Marcelo Hits Back at Criticism From Real Madrid Fans After La Liga Defeat to Girona

Marcelo has fired back at criticism aimed at him from Real Madrid fans after Los Blancos’ shock defeat to Girona.

Santiago Solari’s side suffered an embarrassing loss at the weekend, as they were beaten 2-1 by the relegation battlers at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Karim Benzema,Toni Kroos

The slip up has left Madrid nine points behind arch-rivals Barcelona in the title race, after the Catalan giants picked up a comfortable home win over Real Valladolid.

Brazilian left-back ​Marcelo has come under fire in recent weeks for his performances amidst uncertainty over his long-term future at the club.

After another disappointing showing on Sunday evening, ​Real have now managed just one win in their last nine league matches with the Brazil international in the side.

With youngster Sergio Reguilon impressing in midweek, one fan compared recent results when the two left-backs have been in the side, leading Marcelo to sarcastically respond on ​Instagram: “it’s all my fault. We move on!”

Despite Solari insisting that the 30-year-old played well in his post-match press conference, rumours have intensified in recent weeks that Los Blancos manager could promote Reguilon to being his first choice at left-back.

Sergio Reguilon

Following​ Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure to ​Juventus last summer, Marcelo has also now been tipped to make the move to Turin at the end of the season, and potentially reunite with his former Real teammate

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Neymar’s Father Speaks Out About Son’s Future as Real Madrid Renew Interest in Superstar

Real Madrid may find themselves disappointed in their pursuit of Brazilian superstar Neymar, after the player’s father declared during an interview that his son’s present and future are with current club Paris Saint-Germain.

Neymar Sr did not seem to fully rule out a transfer, however, dropping in the customary and rather ambiguous ‘[the future] can change at any time’ remark that is so common in this field.

Lebogang Phiri,Neymar Jr

A report from The Times on Sunday claimed that ‘Real Madrid have set their sights on Neymar this summer’, adding that he would receive a sizeable increase on his existing net annual salary, said to be at least €28.5m, should he quit France and move to the Spanish capital.

The story even alleges that Neymar, who would be remembered as a ‘traitor’ alongside Luis Figo at former club Barcelona if the move came to pass, has ‘encouraged’ the interest from Real.

Yet the public stance of the player’s camp appears to be one of loyalty to PSG.

Neymar Jr

In an interview released on the same day as The Times’ report, Neymar’s father told French outlet Telefoot that the €222m world record transfer superstar is ‘very happy in Paris’.

“The first year was a year of adaptation, a new experience,” Neymar Sr explained.

“He feels very happy in Paris. He is happy, and he is growing up with PSG. His future is in Paris, his present is in Paris. It’s hard to talk about the future because in football, it can change at any time.”

Neymar has generally been a success for PSG, scoring close to a goal per game for the perennial French champions. But the player is nursing a broken metatarsal for the second season in a row, threatening the club’s European success as the season enters its critical stages.

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Santiago Solari Refuses to Rule Real Madrid Out of Title Race Despite Shock 2-1 Loss to Girona

​Real Madrid manager Santiago Solari has refused to rule his side out of the title race this season, after his side’s 2-1 home defeat to Girona saw them fall nine points behind Barcelona in the battle to win La Liga.

It was all going well for Los Blancos in the first half, as Casemiro gave his side an early lead as he powered home a header from Toni Kroos’ precision cross. However, Girona drew level midway through the second half courtesy of Cristhian Stuani’s ice-cool penalty. Portu then made it 2-1 as he capitalised on a Thibaut Courtois error and nodded in from close range.

Cristian Portugues ‘’Portu’’,Marcelo,Thibaut Courtois

​Los Blancos pushed hard for an equaliser, but saw captain Sergio Ramos sent off late on after picking up a second booking. Girona battened down the hatches, and secured a famous win at the Bernabéu.

Speaking after his side’s ​shock defeat, via Goal, Solari rubbished claims he’d look to focus on the cup competitions given his side’s struggles in ​La Liga, and said: “We have to get up quickly and keep going, all three competitions are still open for us. We came from a very hard journey (from facing Ajax in the Champions League), we paid for that effort. 

