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Agbonlahor open to Celtic move

Former Aston Villa and England striker Gabby Agbonlahor says he would be open to signing for Celtic.

The 31-year-old was released from Villa while Celtic lost star striker Moussa Dembele to Lyon at the end of the transfer window.

And after featuring in a charity match at Celtic Park, Agbonlahor said he would be happy to wear the hoops full time.

“I think every player if they had the chance to play for Celtic would take it,” he told The Herald. “Can you imagine playing in front of 60,000 people inside this place.

“You can never rule anything out – can you? I will try and speak to Brendan Rodgers and we will see what happens!”

Man Utd to swap Pogba for Dybala

Red Devils & Juve stars to trade places

Having identified Juventus forward Paulo Dybala as a top target, Calciomercato claims that Manchester United are prepared to swap Paul Pogba for the Argentine forward.

Barcelona have been leading the hunt for the Red Devils’ World Cup-winning midfielder, but he would be open to returning to Turin for a second spell.

Dortmund will demand £68m for Weigl
Manchester City ​will have to pay Borussia Dortmund £68 million (€76m/$88m) to sign midfielder Julian Weigl, according to the Daily Star.

Pep Guardiola is looking for cover for 33-year-old Fernandinho in defensive midfield, and sees the 23-year-old as the ideal candidate.

City could launch a bid for Weigl in the January transfer window.

Varane sees door opened for Man Utd Move

Real Madrid are prepared to part with Raphael Varane in the summer of 2019, with Diario Gol claiming that the Frenchman is destined to head for Manchester United.

Jose Mourinho has made no secret of his admiration for the World Cup winner and is prepared to pay whatever it takes to get a deal done.

Pavard offered to Barcelona

Benjamin Pavard’s agent has contacted Barcelona over a possible deal for the France international but will have to pay around €35 million (£31m/$40m) to sign him, Mundo Deportivo reports.

The Stuttgart star has attracted interest from Bayern Munich following his impressive performances at the World Cup and is expected to move on next summer.

However, Barca do not have any space on the right side and are unlikely to make a move for the 22-year-old.
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Croatia’s first match since their World Cup final defeat by France ended in a draw as Pepe headed an equaliser for Portugal in a friendly in Lisbon.

The visitors took the lead, with Ivan Perisic volleying in from close range in the 18th minute.

But Pepe, who scored in his country’s last-16 loss to Uruguay in Russia this summer, headed in Pizzi’s cross on 32 minutes to earn the home side a draw.

Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo missed the game after declaring himself unfit.

Sergio Oliveira and Gedson Fernandes won their first caps after coming on as second-half substitutes for the visitors, who also had Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves and Southampton defender Cedric Soares in their starting XI.

Croatia, beaten 4-2 by France in the World Cup final in July, are now without retired goalkeeper Danijel Subasic and striker Mario Mandzukic, while influential midfielder Ivan Rakitic was rested for the game.

Both countries begin their Nations League campaigns next week, with Portugal hosting Italy in Group A3 on Monday, while Croatia are in Spain on Tuesday in Group A4, which also contains England.
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World champions France were held to a goalless draw by Germany in League A of Uefa’s Nations League.

Playing their first game since beating Croatia to win the World Cup, France forward Antoine Griezmann forced Manuel Neuer into a smart save.

The match improved after a poor first half with Marco Reus and Matthias Ginter both denied by France goalkeeper Alphonse Areola on his debut.

France host Netherlands in the second group game on Sunday (19:45 BST).

After the home and away fixtures between the teams, the group winners move to next June’s finals with the three other League A group winners and the chance to be crowned Nations League champions.

Didier Deschamps’ side will be looking to progress once more after being beaten in the final of Euro 2016 by Portugal, but triumphing in Russia this summer.

They claimed a credible point away to four-time world champions Germany, who were back in action after a humiliating group stage exit at the World Cup.

RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner caused problems with his pace but was unable to deliver a telling pass in the final third, while defender Mats Hummels forced Paris Saint- Germain’s Areola – the only change from the World Cup final starting line-up – into a sharp stop after a foray forward.

Manchester City winger Leroy Sane returned to the German side late in the second half – after being left out of the World Cup squad – but was unable to make an impact in his seven minutes on the pitch.
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Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba believes “there will always be talk” amid continuing speculation about his future at Old Trafford.

The 25-year-old fell out of favour last season and was linked with a return to Juventus, or Barcelona in the summer.

On Wednesday, Pogba fuelled speculation when he said: “Who knows what will happen in the next few months.”

However, on Thursday, he said: “It’s not me who’s talking. I’m trying to do my job and work on myself physically.”

The World Cup winner was speaking either side of France’s 0-0 draw with Germany in their opening Uefa Nations League match.

When asked if he was “fed up” with all the speculation, he replied: “I got back late [from the World Cup], so I’m trying to perform as well as possible.”

Asked about his relationship with United boss Jose Mourinho, Pogba replied: “We have a pure coach-player relationship, that’s right.

