Jack Grealish has completed his record transfer to Premier League champions Manchester City in a deal worth a reported £100million.

England international Grealish has spent his entire career at Aston Villa and has been captain of the club since 2019.

The 25-year-old played a pivotal role in helping Villa retain their top-flight status at the end of the 2019-20 season, after which he was heavily linked with a move to Manchester United.

He instead signed a new long-term contract but, after scoring six league goals and adding a further 10 assists across 26 appearances in the 2020-21 campaign, Grealish has now made the move north to Manchester.

Pep Guardiola's City have smashed the previous British transfer record – set by United's acquisition of Paul Pogba in August 2016 – to get the playmaker, who created 81 chances in the league last term.

Grealish has signed a six-year deal with City and said: "I am incredibly happy to have joined Manchester City.

"City are the best team in the country with a manager considered to be the best in the world – it's a dream come true to be part of this club.

"Over the past 10 seasons, they have won major trophies consistently. Pep coming here has taken them to the next level and the football this team plays is the most exciting in Europe.

"To play for Pep and learn from him is going to be special and it's something any top footballer would want.

"The facilities are amazing, and I honestly can't wait to get started, meet everyone and get playing."

His departure leaves a huge void at Villa, though they have been spending big this close season, bringing in Emiliano Buendia, Leon Bailey and Danny Ings in lucrative moves.

Grealish is City's first major signing of the window, with the champions also strongly linked with signing Harry Kane from Tottenham.

England captain Kane failed to report back for pre-season training with Spurs as planned, following an extended break after Euro 2020.

The 28-year-old, who topped the Premier League scoring and assist charts last term, has outlined his intention to leave Tottenham and was reportedly the subject of a £100m offer from City earlier in the window.

Jack Grealish has completed his record transfer to Premier League champions Manchester City in a deal worth a reported £100million.

England international Grealish has spent his entire career at Aston Villa and has been captain of the club since 2019.

The 25-year-old played a pivotal role in helping Villa retain their top-flight status at the end of the 2019-20 season, after which he was heavily linked with a move to Manchester United.

He instead signed a new long-term contract but, after scoring six league goals and adding a further 10 assists across 26 appearances in the 2020-21 campaign, Grealish has now made the move north to Manchester.

Pep Guardiola's City have smashed the previous British transfer record – set by United's acquisition of Paul Pogba in August 2016 – to get the playmaker, who created 81 chances in the league last term.

Grealish has signed a six-year deal with City and said: "I am incredibly happy to have joined Manchester City.

"City are the best team in the country with a manager considered to be the best in the world – it's a dream come true to be part of this club.

"Over the past 10 seasons, they have won major trophies consistently. Pep coming here has taken them to the next level and the football this team plays is the most exciting in Europe.

"To play for Pep and learn from him is going to be special and it's something any top footballer would want.

"The facilities are amazing, and I honestly can't wait to get started, meet everyone and get playing."

His departure leaves a huge void at Villa, though they have been spending big this close season, bringing in Emiliano Buendia, Leon Bailey and Danny Ings in lucrative moves.

Grealish is City's first major signing of the window, with the champions also strongly linked with signing Harry Kane from Tottenham.

England captain Kane failed to report back for pre-season training with Spurs as planned, following an extended break after Euro 2020.

The 28-year-old, who topped the Premier League scoring and assist charts last term, has outlined his intention to leave Tottenham and was reportedly the subject of a £100m offer from City earlier in the window.

Lionel Messi will not return to Barcelona due to "economic and structural obstacles", the club announced on Thursday.

The Blaugrana great's contract at Camp Nou expired at the end of last season, but he was expected to commit to a new deal ahead of the coming campaign.

Messi reportedly agreed a 50 per cent reduction in wages, with news of the contract anticipated this week ahead of Sunday's Joan Gamper Trophy match against Juventus.

But Barca's dire financial situation means they are unable to register new players due to LaLiga's salary restrictions.

Messi, like new signings Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia and Emerson Royal, had been left in limbo.

