Daily Archives: June 28, 2017

Perez: Real interested in Mbappe but can’t guarantee first-team spot

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Real Madrid president has confirmed that the La Liga giants are interest in teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe, but admits that it could be difficult for the Monaco forward to secure a first-team spot due to his age.

Mbappe, 18, has attracted the interest of top clubs across Europe after a sensational season with Ligue 1 champions Monaco, including that of Real Madrid and their manager Zinedine Zidane. While he is yet to score for France, he bagged 26 goals in 44 appearances in all competitions for Monaco last season, including Champions League goals against Borussia Dortmund and Juventus.

Reports in Spain claimed that the double winners could allow one of their famous trio of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo to leave in order to make room for Mbappe.

Monaco’s own Ligue 1 rivals Paris Saint-Germain have made an offer of more than €135 million for Mbappe, while Perez confirmed Madrid are following him last week and said he will “become one of the greatest”, but added that it would not be easy for the youngster.

“Mbappe is a very good player,” he told esRadio. “This situation reminds me of last year when they told us to sign Paul Pogba from Juventus, (but) the summer is long. Zidane has been close to him for several years.”

“Not many players play for Real Madrid at 18 years old. We must be patient. Zidane has him in mind. It’s not enough to say we can bring players in and then have them sitting on the bench. We are thinking about Mbappe, but his age makes it difficult to find a place.”

Cristiano Ronaldo.

Perez also acknowledged that Real star Cristiano Ronaldo was unsettled due to tax issues, but insist that the Portuguese captain would not leave this summer, and backed him to resolve the accusations made against him.

“I know Cristiano is angry, but I think he will stay,” Perez said. “I have spoken with (Jorge) Mendes about him. No need to worry more than [is needed].”

“He is a man of integrity and has fulfilled with his duties,” Perez said. “There are many people who have wanted to hurt him with taxes and other topics and he feels it.”

Liverpool escapes punishment for illegal approach for Virgil van Dijk

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Liverpool will not be given any punishment from FA against their illegal “tapping up” Southampton player Virgil van Dijk.

The Saints were incensed after reading that Van Dijk was interested in making a move to Liverpool, having been won over in part by the vision of Jurgen Klopp, the manager of the Merseyside club.

While insisting that Van Dijk is not for sale Southampton also made it very clear that they wanted to send out the message they would not be pushed around by a bigger club. This led to an apology from Liverpool, which served to calm the situation — particularly as they also promised to drop their interest in Van Dijk.

They had subsequent filed a formal complaint against Liverpool to the Premier League, arguing Van Dijk ought not to have been privy to any vision of Klopp’s as the Anfield club had not made an official approach for the player.

Southampton also believed that Liverpool had a hand on the newspaper stories while it was reported at the time Klopp had met Van Dijk in Blackpool to discuss the transfer.

Although indirect/direct approaches for players were typical for all clubs, Southampton felt that they needed to take a stand in this particular case since they considered Liverpool to have blatantly overstepped the mark.

While they looked at Southampton’s complaint and had additionally asked Liverpool for their version of events, Premier League officials did not launch a formal investigation.

It was also believed Southampton had incriminating evidence Liverpool, but they have not put it forward in the weeks that have followed the complaint, allowing all to conclude that the clubs have resolved their differences and the matter can be left to lie.

Russia’s 2014 World Cup squad under FIFA doping investigation

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The entire 23-man Russian squad who participated in the 2014 World Cup is being investigated by FIFA for possible violations of drug regulations.

Although the country is currently is in the midst of hosting the FIFA Confederations Cup and is set to stage the World Cup in under a year, the allegations are likely to throw their appropriateness to stage such events into serious doubt.

Russia’s 2014 23-man World Cup team who had been eliminated in the group stages of the Brazil World Cup three years ago, are amongst the 34 Russian footballers currently being investigated by football’s world governing body for possible drug violations.

The allegations made against them were published and authored by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren. It found at least 1,000 people were assisted by what McLaren described as an “institutionalised manipulation of the doping control process in Russia”.

Five of the 23 players tested in 2014 are members of the squad that was knocked out of the Confederations Cup on Saturday.

While it is well-known that Russia is guilty of state-sponsored doping and cover-up across important sport events such as the Olympics, this is the first time top-level footballers in the country have been placed under investigation and there were yet to be evidence of any anti-doping violations.

Although it was understood that FIFA was in possession of detailed evidence and intelligence, a spokesman said: “FIFA is still investigating the allegations made against [Russian] football players.”