The Champions League is officially back, and we have a full slate of matches on both Tuesday and Wednesday to start off the group stage. The selection of games is topped by Barcelona vs. Juventus, and also includes Roma vs. Atletico Madrid, Celtic hosting Paris Saint-Germain. Chelsea, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, and Benfica also host matches, against Qarabag, Basel, Anderlecht, and CSKA Moscow, respectively.
In case you missed it, Alexi Lalas of Fox Sports had some strong words of criticism for the US Men’s National Team, which he shared on television Sunday night during halftime of the Sounders-Galaxy match. He fires shots at several players by name: Tim Howard, Geoff Cameron, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, and Bruce Arena. He also mentioned Christian Pulisic, but not by name. You have to watch the video to see Alexi Lalas being Alexi Lalas and sending a huge wake-up call to the entire USMNT.
On the eve of Real Madrid’s opening match in their campaign to defend their Champions League title, reports have surfaced saying their newest young star, Marco Asensio, is happy at Real Madrid and does not intend to leave any time soon. He has a release clause of €80 million, but is reportedly in talks to expand that to €150 million after clubs like PSG, Barcelona, and Arsenal were interested in paying the €80 million, which would be a bargain for a global star like Asensio. For now, it sounds like the wonderkid is intent on staying put, which is good news for Real Madrid and bad news for every other team that Asensio is going to score against.
A little bit of MLS news on this Champions League Tuesday: Sporting Kansas City’s Erik Palmer-Brown has reportedly signed a pre-contract with Manchester City. In January, EPB will go to Europe and reportedly spend the rest of the European season on loan. Reports are that City offered wages that would be hard to turn down, although SKC manager Peter Vermes has said they made a substantial offer to try and keep the promising young defender. This comes after links to teams like Ajax and Porto, and will see the captain of the U-20 USMNT head to the Premier League.
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