“We tried to overcome, to be fresher with the changes, but we did not achieve it. It is always a cliche to think about the one (Luka Modrić, who was suspended) who is not in (the team). We have to face what we are in. This is a squad with great players, it did not come out and that’s it. Football is a collective sport and the field is covered with all the players.

“Girona came out very well, very strong and they grew in the second half. We did not find the depth when we were dominated.”

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Real Madrid’s loss sees them remain third in the league table, two points behind ​Atlético Madrid in second and nine off league leaders ​Barcelona. Solari’s side will look to bounce back next weekend, when they take on mid-table side Levante. If Los Blancos are to stand any chance of winning La Liga this season, a win is an absolute must.

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Thibaut Courtois Claims Real Madrid Teammate Gareth Bale Has Not Adapted to Spanish ‘Way of Life’

Thibaut Courtois has criticised his Real Madrid teammate Gareth Bale for not adapting to the Spanish way of life during his time with Los Blancos, revealing that his nickname is “the Golfer”.

Bale made the move over to the Spanish capital back in 2013 and has gone on to make over 200 appearances in all competitions, registering 100 goals in the process. However, he has struggled to nail down a starting XI spot under Santiago Solari so far this season, sparking rumours of a potential exit in the summer transfer window.

Gareth Bale

​Courtois, who is himself enduring a troublesome debut season for ​Real, discussed ​Bale’s current situation with Belgian newspaper HLN, stating, as per ​Sky Sports: “It is very hard to describe Gareth in one word.

“I would say he has so much talent, but that it is such a shame that so often that talent is blocked from shining.

“I live like somebody who is born and bred in Madrid. I eat late, I go bed late… it is their way of life.”

Gareth Bale

The former ​Chelsea keeper then went on to share a recent incident where Bale snubbed his fellow teammates when they went for a group meal, revealing: “The other night we had a dinner with the entire squad.

“But Bale and (Toni) Kroos did not turn up. They reckoned the dinner was too late at night.

“We had arranged to be in the restaurant at 9.30pm and we started out meal around 10.15pm and by midnight we were having coffee.

“But Bale had told us ‘I am not coming to join you, guys. I go to bed at 11.'”

Courtois is not alone in his criticism of Bale, with left-back ​Marcelo recently claiming that the Welsh winger still struggles to communicate in Spanish.

“Bale does not speak [Spanish] as he only speaks English and we talk with gestures.”

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Wanda Nara Blasts ‘Completely False’ Rumours Real Madrid Rejected Mauro Icardi Because of Her

​Wanda Nara has dismissed rumours that Real Madrid rejected her client and husband Mauro Icardi because of her involvement in the deal.

Nara has forged a reputation as a challenging negotiator and is currently in the midst of discussing a new contract for Icardi with Inter. However, after having been stripped of the club captaincy and dropped from the team, Icardi’s future at the club has come into question.

Mauro Icardi,Wanda Nara

Spanish outlet ​Marca claimed that long-term admirers ​Real Madrid declined to pursue a deal for ​Icardi as they simply refused to deal with Nara, but the Argentine took to Twitter to dispute the report in posts which she has since delighted.

According to ​Football Italia, Nara wrote: “This version is completely false (RM). Perhaps time will prove me right, just as it did when I said there was STRONG interest from an Italian team [​Juventus]. 

“They treated me like a liar and a month later their director of sport confessed it too.”


She also followed this up with a post which contained several images of Icardi crying after an ​Inter defeat, as well as several more posts of his highlights for the club, including his best goals against the likes of ​Barcelona and ​AC Milan.

As well as Real, Icardi has been linked with monumental moves to the likes of ​Chelsea and Juventus, and it is expected that several other sides would enter the fray if the forward was made available for transfer in the near future.

Mauro Icardi

Widely regarded as one of the world’s finest strikers, Icardi has racked up 122 goals in his 210 appearances for Inter, including 15 strikes already this season.

His contract is thought to contain a release clause of around €110m, but the reported breakdown in talks at the club could drastically lower any potential asking price for Icardi. With so many big sides keen, this transfer saga could be one of the most exciting of the season.

