AFP

Diego Costa

Conte warns troubled Chelsea not to look for excuses

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London (AFP) – Antonio Conte has warned troubled champions Chelsea not to look for excuses after their turbulent start to the season.

Since Chelsea won the title last term, Conte has endured a surprisingly difficult period that shows no signs of abating heading into Sunday’s clash with title rivals Tottenham at Wembley.

Conte warns troubled Chelsea not to look for excuses

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London (AFP) – Antonio Conte has warned troubled champions Chelsea not to look for excuses after their turbulent start to the season.

Since Chelsea won the title last term, Conte has endured a surprisingly difficult period that shows no signs of abating heading into Sunday’s clash with title rivals Tottenham at Wembley.

berlin

Kevin-Prince Boateng signs for Eintracht

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Berlin (AFP) – Ghana ‘bad-boy’ midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng could feature for Eintracht Frankfurt in this weekend’s German league match at Freiburg after signing a three-year deal with the Bundesliga club on Friday.

Berlin-born Boateng is back in the Bundesliga after stints at Hertha Berlin, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke, plus spells abroad with Tottenham Hotspur, Portsmouth, AC Milan and Las Palmas, who he only quit on Wednesday.

Kevin-Prince Boateng signs for Eintracht

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Berlin (AFP) – Ghana ‘bad-boy’ midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng could feature for Eintracht Frankfurt in this weekend’s German league match at Freiburg after signing a three-year deal with the Bundesliga club on Friday.

Berlin-born Boateng is back in the Bundesliga after stints at Hertha Berlin, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke, plus spells abroad with Tottenham Hotspur, Portsmouth, AC Milan and Las Palmas, who he only quit on Wednesday.

English Premier League

Mourinho backs early close to transfer window

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has backed calls for the Premier League to close its transfer window before the season starts, rather than at the end of August.

Several English top-flight clubs have called for the move in order to minimise disruption once the season gets under way and they are due to vote on the proposal at the start of next month.

Arsenal in search of Sanchez tonic at Stoke

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Stoke-on-Trent (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Arsenal head to Stoke City this weekend aiming to register a second victory of the season and divert attention away from continuing questions about the future of Alexis Sanchez.

Arsene Wenger’s side kicked off the Premier League campaign in exciting, if not entirely convincing, fashion against Leicester City, coming from behind to register a 4-3 victory thanks to a late Olivier Giroud winner.

Arsenal in search of Sanchez tonic at Stoke

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Stoke-on-Trent (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Arsenal head to Stoke City this weekend aiming to register a second victory of the season and divert attention away from continuing questions about the future of Alexis Sanchez.

Arsene Wenger’s side kicked off the Premier League campaign in exciting, if not entirely convincing, fashion against Leicester City, coming from behind to register a 4-3 victory thanks to a late Olivier Giroud winner.

Manchester United aim to build on formidable start

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Swansea (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Anthony Martial has warned Manchester United not to get carried away by their impressive start to the Premier League season as the leaders head to Swansea on Saturday.

An emphatic 4-0 victory over West Ham in their opening game suggested United have shaken off a tendency to draw matches they should be winning, putting them in good spirits for the trip to south Wales.

Arsenal’s Wenger admits no progress on Sanchez contract talks

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London (AFP) – Alexis Sanchez and Arsenal remain at an impasse over new contract talks, manager Arsene Wenger said on Wednesday.

Wenger’s admission will only heighten speculation the 28-year-old Chile international forward will join Premier League rivals Manchester City.

Sanchez, who played under City manager Pep Guardiola at Barcelona, is presently injured with an abdominal strain which will keep him out of Saturday’s game against Stoke City and prevented him from playing in the opening 4-3 win over Leicester City.

Transfer Market

Juve’s Allegri favours shorter transfer window

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Rome (AFP) – Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri added his voice on Friday to calls to shorten the transfer window.

