Tag Archives: Sport

Madrid’s Outcast ‘James’ confirms his departure

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The only thing clear about James Rodriguez’s future is that it will not be at Real Madrid.

With Eden Hazard injured Zinedine Zidane could have done with the Colombia international last Sunday away at Athletic Bilbao but he understood the player when James told him he didn’t want to travel.

‘He is out because he wanted to be out,’ said Zidane. Sources close to James said he was mentally worn-down by constantly being over-looked by the Real Madrid coach and he knew, even without Hazard, he would still only get minutes if Rodrygo Goes, Vinicius, Marco Asensio, Lucas Vazquez and even Gareth Bale had all already been explored as options. Zidane understood the frustration.

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The club’s priority is that Rodriguez finds himself a club as soon as possible. He has only featured once since LaLiga returned.

In times of the financial belt tightening, Real Madrid are likely to take what ever they can get for the 29-year-old this summer just to get him off the wage bill in the final year of his contract.

It’s true he has lost his way at Madrid but he is not the first player that that has happened to. He may still have his best years ahead of him at the right club, so Sportsmail asks the big question: which club will that be?

Manchester United
There is interest from the player in making this happen but because United got burned with Alexis Sanchez they are likely to steer clear of cast-offs from LaLiga’s big two for a while.

Bruno Fernandez is younger and better. And it seems unlikely James will end up at Old Trafford.

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Wolves
This feels more feasible. Jorge Mendes’ links to Wolves and their greater willingness to move the furniture of the team to accommodate James’ flair make this a possibility.

Madrid’s financial squeeze will see them take a reduced fee so if the Colombian can agree wages with Wolves (and he will have to come down considerably from his £7million) he could be Old Gold before the new season kicks-off.

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Atletico Madrid
He could have joined Diego Simone last summer but Atletico thrashed Real Madrid in pre-season and the idea of selling them one of their highest profile players suddenly didn’t seem like such a good idea.

He would still be open to the idea of going to the other side of the city but Atletico’s financial position is such that wages would be a problem. They have also discovered in Marcos Llorente (a player that Real Madrid did let Atletico Madrid buy off them last summer) an attacking midfielder/striker for the next decade. It seems an unlikely switch.

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Everton
It’s certainly true that Carlo Ancelotti got a decent tune out of James Rodriguez at Real Madrid and they worked well together at Bayern Munich.

He needs plenty of reinforcements and James would be a statement of intent going into the new season but the price will have to tumble enough to make them join the bidding. James would be top earner at Everton on his current money.

The only way Everton could afford him would be if they did not have to pay a transfer fee. A loan could work. International team-mate Yerry Mina would certainly help him fit in at Goodison.

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Juventus
Last season Cristiano Ronaldo seemed to be tugging at the strings to see if he could get his pal to join him in Italy.

Juventus are no longer in a position to make a bold move. So this one seems doomed to disappear under the cloud of post-coronavirus shutdown football.

There has been interest from Napoli in the past too but it looks an unlikely destination this time around.

Must Read

James once again Left out to face Alaves


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Setien New Tactics

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Since arriving at Barcelona, Quique Setien has worked on several tactical setups with his side to prepare them the best he can for both their LaLiga Santander and Champions League campaigns.

With their new coach, the Catalan side have tried to surprise opposition by using three distinct formations, moving away from the usual 4-3-3 deployed by former coach Ernesto Valverde.

Setien opted for a 3-5-2 against Valladolid on Saturday, and the full-backs Jordi Alba and Nelson Semedo provided defensive cover which was something missing in previous games.

This system was used to catch the opponent on the counter attack, and isn’t the first time Setien has changed things up to swing things in his team’s favour.

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Against Villareal, the Barcelona coach opted for a traditional 4-4-2, which lead to one of Barcelona’s best performances of the season.

This formation made it easier to fit in the trio of Leo Messi, Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann, and allowed the team to play with more fluidity which is particularly effective against teams who allow their opponents a bit more space.

The Cantabrian coach didn’t have much time to impose his philosophy on his squad before the coronavirus break, and although the pause did give time to work on some tactical ideas, he hasn’t been given a good opportunity to work with his team on the training pitch.

Setien has drawn up and implemented these tactical systems in record time, and all he’s worked on will be put to the test in the two remaining LaLiga Santander fixtures and the Champions League which begins in August.

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Bartomeu confirms Setien will definitely continue as Barca Coach next season


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‘Barca’s problem isn’t VAR but Poor playing quality’ – Rivaldo

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Barcelona legend Rivaldo has criticised his former club for complaints about VAR and accusations of referee bias favouring rivals Real Madrid in LaLiga.

After last Sunday’s 4-1 win at Villarreal, Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu gave a television interview in which he claimed that VAR ‘always favours one team’, following a series of calls he believes went Los Blancos’ way.

But Rivaldo believes the Catalan giants should be looking closer to home at their own problems before concentrating on their title rivals.

