Tuesday Kickoff: Former Santos VP claims Neymar to Bayern; Messi could be done for season; and more

NeymarSantos2 (TerraBrazil)

By DAN KARELL

The ongoing transfer saga of Santos forward Neymar took another turn towards Germany on Tuesday.

According to reports out of Munich, former Santos Vice-President Vicente Cascione has claimed that Neymar has signed a contract with Bayern Munich, and will be suiting up for Pep Guardiola’s team by this August. Cascione also wrote that Neymar doesn’t prefer to go to Spain, and instead has wanted to go play in Germany.

The Brazilian’s father has been adamant recently that Neymar will see out his contract through the 2014 World Cup with Santos, but there has been a lot of talk recently that the 21-year-old will move abroad this summer to gain some more experience ahead of playing the World Cup in his home country.

Neymar has scored 12 goals in 17 matches in the Paulista State Championship so far this spring, leading Santos to the final against Corinthians.

Here are some more stories to start your Tuesday:

MESSI COULD MISS FINAL GAMES OF THE SEASON

With his sixth La Liga title clinched, Lionel Messi won’t mind that his season is likely over.

The Barcelona star suffered a recurrence of his right hamstring injury on Sunday during his side’s victory over Atletico Madrid, and tests have diagnosed Messi with a hamstring strain. The injury will rule Messi out for two to three weeks, and with just three matches left in the season and nothing else to play for, there’s a good chance that Messi could be shut down for the rest of the season.

Messi originally injured the hamstring in his side’s draw against Paris Saint-Germain in April in the Champions League, struggling over the next few weeks to recover to full fitness. The Argentina international was forced from the bench to watch as his team were taken apart by Bayern Munich in the second-leg last month.

A year after recording a record 50 goals in La Liga, the record seems safe as Messi has 46 league goals and 60 goals total in all competitions.

OZIL TO RETURN FOR REAL MADRID IN COPA DEL REY FINAL

Real Madrid have been given a boost ahead of the third Madrid derby of the season.

Midfielder Mesut Ozil took part in training on Tuesday afternoon at the Santiago Bernabeu, as Real Madrid step up their efforts to win the Copa Del Rey, facing city rivals Atletico Madrid in the final on Friday. Ozil initially injured his right ankle on May 4 and was thought to be a doubt to play in the cup final.

However, his recovery has progressed faster than expected and with his return, manager Jose Mourinho can be buoyed by the German international’s return. Ozil has scored nine goals for Real Madrid in 30 La Liga matches this season, and has played seven times in the Copa Del Rey this season.

HEYNCKES HINTS AT RETIREMENT

Bayern Munich manager Jupp Heynckes completed his most successful year in management, leading his side to a record breaking Bundesliga campaign, wrapping up the title with seven weeks to go, as well as taking his side to the German Cup and Champions League finals.

As of Tuesday though, these accomplishes could be his last.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Heynckes confirmed that this Saturday’s Bundesliga match against Borussia Mönchengladbach would be his last, hinting that he’ll retire at the end of the season.

“Saturday will be my last Bundesliga game as a coach,” he told BBC Sport. “If I was 15 years younger I would seriously think about a job abroad but I am not the youngest any more. Clubs want to do a generation change and you cannot really do it with a 68-year-old.”

Heynckes final match in charge of Bayern will come on June 1 in the German Cup final against VfB Stuttgart. In 106 matches in charge of the German giants, Heynckes has managed above a 75 percent winning percentage, winning 80 matches since arriving in the summer of 2011.

DORTMUND CLOSE IN ON DE BRUYNE

Borussia Dortmund will be losing the services of star midfielder Mario Götze this summer, but already they look set to replace the 20-year-old with another young player who has been a revelation in the Bundesliga this season.

According to reports in Germany, Jurgen Klopp and Borussia are closing in on signing Belgian midfielder Kevin de Bruyne to a five-year contract. De Bruyne is currently on the books of Chelsea FC, though he spent the season on-loan at Werder Bremen, helping them stave off relegation.

Though there are other reports that state that De Bruyne won’t sign anything until Chelsea’s next manager is announced, it looks likely that he will end up at the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund next season. Chelsea acquired the De Bruyne from Genk in January 2012 for a rumored $10.7 million transfer fee.

The 21-year-old, who has won 11 caps already for Belgium, scored eight goals, including one in each of the last two matches, in 32 Bundesliga games this season.

QUICK KICKS

Barcelona have signed highly prized winger Gerard Deulofeu to a contract extension through 2017, complete with a €35 million buyout clause. (REPORT)

Arsenal are set to cash in off the successes of Barcelona and Hull City, thanks to clauses in Alex Song, Cesc Fabregas, and Jay Simpson’s transfers away from the club. (REPORT)

Galatasaray forward Didier Drogba has hit out at fans for racist abuse during the derby match on Sunday with Fenerbahce. (REPORT)

Former Netherlands international Phillip Cocu has signed a four-year deal to become manager at PSV Eindhoven. (REPORT)

Swiss club FC Sion have fired former AC Milan and Italy midfielder Gennaro Gattuso, their fifth sacked manager of the season. (REPORT)

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What do you make of these reports? Do you see Neymar going to Bayern? Do you see Messi finishing the season on the sidelines? How much of a boost is it for Madrid to get Ozil back?

Share your thoughts below.

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8 Responses to Tuesday Kickoff: Former Santos VP claims Neymar to Bayern; Messi could be done for season; and more

  1. Sly says:

    At this point none of the Neymar rumors even matter. Until he holds up a jersey Im surporised hes not linked to Shenhua Dragons or Al Gharafa in Dubai.

    Arsenal making good transfer moves… That should be page one news. With news of Song wanting out maybe get him back for a steal.

  2. V-8 says:

    I would only fire Gattuso by mail.

  3. Old School says:

    Oh a story about Neymar? Awesome!

    -said no one

    So ready for this “saga” to be over.

  4. Reboot says:

    The False 9 w/ Neymar, Goetze & Ribery would look quite nasty.

    Not to mention Arjen Robben if he should return… Gomez looks to be odd man out, and where do Kroos and Mueller fit in?

  5. kandahar says:

    Poor Guttasso

    Forget Neymar. Dude needs to go to Barcelona