“I’m against closing the transfer window on August 31,” said the 50-year-old, who guided Juve to the Champions League final last season.

“I hope that sooner or later the transfer window will close earlier.

Juve’s Allegri favours shorter transfer window

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Rome (AFP) – Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri added his voice on Friday to calls to shorten the transfer window.

“I’m against closing the transfer window on August 31,” said the 50-year-old, who guided Juve to the Champions League final last season.

“I hope that sooner or later the transfer window will close earlier.

Juventus director slams unscrupulous agents

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Milan (AFP) – Juventus director-general Beppe Marotta on Thursday called for a shorter summer transfer period as he slammed agents for unsettling players before the start of the season.

Speaking two days before Juventus begin the defence of their Serie A title at home to Cagliari, Marotta said the Turin giants would not be making “extravagant” purchases before the transfer period ends on August 31.

Juventus director slams unscrupulous agents

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Milan (AFP) – Juventus director-general Beppe Marotta on Thursday called for a shorter summer transfer period as he slammed agents for unsettling players before the start of the season.

Speaking two days before Juventus begin the defence of their Serie A title at home to Cagliari, Marotta said the Turin giants would not be making “extravagant” purchases before the transfer period ends on August 31.

psg

Neymar set for home bow as PSG face Toulouse

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Paris (AFP) – After dazzling on his first appearance in a Paris Saint-Germain shirt, Neymar is in line to make his home debut for his new club against Toulouse on Sunday.

The world’s most expensive player scored one goal and set up another in a starring performance as PSG beat Guingamp 3-0 away in Brittany last weekend to maintain their perfect start to the new French season.

Neymar set for home bow as PSG face Toulouse

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Paris (AFP) – After dazzling on his first appearance in a Paris Saint-Germain shirt, Neymar is in line to make his home debut for his new club against Toulouse on Sunday.

The world’s most expensive player scored one goal and set up another in a starring performance as PSG beat Guingamp 3-0 away in Brittany last weekend to maintain their perfect start to the new French season.

PSG’s Matuidi undergoes Juventus medical

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Milan (AFP) – France midfielder Blaise Matuidi is on the verge of signing for Juventus, who have agreed to pay Paris Saint-Germain a reported 20 million euros plus bonuses, after undergoing a medical on Wednesday.

Matuidi, who won four consecutive league titles with PSG, was met by dozens of enthusiastic fans on his arrival at Torino’s Caselle airport on Wednesday before undergoing a medical.

Spaniard Jese joins Stoke on loan from PSG

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Paris (AFP) – Spanish forward Jese has joined Stoke City on a season-long loan from Paris Saint-Germain, the two clubs announced on Wednesday.

“Jese was a man in demand when PSG made it clear they would allow him to leave on loan and we’re delighted he has chosen to join us,” said Stoke chief executive Tony Scholes.

Spaniard Jese joins Stoke on loan from PSG

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Paris (AFP) – Spanish forward Jese has joined Stoke City on a season-long loan from Paris Saint-Germain, the two clubs announced on Wednesday.

“Jese was a man in demand when PSG made it clear they would allow him to leave on loan and we’re delighted he has chosen to join us,” said Stoke chief executive Tony Scholes.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Messi, Ronaldo lead sports stars in condemning Barcelona attack

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Madrid (AFP) – Football icons and longtime rivals Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo joined Spanish sports stars around the world in expressing their grief after Thursday’s terror attack in Barcelona left 13 people dead.

Barcelona’s most famous street Las Ramblas was packed with tourists when a van drove into the crowds, leaving scenes of carnage.

Messi, Ronaldo lead sports stars in condemning Barcelona attack

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Madrid (AFP) – Football icons and longtime rivals Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo joined Spanish sports stars around the world in expressing their grief after Thursday’s terror attack in Barcelona left 13 people dead.

Barcelona’s most famous street Las Ramblas was packed with tourists when a van drove into the crowds, leaving scenes of carnage.

