Napoli threaten to walk off over alleged racist chanting

Napoli have threatened to walk off the pitch if there is a repeat of the alleged racial abuse that defender Kalidou Koulibaly suffered during their 1-0 defeat to Inter Milan at the San Siro. The Senegal international lost his temper after being booked for a foul on Matteo Politano in the 81st minute and was sent off for applauding the referee’s decision. Ancelotti said Napoli had asked three times for the match to be stopped after Koulibaly was subjected to alleged racist chanting from the stands. Announcements were made on…

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Mateo Kovacic eyes permanent stay at Chelsea

Mateo Kovacic has admitted he “can imagine” staying on at Chelsea, but acknowledges that Real Madrid will have the final say on his future. The midfielder joined the London club on a season-long loan from the European champions after becoming frustrated at a lack of regular playing time in Spain. Kovacic has taken to life in the English capital, playing 23 times in all competitions for Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea, and with the possibility of a permanent switch now being mooted, the 24-year-old is open to staying if all parties reach an agreement. “I…

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Manchester City receive timely boost with Silva return

Manchester City have been handed a timely reprieve from injuries as the club announced David Silva returned to training on Christmas Day and is in the running to face Leicester. The Spanish midfielder had been out of action since suffering a hamstring injury in City’s loss at Chelsea earlier this month, missing games against Hoffenheim, Everton, and the shock home defeat to Crystal Palace. The 32-year-old is now in the frame to play when City travel to Leicester on Boxing Day as Pep Guardiola’s side aim to claw back the four-point…

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Timothy Weah confirms January loan move away from PSG

Timothy Weah has confirmed he will leave Paris Saint-Germain on loan next month in order to gain more first-team experience. The United States international broke into the PSG squad at the end of last season, but has struggled to hold down a place in the current campaign and has not been in the matchday squad since August. He has only played three games in all competitions this season and hopes a loan move will help him improve as a player and put him in a better position to be a PSG regular…

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Lille reveal price for hotshot Arsenal target Nicolas Pepe

Lille winger Nicolas Pepe will only be allowed to leave the club for a fee of €80 million (£72m), according to the club’s sporting director. The 23-year-old has been linked with a number of Europe’s top clubs following an impressive start to the season that has seen him score 12 goals and provide five assists in 19 Ligue 1 appearances. Arsenal have consistently been mooted as a potential destination for the Ivorian international. “I hope he will stay this winter. We’ll do everything to keep him,” Lille sporting director Luis Campos…

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Arsenal dealt injury blow as Mkhitaryan is ruled out for up to six weeks

Arsenal have been handed a blow in the packed festive season after midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan was ruled out of action for up to six weeks with a fractured metatarsal in his right foot. Mkhitaryan, 29, was replaced at half-time during the Carabao Cup quarter-final loss to Tottenham and missed the Premier League win over Burnley. The Armenian has scored four goals and provided three assists for the Emirates Stadium side this season. He joins a lengthy injury list for Arsenal that also includes long-term absentees Danny Welbeck and Rob Holding, with both not…

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MLS Champions Atlanta United hire Frank de Boer as new head coach

Atlanta United have announced the appointment of Frank de Boer as the club’s new head coach. The former Ajax and Crystal Palace boss was only recently linked to the job vacated by Argentinean coach Tata Martino, and the club have now confirmed the hiring of only the second ever manager in its history. New chapter. Same mission.#ATLUTD name @FdeBoerOfficial as 2nd head coach in club history ? https://t.co/H2VX85UytQ pic.twitter.com/AT7rLstHHf — Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) December 23, 2018 “Frank de Boer has a distinguished background, both as manager and player, and…

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Inter Milan suspend Radja Nainggolan for ‘disciplinary reasons’

Inter Milan have suspended midfielder Radja Nainggolan for ‘disciplinary reasons’, the club confirmed in a statement on Sunday. The 30-year-old, who reportedly arrived late for training on three separate occasions in the last week, has also been fined a substantial sum of money. Nainggolan joined Inter from Roma for €38m in the summer and has since made 11 Serie A appearances for the club, with the latest a 67-minute appearance at Chievo on Saturday in a 1-1 draw. It is unlikelyNainggolan will feature in the Boxing Day fixture against Napoli. Inter are…

