Kylian Mbappe to join Real Madrid or to stay with PSG

Real are optimistic about sealing the deal before the transfer window shuts in a few months since they believe Kylian Mbappe is not signing a new agreement in Paris, as his current contract is set to expire at the end of this season. PSG rejected a transfer request for an estimated PS145.8m in summer 2021, the same summer Kylian Mbappe entered the last 12 months of his PSG contract, and they have turned down approaches once more in January 2022, hoping that they can persuade the three-time Ligue 1 player of the year to sign a new contract. With Kylian Mbappe set to be a free agent in 2022, Real Madrid was still thinking such a pricey deal was worth doing now, while PSG decided to hold out, hoping Mbappe would eventually sign an extension, though a shorter one. The question is whether clubs can agree on a fee. Since his current contract ends in 2022, meaning that Kylian Mbappe can talk to Real Madrid about a free transfer, it seems to be Paris Saint-Germain’s responsibility to secure a fair price.

Goal understands Kylian Mbappe has turned down no less than half a dozen offers for an extension at PSG, and agreeing to a personal terms deal with Madrid would be a non-issue. The forward is now entitled to talk to other clubs, as he is entering the final months of his contract at PSG. While it is thought that PSG is still trying to persuade the forward to remain in the capital, Real Madrid is confident he will sign with them as soon as the PSGs season ends next week.

Kylian Mbappe has yet to sign paperwork for Real, and his current club, PSG, are still trying to persuade him to change his mind. The offer comes as several reports in Spain and France suggest that Kylian Mbappe is close to joining Real Madrid on a free transfer once his PSG contract ends after the season ends. It now looked as though he would depart in January, the first, with the upcoming galactico set to leave arrangement next summer, with Madrid likely agreeing to take him for free in January. PSG sporting director Leonardo said that he expected Kylian Mbappe to remain past this season and denied PSG had received the latest deadline-day bid of EUR 200m from Real Madrid for Kylian Mbappe.

However, according to transfer expert Gianluca Di Marzio, Mbappe is “likely to remain with PSG.” According to another story in Sports Bible, PSG has apparently given Kylian Mbappe the position of the owner of their sporting endeavour, with absolute ability to replace coaches and choose whoever players he wants.

Jack Grealish vs Aston Villa for the title decider

Jarrod Bowen’s first-half brace prevented the Blues from expanding their lead at the top of the table to six points ahead of Liverpool’s midweek visit to Southampton.

After a dreadful first 45 minutes in which City conceded twice against the run of play, Jack Grealish hit back to cut the deficit in half and give his side hope of a comeback in their penultimate league game of the season.

An own goal by Vladimir Coufal with just over 20 minutes remaining levelled the score, but City were denied a late winner when Riyad Mahrez’s penalty was saved by Lukasz Fabianski.

Grealish, on the other hand, is convinced that his team will win the title when they face their old employers and boyhood club on the final matchday of the season this weekend.

Grealish’s first major honour would be to win the Premier League, and the game against his boyhood club on Sunday is full of stories.

Villa is managed by Liverpool icon Steven Gerrard, and their squad features former Reds players Danny Ings and Philippe Coutinho. Grealish stated that despite the many tales, he is not distracted.

“Of course, we are going to be confident. We have got a great record at the Etihad this year and we have scored a lot of goals, so it is down to us,” the 26-year-old said after Sunday’s draw at the London Stadium.

“We have to just try and get the three points on the last day. It is not about me (playing Aston Villa) or the opposition, it is about the team and the club. That is what I have got in my head.

“It is going to be a big day for this city and for this football club. Hopefully we can go and lift the trophy. All we can do is go out there and try to get three points so we can get our hands on the trophy.

“Of course, it will be a nice occasion for me, but it is about the team and we have a job to go out there and get three points. I am looking forward to it and I cannot wait.”

Aurelien Tchouameni prefers Premier League

The Reds have already sealed a deal for Fulham attacker Fabio Carvalho ahead of next season. But Klopp and the management are scouring the market for new arrivals, with a midfielder likely to be top of that list.
According to journalist Fabrizio Romano, Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni could potentially join Liverpool this summer.