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“Sometimes you have the right to feel upset about refereeing or VAR decisions, but I do not agree with Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu’s claims that there is a bias towards Madrid,” Rivaldo told Betfair.

“Bartomeu is simply trying to distract the media from his club’s problems. Barcelona are still fighting for the LaLiga title, and they’re still in the Champions League, but this is not a good moment for the club.”


Bartomeu suggested Real Madrid receive bias from VAR after suggesting it favours ‘one team’


“Bartomeu is trying to use stuff like VAR to justify himself to the fans and pretend that his club’s difficulties aren’t the fault of himself, the players or the manager.”

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The former Brazil attacker went on to explain where the Catalans’ real issues lie.


“In my opinion, Barca’s problem isn’t VAR or any refereeing decisions,” he said.

“Their main problem is the quality of their football that needs to improve and become again that style of play that everybody loves to see around the world.


“The team was leading LaLiga before the lockdown and now is four points behind Madrid, so you can’t say VAR is the main reason for that, especially when the team is not playing well.”

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Final score: Valladolid 0-1 Barcelona


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Final score: Valladolid 0-1 Barcelona

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Game is over and the final score is Valladolid 0-1 Barcelona. Here is the match report.

2019/2020 La Liga
0-1
Vidal (15′)


Match Events


0′ The match is about to start!

1′ KICK-OFF! Who can win this match?

6′ Puig’s shot too straight

15′ GOAL! Valladolid 0-1 Barcelona (Vidal)

19′ Unbelievable! What a miss from Griezmann

24′ Semedo’s shot stopped

37′ Ter Stegen makes decent save

42′ CHANCE! Messi’s shot wide out

49′ Puig’s shot too straight

60′ Ter Stegen makes brilliant save

63′ CLOSE! Messi’s free kick stopped

91′ Ter Stegen makes decent save

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Line-ups


Valladolid XI: Javi Moyano, Kiko Olivas, Óscar Plano, Jordi Masip, Sergi Guardiola, Rubén Alcaraz, R.García, Joaquín Fernández, Fede, Javier Sánchez, Kike Pérez

Subs: Antoñito, Nacho Martínez, Pablo Hervías, S.Ramírez, E.Ünal, Toni Suárez, Caro, Diego Alende, Waldo Rubio, Matheus Fernandes, Miguel de la Fuente, Víctor García

Barcelona XI: Messi, Pique, Vidal, Alba, Busquets, Griezmann, Ter Stegen, Roberto, Lenglet, Semedo, Riqui Puig

Subs: Suarez, Rakitic, Neto, Braithwaite, Firpo, R. Araújo, Arnau Comas.

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Barcelona looses hope on Signing Neymar


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Final score: Juventus 2-2 Atalanta

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Game is over and the final score is Juventus 2-2 Atalanta. Here is the match report.

2019/2020 Serie A
2-2
Ronaldo (55′ PEN)
Ronaldo (90′ PEN)
Zapata (16′)
Malinovskiy (80′)


Match Events


0′ The match is about to start!

0′ KICK-OFF! Who can win this match?

10′ Yellow Card! Bernardeschi booked

16′ GOAL! Juventus 0-1 Atalanta (Zapata)

29′ Yellow Card! Cuadrado booked

34′ NICE TRY! Dybala’s shot wide out

43′ CLOSE! Ronaldo’s header wide out

55′ Penalty Goal! Juventus 1-1 Atalanta (Ronaldo)

73′ Yellow Card! Rabiot booked

80′ GOAL! Juventus 1-2 Atalanta (Malinovskiy)

90′ Penalty Goal! Juventus 2-2 Atalanta (Ronaldo)

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Line-ups


Juventus XI: Ronaldo, Matuidi, Bonucci, Szczesny, Cuadrado, Danilo, Dybala, Rabiot, Bernardeschi, Bentancur, De Ligt

Subs: Buffon, Higuain, Chiellini, Pjanic, Douglas Costa, Ramsey, Sandro, Pinsoglio, De Sciglio, Rugani, M. Olivieri, Simone Muratore, Wesley

Atalanta XI: Gomez, Zapata, Ilicic, Toloi, Palomino, De Roon, Freuler, Djimsiti, Castagne, Gollini, Hateboer

Subs: Muriel, Rossi, Tameze, Sportiello, Pasalic, Malinovskiy, Caldara, Gosens, Bellanova, Sutalo, Czyborra, Colley.

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Juventus Vs Ac Milan starting Xi’s revealed


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Full time report: Atletico 1-0 Real Betis

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Atletico Madrid sealed Champions League qualification for the eighth consecutive season by beating Real Betis 1-0 at home on Saturday thanks to a late Diego Costa goal after having a player sent off and seeing two goals ruled out following VAR reviews.

Costa scored the only goal of the game with a scuffed header in the 74th minute, although Atletico had to wait several minutes for the referee to determine whether the ball had then hit his arm or shoulder on its way into the net.

