Jul 22 2014
Real Madrid have announced that they have agreed a deal to sign James Rodriguez from Monaco.
The Colombia international underwent a medical on Monday and the 23-year-old will now sign a six-year contract after the clubs agreed a fee reported be in the region of 80 million euros.
A statement on the club's official website on Tuesday read: "Real Madrid C. F. have reached an agreement with AS Monaco FC to buy James Rodriguez, who will join the club for the next six seasons.
"The player will be presented today, Tuesday 22 July, at 20:00 CET, in the Santiago Bernabeu's presidential box.
"Following that, James Rodriguez will take his first steps on the Santiago Bernabeu's pitch wearing the Real Madrid jersey and will then answer questions from the media outlets in attendance in the press room."
Rodriguez joined Monaco from Porto for a reported 45 million euros last summer, but he had been strongly linked with a move to Madrid after his performance at the World Cup, which saw him win the Golden Boot after scoring six goals as well as claiming the award for the best goal of the tournament.
He had told Marca earlier this month that a move to the Bernabeu was his "life's dream" and he had followed the club "religiously" since the "Galactico" era.
Monaco insisted on Tuesday that they had "no intention to sell" the player but felt the move was "the most beneficial solution for all parties."
Though he started slowly at the Stade Louis II, Rodriguez eventually contributed nine goals and 12 assists as the principality outfit finished second only to Paris Saint-Germain on their return to the top flight after a two-season absence to secure Champions League football.
The club's vice-chairman and CEO, Vadim Vasilyev, said in a statement on the Ligue 1 club's official website: "AS Monaco is proud ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
Jul 22 2014
Germany coach Joachim Low will be made a honourary citizen of his hometown of Schoenau in Schwarzwald following his World Cup success this summer.
Die Nationalmannschaft beat Argentina 1-0 in the final earlier this month to lift the trophy for the fourth time in their history, and became the first European side to ever win a World Cup on South American soil.
After Low guided his nation to football's ultimate prize, Schoenau's mayor, Peter Schelshorn, says the 54-year-old coach did his hometown -- located in southwest Germany and home to 2,300 inhabitants -- proud in Brazil.
"We are proud of Jogi Low. He has carried the name of Schoenau throughout the world," he told the DPA news agency.
The city council voted unanimously to award Low the honour, which the coach has already agreed to accept.
There will be a "grand reception" at a later date for the coach, while the local stadium -- where Low played his first game -- will also be renamed after the Germany boss.
Low's first job on returning from his holidays will be to find a new captain following Philipp Lahm's retirement from international football, and German Football Association (DFB) Wolfgang Niersbach suggests that any one of Mats Hummels, Bastian Schweinsteiger or Manuel Neuer would be suitable choices.
"Mats Hummels is such an intelligent and great lad with a convincing conduct, not only as a central defender, but wherever you put him," he said.
"[Schweinsteiger] is certainly a leader par excellence. And Manuel Neuer is top class in every aspect too."
Jul 22 2014
After eight years at Old Trafford and despite recently signing a new contract, Patrice Evra has signed for Juventus, which will benefit from both his experience and a competitive intensity for which he was long adored by his club's supporters.
When United stuttered through the hangover that was last season, steered nervously and calamitously by David Moyes, it was Evra who provided the campaign's most exhilarating moment: a half-volley that singed the Munich air and then the net against Bayern Munich to put his team briefly ahead in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal. That goal, like Evra himself, was a symbol of the club's best years late in Sir Alex Ferguson's reign -- the ability to summon the spectacular under pressure.
When Evra arrived from Monaco in 2006, few would have predicted that he would make it this far. When he made his debut against local rival Manchester City, he was substituted at halftime. His performance in a 3-1 defeat lacked all the enterprise and leadership that he would go on to display for years on end.
By the time of his departure, he owned one of the most enviable trophy cabinets of recent years. Having already reached the UEFA Champions League final in 2004, where he and his Monaco side lost 3-0 to Jose Mourinho's Porto, Evra advanced to Europe's summit three more times in Manchester United colours -- winning once (against Chelsea in 2008) and losing to an imperious Barcelona in 2009 and 2011. He also went on to claim three League Cups and five Premier League titles while making just short of 400 appearances in all competitions.
