Insider Notes: David Villa in talks to extend New York City FC contract
David Villa has been fantastic in MLS, scoring 40 goals in two seasons, and he told the Planet Fútbol Podcast he has started talks with NYCFC about extending his contract beyond its current end date of December 2017, when he’ll be 36.
Villa said he’s very happy in New York with his family, and he’s still playing at a high level. In fact, a source says that Villa has drawn interest recently from teams in Spain, England, China, Russia and Turkey. But all signs are pointing to him staying even longer in New York City.
Spain's all-time leading international goal scorer with 59, Villa trails New York Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips by a goal for the 2016 MLS Golden Boot.
NYCFC enters the last game of the season vying for the second bye in the Eastern Conference.
Here are a few more insider notes from around the soccer world:
Darlington Nagbe's U.S. future in doubt after turning down Klinsmann's October call
As ESPN’s Taylor Twellman reported last week, Darlington Nagbe did turn down a call-up for the U.S. national team’s recent friendlies against Cuba and New Zealand. I’m told that “family time” wasn’t the only reason Nagbe decided not to come, though.
Part of the reason was a lack of playing time, but there were other ways in which Nagbe didn’t feel valued by Klinsmann. Sources in Portland and with U.S. Soccer say that Nagbe had conversations with Klinsmann and the national team staff, and those sources now think it’s possible that Nagbe may not get called back in to the team moving forward.
The Liberia-born Nagbe earned his first cap with the U.S. national team last November, after securing his U.S. citizenship. He has a goal and five assists in 26 games (all starts) with Portland this season in MLS. He has 10 caps and one goal with the U.S.
World Cup expansion for 2026 not a question of 'if' but of 'by how much'
Coming out of last week’s FIFA Council meeting, the word is that World Cup expansion for the 2026 competition is “definitely” happening. The question is whether the final decision in January will expand the World Cup to 40 or 48 teams from the current format that features 32.
After the FIFA Council meeting in Zurich, FIFA president Gianni Infantino told reporters that "the general feeling is rather positive," toward expansion, adding that "the level of quality of football is increasing all over the world" as a qualifier. He ran for FIFA president on the platform of expanding the competition to 40 teams but has also mentioned 48 as another possibility.
The World Cup has incrementally expanded over time.
It began with 13 nations at the inaugural competition in 1930 and grew to 16 from 1934 to 1978. Eight more teams were added for a 24-team field in 1982, and it remained that way through 1994. The last round of expansion took place in 1998, when it became the 32-team edition that is used today and will be in 2018 in Russia and 2022 in Qatar.
U.S. Soccer has no interest in hosting Copa Libertadores final in Miami
Reports from South America last week revealed that CONMEBOL was interested in staging the Copa Libertadores final in Miami in the future. But I’m told that U.S. Soccer has communicated to CONMEBOL that it is not supportive of allowing official games of other confederations to take place in the United States.
CONMEBOL confirmed earlier this month that the 2017 competition will continue to feature a two-legged final, with each finalist hosting a match.
Colombia's Atletico Nacional is the reigning champion of South America's preeminent club competition after topping Ecuador's Independiente Del Valle 2-1 on aggregate.