The victory took third-placed Atletico on to 66 points after 36 games, nine ahead of fifth-placed Villarreal, and maintained coach Diego Simeone’s run of reaching Europe’s premier competition in each of his full campaigns in charge.

Betis, who had already ensured their top-flight status, are 13th on 42 points.

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Angel Correa had seen a goal ruled out in the first half for a handball against Marcos Llorente, and Alvaro Morata had a strike ruled out for offside, while Betis had come close to scoring through Andres Guardado and Loren Moron.

The visitors were the better side for most of the second half and striker Loren should have scored when he skipped into the area unchallenged but saw his attempted dink past Jan Oblak trickle wide of the target.

Atletico defender Mario Hermoso was sent off in the 57th following a straight red card for a reckless tackle, and Betis continued to dominate but could not keep their composure in front of the goal.

Instead, Atletico pounced with their weapon of choice, a set piece, as Costa got on the end of Yannick Carrasco’s lofted free kick into the area.

‘We are lucky that I scuffed it because if I’d hit the ball cleanly it would have gone wide,’ Costa said.

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Atletico confirms João Felix’s Injury


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Final score: Sheffield 3-0 Chelsea

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Game is over and the final score is Sheff Utd 3-0 Chelsea. Here is the match report.

2019/2020 Premier League
3-0
McGoldrick (18′)
McBurnie (33′)
McGoldrick (77′)


Match Events


0′ Players are warming up before the game

0′ Players stand in slient tribute for Jack Charlton

.

5′ Osborn fires his shot into the sky

18′ GOAL! Sheff Utd 1-0 Chelsea (McGoldrick)

33′ GOAL! Sheff Utd 2-0 Chelsea (McBurnie)

39′ Giroud is doing warm-up on the sidelines

43′ Reece James’s powerful shot stopped by Dean Henderson

46′ Half Substitution! Alonso & Rudiger in,Christensen & Mount out

60′ Barkley’s free-kick blocked

66′ Subs! Giroud replaces Pulisic

66′ CLOSE! Giroud’s shot inches wide

72′ Azpilicueta’s long shot wide out

73′ Abraham misses a golden chance!

75′ Subs! Hudson-Odoi in,Reece James out

77′ GOAL! Sheff Utd 3-0 Chelsea (McGoldrick)

78′ Loftus-Cheek subbed on Chelsea last change

82′ CHANCE! What a miss from Mousset!

.

91′ Stevens’s shot flies into the stands

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Line-ups


Sheff Utd XI: McGoldrick, Basham, Stevens, Baldock, Norwood, Egan, O’Connell, Osborn, Dean Henderson, McBurnie, Berge

Subs: Jagielka, Sharp, Rodwell, Moore, Robinson, Freeman, Lundstram, Mousset, Zivkovic

Chelsea XI: Willian, Azpilicueta, Barkley, Zouma, Jorginho, Kepa, Christensen, Abraham, Mount, Pulisic, Reece James

Subs: Caballero, Giroud, Alonso, Kovacic, Batshuayi, Rudiger, Loftus-Cheek, Hudson-Odoi, L. Bate.

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Chelsea transfer conclusion Unveiled


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Final score: Brighton 0-5 Mancity

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Game is over and the final score is Brighton 0-5 Man City. Here is the match report.

2019/2020 Premier League
0-5
Sterling (21′)
Jesus (44′)
Sterling (53′)
Bernardo (56′)
Sterling (81′)


Match Events


0′ Players are warming up before the game

0′ Players stand in slient tribute for Jack Charlton

3′ Eric Garcia makes an important clearance

17′ Mendy’s powerful shot inches wide

21′ GOAL! Brighton 0-1 Man City (Sterling)

33′ Jesus’s header flies into the stands

.

36′ Nearly! Jesus hits the Cross-Bar!

.

38′ CLOSE! Mahrez’s shot just wide out

44′ GOAL! Brighton 0-2 Man City (Jesus)

51′ POST! De Bruyne’s free-kick almost score

53′ GOAL! Brighton 0-3 Man City (Sterling)

56′ GOAL! Brighton 0-4 Man City (Bernardo)

.
63′ Triplet Subs! David Silva & Zinchenko & Foden in

72′ Last Change! Fernandinho & Stones replace Rodri & Eric Garcia

78′ CLOSE! Mahrez hits the side-nets

.
81′ GOAL! Brighton 0-5 Man City (Sterling)

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.
Line-ups


Brighton XI: Webster, Gross, Propper, Mooy, Dunk, Ryan, Montoya, Trossard, Bernardo, Bissouma, Connolly

Subs: Button, Murray, Stephens, Duffy, Burn, Jahanbakhsh, Maupay, Mac Allister, T. Lamptey

Man City XI: Walker, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Sterling, Mendy, Laporte, Ederson, Bernardo, Jesus, Rodri, Eric Garcia

Subs: Carson, David Silva, Fernandinho, Otamendi, Stones, Zinchenko, Foden, C. Palmer, Doyle.