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FIFA 19 Winter Upgrades: Premier League Ratings, Ones to Watch & Prime Icon Moments

​EA Sports have released their annual winter refresh for FIFA 19 Ultimate Team, which has seen an increase in the ratings of 23 Premier League players, as well the release of new special cards.

The popular video game franchise has rewarded a number of players who have shown impressive form over the first half of the season, with a number of high-profile stars receiving boosts to their already impressive ratings.

The update from EA Sports also contains new special cards, such as ‘Winter Ones to Watch’ and ‘Prime Icon Moments’, both of which will be highly sought after by players looking to add limited edition items to bolster their Ultimate Team.

Here is 90min’s breakdown of the FIFA 19 Winter Refresh.


Premier League Ratings Refresh

To keep the game as up-to-date as possible and to reward the recent form of many of the Premier League’s established key players and new breakthrough stars, there are 23 upgrades entering the game.

​Liverpool’s defensive solidity this season has seen goalkeeper Alisson, Virgin van Dijk and Andy Robertson all rewarded with improved in-game ratings. Alisson has jumped from an 85 to an 87, Van Dijk from an 85 to an 88 and Robertson has moved from 81 to 83.

​Manchester City’s ​Fernandinho and ​Raheem Sterling are both now 87 rated players thanks to their respective performances in City’s title defence, while Manchester United’s resurgence under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has not gone unnoticed from EA, as pacey attackers ​Anthony Martial and ​Marcus Rashford are now 84 and 82 rated respectively.

FBL-ENG-PR-TOTTENHAM-WOLVES

​Tottenham attacking duo ​Harry Kane and ​Son Heung-min have been rewarded for their fine attacking displays, with Kane now 90 rated and Son an 85. Meanwhile, across the north London, ​Arsenal strikers ​Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and ​Alexandre Lacazette have both been rewarded with increased ratings – with Aubameyang now an 88 and Lacazette an 85.

The biggest improvement however is at ​Crystal Palace, where right-back Aaron Wan Bissaka has leapfrogged from a silver 70 to a gold 76.


Winter Ones to Watch

This update covers the most notable transfers to take place during the January transfer window, celebrating the moves with new special cards.

Anyone trying to build a Ligue 1 team should look for new Monaco pairing ​Cesc Fabregas and Naldo, who both have 86 ratings. New Marseille forward ​Mario Balotelli also has a new 83 rated special card after his switch from OGC Nice.

FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-MONACO-TOULOUSE

Premier League new boys ​Michy Batshuayi, Nathaniel Clyne, Denis Suarez and Ryan Babel also feature with new cards in the update.


Prime Icon Moments

FIFA 19’s ‘icon’ players have also received an increase in their ratings, coupled with the introduction of new ‘Icon Moments’ cards.

The new cards have been created to commemorate a special individual moment in the career of an existing FIFA ‘Icon’.

Not every ‘Icon’ has received a new special card, as they will be released in groups, with only group one being revealed so far. There will be a total of 34 special cards released, with group two set to be revealed at a later date – giving Ultimate Team players plenty to look forward too over the coming weeks and months.

Arsenal's Captain, Thierry Henry gesture

For fans of the Premier League, ‘Icons’ to look out for from group one include 92 rated Steven Gerrard, an extremely quick 94 rated Thierry Henry and Ruud van Nistelrooy, who is 93 rated.

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Real Madrid vs Girona: Santiago Solari’s Best Available Los Blancos Lineup

Back in La Liga action after their Champions League exploits, Real Madrid will be hoping to continue their fine form and keep the pressure on Barcelona when they host Girona on Sunday.

Los Blancos’ 2-1 win away at Ajax means they are unbeaten in their last eight matches in all competitions – as the club continue to improve under Santiago Solari.

With no real injury concerns for the Madrid manager, he could opt for a strong lineup at the Bernabeu. Here’s how they could line up.

1. Goalkeeper and Defenders

UEFA Champions League'Ajax v Real Madrid'

Thibaut Courtois (GK) – The Belgian has seemingly cemented his place in the Madrid starting XI ahead of Keylor Navas after a string of impressive performances.

