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Thursday Kickoff: Madrid pay for Ancelotti’s PSG release; Ribery signs Bayern extension; and more

CarloAncelottivsMilan1 (Getty)


On most occasions, Real Madrid gets what they want, at any price.

Recently re-elected club President Florentino Perez has agreed to pay Paris Saint-Germain more than $5.2 million to buy out manager Carlo Ancelotti from the final year of his contract, according to reports out of France.

Ancelotti has long been the target for the Spanish club ever since internally it was decided that Jose Mourinho would leave the club at the end of the season. The decision to rid themselves of Mourinho was finally made public on May 20.

The 53-year-old Italian Ancelotti, also a former Chelsea manager like Mourinho, has been at PSG since December, 30, 2011, taking over for Antoine Kombouare and leading the club to only their third Ligue 1 title this past season. Previously, Ancelotti had spent his time at Chelsea for just over a year as well as an eight year run at AC Milan, guiding them to UEFA Champions League titles in 2003 and 2007, as well as a Club World Cup title in 2007.

Here are some more stories to get your Thursday started:


Bayern Munich looks set to continue to be one of the best teams in the world, signing the best talent from around the world and holding onto their stars.

Franck Ribery has signed a contract extension with the German club through 2017, keeping him out on the left wing to terrorize opposition defenses for at least the next four seasons. The France international has been a constant in the side since moving from Marseille in 2007.

The 30-year-old will face more competition at his position though next season with the acquisition of Mario Götze from Borussia Dortmund. This season Ribery had another top season, scoring 11 goals and adding 18 assists in all competitions, leading his side to a treble winning season, taking home the Bundesliga, German Cup, and UEFA Champions League.

Ribery’s teammate Daniel Van Buyten, 35, also signed a one-year contract extension at Bayern on Thursday.


Manchester City are close to bringing in one of the more underrated midfielders in all of Europe.

After being spotted having a medical in Manchester on Wednesday, reports out of England state that City are close to signing Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fernandinho, helping shore up the defensive midfield position that’s beginning to show it’s age with Barry and Toure, while youngster Jack Rodwell has struggled to stay fit.

The 28-year-old Brazilian has been at Shakhtar since 2005, leading them to a regular place in the Champions League each of the last three seasons and helping the club win the UEFA Cup in 2009. Fernandinho starred last fall in the Champions League group stage in matches against Juventus and Chelsea, moving on ahead of Chelsea into the knockout rounds.

This past season, the former Atletico Paranaense player played 36 times for Shakhtar in all competitions, scoring six times.


Arsenal have announced that Andrei Arshavin, Sebastien Squillaci, and Denilson will all be released as their contracts expire at the end of the month. (REPORT)

The Netherlands starting goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenberg has finally signed with Fulham from AS Roma, after nearly signing on deadline day last January. (REPORT)

The English Premier League revenues have increased 25 percent to more than $3.68 billion, according to Delloite. (REPORT)

Norway scored a stoppage-time equalizer to tie Israel in the first match of the European U-21 Championships. (REPORT)

Italy recorded an important win to the start of their Euro U-21 campaign over England in Tel Aviv. (REPORT)


What do you make of these reports? Do you see Ancelotti ending up at Madrid? Do you see Ribery keeping his place in the lineup? Do you believe Fernandinho can help City?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. i think ancelotti will be good at madrid, he’s a good tactician, and he can handle a locker room. he got hard done by at chelsea.

    • I was pretty f’n heartbroken when he was run out of Chelsea. All he did was win the double his first year ferchrissakes. The crazy Russian is such a double edged sword.

  2. Now Fulham needs to overhaul the field players. Schwarzer wasn’t the problem so they need to fix, eg, the defense in front of the GK. Or nothing much will change.

    • As a USNT fan I can think of a couple Defenders I would like to see added to Fulham….
      1) Eric Lichaj – RB/LB – Out of contract so should be cheap to buy.
      2) Omar Gonzalez – CB – Nearly out of contract w MLS, needs higher level of compitition.
      3) Matt Besler – CB – just signed a new MLS deal, but would love to see him & Omar paired together in Europe getting reps.
      I know wishful thinking….but this would be a dream situation as a US Fan to see 3 possible USNT defenders playing together week in week out.

      • Fulham faded over the course of the season but was a few slots ahead of Villa. Fulham shipped a lot of goals but was still a few GA below Villa again. As the season progressed my impression was Villa was an interesting team offensively that netted out negative because they leaked goals like a sieve. So I don’t think Jol looks at them and says I want this back that spot-played on a defense that was softer than their own.

        That being said, I like Lichaj for his own sake, I just think he’s realistically needing to bump down a notch in England (Champ.) or Europe (Holland, Scandinavia, B.2), or come back to the Americas (MX, MLS) to get playing time. And I think a coach from a relatively safe EPL side is going to assess him as that level of player, even if he arguably has greater promise IMO.

        Gonzo could be an idea also, although perhaps that abortive German loan hints at where his interest lies? I actually think Fulham is at a good sweet spot level for Americans to come in and play, not such a Big Club where you can sign and disappear and end up on successive loans (though EJ is the counter-example). And Fulham has a small home pitch that might suit well a tall defender with occasional mobility issues.

        Besler, I agree, he just signed a deal, he’s a bit away from real discussion. He also needs some regular caps for work permit purposes if he continues to thrive.

    • Fulham has signed a pair of defenders on a midfielder. I’d grumble that they are ages 28, 29, and 30. Maybe they are upgrades on the roster but FFC has a little bit of an age problem and they won’t help.

      Rumor is Schwarzer is out.

  3. “Recently re-elected club President Florentino Perez has agreed to pay Paris Saint-Germain more than $5.2 million to buy out manager Carlo Ancelotti from the final year of his contract.”

    That’s certainly the better option than promoting Zidane, with no managerial experience, to the post as it was being rumored to be a growing (only) option.

    • Could be that Madrid floated the Zidane rumor to convince PSG to accept the 5.2 million offer or risk having a disgruntled Ancelotti guiding PSG next season.

    • i don’t think they were seriously considering making him head coach. when i re-read the quotes, it seemed like he was saying they want Zidane on the coaching staff…which he should be. but not as head coach.

      at the same time, when he said Zidane maybe needed to learn more first, that makes you think he must be talking about the head coach position. so who knows, but i agree it would have been risky to go with Zidane as the head coach.

      i just hope Jeze Rodriguez and Daniel Carvajal are a part of the team next season.

      • Perhaps I misread it then.

        Looked clearly to me like he was talking up him being capable of leading Madrid, as in the manager.

  4. Red card issued by Salazar to Sounders Obafemi Martins overturned. Oba available for Saturday night’s tilt with Whitecaps in Seattle, which will be attended by 50,000+. (that’s about 20,000 more than will attend Tuesday’s USMNT game vs Panama in the same stadium.)


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