Thursday Kickoff: Mexico name Gold Cup squad; Chelsea reach Schürrle deal; and more

Thursday Kickoff: Mexico name Gold Cup squad; Chelsea reach Schürrle deal; and more

South American Soccer

Thursday Kickoff: Mexico name Gold Cup squad; Chelsea reach Schürrle deal; and more

MexicoGoldCupChampions1-2011 (Terra)

By DAN KARELL

As the first-choice Mexico National Team arrived in Brazil in preparation for the Confederations Cup, the FMF (Federation of Mexican Football) announced the 23-man squad for this summer’s Gold Cup, set to take place in July in the United States.

With the Confederations Cup and a squad at the Under-20 World Cup, it’s a highly inexperienced squad, with just two players, forward Omar Bravo and midfielder Fernando Arce, have more than 12 caps with El Tri to their name. One of the biggest stories out of this group is that experienced forward Oribe Peralta was left out of the squad, instead sitting in the potential list of players who could come in after the group stage.

Three players on the squad have ties to the United States. Forward Isaac Brizuela and midfielder Miguel Ponce were both born in California, though they grew up in Mexico, and goalkeeper Cirilo Saucedo, who plays for Club Tijuana, has an American mother, though the 31-year-old doesn’t hold an American passport according to reports.

Here are some more stories to get your Thursday started:

CHELSEA AGREE FEE WITH LEVERKUSEN OVER SCHÜRRLE

Though on the cusp of completing the deal weeks ago, Chelsea finally came to an agreement with German side Bayer Leverkusen on Thursday over the transfer of 22-year-old midfielder Andre Schürrle.

The deal will likely be completed in the next two days as the two clubs complete all the legal and international documentation, as well as Schürrle passing a medical and signing personal terms with the London club.

Now with the news of the move nearing completion, the rumor mill will turn into overdrive over current Chelsea midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, who spent last season in Germany on-loan with Werder Bremen and has expressed a desire to remain in Germany next season.

Schürrle, who has made 24 appearances already for the German National Teal with seven goals, is one of the brightest stars in the Bundesliga the last two years since moving to Leverkusen two seasons ago from Mainz. Last season, Schürrle scored 14 goals in 43 appearances in all competitions, including the Bundesliga, German Cup, and Europa League.

MESSI ACCUSED OF TAX FRAUD

The Spanish authorities have lodged a writ in court against Barcelona midfielder Lionel Messi and his father Jorge over tax fraud of more than $5.3 million.

No charges have been filed by the court, but according to reports out of Spain, the Messi family have a network of companies in Britian, Uruguay, Switzerland, and Belize that have been used to hide income from the Catalonian tax officials.

Messi released a statement on his Facebook page, saying: “We have just known through the media about the claim filed by the Spanish tax authorities. We are surprised about the news, because we have never committed any infringement. We have always fulfilled all our tax obligations, following the advice of our tax consultants, who will take care of clarifying this situation.”

If charged and eventually convicted, however unlikely that possibility, the penalty for the charges would be up to six years in prison.

PSG ENTERS RACE TO SIGN GARETH BALE

Gareth Bale is easily sits in the top ten of the most-wanted list of soccer players this summer, and according to reports out of England, Paris Saint-Germain are willing to break the bank to bring him on board.

The Player of the Season in the Premier League for Tottenham last season as voted by the players and media is valued by Spurs at more than $133 million, but in a bid to hijack a potential transfer from Real Madrid, PSG are happy to pay above and beyond that price, which would make Bale the most expensive transfer in soccer history.

Cristiano Ronaldo went for about $125 million in 2009 when he moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid. United forward Wayne Rooney has also been rumored to be on his way to PSG in a large transfer fee.

Bale is set to be offered a new contract by Spurs this summer as they hope to hold on to the Welsh international, who can build on his career high 21 goals in 33 Premier League appearances this season, and potentially bring the club a Europa League title next season as well.

QUICK KICKS

Cesc Fabregas has shot down any claims of him leaving Barcelona and moving back to the Premier League. (REPORT)

AS Roma have signed French coach Rudi Garcia, formerly of Lille, to be their next manager. (REPORT)

Manchester United winger Nani is considering a move to either Juventus or Monaco this summer. (REPORT)

Malaga have replaced outgoing manager Manuel Pellegrini with former Real Madrid boss Bernd Schuster. (REPORT)

With Andre Schürrle out the door at Bayer Leverkusen, the club have signed South Korea international Heung-Min Son from Hamburg. (REPORT)

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What do you make of these reports? Surprised that Peralta was left off the Gold Cup squad? Do you see Schurrle getting a regular place in the side? Do you believe Messi committed tax fraud?

Share your thoughts below.

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