Saturday, August 10, 2013

Real Madrid 3-0 Inter: Classy Casemiro sees Los Blancos ease to victory

Carlo Ancelotti's men prepare for their La Liga kick-off next weekend in perfect fashion with a comfortable win against the Nerazzurri in Missouri.

Real Madrid coasted to victory as it turned on the style in a 3-0 victory over an uninspiring Inter at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.  

Carlo Ancelotti's men were rarely threatened as strikes from Kaka, Ronaldo and the outstanding Casemiro saw them post an easy victory against their Italian opponents, who look to be in for another tough season in Serie A under new boss Walter Mazzarri.

Inter started the brighter and Rodrigo Palacio was almost clean through on goal in only the second minute. Andrea Ranocchia's hopeful clearance ballooned beyond the Real backline and was read by the Argentine forward who failed to control the high ball as it came over his shoulder - an alert Diego Lopez saving his

Fabregas injury blow for Spain

The Catalan midfielder has taken a knock to his ankle and might not be fit to link up with Vicente Del Bosque's squad for Wednesday's trip to Guayaquil
Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino has revealed that Cesc Fabregas is unlikely to be available for Spain's friendly with Ecuador next week, after picking up an injury in his club's 3-1 win over a Malaysia XI on Saturday.

The midfielder, who has only just expressed his desire to remain at Camp Nou following reports linking him with a move to Manchester United, put on a scintillating display in Selangor, bagging the opener before playing a part in the Blaugrana's two other goals.

However, Fabregas limped off with an ankle injury in the 83rd minute, with Martino claiming he would be unable to recover in time for international duty next week.

“He’s received a

Celtic 1-0 Liverpool: First-half Balde strike downs Reds in Dublin

The recent recruit from Portugal scored the only goal of the game to give the Bhoys a memorable victory despite a dominant performance from their Premier League opponents

Liverpool failed to extend its unbeaten preseason record as it concluded preparations for the new season with a narrow 1-0 defeat to an understrength Celtic side at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

Brendan Rodgers' side had won all six of its friendly fixtures but slumped to a disappointing defeat thanks to Amido Balde's first-half goal.

The Scottish champions were forced to defend for large periods but showed great determination and resilience to hold onto their early lead.

The tone for the afternoon was set even before a ball was kicked as both sets of supporters joined together for a hair-raising rendition of

Qatar defends right to host World Cup

The Qatar 2022 supreme committee has hit back at allegations made by English FA chairman Greg Dyke that hosting the competition in the summer would be "impossible"

Organizers of the 2022 World Cup have insisted that Qatar is a suitable choice to hold the tournament despite fears that soaring temperatures could make it dangerous.

The Qatar 2022 supreme committee hit back following claims from English Football Association chairman Greg Dyke that hosting the competition in the Middle East during the summer would be "impossible" due to the extreme heat in the Arab nation.

The competition's organizing body maintains that Qatar will be able to host the tournament in the

Bale not in Tottenham squad for Espanyol friendly

The winger has made it known to Spurs that he wants to join Real Madrid, and despite attending training this week he will sit out yet another preseason friendly with injury
Gareth Bale will not feature in Tottenham's friendly with Espanyol on Saturday.

The Welshman was back in training with Spurs this week after making it clear that he wants to move to Real Madrid.

Reports in Spain have maintained that the 24-year-old has not been injured all summer, but he did receive treatment for a knock on Monday.

He has also been named in Chris Coleman's Wales squad for Wednesday's friendly against

Arsenal 3-1 Manchester City: Walcott helps Gunners blow away Pellegrini's men

The FA Cup finalists controlled possession but were put to the sword by a ruthless and clinical performance from the north London club, with the England winger hugely influential

Arsenal laid down a marker ahead of the new Premier League season by defeating Manchester City 3-1 at the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki in the two sides' final preseason fixture.

The Gunners took an early lead, somewhat against the run of play, as Theo Walcott raced through on goal and effortlessly chipped the ball into the back of the net.