“One thing I can assure you, I will always give 100% – no matter which coach I always give everything for United. I cannot say more.”

The former United youth player returned to the club on a five-year deal after four years with Juventus, signing for a then world record £89m fee in 2016.

Last season, he was dropped to the bench by Mourinho for both legs of United’s Champions League last-16 defeat by Sevilla.

But he was made captain for the opening two games of the Premier League season in the absence of Antonio Valencia and has scored twice so far.
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Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric and Mohamed Salah are the finalists for Best Fifa Men’s Player award for 2018.

Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, missed out on a place in the top three.

There was also no place for any member of France’s World Cup winning squad.

Lyon’s Champions League winning duo Ada Hegerberg of Norway and Germay’s Dzsenifer Marozsan are the finalists for Best Fifa Women’s Player, alongside Brazil forward Marta.

Portugal winger Ronaldo, the 2016 and 2017 winner, won a fifth Champions League title with Real Madrid in May before joining Juventus for £99.2m.

Real midfielder Luka Modric was named the World Cup 2018’s player of the tournament as Croatia reached the final against France.

Egypt forward Salah scored 44 goals as Liverpool reached the Champions League final, losing to Real.

Modric beat Ronaldo and Salah to win the Uefa Men’s Player of the Year last week.

England striker Harry Kane, who won the World Cup Golden Boot and was on the original 10-man shortlist, has also missed out.

Didier Deschamps, who led France to the World Cup, is nominated for coach of the year, alongside Croatia’s Zlatko Dalic and former Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane.

The awards are separate to the Ballon d’Or, after world football’s governing body ended its association with that honour in 2016.

A panel of Fifa legends and experts drew up 10-man shortlists for each award and a jury consisting of national team captains, coaches, selected journalists and fans choose the winner, each group accounting for 25% of the vote.

Ronaldo’s overhead kick against Juventus and Gareth Bale’s overhead kick against Liverpool in the Champions League final are among the 10 nominees for the Puskas award for best goal, which is voted for by the fans.

The winners will be announced on 24 September at Royal Festival Hall in London.

Men’s player
Cristiano Ronaldo – Juventus & Portugal

Luka Modric – Real Madrid & Croatia

Mohamed Salah – Liverpool & Egypt

Women’s player
Ada Hegerberg – Lyon & Norway

Dzsenifer Marozsan – Lyon & Germany

Marta – Orlando Pride & Brazil

Men’s coach
Zlatko Dalic – Croatia

Didier Deschamps – France

Zinedine Zidane – former Real Madrid

Women’s coach
Reynald Pedros – Lyon

Asako Takakura – Japan

Sarina Wiegman – Netherlands

Goalkeeper
Thibaut Courtois – Real Madrid & Belgium

Hugo Lloris – Tottenham & France

Kasper Schmeichel – Leicester & Denmark

Puskas Award
Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) v Liverpool

Denis Cheryshev (Russia) v Croatia

Lazaros Christodoulopoulos (AEK) v Olympiacos

Giorgian De Arrascaeta (Cruzeiro) -v America MG

Riley McGree (Newcastle Jets) v Melbourne City

Lionel Messi (Argentina) v Nigeria

Benjamin Pavard (France) v Argentina

Ricardo Quaresma (Portugal) v Iran

Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid ) v Juventus

Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) v Everton

Fan Award
Sebastian Carrera (Deportes Puerto Montt, Chile)

Peru fans

Japan and Senegal fans
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Lionel Messi believes Juventus are now a “clear favourite” to win the Champions League after signing Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid.

Messi and Ronaldo have contested one of the great sporting rivalries over the course of the last decade, competing for individual and team honours while playing for arch-rivals Barcelona and Madrid.

However, the pair will now only meet on the field again if Madrid draw Juve in European competition, following Ronaldo’s £105m move to Turin.

Messi says Real are now worse off without Ronaldo and believes the Spanish club’s loss is Juventus’ gain.

“It makes Juventus a clear favourite to win the Champions League due to the squad they had before and now with him on top.

“I was surprised by his decision, I did not think he would go from Madrid nor that he would go to Juventus. There were so many teams and I heard less about Juve but it is a very good team.”

Barcelona have not won the Champions League since 2015 – largely due to the dominance of Real Madrid, who have claimed the trophy in the last three seasons.

Messi says Barcelona are desperate for European success this year after three consecutive quarter-final exits.

“It is necessary because we have had three years where we have gone out in the quarter-finals and the last was the worst of the lot due to how it happened,” said Messi.

“We are concentrating on this because it is possible, we have a squad where we can fight for this competition.

“In other years the Champions League evaded us, in the Guardiola era with Inter and Chelsea, due to small details.

“Each year the competition is more even with clubs investing more money to compete and bring in players. The two Manchester clubs, Chelsea, Madrid, us, PSG and several Italian clubs.”
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After a week of turmoil and questions, this was Jose Mourinho’s day.

