Neymar Edging Closer to PSG Exit as Club Looks to Rid Itself of ‘Celebrity Culture’

Reports from France are indicating that Paris Saint-Germain are willing to sell Neymar this summer, two years on from his record-breaking move from Barcelona.

Neymar arrived in Paris in 2017 for a monumental £200m fee, making him the most expensive player in the world. The Brazilian has largely been a success on the pitch for the Parisians, registering 51 goals and 29 assists during his time in the French capital, but reservations still linger over whether he has lived up to his huge price tag.

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Now, according to French outlet ​L’Equipe, PSG will be happy to part ways with ​Neymar this summer – so long as they receive what they would consider to be a suitable offer.

The imminent arrival of Leonardo as the club’s new sporting director will spell a new era for the French champions, who are looking to shake things up behind the scenes to ensure that they are able to make the next step – particularly on the European front.

The report also suggests that the player himself is also happy to move on this summer, which could open the door for the likes of ​Real Madrid and former club ​Barcelona, who have both previously ​been linked with an approach for the Brazilian. 

The news follows recent comments from president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, who recently told France Football (via ​The Sun) that he is looking to clamp down on celebrity culture at the club.

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“Players will have to assume their responsibilities even more than before. It must be completely different,” he declared.

“They will have to do more, work more. They are not there to please themselves.

“And if they do not agree, the doors are open. Ciao! I do not want to have any celebrity behaviour anymore.”

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Luka Jovic Reveals His Thoughts on Real Madrid Move After Presentation at Santiago Bernabeu

Real Madrid’s newest striker Luka Jovic has described his move to the Santiago Bernabeu as a ‘gift from heaven,’ and talked about his desire for Champions League glory with Los Blancos. 

The 21-year-old Serbian international was one of European football’s most sought after players this summer, following a remarkable campaign with Frankfurt that saw the striker bag 27 goals in 48 appearances.

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However, despite interest from the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich, it was Los Blancos who managed to secure the Serbian’s signature. 

Speaking to Real Madrid’s official website Jovic stated: “It’s an incredible feeling. I’m thrilled to be part of the biggest club in the world. It’s an enormous pleasure to be pulling on the Real Madrid jersey.

On his feelings at stepping out onto the pitch at the Santiago Bernabeu for the first time he said: “It was wonderful. A gift from heaven. It’s such a pleasure to have the opportunity to wear this club’s jersey.”

Luka Jovic,Florentino Perez

Jovic detailed how it was extremely motivating to sign for a club with such a rich European Cup history, and outlined his aims for the coming season with Madrid.

I would love to keep winning titles and I hope I can help us to win Champions League. My dream is to win the Champions League,” he added.

The 21-year-old was also full of admiration for veteran Madrid striker, and the man whose place he may soon usurp, Karim Benzema.

He’s undoubtedly one of the best forwards of the last decade,” Jovic said. “When he signed for ​Real Madrid I was 11 years old. I’ve seen loads of his goals, lots of his matches and it’s a great honour to be his teammate. I hope to learn a lot from him.

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Someone else the 21-year-old will undoubtedly be looking to learn from is new teammate, Eden Hazard. The pair join Eder Militao, Rodrygo Goes, and more recently Ferland Mendy, as the new wave of ‘Galacticos’ that manager Zinedine Zidane has brought in as he looks to wrest the La Liga title away from rivals Barcelona. 

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Andriy Lunin: 4 Things to Know About Real Madrid’s U-20 World Cup Golden Glove Winner

The Ukranian goalkeeper had a sensational U20 World Cup with his team, beating South Korea in the final to lift the coveted trophy.

The 20-year-old has impressed in the World Cup, making crucial and difficult saves throughout the tournament, most importantly in the final to keep the South Koreans at bay. For his heroic efforts, Lunin deservedly won the Golden Glove for the best goalkeeper in the tournament.


Here are four things to know about Real Madrid’s young keeper.


Full Ukranian International

Andriy Lunin

The ​Real Madrid stopper has featured three times already for Ukraine’s senior side, with his appearances in coming in 2018 in friendlies against Saudi Arabia, Albania and Turkey.

He conceded just two goals in those three fixtures but he was not able to showcase his class as he had limited action in those games.

Shakhtar Donetsk’s Andriy Pyatov is currently Ukraine’s number one but he is 34 years old, giving Lunin the chance to take the coveted spot of being first choice for his country in the near future. Therefore, it is not unexpected that Lunin will start to win more caps sooner rather than later and establish himself as Ukraine’s best goalkeeper for the next decade.


