Arsenal face familiar opponents in BATE as Chelsea draw Malmo in Europa League

Arsenal face a reunion with their former midfielder Alexander Hleb after being drawn against Belarussian side BATE Borisov in the Round of 32 of the Europa League. Chelsea, who won the competition in 2013, take on Swedish side Malmo, with Scottish champions Celtic drawn to face Spanish side Valencia. The two-legged ties will be played on 14 and 21 February 2019. Arsenal are at home in the second leg of their tie and the game will kick off at 17:55 GMT on Thursday, 21 February to avoid a clash with Chelsea’s…

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Atletico’s Filipe Luis sidelined with hamstring injury

Atlético Madrid defender Filipe Luis looks set to be out of action for around three weeks after the club confirmed he has suffered a hamstring strain. The Brazilian left-back was forced off an hour into Atlético’s dramatic 3-2 win at Real Valladolid on Saturday. Atlético announced on Monday that, following an MRI scan, the 33-year-old sustained a grade one strain. Although the club have not set a specific return date, a rest period of three weeks is recommended after such injuries. As such, Filipe Luis will most likely miss Saturday’s visit of Espanyol and…

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Manchester United draw PSG in Champions League, Liverpool to face Bayern Munich

Manchester United have drawn Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 of the Champions League, while Liverpool will face Bayern Munich and Tottenham will take on Borussia Dortmund. Manchester City were drawn against Bundesliga side Schalke, meaning three of the four English teams will face German opposition. Cristiano Ronaldo will return to the city of Madrid, with Juventus drawn against Atletico. Holders Real Madrid must overcome Dutch side Ajax, while Barcelona will take on Lyon and Roma will face FC Porto. The first legs of the last-16 ties will be split…

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Yaya Toure leaves Olympiakos three months after rejoining Greek club

Former Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has left Olympiakos, just three months after rejoining the Greek club. The 35-year-old’s contract has been terminated by “mutual agreement”. Toure, who was a free agent in the summer after leaving City, chose to join Olympiakos in September, where he spent the 2005-06 season. The former Ivory Coast international, who also played for Barcelona, made just two starts and two substitute appearances while in Athens. “Olympiakos and Yaya Toure would like to announce to the fans that they have mutually agreed to end their cooperation,”…

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Villarreal sack coach Javi Calleja after poor run of results

Villarreal have sacked coach Javi Calleja with the club just three points above the relegation zone in La Liga. A former Villarreal midfielder, Calleja took over as coach in September 2017, leading the Yellow Submarine to a fifth-placed finish and Europa League football last season. However, this campaign the club has struggled, winning just once in La Liga since September and progress through to the knockout stages in Europe is still in the balance. “Villareal has decided to rescind Javi Callejas contract as first-team coach. The club would like to…

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Ronaldo challenges Messi to leave Barcelona and La Liga

Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has suggested that Lionel Messi “maybe needs more” after so long at Barcelona and has invited his eternal rival to join him in Serie A. Two talismanic performers who have cemented standings among the all-time greats spent nine years battling for supremacy in Spain prior to a stunning summer transfer window. Ronaldo’s decision to leave Real Madrid for Turin in a £90m deal has left Messi as the standalone five-time Ballon d’Or winner in LaLiga. Ronaldo has called on his great rival to join him in Serie…

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AC Milan Keeping Champions League Dreams Alive

Even though AC Milan have gone through a bad spell in the few past seasons. The once Italian giants are back to claim their spot in Europe. Their brave and fierce performances have led them to become competitive in the Serie A. Numbers don’t lie mind you, so that means from where they are this season it clearly shows great progress. This is actually brilliant compared to the other previous seasons. According to some USA sports betting sites, AC Milan is currently sitting on the fourth position in the Serie…

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Luka Modric wins Ballon d’or to end Ronaldo and Messi dominance

Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric won the 2018 Ballon d’Or, becoming the first player other than Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo to claim the award in more than a decade. Modric, 33, won his third successive Champions League in May before helping Croatia to a first World Cup final. Former Brazil and AC Milan forward Kaka, in 2007, was the last player other than Messi or Ronaldo to win it. Ronaldo, who joined Juventus from Real Madrid in the summer, came second. Barcelona forward Messi finished fifth, with…

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Uefa announces introduction of ‘Europa League 2’ from 2021

