Thursday, 28 May 2020
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Michael Keane has admitted he was tempted to return to Manchester United before deciding to leave Burnley for Everton.

However, the defender's 30 million Pounds Sterling move to Goodison Park on Monday is still set to net United more than £7m thanks to their 25 percent sell-on clause.

Keane, who left Old Trafford for Burnley in 2015, was on United boss Jose Mourinho's list of targets this summer.

But after United spent £31m on centre-back Victor Lindelof, Keane opted for Everton.

"Of course it was a temptation [to rejoin United]," Keane told Sky Sports. "It's your boyhood club but you have got to take your heart out of it sometimes and think what's best for you, and I feel as if this is the best place for me to come and continue my development. It's a club with such big history and a great fan base so I can't wait to pull on the shirt and play for this club."

Michael Keane left Burnley for Everton on Monday.

Keane, who made five first-team appearances at United, is hoping to earn a place in England's squad for next summer's World Cup, providing they qualify for the tournament.

He has already won two caps under England boss Gareth Southgate, but was left out of the squad for the games against Scotland and France in June.

Keane is hopeful that a season under Everton boss Ronald Koeman, a former Netherlands and Barcelona centre-back, can boost his international chances.

He added: "I have been fortunate enough that in the clubs I have played in the past, the manager has played in my position as well, and I feel like he was a very classy centre-half so he can still teach me things. I want to develop. I am only 24-years-old, which is young for a centre-half, but I feel how much they wanted me was a big factor as well."

Posted On Tuesday, 04 July 2017 12:31 Written by

SOCHI, Russia -- Germany defender Benjamin Henrichs has warned that Die Mannschaft need to keep a close eye on his Bayer Leverkusen teammate Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez in Thursday's Confederations Cup semifinal against Mexico.

The 20-year-old full-back hopes Joachim Low gives him a start against El Tri as Germany seek to win the tournament for the first time. He is looking to stop Hernandez, who returned to training on Tuesday after sitting out a day earlier.

"I hope I will play and I will stop him from scoring," Henrichs told reporters on Tuesday. "It's very difficult to play against him. He likes to score and even if there isn't really a chance he scores, so he's a very good player."

Henrichs said Hernandez has given him advice at Bayer Leverkusen and the two get along off the pitch. The youngster -- who signed a new contract with Die Werkself back in May -- believes the game against Mexico will be a tough test.

"I think [Mexico] is similar to Chile," he said. "We have to play well tactically, you need to stop Chicharito, because he's a very good individual player and I hope we are going to win."

Hernandez didn't train along with the full squad on Monday in Kazan, but is expected to be fit to face Germany in Fisht Stadium on Thursday, although Diego Reyes is likely to miss the game through injury.

"They know how we play and what our mentality is and that clearly helps us," added Germany goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, speaking in Spanish when asked about Mexico having Bundesliga players Hernandez and Marco Fabian.

"But we are lucky enough to know some of their players that play in European leagues and can prepare ourselves for not a war, but a good game."

Posted On Wednesday, 28 June 2017 01:11 Written by

Australia’s midfielder Mark Milligan (L) vies with Chile’s forward Alexis Sanchez during the 2017 Confederations Cup group B football match between Chile and Australia at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow on June 25, 2017. Yuri KADOBNOV / AFP

Martin Rodriguez rescued a 1-1 draw for Chile against Australia on Sunday to send the South American champions through to a Confederations Cup semi-final against Portugal.

James Troisi steered Australia ahead on 42 minutes in Moscow, but Chile replied through half-time substitute Rodriguez on 67 minutes to advance as Group B runners-up behind Germany.

Germany progressed as group winners following a 3-1 victory over Cameroon in Sochi, with the world champions to face Mexico for a place in the July 2 final in Saint Petersburg.

Veteran forward Tim Cahill collected his 100th international cap at Spartak Stadium, joining long-serving former goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer (109) as the only other Australia player to reach the landmark.

