Mid-Day Ticker: AZ goalkeeper has card rescinded, Neymar rumors swirl & more

Mid-Day Ticker: AZ goalkeeper has card rescinded, Neymar rumors swirl & more

European Soccer

Mid-Day Ticker: AZ goalkeeper has card rescinded, Neymar rumors swirl & more

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AZ (Reuters Pictures)

Common sense has prevailed.

The Dutch football federation has rescinded the red card given to AZ Alkmaar goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado in the aftermath of Wednesday's pitch invasion during a cup game against Ajax. 

The goalkeeper was the target of a fan who ran onto the field right at the player in the 36th minute of the match. Acting in defense, Alvarado got the assailant to the ground before continuing to kick him until he was restrained. 

While the FIFA Laws of the Game stipulate that referee Bas Nijhuis was in his right to give Alvarado a red card for violent conduct, the circumstances were clearly a bit unusual, as the fan could have easily been of more harm to Alvarado and anybody else on the field, and the player was acting in preservation of his own safety. In addition to the card being taken off the books, Alvarado will not face a suspension.

No decision has been made yet on how the game, which was suspended after the incident, will proceed. Ajax was leading, 1-0, when the fan rushed the field. The options, according to the Dutch federation, are either to replay it from the beginning, pick up where the teams left off or call the 1-0 score final.

Here are some other stories from around the soccer world:

SANTOS DENIES NEYMAR-BARCELONA RUMORS

As one of the most sought-after young prospects in the world, it comes as no surprise that rumors linking Neymar to Barcelona have begun to emerge.

Though Santos has denied the claims that Neymar is slated to ink a contract with the La Liga giants, Barça president Sandro Rosell refused to rule out the possibility and admits to having tracked the Brazilian striker recently.  

The player's father, however, claims that Barcelona is "a great option" for his son.

Santos released this statement on its club website regarding the rumors saying that the rumors are untrue and that Santos fully expects to have him through the 2014 FIFA World Cup, when his contract with the club expires.

VILLARREAL SACKS GARRIDO

Juan Carlos Garrido's disastrous start to the 2011-2012 campaign has come to a close.

Languishing just one spot above the La Liga relegation zone, and now, recently ousted from the Copa del Rey by third-tier opposition Mirandes, Villarreal finally pulled the plug on Garrido.

Villarreal had also failed to secure a solitary point in this season's edition of the UEFA Champions League, finishing its group play as the cellar dwellers of Group A.

ATLETICO SACKS MANZANO

Garrido wasn't the only manager in Spain to not last after an embarrassing Copa del Rey loss, as Atletico Madrid fired Gregorio Manzano after the club's loss to third-tier Albacete.

Former Atletico midfielder Diego Simone is a leading candidate to replace Manzano, who exits with the club four points clear of the relegation zone. Although the club lost Sergio Aguero and Diego Forlan in the offseason, reinforcements like Radamel Falcao, Diego and Arda Turan had been brought in to stem the tide, something Manzano was ultimately unable to do.

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Think rescinding the red card was the right move? Think it is only a matter of time before Neymar joins Barcelona? What do you make of the firings in Spain?

Share your thoughts below.

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