Tag Archives: Sport

Asensio and Vinicius Jr battles for Bale’s no.11

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Gareth Bale’s departure will free up an iconic number at Real Madrid, with No.11 left unassigned in the absence of the Welshman.


The number had been Bale’s since his 2013 arrival, but now it will be one that both Vinicius Junior and Marco Asensio will battle to get their hands on.

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It’s a number that would suit him nicely, but he hasn’t made any firm decisions and won’t comment while Bale is still a Real Madrid player.

Vinicius would also suit it well, having worn it at Flamengo. But at Real Madrid he’s had to wear No.28 and No.25.

Should he not take Bale’s shirt, he’ll have to continue with his No.25 or else take James Rodriguez’s old No.16 shirt.

Other options are Brahim Diaz’s No.21 or Asensio’s No.20, should the latter take Bale’s number.


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Bale reaches Real Madrid’s training for one last time

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Gareth Bale has been filmed arriving at Real Madrid’s Valdebebas training ground on Thursday morning as he edges closer to a sensational return to Tottenham.


The Wales international has agreed terms on a year-long loan deal that Sportsmail understands to be worth more than £13million.

Part of the move will be financed by Real Madrid – and Bale is relishing the prospect of reviving his career back in the Premier League.


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Bale to be EPL’s top salary earner

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The Welsh striker appears destined for a return to Tottenham Hotspur with his departure set to alleviate the Spanish club’s annual financial outlay.


Following his 2013 101 million euro move to Real Madrid, during his time at the club, Gareth Bale has bagged some key goals for the Spanish side, left behind a legacy overshadowed by injuries and in recent years has fallen foul of the Bernabéu faithful with lacklustre performances. The club paid the player 30 million euro last season in salary and with the striker only featuring for 1.260 minutes, (27.5% of possible playing time) this equated to Bale being paid 23,800 euro per minute of match action.

Bale’s iconic goals in the famous white shirt are undoubtedly his 2014 Copa del Rey effort where he out-sprinted Bartra at Mestalla to bag the winner and his spectacular over-head effort in the Kiev Champions League final where Zidane’s men overcame Liverpool in the 2018 final. The Welsh international was named man of the match upon being interviewed post game, demanded more playing time for the club.

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Differences with Zizou
That night in May served to add to tension with French coach Zinedine Zidane with the relationship between both individuals overshadowed with tension which culminated with Bale poised to move to China in the summer of 2019 only for the LaLiga club to make an eleventh hour u-turn. Zidane’s feelings on the Cardiff born striker’s continuity at Real Madrid was epitomised in his famous “better that he leaves today rather than tomorrow” comment at a press conference.

Bale is now set to take a break from his life as a Real Madrid player despite his contract with the Spanish side not expiring until June 2022. In his time in the Spanish capital, the striker has bagged 105 goals in the white shirt, delivering 68 assists in 251 official matches. The Welsh international has secured four Champions League titles, two LaLiga winners medals along with success in one Copa del Rey final. Bale has also lifted three UEFA Super Cups, one Spanish Super Cupo and four FIFA Club World Cups.


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Shocking: Tottenham completes the signing of Bale and Regulion

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The signings of Gareth Bale and Sergio Reguilon could see Tottenham’s formation change as Jose Mourinho completes one of the biggest tactical shifts of his long and illustrious managerial career.


Bale’s return would be a major coup for Spurs and reignite enthusiasm from supporters but the onus would be on Mourinho to make best use of his undoubted ability. The acquisition of Bale’s young Real Madrid team-mate could prove to be a key factor in achieving that.

It will surely bring a change of formation, one hinted at since Mourinho arrived.

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Right from the start of his Spurs reign, Mourinho’s idea was to deploy Ben Davies as a defensive left-back sweeping to cover the centre-backs with Serge Aurier free to race forward and provide the width on the right. Building with a back three was his vision.

The subsequent injury to Davies – sustained in his first game in charge – became a theme of press conferences, as well as the subsequent documentary series on Spurs’ season. The loss of Harry Kane cost Spurs points, but it was the injury to Davies that jeopardised his plans.

