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03-21-2017, 10:13 AM

Manchester United to play five matches on USA tour



Manchester United have announced they will play five pre-season matches in the United States ahead of the 2017-18 campaign.

Jose Mourinho's side will embark on a busy two-week tour that will see them play in five different cities in the USA, with matches taking place in the east and west.Matches in Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Santa Clara and Washington DC have been confirmed, with opponents yet to be revealed.

A fifth location is still to be announced, but United are expected to play rivals Manchester City as part of the International Champions Cup.

United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said: "Visiting North America will give the team the best possible preparation for the new season, using top-class training facilities and playing in some great stadiums.
"We have witnessed first-hand the passion and support for the club in the US in recent years, so naturally it is something that everybody is very much looking forward to this summer."

United were in China last pre-season – where a proposed match against City was rained off – while their last trip to the United States was in 2015 under Louis van Gaal, with four games played.
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03-21-2017, 10:14 AM

'Remarkable' Mbappe will make France debut, confirms Deschamps



France coach Didier Deschamps has made it clear Monaco star Kylian Mbappe will definitely get playing time in either the World Cup qualifier against Luxembourg or the international friendly versus Spain.The 18-year-old was rewarded for his stunning performances in recent months with a first call-up to the senior national side and Deschamps is adamant he will soon hand the attacker his first cap.

"Kylian is putting in some great performances at the moment," Deschamps said at a media conference.

"He is scoring goals and is in excellent form. Seeing as he is still very young, he obviously still has room for improvement. But it is quite remarkable what he has been doing, how calm and mature he is. He got here with a big smile on his face.

"There is no reason why he could not start. The fact that it is his first time with the national team does not mean he cannot start. But we should not move too fast."That I called him up does mean that he will play at some point, though. All the players who I called up should have the ambition to start."

Mbappe has already scored 19 goals in 32 appearances in all competitions this campaign.
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03-21-2017, 10:15 AM

Giroud urges Wenger to renew Arsenal deal



Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud hopes Arsene Wenger will stay at the Emirates Stadium beyond the 2016-17 campaign.Wenger's contract is due to expire at the end of the season and it remains to be seen if he will agree to a new deal.

Some supporters have been calling for the 67-year-old's departure in recent months following yet another disappointing season, but West Brom manager Tony Pulis claimed this week Wenger intends to stay put.

Giroud has also had his say on his compatriot's future, hoping Wenger will extend his stay in north London.

"We want to see Arsene sign a new deal," Giroud told InfoSport Plus."We want him to continue this adventure because we all support him."We hope to win the FA Cup this season and qualify for the Champions League again."

Wenger revealed Saturday he has already made a decision but is yet to reveal what he intends to do.
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03-22-2017, 10:05 AM

'Sad' Schweinsteiger releases statement after Man Utd exit



Manchester United have confirmed Bastian Schweinsteiger will join Chicago Fire, with the midfielder expressing his sadness over leaving but gratitude to the Premier League side.

The MLS side announced the move early on Monday. Schweinsteiger will meet with his new side next week after signing a contract which will reportedly see him earn $4.5 million in 2017.

The 32-year-old emerged at Old Trafford in 2015 from Bayern Munich, where he won eight Bundesliga titles and the Champions League and Club World Cup, while he played in three World Cup finals with Germany, winning one.

Though he started off as a first-team regular under Louis van Gaal, injuries prevented him from keeping his place in the starting XI at United. Shortly after Jose Mourinho took over this season, he was banished to train with the reservesm but remained respected by the fans and earned his place in the squad for their Europa League campaign, coming on against Saint-Etienne in their second round win.

However, Schweinsteiger has opted to seek another opportunity and agreed to a move to Illinois. While he admits he was persuaded to join by the club's "vision and philosophy", he revealed it is not an easy step."I am sad to leave so many friends at Manchester United," he told United's official website. "But I am grateful to the club for allowing me the chance to take up the challenge at Chicago Fire.

"I have enjoyed working with the manager, the players and staff here and wish them all the best in the future. But I have to reserve special thanks to the United fans – whose support has been a very special part of my time in Manchester.

"I was delighted to be part of the squad that won the FA Cup for them last season and will always remember their energy and their passion. Now is the right time for me to start a new chapter in Chicago and I am looking forward to it."Schweinsteiger made just four appearances in all competitions this season, making 31 the previous season.
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03-22-2017, 10:06 AM



Good Luck Basti!
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03-22-2017, 10:14 AM

I do not see myself at Real Madrid - Courtois committed to Chelsea



Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has distanced himself from reports he could join LaLiga giants Real Madrid at the end of the season.

