After dominating European football for over a decade, could Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo shelve their rivalry and come together as team-mates?

David Beckham might be the man to make it happen.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder appears to have ambitious plans for his new MLS franchise.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI, RONALDO WANTED AT INTER MIAMI

Barcelona captain Messi, 32, and Juventus talisman Ronaldo, 35, will end their careers on the same side if Inter Miami co-owner Beckham gets his wish, according to the Mirror.

The newspaper claims the new MLS outfit are "already thinking big" and could look to lure football's two biggest superstars to the United States.

LA Galaxy have also been linked with a move for Messi but Minnesota United head coach Adrian Heath believes Beckham's pulling power has the potential to create a dream attacking duo.

“For Ronaldo and Messi, the two obvious destinations if they came to the MLS would be Los Angeles and Miami," Heath told the Mirror.

"And, with his links to both players and the plan Beckham and his backers have in place, I can really only see them going to Miami."

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- Manchester United are set to launch a £50million bid for Wolves forward Diogo Jota, scorer of a Europa League hat-trick on Thursday, reports the Express.

- United have also been linked with Birmingham City teenager Jude Bellingham but the Red Devils are set to face competition from Liverpool, according to the Daily Star.

- Serie A leaders Juventus are at the front of the queue for Paul Pogba but Paris Saint-Germain also hope to land the French star, reports Le10 Sport.

- PSG, meanwhile, are planning for life after Thomas Tuchel, who is said to be in talks with Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich. L'Equipe claims the Ligue 1 champions could look to replace him with either Massimiliano Allegri or Lazio boss Simone Inzaghi.

- Premier League clubs Sheffield United, Wolves and Burnley are showing interest in Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips, suggests the Sun.

Inter Miami have their sights set on a big-name signing, with Lionel Messi reportedly among the possibilities.

With David Beckham among their owners, Inter Miami are preparing for their debut MLS season beginning next month.

Messi has been linked with the MLS club previously and those rumours are persisting.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI STILL A TARGET FOR INTER MIAMI

Barcelona great Messi is among the stars who could sign for Inter Miami, according to OKdiario.

Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric and Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani are also possibilities, the report says.

Messi reportedly bought an apartment in Miami in December, while he can leave Barcelona for free at season's end despite being contracted until 2021.

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- Juventus have other plans should Paul Pogba not return to the club from Manchester United in the close season. Sport reports the Serie A giants are considering a move for Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara, whose contract expires next year.

- Barcelona will announce Leganes striker Martin Braithwaite as their latest signing on Thursday, according to AS, which reports the LaLiga club are set to pay €18million for the Denmark international.

- Linked with RB Leipzig star Timo Werner, Liverpool are seemingly considering their options. Bild reports the European champions are tracking Milot Rashica, the 23-year-old who has scored 10 goals in 21 games for struggling Werder Bremen this season.

- Hansi Flick's future is unclear. Bayern Munich will wait until May to make a decision on the head coach, who has attracted interest from other clubs, according to Bild.

- Could Adam Lallana be set for a reunion with Brendan Rodgers? Sky Sports reports Leicester City have approached the Liverpool midfielder's representatives about a move at season's end. Lallana and Rodgers worked together at Anfield and the 31-year-old is coming out of contract.

- After an initial move for Marcos Alonso in January failed, Inter are still considering the Chelsea left-back, according to CalcioMercato. However, the report says the Serie A giants are unwilling to pay Chelsea's asking price of €30m (£25.1m).

Reggae Boyz team manager, Roy Simpson, has pledged support for Darren Mattocks and said no decision would be taken regarding his position with the national team until a verdict in the case has been arrived at.

Mattocks will formally be advised of the charges against him on February 27, though reports have already circulated that he has been charged with one count of making a false, fraudulent or incomplete insurance claim, and another count of theft by deception in Carroll Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania.

“When I spoke with him, he was quite private with it. I didn’t press him about it. I just reached out to him to let him understand that the entire nation is aware of what has happened and that if he needs our support in any way, shape or form that he thinks we are capable of executing, we will assist,” Simpson explained on Jamaican radio station Hitz 92 FM during its programme, Sports Grill, earlier this week.