Two first-half goals from Romelu Lukaku were enough for 10-man Manchester United to beat Burnley 2-0 at Turf Moor, avoid a third successive Premier League defeat and quell the intense speculation that had been building around Mourinho’s future after two years as manager.

“I am delighted with the result,” he said in his post-match media conference. “But I think some of you must be disappointed. [For you] it would be much better if we lose.”

He was adamant it was about the team and not him, because “the manager does not play”.

However, Lukaku believes his side went through a turning point by beating Sean Dyche’s team and expects their strengths to shine through in the next few weeks.

“In the first half we showed a lot of quality and in the second half we showed a lot of character and mentality,” the Belgium international told MUTV.

”We have the mentality, but it needs to come out a bit more. That is what the manager wants and that is what we need to do. We needed the win, especially after back-to-back losses when we conceded three goals, which didn’t happen last season. We are delighted with the win and we have to move on from this.

“We are Manchester United, this is how we have to play in every game and against Tottenham we did the same. The people will now see a different side of us. Everything that we worked on in the last couple of weeks is coming out now – lots of quick passing, runs in behind, a lot of action and a lot of chances.

“As long as we create chances, we know we will score. We defended well, we tried to press the ball, the fans want to see that and we tried to deliver.”
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MILAN — Serie A title hopefuls Napoli were thumped 3-0 at Sampdoria on Sunday after coach Carlo Ancelotti tinkered with the team, dropping captain Marek Hamsik and forward Jose Callejon.

Gregoire Defrel scored two first-half goals to put Sampdoria in command and, although Napoli improved after the break, Fabio Quagliarella added a third with an outrageous flick in the 75th minute.

A low cross was sent into the area and the 35-year-old forward, at the near post, diverted it into the net with the back of his heel.

Last season’s runners-up Napoli, who came from behind to win both their first two games, have six points from three matches.

Ancelotti’s predecessor Maurizio Sarri was publicly criticised by club president Aurelio De Laurentiis last season for failing to rotate the team.

Even so, it was a bold move by Ancelotti as Hamsik had appeared in every Serie A match since April, 2015 while Callejon had started their last 54 league games.

But it quickly backfired as Defrel, who managed one league goal for Roma last season, collected a pass from Riccardo Saponara and rifled a 25-metre shot between David Ospina and his near post in the 11th minute.

Defrel, cleverly set up by Quagliarella, added the second just after the half hour with a shot which took a deflection off Raul Albiol and sneaked past Ospina.

Ancelotti sent on Adam Ounas and Dries Mertens in the second half and, although Napoli improved markedly, they were floored by Quagliarella’s typically flamboyant effort as Sampdoria completed their first win over Napoli since 2010.
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The Croatia international’s exploits for Los Blancos on their way to a third successive Champions League title have been rewarded with the prize Luka Modric has been named the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year for 2017-18, seeing off competition from Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah.

The Real Madrid midfielder was crowned at the ceremony for the Champions League group stage draw on Thursday.

Modric, who has been with the Spanish side since 2012, featured 11 times as Madrid continued their dominance of the Champions League, scoring once and adding a single assist.

But it was his conviction in possession and ability to turn defence into attack with just one pass that made him so vital to Los Blancos’ success.
His former team-mate Ronaldo – who scored 15 goals in last season’s competition and winner of the previous two awards – and Liverpool star Salah were considered leading candidates due to their respective displays in attack.

But Modric, who also claimed the Golden Ball at the World Cup, won the most votes from coaches and journalists to seal the award.

“I would like to dedicate this to my coaches and my team-mates, ” said Modric.

“They are there in the good moments and also the not so good moments so this is for them.”

Champions League winners Madrid dominated the individual awards, winning every single one for the men’s game.

Keylor Navas, Sergio Ramos and Ronaldo won the respective accolades for best goalkeeper, defender and forward, while Modric took the prize for most impressive midfielder.

Pernille Harder of Wolfsburg and Denmark was named 2017-18 UEFA Women’s Player of the Year, beating Ada Hegerberg and Amandine Henry in the voting.

Meanwhile, Georgia international defender Guram Kashia won the inaugural UEFA #EqualGame Award for his taking a stand for diversity by wearing a rainbow armband in support of LGBT rights in the face of intense criticism from his homeland.
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Arsene Wenger has announced that he will leave Arsenal at the end of the season, ending his 22-year career as the current longest-serving manager in the Premier League.

In what was a shock announcement on Friday morning ahead of this weekend’s Premier League clash with West Ham, Wenger confirmed that he will leave the club.

“After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season,” Wenger said in a statement.

“I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years.

“I managed the club with full commitment and integrity.

“I want to thank the staff, the players, the Directors and the fans who make this club so special.

“I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club.

“My love and support for ever.”

Arsenal’s majority shareholder, Stan Kroenke, paid tribute to Wenger and hailed his influence on the club, with the American billionaire admitting that he hopes to build on the Frenchman’s legacy.

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