Alexis Sanchez went tumbling to ground early on following a last-ditch intervention from Mark Milligan, but the video assistant referee dismissed penalty claims as replays showed a clear touch from the Australian defender.

Claudio Bravo returned for Chile following a calf injury and the Manchester City goalkeeper produced a smart block to deny a lunging Massimo Luongo, although Australia forged ahead on 42 minutes.

A risky pass from Bravo was intercepted inside the Chile half, allowing Robbie Kruse to steer the ball across the face of the box to an unmarked Troisi who clipped over the advancing keeper.

Arturo Vidal nearly replied instantly when his stooping header was blocked on the line by Milligan with the rebound eluding Jose Fuenzalida.

Australian centre-back Trent Sainsbury spoiled a glorious chance for a second goal before the break, lashing wildly over on the volley after Chile’s defence momentarily switched off.

But the introduction of Rodriguez and Pablo Hernandez at half-time proved crucial as Chile levelled midway through the second half.

Eduardo Vargas beat his marker to a looping ball in the area, knocking down into the path of Rodriguez who smuggled the ball beyond Matt Ryan for his first international goal.

Vargas headed fractionally wide after Sanchez had escaped down the left and picked out his striking partner, while Jamie MacLaren miscued badly in front of Bravo after a brilliant delivery from Troisi before the contest gradually petered out.

Posted On Sunday, 25 June 2017 19:11 Written by

Brazil midfielder Paulinho has revealed that his agent is in talks with Barcelona over a potential move to the Catalan club.

Barca are looking to make signings in a number of positions this summer as they look to strengthen new coach Ernesto Valverde's hand, with midfield one area they're keen to improve.

Paris Saint-Germain's Marco Verratti is their top target, but reports emerged earlier this week of their interest in Guangzhou Evergrande's Paulinho.

And the midfielder has confirmed the speculation, telling Globoesporte: "There's been contact with my agent. There's an offer [from Barca], it's true, and the two parties are talking.

"I'm really proud that a great club like Barcelona are interested in my situation -- there is no price for that."

However, Paulinho also said he's not sure whether a switch to Camp Nou would be the best move for his career right now.

CSL celeb Paulinho 170519
Guangzhou Evergrande's Paulinho has said he has an offer to join Barcelona this summer.

He joined Chinese Super League club Guangzhou from Tottenham Hotspur €14 million in 2015 and feels the last two years have been among his best since he became a professional, with his club form making him a regular in Tite's Brazil side.

On top of that, he's settled and happy with his life in China with his partner.

"At the moment I'm really happy with my life and with my career," he added. "When you're in a situation like the one I'm in, it's difficult to make a decision.

"There are a lot of things that I have to weigh up, one of them being my happiness.

"I think, first of all, the way things are with my partner here in China... We really like where we are, the people, how things are with the club, the success... The truth is that I don't know [what to do]."

Paulinho says he has no time frame to give Barcelona a response but suggested they've not yet opened negotiations with Guangzhou over a potential deal.

When they do, they may encounter problems. Earlier this week, the coach of the Chinese side, Luiz Felipe Scolari, said they do not want to sell the playerand pointed to his €40m release clause.

Posted On Sunday, 25 June 2017 19:01 Written by

Paul Pogba has told Telefoot he would not mind if close friend Antoine Griezmann moved to Manchester City, so long as it made him happy.

Manchester United midfielder Pogba, a France international teammate of Griezmann's, hailed the forward as one of the world's finest players.

Griezmann was strongly linked with a move to United before opting to sign a contract extension at Atletico Madrid.

And Pogba said: "I wish for his happiness. If that is at Atletico -- or at City -- I will handle it. He is one of the best players in the world.

"If Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] is happy elsewhere, then I am happy for him."

Posted On Sunday, 25 June 2017 18:13 Written by
Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 75th international goal as Portugal trounced New Zealand 4-0 in Saint Petersburg on Saturday to advance to the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup.