The England international also had a hand in both the north London club's second-half goals, releasing Aaron Ramsey to double the

Augsburg 0-4 Borussia Dortmund: Aubameyang hits hat trick on dream Bundesliga debut

The summer signing was on fine form as last season's runner-up made an impressive start to the 2013-14 league campaign 

Borussia Dortmund kicked off the Bundesliga season in style with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Augsburg.

Summer signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang grabbed a hat trick and was a constant threat at the SGL Arena, becoming the sixth player in Bundesliga history to net a treble on his debut.

A Robert Lewandowski penalty with just five minutes remaining capped the rout for the

Malaysia 1-3 Barcelona: Fabregas inspires Spanish champion to Asia Tour victory

The Barca midfielder turned in a brilliant performance, playing a part in all three goals as coach Gerardo Martino gained his third consecutive victory

Barcelona made it two wins out of two on its Asia Tour as it overcame a spirited Malaysia XI in a 3-1 win in Shah Alam.

Cesc Fabregas, who put an end to speculation about his future this week, was the inspiration behind los Cules' display and he opened the scoring.

Malaysia's Mohd Amri Yahyah, though, soon had the hosts on level terms shortly after.

However, Fabregas turned provider for Neymar and Gerard Pique to wrap up the victory.

With Barcelona's title defense getting underway against Levante in just over a week, Gerardo Martino named a strong

Handanovic: Inter no longer a superpower

The goalkeeper believes his side should accept it does not have the talent in the squad that it enjoyed during the days of Jose Mourinho and Roberto Mancini
Samir Handanovic has acknowledged that Inter should no longer be considered a "superpower" of European football.

The Giuseppe Meazza side had to settle for ninth spot in the Serie A table last term and Handanovic has admitted that times have changed for Inter since its momentous treble win in 2010.

"We should no longer think of ourselves as the superpower from before. We should not kid ourselves. This is simply the situation as it is," Handanovic told La Gazzetta dello Sport."Inter no longer have 11 or more top players like in the days of

Mourinho: Lampard, Mata and Luiz could miss Chelsea's season opener

The Portuguese boss has revealed fitness concerns ahead of the Blues' first Premier League match but downplayed the extent of the injury problems
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has revealed that Frank Lampard, Juan Mata and David Luiz may not be fit in time for the start of the new season.

The trio have played limited roles during pre-season, although Lampard – Mourinho’s biggest fitness concern – has been picked in Roy Hodgson’s England squad to face Scotland on Wednesday.

Asked if the 35-year-old is ready for the new campaign, the Portuguese boss told reporters: "No, he still has to train. He has to play against Roma. He played 45 mins against Real, maybe he plays 60 against Roma.

"He is in the

Rodgers: Liverpool's bid to sign Diego Costa is dead

The Reds manager believes the Brazilian has signed a new deal with Atletico Madrid, all but ending the club's pursuit of the forward, and also quashed a move for Aly Cissokho
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has all but ruled out a move for Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa.

Costa has emerged as a transfer target for the Reds this summer but both Atletico and the player himself have poured cold water on a move to Anfield for the Brazilian.

And Rodgers has now revealed that a deal to sign the 24-year-old looks unlikely as the striker has instead opted to extend his contract in Spain.

"I believe Costa has

Bertrand eyeing regular place in Chelsea first team

Chelsea defender Ryan Bertrand is determined to nail down a regular first-team spot at Stamford Bridge this season.

The 24-year-old made 38 appearances in all competitions last term, providing essential back-up to Ashley Cole as the west London club competed on multiple fronts and played over 60 games across the season.

However, the England international has started just 20 Premier League games in seven years at Stamford Bridge and is hoping to impress Jose Mourinho in order to secure a regular place.

"It's been a good preseason for me and I'm pleased to have been

Cocu excited by Milan Champions League challenge

The PSV boss knows his side is in for a tough test against the Serie A giant, while Lyon's president is wary of Real Sociedad's threat
PSV will have to beat AC Milan if it is to reach the Champions League - a prospect that excites coach Phillip Cocu.

