Ex-South American soccer president will not fight his extradition to the United States

Photo credit: AFP.
Photo credit: AFP.

One of the latest soccer officials arrested in Switzerland in the FIFA corruption probe, Juan Angel Napout, has decided not to contest his extradition to the United States, media in his native Paraguay reported Monday. Napout, the ex-president of South American confederation CONMEBOL and a vice president of FIFA, was arrested Thursday morning at a Zurich luxury hotel, one of 16 people named in a new indictment from US authorities investigating allegations of massive corruption at world soccer’s governing body.

Citing his Paraguayan lawyers, newspaper ABC Color reported on its website that Napout, 57, had agreed with his defense team — a Boston-based law firm — to accept immediate extradition to the United States.

SEE MORE: Blatter in FBI spotlight over $100 bribery case, BBC says.

“Mr Napout has declined his right to a hearing before the Swiss authorities and agreed to be immediately extradited to the United States to directly confront the accusations before the US justice system,” the defense team said in a statement quoted by the daily.

“Since his election as CONMEBOL vice president in 2013 and president in 2014… Juan Angel Napout has dedicated himself to promoting and putting in place a policy of transparency and reform.”

Napout was arrested alongside fellow FIFA vice president Alfredo Hawit of Honduras. FIFA on Friday suspended both officials for 90 days.

Both are accused of taking millions of dollars in bribes in return for selling marketing rights for regional tournaments and World Cup qualifying matches.

More FIFA scandal:

Benitez holds Bale, Modric, Navas out of Real Madrid’s trip to Malmo

Photo credit: AFP.
Photo credit: AFP.

Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez has left Gareth Bale and Luka Modric out of his squad for the visit of Swedish champions Malmo on Tuesday with the Spanish giants already assured of their place in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Madrid’s better head-to-head record against Paris Saint-Germain means the 10-time winners will finish on top of Group A no matter what happens on matchday six. And with a crucial league clash away to Villarreal to come on Sunday, Benitez admitted La Liga is his priority.

“It is a day to rotate, albeit still with the idea of winning,” Benitez said on Monday.

“We are very satisfied to have qualified as group winners, but we want to keep on winning and manage both things. The possibility to win and to change some players so that everyone is in the best condition possible for the game against Villarreal.”

FROM LA LIGA: Barcelona held; Benzema double lifts Madrid.

Kiko Casilla will get another chance to impress in goal as first-choice goalkeeper Keylor Navas has also been left out of the squad.

Madrid could be handed a big boost for their trip to El Madrigal at the weekend as captain Sergio Ramos returned to training on Monday.

Benitez insisted the Spanish international, who has suffered with a recurring shoulder injury for the past three months, wouldn’t feature against Malmo but should be fit to lead the side against Villarreal.

“He is improving, but he is not in the squad for tomorrow,” Benitez added.

“Of course I won’t rule him out against Villarreal. He has trained today with the team and therefore I think unless something strange happens he will be ready.”

SEE MORE: 1.8 million watch El Clasico across beIN SPORTS’ networks.

Norwegian wonderkid Martin Odegaard will also not be included in the squad as Benitez confirmed Marcos Llorente will be the only youth team player involved. Odegaard, 16, has made just one appearance with the Madrid senior team since his high-profile signing for the club in January.

Benitez holds Bale, Modric, Navas out of Real Madrid’s trip to Malmo

Photo credit: AFP.
Photo credit: AFP.

Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez has left Gareth Bale and Luka Modric out of his squad for the visit of Swedish champions Malmo on Tuesday with the Spanish giants already assured of their place in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Madrid’s better head-to-head record against Paris Saint-Germain means the 10-time winners will finish on top of Group A no matter what happens on matchday six. And with a crucial league clash away to Villarreal to come on Sunday, Benitez admitted La Liga is his priority.

“It is a day to rotate, albeit still with the idea of winning,” Benitez said on Monday.

“We are very satisfied to have qualified as group winners, but we want to keep on winning and manage both things. The possibility to win and to change some players so that everyone is in the best condition possible for the game against Villarreal.”

FROM LA LIGA: Barcelona held; Benzema double lifts Madrid.

Kiko Casilla will get another chance to impress in goal as first-choice goalkeeper Keylor Navas has also been left out of the squad.

Madrid could be handed a big boost for their trip to El Madrigal at the weekend as captain Sergio Ramos returned to training on Monday.

Benitez insisted the Spanish international, who has suffered with a recurring shoulder injury for the past three months, wouldn’t feature against Malmo but should be fit to lead the side against Villarreal.

“He is improving, but he is not in the squad for tomorrow,” Benitez added.

“Of course I won’t rule him out against Villarreal. He has trained today with the team and therefore I think unless something strange happens he will be ready.”

