Aleksandar Katai has left LA Galaxy by mutual consent following "racial and violent social media posts" made by his wife.

The Galaxy on Wednesday strongly condemned Tea Katai for her posts about Black Lives Matter protestors, who took to the streets in the United States and far beyond following the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis last week.

Serbia midfielder Katai's wife was asked to remove the Instagram posts immediately by the MLS franchise.

Katai, who only joined the Galaxy at the end of last year, stated that his wife's "unacceptable" posts would not be tolerated by his family.

The 29-year-old added that he took full responsibility for his wife's actions and was sorry for the pain caused to the "Galaxy family and all the allies in the fight against racism."

Katai will be in the market for a new club, though, as the Galaxy confirmed his departure in a brief one-line statement released on Friday.

Antoine Griezmann intends to finish his career in MLS but only after achieving his objective of winning LaLiga and the Champions League with Barcelona.

The France international joined Barca from Atletico Madrid in a big-money deal last year and has endured a mixed first campaign at Camp Nou, scoring eight goals in 26 league appearances.

Barca are top of LaLiga with 11 games to play and are tied at 1-1 after the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Napoli.

Griezmann, 29, has targeted success in both competitions, as well as helping his national side to retain the World Cup in 2022, before considering a switch to the United States.

"Winning LaLiga and the Champions League with Barca would be a dream, and also my objective," he told the Los Angeles Times. 

"There's also another World Cup in Qatar. And after that the MLS."

Griezmann has previously revealed that he would be open to linking up with David Beckham's Inter Miami franchise, but he is not ruling out a move to any MLS side.

"I don't know with which team, but I really want to play there," he said. 

"For me it's an objective to end my career in the United States with the possibility of playing well and being a big part of the team and fighting for a title."

Griezmann is back in training with Barcelona ahead of their return to LaLiga action on June 13, more than three months after the coronavirus pandemic brought the division to a halt.

MLS has cleared clubs to return to full training amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The MLS season was suspended in March due to COVID-19, with a team training moratorium put in place.

But that was lifted on Thursday, although teams must have plans for full team training approved by club medical staff and a local infectious disease expert before submitting them to MLS.

Players and staff will undergo regular testing and anyone testing positive will be isolated, while strict social-distancing and hygiene measures will be in place.

MLS players ratified a new collective bargaining agreement through until the 2025 season on Wednesday.

It is reported the season could resume with a tournament in Orlando starting as early as July.

More than 393,000 people have died from COVID-19 worldwide, with the death toll in the United States exceeding 110,000.

A Dallas player has tested positive for coronavirus and the MLS club have suspended training.

The unnamed player becomes the second known case of COVID-19 in MLS after Philadelphia Union forward Kacper Przybylko tested positive in March.

MLS is planning for a return to full team training amid the coronavirus pandemic, which led to the season being suspended.

A club spokesperson said on Wednesday: "FC Dallas had a player who tested positive for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

"The Dallas medical staff has been working directly with the COVID-19 task force to treat the player, who is observing appropriate isolation protocols and is feeling well.

"No other cases or symptoms within FC Dallas soccer operations, front office or Toyota Stadium staff have been identified at this time.

"All the proper social distancing protocols have been followed during our individual team training, but out of an abundance of caution, at this time training has been suspended until further notice."

More than 387,000 people have died from COVID-19 worldwide, with the United States' death toll exceeding 109,000.

Dallas had collected four points from their opening two games before the season was stopped.

MLS players have finalised a plan to return to playing this season amid reports the 2020 campaign will become a tournament in Orlando.

The latest MLS season, which began in February, was halted after just two weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The regular season had been scheduled to run until October, but much of the calendar has been wiped out by the suspension amid the global crisis.

However, the Major League Soccer Players Association (MLSPA) announced on Wednesday its members had come to an agreement on the remainder of the campaign.

In a statement announcing a new collective bargaining agreement, to run through 2025, the MLSPA said: "Today's vote also finalises a plan to resume the 2020 season and provides players with certainty for the months ahead.

"It allows our members to move forward and continue to compete in the game they love."

It has been reported MLS teams will compete in a televised tournament at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando in early July, replacing the standard season.

Clubs will reportedly first play a group stage and then knockout rounds, although MLS is yet to confirm the details of the league's resumption.

Asked last month about a return to the pitch, New England Revolution captain Carles Gil told Stats Perform News: "I don't mind where and when it is, but sooner is better. And especially in the safest way possible.

"If it has to be in Orlando, let it be in Orlando. And if we can restart the league as it has always been, it is even better. My opinion is to go on, safety granted, the best way possible."

