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Yesterday, 07:06 PM

Arsenal 3-0 Fiorentina: Nketiah leads Premier League outfit



Eddie Nketiah continued his fine form to lead Arsenal to a 3-0 win over Fiorentina at the International Champions Cup on Saturday.

Nketiah, who scored a late winner against Bayern Munich on Wednesday, netted a brace at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The 20-year-old forward led Arsenal to another pre-season victory, scoring once in each half for the Premier League outfit before Joe Willock sealed the win.

Arsenal opened the scoring after 15 minutes thanks to Nketiah, who made it goals in back-to-back games.

Sead Kolasinac was released down the left before his cross was deflected to Nketiah, who produced a composed finish from inside the area to make it 1-0.

In hot conditions, Fiorentina almost drew level nine minutes before half-time, but Federico Ceccherini's header was cleared off the line by Nketiah.

The Serie A side looked threatening throughout the first 45 minutes and Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez was called into action on the stroke of half-time, denying Riccardo Sottil after the attacker was played in behind.A beautiful move led to another chance for Fiorentina before the break, but Dusan Vlahovic poked wide in a one-on-one with Martinez.

The encounter opened up to begin the second half, with Alexandre Lacazette curling a 20-yard free-kick over the crossbar for Arsenal in the 57th minute.
But, Arsenal doubled their lead in the 65th minute as Nketiah continued his goalscoring form.Henrikh Mkhitaryan's cutback from the right found Lacazette, who passed to Nketiah for a simple finish.

Fiorentina were unable to find a way back into the contest amid a flurry of substitutions, Gabriel Martinelli squandering a one-on-one chance for Arsenal before the sealer arrived.

Lacazette again kept his composure before playing in Willock, who finished clinically to make it 3-0 in the 89th minute.
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Yesterday, 07:07 PM

'It has not moved' - No concrete offers for Neymar, insists Leonardo


Paris Saint-Germain have not received a "concrete offer" for Neymar, the club's sporting director Leonardo said.The Brazilian forward has been heavily linked with a move away from the Ligue 1 champions during the close season, with his former club Barcelona looking the most likely destination.

He caused controversy earlier in the off-season when he failed to report for training with the rest of the squad on July 8.

Despite the club insisting he would be disciplined for his unauthorised absence his father insisted he had PSG’s approval to remain in Brazil to work with his charitable foundation until July 15.

Neymar has yet to feature for PSG so far during pre-season and was again absent as Thomas Tuchel's side laboured to a 1-1 draw with Nurnberg on Saturday.Leonardo has previously said the 27-year-old can leave for the right price, but he told reporters after the game in Germany that no offers have been tabled for him.

"Honestly, there is nothing different from the last time we talked," he said, according to Le Parisien. "Nothing at all."It has not moved. There is no concrete offer for Neymar, he is with us. He is a player for Paris Saint-Germain.

"I repeat, there is no concrete offer. It's been the same situation for 10 days."
It has been reported PSG would look to recoup their €222 million investment in the player, and have rejected a bid from Barca for €40m, plus Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele.

Tuchel refused to be drawn on where Neymar's future lies, two years after becoming a world-record buy, insisting he remains part of the French club's squad."The situation between Neymar and me is clear; it's now something between him and the club," the PSG boss said.

"He is part of the dressing room and will train with us tomorrow."Leonardo, back at PSG this year for a second spell as sporting director, was evasive on the subject of other transfer targets.

He said the mooted signing of Idrissa Gana Gueye from Everton was ‘just a possibility,’ but admitted his club was looking for a new central midfielder, while saying the current composition of the squad was a strong one.

“The squad is already competitive, there is a bit of everything, young players, very experienced players.“We targeted a central defender and a defensive midfielder. The central defender has arrived with Abdou Diallo, and now we are looking for the midfielder.”
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Yesterday, 07:09 PM

'We hope Bale leaves' - Zidane reveals Real Madrid transfer exit imminent for unwanted star




Zinedine Zidane said Gareth Bale is close to leaving Real Madrid after he was left out of Saturday's International Champions Cup clash against Bayern Munich.



Bale has been deemed surplus to requirements by head coach Zidane and the Welsh star was absent as Madrid lost 3-1 to Bayern in Houston. The 30-year-old, who has three seasons remaining on his contract, has been linked to former club Tottenham, Manchester United and Saturday’s opponent Bayern.

And it appears Bale's future is close to being resolved, with Zidane determined to sell the Wales international sooner rather than later. Asked why Bale was left out of the squad on Saturday, Zidane told reporters: "Bale did not play because he is very close to leaving. "We hope he leaves soon, it would be best for everyone. We are working on his transfer to a new team."

The manager also explained the club’s decision to let the former Spurs star leave, claiming that the club “have to change” following last season’s disappointing results.

"I have nothing personal against him, but there comes a time where things are done because they must be done, I have to make decisions, we have to change," he added."The exit is the coach's decision, and also of the player, who knows the situation.

"The situation will change, I do not know if in 24 or 48 hours, but it will, and it's a good thing for everyone.

Zidane had spoken about Bale ahead of the match and left much more up to question, claiming that Bale “staying was not a problem,” while he also hinted at a potential move for Manchester United ace Paul Pogba.

The abrupt about-face raises plenty of questions, with Madrid having been in close contact with one of Bale’s reported suitors on Saturday.

Bayern midfielder Thiago Alcantara also made clear before the match that Bale would be more than welcome with the German giants, who are looking to replace club legends Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery.

"If Gareth (Bale) wants to come, any top player who wants to come here is welcome,” Thiago said at a pre-match press conference.
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Yesterday, 07:11 PM

'Zidane is a disgrace' - Bale's agent slams Real Madrid boss over exit talk


Zinedine Zidane has been branded "a disgrace" by Gareth Bale's agent after the Real Madrid boss' comments about the winger's impending exit from the club.

Bale has been touted for a departure from the Santiago Bernabeu and Zidane confirmed that the winger is "very close to leaving" the club after leaving him out of the team for the International Champions Cup clash with Bayern Munich on Saturday."Bale did not play because he is very close to leaving," Zidane said.

"We hope he leaves soon, it would be best for everyone. We are working on his transfer to a new team."

Jonathan Barnett, who represents the Wales international, has reacted strongly to the Madrid coach's frank assessment of the situation.

"Zidane is a disgrace to speak like that about someone who has done so much for Real," Barnett told ESPN FC."If and when Gareth goes it will be because it is in the best interest of Gareth and nothing to do with Zidane pushing."

Barnett doubled down on that final assertion when speaking to AS, saying: “If Gareth Bale leaves, it will be because he wants to, not because Zidane or Real Madrid push him out.

“Gareth is still one of the best players in the world, one of the top five players in terms of market value, and his future lies at a big club."Zidane's apparent desire to move Bale out of the club, despite the Welshman's contributions to Madrid's unprecedented period of European success, has been widely reported.

He scored decisive goals in two Champions League finals as Madrid won four out of five tournaments between 2014 and 2018, as well as a stunning winner in the 2014 Copa del Rey final - the last time Madrid won that competition.

The 2018 Champions League final brought Zidane his most recent piece of silverware, as Bale's second-half double downed Liverpool.

The forward's bicycle kick from Marcelo's cross instantly became one of the tournament's iconic goals, with many likening it Zidane's own volleyed effort against Bayer Leverkusen in the 2002 final.The desire to move him on will stem at least in part from his hefty wage packet, especially following Madrid's busy transfer window so far.

Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Ferland Mendy and Rodrygo Goes have all joined the club, and there may be more to follow with speculation still surrounding the likes of Paul Pogba and Christian Eriksen.
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