These statistics do little justice to why the diminutive former winger was so loved. It is because he demonstrated a spirit far beyond his size and embodied the relentless desire that was a feature ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
Jul 22 2014
AC Milan coach Filippo Inzaghi believes Mario Balotelli is an "important player" for the club despite speculation linking the forward with a move away from San Siro this summer.
Balotelli, 23, endured a disappointing World Cup with Italy, scoring just once as the Azzurri crashed out of the competition in the group stages.
Rossoneri general manager Adriano Galliani says the club have yet to receive a formal offer from Arsenal (or any other club) regarding a potential deal for the striker, and Inzaghi is keen on tapping into Balotelli's potential as the side sets off on a U.S. preseason tour.
"Balotelli is an important player for Milan," he told the club's official website on Tuesday. "I want to know him so he can give us more. I cannot judge before knowing the person.
"For me Balotelli is a talent, as well as an important player for Milan. I'll have to get the best out of him.
"The two Milan strikers will be Balotelli and [Giampaolo] Pazzini. They have similar characteristics but are different at the same time. We are very relaxed about it."
Inzaghi took over from Clarence Seedorf following the former Milan midfielder's sacking in June, after the Dutchman was unable to arrest the club's slide down the Serie A table as they finished seventh last season.
And Inzaghi -- himself a former Milan striker -- says that while signings are important for the coming campaign, the future of the club is secure given their youth prospects.
"The dinner with president [Silvio] Berlusconi, the CEO Adriano Galliani and CEO Barbara Berlusconi was pleasant," he continued. "There is a great desire to do well, there is strong unified sense of purpose.
"Adriano Galliani speaks about the transfer market. If a few players arrive that will be fine, otherwise we'll make up for it with other qualities. The club, ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
Jul 22 2014
UEFA has told Paris Saint-Germain they must close part of their Parc des Princes stadium for their next Champions League game after the French club's fans abused handicapped Chelsea supporters.
PSG will not be allowed to provide entry to their supporters in sections 104 and 105 of their own stadium when they host their next Champions League group stage match after UEFA's Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body found a group of their fans guilty of abusing handicapped Chelsea counterparts during the two teams' quarterfinal first leg on April 2.
Blues' fans reported being pelted with chewing gum, coins and a bottle during their team's 3-1 defeat in the French capital.
PSG risked a range of punishments from a simple fine to being forced to stage a Champions League match behind closed doors.
Lisa Hayden, a wheelchair user and Chelsea season ticket holder, told BBC Sport that her experience at the stadium was like "sitting in hell," saying: "It was very threatening. I felt we didn't stand a chance in there and that someone was going to get seriously injured."
Jul 22 2014
Liverpool are firm favourites to sign forward Divock Origi, his father Mike has told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad.
Origi, 19, met manager Brendan Rodgers on Merseyside earlier this month after the Reds agreed an initial fee with Lille of six million pounds -- which could rise to 9.5 million with various add-ons.
The teenager said after that meeting that he wanted more time to consider his future, but has now indicated that he wants to join Liverpool, and sources have told ESPN FC that the transfer could go through within days.
Origi, who helped Belgium reach the quarterfinals at the 2014 World Cup, would be loaned back to Lille for the coming season as part of the deal.
His father Mike, a former Kenya international who played club football in Belgium for Genk, accompanied his son for those talks on Merseyside earlier this month.
And although Tottenham have also been linked with a move for the teenager, Origi Sr. thinks Liverpool will see through the transfer.
He told Het Nieuwsblad: "The deal isn't done yet. Liverpool is still the most concrete option.
"There's another team showing interest. We want to take a decision soon. On Monday, Divock is expected back at Lille for their first training session. We would like to have everything wrapped before that day."
Jul 10 2014
Hugo Lloris has signed a new five-year contract with Tottenham and backed manager Mauricio Pochettino to steer them to success.
Lloris, 27, joined the Premier League club from Lyon in 2012, replacing Brad Friedel as the club's first-choice goalkeeper.
After committing himself to the club Lloris spoke of his hope that Tottenham can continue to develop, saying he had "a good feeling" about the club's new manager.
He told the club's official website: "I spoke with the chairman and I know the club is as ambitious as ever.
"It's very important to feel at home at a club and for my family to feel well. I enjoy a great relationship with the club and the fans. The arrival of Pochettino is important as well. I have a good feeling with him. He is also ambitious.
"Everything is clear in my head and if I've signed a new contract it's because I trust the club and I'm sure we will progress in a positive way.