Meanwhile, apparently referring to the nationwide protests against racism and police brutality following the death of George Floyd, the MLSPA's statement on Wednesday added: "There are problems we face collectively that are both more urgent and more important than competing on the field.

"We are grieving, we are fed up, we expect change, and we expect action."

Carles Gil was surprised by the standard of MLS upon joining New England Revolution and believes the league is not fairly rated in Europe.

Former Valencia, Aston Villa and Deportivo La Coruna forward Gil signed for the Revs in a club-record $2million transfer in January 2019.

Gil has followed in the footsteps of Sebastian Giovinco and Carlos Vela by moving stateside during the prime of his career and quickly impressing.

Indeed, Gil suggests the reputation of MLS as a retirement league - exacerbated by high-profile deals for Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Andrea Pirlo - is inaccurate.

"[MLS] has surprised me positively," he told Stats Perform News. "I believe we have a different view from Europe about what this league is.

"Probably we think it has a much lower level than it actually has, looking at players who come here to end their career. This is changing a lot and we will be aware of it as the years go on.

"I am very good. It is a different format with no relegations and playing playoffs, but it is a very attractive league to play in."

Gil contributed 10 goals and 14 goals in 2019, earning the New England captaincy, a place in the MLS Best XI and the MLS Newcomer of the Year award.

"Personally, it's been great," he said. "One of the reasons I came here was due to the confidence they showed in me.

"I wanted to get back to the level I couldn't show in previous years. Being honest, I have felt very comfortable since the beginning.

"I have performed well when I have been shown confidence, and I knew I was at the time that I needed that again. That's why I took the decision."

Gil is yet to feature in the 2020 campaign, which was suspended after just two matches due to the coronavirus pandemic.

MLS is yet to confirm plans to return, although the MLS Players Association has reportedly approved a plan to resume the season in the form of a six-week tournament in Orlando.

Any opportunity to get on the pitch is welcomed by Gil, who added: "I don't mind where and when it is, but sooner is better. And especially in the safest way possible.

"If it has to be in Orlando, let it be in Orlando. And if we can restart the league as it has always been, it is even better. My opinion is to go on, safety granted, the best way possible."

Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker said the state's five professional sports teams can re-open their practice facilities on June 6 as the Boston Celtics prepare to return on Monday.

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc across the globe, especially in the United States, where the NBA, MLS and NHL seasons have been postponed since March.

The start of the 2020 MLB campaign has also been delayed due to COVID-19, which has killed over 104,500 people in the USA.

But the Celtics, Boston Red Sox, Boston Bruins, New England Patriots and New England Revolution will be able to resume practicing next month, in compliance with the health and safety rules set in place by their respective leagues.

"The leagues are obviously working hard to host games again and I think we all hope opening practices will make that happen a little sooner," Baker said on Friday.

"For all of us, live sports and especially pro sports would be a great thing to see again. It's not only a significant milestone for fans, but also a signal that we continue to do all the things we need to do."

NBA franchise the Celtics, meanwhile, will allow voluntary individual workouts at the Auerbach Center on Monday.

The NBA has been on hiatus since March, but the league is reportedly planning to restart the 2019-20 campaign on July 31.

"We're happy that our players will now have the option to work out individually in a safe environment at the Auerbach Center, and we hope it signals a step back towards playing basketball again," Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said.

The Celtics (43-21) were third in the Eastern Conference, behind NBA leaders the Milwaukee Bucks and defending champions the Toronto Raptors at the time of the postponement.

Neymar's return to Barcelona could be getting a little closer.

The Paris Saint-Germain star continues to be linked with a return to Camp Nou, where he left in 2017 for a world-record €222million.

While there is uncertainty over whether Barcelona can get a deal done, it seems it may be getting closer.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR CLOSER TO BARCELONA RETURN AS PSG EYE DEMBELE

Paris Saint-Germain remain very interested in signing Ousmane Dembele and it could help Neymar return to Barcelona, according to Sport.

France international Dembele has struggled with injuries since joining Barca from Borussia Dortmund in 2017, but the former Rennes attacker could be set for a return to his homeland.

However, Marca reports Neymar is not a priority for Barcelona with their focus on Inter star Lautaro Martinez and Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic.

Staying at Barcelona and Sport says the club are following Hertha Berlin's 18-year-old midfielder Lazar Samardzic.

 

ROUND-UP

- Timo Werner starred again for RB Leipzig on Sunday with a hat-trick against Mainz in the Bundesliga. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp held a virtual meeting with the forward in recent weeks, according to journalist Raphael Honigstein.