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Brighton Vs Mancity starting Xi’s revealed


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Two obstacles in Barca-Lautaro transfer

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Barcelona are close to completing the signing of Lautaro Martinez from Inter, but the deal isn’t over the line just yet.

In order to for the move to be officially sealed, two things need to happen.

The first is for Barcelona to sell another player to balance their books, having already let go of Arthur Melo.

The second is for the Catalans to agree on a transfer fee with Inter, with the value of the move set to be around 120 million euros.

Some 70 million euros of that total valuation will be made up by two players that Barcelona will offer, with the rest coming in the form of cash.

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It’s not yet known who the two players exchanged from the Camp Nou to the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza will be.

Recent reports have suggested that the deal is almost done, but the truth is that those two details still need to be ironed out first.

On Tuesday, the 111 million euro release clause in Lautaro’s Inter contract expired, but Barcelona never had plans to pay that.

Once the Argentine’s move to the Blaugrana is completed, he could end up tripling the 2.5 million euro per year contract he has at Inter.

Must Read

New development: Barca just one step away from signing Lautaro


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Brighton Vs Mancity starting Xi’s revealed

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The line-ups of Brighton vs Man City have been announced.

Brighton XI: Webster, Gross, Propper, Mooy, Dunk, Ryan, Montoya, Trossard, Bernardo, Bissouma, Connolly

Subs: Button, Murray, Stephens, Duffy, Burn, Jahanbakhsh, Maupay, Mac Allister, T. Lamptey

Man City XI: Walker, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Sterling, Mendy, Laporte, Ederson, Bernardo, Jesus, Rodri, Eric Garcia

Subs: Carson, David Silva, Fernandinho, Otamendi, Stones, Zinchenko, Foden, C. Palmer, Doyle.

Must Read

De Bruyne willing to remain at Mancity at all cost


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Barcelona looses hope on Signing Neymar

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Barcelona have made no secret of their desire to bring Neymar back to the Camp Nou over the course of the last year but, in recent weeks, the club’s executives have urged the team and the press to stop feeding rumours as it will not be possible.

Last summer’s stories served to fuel a transfer that was never really likely to materialise due to the economic situation of the club yet the Blaugrana were outward in their interest in order to try to force it through.

Now, however, the board want to cut off any speculation that will give fans false hope.

Even Neymar seems resigned to continue at Paris Saint-Germain.

This summer will certainly not be like last when he made calls to his Brazilian colleagues at Real Madrid, while also talking up a move to the Catalans.

Barcelona have no change of signing him for financial reasons and Real Madrid are not contemplating the possibility either.

PSG may also go through a tough time economically, like all the big clubs, but their owners remain firm on Neymar.

Any sale of their star is not considered as they are concerned about the future of Kylian Mbappe and his continued refusals to renew.

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PSG players shocked by Neymar’s nutmeg to Mbappe


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New development: Barca just one step away from signing Lautaro

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Just when the negotiations for Lautaro Martinez seemed to have broken down, Barcelona appear to have taken a big step towards landing the Inter hotshot.

The Catalans have long been pursuing the Argentine striker although Inter are doing their utmost to keep him.

Yet according to ESPN, Barcelona have reached a verbal agreement with Lautaro, with the salary agreed and all that remains is for the Catalans to sell a player to make room for him in the squad.

Only Leo Messi, Frenkie de Jong, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Luis Suarez, Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet and Sergio Busquets are said to be non-transferable according to the same outlet.

At the same time, Inter are said to have lowered their demands to 90 million euros, according to Corriere della Sera, who deem that the Serie A side are considering signing Philippe Coutinho.

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Inter hopes Lautaro snubs Barcelona and renew contract


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Final score: Liverpool 1-1 Burnley

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Game is over and the final score is Liverpool 1-1 Burnley. Here is the match report.

2019/2020 Premier League
1-1
Robertson (34′)
Jay Rodriguez (69′)


Match Events


0′ The match is about to start!

1′ KICK-OFF! Who can win this match?

11′ Salah almost catches the vicious cross in box

14′ Salah’s free kick over the bar

18′ CLOSE! Salah’s shot stopped by Pope

33′ CHANCE! Salah’s shot stopped by Pope again

34′ GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Burnley (Robertson)

46′ SAVE! Mane’s shot stopped by Pope

49′ CLOSE! Firmino hits the post

50′ CHANCE! Jones’ shot wide out

69′ GOAL! Liverpool 1-1 Burnley (Jay Rodriguez)

87′ CHANCE! Gudmundsson hits the beam

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Line-ups


Liverpool XI: Wijnaldum, Alisson, Firmino, Salah, Van Dijk, Mane, Fabinho, Robertson, Joe Gomez, Curtis Jones, Neco Williams

Subs: Lovren, Adrian, Shaqiri, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Minamino, Origi, Naby Keita, Alexander-Arnold, Elliott

Burnley XI: Pieters, Bardsley, Jay Rodriguez, Westwood, Wood, Kevin Long, Tarkowski, Taylor, Pope, Brownhill, McNeil

Subs: Gudmundsson, Vydra, Brady, Peacock-Farrell, Dunne, J. Benson, Driscoll-Glennon, Goodridge, M. Thompson.

