Besieged Bale scores as Real Madrid rally for friendly win over Arsenal


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Washington (AFP) – Gareth Bale shrugged off uncertainty over his Real Madrid future Tuesday, his second-half goal helping the La Liga giants rally for a friendly win over Arsenal.

Madrid clawed back from two goals down to finish full time at 2-2, and prevailed 3-2 in the penalty shootout dictated by the International Champions Cup exhibition tournament format.

Welsh star Bale didn’t play in Madrid’s 3-1 loss to Bayern Munich in Houston on Saturday, manager Zinadine Zidane saying Monday he declined to dress for the match as the club pursued options for off-loading him.

Zidane said at the weekend he thought it would be “best for everyone” if Bale’s departure could be arranged quickly — comments Bale’s agent branded “disrespectful” of a player who helped the side to a Spanish league title and four Champions Leagues since arriving from Tottenham six years ago.

Zidane insisted Monday he meant no disrespect, and Continue reading “Besieged Bale scores as Real Madrid rally for friendly win over Arsenal”

PSV scrape past Basel with two late goals


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Paris (AFP) – PSV Eindhoven forward Donyell Malen struck in injury time to earn the former European Cup winners a last gasp 3-2 win over Basel in Tuesday’s Champions League second qualifying round first leg.

Basel were on their way to an important away win after goals from Albian Ajeti and Alderete Fernandez.

PSV’s new Portuguese winger Bruma had given the Dutch giants a 14th minute lead but with a minute of normal time remaining it looked to be Basel’s night.

But then late substitute Sam Lammers put them back in business with an 89th minute equaliser before Malen grabbed an unlikely decider in the second minute of injury time.

In other ties Tuesday Dinamo Zagreb put one foot in the next round with a 2-0 win at Georgians Saburtalo and Copenhagen beat Welsh outfit The New Saints by the same margin.

Olympiakos and Viktoria Plzen ended goalless while APOEL Continue reading “PSV scrape past Basel with two late goals”

After Atletico, Filipe Luis joins Brazil’s Flamengo


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Rio de Janeiro (AFP) – Brazil Copa America winner Filipe Luis has joined Flamengo as a free agent after four seasons with Atletico Madrid, the Rio de Janeiro club announced Tuesday. 

The veteran 33-year-old left-back has signed a two-year deal until 2021.

His Copa America campaign ended prematurely with injury in the quarter-final against Paraguay.

Luis began his career at Brazilian club Figueirense before moving to Europe, ending up in Spain with Deportivo La coruna in 2008.

He joined Atletico in 2010 where he spent a total of eight years, interrupted by a season with Chelsea. 

Luis helped Atletico win the 2014 La liga title, the Europa League in 2012 and 2018 and the 2013 Copa del Rey. He won the 2015 Premier League  with Chelsea and that season’s League Cup.

Flamengo, sitting third in the league, now boast two hardened defenders with European experience – Luis and Continue reading “After Atletico, Filipe Luis joins Brazil’s Flamengo”

Newcastle sign Joelinton from Hoffenheim for club record fee


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Berlin (AFP) – Newcastle United have signed Brazilian forward Joelinton from Hoffenheim, the Premier League club said Tuesday in what is the biggest transfer fee in their history.

The 22-year-old will wear Newcastle’s number nine shirt — made famous by Alan Shearer among others — after agreeing to a six-year deal reported to be worth up to 45 million euros. 

Joelinton Cassio Apolinario de Lira started his football career at Brazil’s Sport Recife, before joining Bundesliga side Hoffenheim. 

He played on loan for Austria’s Rapid Vienna for two seasons before returning to Hoffenheim, where he scored seven goals in 26 games last season in the Bundesliga, as well as notching three goals in the German Cup.

“I’m really happy to be here,” Joelinton said in a Newcastle statement on Tuesday.

“I know it’s a large investment that the club has made in me, and that comes with a Continue reading “Newcastle sign Joelinton from Hoffenheim for club record fee”

Neymar will go to China with PSG despite tensions


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Paris (AFP) – Neymar will travel on an upcoming tour of China with Paris-Saint Germain, the club said Tuesday, as the troubled Brazilian superstar’s future remains up in the air amid mounting signs he is unhappy at the French champions.

The 27-year-old, who has been repeatedly linked to a move to Barcelona, failed to show up to PSG’s pre-season training on July 8, with his camp maintaining he had a prior agreement to stay away. 

The club threatened to take “appropriate action” against the world’s most expensive player, who said he had stayed in Brazil to attend a charity five-a-side football tournament run by his foundation.