The Dutch outfit, which finished second in the Eredivisie last term, beat Belgian side Zulte-Waregem in the previous round of qualifying, to set up a meeting with Massimiliano Allegri's men.

Cocu's side will go into the two-legged contest as underdogs, but the 42-year-old is relishing the opportunity to try and knock out one of Europe's biggest clubs.

"It will be a difficult task for sure, but also a

Guardiola: Victory will give Bayern confidence

The 42-year-old is happy to have his first Bundesliga win under his belt, but knows there is work to be done moving forward
Pep Guardiola is pleased with Bayern Munich's 3-1 win over Borussia Monchengladbach and hopes it will inspire confidence in the new Bundesliga season.

The opening day win comes nearly two weeks after the Bavariand suffered a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Borussia Dortmund in the DFL-Supercup, despite enjoying a dominant preseason in the rest of their matches.

The Spaniard believes they have some work to do before they can get back into their groove but predicted that improved performances will come with competitive game time.

"We knew it would

Hamsik extends Napoli deal

The midfielder, who has been a San Paolo resident for six years, and the club president have confirmed the Slovakia star will remain a Partenopei player until 2018
Napoli midfielder Marek Hamsik has confirmed that he has extended his contract with the club until 2018.

The Slovakia international, who has been with the Naples club since 2007, has become one of the hottest properties in European football at the Stadio San Paolo.

The 26-year-old confirmed his renewal after the Partenopei's 2-1 friendly win over Benfica on Friday, revealing his hope that compatriot Martin Skrtel joins from Liverpool and predicting a top debut season from

Wenger intent on pursuing Suarez despite Liverpool's stance

Anfield owner John W Henry has insisted the Uruguayan will not be sold this summer, although the Arsenal boss is hopeful a move could still be completed
Arsene Wenger maintains Arsenal will continue its "amicable" pursuit of Luis Suarez despite Liverpool's insistence that the striker will not be sold this summer.

Liverpool owner John Henry claimed on Thursday that his side would not sanction the Uruguay international's move to the Emirates Stadium, regardless of the bid from the north London club.

Wenger, who said on Wednesday that a move for Suarez is on "standby", has reiterated that the club will be honorable in its bid for the 26-year-old but claims a change of heart from Liverpool could

Agent: Eto'o dreams of Napoli move

The 32-year-old’s representative claims the striker would be delighted to move to the San Paolo from Anzhi but says no approach has been forthcoming
Anzhi Makhachkala striker Samuel Eto'o would love to join Napoli this summer, according to his agent.

The Partenopei lost star forward Edinson Cavani to Paris-Saint Germain this summer for 63 million euros, but have replaced him with the signing of forwards Gonzalo Higuain and Jose Callejon.

However, Napoli boss Rafael Benitez has confirmed he is looking to bring another attacker to the Stadio San Paolo and, amid confirmation that Anzhi is looking to shrink tits budget, Eto'o's representative Claudio Vigorelli has said that the

Friday, August 9, 2013

Bayern 3-1 Gladbach: Bavarians labor to victory in Bundesliga opener

Strikes from Arjen Robben, Mario Mandzukic and David Alaba secured a win on home turf, despite Dante's own goal, that kicked off Bayern's campaign in winning fashion.

Bayern Munich kicked off its Bundesliga defense with a hugely entertaining 3-1 victory over Borussia Monchengladbach on Friday.

The Bavarians began in style and quickfire goals from Arjen Robben and Mario Mandzukic ensured Pep Guardiola's reign retained the element of domination that Jupp Heynckes had fashioned throughout last season's treble success.

A Dante own-goal just before

Montpellier 1-1 PSG: Maxwell salvages a draw for the champions

Laurent Blanc's side began Ligue 1 poorly as Remy Cabella's strike threatened defeat before a second-half equalizer, though a winner was not to be found.

Paris Saint-Germain's Ligue 1 title defense started with a stutter as it had to come from behind to draw 1-1 at Montpellier on Friday.