Must Read

Liverpool transfer conclusion and plans exposed


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Barcelona Vs Valladolid Starting Xi’s confirmed

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The line-ups of Valladolid vs Barcelona have been announced.

Valladolid XI: Javi Moyano, Kiko Olivas, Óscar Plano, Jordi Masip, Sergi Guardiola, Rubén Alcaraz, R.García, Joaquín Fernández, Fede, Javier Sánchez, Kike Pérez

Subs: Antoñito, Nacho Martínez, Pablo Hervías, S.Ramírez, E.Ünal, Toni Suárez, Caro, Diego Alende, Waldo Rubio, Matheus Fernandes, Miguel de la Fuente, Víctor García

Barcelona XI: Messi, Pique, Vidal, Alba, Busquets, Griezmann, Ter Stegen, Roberto, Lenglet, Semedo, Riqui Puig

Subs: Suarez, Rakitic, Neto, Braithwaite, Firpo, R. Araújo, Arnau Comas.

Must Read

Barcelona starting Xi against Valladolid confirmed


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EPL: Norwich suffer relegation after West Ham’s 4-0 trash

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Norwich were condemned to a record fifth relegation from the Premier League as Michail Antonio’s four-goal blitz fired West Ham to a 4-0 win at Carrow Road on Saturday.

A seventh successive league defeat for Daniel Farke’s side sealed their fate as Antonio’s ruthless display boosted West Ham’s own survival bid.

Norwich are 13 points from safety with only three games left, meaning they are certain to make an immediate return to the Championship after last season’s promotion campaign.

The Canaries have become accustomed to relegation in the Premier League era, going down on four previous occasions in 1995, 2005, 2014 and 2016.

Farke was already resigned to relegation before this weekend given Norwich had lost every game since the coronavirus hiatus.

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“We wanted to beat the odds again but when the dust settles the outcome is more or less what was expected. It doesn’t take anything away from the fact that we are disappointed,” Farke said.

“From the first day after promotion our chances to survive were perhaps 5 percent so in 19 out of 20 cases you will go down. If you have luck and no injuries then you have a chance.

“When we are 100 percent we are competitive but when it’s 96 or 97 percent then it sometimes looks like men against boys. That’s what I expected.”

With all games being played behind closed doors, some Norwich fans might have been relieved not to have to watch the embarrassment of their limp demise in person.

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In truth, they have looked out of their depth among the Premier League elite from the moment they paid the price for a naively attacking game-plan in a 4-1 defeat at Liverpool on the opening day of the season.

Farke was hamstrung by Norwich’s decision not to spend big money on new signings following their promotion.

West Ham United’s English midfielder Michail Antonio (L) shoots and scores a goal next to Norwich City’s English midfielder Ben Godfrey during the English Premier League football match between Norwich City and West Ham United at Carrow Road in Norwich, eastern England on July 11, 2020.
Ian Walton / POOL / AFP

Since Teemu Pukki’s early-season goal rush dried up, they have been on a relentless slide towards the Championship.

A 3-2 win over Manchester City was a rare highlight but just weeks later a 5-1 home defeat against Aston Villa underlined the problems undermanned Norwich would endure all season.

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Norwich face losing promising youngsters Todd Cantwell and Max Aarons to Premier League clubs when the transfer window opens.

West Ham’s second win in four games was a huge lift to their hopes of staying up.

David Moyes’ side are six points above the bottom three with three games left against Watford, Manchester United and Aston Villa.

The early signs were ominous for Norwich as West Ham took the lead in the 11th minute.

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Arriving to meet Issa Diop’s flick from Jarrod Bowen’s corner, Antonio volleyed into the roof of the net from close-range for his third goal in his last four games.

Norwich were surrendering with a whimper and Antonio pushed them closer to the relegation trap door in first half stoppage-time.

Rising above the meek challenge of two Norwich defenders, Antonio glanced his header into the far corner from Mark Noble’s free-kick.

Antonio was proving unplayable for the leaky Norwich rearguard and he completed his hat-trick in the 54th minute, looping a header into the net after Tim Krul saved his initial effort.

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Antonio completed a memorable personal performance with his fourth goal in the 74th minute, coolly finishing from Ryan Fredericks’ cross.

Troy Deeney scored two penalties as Watford improved their survival prospect with a 2-1 win against Newcastle at Vicarage Road.

Newcastle snatched the lead in the 23rd minute when Matt Ritchie’s corner was flicked on by Federico Fernandez and Dwight Gayle bundled home at the far post for his third goal of the season.