And following widespread reports in the Spanish media, Barca confirmed Messi could not formalise the agreement, meaning he "will not continue to be linked to FC Barcelona".

A statement read: "Despite having reached an agreement between FC Barcelona and Leo Messi and with the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, it will not be possible to formalise it due to economic and structural obstacles (Spanish LaLiga regulations)."

"Given this situation, Lionel Messi will not continue to be linked to FC Barcelona.

"Both sides deeply regret that the wishes of both the player and the club cannot ultimately be fulfilled.

"Barca would like to thank the player most sincerely for his contribution to the aggrandisement of the institution and wishes him the best in his personal and professional life."

Messi is widely acknowledged as Barca's greatest ever player, having scored 672 goals and provided 265 assists in 778 appearances.

He has been part of four triumphant Champions League teams, also winning LaLiga on 10 occasions.

The 34-year-old finally ended his wait for a first international honour with Argentina at this year's Copa America, but his future is now in serious doubt.

Messi was linked with Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain when he first pursued a Camp Nou exit last year.

But City appear focused on Jack Grealish and Harry Kane, while PSG have already spent heavily as well as agreeing a new contract with Neymar and opening talks with Kylian Mbappe.

The expectation Messi would remain at Barca leaves no obvious next destination in the immediate aftermath of a shock announcement.

Lionel Messi will not return to Barcelona due to "economic and structural obstacles", the club announced on Thursday.

Alisson has become the latest Liverpool star to commit his future to the Anfield club.

The Reds announced a "new long-term contract" for their goalkeeper on Wednesday, with the deal widely reported to run until June 2027.

Alisson has joined Trent Alexander-Arnold and Fabinho in penning an extension ahead of the new Premier League season.

"I think I didn't waste too much time to think about that," the Brazil international told Liverpool's official website.

"It's something we just built in those last three years, the confidence, the trust that I have in the club and the club has in myself.

"Me and my family, we are really happy here. My kids are settled in England, in a different country, but they are growing up in that way. So, we are really happy.

"I'm really glad that I can keep going on with my work here, doing a good job here. So, I'm really happy to make this decision – that is not hard for me."

 

The 28-year-old joined Liverpool from Roma in 2018 and won the Champions League in his first season in England.

The Reds followed up that success by ending a 30-year wait for a domestic crown with their 2019-20 Premier League triumph.

Since his signing, Alisson has played exactly 100 times in the Premier League and kept 44 clean sheets – fewer only than Manchester City goalkeeper and international team-mate Ederson.

Among keepers with 50 or more appearances in the competition over this period, Hugo Lloris (74.7) is the sole man with a save percentage better than Alisson's 73.6.

The Liverpool star also memorably scored a late winner at West Brom last season that kept his side's Champions League qualification push on track, but he now has loftier ambitions.

"We have to set goals and we have to set them high – winning everything that we are playing [for], the Champions League, Premier League, the cups, everything," he said. "I think we can start from there.

"But obviously winning depends on what we will put on the pitch, what we will give on the pitch and we have to give 100 per cent at least. If we can push harder, we will go."

Liverpool's 69 points last season was the fifth-lowest total by a defending Premier League champion, but only City (32), Chelsea (36) and Arsenal (39) conceded fewer goals than the Reds (42), who had to deal with numerous defensive injuries.

Alisson has become the latest Liverpool star to commit his future to the Anfield club.

The Reds announced a "new long-term contract" for their goalkeeper on Wednesday, with the deal widely reported to run until June 2027.

Alisson has joined Trent Alexander-Arnold and Fabinho in penning an extension ahead of the new Premier League season.
 

Fabinho has signed a new long-term contract with Liverpool, the Premier League club have confirmed.

The Brazil midfielder's fresh terms are widely reported to run until June 2026.

Fabinho joined Liverpool from Monaco for £43.7million in May 2018 and quickly established himself as an integral member of Jurgen Klopp's side.