Dani Carvajal (RB) –  A combination of injury and form has seen the 27-year-old feature only 15 times in the league this season, yet when fit, he is a certain to feature for Solari’s men.

Sergio Ramos (CB) – The mercurial centre half notched up his 600th appearance for Los Blancos in the club’s recent 2-1 victory over Ajax, putting him seventh in the all-time appearance records for the club. Ramos will go level fifth and sixth if he features on Sunday.

Nacho (CB) Likely to fill in for Raphael Varane at centre-back, with the World Cup winner doubtful after sitting out training. Nacho is a more than capable replacement though, and can be relied upon to put in a solid shift.

Marcelo (LB) – The flamboyant Brazilian has lost his place in the side during recent weeks, but may find himself back in favour this week after sitting out the Champions League clash with Ajax – meaning his greater level of fitness could give him the nod.

2. Midfielders

Casemiro

Toni Kroos (CM) – Acts as the link between attack and defence in the Madrid midfield, spraying the ball from left to right with either foot at ease. His range of passing is second to none and he will see plenty of the ball on Sunday.

Casemiro (CDM) – His robust performance against Ajax earned him the man-of-the-match accolade. His ability to break up opposing attacks allows his side’s forward players to focus on their duties up front, knowing they’re secure at the back.

Dani Ceballos (CM) – With Luka Modric suspended and Marcos Llorente injured, it means Dani Ceballos could get the nod in the midfield three on Sunday. It will be the 22-year-old’s 30th appearance of the season.

3. Forwards

Karim Benzema

Marco Asensio (RW) – Will likely get the nod over Gareth Bale due to his goalscoring cameo appearance against Ajax. Has only scored once in La Liga this season, but the Welshman may be axed regardless.

Karim Benzema (CF) – Notched his 450th club appearance in the recent victory over Ajax and has been in excellent form for Solari’s side this campaign, averaging a goal every two games.

Vinicius Jr. (LW) – At the tender age of 18, the Brazilian demonstrates the confidence of someone ten years his senior. His skill on the ball and blistering pace will cause Girona all sorts of problems on Sunday.

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Real Madrid vs Girona: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

​Real Madrid return to La Liga action after their Champions League exploits, looking to keep the pressure on league leaders Barcelona when they take on Girona on Sunday.

Los Blancos secured a 2-1 win over Ajax in the first leg of their last 16 tie thanks to goals from Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio, handing them the advantage ahead of the second leg in March.

Santiago Solari’s side leapfrogged ​Atletico Madrid in their last league outing after their 3-1 triumph at the Wanda Metropolitano saw them overtake their bitter rivals and take second place in ​La Liga.


Here’s 90min’s preview of everything you need to know ahead of Sunday’s encounter.


Where to Watch

When Is Kick Off? Sunday 17 February
What Time Is Kick Off? 11:00 (GMT)
Where Is It Played? Santiago Bernabeu
TV Channel/ Live Stream? Eleven Sports 1 UK
Referee? TBC


Team News

The hosts have a couple of selection headaches ahead of this one, with Luka Modric ruled out through suspension and Raphael Varane unlikely to feature after missing training late on in the week.

Luka Modric

Los Blancos will be definitely be without Marcos Llorente and Luca Zidane, with both youngsters out injured for ​Madrid, while Isco remains a doubt with a back complaint.

Girona meanwhile are set to be without a whole host of first team regulars for their trip to the Bernabeu. Johan Mojica, Aday, Patrick Roberts, Seydou Doumbia and Marc Muniesa will all miss out on the trip to the capital. Furthermore, Bernardo Espinosa received a red card in their recent outing against Huesca, leaving the central defender suspended for the match.


Predicted Lineups

Real Madrid Courtois; Carvajal, Nacho, Ramos, Marcelo, Ceballos , Kroos, Casemiro; Asensio, Benzema, Vinicius Jr.
Girona Bono; Juanpe, Ramalho, Garcia, Porro, Garcia, Pere Pons, Fernandez, Portu, Garcia, Stuani

Head to Head Record

The previous five encounters between the sides have produced a staggering 26 goals, ten of which came in the two-legged Copa del Rey quarter final matches between the sides a few weeks ago.