- With Bayern Munich deciding not to buy Philippe Coutinho, the Barcelona attacker's future remains unclear. Le 10 Sport reports Arsenal want to start talks with the playmaker's agent, with head coach Mikel Arteta dreaming of signing the Brazil international.

- Toni Kroos looks set to finish his career at Real Madrid. AS reports the 30-year-old midfielder has no interest in leaving Madrid, where he is contracted until 2023, amid links to MLS and the Chinese Super League.

- Odion Ighalo's Manchester United career may be over already. According to the Daily Mail, Shanghai Shenhua have rejected the Premier League club's requests to keep the forward – who has scored four goals in eight games for United – on loan for another three months.

- Could Raul Jimenez leave Wolves for Juventus? Todofichajes reports Juve offered Adrien Rabiot plus €30m (£26.7m) for the star forward.

- Less than a year after leaving Newcastle United, Rafael Benitez is being linked with a return. Benitez, now coach of Dalian Professional in China, wants to return to the club if their proposed takeover is resolved, and sign Manchester City defender John Stones and Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley.

Jaap Stam saw the funny side of FC Cincinnati's photo blunder when confirming his appointment, joking they used a "doppelganger" because he was too busy.

Cincinnati announced Stam as their new coach on Thursday, with their Twitter post accompanied by a composite image that included a man who resembled the Dutchman.

But the pictured man, who was also bald and dressed in a shirt, tie and large coat, turned out to be Ajax youth coach Tinus van Teunenbroek.

The mishap quickly went viral and left Cincinnati's media team red-faced, particularly after official accounts of fellow MLS clubs chimed in on the replies of the corrected follow-up tweet.

Each one posted a welcome message and an accompanying image of a different bald man – examples ranged from Jason Statham to Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers films.

Unsurprisingly Stam was asked about the mishap during his presentation news conference on Friday, but the former Manchester United and Milan centre-back, who cut an intimidating figure on the pitch, took it in good humour.

"Everything was going well and I know you're aiming a little bit at this picture that came out," Stam said when asked how it felt to 'go viral'.

"Yesterday [Thursday] was a busy day, a hard day, a lot of talking and a lot of meetings, so eventually we used a doppelganger to do the picture."

Stam was then asked what he thought about the MLS clubs' replies. He said: "I've seen it – somebody sent it to me and I can appreciate that as well.

"At a certain time we need to have a bit of a laugh. If we play against each other and we come out on top with a win, then we can have a laugh – that's what we're trying to do."

The Dutch journalist who asked the questions explained to Cincinnati's press officer that he was addressing the "elephant in the room", but further questions on the matter seemed to be discretely discouraged when she responded: "Well, no, we have Jaap in the room today, so we're good there."

Stam is returning to management for the first time since resigning as Feyenoord boss in October, as he quit following a 4-0 defeat by Ajax less than five months after succeeding Giovanni van Bronckhorst.

Cincinnati are in their second MLS season and lost the first two matches of the 2020 Eastern Conference campaign prior to the coronavirus-enforced pause.

FC Cincinnati have picked Jaap Stam as their new head coach, but the Major League Soccer outfit immediately blundered over the Dutchman's appointment.

Announcing Stam as their boss on Thursday, Cincinnati revealed the news with a picture of a man who certainly looked rather like the former Manchester United and Netherlands defender.

The man in question looked dressed for the job, in shirt, tie and a large coat, and as well as a bald head, many of his facial characteristics were comparable to those of Stam.

However, it turned out to be not Stam but a man widely identified by Dutch media as Ajax youth coach Tinus van Teunenbroek.

Red-faced Cincinnati pulled Van Teunenbroek's image from their coverage of the story once it became clear they had the wrong man.

A corrected version of the announcement was posted to Twitter, this time with an image of Stam, accompanied by the message: "Join us in welcoming our actual new head coach, Jaap Stam."

Jaap Stam has been announced as the new head coach of MLS side Cincinnati.

The former Manchester United, Milan and Netherlands defender heads to Ohio along with Said Bakkati, who has worked as Stam's assistant throughout his coaching career.

"For myself, to get the opportunity to work in America and to work in MLS for a club like FC Cincinnati, it's a dream," Stam told his new club's website.

"I've always liked the country and I've always liked the mentality of the people in the States as well in what they're trying to achieve.

"To get the opportunity to work for FC Cincinnati and this project by building the club – hopefully even further than where they already are, because I think they've already done a great job – but being a presence as a team, even more in MLS, getting results and working together with the fans and everybody already working within the club, for me it's a big challenge to do well."

Stam started his post-playing career with Jong Ajax in 2014 before spending two years in charge of English Championship side Reading.