According to reports, the charges stem from a single-car accident on January 20 last year.

The reports, alleged to have come from the Attorney General’s office, said Mattocks and a passenger were aboard a BMW X6 from New York City to Cincinnati on State Route 70, near Monongahela, Pennsylvania, when the Reggae Boy lost control of the vehicle and crashed.

According to those same reports, the insurance on the vehicle had lapsed at the time of the accident and Mattocks is alleged to have taken out a new policy hours after the accident before making a claim.

Still, Simpson does not want to make too many waves until the case is complete.

“I wouldn’t want to pre-empt a verdict because you don’t want to put yourself in a position where you defend a situation and it goes the other way, so everybody is awaiting the outcome,” said Simpson.

The team manager also indicated that Mattocks was confident he would be vindicated when all was said and done.

“When I spoke to him he was quite confident that he would be vindicated so we await,” said Simpson.

The court case may have a very deleterious impact on Mattocks career in the MLS where he plays for FC Cincinnati.

Other reports had suggested that Mattocks, who has scored just three goals in 21 appearances for Cincinnati, was at odds with the coach and, in essence, the franchise.

“He also pointed out and we were aware that the relationship between himself and FC Cincinnati had been strained prior to this situation,” said Simpson, responding to reports that former Cincinnati coach, Ron Jans had said Mattocks was not in the team’s plans this season.

“It is a fact that he had asked to be traded and this situation has put a hurdle in his way. Hopefully, he can get through it and then start playing again,” said Simpson.

Mattocks is being represented by David J Shrager, who has pointed to Mattocks record of being a law-abiding citizen as part proof that the situation is just a misunderstanding.

Mattocks is a veteran of eight years in the MLS, playing in 207 league games and scoring 40 goals for Vancouver Whitecaps, Portland Timbers, and DC United, before his move to Cincinnati.

Mattocks has also turned out for the Reggae Boyz 45 times, scoring 15 goals along the way.

“My client respects both the laws of both his native country [Jamaica] and the United States. He has never been in any kind of criminal trouble whatsoever in his life, and this matter is merely a misunderstanding regarding insurance laws here in Pennsylvania. We look forward to clearing up this matter. We have been cooperating with the courts and continue to do so. We look forward to resolving this matter expeditiously,” read a statement from Shrager’s office.

LaLiga champions Barcelona are a club in crisis.

From public rows to allegations that say the current board were involved in hiring a PR firm to spread negative narratives about Barca legends, a claim the club have denied.

It has been a turbulent time at Camp Nou and MLS powerhouse LA Galaxy have looked to capitalise.

 

TOP STORY – GALAXY ENQUIRE ABOUT MESSI

LA Galaxy enquired about Barcelona captain Lionel Messi's interest in moving to the United States, according to Radio Continental.

Messi was involved in a public row with director of football Eric Abidal, raising doubts over his Barca future amid links to Manchester United, Manchester City, Inter and Paris Saint-Germain.

Galaxy head coach and former Boca Juniors boss Guillermo Barros Schelotto reportedly reached out to Messi's father to see if the six-time Ballon d'Or winner was open to swapping Barcelona for Los Angeles.

ROUND-UP

Paul Pogba is confident he will finally be granted an exit by Manchester United, reports the Evening Standard. Pogba – still recovering from an ankle injury – has been linked with a return to former club Juventus as well as LaLiga giants Real Madrid.

- Staying at Old Trafford and The Independent claims United are in advanced negotiations with former PSG technical director Antero Henrique. Ralf Rangnick is also reportedly being considered.

- RB Leipzig's head of sport Rangnick is still being targeted by Milan for the role as head coach, reports Calciomercato. However, the Italian club are split as Stefano Pioli leads a resurgence.

- According to Tuttosport, Serie A champions Juventus are interested in bringing Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus to Turin.

- France Football says Barca are eyeing Galatasaray's teenage sensation Mustafa Kapi. The 17-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season.