Raging Ronaldo ‘persecuted’ as appeal against ban rejected

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Madrid (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo blasted his treatment by the Spanish Football Federation as “persecution” after his appeal against a five-game ban was rejected on Wednesday.

The World Player of the Year will miss the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup against Barcelona later on Wednesday (kick off 2100GMT) and Madrid’s first four games of the season in La Liga.

Milan

Milan striker Niang set for Spartak switch

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Milan (AFP) – French striker M’Baye Niang is set to end his frustrating four-year spell at AC Milan by signing a four-year deal with Russian league side Spartak Moscow, reports said Friday.

Niang spent last season on loan at Watford, who opted not to buy the Frenchman, and he is now surplus to requirements at Milan after Porto striker Andre Silva and Franck Kessie (Atalanta) were recently acquired by the Serie A giants.

Milan striker Niang set for Spartak switch

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Milan (AFP) – French striker M’Baye Niang is set to end his frustrating four-year spell at AC Milan by signing a four-year deal with Russian league side Spartak Moscow, reports said Friday.

Niang spent last season on loan at Watford, who opted not to buy the Frenchman, and he is now surplus to requirements at Milan after Porto striker Andre Silva and Franck Kessie (Atalanta) were recently acquired by the Serie A giants.

Fiorentina to fine Kalinic amid mooted Milan move

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Milan (AFP) – Fiorentina will sanction want-away Croatian striker Nikola Kalinic after he failed to turn up for training Thursday amid reports of an imminent move to league rivals AC Milan.

Although no formal announcement has been made by either club, Kalinic is expected to become the latest recruit at Milan as the Serie A giants continue their impressive summer spending spree following their takeover by a Chinese consortium last season.

Fiorentina to fine Kalinic amid mooted Milan move

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Milan (AFP) – Fiorentina will sanction want-away Croatian striker Nikola Kalinic after he failed to turn up for training Thursday amid reports of an imminent move to league rivals AC Milan.

Although no formal announcement has been made by either club, Kalinic is expected to become the latest recruit at Milan as the Serie A giants continue their impressive summer spending spree following their takeover by a Chinese consortium last season.

wolfsburg

Goetze set to return after seven months out

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Berlin (AFP) – Germany’s World Cup-winner Mario Goetze is poised to play for the first time in seven months for Borussia Dortmund at Wolfsburg on Saturday to end his illness misery.

“Mario has taken full part (in training) and it looks good,” confirmed Dortmund’s new coach Peter Bosz on Thursday.

Goetze set to return after seven months out

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Berlin (AFP) – Germany’s World Cup-winner Mario Goetze is poised to play for the first time in seven months for Borussia Dortmund at Wolfsburg on Saturday to end his illness misery.

“Mario has taken full part (in training) and it looks good,” confirmed Dortmund’s new coach Peter Bosz on Thursday.

Real Madrid

Zidane leads nominees for FIFA coach prize

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Paris (AFP) – Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane heads the list of 12 nominees for the FIFA men’s coach of the year award announced on Thursday.

Other candidates include Antonio Conte, who led Chelsea to the English title, Manchester United’s Europa League-winning coach Jose Mourinho and Massimiliano Allegri of Juventus.

Coutinho sale not close insists Klopp

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London (AFP) – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has rejected Barcelona’s claims that they are close to signing unsettled Brazil forward Philippe Coutinho.

Klopp’s side have snubbed Barcelona’s £90 million ($115 million, 99 million euros) offer for Coutinho and last week issued a defiant statement insisting no further offers would be considered.

Coutinho sale not close insists Klopp

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London (AFP) – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has rejected Barcelona’s claims that they are close to signing unsettled Brazil forward Philippe Coutinho.

Klopp’s side have snubbed Barcelona’s £90 million ($115 million, 99 million euros) offer for Coutinho and last week issued a defiant statement insisting no further offers would be considered.

