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Juventus signs Cristiano Ronaldo in a four-year deal

By Sports Desk,

Juventus and Real Madrid have agreed terms that will see Portugal’s all-time highest goalscorer move to Turin in a deal worth a reported £105 million.

After scoring a record 450 goals in 438 games, Cristiano Ronaldo  is finally ending is nine-year stay with Real Madrid after agreeing to join Italian champions, Juventus.

Speculation had been mounting for weeks about the future of Ronaldo – who won four Champions League titles with Real – and the move, believed to be worth up to £105m, will be seen as a big step forward for Italian football.

Andrea Agnelli, the Juve chairman, was at Ronaldo’s hotel in Greece on Tuesday as discussions over the move advanced, Ronaldo’s agent – Jorge Mendes – was believed to be simultaneously meeting with Real Madrid.

Madrid made clear in their announcement that the transfer was driven primarily by the player’s desires.

The official 192-word statement from Real Madrid said read: “Real Madrid C. F. communicates that, according to the will and request expressed by the player Cristiano Ronaldo, we have agreed to transfer him to Juventus F. C.

“Today Real Madrid wants to express its gratitude to a player who has proved to be the best in the world and who has marked one of the most brilliant times in the history of our club and world football.

“Beyond the conquered titles, the trophies and the triumphs achieved in the playing fields during these nine years, Cristiano Ronaldo has been an example of dedication, work, responsibility, talent and improvement.

“He has also become the top scorer in the history of Real Madrid with 451 goals in 438 games. In total, [Ronaldo won] 16 titles, including 4 European Cups, three of them consecutively and four in the last five seasons. On an individual basis, in the Real Madrid jersey he has won four Ballon d’Ors, two (Fifa’s) The Best, and three Gold Boots, among many other awards.

“For Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo will always be one of the great symbols and a unique inspiration for the next generations.

“Real Madrid will always be your home.”

Ronaldo will hope he can help Juventus win their first Champions League crown since 1996, an achievement that would add to his personal haul of five Champions League titles.

Neymar issues term for Real Madrid move

By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

Following Real Madrid’s recent interest in Brazilian forward, Neymar, the player has told the club he will only move to the Bernabeu if he is joined by countryman and Paris Saint-Germain teammate, Marquinhos.

The Spanish giants have fallen behind rival, Barcelona, in the domestic league in the ongoing 2017/18 season, as the Catalan giants opened up a 16-point gap between them, with the recent acquisition of Philippe Coutinho billed to strengthen their position at the top of Spanish football.

The Enersto Valverde side are still keen on making a move for Antoine Griezmann in the summer with Barcelona president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, keeping his promise to Lionel Messi by surrounding him with world-class players.

Meanwhile, Neymar has consistently been linked with a move to the Spanish capital, with reports suggesting he is unhappy with life at PSG.

Although he only left Barcelona last summer for a world-record fee worth 198 million Pounds, Madrid are said to interested in tempting him to come back to La Liga.

However, Spanish outlet Mi Otra Liga, claims Neymar will only entertain a move if Marquinhos can join him at Madrid.

The central defender is seemingly looking for a way out of the French capital, and he plays in a position Real are desperate to strengthen.

Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane currently occupy the two starting spots at centre-back but the latter has often been out injured leaving Zinedine Zidane short on options.

And it is claimed Real are considering a huge offer to sign both Neymar and Marquinhos in the summer.

Former Chelsea boss, Ancelotti, to replace Wenger

By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

Following a recent run of poor form, Arsenal are prepared for Arsene Wenger to leave the club in the summer of 2018 and are lining up Carlo Ancelotti to replace him at the end of the season.

The French boss came under fresh pressure after Arsenal’s miserable FA Cup exit at the hands of Nottingham Forest and the club officials are aware that he may quit at the end of the current campaign.

With the Premier League title seemingly beyond them and with Arsenal not competing in the UEFA Champions League this season, the chances of Wenger delivering major silverware seem slim and a loss to Chelsea in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup would be a crushing blow for Wenger.

The French tactician survived heavy pressure from the club’s fans in the 2016/17 season by delivering the FA Cup and signing a new two-year deal, but the 68-year-old may not see out the contract. And Ancelotti is being eyed up as a serious candidate to replace him.

According to the Evening Standard, the former Chelsea coach is viewed as having the required pedigree to lead the club forward and they are relaxed over the prospect of Wenger leaving.

The Italian who has spent time at Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan, has delivered major silverware at the club he has managed.