Chelsea have entered the race to sign in-demand Hellas Verona centre-back Marash Kumbulla, says Calciomercato. The 20-year-old Albania international is also wanted by Inter, Napoli, Liverpool, United and City.

FC Cincinnati head coach Ron Jans has quit the club after it was alleged he used a racial slur.

Dutchman Jans initially "stepped away" from his duties on Friday as an independent investigation looked into the claims made against him.

Now the 61-year-old has had his resignation accepted by Cincinnati, who said his departure was "the best course of action for everyone involved" with the club.

The MLS Players Association (MLSPA) said on Friday it had been "made aware of extremely inappropriate comments" made by Jans and called for an "immediate and thorough league investigation".

That has led to Jans, appointed last August, cutting his ties with the team with immediate effect.

The Athletic alleged Jans used the 'N-word' in the company of a number of players earlier in pre-season, and reported that members of the team met with an attorney regarding the incident.

FC Cincinnati president Jeff Berding said in a club statement: "As Major League Soccer's investigation unfolded and some themes emerged, Ron offered his resignation and we agreed that it was the best course of action for everyone involved with FC Cincinnati.

"We place the utmost importance on a strong culture within our club, beginning in our locker room, and that every person connected with FC Cincinnati feels valued, respected and trusted.

"Racial and cultural diversity is a major part of what makes the game of soccer so special, and we place the highest priority on respecting every person involved in our game.

"This includes absolutely everyone associated with our club, from our locker room and front office, all the way through to our fans."

Jans has yet to make a public comment on the accusation.

The dramatic development comes just 12 days before Cincinnati begin their MLS season against New York Red Bulls.

Frenchman Yoann Damet, who has been at Cincinnati for three years, takes over as interim head coach.

The club said general manager Gerard Nijkamp was beginning the search for a permanent new first-team boss.

Rodolfo Pizarro has finally been confirmed as Inter Miami's second Designated Player (DP) signing two days after his debut in a pre-season friendly.

Inter - co-owned by former England captain David Beckham - are preparing for their first season in MLS in 2020.

The Florida club have reportedly paid Monterrey $12million for Pizarro after lengthy negotiations.

It was said Monterrey initially wanted $20m for the Mexico midfielder amid a complication with his release clause.

Pizarro scored in Inter's 2-1 defeat to Philadelphia Union on Saturday before the deal was belatedly finalised on Monday.

Inter have been linked with a host of big names from European football, including Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez, and still have one remaining DP slot.

Beckham's team will make their MLS bow against Supporters' Shield holders Los Angeles FC on March 1.

Reggae Boyz striker Darren Mattocks is in hot water as he is facing two felony charges in Pennsylvania, according to media reports from the United States.

Jamaica international Kemar Lawrence has insisted he is working hard to be ready when called upon for new Belgian Premier League club Anderlecht.

The 27-year-old defender recently completed a move to the European club from United States MLS team New York Red Bull.  Lawrence made 118 appearances for the New York franchise in five years.  With the move away from the club coming ahead of the start of the new MLS season, the right-back has admitted he is a little short on match fitness.

“The guys are already midway or past midway the season so it’s already business time.  For me right now it’s about getting fit and being ready to play,” Lawrence told members of the media at his unveiling.

Lawrence qualifies to play this weekend against  Mechelen but is not yet sure he is ready to make an appearance.

“As it relates to fitness, I’m coming off a long offseason about 2 months offseason, so match fitness I’m not up to that standard yet but I should be soon.  The guys are pushing each and every day, I am about a week in, so about next week or a week and a half I should be up to 90 minutes match fitness,” Lawrence said.

“So far though the guys are being smart because you know when a player is coming back from offseason you can’t just rush him into a game because that is risking injury.”

 

Jamaica Reggae Boyz shot-stopper and captain Andre Blake insists he is looking forward to what is expected to be a big year for both his club and national teams.

The 29-year-old goalkeeper made the MLS All-Star roster in 2016 and again in 2019.  By the numbers, however, Blake had a less than impressive season between the sticks.  The Union gave up 57 goals last year in all competitions. 