He finished his first season at the club as a Champions League winner, while the Reds ended their 30-year wait for a top-flight title by storming to Premier League glory in 2019-20.

Fabinho is expected to revert to his pivotal role at the base of the midfield in the forthcoming season, having filled in at centre-back for long spells last term amid long-term injuries for Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip.

"These last three seasons I've been really happy here. I learned a lot with the manager, with all the staff, with the boys as well," the 27-year-old, who has made 122 appearances for Liverpool, told the club's official website.

"We achieved things together and for me I think it's the best place to be, the best place to keep growing, to keep learning from the staff, from the boys.

"Hopefully we will keep achieving good things."

Liverpool also won the UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup during a record-breaking 2019-20, only to meekly cede their domestic title to Manchester City last time around.

Nevertheless, Fabinho believes the best is yet to come from himself and Klopp's squad.

"In my game I have improved, I think I'm a bit more experienced now and now I'm 27 – I arrived at the club [at] 24," he added, speaking to Liverpool's official website.

"When you play on this level, of course it's natural you will grow, you will learn a lot of things.

"I don't want to stop here, I know where I can be better, I can help the team to be better as well. I will try to do my best for this team."

Fabinho has committed his future to Liverpool after the midfielder signed a new long-term deal.

Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid have stated their intention to press on with the European Super League after a court protected them against UEFA disciplinary proceedings relating to the project's ill-fated launch earlier this year.

On Friday, the mercantile court in Madrid threw out UEFA's appeal against its ruling earlier this month that stated disciplinary proceedings concerned with the founding 12 Super League clubs must be scrapped.

The Spanish pair and Italian giants welcomed the decision against what they termed "UEFA threats" and condemned European football's governing body for its "monopolistic position" over its governance of the game in a joint statement.

The case will now be assessed by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

"FC Barcelona, Juventus, and Real Madrid CF welcome today's court's decision enforcing, with immediate effect, UEFA's obligation to unwind the actions taken against all European Super League founding clubs, including terminating the disciplinary proceedings against the undersigning three clubs and removing the penalties and restrictions imposed on the remaining nine founding clubs for them to avoid UEFA's disciplinary action," the statement read.

"The court backs the request made by the promoters of the European Super League, dismisses UEFA's appeal, and confirms its warning to UEFA that failure to comply with its ruling shall result in fines and potential criminal liability."

The statement continued: "Our aim is to keep developing the Super League project in a constructive and cooperative manner, always counting on all football stakeholders: fans, players, coaches, clubs, leagues, and national and international associations.

"We are aware that there are elements of our proposal that should be reviewed and, of course, can be improved through dialogue and consensus. We remain confident in the success of a project that will be always compliant with European Union laws."

The proposed Super League format guaranteed participation for its 12 founders but quickly prompted outrage across the footballing world in April.

With the Premier League clubs – Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal – pulling out, Milan, Inter and Atletico Madrid soon followed.

Those nine clubs each agreed to pay €15million in support of European grassroots football initiatives and cede five per cent of their revenues from UEFA club competitions in the forthcoming season after reconciliation talks with the governing body.

Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid did not stand down, prompting a UEFA investigation and the launch of disciplinary proceedings in May that were expected to yield harsher punishments.

Friday's ruling in the Spanish capital effectively renders all of those measures void. UEFA is yet to comment on the latest developments.

Liverpool have announced Trent Alexander-Arnold has signed a new long-term contract extension with the club.

Alexander-Arnold has made 179 appearances for the Reds and was a crucial part of Jurgen Klopp's squad that won the Premier League title in 2019-20, ending the 30-year wait to be crowned top-flight champions again.

The right-back – who made his first-team debut in a League Cup tie against Tottenham in August 2016 – has committed his future to Liverpool as he prepares for the new domestic season, having missed out on Euro 2020 with England due to a thigh injury.

"I'm honoured to be given the opportunity and to be shown the trust in the club to be given an extension, so it was a no-brainer for me," Alexander-Arnold told the club's official website after agreeing terms that reportedly run until 2025.