So wedded was Mourinho to this asymmetrical formation that he ended up utilising Japhet Tanganga out of position there rather than playing the more experienced England left-back Danny Rose. That decision even led to Rose’s departure on loan to Newcastle last season.

In conversation with Rose, Mourinho cited the greater physicality of Tanganga as a key factor in his decision. It was a clear indication that the qualities he wanted in his left-back were very different from the demands of the position on the opposite flank.

Serge Aurier was encouraged to raid forward on the right and play a very different role. In part, this was because – something openly stated by Mourinho – he does not trust Aurier in defensive situations. This was him accommodating those weaknesses.

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Following Davies’ return from injury, Spurs enjoyed some success reverting to the original plan and the transfer business prior to the opening weekend of the season appeared to suggest that the vision for this season was to upgrade rather than overhaul this idea.


The signing of Matt Doherty was widely regarded as a straightforward upgrade even though he had been used as a wing-back at Wolves. Aurier’s role was so attacking anyway that it could be argued that a natural wing-back on that right side made more sense.

The move for Reguilon is different. He is not a like-for-like upgrade on Davies. His attacking qualities mean that he is more suited to mirroring the role of Doherty on the right than slotting seamlessly into the existing shape. A formation change would appear inevitable.

Switching to a genuine back three makes sense.


It was as an offensive force rather than a defensive full-back that Reguilon caught the eye for Real Madrid before thriving on loan at Sevilla. Mourinho has operated with attacking full-backs before. But this Spurs defence needs too much help for that to be a serious option.

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It is more likely that Reguilon would find himself in the sort of positions that Heung-Min Son has often found himself expected to take up in this lopsided Tottenham formation. With little attacking threat coming from Davies, Son has had to come deeper to collect the ball.

Son could be one of the big winners if Mourinho switches to a 3-4-3 formation because the presence of a wide man outside him on the left would free him to push forward into the box and find himself closer to Kane in attack. That would play to his strengths.

The benefits for Dele Alli are less obvious and perhaps that helps to explain why his name has been mentioned as a possible factor in any deal with Real Madrid. The 3-4-3 formation effectively removes his role – one that is so central to the 4-2-3-1 formation.


While it might seem a negative move to withdraw an attacking midfielder to bring in a full-back, the introduction of Reguilon in his natural position would not only push Son into more threatening areas, providing much-needed support for Kane, but it would help others too.

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Doherty would be free to play the wing-back role in which he impressed for Wolves without leaving the wide open spaces behind him that Everton were able to exploit on the opening weekend. Toby Alderweireld playing on the right of a three-man defence would avoid that.

It would also suit Eric Dier, on his return to defence, if he were able to play as a sweeper with defensive cover either side of him rather than as a marker. His experience of years in midfield could even enable him to step up and distribute from there if the game demanded it.


The partnership of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Harry Winks looked bereft of creativity against Everton but greater passing options out wide could alleviate those concerns. The presence of a back three behind them could even allow Giovani Lo Celso to be used in a deeper role.

Having wing-backs stretching the play could see Tottenham’s formation become more like a front five in possession with Son and Bale, two potent scorers, getting closer to Kane in attack and delivering the sort of numbers needed to take Spurs forward.

That is crucial to unlocking Bale’s full potential.

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Getting the best from Bale
The Welshman remains a physical specimen but at the age of 31, the days of him powering past opponents with sheer speed are drawing to a close. While he retains the threat of going by markers on the outside, his chief weapon now is cutting inside on that famed left foot.

With Doherty providing the width, Bale could be used as an inside rather than an outside right – putting him more often in that zone from which he found the net no fewer than nine times from outside the penalty box in his most recent season as a Premier League player.

Nobody has come close to those numbers since. That not only serves as a reminder of just how dangerous that Bale can be but it underlines the potential transformation in potency that his arrival could bring. The heavy scoring load on Kane could be shared.


Lucas Moura scored only four goals in 35 Premier League appearances last season at a rate of one every 562 minutes spent on the pitch. It is a paltry return for a player in the offensive line and a key differential between Tottenham and those teams they aspire to catch.

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Liverpool have had great success by feeding the ball to Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane in the channels with their full-backs providing the width. Could Spurs hope for similar returns from Bale and Son if they can set up the system to position them in those same zones?