SEE MORE: 1.8 million watch El Clasico across beIN SPORTS’ networks.

Norwegian wonderkid Martin Odegaard will also not be included in the squad as Benitez confirmed Marcos Llorente will be the only youth team player involved. Odegaard, 16, has made just one appearance with the Madrid senior team since his high-profile signing for the club in January.

From Xavi to MSN: The numbers behind Luis Enrique’s Barcelona makeover

xaviiniestamessineymarsuarez

Barcelona are playing a new and exciting style of attacking soccer, and the Catalan side’s 34 goals, a total that leads La Liga, actually understates the team’s quality. By expected goals, a statistical estimate of the quality of chances created, Barcelona should have scored about 39 goals this season – only occasional struggles with finishing have kept Barcelona from running away with La Liga’s title. If they keep creating chances at this rate, even more goals will come.

But the better story lies beneath the goal-scoring totals. That Barcelona score goals is not new, but the style and strategy of their attacking play mark a break with the club’s recent history. This team no longer just sets up shop into the opposition final third and probes carefully for breaking points in opposition defenses. Head coach Luis Enrique has worked out new tactics in which established, deep possession is just one tool that Barcelona use to unlock defenses – a tool that is no longer the first out of the box.

LA LIGA WEEKEND: Barcelona held; Benzema bags two.

This change can be shown statistically. The following graphic shows the number of shots per match that Barcelona have created from established possession in the final 40 yards, defined as a possession move including at least five consecutive completed passes in the final 40.

barcelona_f40

Barcelona once created more chances like this than anyone else in the world. Under Pep Guardiola in 2010-2011, the club’s 140 shots from established final 40 possession not only led La Liga, but second place Real Madrid (64) and third place Villarreal (57) created less than half as many chances from this type of play. This season Real Madrid, Celta Vigo and Atletico Madrid have all created more shots from established possession than Barcelona.

But of course, this hardly means that Barcelona’s attack has sputtered. Both the numbers and the quality of play have remained excellent. The difference has been a change in focus from the midfield to the forward line. Guardiola’s Barcelona were fundamentally the club of Xavi, who dominated play in possession, passing with his fellow midfielders in intricate combinations. The new Barcelona is defined by its forward trio, and  Luis Enrique has transformed his attacking tactics to get the ball to Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez more quickly and more effectively.

BALLON D’OR: Luis Enrique, Messi lament Suarez’s absence from shortlist.

This can be seen most clearly in Barcelona’s “danger zone passing” statistics. The danger zone is the region in the center of the 18-yard box from which most goals are scored. One of the keys to Barcelona’s forward play is that when Neymar receives the ball in areas from which most forwards would shoot, he typically looks to play one more pass to a teammate in an even better position. Completed passes within the danger zone have been shown to significantly improve chance quality. Defenders need to commit to defend Neymar, and the pass then eliminates those who had moved to cover the ball.

This season, Barcelona forwards have completed 31 passes to one another in or near the danger zone. In the first 14 matches of the 2010-2011, for instance, the Barcelona forward line (typically Messi, David Villa and either Pedro or Bojan) combined for only 17 danger zone passes.

barcelona_dz_fwd_comp

The creative core of the Barcelona attack has moved up the pitch, from central midfield to the forward line. This is the trend that began last season, as Enrique looked for find ways to best leverage the incredible attacking talent at his disposal. Last year, Barcelona’s rate of danger zone passing among the forwards increased hugely. In the new season, Barcelona have solidified these gains while continuing to move away from the club’s former midfield possession style.

The following graphic compares Barcelona’s two modes of play. This shows the percentage of shots created following a completed pass in the final 40 between two central midfielders compared to shots created following a danger zone pass between two forwards.

barcelona_transform

This transformation has been quietly in the works for a while. Under both Tito Vilanova and Tata Martino in the 12-13 and 13-14 seasons, Barcelona slowly lessened their dependence on Xavi and the central midfield. Now after winning a treble, it appears that the club has fully committed to this change. The new Luis Enrique Barcelona move the ball quickly through midfield and place the creative burden on the forwards. This increasingly vertical style of play has kept Barcelona’s attack among the best in the world, and it has brought out the best in the already brilliant trio of Neymar, Messi and Suarez.

Neymar in particular has flourished with more time on the ball. He leads La Liga in shots assisted (51) and expected goals assisted (8.8). No one else has been nearly as productive in creating chances.

barcelona_neymar_leaders

With their focus on getting the ball to Neymar and allowing him to create, Barcelona’s tactics have enabled the Brazilian to take the next step in his development. The new-look attack is not only producing chances and excitement in equal measure, but the transformed system has also helped make a new world superstar in Neymar.