Commanding Presence

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At 6’3″, the 20-year-old is nearly as tall as Manuel Neuer and David de Gea, which bodes well for him in the future as he will continue to grow. His game is similar to that of Neuer as well with his main strengths being his distribution and reflexes.

Throughout the U20 World Cup he showed that he can make difficult saves at important moments, as well as his ability to read and control high balls into his area. This lifted some pressure off of the defence and helped them to ultimately win the tournament.

Lunin does have a knack for losing concentration but that will be improved with more minutes and experience at the highest level. He has shown the potential is there and is tipped to become one of the best keepers in his generation alongside Italy’s ​Gianluigi Donnarumma and France’s Alban Lafont.


Set to Remain on Loan at CD Leganés

Andriy Lunin,Saul Niguez

Los Merengues have huge depth in the goalkeeper position with Thibaut Courtois, Keylor Navas and Luca Zidane all in the first team squad. This meant that Lunin had to leave on loan to Leganés to secure more playing time.

However, he was unable to displace first choice goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar and only played seven games in all competitions. Despite limited minutes, the Ukrainian kept an impressive tally of three clean sheets for a side that spent much of the season in the lower half of the table.

Real are set to have agreed to extend Lunin’s loan until the end of next season as Cuellar is most likely on his way out, plus the fact that Leganes boss Mauricio Pellegrino is said to be a big fan of Lunin.


Ambiguous Future at Real Madrid

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Despite his huge potential, he is yet to make an appearance for Los Blancos since he signed from Zorya Luhansk for an initial €8.5m with €5m in add-ons on June 2018.

Florentino Pérez and the Madrid board reportedly view Lunin as the back-up goalkeeper to Courtois, however Los Blancos manager Zinedine Zidane prefers Navas and his son Luca over Lunin.

However, Navas is reportedly on his way out, which could leave an opening for the Ukrainian but in order to progress, he requires more minutes. With21-year-old Luca Zidane on the books, Real Madrid will have to make a decision on who they would like to keep to be the number two keeper. Zidane would make a strong case to keep his son at the club and will have a major influence on the final say, leaving Lunin’s future at the club in limbo.

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Transfer Rumours: Lo Celso to Man Utd, Palace Line Up Wan-Bissaka Replacement & More

​Rumours, rumours and yes, you guessed it, more rumours.

Love ’em or hate ’em, they are here to stay for the summer – regardless of how insane some of them may seem. Today we’ve got Manchester United getting linked to another (that’s right, another) player, Crystal Palace planning for life beyond Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Milan prepping for a busy summer.

Let’s get started, shall we?


Giovani Lo Celso Suddenly Up for Grabs

Giovanni Lo Celso

​Manchester United have been linked to everyone from Bruno Fernandes to Frank Bruno, but the latest #goss claims that the Red Devils are also keeping tabs on Real Betis star Giovani Lo Celso.

​inews reports that Betis are suddenly resigned to losing the Argentine midfielder this summer and are willing to let him go for £22m less than his £89m release clause – for reasons that aren’t fully explained… 

As well as United, ​Tottenham also remain interested Lo Celso, having previously seen a £53m bid turned down, and the player himself is said to be favouring a move to work with Mauricio Pochettino. 

Watch this Lo Space-o.


Fabian Ruiz Is ‘Happy’ at Napoli

Fabian Ruiz

​Napoli didn’t exactly set the world alight in 2018/19. Yes, they did finish second in Serie A, but they were also 21 points behind champions Juventus. Yikes.

Inconsistent performances from the majority of the squad hampered I Partenopei but they were able to rely on Fabian Ruiz, who enjoyed a stellar campaign. That obviously means everyone wants a piece of him this summer – including ​Real Madrid.

Napoli fans can relax though as the Spaniard has suggested he is going nowhere, telling Sky Italia, (via ​Spo​rt): “I have a contract here and I am happy here, the fans can be calm. I thank the fans for the support they have given me, thank you for your love, my reception at the club has been very positive.”

Phew.


Roma Hold Firm Over Nicolo Zaniolo

Nicolo' Zaniolo

Staying in Italy, one of the hottest prospects in European football, Roma youngster Nicolo Zaniolo is being monitored by a whole host of top sides. However, it’s going to take a huge bid to take him away from the Italian capital this summer.

Journalist ​Gianluca Di Marzio has claimed that Roma have now placed a €70m price tag on the 19-year-old in an attempt to ward off interest from the likes of Tottenham, ​Arsenal and ​Juventus.

