Friday Kickoff: Real Madrid linked with Vidal; Neymar set to return to action; and more

Friday Kickoff: Real Madrid linked with Vidal; Neymar set to return to action; and more

South American Soccer

Friday Kickoff: Real Madrid linked with Vidal; Neymar set to return to action; and more

ArturoVidalJuventus2-InterMilan2014 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Arturo Vidal’s impressive performances this season have made him one of the most sought-after players in the world.

Real Madrid are the latest team to be linked with the Chilean, according to a report in Marca, with the club planning on making him their top transfer target this summer. The report states that head coach Carlo Ancelotti was interested in signing him last summer but the transfer deals for Asier Illarramendi and Gareth Bale prevented the club from splashing even more cash on Vidal.

Marca reports that Vidal is Juventus’ highest paid player with a salary of upwards of 7 million euros ($9.6 million) per season, and that it will cost Real Madrid at least 60 million euros to allow Juventus to part ways with their star midfielder.

Vidal has scored a career high 11 Serie A goals this season and added an additional five in the UEFA Champions League group stage last fall.

Here are some more stories to start off your Friday:

NEYMAR READY TO TAKE THE FIELD

Barcelona have been given a boost just days ahead of their crucial Champions League matches against Manchester City.

22-year-old Brazilian forward Neymar was named in Barcelona’s game-day squad for Saturday’s match against Rayo Vallecano, signaling his fitness after missing the last eight matches with a severely sprained ankle. Neymar returned to training on Monday and traveled with the club to Real Sociedad on Wednesday but didn’t play.

Though there’s not a lot of time, Neymar’s return allows head coach Gerardo Martino to play Neymar alongside Lionel Messi and Alexis Sanchez up top for at least one game before facing Man City.

While Neymar is back, Xavi Hernandez was dropped from the squad as Martino looks to keep him fresh for the Champions League match on Tuesday.

QUICK KICKS

The FA has confirmed that Roy Hodgson will remain as England’s head coach through Euro 2016 in France. (REPORT)

Manchester City have been granted permission to increase the capacity of the Etihad Stadium from 48,000 to 62,000. (REPORT)

Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan told BILD that his back problems have been the toughest stretch of his career but he doesn’t believe they are career-threatening. (REPORT)

When Juventus face Chievo Verona on Sunday, it will be Antonio Conte’s 100th Serie A game in charge. (REPORT)

Denmark’s head coach from its Euro 1992 championship team, Richard Møller Nielsen, passed away on Thursday at the age of 76. (REPORT)

The Premier League is considering creating a U-23 league to help their clubs develop young players. (REPORT)

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What do you think about these reports? Do you see Vidal fitting into Madrid’s midfield? Do you think Neymar is being rushed back?

Share your thoughts below.

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