Barcelona Defender Samuel Umtiti Set to Miss Pivotal Clashes With Inter and Real Madrid

​​Barcelona centre-back Samuel Umtiti is set to miss out on a number of pivotal fixtures coming up in the calendar, after failing to recover from the knee issues that have plagued him since the World Cup.

The Frenchman has been absent from the Blaugrana’s last three matchday squads, as well as his country’s for their Nations League clashes, and could be out for another month. 

As reported by ​Marca, the 24-year-old was examined by doctors this morning at the Sant Joan Despi Hospital, and they confirmed he would be ineligible for ​Barca’s games against Sevilla, ​Inter and the Classico against ​Real Madrid. 

FC Barcelona v Girona - La Liga Santander

More worrying, though, is the nature of the issue. The Cameroon-born French international has been suffering from chondropathy – a condition in the cartilage – intermittently since the World Cup, and was even hampered by it in Russia. 

With such a sensitive injury, the club are in no mind to rush the defender back to the starting XI, and are persisting with a non-invasive, ultrasound approach to the treatment. The doctors admitted that there had been promising signs of recovery in recent days, but that a specific return date could not be set as of yet. 

CD Leganes v FC Barcelona - La Liga

While his return could come in the middle of November, there is some concern that, should this relatively conservative treatment process fail to relieve the problem, then an arthroscopy

operation would be needed. 

This would sideline Umtiti until the start of 2019, and even then, such a procedure wouldn’t guarantee the re-emergence of the injury further down the line.


Why Raheem Sterling Needs to Ignore Real Madrid Interest & Commit Future to Man City

Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling is rumoured to be the subject of growing interest from reigning European champions Real Madrid. The latest gossip claims Los Blancos had officials in attendance this week as Sterling scored twice for England against Spain in the UEFA Nations League, and are continuing to keep an eye on the 23-year-old.

Sterling has just 18 months left on his current City contract – which is due to expire in June 2020 – with talks so far failing to yield an agreement that satisfies both player and club.


In September, The Guardian spoke of an ‘impasse’ in the negotiations. That report claimed that Sterling is seeking a significant raise on his current wages to ‘at least’ £220,000-per-week, a figure that would reportedly make him one of City’s top earners.

The situation is a delicate one for City. If they are unable to convince Sterling to sign a new contract in the coming weeks or months, they will almost certainly have to listen to offers for him at the end of the season to ensure that his value doesn’t continue to drop and potentially risk losing him as a free agent.

That scenario is supposedly the opportunity that Real are waiting for. And should it come to pass, City will likely not be short of other offers for a player who scored 23 goals last season.

The reality is, the figure (between £170,000 £180,000-per week according to differing reports) that Sterling currently earns is a very handsome wage, even by Premier League standards. The player and his advisers may well feel his contributions means he ought to be among the very top earners, but he cannot be far from it and is on incredible money as it is.

And what does he stand to gain if he leaves to join Real Madrid? The status and the acclaim of joining arguably the most revered club in history, certainly. But his immediate career trajectory promises to better if he commits to City and stays at the Etihad Stadium.

Sterling has been a different player since Pep Guardiola arrived in Manchester. From a supremely talented but infuriatingly inconsistent prospect, the England international has come on leaps and bounds under Guardiola’s guidance, particularly last season when things just seemed to click for him.

He finally found his feet in front of goal after a former reputation for squandering chances and at one point last was the key reason City were so far ahead in the title race. By the end of November last season, Sterling had scored three late winners and one late equaliser in Premier League games that were directly responsible for giving City seven extra points. At that time they held an eight point lead over Manchester United, which would have otherwise been just one.

Manchester City v Southampton - Premier League

Sterling is still very young at the age of 23 and leaving Guardiola’s side to go to Madrid would be a significant risk. It would have been a different story had this been the Real of a year or two years ago, at their pomp and complete with Cristiano Ronaldo. But this Real is entering a period of transition. The old guard are…well, old, while the new guard are not yet in place, with new coach Julen Lopetegui not getting the results he would have hoped for so far.

Sterling could be part of that rebuilding process, but when he is already a key part of a team on the up with genuine Champions League winning ambitions of their own, why risk leaving? Moving abroad for English players is never easy, but to a team in transition combined with the intense pressure and Bernabeu goldfish bowl, now really isn’t the time.