One player who has been linked with a move to Liverpool is Tchouameni, who is arguably one of Europe’s most highly-rated young midfielders.

The 22-year-old has been an influential performer for Monaco throughout this season, averaging 2.5 tackles and 2.8 interceptions per game in Ligue 1.

Tchouameni is an enormous prospect who has been described as extraordinary by Paul Pogba, and he looks like someone who could be the perfect addition to Liverpool’s midfield.

He could come in as a squad player initially, but it likely wouldn’t take long before he was an integral part of Klopp’s team, combining quality on the ball – he enjoyed a 90.9% pass completion rate across five appearances for France in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, with tireless work off it.

With the likes of James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Thiago all now in their 30s, and Fabinho turning 29 this year, it is vital that fresh legs come in in the middle of the park. Tchouameni is perfect in that respect.

Monaco star Tchouameni has no interest in signing for PSG as he wants to further his career by leaving France this summer. That will give Liverpool and United a major boost ahead of the Ligue 1 champions, who could blow them both out of the water with money alone.

This summer, the France international is hot property ahead of the transfer window after a sensational campaign in Ligue 1. He even breaks into the national set-up where Didier Deschamps is spoilt for choice.
Real Madrid and Chelsea are also interested in the midfielder, but Liverpool and United might be able to entice the player should he decide to move to the Premier League. Both clubs are looking at strengthening the middle of the park, where they have looked light.

United have made signing a defensive midfielder a priority after a miserable campaign where their lack of a specialist has left them brutally exposed. At the same time, Liverpool have yet to truly replace Georginio Wijnaldum.
The French giants are expected to revamp their squad despite winning the title at a canter with the Champions League their main priority, and that could also include a change of manager with Mauricio Pochettino clinging to his job. But they will have to look elsewhere in the engine department.

 

World Cup without Italy Again!

Italy will miss the World Cup for the second time in a row after Italy were stunned by a counterattack goal in a World Cup qualifier in Palermo. Another World Cup agony for Italy after Aleksandar Trajkovski’s goal stopped the European Champions Italy to qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.  Italy conceded goals at the end of the playoffs to seal their fate. The defeat knocked Italy out of the European play-offs, just like the loss to Sweden four years ago. 

Italy broke England’s hearts last July by winning the European Championship final, but after failing to qualify for the World Cup for the second time in a row, fans thought their Wembley triumph was nothing. The Italian team lost to Spain in the 2012 European final and won the 2020 European Championship but missed out on two World Cups, only the third time they have failed to qualify since  1958 and imagine another World Cup without them.

Roberto Mancini’s Italian team scored a total of 32 shots during Thursday’s play-off semi-final. Still, it somehow failed. Lower-ranked North Macedonia will play Portugal for a place in Qatar next Tuesday. Still, whatever happens in this play-off final, the team will never forget their trip to defeat Italy’s might in Palermo. On Thursday, Italy missed dozens of chances in their 1-0 play-off semi-final against North Macedonia. Aleksandar Trajkovski scored in injury time to secure a shocking win for the 67th ranked nation.

The visitors’ decisive blow incredibly sent North Macedonia to the World Cup play-off final at the expense of European champions Italy in one of the biggest qualifying shocks of any heat. As Italy was upset for 90 minutes by North Macedonia’s heroic defensive play, Alexander Trajkovski, a former Palermo player, scored the only goal in the World Cup qualifier in the second minute of injury time,

However, after trying to find an attack for the match, North Macedonia shocked the Italian fans and the football world at large in the second stoppage time with a goal that put them 1–0 ahead and eventually gave them the victory. After 30 minutes of dominance without a severe threat to the doors of North Macedonia, Italy had an excellent opportunity to take the lead. Italy, as expected, dominated the game but, as they had in the last few games, struggled to beat a determined visiting team. When opportunities presented themselves, they weren’t patient enough to take advantage of them. 