It requires special full-backs, hard-working midfielders and centre-backs who are world class in one-on-one situations for Liverpool to make that work in a 4-3-3 formation. For Tottenham, it would seem more achievable with that extra man at the back in a 3-4-3.

It is not a formation that is alien to the club’s supporters, of course. Mauricio Pochettino switched to a back three during the 2016/17 season after enjoying success with 4-2-3-1.

He used it to give his side an extra man at the back – notably using it against Watford’s two-striker system – while encouraging Kyle Walker and Danny Rose to attack as wing-backs.

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Many of the Spurs squad remain from those days so the formation would not be new to them – but it would be a major departure for Mourinho from his tried and trusted methods.

He is a coach who has enjoyed so much success over the past two decades that it would be understandable for him to be reluctant to embrace a formation different to the one with which he has won two Champions League finals and no fewer than seven domestic league titles.

And yet, it now seems the natural step for his Tottenham team to make a similar tactical tweak to the one adopted by Arsenal, of all teams, under Mikel Arteta. “I think Mikel has found a way for them to play and to be stable and to improve,” said Mourinho recently.

Tottenham are in search of that same stability and improvement. If the signings of Bale and Reguilon help them to find it with their own switch to 3-4-3 it would be an evolution for the team – and their celebrated coach.


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Bye Bartomeu! As Vote of No confidence motion reaches necessary signature

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The motion of censure against Bartomeu and his board have reached the necessary signatures.


The promoters of the vote of no confidence against Josep Maria Bartomeu and the second board of directors have the signatures to advance to the next stage. They have planned to arrive at the 18,000 signatures by the end of the day.


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Breaking: Thiago Silva completes first training as Chelsea’s Player

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There was a new face at Cobham on Wednesday as Thiago Silva finally joined up with his Chelsea team-mates for the first time.


The 35-year-old Brazilian defender has signed a one-year deal at Stamford Bridge after calling time on his time at Paris Saint-Germain.

Silva made 315 appearances for the French champions over an eight-year stay in the capital.

He appeared in training with his new colleagues, taking part in small-sided matches and other drills

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Alongside him was Ben Chilwell, who has missed the start of Chelsea’s season with injury.

The full back joined from Leicester City in the summer in a £50million deal but has struggled with a heel injury he picked up towards the back-end of last season.


He is now back in training, and could be in line for his debut in the coming weeks.

Chelsea began their season with a 3-1 victory over Brighton on Monday evening.

Frank Lampard’s men take on Liverpool at Stamford Bridge this Sunday at 4.30pm.


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Bale Tottenham’s move: who gets advantage? Bale or Tottenham

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The Welshman could be making an emotional return to his former club, but what can a 31-year-old Bale offer to Jose Mourinho’s side?


Gareth Bale appears to be closing in on a sensational return to Tottenham Hotspur, seven years after he left for Real Madrid. The Welshman, now 31 years old, has fallen out of favour in the Spanish capital and his agent Jonathan Barnett has revealed that he believes a deal is possible.

“There’s a long way to go on some issues, but without doubt Gareth is closer to leaving Madrid than at any time in last seven years,” he said.

“The deal is complicated, but there’s reason to believe a deal is close and things could move very quickly if discussions continue to go well.”

Bale made his name as a world class player during a six-year stint with Spurs from 2007 to 2013, winning the PFA Players’ Player of the Year on two occasions. His time in North London came to an end when Real Madrid paid around €100 million for his services.

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A lot has changed in the seven years since Gareth Bale’s last game for the club, when he scored a brilliant last minute winner against Sunderland, so what would his signing mean for Spurs?

Bale could be missing piece of Mourinho’s attack
Despite struggling to tie down a place during his last few years in Madrid the Welshman is still one of the world’s finest attacking talents on his day. He has contributed 126 goals (80 goals and 46 assists) in 171 La Liga appearances and boasts four Champions League winners’ medals.

He is usually deployed as a wide forward, an area in which Spurs seem fairly well-stocked with Son Heung-Min, Lucas Moura, Eric Lamela and Steven Bergwijn in those positions.