"The state the club is in and where I'm at in my career is always a good option for me. To extend and make sure I'm here longer is always a good thing. I'm made up.

"It's the only club I've ever really known, so to be here for this amount of time and extending to be here for a longer amount of time is amazing for me and my family.

"It's a proud moment for me – it always is – signing a new contract here. To be given the trust, like I said before, by the club and the staff is an amazing feeling."

Alexander-Arnold has played over 40 games in each of the previous three campaigns under Klopp, including starting the Champions League final win over Spurs in 2019 – a year that also saw him make the shortlist for the Ballon d'Or.

The 22-year-old excelled as Liverpool were crowned champions the following season, scoring four goals and providing 13 assists – only Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (20) supplied more – while playing in every league fixture.

While he struggled to replicate the same form in 2020-21 in a defence that lost key personnel to serious injuries, he still made 34 starts and managed two goals, one of which was a dramatic long-range late winner at home to Aston Villa in April.

"I live the dream every day really. Being able to represent the club and to be in and around names and players, and obviously managers and staff, that are world class every day is a privilege for me and I'm very fortunate to be in the position I am," Alexander-Arnold added.

 

Gareth Southgate selected Alexander-Arnold in his 26-man England squad for this year's European Championship, despite speculation he would be a high-profile absentee from the final list.

However, injury deprived him the chance of being involved with the Three Lions as they reached the final, losing on penalties to Italy.

Liverpool open the new Premier League season with a trip to Norwich City on August 14.

Liverpool have announced Trent Alexander-Arnold has signed a new long-term contract extension with the club.

Alexander-Arnold has made 179 appearances for the Reds and was a crucial part of Jurgen Klopp's squad that won the Premier League title in 2019-20, ending the 30-year wait to be crowned top-flight champions again.

The 22-year-old right-back – who made his first-team debut in a League Cup tie against Tottenham in August 2016 – has committed his future to Liverpool as he prepares for the new domestic season, having missed out on Euro 2020 with England due to a thigh injury.

"I'm honoured to be given the opportunity and to be shown the trust in the club to be given an extension, so it was a no-brainer for me," Alexander-Arnold told the club's official website.

"The state the club is in and where I'm at in my career is always a good option for me. To extend and make sure I'm here longer is always a good thing. I'm made up.

"It's the only club I've ever really known, so to be here for this amount of time and extending to be here for a longer amount of time is amazing for me and my family.

"It's a proud moment for me – it always is – signing a new contract here. To be given the trust, like I said before, by the club and the staff is an amazing feeling."

Simone Biles will not defend her Olympic title in Thursday's individual all-around competition in order to focus on her mental health, USA Gymnastics has confirmed.

The four-time gold medallist from Rio completed only one event in Tuesday's team competition at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre, registering the lowest score of the first rotation.

Biles left the floor with a trainer and, although she later returned donned in a tracksuit, she opted not to continue and remained to support her team-mates who could only secure silver behind the Russian Olympic Committee.

Following the team event, Biles opened up on her struggles at Tokyo 2020 and said she would take it day-by-day before making a decision.

USA Gymnastics subsequently announced she will not participate on Thursday and will continue to be evaluated before a decision is made on whether she takes part in the individual event finals, which take place next week.

"After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games, in order to focus on her mental health," a USA Gymnastics statement read.

"Simone will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether or not to participate in next week’s individual event finals. Jade Carey, who had the ninth highest score in qualifications, will participate in her place in the all-around."

USA Gymnastics hailed Biles for her decision to put her own well-being ahead of competing.

"We wholeheartedly support Simone's decision and applaud her bravery in prioritising her well-being," the governing body added.

"Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many."

Naomi Osaka saw her Olympic gold medal dream shattered by a third-round defeat to Marketa Vondrousova at Tokyo 2020 on Tuesday.

Osaka lit the Olympic cauldron on Friday and was widely hailed as the 'face of the Games', with enormous expectation that she would go on to triumph for hosts Japan.