Missing out on the FIFA World Cup for the second consecutive time, where do you think the football in Italy will go? The National team appointed Mancini as their new manager, who helped them win the EURO Cup but failed to qualify for the World Cup. Will we witness a change in the managerial role again?

Match Preview: Portugal vs Turkey

Portugal are set to take on Turkey in a Path C semi-final clash of the European play-offs for the 2022 FIFA World Cup at Estadio do Dragao in Porto on Thursday. Fernando Santos’ men finished second to Serbia in Group A of the qualifiers. In contrast, Turkey finished runners-up to the Netherlands in Group G. As a result, they now have to negotiate a tricky play-off path.

Portugal fans cannot forget the name Aleksandar Mitrovic quickly enough, as with the Euro 2016 champions and Serbia level pegging at 1-1 in their final group encounter, the Fulham forward dramatically headed home in the 90th minute to send his side into the finals.

A goalless stalemate with the Republic of Ireland three days before that 2-1 defeat also proved costly in Portugal’s bid to secure a simple route to Qatar, with Santos’s side now at a real risk of failing to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1998.

A potential meeting with Italy in the play-off final could follow for Portugal – assuming that the European champions can navigate their way past North Macedonia in the other Path C semi-final – meaning that at least one of the two European heavyweights will be watching on from home later this year.

A record of 17 points and a +11 goal difference means that Portugal boast the best group record out of any UEFA nation in the play-offs, but defeat to Serbia at the Estadio da Luz marked their first home loss in World Cup Qualifying since 2008.

However, Santos’s side had won 10 on the bounce at home in qualification before Mitrovic, and Dusan Tadic put them to the sword in November, although their upcoming opponents have enjoyed quite the revival since their Euro 2020 capitulation.

With Ruben Dias injured and Joao Cancelo suspended, Portugal’s backline has been further depleted by Pepe testing positive for COVID-19.

Santos will also miss midfielder Ruben Neves and goalkeeper Anthony Lopes due to injuries. Renato Sanches is also injured, though a suspension would have kept him out anyway.

Turkey defender Mert Muldur is set to return after serving his ban. Veteran striker Burak Yilmaz has been consistent but expects Stefan Kuntz to explore his options in attack.

Head-to-Head

In eight head-to-head encounters between the two sides, Portugal hold the clear advantage, having won six games and lost two.

The two countries last faced each other way back in 2012, with Turkey beating Portugal 3-1. A brace from striker Umut Bolut and an own goal from centre-back Pepe ensured victory for Turkey. Winger Nani scored the consolation goal for Portugal.

Portugal form guide: L-D-W-W-W

Turkey form guide: W-W-W-D-L

Portugal vs Turkey Predicted XI

Portugal Predicted XI (4-3-3): Rui Patricio, Diogo Dalot, Goncalo Inacio, Jose Fonte, Raphael Guerreiro, Joao Moutinho, Matheus Nunes, Danilo Pereira, Bernardo Silva, Cristiano Ronaldo, Goncalo Guedes

Turkey Predicted XI (4-4-2): Ugurcan Cakir, Zeki Celik, Merih Demiral, Caglar Soyuncu, Ridvan Yilmaz, Abdulkadir Omur, Hakan Calhanoglu, Dorukhan Tokoz, Muhammed Kerem Akturkoglu, Burak Yilmaz, Cengiz Under

 

Champions League: Benfica stun Ajax in the 2nd leg

Ajax’s incredible Champions League journey has abruptly come to an end after they were unable to win at home yet again.

Ajax failed to end a 26-year winless skid at home in the knockout rounds of the European competition on Tuesday, falling 1-0 to Benfica to end a faultless group stage campaign.

After a 2-2 draw in the first leg of the last-16 encounter in Lisbon last month, the Dutch club was anticipated to breeze through to the final eight with home advantage in the second leg.

However, their chances of extending their run in the Champions League were dashed by Benfica, who have had a dismal domestic season and are currently 12 points off the top of the Portuguese league.