However Jose Mourinho is desperate to sign another striker before the transfer window ends, saying recently: “But I want to make it very clear that the club – if you want to call it the club or the structure above me – knows I need a striker and they also want a striker.

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Mourinho tends to play with a physically powerful centre forward and at 1.85m and blessed with strength and pace, Bale could fit the bill. In recent years he has found himself deployed more centrally for the national team and he could be an option down the middle when Spurs captain Harry Kane is unavailable.

Genuine star presence
Tottenham Hotspur have changed a lot in recent seasons. They moved to a glamourous new stadium, hired a big-name manager in Mourinho and recently released a behind-the-scenes Amazon documentary. Spurs chairman Daniel Levy seems intent on building the club’s brand and the arrival of a global star like Bale would certainly help raise their profile.

The 31-year-old still has plenty to offer on the pitch but the Real Madrid man’s commercial potential will also appeal to a shrewd operator like Levy. His experience could also be invaluable as Spurs look to win their first piece of silverware since the 2008 League Cup, when an 18-year-old Bale missed the final due to injury.

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Enormous wage demands
Bale’s days at Madrid have appeared numbered since Zidane announced in August that the forward “didn’t want to play” in the Champions League tie against Manchester City. However the Welshman still has two years remaining on a contract believed to be worth around €600,000 per week, a colossal amount of money even a club of Real’s size.

It has been reported in the Telegraph that the Spanish side are so desperate to reduce their wage bill that they would be willing to continue paying half of his salary for the remainder of his contract. Even if the North London club were only covering 50% of his earnings, the eighth-highest paid footballer in the world would still be their biggest wage expense.

Back in June Tottenham were forced to take out a £175 million government loan to help deal with loss of revenue due to the pandemic so Bale would represent a sizeable risk for the club. But if he can recapture some of the form from his first spell in North London, it will be an investment worth making.


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Tottenham moves closer to swoop Madrid’s Duo

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Tottenham have moved closer to sealing their double swoop for Real Madrid pair Bale and Sergio Reguilon.


A total agreement for Bale to join a year long loan was close on Wendesday night following another day of discussions.

It is understood no players will go in the opposite direction.

Left-back Reguilon is due to undergo a medical on Thursday ahead of signing a five-year deal with Tottenham, who have agreed a £27million fee with Real.

Jose Mourinho will be buoyed by the incoming duo from his former club in the Spanish capital.

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It now seems a matter of time before both deals are completed to bolster his squad for the upcoming season.

But one blow to Spurs fans is the fact that Dele Alli has sensationally been left out of the squad to face Lokomotiv Plovdiv in the Europa League and he could leave before the transfer window closes.


It is unlikely that the England international will be used as a sweetener in the Bale deal and Real are well stocked in the attacking midfield department.

If the 24-year-old and Spurs are willing to part company, there will be a number of clubs interested in him.

Inter Milan and PSG are both interested parties and the club would prefer to sell him abroad rather than to a Premier League rival.

Alli was substituted at half-time during Spurs’ opening day 1-0 defeat by Everton, fuelling suggestions of a rift between player and manager.

There is however a reluctance to sell him below market value, particularly with coronavirus impacting the transfer market so significantly.


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Juventus pessimistic over Barcelona Striker Luis Suarez

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Juventus are ‘growing pessimistic over completing a deal for Luis Suarez’ due to issues with the Uruguayan securing Italian citizenship.


The Turin club are at their maximum allotment of foreign players in the squad, which means Suarez has to obtain an Italian passport.

The process is a slow one and Juventus are increasingly concerned that the red tape will take up too much time.

According to Goal, they are pessimistic about the deal being concluded, despite the fact that personal terms on a £9million-a-year deal have been concluded.

Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has no place for Suarez in his side but a fee has not yet been agreed between both clubs.

Juventus begin the defence of their crown on Sunday against Sampdoria and Pirlo is understood to be considering alternatives to Suarez.

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Gonzalo Higuain’s contract was terminated so the club are eager to arrange their striking options as quickly as possible.


The situation with Suarez’s passport application is a hindrance in this regard and Edin Dzeko might well join in the coming days.

His move from Roma is dependent on the capital club signing Napoli frontman Arkadiusz Milik.