Marcos Llorenta

Girona have a track record of being able to score against the hosts, netting in each of the last five​ meetings against Madrid, yet their only three point scalp came in the first ever meeting between the sides back in late 2017. Since then it has been goals galore as Los Blancos rarely falter against the Catalan side.


Recent Form

It has been something of a revolution under Solari since the Argentine took the reins, with the club currently on an unbeaten run of eight matches. A win in the ​Champions League over Ajax was preceded by an impressive 3-1 success away at bitter rivals Atletico, a result that lifted them into second in La Liga at the expense of Los Rojiblancos.

​Sitting just six points adrift of league leaders ​Barcelona, Madrid have found their magic touch, with the likes of ​Karim Benzema in fine goal scoring form ahead of the visit of the league’s 17th place side.

On the other hand Girona find themselves in free fall. The club have lost their last six matches in all competitions, a slide which has seen them fall perilously close to the La Liga relegation zone.

Their most recent outing was a demoralising 2-0 home defeat to basement club Huesca, with Eusebio Sacristan’s side in dire need of crucial points on Sunday.

Here is how each team has performed in their last five matches.

Real Madrid Girona
Ajax 1-2 Real Madrid (13/2) Girona 0-2 Huesca (09/2)
Atletico Madrid 1-3 Real Madrid (9/2) Eibar 3-0 Girona (03/2)
Barcelona 1-1 Real Madrid (6/2) Girona 1-3 Real Madrid (31/1)
Real Madrid 3-0 Alaves (3/2) Girona 0-2 Barcelona (27/1)
Girona 1-3 Real Madrid (31/1) Real Madrid 4-2 Girona (24/1)


Prediction

On one hand you have a team unbeaten in their last eight matches, including Champions League scalps, an away victory at Atletico and a credible draw at Camp Nou. While on the other hand, you have a team staring down the barrel of potentially a seventh straight defeat.

Karim Benzema

The odds are stacked somewhat in the favour of the hosts on this one, who will be beaming with confidence after their last three results, and on home turf anything other than a comfortable victory would be deemed disappointing.

No shocks here.

Prediction: Real Madrid 4-0 Girona

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Real Madrid Close to Santiago Bernabeu Redevelopment After Securing €575m Bank Loan

Real Madrid have reportedly made a significant step in their bid to redevelop the Santiago Bernabeu, after it emerged that they had now secured a €575m bank loan for the plan.

Club president Florentino Perez has been a long-time advocate over redeveloping the iconic stadium and had previously entered into talks over finding a naming rights partner to help fund the project.

Real Madrid  v CSKA Moscow - UEFA Champions League Group G

However, potential investors were reportedly unsettled by the notion of upsetting the historical status of the venue, claiming that the situation would be different if the club were building a new ground.

Now, according to Spanish publication ​El Confidencial, Madrid have made a huge stride in their redevelopment plans after Bank of America Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan agreed to grant the club a €575m loan for the venture.

The report adds that the two US banks will be joined in the deal by both Santander and CaixaBank, although the latter pair are not as heavily invested in the agreement.

It was previously reported that JP Morgan were the front-runners to fund the development, which if goes to plan, would see ​La Liga side’s 81,044-seater stadium undergo a major reconstruction to help generate an approximate €150m a year in additional revenue.

Enrique Cerezo,Florentino Perez

Despite Perez previously forecasting that ​Madrid’s debt from the project would be paid off at a fixed rate over the next 35 years, El Confidencial’s latest report has suggested that the club are only estimated to pay for the financing for the following 30 years

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Gareth Bale: Why Real Madrid Star May Have Missed the Boat for Return to England

Gareth Bale flirted with leaving Real Madrid in the immediate aftermath of the 2018 Champions League final in Kyiv. The Welshman had been left on the bench in the biggest club game in the world for the second year in a row by Zinedine Zidane but had come off the bench to score twice and win the game for Los Blancos. He had every right to feel aggrieved given his impact.