A first-half goal from Remy Cabella gave Jean Fernandez's men a shock lead and it required Maxwell to score midway through the second period to salvage a point for the hosts. Edinson Cavani's introduction from the bench could not provide a winner, despite the home side being reduced to 10 when Abdelhamid El Kaoutari saw red for a second booking

PSG coach Laurent Blanc named

Mackay: Capoue set to join Tottenham

Cardiff were in negotiations to sign the midfielder after agreeing a fee with Toulouse but the 41-year-old says the Frenchman will now join Spurs.
Toulouse midfielder Etienne Capoue is set to join Tottenham, according to Cardiff boss Malky Mackay.

The Bluebirds were thought to have been favorites to win the signature of the France international after agreeing a fee for the 25-year-old in July and entering negotiations for personal terms.

However, Toulouse president Olivier Sadran revealed on Wednesday that the player will join Spurs and Mackay confirmed the news when asked about the

Souness: Suarez should show Liverpool loyalty and stay

The former player and manager believes Luis Suarez owes Liverpool for the support it has given him during his controversies since he joined in January 2011.
Liverpool’s wantaway striker Luis Suarez owes the club and should stay at Anfield for another season, according to former player and manager Graeme Souness.

Suarez has been the subject of two bids from rivals Arsenal over the summer but owner John W. Henry reiterated the stance that the Uruguay striker is not for sale on Friday. The forward claims he was promised he could depart for a Champions League club, but Souness believes he should show loyalty after the club defended him during incidents that put the club's reputation into disrepute.

"I think he does [owe Liverpool] and everyone in

Chelsea youngster Lucas Piazon joins Vitesse on season-long loan

The Brazil youth international will link up with three of his fellow Blues in a loan move that will see the 19-year-old play for the Dutch side until the end of the season.
Chelsea has confirmed that Lucas Piazon has joined Dutch club Vitesse on loan until the end of the season.

The 19-year-old was brought to the club as a youth player two years ago from Brazilian side Sao Paulo and made his debut last season before going on to make a further two appearances in all competitions.

He gained his first taste of regular first-team football on loan to Spanish side Malaga during the second half of last season and will now continue his

Robson: Chelsea's latest Rooney bid is an 'insult'

The former Red Devils captain has criticized the Blues for their latest attempt to sign the England striker and believes he can still be part of the club's future plans.
Chelsea's latest bid for Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney is "an insult" according to former club captain Bryan Robson.

The Blues, who have already seen two bids for the striker rejected this summer, are keen to continue their pursuit of their No. 1 transfer target, with manager Jose Mourinho admitting they will chase him until the final day of the transfer window.

However, Robson - a current club ambassador with the Red Devils since 2008 - believes the most recent offer from the London club is an insult to a player he sees as one of the top six strikers in the world.

"The thing that makes me

PFA chief Taylor: Suarez exit is 'practically impossible'

The union representative believes it is too late in the transfer window for the Uruguay striker to leave Liverpool, while also suggesting that buyout clauses will be reviewed.

Luis Suarez is extremely unlikely to leave Liverpool this transfer window, according to Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor.

Suarez has made no secret of his desire to leave Anfield, claiming that Liverpool has reneged on an agreement to sell him if a Champions League club came in with an offer in excess of 40 million pounds. Taylor, though, believes it will be "practically impossible" for the 26-year-old to force a move to a new club in the final month of the window.

"With the transfer window expiring, the difficulties of not only selling him to a competitor but also replacing him makes it practically

Youngster Ake pledges to reward Chelsea faith

The 18-year-old signed a new deal with the Europa League champions on Thursday and says he is ready to repay the support the club have shown in him.
Chelsea defender Nathan Ake has vowed to repay the club's faith in him after signing a new five-year deal.

The 18-year-old committed his future to the Premier League side on Thursday after impressing during a breakthrough 2012-13 campaign that saw him make six first-team appearances.

And the youngster, who joined the London club from Feyenoord in 2011, feels he is ready to show that the belief in him is warranted.

