Friday Kickoff: Falcao linked with move to Monaco; Cruz Azul scores four in win; and more

Friday Kickoff: Falcao linked with move to Monaco; Cruz Azul scores four in win; and more

South American Soccer

Friday Kickoff: Falcao linked with move to Monaco; Cruz Azul scores four in win; and more

Falcao-Osasuna1 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Atletico Madrid forward Radamel Falcao may have to brush up on his French lessons ahead of this summer.

According to a report out of Spain, French club AS Monaco, with the backing of a Russian billionaire and about to be promoted back to Ligue 1, is prepared to sign Falcao this summer and pay his €60 million release clause. The report states that the Colombian striker could be paid upwards of €10 million per season as well.

The 26-year-old has been one of the best forwards in Europe in the last two seasons, drawing transfer speculation for a move away from the Vicente Calderon for the last 12 months. Falcao scored again in an Atletico win on Wednesday, bringing his total to 27 league goals in 32 matches this season.

Here are some other stories to get your Friday started:

CRUZ AZUL CONTINUE HOT STREAK IN SIX GOAL THRILLER

Mexico City side Cruz Azul defeated Monarcas Morelia, 4-2, on Thuesday night in their first-leg match of the Liga MX Clausura playoffs.

After conceding to Monarcas in the second minute, Cruz Azul racked up four straight goals, one in the first half and three in the second, before a Monarcas goal two minutes from time stopped the unanswered run. Cruz Azul have won their last eight matches, and in the last five matches have outscored their opponents 17-3.

Mariano Pavone scored two of the four for La Maquina, who also got goals from Christian Gimenez and Teofilo Gutierrez to secure the victory. The second-leg match takes place on Sunday in Morelia.

Also in action in the Clausura playoffs, Atlas and Santos Laguna played to a scoreless draw on Thursday in Torreon. Both sides have struggled to win in the last few weeks and it showed as neither club could find a necessary breakthrough, as the stage shifts to Guadalajara on Sunday.

MOURINHO ISSUES ULTIMATUM TO REAL MADRID

Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has been heavily linked with a move away from the Spanish capital, but he reportedly is willing to stay at the club on one condition.

According to reports out of England and Spain, the Portuguese manager has said that he wants the club to “clean cancers” from it, or in other words, players who believe they are bigger than the club. This season Mourinho has gotten into publicized rows with both captain Iker Casillas, who lost his place in the side in December and since being healthy hasn’t regained it, as well as Pepe, who lost his starting spot to Raphael Varane last winter.

The report states that Mourinho believes that Real Madrid can never reach it’s full potential until it fixes some basic structural issues within the organization. The 50-year-old is currently under contract until 2016, and has a €40 million buyout clause. He is due to speak with club president Florentino Perez over his future in the coming days.

DEPORTIVO PRESIDENT CLAIMS NUMEROUS FIXED MATCHES

The President of La Liga side Deportivo La Coruña has made striking claims that nearly all of the end of season matches are fixed.

According to reports out of Spain, during the 2010/2011 season when Deportivo were last relegated to the second division, all of the matches except those played by Deportivo were fixed, and he warned that the final weekend of La Liga action could be the same this year.

“Almost all the final matches of past seasons have been rigged in one way or another,” President Augusto César Lendoiro said to Spanish publication Marca. “Deportivo has never been involved in match-rigging. I’m putting my neck on the line for my players by saying this. What other teams do is another matter.”

A match between Deportivo and Levante in April is currently under investigation by the Spanish Football Federation (LFP) for match-fixing after one of the Deportivo players, on the bad side of a 4-0 defeat, blamed some of his teammates in post-match interviews for throwing the match.

REAL GARCILASO EARN A PLACE IN COPA LIB QUARTERFINALS

Peruvian club Real Garcilaso continued their amazing debut run in the Copa Libertadores with a 4-1 victory on penalty kicks over Uruguayan side Nacional.

Just four years after being founded, Garcilaso has continued to shock the South American football landscape, winning eight days ago, 1-0, in Cuzco, Peru, before trailing 1-0 at the end of regulation on Thursday, leveling the match on aggregate. After a scoreless overtime set, the match moved to penalty kicks, where forward Oscar Gamarra scored the decisive pk to send the Peruvian club into the Copa Libertadores quarterfinals.

Garcilaso will play either Brazilian club Gremio or Colombian side Santa Fe in the next round.

QUICK KICKS:

Schalke 04 midfielder Julian Draxler has signed a new contract with the club through 2018. (REPORT)

Arsenal are looking at Borussia Dortmund right back Lukasz Piszczek as a replacement for Bakary Sagna. (REPORT)

VfB Stuttgart have signed New Zealand midfielder Marco Rojas, also known as the Kiwi Messi. (REPORT)

Valencia full back Jeremy Mathieu has played down any reports of a move to Barcelona. (REPORT)

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What do you make of these reports? Do you see Falcao moving to Monaco? Do you like Cruz Azul’s chances in the second leg? What do you think is Mourinho’s future? What do you make of the match-fixing comments?

Share your thoughts below.

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