The former Real Madrid boss plans to move back to London in February 2018, following his sacking at Bayern in September 2017, and Chelsea are also keeping a watchful eye over him should relations with Antonio Conte goes sour.



Sevilla in race for Chelsea’s striker, Batshuayi

By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

Spanish League outfit, Sevilla, are keen on striking a deal with London side, Chelsea, to take Michy Batshuayi on a six-month loan, as they hope to bolster their attack in the ongoing 2017/18 season.

The Belgian has endured a frustrating period on the sideline following the arrival of Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid for a club record fee of 70 million Pounds.

Manager of the side, Antonio Conte, selected Eden Hazard to start as a ‘false nine’ ahead of Batshuayi when the Spanish striker was ruled out of the team’s recent fixture against Huddersfield Town.

With the World Cup coming up in the summer of 2018, the former Marseille attacker is eyeing a regular playing time to stay in Roberto Martinez’s plans for the tournament in Russia.

Linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge in the January transfer window, reports suggest that Sevilla’s manager, Vincenzo Montella, is keen to bring the striker to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium as they seek further attacking options.

Although the Sevilla are keen on the signing of the striker, the Blues are only prepared to let Batshuayi leave temporarily if they can bring in a replacement forward.

West Ham striker, Andy Carroll, has been linked with a shock move, while Moussa Marega and Richmond Boakye are two other strikers linked with a transfer to the West London club.

Conte – Mourinho: ‘You’re a “little man!”

The existing feud between Chelsea’s manager, Antonio Conte, and Manchester United’s boss, Jose Mourinho, has escalated as the Italian labelled the Portuguese “a little man”, recently, after the former Inter Milan boss made a reference to the Chelsea manager’s previous suspension for match-fixing.

Mourinho and Conte have been involved in a war of words this week after United’s boss suggested that the Chelsea manager behaves like a ‘clown’ on the touchline.

Conte responded to Mourinho by claiming that the Portuguese was ‘senile’ and pointed out that the former Real Madrid manager also has a history of being animated whilst watching matches.

After United’s 2-0 victory over Derby on Friday, January 5, Mourinho initially sympathised with Conte during his press conference but then referenced the Italian’s ban for match-fixing during the 2012-13 season.

Conte was suspended for four months for failing to report match-fixing activities during his time at Siena in 2011, but was later cleared of wrongdoing by an Italian court.

“I think its very difficult to answer this type of comment,” Conte said after Chelsea’s 0-0 draw with Norwich City in the FA Cup.

“I think when a person the target is to offend, to insult another person, I think you’re a little man, but we all know him very well what’s in the past but he’s always the same.”

Asked if he was annoyed by Mourinho’s comments, Conte replied: “No, but this is his way, it’s not a surprise for me, when you insult or offend another person you’re a little man, and I think he’s a little man.

“Life goes on, I not worried about him. For sure, there is a good opportunity when we play against Manchester United to clarify in a room, me and him.”


Real Madrid set to swap Bale for Chelsea’s Hazard

By Emmanuel Onminyi wit Agency report,

Spanish giants, Real Madrid, in a bid to rescue what is left of their season, are ready to propose a swap deal to English Premier League side, Chelsea, involving Eden Hazard.

The Belgium international is a long-term target of the Spanish heavyweights, with Madrid president, Florentino Perez, and manager, Zinedine Zidane, both huge admirers of the forward.

The 26-year-old was expected to move to the Bernabeu in the summer of 2017, but the former Lille winger broke his ankle while on international duty, ending any hopes of a deal.

Meanwhile, Spanish transfer outlet, Don Balon, said the European Champions are still desperate to sign Hazard and Zidane is willing to give up Gareth Bale in a swap deal for the highly-rated attacker.

Madrid are confident an offer of Bale plus cash would convince Chelsea’s manager, Antonio Conte, to sell his player at the end of the season. Although, Bale has been tipped to quit the Spanish side in the summer of 2018.

In the mean time, Manchester United and Tottenham have place the 28-year-old Wales international on their radar, and they may launch a full request for his signature.

Red Devils’ boss, Jose Mourinho, publicly revealed his admiration for Bale, however, the Special One claimed a move would be ‘mission impossible’.

Bale has struggled to impress under Zidane in the ongoing 2017/18, with injuries plaguing his performances.

Ronaldo returns to training ahead El Clasico

By Emmanuel Onminyi,

Cristiano Ronaldo returned to full training on Friday with his Real Madrid teammates to quash fears he could miss Saturday’s El Clasico clash with Barcelona at Real’s Santiago Bernabeu.