Luis Enrique deserves credit for doing much more than simply taking care of a club with great players. He has overhauled the club’s approach and helped unlock the wondrous talents of the game’s newest superstar.

All data provided by Opta.

More Caley analysis:

From Xavi to MSN: The numbers behind Luis Enrique’s Barcelona makeover

xaviiniestamessineymarsuarez

Barcelona are playing a new and exciting style of attacking soccer, and the Catalan side’s 34 goals, a total that leads La Liga, actually understates the team’s quality. By expected goals, a statistical estimate of the quality of chances created, Barcelona should have scored about 39 goals this season – only occasional struggles with finishing have kept Barcelona from running away with La Liga’s title. If they keep creating chances at this rate, even more goals will come.

But the better story lies beneath the goal-scoring totals. That Barcelona score goals is not new, but the style and strategy of their attacking play mark a break with the club’s recent history. This team no longer just sets up shop into the opposition final third and probes carefully for breaking points in opposition defenses. Head coach Luis Enrique has worked out new tactics in which established, deep possession is just one tool that Barcelona use to unlock defenses – a tool that is no longer the first out of the box.

LA LIGA WEEKEND: Barcelona held; Benzema bags two.

This change can be shown statistically. The following graphic shows the number of shots per match that Barcelona have created from established possession in the final 40 yards, defined as a possession move including at least five consecutive completed passes in the final 40.

barcelona_f40

Barcelona once created more chances like this than anyone else in the world. Under Pep Guardiola in 2010-2011, the club’s 140 shots from established final 40 possession not only led La Liga, but second place Real Madrid (64) and third place Villarreal (57) created less than half as many chances from this type of play. This season Real Madrid, Celta Vigo and Atletico Madrid have all created more shots from established possession than Barcelona.

But of course, this hardly means that Barcelona’s attack has sputtered. Both the numbers and the quality of play have remained excellent. The difference has been a change in focus from the midfield to the forward line. Guardiola’s Barcelona were fundamentally the club of Xavi, who dominated play in possession, passing with his fellow midfielders in intricate combinations. The new Barcelona is defined by its forward trio, and  Luis Enrique has transformed his attacking tactics to get the ball to Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez more quickly and more effectively.

BALLON D’OR: Luis Enrique, Messi lament Suarez’s absence from shortlist.

This can be seen most clearly in Barcelona’s “danger zone passing” statistics. The danger zone is the region in the center of the 18-yard box from which most goals are scored. One of the keys to Barcelona’s forward play is that when Neymar receives the ball in areas from which most forwards would shoot, he typically looks to play one more pass to a teammate in an even better position. Completed passes within the danger zone have been shown to significantly improve chance quality. Defenders need to commit to defend Neymar, and the pass then eliminates those who had moved to cover the ball.

This season, Barcelona forwards have completed 31 passes to one another in or near the danger zone. In the first 14 matches of the 2010-2011, for instance, the Barcelona forward line (typically Messi, David Villa and either Pedro or Bojan) combined for only 17 danger zone passes.

barcelona_dz_fwd_comp

The creative core of the Barcelona attack has moved up the pitch, from central midfield to the forward line. This is the trend that began last season, as Enrique looked for find ways to best leverage the incredible attacking talent at his disposal. Last year, Barcelona’s rate of danger zone passing among the forwards increased hugely. In the new season, Barcelona have solidified these gains while continuing to move away from the club’s former midfield possession style.

The following graphic compares Barcelona’s two modes of play. This shows the percentage of shots created following a completed pass in the final 40 between two central midfielders compared to shots created following a danger zone pass between two forwards.

barcelona_transform

This transformation has been quietly in the works for a while. Under both Tito Vilanova and Tata Martino in the 12-13 and 13-14 seasons, Barcelona slowly lessened their dependence on Xavi and the central midfield. Now after winning a treble, it appears that the club has fully committed to this change. The new Luis Enrique Barcelona move the ball quickly through midfield and place the creative burden on the forwards. This increasingly vertical style of play has kept Barcelona’s attack among the best in the world, and it has brought out the best in the already brilliant trio of Neymar, Messi and Suarez.

Neymar in particular has flourished with more time on the ball. He leads La Liga in shots assisted (51) and expected goals assisted (8.8). No one else has been nearly as productive in creating chances.

barcelona_neymar_leaders

With their focus on getting the ball to Neymar and allowing him to create, Barcelona’s tactics have enabled the Brazilian to take the next step in his development. The new-look attack is not only producing chances and excitement in equal measure, but the transformed system has also helped make a new world superstar in Neymar.

Luis Enrique deserves credit for doing much more than simply taking care of a club with great players. He has overhauled the club’s approach and helped unlock the wondrous talents of the game’s newest superstar.

All data provided by Opta.

More Caley analysis: