Days after Michel Platini questioned the upcoming African Nations Cup, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has hit back at the UEFA President.

In a statement released Wednesday, the CAF accused Platini for overstepping his lines when the UEFA president questioned whether or not the tournament should continue in the wake of the Ebola crisis.

“In a televised broadcast on the evening of Sunday, 19 October 2014, the President of the Union of European Football Association (UEFA), Michel Platini, found it necessary to question maintaining the scheduled date of the Orange Africa Cup of Nations Morocco 2015,” the statement said. “The issue has been debated and has been in the public domain the last few days following a request for postponement by the Kingdom of Morocco due to the Ebola outbreak.

“Under the principle of non-interference required to comply, CAF has refrained so far to comment on some issues on the managing of European football or any other continent… CAF hereby reaffirm the importance it attaches to respect of its sovereignty and does not intend to let anyone interfere in the management of its affairs.”

Here are some more news and notes to kickoff your Monday morning:

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Posted in European Soccer, Featured, International Soccer | 2 Comments

Colombia federation announces USMNT friendly in London

USMNT XI vs. Honduras

Photo by Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports
 

By FRANCO PANIZO

It appears that U.S. Soccer has no problem working on the fly.

The Colombian Football Federation announced Tuesday that the World Cup quarterfinalist Cafeteros will take on the U.S. Men’s National Team in a friendly at Craven Cottage on Nov. 14. The U.S. opponent originally considered for the game at the London venue was Croatia, but plans for that proposed match fell through before an official deal could be finalized.

U.S. Soccer has yet to formally announce the Colombia fixture and also has not made any public comments about it, but the game would make sense given that the Americans were previously working on a stateside, September showdown with the Colombians before it failed to materialize.

If the match does happen, it will mark the first time the U.S. plays Colombia since 2010. The Americans hosted the South American nation at PPL Park in Philadelphia back in October of that year, with the exhibition ending in a scoreless draw.

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Posted in Featured, International Soccer, South American Soccer, U.S. Men's National Team | 15 Comments