The Real Madrid star struck from the penalty spot on 33 minutes to fire the European champions in front before Bernardo Silva turned in a second goal four minutes later.

Andre Silva added a third on 80 minutes before Nani completed the rout in stoppage time to ensure Portugal progressed to last four as winners of Group A, finishing above Mexico on goal difference.

Mexico eliminated hosts Russia with a 2-1 win in Kazan to join Portugal on seven points, with Fernando Santos’ side to face the runners-up of Group B on Wednesday for a place in the July 2 final.

Copa America holders Chile lead Germany on goal difference ahead of the final round of matches in Group B, although Australia and Cameroon still harbour outside qualification hopes.

Santos fielded an attacking line-up packed with experience and resisted the temptation to rest Ronaldo with Portugal still requiring a point to qualify and vying with Mexico and Russia for top spot.

Ronaldo twice threatened the New Zealand goal in quick succession, nodding straight at goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic on 24 minutes and then clattering the crossbar shortly after with another header from a Ricardo Quaresma cross.

But the Portugal captain made no mistake after Danilo was wrestled to the ground in the area by a combination of Tom Doyle and Tommy Smith following a corner.

Ronaldo buried the resultant penalty beyond Stefanovic to draw level with former Hungary great Sandor Kocsis and within nine goals of the legendary Ferenc Puskas’ European record of 84 at international level.

Portugal swiftly doubled their lead when Eliseu’s dangerous low cross from the left was forced home by Silva, although there was brief concern for the new Manchester City signing as he landed awkwardly on his ankle.

New Zealand skipper Chris Wood nearly grabbed a lifeline for the All Whites on the hour, but his back-post effort was scrambled off the line by a combination of Rui Patricio and Bruno Alves.

Ronaldo could have added to his tally when he climbed to meet a Nelson Semedo delivery, his header scooped away by Stefanovic who then stood tall to superbly deny Andre Silva.

Santos withdrew Ronaldo on 67 minutes with the semi-finals in mind, and his replacement Nani struck within moments of his introduction only for Stefanovic to brilliantly tip behind his deflected shot.

Silva finally provided Portugal with further breathing space 10 minutes from time as the AC Milan-bound striker ran at the Kiwi defence before drilling into the roof of the net.

Former Manchester United winger Nani then drilled in a fourth in injury time, with Portugal now having lost just one of their last 23 competitive fixtures.

Posted On Saturday, 24 June 2017 21:17 Written by

Hirving Lozano’s courageous second-half header sealed Mexico’s 2-1 comeback win over 10-man Russia on Saturday and fired them into the Confederations Cup semi-finals.

Hosts Russia took a deserved 25th-minute lead in Kazan through Aleksandr Samedov, but Nestor Araujo equalised for Mexico with a looping header on the half hour.

New PSV Eindhoven signing Lozano then headed Mexico into the last four as he beat Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev to Hector Herrera’s towering kick from inside his own half on 52 minutes.

Russia’s hopes of a comeback were further hampered in the final 20 minutes when Yury Zhirkov was sent off for a second yellow card.

“We knew it was going to be tough, we played well against them,” said Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio.

“We are building a team which has the skills and determintion to play against any team. We could have scored more goals if we had moved the ball around better.”

While the hosts bow out, Mexico progress as Group A runners-up to play the winners of Group B in Sochi next Thursday.

Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov was left rueing his side’s missed chances.

“It was an interesting match for sure, we knew we had to win and did everything to tip the game in our favour,” said Cherchesov.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t react to their goals and then had a man sent off, even then we tried to score. My team did the best they could.”

Having made eight alterations for the team which beat New Zealand, Osorio again rang the changes against Russia with only defender Araujo and forward Giovani dos Santos retained in the starting line-up.

Lozano replaced from Raul Jimenez in a completely different forward line alongside Mexico’s all-time top scorer Javier Hernandez and former Arsenal winger Carlos Vela.

Recovery mission
Just as they did in the 2-2 draw with Portugal and subsequent victory over New Zealand, Mexico made a slow start and again fell behind.