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Peter Bosz set for Bundesliga return with Bayer Leverkusen

Former Borussia Dortmund head coach Peter Bosz will make a return to the Bundesliga after being appointed by Bayer Leverkusen. The club confirmed the move on Sunday, as they announced Heiko Herrlich has been relieved of his duties. Leverkusen beat Hertha BSC 3-1 on Saturday in the final game before the winter break. However, they have now let Herrlich go with the club ninth in the Bundesliga and seven points adrift of the Champions League spots. Bosz will take over the side in January. Heiko Herrlich has been relieved of…

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Turkish club declare interest in Arsenal’s Ozil

Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir have declared an interest in signing Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil. The World Cup winner has endured a difficult season under new manager Unai Emery with many rumours of a breakdown in relationship between the two men. Ozil has been linked with an exit from the club with a return to Real Madrid or a switch to Inter Milan mooted as potential destinations but Istanbul Basaksehir president Goksel Gumusdag has thrown his side’s hat into the ring. “Mesut Özil is a very valuable player,” Gumusdag told BILD. “I hope that…

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Kaboul contract terminated by Watford by mutual consent

Watford have terminated the contract of Younes Kaboul by mutual consent, bringing an end to the defender’s two-and-a-half-year association with the club. Kaboul joined Watford from Sunderland in a reported £4 million deal in August 2016 and featured heavily in his debut campaign at Vicarage Road. The former Tottenham and Portsmouth centre-back has struggled with injuries since then, however, and has not been used since a 2-0 Premier League win over Southampton 15 months ago. ? | The Hornets have agreed to cancel the contract of defender Younès Kaboul by mutual consent. Everyone at #watfordfc wishes Younès…

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Sarri admits Drinkwater can leave Chelsea if he wants

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has said that midfielder Danny Drinkwater is free to leave Chelsea if he so chooses. The 28-year-old has completely fallen off the radar under Sarri, having made his only Blues appearance of the season in the Community Shield back in August. Drinkwater signed for Chelsea from Leicester City in September 2017 for a £35 million fee, and featured sparingly in his first season at Stamford Bridge. Under Antonio Conte, Drinkwater made 22 appearances for Chelsea in all competitions last season. But after Sarri took over the England midfielder has fallen out…

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Lukaku set to miss Solskjaer’s first game at Cardiff

Romelu Lukaku is set to miss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first game in charge of Manchester United against Cardiff City on Saturday. The former United striker was asked about the Belgian’s availability at his first press conference and revealed that the former Everton forward is likely to be missing. When asked about the 25-year-old’s availability, Solskjaer told reporters: “Lukaku has had a couple of days off, I’ve not seen him yet and I’ve not seen Alexis because he’s on his way back as well. “I’m looking forward to seeing them.” Reports have claimed that Lukaku’s absence is due to compassionate leave and…

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Real Madrid’s Marco Asensio ruled out with thigh injury

Real Madrid midfielder Marco Asensio will be out of action for sometime after suffering a thigh injury in his side’s 3-1 win over Kashima Antlers in the semifinal of the Fifa Club World Cup. The club revealed on Friday morning that the player has a grade II muscle strain in the right quadricep and that they are evaluating the situation. Asensio medical report.#RealMadrid https://t.co/Jx1Lnazh6Q — Real Madrid C.F. ???? (@realmadriden) December 21, 2018 It is unclear how long Asensio will be out for but the 22-year-old will definitely miss the…

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Barcelona sign Valencia defender Jeison Murillo on initial loan deal

Barcelona have announced the signing of Valencia defender Jeison Murillo on loan for the rest of the season, with the option to make it permanent for £22.6m. The 26-year-old Colombia international joined Valencia on a permanent deal in the summer following a season-long loan spell from Inter Milan. However he has only played three times all season for Marcelino’s side – with his sole La Liga game in September. He has previously played for Granada, Cadiz and Las Palmas in Spain. Murillo will be officially presented as a Barca player…