Neymar, who joined PSG in 2017 for 222 million euros ($264 million at the time), rejoined the team a week later on July 15. 

He also didn’t help the strained relationship by controversially saying that his best football memory was beating PSG

Continue reading “Neymar will go to China with PSG despite tensions”

After Atletico, Filipe Luis signs with Brazil’s Flamengo


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Rio de Janeiro (AFP) – Brazilian footballer Filipe Luis, free of any contract after four straight seasons with Atletico Madrid, has agreed to play for Brazil’s Flamengo until 2021, the Rio de Janeiro club said Tuesday. 

A member of the Brazilian team that won this year’s Copa America, Luis was forced out of the South American tournament during the quarter-final against Paraguay.

Luis, 33, who confirmed his latest move on social media, started his playing career at Brazilian club Figueirense before going abroad to play for Deportivo de La Coruna in Spain.

He joined Atletico Madrid in 2010 where he spent a total of eight years, interrupted by a season with Chelsea. 

Luis, a left-back, helped Atletico lift the cup in the Liga (2014), Europa League (2012, 2018) and Copa del Rey in 2013. 

Currently third in the Brazilian competition, Flamengo now boasts two defensive players with

Continue reading “After Atletico, Filipe Luis signs with Brazil’s Flamengo”

Chelsea clinch 2-1 win over Barcelona in Japan friendly


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Saitama (Japan) (AFP) – Goals from Tammy Abraham and Ross Barkley saw Chelsea grab a 2-1 victory against Barcelona on Tuesday in an exhibition match in Japan.

Chelsea striker Abraham opened the scoring in the 34th minute by pouncing on a mistake by Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets who attempted to clear the ball.

But with Chelsea midfielder Jorginho applying pressure, the ball rolled towards Abraham who only had to step past rushing goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and gently send it into the net.

Four minutes later, Chelsea midfielder Christian Pulisic showed off his speed and footwork to infiltrate the Barca defence, but his left footer went just wide.

Barcelona went on the offensive in the second half, with substitute striker Carles Perez leading the way.

But superb saves by Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga repeatedly denied Barca any attempt to equalise.

In the 55th minute Perez zipped past three Chelsea defenders but Continue reading “Chelsea clinch 2-1 win over Barcelona in Japan friendly”

Bale ‘won’t be leaving’ Real Madrid on loan, says agent


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London (AFP) – Gareth Bale will not be leaving Real Madrid on loan during the transfer window despite falling out of favour under Zinedine Zidane, his agent said on Tuesday.

The Real boss said at the weekend the La Liga giants were poised to offload the 30-year-old Wales star.

But his representative, Jonathan Barnett, told Sky Sports News any deal would have to be a permanent one.

“There will be no makeshift deals to get him out of the club,” said Barnett, who said previously that Zidane has shown “no respect” for Bale’s achievements at Real.

“Gareth is one of the best players on the planet. I can guarantee you he will not be going on loan to any club.”

Bale has been deemed surplus to requirements at Real despite helping his side to a Spanish title and four Champions League crowns since arriving from Tottenham Hotspur six years ago.

Continue reading “Bale ‘won’t be leaving’ Real Madrid on loan, says agent”

Fekir leaves Lyon in surprise move to Real Betis


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Madrid (AFP) – French World Cup winning midfielder Nabil Fekir has completed a surprising move from Lyon to Real Betis, the La Liga club announced on Tuesday. 

“Real Betis and Olympique Lyonnais have reached an agreement for the transfer of midfielder Nabil Fekir,” the club stated on its website. 

“The French international has signed a contract until 2023 with the Green and White club. Fekir becomes the fourth team signing for the season 2019/2020.

“With the arrival of Fekir, Real Betis acquire creativity, great technique, shooting ability and attacking edge.”

No transfer fee has been made public although reports in France and Spain put the fee at just over 20 million euros which could rise by another 10 million through bonuses. 

Fekir, who has signed a five-year deal, and Betis both have a 20 percent sell-on clause included in the deal.

In spite of a likely Continue reading “Fekir leaves Lyon in surprise move to Real Betis”

Guardiola blasts ‘false’ report of Man City ‘disrespect’ in China


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Hong Kong (AFP) – Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola blasted a report in Chinese state media as “false” on Tuesday after the Premier League champions were accused of showing “utter disrespect” during their tour of China.

Guardiola hit out at the lengthy commentary posted on the English-language website of Xinhua, the state news agency, which said Manchester City snubbed fans and only visited China for commercial reasons.

“I don’t agree but I should say too that it’s false. To make a statement like this they have to know exactly what’s happening in our club,” Guardiola told media in Hong Kong.

