By DAN KARELL
Real Madrid might end up with Carlo Ancelotti managing their club next season, but it could come at a high price.
According to a report out of France, Ancelotti’s current club, Paris Saint-Germain, have said that they will entertain offers for the Italian manager if Real Madrid allow PSG to submit an offer for Cristiano Ronaldo. The report says that the PSG Qatari ownership would be willing to give Madrid a $128.8 million transfer fee along with a contract to Ronaldo for just over $23 million per season.
The 28-year-old has been heavily linked with a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu due to his issues with the club last fall when he wouldn’t celebrate, and also his resistance to sign an extension to his current contract, which goes through 2015.
The Portuguese international has continued his stellar form since moving to the Spanish capital, scoring 34 goals in 34 matches in La Liga this season. In all competitions Ronaldo has scored 55 goals. He has a chance to win his second Copa Del Rey on Friday, in a one-off match against city rivals Atletico Madrid.
Here are some more stories to get your Friday started:
CRUZ AZUL WIN BIG ON THE ROAD OVER SANTOS LAGUNA
Cruz Azul recorded a commanding 3-0 victory on the road on Thursday over Santos Laguna in the Liga MX Playoffs, taking a massive advantage back to Mexico City for the second-leg on Sunday.
Arguably the hottest team in Mexican soccer right now, Cruz Azul got on the scoreboard in just the third minute, when Gerardo Flores headed in a free kick from teammate Christian Gimenez to give the visitors an early lead at the Estadio Corona in Torreon.
La Maquina doubled their lead in the 25th minute, when on a counter attack, Gimenez found forward Javier Orozco on the left side of the box. Orozco choose to cross across the face of goal, with former West Ham midfielder Pablo Barrera arriving at the scene to slam the ball home from 18 yards out.
Santos Laguna added to their misery in the 89th minute when defender Rafael Figueroa put the ball into his own goal from about 25 yards out, after pressure from Cruz Azul substitute Alejandro Vela.
SANTOS PUT $77 MILLION PRICE TAG ON NEYMAR
Barcelona representatives continue to negotiate with Brazilian club Santos for the transfer of much-sought after forward Neymar.
Santos have put a valuation of $77 million (€60 million) on the 21-year-old Brazilian international, but Barcelona are currently only willing to spend about $64 million on a transfer fee, according to reports in Spain.
The Spanish club is expected to sell off some players to raise some more cash for the deal, as forward David Villa, midfielder Giovani Dos Santos, and attacker Bojan were among those named in the report that are on their way out of Catalonia.
Neymar has said himself he prefers to leave after the World Cup in 2014, but Barcelona are trying to sign him before Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, or any other team can get their hands on the talented youngster and raise the transfer price even more.
SANTA FE, OLIMPIA EARN PLACES IN THE QUARTERFINALS
The quarterfinal round of the Copa Libertadores is set after two teams gained entry from the round of 16 on Thursday night.
Colombian side Independiente Santa Fe scored a 1-0 victory over Brazilian club Gremio at their home stadium in Bogota, Colombia. Following a 2-1 scoreline in Gremio’s advantage from the first leg, Santa Fe needed just one goal to advance on away goals.
Taking the entire team on his shoulders, forward Wilmer Medina showed off his flair and creativity by playing a one-two pass with a teammate, then dribbling through two defenders before slotting home in the 80th minute, just before another Gremio defender could arrive.
In the other match on Thursday, Paraguayan side Olimpia defeated Argentine club Tigre, 2-0, in Asuncion, to win the overall tie 3-2. Olimpia Fredy Bareiro scored on the volley with his left foot in the 52nd minute to take the lead for his side, and then Olimpia got a bit of luck as a goalmouth scramble off a corner kick lead to an unfortunate own goal by Tigre defender Norberto Paparatto.
ARSENAL NEARING FRANCE U21 FORWARD SIGNING
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is well known for bring in many of his countrymen to London, and it seems that the club are close to bringing in a new Frenchman.
Following in the footsteps of Thierry Henry and Olivier Giroud could be Auxerre forward Yaya Sanogo. One of the more exciting prospects in French football, Sanogo scored nine goals in 11 matches for his club, which dropped into the second division in France this season after suffering relegation.
The 20-year-old is reportedly close to signing at the Emirates, with Wenger saying himself that talks are at an advanced stage. The Arsenal boss admitted though that he is very confident of wrapping up the deal. Sanogo’s contract is up at the end of the season, and the France U21 player is likely to be leaving the club on a free transfer.
The 6 foot 3 inch tall striker has battled multiple leg breaks in the last couple of years of his career, forcing him to make just 18 appearances in the last three seasons.
Schalke FC and former Germany defender Christoph Metzelder has announced his retirement at the age of 32. (REPORT)
Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri has earned a recall to the French National Team ahead of friendlies in South America against Brazil and Uruguay. (REPORT)
The FA has announced a minimum five-match ban for instances of racism or homophobic abuse from players. (REPORT)
Didier Drogba has been left off Ivory Coast’s squad for a couple of big World Cup qualifiers this June. (REPORT)
What do you make of these reports? Do you see PSG acquiring Ronaldo? Impressed with Cruz Azul’s performance? Do you see Barcelona coughing up that kind of money for Neymar? Do you see Sanogo being successful in the Premier League?
Share your thoughts below.