Thursday Kickoff: Bale leads Madrid to cup title; Bayern, PSG linked with Koscielny; and more

Thursday Kickoff: Bale leads Madrid to cup title; Bayern, PSG linked with Koscielny; and more

South American Soccer

Thursday Kickoff: Bale leads Madrid to cup title; Bayern, PSG linked with Koscielny; and more

GarethBaleRealMadrid2-BarcelonaCopaDelRey2014 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

On Wednesday evening, Gareth Bale was worth every penny of his reported $132 million transfer fee for Real Madrid.

Facing Barcelona in the final of the Copa Del Rey, the supersonic Welshman knocked the ball past Barcelona defender Marc Bartra at the midfield line along the sideline and instantly went into fifth gear. Bale sped past Barta in the 84th minute before poking home through Barca goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto’s legs to give Madrid a 2-1 advantage.

Though Neymar hit the post in the 90th minute, Madrid held on for their 19th Copa Del Rey title.

Madrid played without Cristiano Ronaldo, but Bale stepped up to the task, as did Angel Di Maria who scored the opener in the 11th minute. Barca leveled against the odds when Bartra finished with a header off a corner in the 67th minute but Bale’s late go-ahead goal held up for his first piece of silverware since joining Real Madrid.

Here are some more stories to start off your day:

PSG, MONACO, AND BAYERN LINKED WITH KOSCIELNY

Arsenal have found themselves fighting on a third front while they try and remain in the top four of the English Premier League and win the FA Cup.

According to reports in England, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, and AS Monaco are all pursuing the signing of Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny, who has been superb this season. When playing alongside with Per Mertesacker, the pair have helped Arsenal win 18 Premier League matches.

The reports state that due to Koscielny’s current contract running through 2017, it would take more than £20 million for Arsenal to accept a transfer bid. Arsenal are also hoping to renegotiate the Frenchman’s contract to keep him at the Emirates long-term.

If Arsenal fail to win silverware this season, Koscielny could be more likely to leave the club, the reports go on to say.

QUICK KICKS

Bayern Munich are interested in signing Athletic Bilbao youngster Aymeric Laporte, but it’s expected to cost Bayern upwards of €36 million. (REPORT)

Southampton left back Luke Shaw is expected to decide his future prior to the World Cup this summer. (REPORT)

Saint-Etienne midfielder Joshua Guilavogui suffered a thigh injury, potentially ruling him out of the World Cup. (REPORT)

Napoli are willing to allow Marek Hamsik to leave this summer but only for the right price. (REPORT)

Corinthians were unable to sign former Brazilian National Team forward Rafael Sobis from Fluminense. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Impressed with Bale’s performance on Wednesday? Do you see Koscielny leaving Arsenal this summer?

Share your thoughts below.

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