According to media reports, Nike played a key role in Frenkie de Jong’s decision to reject an offer from Paris Saint-Germain and sign for Barcelona.
The company, a sponsor of both Barca and De Jong, will pay a large amount of the midfielder’s salary, sources close to the club said.
In February, De Jong agreed a deal to join Barcelona from Ajax for €75 million and will make the move to the Camp Nou in the summer. In January, ESPN FC sources had said PSG were confident that they would beat Barca and Manchester City to his signing. Read more... (239 words, estimated 57 secs reading time)
Lionel Messi has touched back down in Barcelona after pulling out of the Argentina squad due to injury.
The talisman had made his much anticipated return to the national set-up in a friendly with Venezuela, but his comeback was dampened as Argentina fell to a 3-1 defeat.
Salomon Rondon’s strike in the sixth minute got things off to a bad start, before Jhon Murillo doubled the lead and Josef Martinez scored a third.
Lautaro Martinez pulled a goal back for Argentina but it wasn’t enough, though Messi was able to get through the full-match despite his injury concern. Read more... (288 words, estimated 1:09 mins reading time)
Manchester United will have to smash their transfer record and pay a world record fee for a defender, after Napoli put a €150 million price tag on Senegal international centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly.
Interest is high in the Napoli defender and he has been heavily linked with a move to a top European club in recent months.
Real Madrid, Barcelona and Chelsea are in the race for the 27-year-old, according to reports in Italy, but United are believed to view him as a top priority.
Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis is not prepared to let him leave on the cheap, however, and is demanding a world-record fee for a defender, claim Gazzetta dello Sport. Read more... (230 words, estimated 55 secs reading time)
Barcelona are open to selling Philippe Coutinho should they receive a bid upwards of €100 million, despite the Brazil international’s desire to stay
Coutinho has been in and out of the starting lineup this season, and was even booed by his own supporters during a 3-1 victory over Rayo Vallecano. The 26-year-old has been linked with a move away and while there have been no official bids, there is interest in the midfielder.
“Barcelona do not have a firm offer from any club at this point, but some have expressed an interest in the player,” a source at the club told ESPN FC. Read more... (255 words, estimated 1:01 mins reading time)
Jurgen Klopp believes James Milner’s late penalty in Liverpool’s 2-1 victory at Fulham has kept them in the title race.
Klopp’s side lead the Premier League table heading into the international break after moving two points clear of Manchester City, who have played one fewer fixture, but having come so close to a damaging draw at Craven Cottage.
After the in-form Sadio Mane had given them a half-time lead, Milner, Virgil Van Dijk and Alisson Becker combined to gift former Liverpool forward Ryan Babel the chance to score Fulham’s equaliser. Read more... (367 words, estimated 1:28 mins reading time)
Maurizio Sarri has admitted it will be ‘impossible’ for Chelsea to qualify for the Champions League if their shocking second half at Everton is consistently repeated.
The Chelsea head coach was left perplexed at the manner in which his team surrendered a position of strength at Goodison Park and disintegrated in the second 45 minutes, enabling the hosts to beat top six opposition for the first time in 26 attempts.
There was no sign of such an outcome during the first half, as Chelsea controlled the tempo, but the way in which they folded after Richarlison had opened the scoring left Sarri to openly question the mentality of his squad, who fluffed the opportunity to put pressure on their top-four rivals. Read more... (511 words, estimated 2:03 mins reading time)
Manchester City will face Brighton in the semi-finals of this year’s FA Cup as Pep Guardiola’s quest for the quadruple marches on.
Brighton required penalties to see off Championship side Millwall on Sunday while Manchester City overcame a scare at Swansea to reach the last four.
The other semi-final will see Watford take on a Wolves side who overcame Manchester United in their quarter final on Saturday.
Both Manchester City and Brighton had to recover from two goal deficits to reach the last four.
Brighton somehow managed to squeeze through their last-eight tie with Millwall despite trailing 2-0 with less than three minutes of normal time remaining. Read more... (296 words, estimated 1:11 mins reading time)
Manchester United are set to face a fresh fight to keep David de Gea after Zinedine Zidane returned as Real Madrid manager.
Zidane was reappointed as Real boss this week and will be looking to guide the club to further success after previously winning the Champions League three seasons in a row.
As reported by The Mirror, Zidane is a huge admirer of De Gea, who has frequently been linked with a move to The Bernabeu in the past.
United recently triggered an option to keep De Gea at the club until the summer of 2020, and are in talks with the Spaniard over a new £350,000-a-week deal. Read more... (322 words, estimated 1:17 mins reading time)
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted Manchester United had taken a ‘big step backwards’ as they crashed out of the FA Cup at Wolves on Saturday night.
Second-half goals from Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota clinched a famous 2-1 win to put Wolves into the semis for the first time in 21 years at a jubilant Molineux.
But it inflicted a second defeat in a row on Solskjaer whose bubble is in danger of bursting after United’s best chance of a lifting a trophy under him this season disappeared.
‘It was a big step backwards,’ said the 46-year-old Norwegian, who suffered his first Premier League defeat at Arsenal last weekend. Read more... (627 words, estimated 2:30 mins reading time)
Antoine Griezmann has reportedly started to regret his decision to turn down Barcelona in the summer and is hoping he can secure a move to the Nou Camp come the end of the season.
The French forward was strongly linked with the Catalan club but would go on to announce he was committing himself to Atletico Madrid in a documentary entitled ‘The Decision’, signing a new deal until 2023.
However, he now believes he made a mistake with Atletico exiting the Champions League and once again struggling to keep pace with Barca in the title race, according to French newspaper L’Equipe. Read more... (337 words, estimated 1:21 mins reading time)