Juventus may not be put off by that sort of fee when you consider their financial might, but Arsenal don’t have that sort of money and, even if Tottenham do, they don’t exactly have a reputation for spending the big bucks. 

Roma have previously seen star players like Mohamed Salah and Alisson leave the club for let’s call it overly reasonable prices, and they won’t be making the same mistake twice.


Crystal Palace Prepare for Life Without Aaron Wan-Bissaka

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One of the many transfer stories that refuses to go away is Manchester United’s pursuit of ​Crystal Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Even if Crystal Palace say that they won’t budge when it comes to the young right back, Belgian journalist ​Kristof Terreur suggests otherwise. He says that Palace have held talks with Atalanta’s Timothy Castagne, as a possible replacement in case the worst happens.

Castagne himself has recently hinted that he would like to play in England, telling Gazzetta dello Sport (via ​Football Italia): “Serie A’s a very competitive tournament, I like it, but one day I’d like to play in the Premier League.”


Watford Bolster Midfield Options With Ligue 2 Prospect

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​Watford have a pretty decent squad at their disposal, but there is no use in standing still.

According to journalist ​Mohamed Toubache, Watford are all but set to confirm the signing of 20-year-old midfielder Pape Gueye from Ligue 2 outfit Le Havre, before sending him straight out on loan to Udinese.

Ok… it’s not the most exciting piece of transfer news for Watford (there’s not even a photo of him in the image bank), but hey, at least it isn’t a story which involves the departure of Abdoulaye Doucoure. 


It’s All Change at Milan

Fernandez Suso

It’s been chaos behind the scenes for Milan after they failed to qualify for the Champions League.

With several players’ futures up in the air, former Liverpool misfit Suso is a target for Premier League sides Tottenham, Arsenal and ​West Ham – as well as ​Atletico Madrid – according to ​Milannews.it

The Spanish winger is unlikely to fit into the system of incoming manager Marco Giampaolo, which means he’s set for the chop this summer.

In other Milan news, the Rossoneri remain interested in a move for Arsenal’s Lucas Torreira, with the Uruguayan being described as a ‘dream’ signing. Do I smell a potential swap deal on the cards?


Leeds Not Planning to Part Ways With Key Duo

Jack Clarke

​Leeds were able to retain the services of Marcelo Bielsa: Good. 

Leeds may be forced to part ways with a number of key players this summer: Bad.

Well, not necessarily. ​The Daily Star say that Leeds are going to do everything they can to hold on to Jack Clarke and Kalvin Phillips, despite recent interest in the pair from Tottenham and ​Aston Villa.

Spurs are eyeing up Clarke after failing to secure a deal for Jack Grealish, while Villa have Phillips in their sights and are willing to fork out up to £14m for the defensive midfielder.


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Takefusa Kubo: The Bizarre Reason Why Barcelona Missed Out to Real Madrid for ‘Japanese Messi’

​Real Madrid snuck in to seal the signing of highly rated Japanese forward Takefusa Kubo from FC Tokyo for free ahead of rivals Barcelona, thanks to their attention to detail.

Clásico rivals Barcelona were also keeping tabs on the player, who spent four years in their academy between 2011 and 2015, along with Paris Saint-Germain, but it was Los Blancos who ultimately ​announced the deal on Friday.

18-year-old Kubo, who is set to spend next season in Real Madrid’s B team under the tutelage of club legend Raul Gonzalez, returns to Spain after four years, when a Barcelona transfer ban for the illegal signing of youth players ultimately led him to leave La Masia to return to Japan.

Takefusa Kubo

Nicknamed (somewhat predictably) the ‘Japanese Messi’ big things are expected of Kubo, who made his senior Japan debut in 2019. Barcelona had been tipped as favourites to re-sign the wonderkid but, according to ​Marca, they were tripped up by his contract termination date. 

The report claims that Real Madrid were aware his contract ended this summer, while (possibly confused by an error on the website Transfermarkt) Barcelona and PSG were under the impression that the deal ended on 31 January 2020.

Los Blancos made Kubo an attractive offer, a five-year contract worth 1.2m a year, in order to steal the talent from under the noses of their rivals, who were still mulling their propos thinking they had more time.

When asked about joining ​Real Madrid, the 18-year-old, who is currently on international duty, said: “I am very happy to have signed for Real Madrid. 

“I’m calm. It’s a normal day, but I’m very happy.”

On Real’s ​website, Los Blancos described their new player as ‘technically gifted and hugely talented’. 