"I'm very happy that Chelsea is rewarding me with a

Prince Boateng thinks U.S. style of play could be attractive to German-Americans

Boateng is good friends with Jermaine Jones and believes the growing talent of the national team and its style of play is attracting German-Americans to commit to the U.S.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The number of German soccer players joining the United States national team continues to grow, with John Anthony Brooks becoming the latest addition to Jurgen Klinsmann's team.

A highly touted 20-year-old in Germany, Brooks is thought to have star potential and could be a starter for the U.S. as early as next year. There have been a lot of discussion over the choices of Germans deciding to play for the U.S. While reasons from playing time to racial identity have been thrown out there, AC Milan star Kevin-Prince Boateng has other thoughts.

Boateng, a German-born midfielder who switched national teams to play for

Milan upbeat over Balotelli injury

The forward was withdrawn during the Rossoneri's latest friendly, but the club says he is set to make a swift return to action.

AC Milan says the calf injury suffered by Mario Balotelli in Thursday's 2-0 win over LA Galaxy is not serious.

The Italy striker, playing in only his second game of the preseason, opened the scoring in the 17th minute of the International Champions Cup third-place clash against the MLS side, before being replaced with 10 minutes to play.

The Rossoneri have since revealed that upon his arrival back in Milan, the striker underwent scans to ascertain the extent of the

Liverpool winger Sterling pleads not guilty to assault charges

The winger, who featured on 36 occasions for the Reds last season, denied charges from Merseyside Police following an incident in Page Moss on Thursday night
Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling has pleaded not guilty to charges of assault following an incident on Merseyside on Thursday night.

The 18-year-old spent the night in police custody as a result of his arrest at around 10:30pm after the emergency services were alerted to an incident involving his partner, Shana Halliday.

And police have now confirmed that Sterling was subsequently charged with common assault when he made his appearance at

Honda: I'll still join Milan

The Japan international believes he will end up at San Siro despite his current club branding the Rossoneri "disrespectful" over negotiations
Keisuke Honda is confident he will still join AC Milan after CSKA Moscow revealed talks were at a standstill.

The Japan international has six months left on his contract with the Russian club and has been consistently linked with a move to San Siro.

Milan is thought to be keen to sign the midfielder before his deal runs out in January, although vice president Adriano Galliani suggested on Thursday that an early move was unlikely, while CSKA branded the

Reus dismisses Dortmund exit talk

The Germany international stresses he is keen to stay at Signal Iduna Park and believes his side can reach the Champions League final again in 2013-14.
Marco Reus has insisted that he has no intention of leaving Borussia Dortmund as he is happy with life at the Bundesliga giant.

The Germany international joined Dortmund from Borussia Monchengladbach in the summer of 2012 and immediately became a key player at BVB, reportedly attracting the interest of the likes of Manchester City and Barcelona in the process. Nevertheless, the 24-year-old intends to respect his contract with Dortmund, which runs until June 2017.

"BVB have absolutely no reason to worry about me leaving the club. I am feeling

Liverpool owner Henry: Suarez is not being sold

The American has insisted the striker will stay at Anfield this summer, and he will continue to refuse offers from rival clubs as he is keen to qualify for the Champions League.
Liverpool owner John W. Henry has insisted that striker Luis Suarez is going nowhere this summer.

Arsenal has seen two bids for the Uruguayan rejected - the latest being 40,000,001 pounds in an attempt to trigger a supposed release clause - but the Reds chief has described the prospect of selling their star man as "ludicrous."

Brendan Rodgers, who has consistently backed Suarez despite a string of controversies, has now accused the player of "total disrespect" and ordered him to train away from the first-team squad - a decision backed by Henry after Suarez criticized the club and

Mourinho vows to fight for Rooney signing 'until the last day'

Chelsea has seen two bids already rejected for the Manchester United striker, but the Blues boss is hopeful of seeing progress before the end of the transfer window.
Jose Mourinho has warned Manchester United that Chelsea will continue its pursuit of wantaway striker Wanye Rooney "until the last day."