Mexico captain Andres Guardado picked up an early booking that will rule him out of the semi-final, while the video assistant referee was summoned to reject Russian penalty claims after Fyodor Smolov went to ground in the area.

Russia went ahead though as Smolov hit the post, with Aleksandr Erokhin knocking the rebound to Samedov who drilled past Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.

But the goal sparked Mexico into life and they were level just five minutes later.

Porto midfielder Herrera fired in a deep cross to the far post where Araujo lifted the ball over Akinfeev and into the opposite corner.

Mexico lost Diego Reyes to injury just before the break when the Espanyol defender rolled his ankle making an innocuous pass.

The linesman’s flag denied Spartak Moscow’s Samedow after he put the ball in the net early in the second half, and Mexico forged ahead as Lozano’s brave gamble paid off.

Herrara’s thumping clearance was allowed to bounce just outside the Russian area, with Lozano clattered by Akinfeev as he nipped in front of the keeper to head into an unguarded net on 52 minutes.

Mexico then had another goal ruled out for offside following more consultation with the video referee, and Russia suffered a further blow when Zhirkov was dismissed on 68 minutes.

Substitute Igor Smolnikov blazed over from close range with quarter of an hour remaining to compound Russia’s misery.

Posted On Saturday, 24 June 2017 21:10 Written by

Germany coach Joachim Low said he never expected his new-look squad to be "perfect" after they were given a fright by Australia at the Confederations Cup on Monday.

The reigning World Cup champions are without the likes of Toni Kroos, Manuel Neuer and Thomas Muller for the tournament in Russia Russia, with Low experimenting to find a team for the future.

Lars Stindl and Leon Goretzka both scored their first international goals, though goalkeeper Bernd Leno's two blunders made the game a little close for comfort.

And though Germany held on for a 3-2 win, Low said some growing pains were to be expected.

"Who would expect it to be perfect?" Low said. "This is a team that never played together so we have done a lot of work over 10 days.

"We were losing our thread, our attacks were not as consistent and we weren't single-minded.

"We need to work on maintaining our stability... but this is a new team and things have worked very well."

Leno demonstrated that he's far from being able to replace 31-year-old Neuer in the German goal, as he was wrong-footed on Australia's first goal and spilled a soft deflection for their second.

But Low ultimately backed his keeper despite acknowledging his errors.

"He could have held on to that ball but he is a good goalkeeper, no doubt about it," Low said. "Maybe that was a mistake."

Much of Germany's threat came from the right flank, where Brandt and Joshua Kimmich were given space to unsettle Australia.

"We invested a lot in the first half and ran a lot," Kimmich said. "So in the second half, Australia had a bit more possession but I didn't think they had a lot of opportunities and chances."

Still, Julian Draxler, one of the more experienced members in the squad, said the team had plenty to work on before their next game against Chile.

"Obviously, we'll have to improve," Draxler said, "but we will do that."

Posted On Tuesday, 20 June 2017 02:41 Written by

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez says Cristiano Ronaldo's apparent dissatisfaction is "all very strange," but that both he and the club expect the superstar to stay at the Bernabeu this summer.

Ronaldo, the reigning Ballon d'Or award winner, feels he is being treated unfairly by Spain's tax authorities, whose "persecution" has made him determined to leave Real Madrid and the country, a source confirmed to ESPN FC.

After initially avoiding the burning question Ronaldo's future during the address he gave to mark his re-election on Monday evening, Perez opened up in an interview on radio station Onda Cero for the first time since the news broke on Friday.

"I have not spoken with Ronaldo," Perez said. "During the election period, I've tried to be respectful and keep out of everything.

"I learned of the [reports] through what a newspaper said. He's immersed in the Confederations Cup [with Portugal] at the moment, which is an important competition, and for the moment there's nothing until that ends. Like the all other players, though, he has a contract and is a Real Madrid player.