Takefusa Kubo

Real Madrid will have one of the most promising young players in world football. An attacking midfielder of excellent technique, very skilled, with vision of game, great dribble and goal [scoring],” their statement reads.

Although not one for the first team just yet, Kubo’s signing takes Real Madrid to six so far this window as Zindedine Zidane looks to rebuild his squad and reassert their dominance in both Spanish and European football. 

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Champions League 2018/19 Fastest Players: Virgil van Dijk Tops Speed List Ahead of Man City Star

Adding to his growing list of accolades, Liverpool superstar Virgil van Dijk is now officially the fastest player in Europe beating out the likes of ​Gareth Bale, ​Kylian Mbappe and Leroy Sane to clock the fastest speed in the Champions League this season.

Van Dijk – even ahead of his own Sonic-fast team-mates ​Mohamed Salah and ​Sadio Mane -recorded a top speed of 34.5km per hour during Liverpool’s semi-final first leg against Barcelona at Camp Nou, as noted in UEFA’s UCL Final Programme

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The figure was recorded (amazingly) in the 92nd minute of the tie against ​Barça, following a Liverpool corner. 

The hosts launched a quick counter-attack in search for a fourth goal, yet van Dijk sprinted from Barcelona’s box across the length of the pitch to catch up with play in the Liverpool box at the other end. With what happened at Anfield in the second leg, Van Dijk’s herculean actions may well have been the difference between Liverpool making the final or going out in a blaze of glory.

The Rolls-Royce centre-back has been a revelation for Liverpool, proving instrumental in their Champions League triumph, and their strong pursuit of ​Manchester City in the title race. His composure is often lauded, as is his commanding physical presence. Yet with the release of these results maybe we will see recognition of his wonderful pace too. 

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Van Dijk’s sprint beat out City winger Sane’s fastest by just 0.1km per hour according to the data. Below is the full list of the five fastest players in the Champions League 2018/19:

Speed Player Match
34.5km/h Virgil van Dijk Barcelona vs Liverpool
34.4km/h Leroy Sane Manchester City vs Hoffenheim
34.2km/h Nemanja Radonjic RB Salzburg vs Red Star
34.2km/h Kyle Walker Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur
33.8km/h Gareth Bale Real Madrid vs Roma

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Real Madrid Officially Announce Signing of Japanese Youngster Takefusa Kubo From FC Tokyo

​Real Madrid have officially announced the signing of Japanese youngster Takefusa Kubo, who will join up with Los Blancos’ development squad Castilla next season.

Kubo is one of the most promising young talents to emerge from Japan in recent years, having made his debut for the national team aged just 18. He spent his early years in the Barcelona academy setup, before making his way back over to Japan to join up with FC Tokyo, where he made his professional debut back in 2017.

Takefusa Kubo,Jonathan Jimenez

​Real Madrid confirmed the transfer in an official statement on their ​club website, announcing that the youngster will be a part of the Castilla squad next season, rather than a member of the first team.

Los Blancos have not disclosed a transfer fee, or revealed any details about the length of the contract Kubo has signed with the club, but a previous reports from ​Marca indicated that the youngster was in line for a five-year deal in the Spanish capital after Real agreed a €2m fee.

The official statement from the club read: “Takefusa Kubo will reinforce Castilla next season. The first Real Madrid affiliate will have one of the most promising young players in world football. 

Takefusa Kubo

“An attacking midfielder of excellent technique, very skilled, with vision of game, great dribble and goal… Kubo has already been international with the Japanese national team.”

While he is by no means a high-profile acquisition, Kubo is the latest in a string of new arrivals at the Bernabeu after the club have already secured the likes of Eden Hazard, Eder Militao, Luka Jovic and Ferland Mendy.

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Eden Hazard Reveals How Luka Modric Responded to His Request to Take Real Madrid’s Number 10 Shirt

​Eden Hazard has revealed that he jokingly asked for the number ten shirt off Luka Modric upon his arrival at Real Madrid – though his request was eventually denied by the Croatian midfielder.

The former Chelsea man was officially unveiled at Real Madrid on Thursday evening, where he was paraded out in front of some 50,000 supporters shortly after completing a medical at La Moraleja University Hospital.


​Hazard was provided with a blank ​Real Madrid shirt for the presentation having not yet been handed a squad number, but he has revealed that he is very unlikely to be wearing the number ten shirt – which he wore for the majority of his time with ​Chelsea – any time soon.

Speaking after his arrival at the Bernabeu, Hazard said, as per the ​Evening Standard: “I have been able to talk to ​Modric through [former Chelsea team-mate Mateo] Kovacic.