But Deeney pulled Watford level seven minutes after the restart.

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Kiko Femenia was clipped inside the area by Ritchie and Deeney smashed the penalty past Martin Dubravka.

In the 82nd minute, Javier Manquillo brought down Ismaila Sarr and Deeney stepped up again to bury his second penalty.

Fourth bottom Watford are now six points clear of third bottom Bournemouth, who face Leicester on Sunday.

Second bottom Aston Villa are seven points adrift of safety before Sunday’s clash with Crystal Palace.


#NobleSport…

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Barcelona starting Xi against Valladolid confirmed

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Barcelona will be without Ansu Fati, Arthur and Frenkie de Jong for their trip to Real Valladolid in LaLiga tonight.

Fati was sent off for a dangerous challenge just minutes after coming on as a half-time substitute in the 1-0 win over Espanyol on Wednesday and the 17-year-old attacker is suspended.

Meanwhile, Arthur missed training on Friday with tonsillitis and the Brazilian – who will move to Juventus in the summer – is not in the squad for the game at the Jose Zorrilla.

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De Jong is still sidelined with a calf problem which has seen him miss the last six matches and coach Quique Setien said on Friday that the Dutch midfielder is not quite ready to return.

Winger Ousmane Dembele is still recovering from a long-term injury and is ineligible for LaLiga anyway after he was deregistered for the competition in February to allow Martin Braithwaite to arrive in an emergency transfer from Leganes.

Youngster Riqui Puig could start for Barca in midfield after Setien’s side struggled to break down Espanyol in a disappointing display earlier in the week.


Real Valladolid predicted XI: Masip; Moyano, Fernandez, Sanchez, Garcia; Alcaraz, Emeterio; Hervias, Plano, Villa; Guardiola

Barcelona predicted XI: Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Vidal, Busquets, Riqui Puig; Messi; Suarez, Griezmann.

Must Read

Inter hopes Lautaro snubs Barcelona and renew contract


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Liverpool transfer conclusion and plans exposed

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With the Premier League title clinched, Liverpool have started looking ahead to the 2020/21 season.

As English champions, there will be a target on the back of Jurgen Klopp’s team next season and they must be prepared to take on all challengers, with Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United all plotting to take down the Reds.

So the Anfield club might have to turn to the transfer market. There is an element of the unknown as to how much money Liverpool will have to spend on new players after their failed pursuit of Timo Werner, but that hasn’t stopped them from being linked with a number of names.

Here are three of today’s biggest and most intriguing Liverpool transfer stories.

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Reds reignite pursuit of £22m-rated Bundesliga midfielder

Weston McKennie is reportedly back on Liverpool’s radar, with the Premier League champions interested in signing the Schalke midfielder this summer.

NobleSports reports McKennie is likely to leave Schalke this summer and that Liverpool are among a number of Premier League clubs who could move for the American – with Everton, Newcastle United and Wolves also interested.

Liverpool are believed to be in the market for a new midfielder this summer, with Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcantara the subject of strong speculation linking him with a move to Merseyside, but McKennie could also be an option.

Klopp previously sent a group of scouts to take a look at McKennie in early 2019 and now Liverpool could finally make a move for the player, who is valued at around €25m (£22m) by his current club.

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Thiago will only join Reds if big name leaves

Liverpool will only sign Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara this summer if a big-name player leaves the Premier League champions.

The Spanish international has been strongly linked with a move to Merseyside, and the 29-year-old reportedly broke off contract talks with the Bundesliga giants as he looks to force through a transfer.

NobleSports claim while Liverpool are keen on signing Thiago, they would only have the money to do so should a significant member of Klopp’s squad leave the club before the start of the 2020/21 season.

Klopp is believed to be satisfied with his current midfield options and is happy with the progress of Naby Keita and youngster Curtis Jones, who signed a new contract to keep him at Anfield until 2025 earlier this month.

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Super agent to help Reds sign £90m defender

Despite cold water being recently poured on suggestions Liverpool could move for Kalidou Koulibaly, it’s reported the Reds will use a super agent to help them complete a deal for the in-demand defender.

Il Mattino (via Read Liverpool) claims that while the Premier League champions have made noises about
this year’s summer window being a quiet one, they are working on a huge deal that would bring Koulibaly to Anfield for the start of next season.

The 29-year-old has a number of elite level European clubs chasing his signature, as Manchester
City, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain have all been linked with a move for the Napoli centre-back.

However, it is reported that Liverpool will only be willing to offer up to €80m (£72m) for Koulibaly, which
could see them priced out of the pursuit of the defender.

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Chelsea transfer conclusion Unveiled

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It has already been an eventful summer for Chelsea. The transfers of both Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech have been confirmed, and it seems there are more to come as the club look to reach the next level under Frank Lampard.

The focus at Chelsea is still on securing a place in the top four (or top five, as it may be if Manchester City are unsuccessful in their Champions League ban appeal).