Blake didn’t have a clean sheet in the team’s last 13 games of the season and only had six for the team all year.  His goals-against average rose from 1.5 in 2018 (57 goals allowed in 38 games) to 1.64 in 2019 (46 in 28).

With the Union, however, a part of the Jamaican's struggles might have to do with a tweak in the team’s gameplay, which is expected to adjust this season particularly with the addition of new personnel.

Internationally the player’s national team has made the CONCACAF Hexagonal round for the first time since the 2014 cycle and could be in line for a second appearance at the FIFA World Cup.  The Reggae Boyz finished runners-up on two occasions and then semi-finalists in the last three editions of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

“There’s a lot of soccer to play for club and country, there’s going to be a lot on the line,” Blake told the Inquirer

“I have to make sure I do everything to be ready, to stay sharp, to stay fit. I’m definitely looking forward to a big year, to do whatever it takes in the net when I’m with club and country to be successful and to help my team be successful,” he added.

 

Peter-Lee Vassell, a Reggae Boy who was last season cut by his Major League Soccer (MLS) outfit, Los Angeles FC (LAFC), after the player only managed six games for them and six out on loan with United Soccer League (USL) outfit Phoenix Rising FC.

Vassell has since been seen training with Danish second division club, HB Koge, sparking rumours he was on his way there this season.

The playmaker’s agent, Damani Ralph, confirmed that Vassell was training with the club, but would not go into any further details.

“[Vassell] is currently on trial with HB Koge, and we are hopeful for a successful trial. He has now played in two friendly games and is doing well. This is as much as I can comment on right now,” said Ralph.

Vassell was a standout at high school, playing for Cornwall College and Montego Bay United, before he began his professional career with Harbour View FC, making 44 appearances before his move to LAFC.

He debuted for the Reggae Boyz in 2018, earning 16 caps, from which he scored six goals.

Kemar Lawrence has always wanted to make the move from Major League Soccer (MLS) to Europe and his move to Belgian giants RSC Anderlecht, is a realisation of that dream but according to website Red Bulls News Network, the move is not solely driven by the player’s football.

According to the website, the Reggae Boy, while known as a fierce competitor on the field, providing yeoman’s service to the club since his time there, his decisions off the field have been problematic.

The website points to sources close to the organization which allege that Lawrence has had issues with the team since Jesse Marsch’s tenure as head coach.

Those sources say one of the many problems Lawrence displayed was a failure to report to the club after international duty.

“In some cases, he would remain out of contact with the team for several days, reportedly turning his phone off,” the website purported.

Red Bulls News Network cited an example last spring where the Philadelphia Union visited the New York stadium and delivered a beating on the team.

Lawrence was down to play in that game after coming off international duty but was a no-show. In contrast, Andre Blake, the Jamaican goalkeeper, who plays for the Union, started the game.

The website alleges that then coach of the Red Bulls, Chris Armas, covered for Lawrence pointing to his exertions during the international outing and being careful after a recent injury.

Hype Projects Agency, the organisation in charge of Lawrence’s career has denied the website’s claims, saying the left-back’s trade had everything to do with Anderlecht’s will to sign the player.

“Our client’s transfer was based solely on RSC Anderlecht’s desire to sign Kemar, regarded as one of, if not the best left-back in the MLS.  As our vision for Kemar’s growth we felt the timing and contract offer was in-line with where a player of his ability should be,” said Director of Soccer, Kevin Weinress.

Major League Soccer revealed the kits for all 26 teams ahead its 25th season in a fashion show on Thursday.

The entire collection is manufactured by Adidas and follows the same template, with the brand's iconic three stripes deployed vertically over the right shoulder of each jersey.

Despite the generic look, many have still managed to produce striking strips, with Real Salt Lake's loud red, blue and yellow number particularly eye-catching.

Each kit was presented in a fashion-show-style event in New York City, with MLS set to celebrate its 25th season when the new campaign begins on February 29.

The show featured numerous celebrities modelling the jerseys: Houston Texans' DeAndre Hopkins exhibiting Houston Dynamo's shirt, Youtuber Ninja wore New York Red Bulls' new number and Colin Hanks – son of Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks – strutted his stuff in Los Angeles FC's typically striking black-and-gold ensemble.