The Blues have seen two bids for the England international rejected by the Premier League champion, with their most recent offer thought to total 30 million pounds with add-ons. Rooney was reportedly told to train with the Red Devils reserves on Thursday, with manager David Moyes angered by his efforts to engineer a move, and Mourinho insists he will not stop chasing the 27-year-old.

"There is no time limit on it," Mourinho is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail. "We have identified the player as one we would like to

Cissokho agrees to personal terms with Liverpool

The Valencia defender has revealed the two clubs remain at loggerheads over the deal, with the Liga side keen for a sale and the Reds hoping for a loan with an option to buy.
Valencia left back Aly Cissokho has revealed that he has reached an agreement with Liverpool and that it is now up to the clubs to negotiate a deal to take him to Anfield.

The Premier League side has been busy in the transfer market with four signings to date - Simon Mignolet, Kolo Toure, Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto - but the Reds are light on fullbacks following the retirement of Jamie Carragher and Jack Robinson's loan move to Blackpool.

And Cissokho has now claimed he is close to joining Liverpool, but he states the two clubs are at loggerheads over the structure of the deal, with Valencia after a sale and

Mourinho: Barcelona 'wasting their time' with David Luiz pursuit

The Chelsea boss confirms there is "no chance" the Brazil international will be leaving Stamford Bridge and suggests the Liga champion looks elsewhere for defensive help.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has warned Barcelona that David Luiz will not be sold and any pursuit of the Brazilian is a waste of time.

The club has reportedly turned its attention to Luiz after missing out on Marquinhos and being thwarted in its attempts to sign PSG's Thiago Silva. Mourinho, though, has insisted all summer that Luiz will not be allowed to leave Stamford Bridge, and the Chelsea boss has reaffirmed that position with a week to go before the new campaign.

"If [Barcelona] need a central defender, my advice is that they have to go to the second name they have in the list, because they are

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Mascherano reveals transfer enquiries

The Argentine admits he would willingly leave the club should it deem him surplus to requirements and believes the team must look to bolster its defense
Javier Mascherano has revealed he has received enquiries from other clubs during his time with Barcelona and would be prepared to leave should the Liga champions no longer need him.

The Argentina international joined Camp Nou from Liverpool in 2010 for 24 million euros and has been used primarily in central defense due to the Catalans' strength in midfield and fragility at the back.

The 29-year-old admits there were tentative calls from interested parties during the past three seasons and, while he insists he will always determine to fight for his place in the side, he confesses he would be prepared to move on should Barca

Messi: I have no problem with Neymar

The Argentine insists he gets on with the Brazilian "on and off the pitch" and stresses there has been no great upheaval under new coach Gerardo Martino
Barcelona star Lionel Messi has made it clear he has had no problems with Neymar since the Brazilian's 57 million-euro move to the club.

The Argentine ace started a game alongside the 21-year-old for the first time on Wednesday, with both players getting on the scoresheet in a 7-1 thrashing of Thailand, and Messi insists that any talks of unrest between the pair is pure speculation from the media.

"There’s no problem between us; these are things that come out of the press," he told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur.

"We get on with each other on and off the pitch and we’re getting to

'I'm not some super-trainer' - Guardiola plays down Bayern expectations

The former Barcelona boss warns fans not to expect 7-0 thrashings in every game as he attempts to live up to the club's treble triumph of 2012-13
Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola has attempted to dampen expectations ahead of his first season at the club.
The German side won the Champions League, Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal last season, losing just three games in all competitions under the guidance of Jupp Heynckes.

Guardiola himself enjoyed remarkable success in his four-year stint at the helm of Barcelona, but he insists he should not be considered a "super-trainer" as he attempts to continue his impressive coaching career at the Allianz Arena.

"It’s not easy always having to

Howard in favor of Donovan's return to World Cup qualifying squad

The longtime USA goalkeeper hopes to see the nation's all-time leading scorer -- who has missed the entire CONCACAF hexagonal thus far -- back in World Cup qualifying next month.
Count U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard among those who would like to see Landon Donovan back with the Americans' World Cup qualifying squad.

