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Angels Links: Manchester United to Europa League final

Also, strife in Syria and Barcelona to NWSL?

Manchester United v Celta Vigo - UEFA Europa League - Semi Final Second Leg Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Man United holds off Celta Vigo to advance to Europa League final

Manchester United are through to the Europa League final, after beating Celta Vigo 2-1 on aggregate in their semifinal (they drew 1-1 on the day). If United win the Europa League then they are in the Champions League next year, regardless of where they finish in the Premier League this year. It wasn’t all good news for the Red Devils though, as Eric Bailly received a red card after getting into an altercation with a Celta Vigo player, and will be suspended for the Europa League final. They will take on Ajax, who won the other Europa League semifinal, on May 24th.

Didier Drogba fully invested in Phoenix Rising project

Didier Drogba appears to be all in when it comes to helping Phoenix Rising grow, and get a successful bid for an MLS expansion team. His wife and kids have moved with him to Phoenix, and Drogba is quoted as saying “Phoenix has won my heart. The project won my heart.” Curious about why Phoenix is so appealing to Drogba, and potentially MLS? SI.com’s Brian Straus has the inside story.

How Syria’s regime has used its soccer team for their own purposes

Soccer, and sports in general unfortunately are often used by dictators for political purposes. Sometimes for propaganda, or to divide people, or as an us against the world narrative to build support for the regime. The latest example of this appears to be Syria. Steve Fainaru of ESPN delves into the situation.

How Real Madrid finally solved the Messi problem

Despite Real Madrid being one of the biggest and riches clubs in the world, lately that hadn’t been enough to overcome Lionel Messi and Barcelona. Barcelona won six of the last eight La Liga titles, with Real Madrid winning just one. Also Barcelona had won the Champions League title in 2006, 2009 and 2011, while before 2014 Madrid hadn’t won it since 2002. However, with a focus on having tremendous depth, and getting good young players at every position, not just attacking, Real have again edged in front of their eternal rivals.

FC Barcelona approve plans for a future NWSL team

FC Barcelona’s board approved a plan to launch an expansion team in NWSL, maybe even as soon as next year. There has been some mutual interest from the two, Barcelona are looking to expand their global brand, and NWSL would love an ownership group associated with Barcelona. It’s unclear what city the potential team would play in, but its certainly an exciting prospect.

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