Pirlo reiterated the urgency of signing a new forward over the weekend, saying: ‘I need a striker as soon as possible. But the market is long. There will be time to be able to work until October 4.’

Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud has also been linked but dismissed that speculation last week.

Suarez remains of huge interest to Juventus but it seems bureaucracy may yet scupper his favoured move and prevent him teaming up with Cristiano Ronaldo in an all-star attack next season.


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Just In: Tottenham now leads the race to sign Bale challenging Man United

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Spurs will try to bring Bale back on the express wishes of José Mourinho, who tried to sign him when he was at United.


Gareth Bale is stirring interest in England. The most keen to take the Real Madrid forward is Manchester United, especially as they look set to miss out on Jadon Sancho with Borussia Dortmund refusing point blank to negotiate a lower price, but Bale’s old club Tottenham are also considering a move for the Welshman. According to NobleSports, Spurs, who Bale left in 2013 to join Real Madrid for 101 million euros, are now the frontrunners in the situation.

It remains to be seen what Tottenham will be prepared to offer, although Madrid might be resigned to accept a no-cost loan deal and also possibly pay part of Bale’s huge salary (14.5 million euros net per season); whatever it takes to get a player who doesn’t figure in Zidane’s plans off their payroll. The relationship between the coach and Bale has hit a point of no return and the best option would be for the player to leave Madrid.

Mourinho keen to take Bale
José Mourinho is eager to bring Bale back to north London. The coach has tried to lure Bale back to England in the past when he was manager at Manchester United; during a pre-season friendly in 2017, Mou was captured on camera saying: “I can’t sign you because you aren’t saying anything,” – his way of urging the winger to publicly say he wanted to leave. That move never materialised, Madrid renewed Bale’s contract until 2022 and the situation started to slowly decline, eventually reaching the untenable point it is in today.


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This evidence could show Alvaro Gonzalez is guilty under the offence of ‘RACISM’

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Paris Saint-Germain have sent a video to Ligue 1’s disciplinary commission that they believe shows Alvaro Gonzalez’s alleged racist insults towards Neymar in Sunday’s game against Marseille.


A huge brawl broke out in the final minutes of the match, with five players being sent off.

One of them was Neymar, who slapped Gonzalez after allegedly being racially abused by the Spaniard.

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MARCA has had access to the video that PSG have made available to Ligue 1’s disciplinary commission, in which Neymar and Gonzalez are seen arguing and in which the Brazilian is seen pointing something out to various officials.

It is a video taken from a camera that followed Neymar throughout the game and belongs to the Doha-based TV channel BeIN Sports.

It hasn’t been broadcast before now because it is not the property of Telefoot, which has Ligue 1’s TV rights.

Angel di Maria also claims that his teammate was racially abused.

PSG have shown their support for Neymar through an official statement and have asked the disciplinary commission to investigate with all its means if the version of their player is true, given the seriousness of the accusations.

For their part, Marseille have stated that their player is not a racist.


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‘This is my home’ Aubameyang officially extends his stay at Arsenal

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Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has given Arsenal a major boost at the start of the Premier League season by signing a new deal.


Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has ended speculation over his future by agreeing a new, three-year contract extension with Arsenal. The Gunners captain’s previous contract was due to expire next June, but he has decided to commit to the Premier League club.

Aubameyang commits future to “special club” Arsenal
A prolific striker, Aubameyang has scored 72 goals in 111 appearances since joining Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund for a fee of 60 million euros in January 2018.

“Signing for this special club was never in doubt,” Aubameyang told Arsenal’s official website. “It’s thanks to our fans, my team-mates, my family and everybody at this club that I feel like I belong here. I believe in Arsenal. We can achieve big things together. We have something exciting here and I believe the best is to come for Arsenal.”

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In his first full season with Arsenal in 2018-19, Aubameyang scored 22 goals to be a joint winner of the Premier League Golden Boot. Last season, the 31-year-old enjoyed another superb campaign, with 29 goals in 44 appearances across all competitions. He scored both of the Gunners’ goals in each of their respective FA Cup semi-final and final victories over Manchester City and Chelsea and continued his superb Wembley form with a fabulous strike in last month’s Community Shield encounter with Liverpool, which Mikel Arteta’s side won on penalties.