The early exit of world number one Ash Barty seemed to help her case, but Osaka lost 6-1 6-4 to her Czech opponent in an hour and eight minutes.

Osaka played a dismal opening set but then looked to have raised her game a notch in the second, establishing an early break.

However, that did not herald a full-blown fightback as former French Open runner-up Vondrousova soon got back on level terms and forced Osaka to serve to stay in the contest.

From 15-40, Osaka saved two match points, but Vondrousova soon had a third opportunity and her spirited defence won out.

Osaka flung a backhand wide this time and Vondrousova had her prized scalp, securing a place in the quarter-finals at the expense of the world number two.

It was an untidy performance from Osaka who made 32 unforced errors to just 10 from Vondrousova.

This was Osaka's first tournament since pulling out of the French Open at the end of May, in the wake of a first-round win. She cited depression and anxiety issues in Paris after announcing she would not take part in news conferences during the tournament.

Naomi Osaka saw her Olympic gold medal dream shattered by a third-round defeat to Marketa Vondrousova at Tokyo 2020 on Tuesday.

Osaka lit the Olympic cauldron on Friday and was widely hailed as the 'face of the Games', with enormous expectation that she would go on to triumph for hosts Japan.

The early exit of world number one Ash Barty seemed to help her case, but Osaka lost 6-1 6-4 to her Czech opponent in an hour and eight minutes.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has signed a new three-year contract, the Premier League club announced on Saturday.

Solskjaer's United finished as runners-up to Manchester City in the 2020-21 Premier League season and reached the final of the Europa League, losing 11-10 on penalties to Villarreal.

United confirmed the Norwegian's new deal contained an option for a further year.

Solskjaer said: "Everyone knows the feeling I have for this club, and I am delighted to have signed this new contract. It is an exciting time for Manchester United, we have built a squad with a good balance of youth and experienced players that are hungry for success.

"I have a fantastic coaching team around me, and we are all ready to take that next step on our journey. Manchester United wants to be winning the biggest and best trophies and that's what we are all striving for. We have improved, both on and off the pitch, and that will continue over the coming seasons.

"I can't wait to get out in front of a packed Old Trafford and get this campaign started."

Former United striker Solskjaer took over from Jose Mourinho on a caretaker basis in December 2018, after the Portuguese boss was sacked, and was handed the job on a permanent basis three months later.

He committed to a three-year deal at the time and has now signed up to stay at Old Trafford.

There is change afoot at the club, with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward due to leave at the end of the year.

Woodward said Solskjaer had justified the club showing their faith in him with the extension.

"Ole and his staff have worked tirelessly putting the foundations in place for long-term success on the pitch," Woodward said.

"The results of that have become increasingly visible over the past two seasons and we are all looking forward to seeing this exciting team develop further in the years ahead.

"What is especially pleasing is the way this progress has been achieved with a blend of young, homegrown talent and top-class recruits, playing attacking football in the best traditions of Manchester United. We are more confident than ever that, under Ole's leadership, we are heading in the right direction."

Solskjaer has yet to win a trophy as boss of the Red Devils, or reach a major domestic cup final.

However, United have finished third and second in the league in his first two full seasons at the helm, guaranteeing lucrative Champions League income.

They finished five points ahead of third-placed Liverpool last term, losing just six of 38 domestic league games, albeit that was not enough to be competitive with City, who took the title by 12 points.

Their 2020-21 win percentage of 55.3 in the Premier League was the second highest United have achieved in a season since Alex Ferguson retired as manager in 2013, beaten only by the 65.8 per cent they managed under Mourinho when finishing second in the 2017-18 campaign.

The 73 league goals they scored was the highest United have tallied in the post-Ferguson era, with the team's 12 away wins in the top flight also the most they have mustered since the long-serving Scot stepped aside.

In fact, United have not lost away from Old Trafford in the Premier League since going down 2-0 to Liverpool in January 2020 – that is a run of 26 matches.

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