"Last season wasn't the season we all hoped for but we were still able to finish sixth in the league. We know where we have to improve, the club also knows and there is a feeling and a confident connection between the club and the players."
The France international had hinted that he would be likely to stay at Spurs following his country's World Cup exit, despite having been linked with Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco.
Jul 10 2014
Jose Mourinho will reportedly offer Petr Cech the Chelsea vice-captaincy in a bid to keep him at Stamford Bridge next season.
Cech, heading into his 10th season at Stamford Bridge, is set to be replaced as the club's No.1 goalkeeper with Thibaut Courtois returning from a three-year loan spell at Atletico Madrid.
Courtois played a key role in helping to knock Chelsea out of the Champions League last season with the Times reporting Mouringo believes the Belgian can be the club's first-choice for the next decade.
Following Frank Lampard's departure, the role of vice-captain could now go to Cech in a bid to keep him content. However, the player is said to want assurances there will be a fair fight for the No.1 shirt.
Courtois will be given an early opportunity to establish himself in the side with Cech ruled out for the start of the season as he recovers from the dislocated shoulder he suffered in the Champions League semi-final defeat to Atletico in April. Cech began pre-season training on Wednesday but was limited to gym work.
The 32-year-old has two years remaining on his contract and has attracted interest from Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco.
The situation mirrors that which Mourinho faced when he took over Chelsea for his first spell at the club 10 years ago. Cech was promoted to the role of first-choice goalkeeper above the long-serving Carlo Cudicini.
Meanwhile, Chelsea have completed the signing of Mario Pasalic, the Croatia Under-21 midfielder, from Hajduk Split.
Argentina are just 90 minutes away from lifting the World Cup in the Maracana after they edged past the Netherlands on penalties in Wednesday's semi-final at the Arena Corinthians.
After an uneventful and goalless 120 minutes, the match went to a penalty shootout in Sao Paulo. Argentina did not miss once and Sergio Romero saved from Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder, meaning Alejandro Sabella's team clinched the showdown 4-2.
Argentina will now face Germany in Sunday's World Cup final at the Maracana - the spiritual home of their fierce rivals Brazil, who were brutally knocked out by Germany on Tuesday night.
The last time the Argentines made it through to the final in 1990, they lost to the Germans. They also met in the 1986 final, which Argentina won. Germany will take encouragement from watching this performance from Sabella's side.
Germany, who battered Brazil 7-1 in Belo Horizonte, will take encouragement from watching this performance from Argentina. Lionel Messi scored one of the penalty kicks, but he was otherwise quiet and Argentina failed to impress all night.
Louis van Gaal did well to snuff out Messi during normal time, but his team were also devoid of ideas in attack.
Van Gaal will now take charge of the Netherlands in Saturday's third-place play-off against the hosts before flying to England to take over at Manchester United.
The Dutchman may regret deciding against bringing on Tim Krul, who saved two penalties against Costa Rica in the previous round, as Jasper Cillessen was easily beaten from 12 yards.
After a mad opening half an hour in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday, both teams started cautiously on a cold night.
Messi drilled a low free-kick right at Cillessen and Ezequiel Garay headed just over for Argentina, but nothing else of note happened in the first period.
After the break, Argentina briefly upped the tempo. Vlaar ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
Jul 10 2014
Manchester United would be unlikely to stand in Patrice Evra's way if the left-back decides he wants to join Juventus, sources have told ESPN.
Evra, 33, who signed a new Old Trafford contract in May, is the subject of reported interest from the Italian champions.
His family are believed to be unhappy in Manchester, leading United to conclude that they would let him leave if that problem became insurmountable.
Juventus have been linked with the former Monaco player, who would not command a large transfer fee because of his age.
Evra is yet to return to training after the World Cup, where he helped France reach the quarter-finals.
He would have been eligible to leave United on a free transfer in the summer as his previous contract was expiring, but signed a one-year extension even though the club were making plans to bring in a new left-back.
England international Luke Shaw, who is 14 years younger than Evra, subsequently signed for £27 million.
Evra has been United's first-choice left-back for the past eight seasons, scoring 10 goals in 379 games since his 2006 arrival from Monaco.
United have sold two other left-backs in 2014 - Fabio da Silva and Alexander Buttner - so if Evra were to leave they would face a decision on whether to recruit a deputy to Shaw.
His departure would also mean they would lose their three senior defenders in the same summer, with Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand having already gone.