Arteta thrilled with Auba decision
As speculation mounted over Aubameyang’s future, Arteta expressed confidence he would sign renewed terms and the manager is delighted to have got his man. “It was important for Pierre-Emerick to stay with us,” he said. “He’s a superb player with an incredible mentality. Being the player to have taken the least amount of time to reach 50 goals with this club tells you everything you need to know about him and his way of working. He’s an important leader for the team and a big part of what we’re building. He wants to be up there with the best players in the world and leave his mark. He can achieve that here.”

Hammers up next
Arsenal began their Premier League campaign with a 0-3 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage, where Aubameyang completed the scoring, and they are back in action at home to West Ham on Saturday.


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Suarez rules out Juve move

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Luis Suarez has reportedly ruled out signing for Juventus in the current transfer window, despite having previously reached an agreement with the Old Lady.


The main reason is the bureaucratic delay in obtaining Italian citizenship, a process that was set to start on Thursday with an exam.

According to RAC1, the deadlines to get an Italian passport in order to avoiding occupying a non-EU spot could go on further than October 6.

Thus, Suarez would not be able to play in the Champions League group stage as the team’s list of registered players should be presented that day.

His intention has been to leave the Blaugrana ever since Ronald Koeman informed him that he is not counting on the Uruguay international for next season.

Suarez has offers from other clubs, but there is a dispute between him and his current employers on the logistics of his departure as he wants to collect his wages and the club are hoping for a transfer fee – even if it is a small and symbolic one.

It remains to be seen whether Koeman will give him any playing time in the friendly against Girona on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Barcelona’s technical secretary Ramon Planes avoided making any significant comments on Suarez’s future during the official presentation of Miralem Pjanic.

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“Suarez is, and has been in recent years, an important player,” the director noted.

“As I said in another appearance, we have to have a lot of respect for the players who have given so much to Barcelona.

“It is evident after what happened at the end of the season that we are in a process of changing, with a new coach and new ideas and we are working on that.

“We have to respect the players and their contracts.

“The market ends on October 5 and until then many things can happen.

“But with the utmost respect towards the players and the club.”


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Benzema once again ‘On Fire!!!’

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Karim Benzema has started the 2020/21 season with four goals in Real Madrid’s 6-0 friendly victory over Getafe at the Estadio Alfredo di Stefano on Tuesday.


The Frenchman picked up the baton from Cristiano Ronaldo when he joined Juventus in 2018 and, since then, he has scored 57 goals for Los Blancos.

Unlike Gareth Bale, Benzema has been the only Real Madrid forward who has tried to fill the void left by the Portugal international.

Last season he competed until the end with Lionel Messi for LaLiga Santander’s top scorer award, although he didn’t manage to overtake the Argentine.

Real Madrid signed Luka Jovic in the summer of 2019 to help Benzema with the scoring task, but the Serbian striker didn’t live up to the expectations and it was Sergio Ramos who finished as the team’s second top scorer.

The Frenchman’s four goals against Jose Bordalas’ side on Tuesday is just a sign that he is once again in position to help his club meet their objectives.


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Champions of Social Media ‘Real Madrid’

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Real Madrid’s success in 2019/20 was reflected on their social media accounts as they managed an average of 38,687 interactions per post on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Los Blancos surpassed Juventus, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain, who were crowned champions in three of the five major European leagues.

On July 16, the day Real Madrid mathematically won LaLiga Santander, they shared 216 posts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, generating more than 16 million interactions and an average of 74,192 per post.

The following day this record was broken, with 180 posts generating more than 16.6 million interactions, increasing the average above 92,000 interactions per post, according to data from Blinkfire Analytics.

Their Instagram account, on which they registered 929,169 interactions per post between August 1, 2019 and July 21, 2020, is the one that stands out with 91.1m followers.


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Breaking: Barcelona wants Salah

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The Blaugrana have made the Egyptian forward their top transfer target, according to the Express.

Salah and his Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mané have often been linked with moves to Barça’s rivals Real Madrid.

Since Ronald Koeman arrived to take charge at Camp Nou, Barça have been said to be interested to numerous forwards, including Lyon star Memphis Depay.


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