“I need to be playing week in, week out, and that’s not happened this season I had an injury five, six weeks into the season but I’ve been fit ever since. I have to sit down with my agent in the summer and discuss it,” he said on live television immediately after the final whistle.

It appeared to be an ultimatum to the Bernabeu hierarchy. ‘Play me or I’m off’.

Gareth Bale

In the end Zidane walked, seemingly exhausted by the frenzy of two-and-a-half years in the biggest goldfish bowl in world sport and sensing an inevitable drop off after unprecedented success. Cristiano Ronaldo also left, eyeing a fresh challenge at Juventus in Italy.

Bale stayed put, his vey public threat unexecuted. Having survived a coach he didn’t get on with, making such a huge statement with his decisive goals in Kyiv, and finally able to step out of Ronaldo’s shadow as the main man, his future at Real looked brighter than ever before.

But maybe he too should have gone out on top. Now there is a chance it is too late.

Bale’s time in Spain hasn’t been as spectacular as his record of four Champions League titles, and La Liga and Copa del Rey success might suggest. Yes, he has scored crucial goals in two Champion League finals, converted a penalty in a victorious shootout in another, and played one in his home city. But the player has also had to contend with plenty of criticism from fans and the media, has constantly struggled with injuries and still isn’t currently kicking on as hoped.

Gareth Bale

Despite a strong start to this season in which he scored three times in the three La Liga games, he has again been affected by injuries, while his form has dropped in a team struggling to maintain success. Bale is not Real’s new Ronaldo, instead far from an indispensible cog.

It also appears that even five-and-a-half years after joining the club, Bale remains an outsider in the dressing room because of his language barrier. Earlier this week, Marcelo revealed that he sits next to Bale in the dressing room but the two are barely able to talk to each other.

“[After Kiko Casillas left] I don’t have anyone next to me. There’s nobody there! On the other side I have Bale but he doesn’t say anything! He only speaks English, so you can imagine what that’s like! I’m like: “Hey! Hi! Hello and Goodbye…” the Brazilian explained.

Where the likes of Steve McManaman and David Beckham learned at least enough Spanish to comfortably get by in Madrid, successfully converse with their teammates and coaches, even conduct interviews and speak to the press, Bale appears to lack more than basic skills.

Gareth Bale

It must be a lonely day-to-day existence if he communicates as little as Marcelo says he does.

Bale is now also facing a potential La Liga suspension after a ‘corte de mangas’ gesture made as he celebrated a recent goal against Atletico Madrid. If he is deemed to have deliberately attempted to incite fans in the stadium the maximum punishment is a 12-game ban. The fact he did it all – striking the top of his bent right arm with his left in an aggressive manner, suggests significant frustration.

A player on enormous wages, who will turn 30 this summer and has a track record of injuries is not the future of Real Madrid when much younger individuals like Marco Asensio, Vinicius Junior and, in due course, Rodrygo Goes, are staking their claim for places.

The problem for Bale, however, is that were he looking to return home, what might once have been a healthy list of eager suitors has dried up. Last summer might have been his last chance for a top transfer before he is considered ‘over the hill’.

Gareth Bale

It was no secret that Manchester United have made multiple attempts to sign him in previous years, while Chelsea had also been linked on occasion. Even now, the English tabloids certainly won’t fail to make a United connection in any story surrounding Bale’s future. Yet where there was once at least some substance to such claims, it has become rather hollow.

In a transfer market increasingly geared towards finding unpolished younger talents with potential, a player like Bale offers little value, making any top club think twice about making approach even if he became available. For that reason, United, Tottenham, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City are all no go. Even Chelsea would surely be reluctant given that similar reservations about Gonzalo Higuain were only dissuaded by Maurizio Sarri’s influence..

Arguably only United, City and Chelsea could even afford him, leaving little in the way of options unless someone like Inter stepped forward. Given his language trouble in Spain, would Italy be any better? Short-term, maybe, longer term, it seems unlikely.

Gareth Bale

In light of everything, it may be time for Gareth Bale to seriously consider his Real Madrid future, but he may already have left it too late if he wants a final big move.

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