“I was joking when I asked him to lend me the number 10. He said no, so I’ll have to find another number.

“But right now, the number is not important for me, I just [want] to play with this badge.”

Hazard is just one of a number of high-profile signings made by Real already this summer, as he joins Eder Militao, Rodrygo, Luka Jovic and Ferland Mendy at the club.


Real don’t appear to have concluded their business in the transfer window just yet as Manchester United’s ​Paul Pogba appears to be the next player in their sights – if ​recent reports from France prove to be accurate, that is.

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Real Madrid Only Want Pogba & Rule Out Eriksen But Face Competition After Juventus Open Talks

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is said to be so determined to sign Manchester United star Paul Pogba this summer that he apparently doesn’t want the club to entertain any other midfield targets – including Tottenham maestro Christian Eriksen.

Pogba has been heavily linked with a switch to Real ever since fellow countryman Zidane returned to the Bernabeu in March and speculation hasn’t faded, despite continuing to be involved United marketing for next season and stories that he could be made captain.

Paul Pogba

It is French outlet L’Equipe that has published the latest on Real and Pogba, alleging that Zidane only has a ‘very specific name in mind’ for his ‘new project’.

Somewhat harshly, the story could hardly be clearer in its claims that the three-time Champions League winning coach does not want Eriksen to join Real.

The Dane, who has only one more year left on his current Tottenham contract, recently admitted that he could be ready to move on from north London in order to ‘try something new’.

However, L’Equipe insists that Eriksen is ‘not the style of player’ that Zidane wants. The newspaper also highlights an underwhelming performance in the Champions League final against Liverpool and claims that Real have received ‘negative reports’ about his personality. But the most important reason remains that Zidane only wants Pogba, and no one else.

Christian Eriksen

That would appear to also rule out rumoured interest in Lyon starlet Tanguy Ndombele.

Real may still have their work cut out trying to land Pogba, though, and L’Equipe acknowledges that it would be ‘complicated’ – even while they also report that Pogba has zero intention of remaining at United next season. That ties into gossip earlier this week that Manchester United would demand at least £150m (€168m) for Pogba, an enormous new Real transfer record.

Another reason why it is complicated is the interest of Pogba’s former club Juventus.

Sport Witness notes on the ongoing saga that ‘Pogba himself has been surprised by Madrid’s approach to talks and would now also consider a return to Juventus this summer.’

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What’s more, according to Sky Sports, Juve sporting director Fabio Paratici has already made contact with Manchester United after visiting the club’s London office this week.

It is said that the purpose of his visit was to hold ‘face to face talks’ over a possible deal for Pogba, with Juventus right-back Joao Cancelo, a rumoured target for Manchester City, part of the discussions. 

Paratici also met with Chelsea while in London to thrash out a deal for Maurizio Sarri, seemingly successfully, while he is said to have stopped in Lyon to talk about Ndombele.

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Marco Asensio Linked With Real Madrid Exit Despite Zinedine Zidane’s Overwhelming Backing

Marco Asensio is being dubiously linked with a move away from Real Madrid this summer, despite the fact that Zinedine Zidane has previously insisted that the young Spaniard is a key part of his plans going forward.

It’s fair to say that Asensio hasn’t quite lived up to the significant hype that surrounded him when he first broke on to the scene with Real​, so it comes as no real surprise to see that the Spanish press are peddling the notion that Los Blancos are looking to part ways with him as soon as possible.

Marco Asensio

Cadena Ser are reporting that ​Real Madrid are suddenly willing to ‘listen to offers’ for Asensio – particularly as he flattered to deceive in 2018/19, registering just one goal and six assists in La Liga.

While this is all fine and dandy, the report fails to mention the fact that Zidane – who it must be presumed knows what he’s talking about – has already declared that Asensio will be going nowhere this summer.

Amidst rumours linking the winger with a move to ​Liverpool, Zidane previously ​said: “I have spoken to him and told him that he will be fundamental to the team. And I want him here with us.” 

Pretty conclusive then.

Real Madrid have made a splash in the transfer market already this summer, signing the likes of ​Eden Hazard and Luka Jovic, but that doesn’t immediately mean that Asensio is on the chopping block. 

Zinedine Zidane

This is especially true when you consider the number of high earners who are over the age of 30 who, it must be said, had even more underwhelming seasons than Asensio.

If Real really are ‘willing to listen to offers’ (whatever that may mean), then Zidane may want to have a quiet word with the board.

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