He joined PEC Zwolle for 2018-19 before taking over at Feyenoord in June 2019, only to step down three months later after a 4-0 loss to Ajax.

"We are very happy and pleased to have Jaap Stam become FC Cincinnati's new head coach," said general manager Gerard Nijkamp.

"He has an extensive background in being part of some of the most successful clubs in the world as a player and has also proven that he can guide teams through transitionary periods as a head coach.

"I strongly believe that Jaap can lead us through our next phase, to our new stadium, and help us achieve our goals in the future, making players better and bringing his knowledge and experience inside the club. I have full confidence that he will be successful at FC Cincinnati and will be a great fit to carry out our established playing philosophy and guide the club to achieve future successes."

Cincinnati finished bottom of the Eastern Conference with six wins from 34 games in 2019, their first year in MLS following the awarding of an expansion franchise to the city in 2018.

The MLS All-Star Game, scheduled for July, has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Los Angeles was due to host the game between the best MLS players and a Liga MX side on July 29, but it was officially cancelled on Tuesday.

It means this year will be the first since the concept was launched in 1996 that a game will not be held.

MLS has been suspended since March due to COVID-19, which has killed more than 324,000 people worldwide.

The United States has been hit hardest, with more than 1.5 million confirmed cases and a death toll exceeding 93,000.

MLS announced the Leagues Cup and Campeones Cup had also been cancelled for this year.

David Beckham says he still misses football as he marked seven years since his retirement from the game.

The former England captain played the last match of a glittering professional career when he turned out for Paris Saint-Germain in a Ligue 1 match against Brest on May 18, 2013.

To recognise the occasion, Beckham posted a video of some of his greatest moments – including Manchester United’s 1999 Champions League triumph – along with an accompanying message on Instagram.

Beckham, now 45, cannot believe so much time has passed and still has fond memories of his playing days, with his attention now on his ownership of new MLS side Inter Miami.

"I can’t believe it's 7 years today since I played my last game as professional footballer," he wrote.

"Such great memories. I was so lucky to have played with incredible teammates and had amazing support from the fans. Still miss it. 

"Can't wait for the next chapter at Inter Miami."

As part of a 21-year professional career, Beckham also represented Real Madrid, LA Galaxy and Milan.

Tigres UANL winger Jurgen Damm said he was priced out of a move to the Bundesliga in 2016 and claimed Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg were interested in him.

The Mexico international holds a German passport and was heavily linked with a move the year after helping Tigres reach the Copa Libertadores final, which they lost to River Plate.

Damm is expected to leave the Liga MX club at the end of the season and stated he previously came close to a Bundesliga switch, though no concrete offer was forthcoming.

"My agent had close contact with Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg – they were the two teams from Germany that were interested," he told 90min.

"The issue was the release clause, which was very high. As I have said on many occasions, the price of Mexican players is very inflated.

"Of course, Borussia or Wolfsburg can pay 10 or 15 million [euros], but it's not a matter of having it but of what you are really worth."

Atlanta United have been credited with an interest in Damm, who is open to MLS for his next move. River and Tigres' rivals Monterrey are the only teams he will not consider playing for.

Asked about MLS, he said: "It is an option that we manage for my future. MLS is a very attractive league that has grown a lot in recent years," he said.

"I do not shut off any options, I just wouldn't want to play for River and Monterrey, because I am a Tigres fan."

He added: "In Argentina I like Boca a lot more, aside from us losing the Copa Libertadores final [to River]. Tigres is the team of my heart, the one I love, the one I appreciate and will be a fan off all my life."

Florida followed in the footsteps of Arizona by announcing it is open to professional sports teams amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Arizona governor Doug Ducey opened the door for sport to return to the state without fans on Saturday following the COVID-19 outbreak, which has wreaked havoc globally.

The NBA, NHL and MLS seasons have been postponed, while the start of the 2020 MLB campaign has been delayed.

But Florida's Ron DeSantis became the second governor to clear the way for sport to resume on Wednesday.

"All these professional sports are going to be welcomed in Florida," DeSantis said in a news conference midweek. "That may not be the case in every other state in this country, as we've seen.

"So what I would tell commissioners of leagues is, if you have a team in an area where they just won't let them operate, we'll find a place for you here in the state of Florida. Because we think it's important and we know that it can be done safely."

The United States has been the hardest country hit, with more than 1.4 million confirmed cases and over 85,000 deaths.

Last week's UFC 249 event was held behind closed doors in Jacksonville, Florida, while WrestleMania 36 took place in Orlando.

"Our people are starved to have some of this back in their lives," DeSantis said Wednesday. "It's an important part of people's lives."

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