Sterling has started seven of City’s eight Premier League games this season, as well as both games in the Champions League. He’s scored four league goals and provided two further assists, with only two of his domestic appearances not featuring a direct hand in a goal.


What’s more, City are very keen to keep such an important player, as Guardiola explained last month: “It’s well-known we’re delighted with him and would like him to continue. My club knows my opinion and we share that. After that it is the club and the agent.”


Sergio Ramos Tweets Video in Response to ‘Stamp’ Claims on England’s Raheem Sterling

Real Madrid and Spain captain Sergio Ramos has responded to claims that he ‘stamped’ on England forward Raheem Sterling during the UEFA Nations League clash between the two countries this week, a game that the Three Lions surprisingly won 3-2.

The incident went unnoticed by the officials during the game, but social media users quickly vilified Ramos, accusing the defender of deliberately ‘stamping’ on England’s star while he was on the floor in the penalty area.

Spain v England - UEFA Nations League A

The 32-year-old was already a divisive figure in England as many Liverpool fans believed he deliberately sought to injure Mohamed Salah during the Champions League final in May.

But Ramos has now hit back at his critics, posting a video on Twitter that appears to exonerate him of any wrongdoing, along with the caption ‘Nothing else to say.’

It was the long shot that appeared to show a ‘stamp’. But the close up footage from a different angle posted by Ramos shows Sterling already clutching his leg before the Spaniard approached him and offered no evidence of a stamp or any other obviously deliberate violent conduct.


The only ‘contact’ between the players was a slight clip of the boots as Ramos skipped over his already stricken opponent, who scored twice on the night.

Sterling netted England’s first and third goals to help put the visitors 3-0 up at half-time in Seville, his first two international goals for three long years. Paco Alcacer pulled one back for Spain, while Ramos himself made it 3-2 in the eight minute of stoppage time.


Sky Sports Pundit Tony Cascarino Urges Harry Kane to Quit Spurs & Join Real Madrid

​Sky Sports pundit Tony Cascarino believes Harry Kane should quit Tottenham and join Real Madrid in order to maximise his career potential.

The 25-year-old has become a key figure for both club and country, winning two Premier League Golden Boots during his time at Spurs, as well as a World Cup Golden Boot after his six goals helped England finish fourth in Russia this summer.


Despite individual success for ​Kane, he is yet to win any silverware for Spurs, which is why ex-forward Cascarino believes the time is right for the striker to make a move to ​Real Madrid and become their main threat in front of goal. 

Speaking to ​The Times, he said: “It would make sense for Real to move for Kane, who is 25 and has five or six years on most of the other quality centre forwards around Europe, there is a void at Real for an established, world-class centre forward who can give them several goal-filled years and Kane is that man. 

“He has a remarkable goalscoring record but Kane has not actually won anything yet, so, unless things change dramatically at Tottenham this season, there has to be a second part of his career, which is to join one of the big clubs in world football, such as Real.”

Kane has been repeatedly linked with a move to the Santiago Bernabeu in recent seasons, although ​he rubbished talk of a potential move following England’s impressive 3-2 win against Spain. 

The ​Tottenham front man has started the season well, scoring six goals for Maurcio Pochettino’s side in ten games. 


Tottenham’s Harry Kane Provides Perfect Response When Asked if He Wants to Join Real Madrid

After Harry Kane’s excellent performance for England in their Nations League victory over Spain, he spectacularly rubbished the rumours over a possible future move to Real Madrid. 

Kane, 25, may not have landed himself on the scoresheet, but he was involved in Raheem Sterling’s opener before setting up a further two goals in just nine minutes – as the Three Lions held on for a famous 3-2 victory in Seville on Monday.

Spain v England - UEFA Nations League A

The England skipper’s consistency in front of goal in recent years has thrust him into the limelight as one of the most complete forward’s currently plying their trade, ensuring that rumours of a possible transfer to Europe’s elite never truly dissipate. 

​Real Madrid have been at the forefront of such speculation, as they look to restore firepower to their ranks following ​Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure and with ​Karim Benzema’s future at the Bernabéu being anything but certain. 

When asked if he was interested in a move to Real upon his departure from the stadium after the fixture, ​Kane told ​Marca: “Sorry, not today.” 

