Winter Break

AFP

Knee surgery for PSG’s Thiago Motta

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Paris (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Thiago Motta looks set to go under the knife for a knee complaint which will sideline him until after the winter break, the club said on Thursday.

Motta is now 35 and has been playing less as midfield starlet Adrien Rabiot, 22, gradually starts to fullfil his potential in the ambitious side.

Knee surgery for PSG’s Thiago Motta

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Paris (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Thiago Motta looks set to go under the knife for a knee complaint which will sideline him until after the winter break, the club said on Thursday.

Motta is now 35 and has been playing less as midfield starlet Adrien Rabiot, 22, gradually starts to fullfil his potential in the ambitious side.

El Clasico switched to December 23

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Madrid (AFP) – La Liga president Javier Tebas confirmed on Monday that the first El Clasico of the season between Real Madrid and Barcelona will be played on December 23 at 1:00 pm (1200GMT).

The clash was expected to take place on December 20 as part of a full midweek round of fixtures before Spain’s winter break.

Rostov fire six-goal warning to Man United

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Rostov-on-Don (Russia) (AFP) – Rostov coach Ivan Daniliants said Friday’s 6-0 rout of Tomsk served as a warning to Manchester United that they won’t roll over when they face Jose Mourinho’s English giants in the Europa League.

Rostov showed no signs of rustiness after the long winter break to trounce the Russian Premier League’s bottom club with a perfect warm-up for next week’s European clash.

Rostov fire six-goal warning to Man United

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Rostov-on-Don (Russia) (AFP) – Rostov coach Ivan Daniliants said Friday’s 6-0 rout of Tomsk served as a warning to Manchester United that they won’t roll over when they face Jose Mourinho’s English giants in the Europa League.

Rostov showed no signs of rustiness after the long winter break to trounce the Russian Premier League’s bottom club with a perfect warm-up for next week’s European clash.

Celtic on verge of becoming history Bhoys

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Glasgow (AFP) Celtic stand on the verge of reaching a historic milestone when they return to league action on Wednesday.

The runaway league leaders have been in cold storage for the past three weeks as the Scottish Premiership took a winter break but took a step closer to a domestic treble on Sunday with a 3-0 defeat of Albion Rovers in the Scottish Cup.

Celtic on verge of becoming history Bhoys

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Glasgow (AFP) Celtic stand on the verge of reaching a historic milestone when they return to league action on Wednesday.

The runaway league leaders have been in cold storage for the past three weeks as the Scottish Premiership took a winter break but took a step closer to a domestic treble on Sunday with a 3-0 defeat of Albion Rovers in the Scottish Cup.

Bayern’s Robben wants show of strength at Freiburg

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Berlin (AFP) Arjen Robben is demanding a show of strength when Bayern Munich resume their hunt for a fifth straight title at Freiburg on Friday as the Bundesliga resumes after its winter break.

The German league is back after a four-week rest with Bayern three points clear of nearest rivals RB Leipzig, who briefly kept the Bavarians off top spot for three weeks until early December.

Bundesliga

Americans Abroad Sunday Rewind: Green, Ream, Brooks and more

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Following the conclusion of the 2. Bundesliga's winter break, Julian Green earned a starting nod in his debut for his new club.

Green started and played the first 45 minutes for Stuttgart on Sunday as the 2. Bundesliga powerhouse slipped past St. Pauli with a 1-0 win. The victory sees the club move into second place, behind leaders Eintracht Braunschweig on goal differential.

Soccer Wednesday: Your Running Commentary

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First place in the Bundesliga in on the line on Wednesday, as the perennial title favorite takes on the upstart challenger.

Bayern Munich and Red Bull Leipzig enter the final matchday before the winter break tied on 36 points. Bayern enters the match in first due to a superior goal differential.

Stressed Ribery: All eyes on Dortmund

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Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery admits that it has been a frustrating few weeks for the club as the Bavarians struggle to reduce the deficit to league leaders Borussia Dortmund despite playing perhaps their best football of the season.

Ribery last saw his teammates lose in the Bundesliga almost four weeks ago away to Bayer Leverkusen.

Americans Abroad: Europa League Preview

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photo by Bill Barrett/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

A handful of Americans could be in action on Thursday afternoon as the knockout phase of the Europa League begins, including two who will be in direct competition with one another.

Jozy Altidore and Sacha Kljestan are set to battle in the first leg of their Round of 32 Europa League fixtures.

Languagecaster Podcast: The Bundesliga 2012

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On this week\'s podcast our German correspondent Hans looks at the Bundesliga after the mid-winter break.

For your reading pleasure, an Orange-tinted link dump

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So, sitting here this afternoon thoroughly enjoying the Bundesliga back in action after an interminable winter break, I have come across a series of stories that might just warm the hearts of us Houston Dynamo supporters near and far.