David Beckham's Inter Miami franchise are set for their MLS debut this season and academy players Axel Perez and Fernando Sanchez modelled their inaugural away kit, which is black with pink trim.

How close did Gareth Bale come to reuniting with Tottenham on transfer deadline day?

According to reports, the Premier League club went so far as to send representatives to Spain in an audacious attempt to lure the Wales international back to north London.

But even Jose Mourinho's backing could not force the deal over the line on Friday.

 

TOP STORY - SPURS INVESTIGATED AUDACIOUS BALE BID

Tottenham's interest in re-signing Bale prompted chairman Daniel Levy to skip across Europe for talks with Real Madrid counterpart Florentino Perez, according to the Times.

Spurs reportedly believed a "breakthrough" had been made in the hours before the window closed and had "growing confidence" a deal could be agreed.

But, per the Daily Mail, Bale's reluctance to take a pay cut on his £600,000-per-week wages meant negotiations came unstuck.

The report claims head coach Mourinho was "fully behind" the ultimately fruitless attempt to pull off what would have been a statement of intent.

 

ROUND-UP

- Tottenham's near misses did not end with Bale. Sky Sports say Spurs and Antonio Conte's Inter attempted to sign Odion Ighalo before the Nigerian striker sealed his last-gasp loan switch to Manchester United.

- Serie A champions Juventus are certain to maintain their interest in United star Paul Pogba and Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali, claims CalcioMercato.

- Arsenal made two January additions but boss Mikel Arteta still wants a holding midfielder to arrive before next season, reports The Athletic.

- Crystal Palace called off their deal for Nathan Ferguson after the West Brom defender's medical revealed a knee issue, according to the Evening Standard.

- MLS expansion side Nashville are set to capture West Ham defender Winston Reid on a six-month loan, reports the New Zealand Herald.

As the January transfer window begins to close for another season, reports have emerged that Jamaica’s Kemar Lawrence might be heading to Belgium.

Multiple reports are claiming that the 27-year-old fullback is set to leave the New York Red Bulls for Anderlecht for a fee of about US$1.25 million pending the completion of a medical and the associated paperwork.

Lawrence joined the Red Bulls from Harbour View FC in 2015. He made 118 appearances for the club, starting 19 of the 22 games he played for them last season.

He has 55 senior appearances for Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz.

Manchester United have lined up another exciting midfield transfer target amid their ongoing pursuit of Bruno Fernandes.

As the wrangling over figures with Sporting CP continues, the Red Devils have reportedly submitted a sizeable offer to Birmingham City for teenage talent Jude Bellingham.

But making the first move might only spark a European bidding war.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED SUBMIT BELLINGHAM BID

Birmingham youngster Bellingham's clear potential has convinced United to launch an offer worth more than £30million, reports the Sun and Sky Sports.

The 16-year-old midfielder has burst onto the scene this season and the Old Trafford outfit are understood to be keen to test him in the Premier League.

However, they could face stiff competition from Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool and other heavyweight clubs across the continent.

The Mirror, meanwhile, claims United have made a "breakthrough" in negotiations for Portugal international Fernandes, having reached a "compromise" transfer fee in the region of £55m.

 

ROUND-UP

- David Beckham's Inter Miami have contacted Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero to assess his interest in a switch to MLS, adds the Sun.

- Tottenham have enquired about Real Madrid winger and former Spurs star Gareth Bale, according to Spanish television programme El Chiringuito.

- Barcelona, still searching for a new striker, have ruled out RB Leipzig's Timo Werner and Lille's Victor Osimhen, suggests Mundo Deportivo, with Valencia's Rodrigo Moreno a more likely target.

- Serie A side Roma are set to discuss personal terms with Matteo Politano after agreeing a €25million fee with Inter, according to Sky Sport Italia.

- Inter, meanwhile, are said to be in discussions with United youngster Tahith Chong, who is also on Chinese outfit Jiangsu Suning's radar as his contract runs close to expiring, says Sky Sport Italia.

- Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali is interesting Premier League champions City and Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain, reports SportMediaset.

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