A third European club competition with the working title ‘Europa League 2’ will be introduced from 2021. One English team will enter the play-offs of the new tournament, while Scottish sides may miss out on Europa League places in a reshuffle. As part of Uefa’s 2021-2024 cycle, the Europa League will be halved in size to 32 teams with an extra play-off round between the group stage and last 16. The new tournament will be played on Thursdays alongside the Europa League. Every country’s champions will still enter the Champions…

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Postponed Copa Libertadores final to be played at Santiago Bernabeu

Conmebol has confirmed that the postponed second leg of the Copa Libertadores final between River Plate and Boca Juniors will be played at the Bernabéu stadium, more than 6,000 miles away from the original venue, on 9 December. Fans of both sides will be given an equal allocation of tickets. Argentina’s two biggest teams drew the first leg 2-2 at Boca’s ground and were due to play the second match in South America’s equivalent of the Champions League final at River’s El Monumental stadium on Saturday. However, three Boca players, including the former Manchester…

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Manchester United activate one-year extension on David de Gea contract

Manchester United have triggered the one-year option on goalkeeper David de Gea’s contract to avoid any uncertainty over his future heading into the January transfer window, according to a report in the BBC. His contract was due to end in the summer, allowing him to talk to overseas clubs from 1 January and sign a pre-contract agreement. However, United have extended his deal for another year. As manager Jose Mourinho confirmed after Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Young Boys, United are keen to hold on to the keeper, who has won…

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Borussia Dortmund bus attacker sentenced to 14 years in prison

A German court has convicted a man on 28 counts of attempted murder during last year’s attack on the Borussia Dortmund bus. The defendant, identified only as Sergej W in line with German privacy rules, was sentenced to 14 years by the Dortmund state court on Tuesday. The Dortmund defender Marc Bartra and a police officer were injured when three explosions hit the team’s bus as it left a hotel for a Champions League home game on 11 April 2017. Prosecutors alleged that W took out a loan to place a bet that Dortmund’s…

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Eden Hazard drops hints at 2019 Chelsea exit

Eden Hazard has dropped his biggest hint yet he could leave Chelsea at the end of the season. The Belgium international has 18 months remaining on his contract and has been linked with both Real Madrid and Paris St Germain and admits a summer departure from Stamford Bridge is possible. Football punters have also been backing his exit with an offer from betdaq, at odds that are surely likely to only get shorter as the summer nears. Hazard himself has played up his interest in joining Real in the past, saying…

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Luis Suarez urges Ousmane Dembele to be ‘more responsible’

Luis Suarez has said Barcelona teammate Ousmane Dembele should be “more responsible” after he reportedly missed training following a marathon nocturnal video gaming session. Dembele was dropped by the Spanish champions for last week’s shock 4-3 home defeat to Real Betis following what coach Ernesto Valverde called a “sporting assessment”. But sports daily AS reports that the Catalans are worried not only that he might be addicted to gaming, but also that it might ruin his career at the club. And Suarez, no stranger to disciplinary issues himself, says that…

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UEFA president dismisses possibility of breakaway Super League

Proposed plans for a breakaway European Super League are “fiction” – according to the two most powerful officials in European football. Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin and Andrea Agnelli, the chairman of the influential European Club Association (ECA) which represents over 200 leading teams, say they are “united” – despite recently leaked documents claiming secret talks had been held over the creation of a new elite league. “The Super League will not happen. It is in a way a fiction now or a dream,” said Ceferin. Agnelli, who is also chairman…

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PSG sweat over Neymar and Mbappe fitness ahead of Liverpool clash

Paris St-Germain face an injury crisis after star forwards Neymar and Kylian Mbappe went off injured playing for Brazil and France respectively in Tuesday’s round of international friendlies. Neymar played for only six minutes as Brazil edged out Cameroon in Milton Keynes as he suffered an adductor muscle injury while taking a shot and was replaced by Everton’s Richarlison. Brazil’s team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said that while a scan was needed to confirm the exact diagnosis, he did not think the injury to Neymar’s adductor muscle would keep him out…

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Barcelona confirm Ivan Rakitic hamstring injury

Barcelona have confirmed Ivan Rakitic has been diagnosed with a hamstring injury. Rakitic was substituted midway through the second half of Croatia’s 3-2 Nations League win against Spain, in which Tin Jedvaj scored a late winner. Coach Zlatko Dalic subsequently confirmed Rakitic would not travel with Croatia to London for Sunday’s decisive clash with England. And Barcelona announced on Saturday scans have found Rakitic has a hamstring injury in his right leg, with no timescale given for his recovery. ❗ [INJURY NEWS] @ivanrakitic has a hamstring strain in his right leg. His return…