Ronaldo-less Real complete Super Cup rout of Barcelona

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid shrugged off the absence of the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo to cruise past rivals Barcelona 2-0 in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup to cap a 5-1 aggregate win.

Ronaldo was slapped with a five-game ban for pushing the referee after he was sent-off in the first leg, but his replacement Marco Asensio enhanced his reputation as one of world football’s rising stars as he smashed Madrid into the lead after just four minutes.

Ronaldo appeal against five-game ban rejected

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Madrid (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo will be suspended for Real Madrid’s Spanish Super Cup, second leg against Barcelona on Wednesday evening after his appeal against a five-game ban was dismissed.

The Spanish football federation’s (RFEF) appeals committee “dismissed the appeal presented by Real Madrid”, the RFEF said in a statement on Wednesday.

Monaco coach says Mbappe was dropped to ‘protect’ him

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Monaco (AFP) – Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim has claimed that star striker Kylian Mbappe was left on the bench last weekend “to protect him” rather than as a punishment.

The 18-year-old sensation reportedly wants away from the French champions, with Paris Saint-Germain his favoured destination but Real Madrid also reportedly ready to pay 180 million euros ($211 million) for his services.

China

China Under-20 football team face triple German snub

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Beijing (AFP) – China’s Under-20 team will play matches in the fourth tier of German football this season as part of a drive to ramp up the fortunes of the much-maligned national side.

However, three teams in Germany have refused to face the Chinese with one club claiming it’s a just a blatant commercial gesture.

China under-20 football team to play in German league

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Beijing (AFP) – China’s Under-20 team will play matches in the fourth tier of German football this season as part of a drive to ramp up the fortunes of the much-maligned national side.

China’s Communist government, led by football fan President Xi Jinping, is throwing money at the sport in hopes of ending years of national underachievement.

China under-20 football team to play in German league

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Beijing (AFP) – China’s Under-20 team will play matches in the fourth tier of German football this season as part of a drive to ramp up the fortunes of the much-maligned national side.

China’s Communist government, led by football fan President Xi Jinping, is throwing money at the sport in hopes of ending years of national underachievement.

Dane at vanguard of China’s World Cup quest

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Shanghai (AFP) – It is the World Cup final and China beat one of the traditional heavyweights showcasing a brand of fast, attacking football that their opponents cannot live with.

That, along with hosting the World Cup, is the dream of Chinese President Xi Jinping - and a Dane at a leading Chinese club is doing his part to try to make it happen.

Steven Gerrard

‘Alexander the Great’ – Liverpool teen Alexander-Arnold earns rave reviews

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London (AFP) – Trent Alexander-Arnold’s stunning freekick for Liverpool in their 2-1 Champions League win over Hoffenheim had the British media purring ‘Who needs Coutinho?’ in reference to the want-away Brazilian star.

The 18-year-old’s opening goal for Liverpool in the tie in Germany - setting them up nicely for next week’s home leg - incited the Daily Mail to headline their report “Alexander The Great”.

‘Alexander the Great’ – Liverpool teen Alexander-Arnold earns rave reviews

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London (AFP) – Trent Alexander-Arnold’s stunning freekick for Liverpool in their 2-1 Champions League win over Hoffenheim had the British media purring ‘Who needs Coutinho?’ in reference to the want-away Brazilian star.

The 18-year-old’s opening goal for Liverpool in the tie in Germany - setting them up nicely for next week’s home leg - incited the Daily Mail to headline their report “Alexander The Great”.

The Rest

Rodgers hails complete Celtic performance in Astana thrashing

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Glasgow (AFP) – Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers hailed his side’s outstanding display as they moved to the verge of the Champions League group stages with a 5-0 thrashing of FC Astana in Glasgow.

An own goal from Evgeni Postnikov and two goals from Scott Sinclair either side of half-time had the Hoops cruising to victory before James Forrest’s strike and a late Igor Shitov own goal rounded off the rout.