Belgium international Courtois spent three seasons on loan with Madrid's fierce rivals Atletico before establishing himself as Chelsea number one for the 2014-15 Premier League season.

Madrid are thought to be on the lookout for a goalkeeping upgrade on the back of their 2015 move for Manchester United's David de Gea falling through and Keylor Navas' dwindling form this term.By contrast, Courtois has cut an assured figure in helping to steer Chelsea towards Premier League glory and foresees his long-term future being at Stamford Bridge."I don't see myself at Real Madrid," he told Cadena Ser.

"I see myself at Chelsea, the club that six years ago saw me playing in Belgium and gave me the opportunity to sign for them.

"They also allowed me to be three years at Atletico, which helped me to be the keeper that I am now."I feel that I'm key to the team, I'm very happy at Chelsea, and I don't see myself anywhere else."

Courtois' current Chelsea deal expires in 2019 and, although talks over an extension are yet to take place, the factor of his family remaining based in Madrid appears unlikely to draw him away from the English capital."For the time being, we have not spoken about a contract extension. We are focusing on the league," he said.

"We will see at the end of the season if they offer me something. For the time being, there has not been an offer."I'm happy in London and I'm delighted with the success we are having this season.

"I owe a lot to Spain and I go often there to visit the family, who are in Madrid. But I'm happy in London."Antonio Conte's Chelsea are in a dominant position in the Premier League, 10 points clear of nearest challengers Tottenham with as many games to play."We are working well with Conte," Courtois added.

"I see that there is a long-term project to win trophies, not just domestically but also in Europe. There is a lot of ambition to play in the Champions League next season."
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03-22-2017, 10:17 AM

Mourinho: Manchester United slower than my Real Madrid



Jose Mourinho says he has had to adapt to the qualities of his Manchester United players, claiming the team is slower than his Real Madrid side.

The 54-year-old won LaLiga, the Copa del Rey and the Supercopa de Espana during a three-year spell at the Santiago Bernabeu before he returned to England to take charge of Chelsea for the second time.

Madrid scored a league-best 121 goals in their title-winning campaign of 2011-12, while they also won a record 16 away matches and 32 in total - a figure that was matched by Barcelona a year later.

United have shown progress since Mourinho replaced Louis van Gaal as manager but have often been found wanting in front of goal this season, failing to score in home games against Burnley and Bournemouth and only finding the net more than three times in a single match on one occasion.

Mourinho claims he would be "in s***" if he used a counter-attacking style at Old Trafford but admits that United are limited given their lack of pace.

Asked if he does not like possession-based play, he told France Football: "That is not true. This season, we have an enormous percentage of ball possession in almost all our matches. But again, everything depends on the technical characteristics of the players that you have at your disposal. On what will enable the team to win.
"People sometimes confuse ball possession with the number of goals you score.They forget that the aim is to always score and win. At Real, I had a team that broke the record for the number of goals scored in the history of the Spanish league: 121 goals in one season. It was the best in the world in terms of transition play, in terms of being effective in recovery, and then in terms of projecting the ball towards the goal.

"Cristiano Ronaldo was 27, [Angel] Di Maria was 23, [Karim] Benzema and [Gonzalo] Higuain were 23 or 24. It was the team that killed everyone. Why would I change that? Because the Manchester United team is different. It is slower. They do not have quick players and have a desire to have the ball, in order to be dominant with play.

"Zlatan Ibrahimovic needs touches of the ball in order to play. [Ander] Herrera, [Michael] Carrick and [Paul] Pogba, too. Sometimes, in the last 20 minutes, I explore other options, and I put Marcus Rashford on to go in another direction.But, generally, I try to make do with the qualities that my players have.

"My team plays in this way or that way because that corresponds to the players that I have. It is as simple as that. If I tried to play on the counter with Manchester United, I am in s**t. If you want to play possession with a team where the players dribble a lot, take the maximum risks, push forward quickly, I would kill the potential of the players.

"I could have said to Di Maria, who was faster than an arrow: 'You do not dribble, you play with one touch, you pass the ball, because I do not want to lose'. But I prefer to play with the qualities that my players have."

Mourinho was appointed to replace Van Gaal, whose cautious approach had caused huge frustration among United fans despite delivering the FA Cup for the first time since 2004.