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Germany without Julian Draxler for Netherlands clash

Germany have Julian Draxler will not join their squad for their Nations League game against the Netherlands on Monday in Gelsenkirchen. Draxler had been included by coach Joachim Low but missed their friendly win over Russia as he was granted compassionate leave. Germany’s relegation from League A was confirmed on Friday as Netherlands won 2-0 at home against world champions France. Nations League relegation rounds off an atrocious year for Low’s Germany, who flopped badly at Russia 2018 with a dire World Cup title defence. Nice to have @woodyinho back in team training…

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Griezmann reveals reason behind Barcelona snub

Antoine Griezmann has revealed playing second fiddle to Lionel Messi at Barcelona was a factor in his decision to stay at Atletico Madrid. Griezmann was heavily linked with a switch to Camp Nou before the World Cup as many Barca fans became excited at the prospect of seeing the France international playing alongside Messi. The striker seemed set for the move before doing a U-turn and pledging his future to Atleti in a Twitter video, Griezmann ultimately signing a contract extension until 2023 in June. Speaking about the transfer saga to Canal Plus on Sunday, Griezmann admitted…

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Borussia Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic open to Premier League move

Christian Pulisic has said he is open to moving to the Premier League, with Chelsea understood to be leading the race to sign the forward from Borussia Dortmund next summer. Pulisic has been linked to several Premier League sides including Liverpool and Tottenham in the past but it is understood that Chelsea have shown most interest in prising him away from the Bundesliga leaders. The 20-year-old – who spent a year in Oxfordshire as a child before moving back to the United States with his family – has so far refused to discuss a…

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James Rodriguez out for several weeks with LCL tear in knee

Bayern Munich midfielder James Rodriguez faces several weeks on the sidelines following a knee injury in training Tuesday. The club said Rodriguez partially tore the Lateral Collateral Ligament in his left knee and requires at least 10 days of rest before undergoing treatment. A timetable for his return is unavailable. Bad news ☹@jamesdrodriguez has suffered a partial LCL tear in his left knee and will be out of action for several weeks 🚑 Get well soon! #MiaSanMia pic.twitter.com/psCkd2Wxd2 — FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) November 14, 2018 The 27-year-old remained in Germany for the international break…

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Real Madrid confirm Solari appointment as permanent manager

Real Madrid have confirmed Santiago Solari’s appointment as their permanent manager after receiving approval from the Spanish football federation (RFEF). The 42-year-old Argentine has led the team to four wins in four games since replacing Julen Lopetegui at the helm of the European champions two weeks ago. Though the club have yet to confirm the news, Spanish rules prevent an interim coach from staying in charge for longer than 15 days, a period that expires on Monday. With victories over Melilla in the Copa del Rey, Viktoria Plzen in the…

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Nicklas Bendtner sentenced to 50 days in jail in Denmark for assault

Former Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner has been sentenced to 50 days in jail in Denmark for assaulting a taxi driver. But the 30-year-old Rosenborg player has appealed and has been released until a hearing at a higher court. The incident took place in September, with the City Court of Copenhagen shown CCTV footage in which it appeared Bendtner struck the driver in the face. The Denmark international admitted hitting the taxi driver but said it was because he felt threatened. Bendtner said the driver threw a bottle or a can…

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Usain Bolt leaves Australia’s Central Coast Mariners football club

Usain Bolt’s trial with Australian football club Central Coast Mariners has come to an end. The Jamaican eight-time Olympic sprint champion, 32, joined the A-League side for an “indefinite training period” in August. He scored two goals in his first effort for the Mariners in a friendly, but did not play matches when the season began. Efforts to secure a “commercial solution” to keep Bolt at the club had failed, the Mariners said on Friday. Last month, the Mariners said they had made a contract proposal broken down into “football” and “commercial” terms. However, it…

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Buffon to face Lille but Tuchel unsure on Cavani’s return

Gianluigi Buffon will start for Paris Saint-Germain against Lille and the veteran goalkeeper is set to make his Champions League debut for the club, says coach Thomas Tuchel. Buffon is yet to appear in European competition for PSG after joining the Ligue 1 champions from Juventus, with Alphonse Areola taking the gloves for all three matches in Group C. A 2-2 home draw with Napoli last time out left PSG’s Champions League qualification in the balance, Tuchel’s men having taken four points from three games to sit in third place And Tuchel…

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