The world player of the year received rough treatment as he scored the winner in the FIFA Club World Cup final over Brazilian club, Gremio, last weekend in Abu Dhabi, but Ronaldo had insisted he would be fit for the lunchtime visit of league leaders, Barcelona.

Reports suggested that Ronaldo did not train with the rest of the Madrid squad on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday as a precaution.

Madrid who started the season on a poor note, will need Ronaldo in the form he has shown of late having scored five goals in his last four games as the Spanish champions look to claw their way back into the title race.

Zinedine Zidane’s men trail Barca by 11 points and are in fourth place also behind Atletico Madrid and Valencia, but they do have a game in hand on their rivals.

Meanwhile, the European champions have their UEFA Champions League title on the line as they face PSG in the Round-of-16, and coach of the French side, Unai Emery, has seized the El Clasico to spy on Real Madrid, in preparations for the epic encounter on February 14, 2018.

No Guard of Honour for Real Madrid ahead El Classico- Guillermo Amor

By Emmanuel Onminyi,

Ahead of the December 23 El Clasico match, much of the headlines have been about Barcelona opting not to form a guard of honour for Real Madrid after their Club World Cup win, but La Liga president, Javier Tebas, has though confirmed that if a team does not wish to do so, they do not have to.

Barcelona head into the match 11 points ahead of their fiercest rivals with reality setting in that the clash at Santiago Bernabeu is likely to be Madrid’s last chance of staying in the title race.

“If a club doesn’t want to form a guard of honour for Real Madrid, they don’t have to,” Tebas explained in an interview with Spanish daily, Marca.

“It’s Barcelona’s decision whether people like it or not. I don’t think it’s important at all, I don’t care if there are guards of honour, applause or even balloons.”

According to Guillermo Amor, the manager of Barcelona’s youth system as well as the director of institutional and sporting relations of the first team, the Catalan giants can only form a guard of honour if they were involved in the competition their rivals won.

He intimated: “In this club, the guard of honour is usually done when we participate in the same tournament as the champion.”

Barcelona go Saturday’s game as Spanish league leaders, while Real Madrid head into the game on the backdrop of their recent Club World Cup triumph.


Griezmann free to leave- Simeone

By Emmanuel Onminyi,

As a result of their poor form in the 2017/18 season, Atletico Madrid’s coach, Diego Simeone, has confirmed that Antoine Griezmann will be allowed to leave the club.

The 26-year-old is reported to be a target for a number of Europe’s largest clubs, with Manchester United linked with a move for the France international last summer.

Griezmann is expected to remain at Atletico for the remainder of the season, but he has been given the nod by Simeone to leave the club in the future.

Although there are indications of the attacker remaining at the club in the new year, the club is preparing for life without him, as Barcelona and Manchester United are leading the race for his signature.

The Frenchman has endured a rough start to the current campaign with Atletico since the team moved to their new stadium, Wanda Metropolitano.

The Spanish giants who made it to two UEFA Champions League finals in three seasons, and losing out to city rivals, Real Madrid, on both occasions, have crashed out of the current season Champions League, and they are third on the La liga table with 33 points, 6 points behind leaders, Barcelona.

With the attacker’s present form, staying with Atletico may prove a tall order, especially with the interest from other top clubs.


Madrid escapes Al Jazira, meet Gremio in FIFA Club World Cup final

By Emmanuel Onminyi,

Gareth Bale came off the bench to book Real Madrid’s place in the Club World Cup final as the European champions recovered from the shock of going behind to beat Emirate champions, Al Jazira, 2-1.

Despite dominating throughout, Madrid trailed at half-time to Romarinho’s opener in a match also marred by use of the video assistant referee, VAR, that ruled out a goal for both sides.

Madrid’s pressure finally paid off 10 minutes into the second half when Cristiano Ronaldo leveled before Bale broke Al Jazira’s resistance with his first touch eight minutes from time.

Meanwhile, Brazilian side, Gremio, clinched their place in the December 16 Club World Cup final as Everton’s terrific strike secured a 1-0 victory over Mexico’s Pachuca, after extra time.

Pachuca, who qualified as club champions of the Caribbean and North and Central American region, saw their hopes of an equalizer all but end with Victor Guzman sent off for a second booking, ten minutes from time.

Earlier, Japan’s Urawa Reds claimed fifth place with a 3-2 victory over African champions Wydad Casablanca at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, United Arab Emirates.

Real Madrid are current holders of the Club World Cup after beating Japanese club, Kashima Antlers, 4-2 with a goal from Karim Benzema, and a hat-trick from 2017 Ballon d’Or winner, Cristiano Ronaldo.