"In football and life, in general, we encounter situations which we don't expect and we have to find the best solution for everyone. I know Cristiano and he's a good guy, not just with the ball, but as a person. This is all very strange, I will have to speak with him to see what's going on."

Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain have been linked with a move for the Portuguese forward, while Bayern Munich denied interest on Monday.

But Perez was adamant that Real Madrid were not prepared to allow Ronaldo to move on.

"Not I or anyone at Madrid is contemplating that Cristiano could leave the club," Perez said. "He is not a business, he forms part of this club's history, he's at the level of [club legend Alfredo] Di Stefano."

Florentino Perez believes Cristiano Ronaldo is innocent of the tax accusations levelled against him.

Real Madrid previously released a statement supporting Ronaldo after prosecutors announced that they were seeking €14.7 million in taxes they felt the player hid in offshore accounts, and Perez reiterated his belief in Ronaldo's innocence on Monday.

"I will defend [Ronaldo] at all costs as both a player and as a person. [I have] complete confidence [that he is innocent], he has always wanted to fulfil his fiscal commitments," Perez said.

"There must be some sort of confusion which will be clarified. What I have been told is that he has the same structure [in Spain] that he had in England -- and there was no problem there.

"I'm sure Cristiano wouldn't want us to pay his fine if there was one, he's not like that. If he's angry it's because he feels unjustly treated.

"I've been affected by how the Cristiano news has been treated by the media. The presumption of innocence has not been respected. The only thing I know is that he's angry about the treatment the media have given him. [Jorge] Mendes called me and told me that."

Ronaldo, 32, only signed a new deal with Real in November and is under contract until 2021, though his disgruntlement has caused an issue for Perez as he begins his new term as the head of the European and Spanish champions.

When speaking publicly on Monday having ran unopposed to return as president for the next four years, Perez did not reference Ronaldo when discussing the current state of Los Blancos. Perez read a prepared speech and did not take questions from journalists at the event.

In quotes published on Marca's website, Perez said: "We have built a legendary team with the best players from Spain and the world, but also with many players from our youth academy.

"This is the model that will continue to define Real Madrid. When united, this club is practically indestructible."

Perez's latest four-year term has started as many of his previous ones have -- with frenzied transfer speculation about which big-name players might arrive at the club and, perhaps more crucially in this instance as Ronaldo's future dominates the headlines, who might end up leaving.

The Madrid electoral board met overnight and, with no other candidate putting themselves forward for election ahead of the deadline, it was confirmed that the long-serving Perez would continue in the role, taking his overall stay in the position to 18 years.

Posted On Monday, 19 June 2017 22:52 Written by

Liverpool-bound striker Dominic Solanke was named Under-20 World Cup Golden Ball winner after his performances in England's triumphant tournament.

Solanke, 19, scored four goals to help England clinch glory in South Korea, with Paul Simpson's side beating Venezuela 1-0 in the final on Sunday.

Solanke was rewarded for his performances with the Golden Ball, joining Manchester United's Paul Pogba, Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Argentina legend Diego Maradona in winning the prize.

The forward will join Liverpool on July 1 after finding first-team opportunities hard to come by at Premier League rivals Chelsea.

In a video message to the youngsters, senior England manager Gareth Southgate said: "It's been a brilliant experience to follow you from afar.

"All of the senior team were crammed around the laptop watching it as we finished training in France. I can only say brilliant, well done everybody.

"It's a fantastic achievement, you have done everybody proud, yourselves and your families, and also you can see the country has taken note.

"You have raised the bar for everybody. It's great that all the teams who follow you now have something to aim for.

"You have given everybody belief that English players can be successful and you should have great belief in yourselves in what's possible now.

"Congratulations from all of us in the senior team."

Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored the decisive goal for England against Venezuela, and the Everton forward said: "Hopefully there will be opportunities for the lads next season.

"I have had a taste of it last season with Everton and I just want to show I am capable of playing regularly next season."

Posted On Monday, 12 June 2017 11:13 Written by
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