Tuesday’s 3-2 win at Crystal Palace was an important one, taking the Blues up into third place in the Premier League.

In the background, though, rumours continue to circulate over who will be next to arrive at Stamford Bridge. Here we take a look at the latest news for Chelsea on the transfer front.

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Uruguayan teenager on Chelsea’s radar
Chelsea will compete with Manchester City, Manchester United and Juventus to sign Uruguayan winger Facundo Pellistri, according to a report in Calciomercato.

The 18-year-old has impressed at Penarol in Uruguay’s top flight, and Juventus are believed to have sent scouts to watch him play.

Chelsea, though, are one of several clubs with considerable interest in the youngster, who has made 25 senior appearances.

Pellistri is under contract at Penarol until 2022, but reportedly has a release clause of £10million.

“Pellistri has huge potential,” Penarol manager Diego Forlan has said. “We know it will be difficult to keep him for a long time. He has great pace and that is hard to handle.”

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Chelsea tracking youngster labelled the next Kylian Mbappe

Pellistri is not the only teenager to have caught the eye of Chelsea’s scouts. Monaco’s Malamine Efekele, just 15 years old, is also a target for the Blues, according to L’Equipe.

Efekele is expected to be the next big thing to emerge from Monaco’s prodigious academy, following in the footsteps of Mbappe.

And Chelsea are believed to be keen to move for the winger, who turns 16 later this month.

Lampard has handed opportunities to several young players this season and it seems, with interest in Efekele, he is looking towards the long-term future.

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New Milan boss targets Bakayoko

AC Milan’s prospective new manager Ralf Rangnick has put together a shortlist of potential summer transfers, which includes Chelsea midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko.

That is according to Italian newspaper Il Giornale, who claim the Frenchman is a top target for Rangnick.

Bakayoko has spent this season on loan at former club Monaco, having failed to make the cut at Chelsea.

He is familiar with Milan, too, having enjoyed a productive loan spell in Lombardy during the 2018/19 season.

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Kante could be sold to accommodate Havertz

The Blues could be willing to sell N’Golo Kante to Real Madrid in order to make the transfer of Kai Havertz possible.

Bayer Leverkusen have set a price tag of £90m on the 21-year-old, who is also reportedly on the radar of Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.

Chelsea, having already spent on Werner and Ziyech, will have to raise funds for another big-money arrival.

That could mean the club are tempted by any offers from Los Blancos for long-time target Kante.

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Manchester United transfer conclusions revealed

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Manchester United’s recent run of form has left some wondering if they even need to strengthen their squad, with a 3-0 victory over Aston Villa making it 10 games without defeat in the league.

The Reds won’t want to rest on their laurels, though, and if all goes to plan and they return to the Champions League next season, further additions to their ranks seem inevitable.

United’s summer business will likely involve outs as well as ins, and we have the latest updates on two big-name attacking targets, plus potential exits for a couple of fringe players who have struggled for game time in 2020.

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Dortmund making plans for Sancho replacements
Borussia Dortmund have identified potential targets to replace Jadon Sancho if the forward makes a summer move to United.

The England international is wanted at Old Trafford, though the two clubs have yet to reach an agreement on a fee, and Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc has confirmed a couple of potential replacements are being looked at.

“If Jadon were to leave, we would once again be active in strengthening our attack,” Zorc told Kicker, as reported by the Standard.

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“There are certainly one or two players we have our sights on.”

Dortmund are believed to want more than £100million for the youngster, who is under contract until 2022.

Dembele move would set United back £53m

Another attacking target reportedly on United’s radar is Barcelona man Ousmane Dembele, who Sancho has effectively replaced in Dortmund’s first-team.

While United are unlikely to sign both players, reports in Spain suggest the French forward would be a more affordable option than the Bundesiga star.

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According to NobleSports, Via sports Witness, Dembele was a United target before joining Barca and would now set them back €60m (£53m) – substantially less than the fee the La Liga club paid back in 2017.

However, after concerns about the player’s fitness stood in the way of an initial deal, according to reports, Dembele’s record of just 51 league appearances in three seasons due to injury might not be hugely encouraging.

West Ham eye United pair but face competition

West Ham United could help Ole Gunnar Solskjaer trim his squad, with the London club said to be interested in both Jesse Lingard and Phil Jones.

Any move would be reliant on the Hammers staying up this season. They are currently three points above the drop zone, with matches against relegation rivals Watford and Aston Villa to come.

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But the Independent reports that manager David Moyes would be given funds to strengthen his squad if survival is assured, and Jones and Lingard are both understood to be on his shopping list.

Jones played under Moyes at Old Trafford in the 2013/14 season, while Lingard made his senior United debut after the Scot’s departure.

The midfielder is reportedly also being looked at by Everton, while West Bromwich Albion could also enter the race if they win promotion back to the top flight.

Jones has played just seven games for the Reds this season. Lingard has picked up more minutes, but his last start in the league came against Arsenal on New Year’s Day.