Although Kane may not be thinking about switching allegiances, Real and Spain skipper Sergio Ramos took it upon himself ​earlier in the week to start the charm offensive for the services of the England striker.

Kane – who has six goals to his name this term – is contracted with ​Spurs until 2024, having put pen to paper on a new six-year deal in the summer worth £200,000-a-week.

It ensures that any team looking to prise him away would be forced to part with close to £200m to secure the striker. 


Luka Modric Reveals That Real Madrid Players Bet With Each Other About Cristiano Ronaldo Exit

​Luka Modric has admitted that he and his Real Madrid teammates were ‘sure’ that Cristiano Ronaldo would stay at the club this summer, even going as far as making bets between themselves about his future. 

Ronaldo moved to Juventus after the World Cup in the summer’s headline transfer, with manager Zinedine Zidane also heading out the door to take some time off from football. 

Speaking to ​L’Equipe on the current international break, ​Modric admitted: “I did not think that Zidane was going to go, nor ​Ronaldo. When the rumour about Cristiano came up we made bets among ourselves in the dressing room and we were sure he was going to stay, but everyone makes his life choices.”

Modric became the first player in a decade to break Ronaldo and ​Lionel Messi‘s joint hold over the FIFA Player of the Year award, but insisted that he prefers to ignore individual awards and comparisons between himself and the Portugal international. 

“I do not appreciate the overexposure of the media, frankly, I do not care much about going further in this area,” he said. “Cristiano Ronaldo is in another level of football and it is normal that he is also from the media point of view, I prefer simplicity.

“To be honest, I do not like to talk like that and say: ‘Yes, I’m the one who deserves the Ballon d’Or.’ The important thing for me is to be in the field as I have been for months, this year 2018 has undoubtedly been the best of my career and my only goal is to continue at this level.”


Sergio Ramos Reveals Which Aspect of Harry Kane’s Game ‘Surprises People’ as He Talks Up Spain Move

Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos stated his belief that Harry Kane’s ‘technical ability’ on the ball ‘surprises a lot of people’, as he talked up a move to Spain for the Tottenham striker. 

The duo are set to meet on Monday night when their national sides clash in a mouth-watering  UEFA Nations League encounter, with England five points adrift of their opponents in the group table. 

Tottenham Hotspur v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League

In recent weeks, it has been reported that Madrid will be lining up a January move for Kane, following a disastrous run of four games without a win, or a goal. Speaking about the Tottenham star, Ramos stated that he is impressed with both his technical skill and physicality. 

“Let’s start with  Harry Kane,” said Ramos, as quoted by the Mirror. “He’s also physically a fantastic striker but technically he surprises you, he surprises a lot of people, but not me.

“He is great technically but there are also other great technical players and that’s why they [England] are dangerous. I can assure you we have been studying the videos. We are going to try and keep his scoring drought as that would be a very good sign for us.”

Despite Kane’s scoring dip for his country, he has been in a typically rich vein of form for his club this season, scoring six goals in 10 games. 

Four-time UEFA Champions League winner Ramos will be looking to gain confidence from Spain’s 2-1 win against England at Wembley last month and condemn the Three Lions to their second defeat in their last three competitive fixtures. 


Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale Ruled Out of Wales’ Crucial UEFA Nations League Clash With Groin Injury

​Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale has been ruled out of Wales’ crunch UEFA Nations League match against the Republic of Ireland, after sustaining a groin injury.

According to the Daily Mail, the 29-year-old will return to Spain in order to recover from the strain, and will be monitored closely ahead of Los Blancos’ El Clásico clash with Barcelona at the end of the month. Real Madrid are believed to be wary of Bale aggravating his injury further, and have continued to pressure Wales to not risk him for the current set of international fixtures.

Deportivo Alaves v Real Madrid - La Liga Santander

​Bale’s Wales teammate Ben Davies admitted that losing the tenacious forward was a real blow, but claimed that youngster David Brooks is ready to step into the breach. The ​Spurs man said: “Gareth not playing is a massive loss for any team, we’ll have to adapt. David is a top player. He has a lot of ability and talent that defenders just don’t want to come up against.” 

“If he’s playing against Ireland we’ll be delighted as a team because we’ve got a good attacking threat in him.”

Ryan Giggs’ side are currently second in their UEFA Nations League group, a point behind leaders Denmark and two clear of Ireland, who will be eager to avoid relegation to the third tier.

