Soccer Star Alan Pulido Fought Kidnapper and Called Police

It sounds like a scene from a movie. We rejoice that he is safe. Now that more is known about his escape i sounds like an action thriller.

All that Mexican soccer star Alan Pulido said to the press during his initial appearance following his kidnapping ordeal was, “I’m Fine, thank God.” Yet authorities described Pulido’s quick actions which led to his safe return home.

The Mexican soccer star, who plays for the Greek team Olimpiakos, was kidnapped Saturday night after leaving a party with his girlfriend in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. It did not happen far from an area that includes police headquarters, according to Telemundo reporter Agustín Olais.

Pulido’s kidnappers let his girlfriend go, and she alerted his family that the 25-year-old soccer player had been taken. The family later received a phone call from the abductors asking for money and the authorities began an intense manhunt in the area.

The next day, according to authorities, Pulido saw an opportunity when he was left alone with one of the kidnappers. Pulido overtook him in a fight and grabbed his cell phone and gun away; he then used the cell to call for help. He told authorities where he was and described the house, also telling them what he was wearing so he wouldn’t be shot and confused for a kidnapper.

After he was safe, Pulido posted on Twitter; “muchas gracias a todos por su oracion;” thanks to all of you for your prayers.

In Mexico, news of his kidnapping and rescue was met with a mixture of relief as well as some cynicism for how the events unfolded. In an opinion piece in “El Universal,” journalist Ciro Lopez Leyva said that the state of Tamaulipas will hold elections next week, and that it looked like Alan Pulido “was more valuable alive than kidnapped.”

Tamaulipas was the state with the most kidnappings in Mexico; there were 230 reported in 2015 and 40 in 2016.

Pulido is a forward for Olympiakos and was part of Mexico’s 2014 World Cup team.

Additional reporting from Telemundo’s Agustín Olais and the Associated Press.


Real Madrid’s Keylor Navas to miss Costa Rica’s Copa America campaign

Real Madrid’s Keylor Navas to miss Costa Rica’s Copa America campaign

Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas will miss the Copa America Centenario this summer due to an Achilles tendon problem.

Navas has been suffering with Achilles problems for some time and missed last year’s Gold Cup, and his club, Real Madrid, had announced earlier this month that the 29-year-old would face a spell on the sidelines with the issue.

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Although he played in both the final La Liga game of the season against Deportivo La Coruna on May 14 and Saturday’s Champions League final success over Atletico Madrid, Real have now said that Navas is suffering withAchilles tendinopathy.

As a result, he will miss this summer’s tournament in the United States, which takes place from June 3-26, and will be replaced by Deportivo Saprissa’s Danny Carvajal.

The Costa Rican Football Federation (Fedefutbol) announced on its official website: “The Achilles tendon has again caused a problem for the national team goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who will miss the Copa America Centenario, which starts for Costa Rica this Saturday.

“The Costa Rica FA (Fedefutbol) will organise for the goalkeeper Danny Carvajal to replace Navas.

“This Monday the medical department at Real Madrid communicated to the medical department at Fedefutbol that they had done a scan on the national goalkeeper’s left heel.

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“In the statement it said that the keeper had chronic Achilles tendonitis, so it was recommended that he stop completely in order to get a definitive treatment.

“Our department has asked for images of the scan, and received them some hours later, when they were looked at by our doctors, along with radiologist Randall Bujan and orthopaedic specialist Vladimir Badilla, who agreed that it needed treatment at this time.

“The doctors considered that if it was not managed quickly, the player could suffer a further problem in his Achilles tendon.

“Navas has been managing this same injury for a year, and it has not responded to multiple treatments he has received, so that Real Madrid will decide how to resolve it definitively. From the federation we wish Keylor a swift recovery, and hope to have him back for our next friendly games.”

ESPN FC’s Spain correspondent Dermot Corrigan contributed to this report

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Zidane Has The Big Challenge of Making Real a Champion Side

Zidane’s next challenge at Real: Make Europe’s champions a champion side.

Exhausted from giving his all, the victorious Gareth Bale could barely describe what he was thinking.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” the Real Madrid forward said in the early hours of Sunday morning, after his side defeated Atletico Madrid in Saturday’s Champions League final.

“I can’t describe how it feels. It’s amazing and the boys gave everything. The club, the fans have been amazing on this journey and they deserve it.”

“Journey.” It’s an interesting word. Players say things like that about Champions League wins because it’s the standard language of the celebration, and because of the history and prestige attached to the competition.

But Real are different from most European champions.

Throughout the competition’s 61 years — and especially when only title winners qualified — the trophy has been the final consecration of a great team who had won everything else. It has been the end of a journey, the final conclusion.

That is emphatically not the case with Real. They are a side who have now won two Champions League trophies in three years — but only one league in the last eight, and none in the last four.