Donovan has missed out on the entire CONCACAF qualifying hexagonal thus far -- in part because of his self-imposed hiatus this past winter -- but after his showing in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, Howard is hoping that the USA's all-time leading scorer and assist man recaptures his place among Jurgen Klinsmann's top team.

"I think we're at our best when we have our best players available, and quite honestly when you start to stack the chips up Landon Donovan is one of our

Official: Roma signs Gervinho

The Giallorossi have secured the signing of the Ivorian, Arsenal confirmed on Thursday, who becomes the Italian side's fifth major signing this summer
Roma has completed the signing of Arsenal attacker Gervinho for a fee believed to be around 8 million euros, the English club confirmed on Thursday.

Gervinho, 26, has agreed a contract with the Giallorossi - though the length has not been announced yet - and will team up with former Lille coach Rudi Garcia, who also joined the Serie A giants this summer.

The Ivorian forward, who failed to established himself as a first-team regular with Arsenal, becomes Roma's fifth major signing of the

Official: Postiga joins Valencia

The Portugal international, who has spent the past two seasons in La Liga with Zaragoza, has agreed a two-year deal as the club looks to replace Roberto Soldado.
Valencia has completed a 3 million euro signing of striker Helder Postiga from Zaragoza.

The 30-year-old inked a two-year deal with the club following los Che's sale of Roberto Soldado to Tottenham last week.

Postiga netted 23 goals in 70 Liga appearances with Zaragoza, which was relegated last season, but the striker insists he does not want to be viewed as a replacement for the departed Soldado.

“I’m delighted to have arrived at a

Howard on status as Everton's No. 1: 'I don't think that's ever been a question'

The USA goalkeeper has no worries about a challenge from Joel Robles and is all for the implementation of goal-line technology this season.

As Tim Howard prepares for his eighth season in the Premier League with Everton, he is confronted with a serious challenger for his title as No. 1 goalkeeper after manager Roberto Martinez signed Joel Robles -- who played on loan for Martinez at Wigan last season -- from Atletico Madrid.

Howard doesn't quite see it that way, necessarily. The 34-year-old USA goalkeeper has no qualms about where he stands in the pecking order at Goodison Park and is fully expecting to handle the reins as Martinez's top option between the posts when the new season kicks off next

Louis Saha announces retirement

The former France forward has called time on his career at the age of 35 after making just six appearances for Lazio last season
Former Manchester United striker Louis Saha has chosen his 35th birthday to announce his retirement from professional football.

The ex-France international began his career with Metz before success with Fulham saw him earn a 12.8 million-pound move to Manchester United in 2004, where he would go on to win two Premier League titles and a Champions League crown.

Stints at Everton, Tottenham and Sunderland followed after injuries marred his spell at Old Trafford and the Frenchman has now called time on his career after

England boss Hodgson to use unfit Rooney sparingly

The Manchester United striker has suffered a series of setbacks during preseason, and the England boss says he'll act with precaution for the Three Lions' clash with Scotland.
Roy Hodgson intends to treat Wayne Rooney with care after calling up the Manchester United striker for England's game against Scotland despite his lack of match fitness.

The 27-year-old Rooney has yet to feature in the Premier League champion's preseason preparations, first picking up a hamstring injury before being ruled out of United's most recent friendly with AIK due to a shoulder problem.

And although Hodgson has selected the wantaway forward, the Three Lions boss expects to use him only sparingly.

“Obviously [Rooney's] not fully match fit, but that's obvious,” Hodgson told reporters. “[But it is] important to have him with us in the

Real Madrid president: £100m for Bale is a lot of money

Los Blancos chief Florentino Perez has cast doubt over a move for the 24-year-old, with Tottenham holding out for a world-record fee for the Wales international
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has played down reports that Tottenham's Gareth Bale is close to moving to the Spanish capital, saying the fee for the Welshman is "a lot of money."

Spurs chairman Daniel Levy held decisive talks with the Madrid chief in Florida this week, with the north London club holding out for 100 million pounds for the PFA and FWA Player of the Year.