With ​Los Blancos legend Cristiano Ronaldo now at ​Juventus, Bale has been afforded a more prominent role in the side this season. However, the club have had a rocky start to the campaign, and are currently in fourth place after a string of poor results. The inconsistency troubling a number of top sides means that they are still just two points off Sevilla at the top.

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Meanwhile, ​Chelsea sensation Eden Hazard has ruled out a January move to Real Madrid, claiming that he doesn’t want to leave the Blues on bad terms. The Belgian ace is hotly tipped to join Los Blancos in the summer, but has ruled out the possibility of leaving before the end of the season, perhaps wary of angering Blues fans and derailing the club’s league title bid.


Eden Hazard Wants to Leave Chelsea on ‘Good Terms’ as He Rules Out Real Madrid January Move

​Chelsea superstar Eden Hazard has reiterated his desire to maintain a good relationship with the Blues, even if he manages to secure his not-so-secret ‘dream’ move to Real Madrid in the future.

The Belgian will be out of contract in 2020 and talks of an extension at Stamford Bridge have been put on hold. There have been suggestions that Hazard, the Premier League’s current top scorer in 2018/19, will force through a move to Los Blancos in an upcoming transfer window, or run his deal down to expiry like Thibaut Courtois.

However, ​Hazard has been candid over his desire and is insistent that he won’t ‘clash’ with the club.

Belgium v Switzerland - UEFA Nations League A

Currently on international duty with Belgium, the 27-year-old forward spoke of how ​Chelsea denied him a move during the summer.

“Chelsea were clear with me [in the summer],” he told ​Telefoot. “I couldn’t leave the club. I accepted it. Anyway… leaving or staying, I was going to be happy. I do not regret this decision at all.

“When decisions are made [that you may not like] you can sulk and often you get the last word. But I will never look to clash with the club. Chelsea have given me a lot. I left Lille on good terms and I want to do the same thing here.”

Addressing the possibility of a mid-season switch to ​Real Madrid he added: “A transfer in January? It’s not possible.”

While Hazard has not played down his own interests in a move to Spain, links have also amped up in recent weeks due to Real Madrid’s poor early season form. Julen Lopetegui’s side have struggled to replace the goals of ​Cristiano Ronaldo and have not scored in four games in all competitions, as they sit fifth in the ​La Liga table after eight games.

However, a recent policy from president Florentino Perez to shun big money signings in favour of cheaper deals means a move for Hazard next summer, or at the end of his contract, remains the most likely option for all parties.


Napoli Set Asking Price for Star Defender Amid Interest From Real Madrid & Barcelona

Serie A side Napoli have set their asking price for star centre back Kalidou Koulibaly, who is wanted by both Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The 27-year-old has emerged as one of the world’s top defenders since joining Napoli in 2014. He immediately became a key player in Naples​ and, under Maurizio Sarri, was given the chance to showcase his physicality and ability on the ball. His impressive form was recently rewarded as Koulibaly signed a new five-year contract with the club.

SSC Napoli v US Sassuolo - Serie A

Italian outlet La Republicca, as cited by Calciomercato, state that ​Napoli will only consider an offer of at least €100m (around £88m), but would hope to receive offers of almost twice that amount. Koulibaly’s new contract means Napoli will not be forced into selling their star defender, giving them full control of the Senegalese centre back’s future.

The report claims that ​Manchester United made an offer of around €90m for Koulibaly during the summer, but Napoli were not prepared to entertain the offer as it fell short of their asking price. ​Barcelona and ​Real Madrid are both named as interested parties, but it is unlikely that either would be prepared to meet Napoli’s astronomical asking price for Koulibaly.

New Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti is believed to be a huge fan of Koulibaly, as the defender is the only Napoli player to have featured in every game for the side this season. He has played every minute of Napoli’s ten matches to date, and appears to be a permanent fixture of the side.

As a result, an offer of €100m would likely be refused by Napoli, who are seemingly determined to keep the 27-year-old at the club. Should any club meet the asking price, Koulibaly would become the world’s most expensive defender, overtaking the £75m fee paid by ​Liverpool for Virgil van Dijk.


Koulibaly has 174 Napoli appearances to his name and is also a key member for his country of Senegal. He featured in all three of Senegal’s World Cup matches this summer as his side failed to advance from the group stage.