That is an inversion of Champions League history, and the great contradiction of this team. They can again proclaim themselves champions of Europe, but not of their own country. They can win the Champions League, but not the league. It also creates a great challenge for Zinedine Zidane.

He needs to add to Real’s record of 32 Spanish titles. He needs to get this great club winning the most again, rather than just taking what Barcelona don’t win. He needs to properly complete the journey, to ensure every step is taken. If good teams win leagues and lucky teams win cups, great teams win both.

To do that, Zidane is going to have use the job security he has earned with this victory to make some changes. He’s going to have to complete the side.

It is not hard to understand why Real have struggled to win the league, and why they have become an effective cup team, suited to the unpredictability of knockout competitions.

Some close to the club like to put it down to the historic genius of Lionel Messi, and how he elevates Barcelona to a level above everyone else, meaning the Catalans have claimed six of the last eight league titles.

The reality is that is too easy an excuse, even if Real did get close this season. Sensational as Messi is, he is made better by the fact that — for all Barca’s own political issues — there is a core football philosophy guiding the club, and thereby a proper football plan.

That has not been the case at Real. Their team have had vague guiding principles but, as a consequence of president Florentino Perez’s obsession with stars and big-money signings, they have looked like less than the sum of their very expensive parts. They have often been unbalanced or not fully cohesive the way that Barca and — despite their lesser quality — beaten finalists Atletico Madrid have.

That trait was underlined throughout this Champions League, when Real were often unconvincing, but could rise above opponents in single games thanks to their supreme individual players. As Zidane himself said: “When you’ve got players of this calibre, with so much talent, you can achieve something big.”

That kind of talent is one of the classic traits of cup teams, but it’s not as influential when it comes to the long-term rigours of a league campaign, when you are up against equally wealthy but better-organised sides. Then, a team’s deeper issues will tell.

The signing of James Rodriguez symbolises so much of this. Bought partly because of his justifiably celebrated status in South America, the excellent playmaker doesn’t have an obvious place in the Real Madrid team.

It said much that the key juncture in their season was when Zidane replaced him with defensive-midfielder Casemiro, but only because the French legend’s legacy as a player allowed him to drop a star in a way that Perez just wouldn’t accept from the sacked Rafa Benitez.

That transaction does give reason to hope that Zidane can change even more at the cub, that his clout can will allow him to make the moves other managers couldn’t, the moves Real need. Winning the Champions League only increases that clout.

Even if the French manager does start to struggle next season, which will be his first full campaign as a manager, the double arguments of his status and the European medal will make it even more difficult for Perez to sack him. There’s also fact that, as to finally winning the league again, Real’s domestic form under Zidane has been brilliant. They pushed this Barcelona all the way in the title race and only lost by a point.

But even as they won the Champions League and almost won the league, it’s still difficult to tell how good Real are as a team and Zidane is as a manager.

The ease of their run has already been noted: they are the first Champions League winners to win it without eliminating a previous champion. Of their actual opponents, all of Roma, Wolfsburg and Manchester City suffered more difficult seasons than usual. There is also an argument that, in the final, Atletico were unlucky to face a local rival after doing the real hard work of defeating Bayern Munich and Barcelona.

It’s not Real’s fault they got easy draws, of course, but part of the problem is how misleading some midseason changes can be. Chelsea can testify to that with Roberto Di Matteo.

Sometimes, ailing teams only need subtle changes to get them back on track, at least for the short term, and Zidane provided that with his presence and status. That is a very different job, however, from instilling team principles and properly creating a manager’s own team in the long term.

That is the next challenge for Zidane, and overcoming it will be crucial to meeting his biggest challenge: reclaiming the Spanish title for the country’s most successful club. The players were more than willing to talk about his Carlo Ancelotti-like easy man-management after the final, which is clearly a strength.

During the game, though, he made some big mistakes in what was the biggest test of his brief managerial career so far. Zidane got all of his substitutions wrong, removed Real’s control when he removed Toni Kroos, and arguably should have been brave enough to take off a clearly unfit Cristiano Ronaldo.

He got lucky that Atletico couldn’t seize their momentum when it was 1-1, and that Ronaldo then scored the decisive penalty. Zidane has to build on that and learn from those mistakes. They are the type that even the most successful managers made earlier in their career, and everyone is entitled to an adjustment period.

But that’s just the point: Zidane will likely learn as he goes because for Real, this Champions League is really the start of the journey, which is a remarkable thing to say about winning club football’s ultimate prize. Then again, these are European champions of many contradictions. The next step is to conquer all — including their own country.

Miguel Delaney is a London-based correspondent for ESPN FC and also writes for the Irish Examiner and others. Follow him on Twitter @MiguelDelaney.


Kidnapped Mexican Football Star rescued

Kidnapped Mexican Soccer Star Alan Pulido Found, Rescued Safely.