Story of the match

After a 2-2 tie in the first leg in Lisbon, Erik ten Hag’s home team had control from the start at the Johan Cruijff Arena on Tuesday.

Benfica, on the other hand, struck decisively in the 77th minute, when Nunez blasted in the Portuguese visitors’ first shot on goal, sending Nelson Verissimo’s side through.

Ajax dominated the opening exchanges, with Sebastien Haller scoring after only seven minutes, but the celebrations were cut short by a late offside penalty against Dusan Tadic.

Ten Hag’s players continued to play with authority but without result before the break, with Antony testing Odisseas Vlachodimos from range and Ryan Gravenberch seeing a fizzing strike turned over.

Tadic swerved off target as Ajax resumed where they left off after the break, just before an unmarked opponent. Jan Vertonghen gave the hosts a scare when he headed wide from a good chance.

Antony came close to breaking the deadlock, but his headed effort just missed the top-left corner, and Ajax’s failure to convert proved costly with 13 minutes remaining.

Nunez towered over goalkeeper Andre Onana to meet Alex Grimaldo’s inswinging free-kick from the right flank, and he clinically headed into the left corner, snatching the victory for Benfica.

Ajax had a chance to equalize deep in stoppage time, but Benfica goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos made a fantastic save to deny Brian Brobbey, who was then called offside.

Comments after the game

“Obviously I’m very happy. It was a very difficult game, we knew we all had to run when it came time to defend and attack,” Nunez told reporters.

“We played against a team that plays very well, we knew we were going to suffer, we suffered, we had to defend but our team gave everything,” he added.

Elimination was a bitter blow said home captain Dusan Tadic.

“We stopped all their efforts to counter-attack and then we lose from a free kick… We didn’t deserve to lose. We were the better team, but in Europe, it’s also about set pieces and counters. Then such a moment can be fatal.”

Benfica will now wait to find out the identity of their opponents in the last-eight draw on Friday, with the two-leg clashes set to take place across early April.

RIP Shane Warne: Legendary Leg Spin Bowler

 All-time great cricketer and Australian icon who surpassed cricket, Shane Warne, has died at the age of 52 after a suspected heart attack. Australian cricketer Shane Warne died suddenly of a suspected heart attack while on holiday on the Thai island of Koh Samui on Friday. Hours after Shane Warne’s death, Sunil Gavaskar was attacked by fans after discussing whether Shane Warne was the most excellent spinner of all time.

Australian cricketer Shane Warne, a game beloved by Shane Warne, one of the greatest cricketers of all time and a standout figure on and off the pitch, died Friday in Thailand. Voted one of the five greatest players of the 20th century by the authoritative Wisden Cricketers Almanack, Australian cricketer Shane Warne was one of the best shooters in the crowd. Their skill and lifestyle often made headlines. Coming out of international cricket after the 2006-07 Ashes, the urn was quietly won 5-0, Shane Warne was one of the most astute tacticians in cricket; “The greatest captain Australia has ever had,” was the oft-repeated phrase about the cricket brain, which is always full of ideas and theories.

After a disappointing debut against India in January 1992, when Shane Warne’s single-wicket was worth 150, Warne hinted at his full bowling potential in Australia, following an unlikely win over Sri Lanka in Colombo – His fifth appearance – he stole seven winning wickets. In the 1992-93 Boxing Day Test, their second game was at home against West Indies. Warne was the first bowler to grab 700 Test wickets, with his leg-spin, retiring from Australia in 2007 after a 5-0 home win over historic rivals England. Warne played for Australia from 1992 to 2007 and took 1001 International Tests and ODI wickets. Known for reviving the art of leg curls, Warne was part of Australia’s dominant Test team in the 1990s and 2000s and helped his country win a limited 1999 World Cup.

Affectionately known as Warney, Warne is credited with almost single-handedly reviving the art of the leg-spin in the early 1990s. Appearing as a brash young player with a shock of blond hair, Warne became as famous for his life away from cricket as for his exploits on the pitch. Warne stunned the cricket world when he cleaned the stump of English batsman Mike Gatting in an England-Australia match in Manchester in 1993.