However, the former Inter boss says he learned a valuable lesson from his predecessor during their time at Barcelona that he still utilises to this day."I do not need 'yes men'," he said. "I want people who have their own opinions. And even people who contest my decisions, questioning them.

"I always say to my assistants: 'During the match, I want to think alone'. I do not want to have someone who is going to talk next to me, to tell me things. In those moments, I want to put together my expertise, with my instinct, with my feeling.

"I want to manage the team by myself. During the week, however, before or after matches, I am counting on them to behave like managers, who think for themselves, who think about what I say, who criticise me, who ask me questions for me to explain what I am doing with the team. I learnt that at Barcelona with Mr Van Gaal. That is what he demanded from his assistants."
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03-22-2017, 10:17 AM

Insigne offers hope to Arsenal and Liverpool by revealing transfer could happen



Lorenzo Insigne has opened the door to a possible move away from Napoli by admitting that it is possible the two parties go their “separate ways” in the near future.

The 25-year-old forward is a Naples native living his 'dream' at his hometown club. However, contract talks which broke down last summer have yet to be revived.

With there seemingly no agreement in sight, the Italy international concedes that a switch elsewhere now has to be considered a possibility.

Insigne has been heavily linked with a transfer to the Premier League in the not too distant past, with Arsenal and Liverpool among those said to be keeping a close eye on his situation.The revelation that a top target is prepared to leave the door open to potential offers is likely to pique their interest again as plans are drawn up for the summer.

Insigne told Rai Sport: “Renewal? I encountered Napoli this summer, but the first meeting did not go well.“My agents will speak about any renewal; I gave my full availability to the president, and I hope a deal goes through. If my dream of playing for Napoli shatters, then it will not be my fault.

“My dream was to reach Serie A with Napoli, and to win an important trophy. I told the president enough, and did what I had to; my conscience is clean.“I expressed my position. If they want to continue this relationship, then good. Otherwise, we will go our separate ways.”

Insigne has netted 13 times in 39 appearances for Napoli this season, including a match-winning brace in a 3-2 victory over Empoli on Sunday.
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03-22-2017, 10:18 AM

Gotze will recover and get back to his best for Dortmund - Watzke



Mario Gotze will make a full recovery from his health problems and rediscover his top form for Borussia Dortmund, says CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke.The Germany international will miss the rest of the season for BVB as he undergoes treatment for "metabolic disorders".

Gotze returned to Signal Iduna Park from Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich at the start of this season, but the Germany international has struggled for form this term.
However, Watzke is adamant that the World Cup winner will play a key role for Dortmund for years to come."We have very high hopes that he will fully recover and get back to his best," Watzke told Sport Bild.

"If the treatment is successful, and things appear to be going well right now, Mario can rediscover his best form eventually."He is doing alright if you bear the circumstances in mind. But it is only logical that an ambitious professional like Mario is not feeling great when you are missing the decisive stages of the season and big games against Bayern.

"I do not think the high expectations got the better of him. Mario is a very calm guy. He has shown for a number of years that he can deal with high expectations. That was not the problem."Gotze, 24, has scored twice in 16 appearances in all competitions for Dortmund this term.
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03-22-2017, 10:19 AM

Manchester City outcast Hart should be 'looking at Juventus', claims James



Joe Hart should be setting his sights on earning a move to Juventus after being forced out of the fold at Manchester City, says ex-England international David James.Having been frozen out at the Etihad Stadium by Pep Guardiola, Hart was allowed to head for Serie A last summer.

A season-long loan agreement was struck with Torino and while the 2016-17 campaign has not all been smooth sailing for the 29-year-old, he has benefited from the experience.

Various clubs are now being linked with a permanent move for the experienced goalkeeper this summer, with the likes of Liverpool eager to return him to the Premier League.

James, though, believes that Hart is good enough to remain in Turin and compete with the iconic Gianluigi Buffon for minutes at the reigning Italian champions.The former Liverpool and City custodian told talkSPORT: "If I was him, I would be looking at Juventus.

"The difficulty for putting him back in England is where would he go? At the moment there are some very good goalkeepers around in the Premier League.”James added: "If you look at the England squad, he is the only player who is playing abroad and he is doing well.

"Torino is a tough gig for anybody and he is doing well there. Therefore he is showing that he has the qualities and capabilities to play abroad - why not go and do that for one of the top teams?"Hart has made 30 appearances for Torino this season and is in Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad.


He did, however, make two costly errors in his last outing against Inter and is still building bridges with the Three Lions following his showing at Euro 2016.
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