Today’s top stories:
Barcelona has confirmed the signing of Ivan Rikitic from Sevilla. The deal cost the club under €20 million. A good bit of thrift business by Barcelona there.

Hannover has completed the signing of Hoffenheim’s Joselu. The 24 year old striker will be under contract until 2018.

Benfica has signed an agreement with Orlando City FC for ten years which will link the clubs to share players on loan, share marketing, television, scouting information, and provide academic scholarships for players.

Eden Hazard has confirmed that he is in contract extension talks with Chelsea and has been quoted as saying the he is 100% a Chelsea player.

Manchester City is expected to sign Porto’s midfielder Fernando for a total of £16 million. This deal is expected to be finalized within the week with the player traveling to Manchester to undergo a medical examination and agree to official terms.

Damien Duff has signed a one year deal with Melbourne City FC. The 35 year old winner joins the A-League side after his contract with Fulham expired. Will be playing alongside David Villa this fall.

Jose Mourinho revealed in an interview that he wanted to take the England managerial job, but his wife forbade it. In my opinion Mrs. Mourinho gave her husband some great advice.

Brad Friedel has signed a one year deal with Tottenham Hotspur which includes an ambassadorial role in which he will continue to build their brand in the United States.

A rumor is making its way around the internet that Romelu Lukaku could be heading to Atletico Madrid on loan.

Rotherham United has broken their transfer fee record to sign former Aston Villa striker Jordan Bowery. The 22 year old striker arrives for an undisclosed fee and is Rotherham’s fifth signing of the window, following closely behind former Rangers defender and Football Manager legend Kirk Broadfoot.

Louisville City FC is holding a contest to design their new logo. Submit your designs over on their website, which is linked in today’s show notes on the blog.

FIFA will be investigating a banner that was unveiled by Argentina at Saturday’s match between Argentina and Slovenia. The banner read “Las Malvinas Son Argentinas” or “The Falklands are Argentine”. FIFA does not allow political messages during matches and will investigate, despite Argentina previously unfurling banners similar to this one before.

World Cup News:
Guillermo Ochoa is expected to be named the starting keeper for Mexico, proving manager Miguel Herrera does not make any last minute changes to his starting lineup.

ESPNFC is running a rumor that Javier Chicharito Hernandez is not expected to start for the Mexico National Team. After not featuring for Manchester United last season, it now appears he is also on the fringe of El Tri. Could be a fantastic super sub.

Robin van Persie and Daryl Janmaat suffered minor injuries when a kite surfer collided with them on Impanema Beach. Neither are expected to miss anytime with the national team.

SportCal Insight is reporting that the World Cup in Brazil will rake in an estimated $4 billion for the country. If it lives up to that projection, it would be almost a 15% improvement over the 2010 World Cup. They project the 2018 World Cup in Russia to break the $5 billion barrier, which would be the conservative FIFA estimate.

Diego Maradona spoke out against the Qatar World Cup corruption scandal and demanded that those responsible be brought held accountable. Also spoke out against the involvement of footballers such as Michel Platini, whose name has been brought into question by the Sunday Times report.

Eurosport is reporting that an armed robbery was prevented by Brazilian police, the thieves were targeting members of the Bosnia coaching staff.

The Times is reporting that there are still safety concerns with the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paolo because the stadium has not undergone a full capacity test. A temporary stand remains in question and is still untested. The stand will eventually be removed after the World Cup when the new stadium will accommodate Corinthians.

Purely Football tweeted a picture of Neymar receiving treatment during a Brazil training session. I will let you know if his status changes.

Sepp Blatter has accused the public of racism regarding the investigation into the 2022 Qatar World Cup Bid Corruption scheme.

Better know a league:
Today’s league, is Norway’s Tippeligaen. This is the 70th year of the Tippeligaen, which was founded in 1937. This 16 team league consists of six clubs in Eastern Norway, seven teams in Western Norway, and one club, Bodo/Glimt, that plays their football above the Arctic Circle. The League is ranked 27th in terms of UEFA Coefficient, which is the lowest the league has been since 1993. The league runs from late March to early November, opposite the European calendar, taking advantage of the summer months similar to the schedule the MLS utilizes.

Rosenborg are the most prolific winners of the league, having lifted the competition’s trophy 22 times in their club history, including 13 consecutive times from 1992 to 2004. Stromgodset are the current title holders having ousted 2011 and 2012 champions Molde.

We’re currently 12 matches into current campaign and it is shaping up to be a two horse race between Molde and Stromsgodset. Perhaps the most intriguing storyline of this Tippeligaen season has been newly promoted Stabaek, who are managed by former USMNT boss Bob Bradley. They are currently sitting in 8th place, but are only four points out of UEFA Europa League qualification. They are also led by Ivoirian striker Franck Boli, who is tied for second in league scoring with 6 goals. The league’s leading scorer is Vidar Orn Kjartansson who has a very impressive 13 goals in 12 matches after his brace yesterday for Valerenga.

In our Tippeliagen matches from yesterday:
Valerenga defeated Aalesund 3-0 thanks to that brace from Kjartansson and a third goal from Daniel Fredheim Holm.

Sandnes Ulf were 1-0 winners over Bodo/Glimt thanks to a goal from Ole Langas.

Sarpsborg and Viking played to a 1-1 draw. Goals from Steffan Ernemann for Saarpsborg and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson for Viking.

Stromsgodset overcame an early deficit to win 2-1 over Haugesund. Alexander Stolas opened scoring for Haugesund, but Stromsgodset got goals from Iver Fossum and Martin Odegaard to earn them the win.
Mohammed Elyounoussi’s hat trick lifted Molde to a 4-2 win over SK Brann. Amin Aksar had a brace for 
Brann, but was bested by Elyounoussi’s hat trick and Fredrik Gulbrandsen’s marker.

Odd Grenlend and Sogndal played to a goalless draw.

Bob Bradley’s Stabaek were bested 2-1 by IK Start. Amin Nouri and Jorge Castro scoring for start and Anders Trondsen for Stabaek.

In our final match, Rosenborg won 3-1 over Lillestrom. Selnaes, Tobias Mikkelsen, and Riku Riski scoring for Rosenborg, with Frode Kippe scoring the 1 for Lillestrom.

Yesterday’s only international friendly ended with Ghana running out 4-0 winners against South Korea. 
Jordan Ayew had a hat trick in this match. Asamoah Gyan scored just before halftime for the other goal in that match. This was truly a display of the attacking prowess that Ghana possesses, although the Korean defense is certainly not as staunch as what they will face at the World Cup.