The rise of the Twenty20 format follows Shane Warne’s international career, where he played in the Indian Premier League, captained Rajasthan Royals in 2008 and played cricket in England between the 2000s. Former Indian batsman Virender Sehwag said Australian cricketer Shane Warne was “one of the greatest spinners, the one who made him spin more”, Gary Lineker added in a tweet: “The greatest ever. Great spinner”.

Shane Warne will be remembered forever in cricket history for his leg-spin bowling.

Who is Pablo Torre?

FC Barcelona have signed Pablo Torre from Racing Santander, the LaLiga club announced on Friday, beating Real Madrid to land the talented youngster. The 18-year-old attacking midfielder is to arrive from Racing Santander on 30 June 2026 with a buyout clause set at 100 million euros. 

The fixed fee is 5 million euros plus variables depending on how the player develops in future years, which could surpass 20 million. Torre will complete the season at his current club and will sign a contract on 30 June 2026, with his buyout clause set at 100 million euros, and he will join Barca B from the summer onwards.

Pablo Torre was born in Soto de la Marina, Cantabria, Spain, on 3 April 2003 and entered the Racing Santander academy in 2015 as a U13 player. He rose through the ranks to make his first-team debut on 18 October 2020 against Portugalete. He has played 48 games as a pro, including 21 so for in the current Primera RFEF Footters (group 1), scoring six goals and giving the same number of assists.

A number of top teams, including Real Madrid, had been tracking Torre, who has been starring for Racing this season, but Barca moved to wrap up negotiations on Friday.

Torre will initially play for Barcelona B but it’s being reported he should get plenty of chances to impress in the first team. Fabrizio Romano reckons “Barca are convinced he could be the next Pedri.”

Barcelona have done another great job by signing another upcoming Spanish talent. In 2019, they signed Pedri from Las Palmas, and now he is one of the best midfielders in the world. 

Xavi Hernandez has talked to Torre and convinced the player and his family that Barcelona’s project is ideal for any young players who are willing to progress and get opportunities with the first team.

Torre will initially play for Barcelona B, but it’s being reported he should get plenty of chances to impress in the first team. Fabrizio Romano reckons, “Barca are convinced he could be the next Pedri.”

After Xavi’s arrival, Barcelona have been focusing on promoting talented players to the first team, and Pablo Torre has the potential to be the next sensation in Camp Nou. 

He is a regular feature in the Spain U19 team, and he is a right-sided attacking player who has been impressive in setting up goals. He will be part of Xavi’s rebuilding and one of the key players for the future. 

 

Bye Bye Bielsa

Marcelo Bielsa joined Leeds United in 2018, bringing the club back to the Premier League by winning the Championship title in 2020, ending a 16-year absence of clubs from the Premier League. Leeds United finished ninth in their first season in the Premier League, but a difficult second season in which the team lost five of their last six games marked the end of Marcelo Bielsa’s reign at Elland Road. On Sunday evening, Leeds United was shocked by the announcement of a replacement for manager Marcelo Bielsa, which they said would take place on Monday. Leeds United announced on Saturday that Marcelo Bielsa had left the club after losing 4-0 to Tottenham Hotspur at Elland Road.

Leeds United has sacked Marcelo Bielsa; news has been confirmed, with sources telling ESPN that former US midfielder Jesse Marsch is the best contender to replace Marcelo Bielsa. RB Leipzig’s U.S. manager Jesse Marsch is expected to be announced as Bielsa’s replacement on Monday. Jesse Marsh becomes only the third American to manage a team in the Premier League after Bob Bradley and D. Wagner. 