First comes this excellent piece from Soccer America about Geoff Cameron in USMNT camp.

English Premier League

Two Strikers Missing From Newcastle’s Squad To Spain

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Newcastle named 26 players that flew off to La Manga in Spain yesterday for a five-day training camp that ends with a game against Norwegian side Lillestrom SK on Saturday with a 3:00 pm kick-off. Missing from the squad is Aleksandar Mitrovic and also the fit-again Papiss Cisse was not on the plane, so we're [.

Would a Winter Break Benefit the Premier League?

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Former FA and Arsenal F.C. vice-chairman David Dein has called on the Barclays Premier League to implement a winter break halfway through its season. Dein also suggested at the Soccerex Global Convention this week that the Premier League should enforce the break as soon as possible. Debate of a potential winter break from league matches comes with news that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will most likely be held in the winter, because you know, it's usually pretty hot in Qatar during the summer (the average high in the middle eastern country during July is 106 degrees Fahrenheit).

Experiencing Premier League Matches In Person During the Christmas Holidays: The Heart Of English Football

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A winter break? Say it aint so.

The festive period is without doubt my favorite part of the English football calendar. Games come thick and fast, the third round of the FA Cup is on the horizon and it's the time of the season when in the Premier League the table really starts to take shape.

FA Commission Discussing January Winter Break for Premier League: Daily Soccer Report

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The FA Commission are discussing the possibility of instituting a Premier League winter break, according toThe Daily Telegraphreporter Henry Winter.

The Premier League winter break is being proposed between for future January's between the third round and fourth round of the FA Cup tournament.

A Winter Break in England? I doubt it

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A Winter Break in England? I doubt it

Every year around the Christmas period, football connoisseurs back home in England begin their annual discussion on whether the Barclay's Premier League should follow the direction of many Leagues across the world and start a month long winter break for it's fans and clubs.

Liverpool Would Welcome Aquilani Back In the Summer

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A twist of fortune which currently happened with Alberto Aquilani at Ac Milan reportedly could make him return to Anfield next season, as the Rossoneri are not willing to meet the clause both teams set last summer.

Acknowledging this situation, the Reds' manager, Kenny Dalglish, said that he would welcome Aquilani back with open hands although the tactician believed that leaving Milan would make the player truly disappointed.

Recap: Celik 1 - 1 Velez Mostar

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In their first game back from the long winter break in the Bosnian Premier League, Velez Mostar earned a point in a road draw with Celik at Stadion Bilino Polje.

Major League Soccer

Major Link Soccer: LAFC gain colors, crest, and Will Ferrell

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The list of owners in LA grows. English soccer needs a winter break. Griffey Jr. breaks a record.

Seattle

Gonzalo Pineda has officially called it quits on the field, and will continue to explore commentary opportunities and someday coaching. On his way out he had high praise for Major League Soccer, saying it's no longer a "cemetary" for older players.

Is MLS Moving To A European Calendar?

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Wow. This news sounds very, very interesting. The New York Daily News is reporting that various league sources are telling them that Major League Soccer is inching closer to adopting a European-style calendar.

The plan, which has the full support of FIFA, the sport's governing body, would have the MLS season begin play in either late July or early August and include a six- to eight-week winter break.

The Rodney Wallace Conundrum

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Rodney Wallace is fast. He is good with ball at his feet. He has a wicked shot. He crosses well. He gets into dangerous positions. He is occasionally out of position on defense. His passing is not always on target. He occasionally loses his man.

Does he belong in the midfield or manning the defense?

NAC Breda

Johannsson scores in AZ’s first game back from winter break

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Not even the winter break is enough to cool down Aron Johannsson.

Playing in AZ Alkmaar's first game since Dec. 21, Johannsson got back on the scoresheet in the club's 3-0 victory over NAC Breda on Saturday. The U.S. Men's National Team forward found the back of the net mere moments from halftime, getting on the end of a cross from the left flank before heading a ball that ricocheted off his body but still rolled past the goal line after kissing the inside of the post.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Preview

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Aron Johannssonn went on an absolute tear during the first half of the Eredivisie season, finding the back of the net in bunches and almost always proving to be a threat against opposing defenses.

Now, he will look to do more of the same.

Johannsson and AZ Alkmaar return from their winter break and kick off the remainder of their campaign on Saturday with a home game against NAC Breda, and the U.

Spain

Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos sent-off for kicking opponent in the face

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The thing with a winter break in football is that it forces a hardened card addict like Sergio Ramos to go cold turkey. Let them loose on a football pitch again in January and they're bound to overdose. The Real Madrid defender got his fix during last night's victory over Celta Vigo. He satisfied his [.