Kidnapped Mexican soccer star Alan Pulido was found and rescued safely by police, according to authorities in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.

Pulido, 25, was kidnapped over the weekend by armed men after he left a party in his hometown of Ciudad Victoria in northern Mexico, officials said.

Mexican Soccer Star Alan Pulido Taken by Armed Men After a Party in His Hometown, Official Says

The rescue happened shortly before midnight involving federal and state forces, the Tamaulipas Coordination Group said in a statement released early this morning.

Pulido also received a medical evaluation, the statement said.

Gov. Egidio Torre Cantú visited the player to make sure he was OK and congratulated police for the successful operation, the statement added.

Pulido is a forward for Olympiakos of Greece. He was a member of Mexico’s World Cup team in 2014.

The Greek team tweeted this morning that Pulido was with his family “safe” and “healthy.”

Detail, including a potential motive, are still unclear.

Ruben Dario of the Tamaulipas state attorney general’s office did not elaborate on the investigation, telling ABC News the family has requested privacy.



German nationalists slammed for racist comment against Boateng

A top member of a rising German nationalist party drew sharp criticism Sunday for reportedly saying that many people wouldn’t want Jerome Boateng, a key player on Germany’s national soccer team whose father was born in Ghana, as their neighbor.

Alexander Gauland, deputy leader of Alternative for Germany, was quoted as telling the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper: “People find him good as a footballer. But they don’t want to have a Boateng as their neighbor.” The newspaper’s front-page headline was “Gauland insults Boateng.”

Germany’s national team has long reflected varied ethnic backgrounds. Berlin-born Bayern Munich defender Boateng has played 57 games for Germany and was a mainstay of the 2014 World Cup-winning team. Boateng is also on Germany’s squad for the 2016 European Championship, which kicks off June 10 in France.

Justice Minister Heiko Maas called the comment “unacceptable.” He wrote on Twitter: “Anyone who talks like this unmasks himself, and not just as a bad neighbor.”

Anti-immigration talk has helped Alternative for Germany, or AfD, to surge in polls over recent months as hundreds of thousands of migrants arrived in Germany. Other parties have struggled to find ways to counter its appeal to protest voters.

In a statement, Gauland said he “never insulted Mr. Boateng.” He said that, in a confidential background conversation, he “described some people’s attitudes” but did not himself comment on Boateng.

“Of course we can be proud of our national team,” he added.

AfD leader Frauke Petry told the Bild newspaper that Gauland couldn’t remember whether he had made the comment.

“Independently of that, I apologize to Mr. Boateng for the impression that has arisen,” she said.

Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel told Bild that Gauland’s reported comment “shows that Gauland is not just against foreigners but against the good things about Germany: modernity, openness and liberality.” He called AfD “anti-German.”


Labour union protests threaten to disrupt Euro 2016

French union warns of disruption to Euro 2016 soccer cup unless govt backs down on labor reform. The organizers of Euro 2016 set for France have already had to be dealing with the real possibility of ISIS threats.  Additional worries are looming as French union labour disputes threaten to cause disruptions.  

A major French union has warned Paris that the upcoming Euro 2016 soccer tournament opening could be disrupted unless it backs down on contested labor law reforms. It comes as tens of thousands of people hit the streets again to protest the legislation.

The warning on Thursday by the hardline CGT union took aim at the 2016 UEFA European Championship (known as Euro 2016), scheduled to begin in France on June 10. The match will be played at various stadiums throughout the country, including Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, and Paris.

But if the CGT has its way, those games will only be taking place if Paris agrees to back down on a highly contested labor law reform.

When asked by Reuters if his union was willing to disrupt the football contest, CGT chief Philippe Martinez said: “The government has the time to say ‘let’s stop the clock’ and everything will be ok.”

Those thoughts were echoed by the head of the smaller FO union, Jean-Claude Mailly, who said: “In football speak, it’s time the prime minister took the red card back.” 

The unions’ statements came as tens of thousands of people hit the streets in protest on Thursday, leading to clashes between police and demonstrators, Reuters reported.

Around 100 people targeted a police station in the southwest city of Bordeaux, throwing objects at it and damaging a patrol car. Bank windows were broken in Paris and the western city of Nantes, prompting police to respond with tear gas.

Protesters also aimed to choke off power and fuel supplies and paralyze the public transport network on Thursday, with employees halting their work at oil refineries, nuclear power plants, and railways. Demonstrators also erected road blocks and burned wooden pallets and tires at major ports and near key distribution hubs.

The street rallies were also joined by marchers from the youth protest movement Nuit Debout (Up All Night). But despite employee walk-outs, street demonstrations, and threats from unions, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has rejected calls to scrap the part of the labor reform law which has most angered the CGT. That section would allow companies to opt out of national obligations on labor protection if they adopt in-house deals on pay and conditions with the consent of the majority of employees.