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Lionel Messi wins record fifth European Golden Shoe award

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi says he “never imagined having so much success” after being presented with a record fifth European Golden Shoe award. The Argentine scored 34 goals in 36 La Liga appearances in 2017-18, making him the highest goalscorer in Europe ahead of Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (32). Messi’s latest Golden Shoe award moves him one ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, who has won four in total. “The truth is I had no idea this would happen when I started,” said Messi. “I dreamt of playing professional football and enjoying success,…

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Barcelona’s Rafinha ordered to wear Adidas boots or pay fine

Barcelona midfielder Rafinha has been ordered to wear Adidas boots again – or face a fine of up to 1m euros. The 25-year-old thought his sponsorship deal ended in the summer and switched to wearing blacked-out Mizuno boots, but has been sued by the German sportswear giants. Rafinha said Adidas had not supported him through two earlier serious injuries and buried the five-year extension in his contract. “Although he is no legal expert, he knows how sponsor deals work,” the judge said. The player is actually out for the season after tearing…

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer named Man Utd caretaker manager until end of season

Manchester United have named former player Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as caretaker manager until the end of the season, a day after sacking Jose Mourinho. Solskjaer spent 11 seasons at Old Trafford, scoring the winning goal in the 1999 Champions League final. The 45-year-old takes over with United sixth in the Premier League. “Manchester United is in my heart and it’s brilliant to be coming back in this role,” said the Norwegian. “I’m really looking forward to working with the very talented squad we have, the staff and everyone at the…

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Tottenham trigger one-year Jan Vertonghen contract extension

Tottenham have confirmed that they have exercised their right to trigger a one-year extension to Jan Vertonghen’s contract, tying the defender to the club until 2020. The Belgium international’s deal was due to expire at the end of this season, but Spurs have moved to tie him down for a further 12 months. The Club can confirm that we have activated the option to extend @JanVertonghen’s contract until 2020. — Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 18, 2018 A statement on the Tottenham’s website read: “The club can confirm that we have…

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Manchester United trigger contract extension for Anthony Martial

Manchester United have triggered the option of a year’s extension on the contract of France forward Anthony Martial. The 23-year-old’s current deal would have expired in the summer but will now run to 2020. United took a similar move with their Spain keeper David de Gea last month. Martial’s representatives remain in discussions with United over a new separate deal beyond the contract that has been extended to 2020. However Martial’s agent Philippe Lamboley told French TV station RMC he is “very pessimistic about a positive outcome of the discussions”.…

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

UEFA 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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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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Newcastle’s Rafael Benitez wins Premier League manager of the month

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez has been named Premier League manager of the month for November. Newcastle were 19th in the table at the start of November, with no wins from their first 10 games, before three straight victories moved them out of the relegation zone, and prompted a flood of money with the bookie, Comeon, on them staying in the Premier League this term. The Magpies beat Watford 1-0 at home thanks to a goal from Ayoze Perez, and followed that up with a 2-1 victory over Bournemouth at St James’…

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Liverpool face defensive crisis with Trent Alexander-Arnold ruled out of United clash

Liverpool are facing a shortage of defenders for Sunday’s visit of Manchester United after Trent Alexander-Arnold was ruled out with an ankle injury. The 20-year-old suffered the injury during Tuesday’s 1-0 Champions League win over Napoli and it is feared he could miss the busy festive season games. Jurgen Klopp’s side are desperately short on defenders with centre-back Joel Matip now ruled out for six weeks after fracturing his collarbone in the dying moments of the same game. Another defender, Joe Gomez, is out for around the same period after fracturing…

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FA chief executive Martin Glenn to leave at end of the season

Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn will step down at the end of the 2018-19 season after four years in the role. The FA said he was leaving having “delivered much of what he came to do”. In a statement the FA credited him with creating the “culture around St George’s Park and the England teams which has led to an unprecedented period of success”. Glenn said it had been a “huge honour and a privilege” to lead the FA. “I will leave feeling proud of the success of the…

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