Gallery: Chelsea’s Day in the Sun

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What to do when your squad is underperforming? You take them on vacation to Spain, naturally.

'What do you mean Gary got lost at baggage claim??'

So yeah, apparently this trip is actually happening. AVB did his best to downplay expectations prior to departure, insisting that trips of this variety are normal for English teams.

UEFA Champions League

Goodson, Parkhurst Kick Off Season for Americans Abroad this Weekend

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It hasn't been that long since Michael Parkhurst lifted the Danish Superliga championship trophy with Nordsjaelland and Clarence Goodson put on the captain's armband for Brondy, but the short Danish summer offseason has come to an end and the work beging again for Americans abroad for the 2012-13 season.

UEFA Champions League: Your Running Commentary

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Aside from troubles against Spanish nemesis Barcelona, Real Madrid is arguably in the greatest form of any club around the world. Jose Mourinho's men have not dropped points against a non-Barcelona team since Sept. 21, marking a span of 27 straight wins over non-Barcelona opposition.

draws

Benitez and Houllier in the Premier League [Infographic]

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I've been trying to come up with different ways to visually represent results. I like this one.




That both Benitez and Houllier were in charge for six seasons allows for a straightforward comparison, even if we don't count the first 12 games of 1998-99 because of the ill-fated Evans/Houllier managerial pairing.

CL Preview: APOEL vs. the Pod People from Lyon

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If you've ever watched Invasion of the Body Snatchers, you'll know why I chose this particular title for today's post. Lyon have one shot to salvage their season, and it's against APOEL. Anything less than a win tells me that Lyon don't even deserve to be in the Champions League. Let's be honest Lyon have been crap since winter break to the point that I don't even recognize them anymore.

ESPN

Roma Signs Deal With Walt Disney In Florida

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American owned AS Roma has signed a six-year deal with the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex that will allow the American-owned club to hold its winter-break training in Orlando Florida and hopefully expand its fan base in the U.S.

The deal makes the three-time Serie A champions the official professional soccer team of the facility, near the Walt Disney World Resort.

Mid-Day Ticker: Suarez open to staying, Kean willing to posptone and more

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Luis Suarez's future at Liverpool may be up in the air, but he is hoping to end any and all speculation by signing a new deal with the club.

Plagued by controversy since joining Liverpool from Ajax in January 2011, Suarez is keen on extending his time with the Reds.

The Rest

Why there should, but won’t, be a winter break

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A quick Saturday round-up for you, as I have agreed to play in a 6-a-side tournament this morning. It's safe to say my preparation for such an event has been less than ideal. Unless Old Fashioneds and mince pies are the secret to performing at the highest level.

Which I don't think they are.

Pitch-Invading Portuguese Granny Laughs It Off At Stewards Escort Her Back To The Stands (Video)

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By Chris Wright

Braga knocked off for the winter break with a 2-2 draw away against Maritimo after coming from 2-0 down to salvage a point with five minutes left to play.

Overcome with the rapturous joy of finishing up 2013 in seventh place in thePrimeira Liga, a small gaggle of the Braga fans charged onto the pitch at full-time, with one particularly rowdy pitch invader catching the eye largely because she was of theseptuagenarian persuasion and chortled merrily as she was escorted back to the stands by the Maritimo stewards.

Longwood University Graduate Signs Pro Contract

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Chris Saul Signs Pro Contract with Ytterhogdals IK Chris Saul FARMVILLE, Va. -- Longwood University graduate and four-year letterwinner with the Lancers' men's soccer program Chris Saul of Pasadena, Maryland recently signed a professional contract to play for Ytterhogdals IK of the Swedish League (Division 3).

Luciano Narsingh: ready for a step up....

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In the winter break, Luciano Narsigh gave an interview to the VI. "I can reach Oranje" was the headline. One month later, Bert van Marwijk and his staff picked the winger, with Twente winger Ola John and AZ midfielder Maher for the preliminary Oranje squad.

Let's look closer at the Heerenveen [read more]

It Begins.

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Olympique Lyonnais vs. Dijon FCO

Match day 21 – Ligue 1.

In an unbelievably quiet transfer zone window, the report card on indecision in the last month will come 21 days later. That is because starting tonight, Lyon plays a match roughly every three days, for the next three weeks!

Questions: Hannover, Everton, Houston, Rapids, Cannon

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By Tony Edwards - San Jose, CA (Jan 19, 2012) US Soccer Players -- In today's edition, Tony asks about Everton's tactics and upcoming schedule, looks at Steve Cherundolo's Hannover '96 back in action in Germany, wonders about the Rapids' priorities going into the season, and asks Joe Cannon not to quit his day job.