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Arsenal transfer conclusions leaked

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Arsenal continue to find their name on the back pages when it comes to players leaving north London and exciting names making their way over from abroad.

With the Gunners’ return to European club competition still up in the air, the consensus seems to be they will need to sell before they buy, despite having clinched permanent deals for on-loan duo Cedric Soares and Pablo Mari.

We’ve got the latest on a young talent linked with the club, as well as updates on the players who Mikel Arteta might allow to leave in order to finance more ambitious moves for bigger names.

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Espanyol relegation could aid Arsenal discount on Spanish talent
Espanyol midfielder Marc Roca is one of the names linked with Arsenal if they are unable to clinch a permanent move for on-loan midfielder Dani Ceballos.

The 23-year-old, a product of Espanyol’s youth academy, was part of the Spain squad which won the European Under-21 Championships in 2019, and made his 100th La Liga appearance in his club’s 1-0 derby defeat to Barcelona on Wednesday.

Football.London notes the midfielder, who has been linked with the Gunners in the past, could be available for considerably less than his £35.8million release clause.

Espanyol’s defeat at Camp Nou confirmed their relegation, and Roca will reportedly be unwilling to spend a season in the Segunda Division.

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An accomplished short and long passer, the midfielder could serve Arsenal well either as an alternative to Ceballos or a replacement deep-lying midfielder if Matteo Guendouzi leaves this summer.

Arsenal target expected to leave Uruguay for Europe in upcoming window

Penarol manager Diego Forlan has given Arsenal a boost by revealing teenage star Facundo Pellistri is likely to leave Uruguay this summer.

The Gunners are one of a number of European clubs mentioned in connection with the 18-year-old winger, with Juventus and Newcastle United also believed to be in the race.

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“I know he can leave at any time,” Forlan told Uruguayan outlet Sport890 (via The Boot Room). “The financial situation of the club makes me think that I have to adapt to the current situation.”

Pellistri, who turned 18 in December, has featured regularly for the 50-time domestic champions since making his debut in August last year, and made his Copa Libertadores debut in a group stage win over Jorge Wilstermann.

Back in May, CalcioMercatoWeb also named Atletico Madrid and Manchester City as potential destinations for the teenager.

Betis to challenge Arsenal for Ceballos deal

Arsenal remain keen to keep Ceballos beyond this season, but could face a stumbling block in the form of the Spaniard’s former club.

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Ceballos began his career with Real Betis, helping them win the Segunda division in 2015 and cement their place in La Liga before making the switch to Real Madrid.

And now, with the player potentially leaving the Bernabeu this summer, Betis are reportedly in a tug-of-war to bring him back to Estadio Benito Villamarin.

According to Estadio Deportivo, via Sport Witness, Betis have been “exchanging winks” with their former player, though Arsenal remain eager to force a deal through.

If he opts for a return home, Ceballos could be the first signing made by Manuel Pellegrini after the former West Ham United and Manchester City manager was confirmed as Betis manager for the 2020/21 season.

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De Bruyne willing to remain at Mancity at all cost

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Kevin De Bruyne is committed to staying at Manchester City even if the club’s two-year Champions League ban is upheld.

As revealed by Sportsmail, City will learn their fate when the Court of Arbitration for Sport delivers an appeal verdict at 9.30am on Monday, with expulsion set to cost the club more than £150million.

But De Bruyne, who will continue his hunt for the Premier League assist record at Brighton, will not look to force a move away.

De Bruyne and his wife, Michele, are expecting their third child this year and are settled in the North West.

City are expected to begin negotiations over a new contract with the 29-year-old, who has three years to run on his existing deal and earns a guaranteed £280,000 a week.

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It is a major boost for Pep Guardiola’s men, who were handed a treacherous path in Friday’s Champions League draw. Juventus or Lyon await in the last eight, assuming City overcome Real Madrid in the last 16 — they lead 2-1 after a first-leg away win.

Guardiola’s former sides Bayern and Barcelona are then possible semi-final opponents. Barcelona must come past Napoli after a 1-1 draw in Italy, and Bayern lead Chelsea 3-0.

All ties from the quarter-final stage will be played in Portugal and will be decided over one match.

League Cup winners City are chasing a treble with the FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal next Saturday and the second leg against Real on August 7.

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Guardiola said: ‘I have the feeling that in the next four weeks, my players and the club have something that is not coming back again. I feel the motivation and I think the team is there.’

‘Big clubs don’t miss these chances, to try until the last effort.’

Meanwhile, Wolves and Manchester United could meet in the Europa League semi-finals.

United will face Istanbul Basaksehir or Copenhagen in the last eight, provided they don’t throw away a 5-0 first-leg lead over LASK of Austria.

Roma or Sevilla await in the quarters if Nuno Espirito Santo’s side can knock out Olympiacos. The sides drew 1-1 in Greece in March.

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