“There is no question of changing tack, even if adjustments are always possible,” said Valls.

The prime minister also stated that the government would break up refinery blockades. His statements were supported by the country’s other large union, the CFDT.

The Thursday protests are the latest in a string of demonstrations in recent weeks, in which 350 police officers and several protesters have been injured and more than 1,300 people arrested.

Protests against the labor law reforms have been taking place since they were put forward by Labor Minister Myrian El Khomri. The government says the reforms – which focus on fighting unemployment by loosening protections on France’s 35-hour work week and layoffs, and reducing overtime bonuses – will help curb the country’s high unemployment rate. Protesters and workers’ unions, however, say the government wants to make it easier and less costly for employers to lay off workers.

France’s unemployment rate hit a record high in March, pushing jobless numbers to 3.591 million people, according to the Labor Ministry.


Pele names Messi as Number One

Pele has named Lionel Messi at the top of his list of all-time best players, ahead of Diego Maradona, while saying he was almost brought to tears by Brazil’s World Cup defeat to Germany two years ago.

Messi is my favourite player, but Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar are also good. They have different styles in a football which has changed.”   The report was published on his club’s official Facebook Fanpage.


Jose Mourinho confirmed for Old Trafford

Jose Mourinho confirmed for Old Trafford.

Jose Mourinho will be in the Old Trafford dugout as early as June 5.

The Portuguese boss will replace Louis van Gaal as Manchester United boss with an announcement expected in the coming days.

But United fans needn’t get too excited, Mourinho won’t be managing the Red Devils when he steps foot in the Theatre of Dreams just next weekend.

Instead, he’ll be in charge of an all-star England line-up against the Rest of the World for Soccer Aid 2016.

Football legends will join stars from the world of music of TV for the Old Trafford encounter, all in aid of UNICEF.

Mourinho will link up with Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce and Robbie Williams to take on Leicester title-winner Claudio Ranieri – who will be flanked by One Direction’s Niall Horan.

And the big names don’t stop there with the likes of Robbie Fowler, Jamie Carragher and Jermain Defoe donning the Three Lions shirt.

They won’t have it easy though with Ranieri calling upon the services of Ronaldinho, Fabio Cannavaro and Samuel Eto’o at Old Trafford.

Tickets are available for the all-star clash, priced at £20 for adults and £5 for Under 16s.




Jose Mourinho

Sam Allardyce

Robbie Williams


David Seaman

Jamie Carragher

Phil Neville

Sol Campbell

Robbie Fowler

Jermain Defoe

Danny Murphy

Kieron Dyer

Ben Shephard

Danny Jones

Jack Whitehall

Jamie Theakston

John Bishop

Damian Lewis

Jonathan Wilkes

Louis Tomlinson

Mark Wright

Marvin Humes

Olly Murs

Paddy McGuinness

Rest of the World


Claudio Ranieri

Niall Horan



Dimitar Berbatov

Edgar Davids

Jaap Stam

Samuel Eto’o


Fabio Cannavaro


Sir AP McCoy

Patrick Kielty

Gordon Ramsay

Mathew Morrison

Michael Sheen

Nicky Byrne

Rickie Haywood-Williams

Sergio Pizzorno

Shayne Ward

Iwan Rheon

Sean Fletcher

Thom Evans




Manchester City’s Demichelis fined over betting charge

Heavy fines were levied against Manchester City’s Center Back, over multiple betting allegations. According to Yahoo Sports, Manchester City centre back Martin Demichelis has been fined 22,058 pounds ($32,092) and warned by the Football Association (FA) after he accepted a charge for breaking betting rules.

Demichelis placed 29 bets on football matches during January and February, the governing body said on its website (

The 35-year-old was accused in March of committing 12 breaches of FA rules governing betting. There is no suggestion the charge was linked to any games that Demichelis played for City or any match he could have had an influence over.

Rules introduced last season prohibit players and coaches from betting on any football activity.

($1 = 0.6873 pounds) (Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; editing by John Stonestreet)


Father Arrested For Flogging Child over missed goal

Felony charge for dad accused of spanking son over missed goal

The Associated Press is reporting this story.  

ODESSA, Texas — A 31-year-old West Texas man faces a felony charge after allegedly spanking and leaving several welts on his 8-year-old son for missing a goal in a soccer match.


The Odessa American reports that Carlos Jesus Vasquez of Odessa was charged with injury to a child after the boy’s grandmother told police Wednesday that the boy’s great-grandmother found several dark red welts on the boy’s buttocks.

A probable cause affidavit stated the marks “were consistent with being hit with a belt.”

The boy told investigators his father hit him 10 to 20 times.

A police news release said that Vasquez acknowledged that he’d used too much force. Information on whether Vasquez had a lawyer was unavailable.

He was released from Ector County’s jail Thursday after posting $15,000 bond.