“I don’t understand how people can say that. Maybe one journalist is a little bit upset, I don’t know why. But it’s far away from what is reality,” he added.

The opinion piece, which accused City of an “attitude of arrogance” and lashed out at arrangements for Chinese media, brought

Continue reading “Guardiola blasts ‘false’ report of Man City ‘disrespect’ in China”

Zidane: Bale declined to play


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Washington (AFP) – Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has denied disrespecting Wales star Gareth Bale as he discussed the expected transfer of the 30-year-old forward from the La Liga giants on Monday.

Speaking to reporters on the eve of Real Madrid’s friendly with Arsenal at FedEx Field — home of the NFL’s Washington Redskins — Zidane said it was Bale who chose not to play in Madrid’s 3-1 friendly defeat to Bayern in Houston on Saturday.

“I did not disrespect anyone, least of all Gareth,” a frustrated-sounding Zidane said. “I said that the club is working to facilitate Bale’s departure, nothing more.

“The other day, Gareth did not dress for the game, he did not want to because the club was negotiating his departure,” he added.

Zidane had been branded a “disgrace” by Bale’s agent for his comments after the Saturday match, when he said he hoped Bale’s move from

Continue reading “Zidane: Bale declined to play”

Cristiano Ronaldo will not face rape charges in US


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Los Angeles (AFP) – Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo will not face any charges over an alleged rape in Las Vegas a decade ago after US prosecutors said Monday they did not have enough evidence to proceed.

A district attorney in the state of Nevada said it would not prosecute the Portuguese soccer player because it “cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt” that a sexual assault occurred.

Kathryn Mayorga, a former model, alleges that Ronaldo raped her in a Las Vegas hotel in 2009.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid forward reached a financial settlement with her one year after the incident.

He has always denied allegations of sexual assault, insisting their encounter was consensual.

The Clark County District Attorney’s Office said it had received a report from Mayorga — who it identified only as “V” — on June 13, 2009, reporting that she had been the victim of Continue reading “Cristiano Ronaldo will not face rape charges in US”

Cristiano Ronaldo will not face rape charges in Nevada


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Los Angeles (AFP) – Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo will not face any charges over an alleged rape in the US state of Nevada a decade ago, prosecutors said on Monday.

The Clark County District Attorney’s Office said it had declined to prosecute the Portuguese star because it “cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt” that a sexual assault occurred.

Kathryn Mayorga, a former model, has claimed that Ronaldo raped her in a Las Vegas hotel in 2009.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star reached a financial settlement with her following the incident but has denied allegations of sexual assault.

The district attorney’s office said it had received a report from Mayorga — who it identified only as “V” — on June 13, 2009, reporting that she had been the victim of a sexual assault.

Police were unable to conduct an investigation at the time because she declined to Continue reading “Cristiano Ronaldo will not face rape charges in Nevada”

Ajax face awkward Champions League qualifier against PAOK


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Paris (AFP) – Last season’s Champions League semi-finalists Ajax were on Monday drawn to face Greek champions PAOK Thessaloniki in the third qualifying round for this year’s group stages.

The Dutch side do not get automatic entry into the group stages despite winning the Eredivisie for the 34th time and coming within seconds of reaching the Champions League final.

If they beat PAOK, Erik ten Hag’s team will still need to win a play-off to join the likes of Liverpool, Real Madrid and Juventus in the main competition.

It is not the easiest of ties for Ajax who have already lost several players from their exciting young squad.

Central defender Matthijs de Ligt has left for Juventus while midfielder Frenkie de Jong has joined Barcelona.

PAOK went unbeaten on their way to winning the Greek Super League, finishing five points ahead of Olympiakos as they conquered their first league title

Continue reading “Ajax face awkward Champions League qualifier against PAOK”

Mata hopes ‘positive’ Pogba remains at Man Utd


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London (AFP) – Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata hopes Paul Pogba remains at Old Trafford next season and rubbished suggestions the Frenchman could be a disruptive influence if he is not allowed to move.

Pogba has publicly stated his wish for a “new challenge,” amidst interest from Real Madrid.

The World Cup winner’s agent Mino Raiola also told The Times earlier this month that “everyone knows the willingness of Paul to move on.”

However, Pogba has travelled with United on their pre-season tour of Australia and Singapore and shone in victories over Perth Glory, Leeds United and Inter Milan.

“We all know Paul and he is a fantastic midfielder, and a very good guy, very positive, and a good influence for everyone,” Mata told Sky Sports.

“I think he is happy and brings everyone together, but I cannot speak for other people — I speak for myself.