US manager Marsh, 48, was released after leaving Leipzig for the Bundesliga in December after just five months on the job.  Marsch was clearly the favourite to replace the 66-year-old Argentine, who was last hired by Leipzig earlier this season but parted ways just a few months later. It would have been a big surprise if Marsch was not picked for the role, as he is also eligible for a work permit under the new rules, having spent the past five years in the top flight. Before being knocked out, U.S. coach Jesse Marsch led RB Leipzig’s sister club Red Bull Salzburg to two consecutive doubles in the Austrian top flight in two seasons in charge, having previously played in Montreal Impact and New York Red Conservatives. Jesse has coached in Major League Soccer and has won the MLS with multiple teams. The American coach left RB Leipzig with a record of 8 wins, four draws and nine losses.

In its current form, Elland Road, with a sign of change, Leeds are back in the league. The Premier League fighters have said they plan to stage a “permanent tribute” to Bielsa at Elland Road and will provide more information on how this will take place shortly. Speaking ahead of the beating, Paul Merson told Soccer Saturday that Marcelo Bielsa was “throwing people’s eyes”, and Leeds fans continued to support the Argentine despite Leeds’ miserable form. The decision to sack Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa was difficult for Leeds United based on the affection between the former Argentina international manager and the Leeds loyalists.

The Ralf Rangnick factor

It is true that not everything that glitters is gold, but it is also true that things that do not glitter can be gold as well. That is precisely how Manchester United has been under Ralf Rangnick.

Manchester United do not play beautiful football, in fact, they are not even close to it. But what they do get right is churning out results.

Manchester United has not appointed Ralf Rangnick for the club to play sumptuous football, they have appointed the man to get results by hook or by crook.

Now, United is not playing like a Man City or a Liverpool but they are, however, churning out results some way or the other. It’s not pretty, it’s not beautiful but Rangnick is extracting results.

We are not speaking without evidence though, in the 17 games that Ralf Rangnick has managed so far, United has won 9 times, drew on 5 occasions, and have only lost thrice.

Agreed they don’t play beautiful football but purely looking at results, Rangnick has done a professional job at United so far.

Well, the latest result against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League was no different.

The side massively struggled in the first half, so much so that it was even difficult to stay in possession. It was a horrendous performance by Man United, almost through the entire game. Yet somehow like they always do, managed to salvage something out of the game.

Joao Felix scored a flying header early in the first half and Atletico looked dominant throughout the game, hitting the crossbar on a couple of occasions.

Rangnick then made a substitution, bringing on Anthony Elanga, who scored on his first touch of the game in the 80th minute, tying the game.

Nothing else was added, and the match ended 1-1.

In fact, this theme of matches ending in a low score has been evident throughout Rangnick’s short tenure at Manchester United so far.

Out of the 17 matches he was managed for United, 11 of those have ended with not more than 2 goals being scored in the match.

6 of them have ended in a 1-1 draw including the match against Atletico, 4 of them ended in a 1-0 victory for Manchester United and a sole 1-0 defeat against Wolves at the start of January.

So, Ralf Rangnick has devised a method for containing games somehow. His Manchester United team does not play spectacular football, nor do they score many goals, but on the bright side neither do their opponents.

He has only faced defeat thrice in his 17 games, which is a commendable feat especially given the fact that this United side is very inconsistent.

Ralf Rangnick is not a tactical genius like a Pep Guardiola or a Jurgen Klopp, but he is making the most of what he can.

Manchester United has been a shadow version of itself since Ferguson’s retirement, basking and reminiscing in the club’s long-gone golden days.

Not winning a single trophy in the last five years, and not winning a Premier League title in the last nine years, is uncharacteristic of Manchester United.

It is only in recent times that United fans have made peace with this unfortunate reality.

Yes, it was not in the script, but they have to accept and move on.

The Ralf Rangnick factor will suffice for the immediate future, but in the long run, United needs to take some big decisions and have long conversations, if they wish to bring back the glory days at the theater of dreams.

It will be a long road ahead and United fans need to prepare themselves for a rebuild, probably for the 100th time since Ferguson left.

Yes, it’s terrible and recurring, but United supporters must maintain their optimism and rekindle their heartfelt hopes.

Because once it clicks and the red devil awakens, it’ll all be worth it.

The Stretford End will finally find solace as the glory days would have finally made their return to Old Trafford.