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Businessman Alejandro Burzaco pleads not guilty in FIFA scandal

Alejandro Burzaco is the third defendant to be arraigned in U.S. court following the FIFA scandal.

NEW YORK -- An Argentinian businessman has pleaded not guilty in the FIFA soccer scandal.

Alejandro Burzaco had turned himself in to Italian authorities in June. U.S. prosecutors say he was involved in kickbacks and bribes worth tens of millions of dollars to obtain media rights for soccer tournaments.

Burzaco was granted release on bail with electronic monitoring following his federal court appearance Friday in Brooklyn.

At the time of his arrest, Burzaco was the chief executive of a sports and...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Kurt Zouma happy to fill in anywhere for Chelsea

Former Chelsea man Frank Leboeuf insists that Chelsea will repeat as Premier League champions.
Jose Mourinho refuses to fuel transfer rumours, declining to comment on suspected left back signing, John Stones, a week ahead of the start of the season.

Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma, who has also played in the holding midfield role, has told manager Jose Mourinho that he is happy to fill in wherever his services are required.

The 20-year-old replaced Cesar Azpilicueta at left-back in Chelsea's 2-2 draw with Barcelona before beating the Champions League holders on penalties earlier this week in Washington, D.C.

"It is a new position for me," Zouma told The Sun. "I played there only one time when I was at Vaulx-En-Velin, but I have to help the team.


 By Mike Whalley

Liverpool was easy to leave for Sunderland, says Sebastian Coates

The ESPN FC crew give their picks for which teams will get relegated following the 2015/16 Premier League season.

Sebastian Coates said it was an "easy" decision to leave Liverpool for Sunderland on a permanent deal.

The centre-back joined the Black Cats for £2m on July 1 to end a difficult four-year stint at Anfield, during which he struggled for form and battled injury.

Coates played only 12 league games in his first two seasons with the Reds before cruciate knee ligament damage while playing for Uruguay in August 2013.

He recovered to play briefly for his country at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

CONCACAF has not agreed to back Michel Platini, says CFU chief

Michel Platini has announced he will run for the FIFA presidency, immediately beconing the clear favourite for the role.
Get up to speed with FIFA presidental candidate Michel Platini's amazing record as a player
Michel Platini will stand as a candidate to replace Sepp Blatter as the next president of FIFA, world football's governing body.

CONCACAF has not agreed to back FIFA presidential hopeful Michel Platini, the head of the influential Caribbean Football Union (CFU) said on Thursday, saying such a claim is "just politics."

The governing body for North and Central America and the Caribbean has 35 votes in the Feb. 26, 2015, election to replace outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

Platini is the early front-runner, but CFU president Gordon Derrick said CONCACAF has not formally agreed to support him.

"I know that no one has...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

West Ham call Enner Valencia's knee and ankle injuries 'significant'

With the Hammers largely overachieving in the first half of last season's Premier League campaign, it would seem the West Ham will be looking for consistency.

Enner Valencia suffered "significant" injuries to his right knee and ankle in Thursday's Europa League game, West Ham revealed on Friday.

The forward is set to see a specialist on Monday to determine the full extent of the damage.

"It is too early to put a timescale on how long Enner's recovery and rehabilitation period may be," West Ham said in a statement.

West Ham UnitedWest Ham United
FK Astra GiurgiuFK Astra Giurgiu
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West Ham already face a difficult trip to Romania on Aug. 6 to stay in the Europa League after Thursday's 2-2 draw at home against FC Astra,...

Premier League's top breakout players

Jordan Ibe could be poised for a big season for Liverpool in 2015-16.
Jordan Ibe could be poised for a big season for Liverpool in 2015-16.

The 2014-15 Premier League season was full of individual breakout performances. Tottenham striker Harry Kane rose from relative obscurity in 2013-14 to ranking second in the league with 21 goals, while other players like former Burnley forward Danny Ings simply took the success that they enjoyed in the lower divisions and translated it to the Premier League level.

These breakout performances require a mix of skill and opportunity. Players must not only be talented enough to compete in one of the world's most competitive leagues, but also fortunate enough to be in a club situation where there are significant minutes available at his position. These circumstances allow for young players to make a lasting early impression on their club, and from there each player must focus on remaining consistent throughout the long, intense Prem season.

Here is look at 10 players who are likely to have breakout seasons in the 2015-16 Prem campaign. As a baseline, all 10 of these breakout players are either joining the Prem from a non-top five European league (i.e. the English Championship), or have appeared in fewer than half of their team's games in one of Europe's top five leagues through 2014-15.