“As a Continue reading “Mata hopes ‘positive’ Pogba remains at Man Utd”

Liverpool fall 2-1 to Sevilla in Fenway friendly


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New York (AFP) – Alejandro Pozo delivered the late dagger in 10-man Sevilla’s 2-1 friendly win over Liverpool in Boston Sunday, a defeat made worse for the European champions when they saw Yasser Larouci stretchered off.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was furious at Joris Gagnon’s outrageous kick at an on-rushing Larouci in the 76th minute. Gnagnon was shown a straight red card after sweeping one of the Frenchman’s legs out from underneath him, toppling him to the pitch where his head bounced hard on the ground.

Even with the La Liga outfit reduced to 10 men, however, Liverpool were unable find a way ahead, and Pozo sealed it in the 90th minute as he smoothly collected a pass from Munir El Haddadi, rounded Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet and knocked the winner into an unguarded net.

Sevilla had enjoyed by far the majority of scoring chances on a sweltering evening at Continue reading “Liverpool fall 2-1 to Sevilla in Fenway friendly”

Kane stunner earns Spurs victory over Juventus


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Singapore (AFP) – Harry Kane scored a stunning 93rd minute winner from the halfway line as Tottenham Hotspur edged Juventus 3-2 in an entertaining pre-season friendly in Singapore on Sunday.

The England captain latched onto Lucas Moura’s short pass and launched a first-time shot high over a scrambling substitute Wojciech Szczesny in the Juventus goal as Spurs rallied past new manager Maurizio Sarri’s Italian champions in front of a delighted National Stadium crowd.

“It’s probably one of the best goals of my career. I noticed the keeper was often off of his line and thought if I get a chance to shoot I will, and it just went in,” Kane said in a post-match interview.

A youthful Spurs dominated the first half as Juventus struggled to adapt to their new manager’s “Sarri-ball” tactic of playing out from the back with short, quick passes. 

Instead of moving the ball forward, Continue reading “Kane stunner earns Spurs victory over Juventus”

Sheffield United break club record to sign Mousset


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London (AFP) – Premier League newcomers Sheffield United broke their club transfer record to sign France Under-21 striker Lys Mousset from Bournemouth on Sunday.

Mousset agreed a three-year contract with the newly-promoted Premier League side, who are reported to have paid £10 million to complete the deal.

“For the third time this summer, the Blades have smashed the club’s transfer record,” United announced on their official website.

“French striker Lys Mousset has signed a three-deal with the Blades after an undisclosed fee with AFC Bournemouth was reached for his services.”

Mousset joined Bournemouth from Le Havre in 2016 for £5.7 million, but was mainly restricted to the role of substitute.

The 23-year-old, who scored five goals in 71 appearances for the Cherries, is the Blades’ fifth signing since winning automatic promotion to the Premier League last season.

They set a new transfer record by signing Callum Robinson from Continue reading “Sheffield United break club record to sign Mousset”

Griezmann ‘cried with joy’ at Barca move


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Madrid (AFP) – Antoine Griezmann admitted on Sunday that he was moved to tears of happiness when his big-money move to Barcelona finally came through after a controversial exit from former club Atletico Madrid.

The World Cup winner is in Tokyo with Barca ahead of a clash with Chelsea on Tuesday after the La Liga giants shelled out 120 million euros ($135 million) to match his release clause amid a blistering row between the player and the two clubs.

“I called my father and I started crying with joy because the transfer was all done, it all was over,” Griezmann said in an interview with sports daily Marca.

“I was with my friends, with my wife, with my children and it was an incredible moment.”

The 28-year-old added he was targeting European glory with Barcelona after two humiliating exits for the Catalans from the Champions League in the last Continue reading “Griezmann ‘cried with joy’ at Barca move”

Zidane a ‘disgrace’ over Bale exit comments – agent


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Los Angeles (AFP) – Gareth Bale’s agent has branded Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane a “disgrace” after the Frenchman revealed that the La Liga giants were ready to offload the Wales star in a matter of days.

Zidane left Bale out of the Real squad for Saturday’s 3-1 exhibition loss to Bayern Munich in Houston, and after the match he revealed he had been dropped because the club were “working on his departure”, adding that he hoped it happens soon, “for everyone’s sake”.

“Zidane is a disgrace, he shows no respect for a player that has done so much for Real Madrid,” Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett told AFP.

Asked whether Bale is close to leaving Madrid, Barnett added: “We are working on it”.

Bale has been frozen out in Madrid by Zidane despite helping his side to a Spanish title and four Champions Leagues since arriving from Tottenham Hotspur six

Continue reading “Zidane a ‘disgrace’ over Bale exit comments – agent”