But Perez has refuted claims that a deal for Bale is close to being struck, and has baulked at the world-record fee Tottenham is demanding for the

Abidal returns to France squad for Belgium friendly

The Monaco defender has not played for his country since February 2012 following a liver transplant, while Samir Nasri has also been handed a recall.
Didier Deschamps has recalled defender Eric Abidal to his France squad as the team prepares to take on Belgium next week.

The Monaco captain is set to win his first cap since Feb. 2012 after recovering from a liver transplant, while Samir Nasri has also been named in the selection as les Bleus look to bounce back from friendly defeats to Uruguay and Brazil.

“The South American tour was a disappointment when I compare what I expected and what I did not see,” Deschamps told reporters. “We were facing opponents in competition mode, we were not equipped to fight, but in terms of investment, our guys needed

Lisandro Lopez set for Al-Gharafa switch

The Argentine forward looks likely to end his spell in Ligue 1 after the French club granted him permission to join the Qatari outfit.
Lisandro Lopez is set to end his four-year spell at Lyon and move to Qatari side Al-Gharafa.

The 30-year-old joined Lyon from Porto in 2009, but is now ready to end his four-year spell in Ligue 1.

A statement on Lyon's official website read: "Olympique Lyonnais announces its acceptance of a request made to president Jean-Michel Aulas, at the end of the May and again in July, by Lisandro Lopez to leave the club in the summer transfer window for personal reasons.

"Lisandro was authorized to travel to

Wolf unhappy with Monaco spending

The 31-year-old is excited about the prospect of playing alongside the likes of Radamel Falcao, but fears the side will be left in financial disarray in the future.
Monaco defender Andreas Wolf has revealed his unhappiness with the club's summer spending spree and warned that the new-look squad will take time to gel.

After winning promotion to Ligue 1 last season, owner Dimitry Rybolovlev has spent 146 million euros on the likes of Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho in a bid to take the division by storm.

Wolf has also yet to be convinced that his side's grand transfer outlay will be a guarantee of success and fears the club will be left in a mess if the wealthy owner decides to withdraw his investment in the future.

“On the one hand I am pleased that I have the

Cristiano Ronaldo: I do my talking on the pitch

The Portuguese striker, who scored two goals in Real Madrid's 3-1 victory over Chelsea, says he has refused to let former boss Jose Mourinho's comments affect his game
Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo has stressed that events taking place off the pitch do not affect him as he prefers to let his football do the talking for him.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho's jibe earlier this week that the Portugal star is not 'the real Ronaldo' led to controversy ahead of Wednesday's International Champions Cup final between both sides, but the 28-year-old has remained unperturbed by his former boss' taunts.

Ronaldo already stated on Monday that Mourinho's comments did not deserve a reply and remained calm again on Wednesday after helping Madrid to a

Fabregas rules out Barcelona exit

The Spain international has been the subject of two rejected bids from Manchester United this summer and has now insisted he is committed to the Blaugrana.
Cesc Fabregas says he has no intention of leaving Barcelona this summer amid serious interest from Manchester United.

The Premier League side saw two offers for the Spain international turned down by the Liga champion, with Barca sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta stating earlier this month that United had ended its pursuit of Fabregas following Barca's latest rejection.

Speculation about Fabregas' future at the Camp Nou side continued, though, only for the midfielder to now make it clear that he will not leave the club this summer.

"It has always been my dream to play for

De Jong: Italy return key to Balotelli's resurgence in form

The AC Milan midfielder believes that the attacker's return to the peninsula has played a major role in his fine performances in 2013.
Nigel de Jong says Mario Balotelli's decision to leave Manchester City for a return to Italy at AC Milan in the January transfer window was a key moment in his development as a player.
The Italy international was going through a difficult time at City last season when the Rossoneri came knocking in the winter, but he was quickly back to his usual best at the San Siro side as he netted 12 goals in 13 Serie A appearances to help Milan to a third place finish and a Champions League berth.

De Jong, who also left City to go to Milan last year, says the transformation in Balotelli's character since his return has helped the 22-year-old's game immensely.
"During his time at