Speculation has mounted over the future of Cristiano Ronaldo over the past few days.

Ronaldo was demoted to the bench for Juventus' opening Serie A fixture on Sunday.

Juve head coach Massimiliano Allegri insisted there was nothing sinister at play but rumours have swirled since.

TOP STORY - RONALDO TO MAKE PREMIER LEAGUE PUSH

Ronaldo wants to push for a Premier League move in the final week before the transfer window closes, according to L'Equipe.

The Portuguese former Manchester United forward wants to join English champions Manchester City, with the report mentioning Aymeric Laporte or Bernardo Silva being used in any deal.

Ronaldo is reportedly not keen to see out the final year of his Juventus contract, with speculation over a move intensifying this week.

Sky Sport Italia claims that Ronaldo has communicated his intentions to players at both Juve and City.

 

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- Real Madrid have submitted a €160million bid to sign Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe, according to The Mail. The Parisians have rejected the offer for Mbappe, whose PSG contract runs out at the end of the 2021-22 season and he has refused to re-sign with the club.

- PSG will turn to Everton's Brazil international Richarlison as they look to replace Mbappe should he depart, claims Eurosport.

- Inter will complete a move for Joaquin Correa from Lazio on Thursday, with a deal to sign him on loan with an option to buy for €31m including bonuses, reports Sky Sport Italia.

- Sky Sports reports that Tottenham have held informal talks with Houssem Aouar's representatives as they look to sign the Lyon forward.

- Thomas Delaney's potential move from Borussia Dortmund to Sevilla looks to be on, with a breakthrough in negotiations and the player to fly to Spain, according to Sport1.

Real Madrid have made an opening €160million bid for Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe that has been rebuffed, according to reports.

The France international has spent the past four seasons at the Parc des Princes but is due to become a free agent at the end of the 2021-22 campaign.

Mbappe is no closer to agreeing a new contract with the Ligue 1 giants, despite the recent high-profile addition of Lionel Messi to a star-studded attack that also includes Neymar.

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi recently stressed PSG do not need to cash in on Mbappe, while Mauricio Pochettino last week suggested he expects the Frenchman to stay.

However, widespread reports from Spain and France on Tuesday indicate Madrid have now tested the Parisiens' resolve by tabling a big-money bid for the World Cup winner.

 

Reports in France claim PSG have rejected the offer, which would make it the third most expensive transfer ever, behind the €222m PSG paid Barcelona for Neymar and €180m handed over to sign Mbappe from Monaco in 2018 after a year on loan.

Mbappe has made 174 appearances for PSG in all competitions since arriving from Monaco in 2017, helping the club to 10 trophies, including three Ligue 1 crowns.

He has scored 133 goals since making his debut in September 2017, placing him behind Cristiano Ronaldo (144), Messi (162) and Robert Lewandowski (182) for goals in all competitions among players in Europe's top five leagues during that period.

The 22-year-old has assisted a further 58 goals for his team-mates, while only Lewandowski (39) has been directly involved in more goals in the Champions League than Mbappe's 37.

Wales caretaker boss Rob Page insists Gareth Bale still has the hunger and desire to play for his country after including the player in his squad for the upcoming international break.

Page's side face Finland in a friendly on September 1, before resuming their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign with a double-header against Belarus and Estonia.

Speculation surrounded Bale's international future following the Dragons' exit from Euro 2020 at the hands of Denmark.

However, the Real Madrid forward, who has 96 caps to his name, could edge closer to becoming Wales' second centurion after being selected by Page.

Bale, who spent last season on loan at Tottenham, has started twice this season under new Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti, scoring in Sunday's 3-3 draw at Levante.

And Page is confident his talisman has "got the bug back" for football.

 

"It's great news. You want all your players playing competitive football when they come to the camp," Page told Sky Sports News.

"To get any of your players playing week in, week out is a bonus.

"But when you've got Gareth playing now and finding he's got the bug back again, which I saw in some of his performances for Tottenham at the back end of last season, is great news for us.

"He's got a hunger to play week in, week out for his club and he's got an absolute hunger and desire to play for Wales.

"As long as I can see that in his performances then there's going to be no issues whatsoever."

Real Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde has agreed a contract extension that will keep him at the Santiago Bernabeu until June 2027.

The 23-year-old Uruguay international's original agreement ran until 2025 but he signed a deal for a further two years, and it reportedly includes a €1billion release clause.

A statement on Madrid's website on Tuesday said: "Federico Valverde signed a contract renewal at Real Madrid. The Uruguayan midfielder remains linked to our club until June 30, 2027."

Valverde joined Madrid from Uruguayan club Penarol in July 2016, initially playing for Real Madrid Castilla, the club's reserve team.

He joined Deportivo La Coruna on loan for the 2017-18 season before establishing himself in the Madrid first-team setup under Santi Solari.

Valverde won LaLiga in 2019-20 under Zinedine Zidane, making 21 starts. Last season he featured 24 times for Madrid in the league and scored three goals.

The midfielder becomes the latest player to agree new terms at Madrid since Carlo Ancelotti took charge of Los Blancos in June.

Luka Modric, Nacho Fernandez, Karim Benzema, Dani Carvajal and Thibaut Courtois have all recently signed new deals.

 

 

Could the Kylian Mbappe transfer saga be nearing a conclusion?

Long linked with Real Madrid, Mbappe is out of contract at the end of the season.

Paris Saint-Germain's attempts to re-sign Mbappe have been fruitless up until this point and the Ligue 1 giants are reportedly willing to cash in.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE NEARING MADRID?

Paris Saint-Germain are prepared to accept an offer for Kylian Mbappe should one arrive from Real Madrid before the end of the transfer window, according to RMC.

PSG have been fighting to re-sign Mbappe, who is in the final year of his current deal in the French capital.

However, PSG have reportedly accepted defeat in their efforts to retain Mbappe beyond the 2021-22 season as Madrid look to lure the Frenchman to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Premier League pair Manchester United and Liverpool have also been linked.

 

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- The Mirror writes United are prepared to offer cash plus a player-swap – believed to be Jesse Lingard – to sign West Ham's Declan Rice.

- Atletico Madrid are closing in on a deal to sign Hertha Berlin's Matheus Cunha, says Fabrizio Romano. LaLiga champions Atletico had been linked with Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic – also wanted by the likes of Manchester City, Tottenham, Inter and Arsenal – but have so far failed to reach an agreement.

- The Daily Telegraph reports Tottenham are preparing a £40million bid to reunite Nuno Espirito Santo with Wolves star Adama Traore.

Napoli are eyeing unwanted Barcelona midfielder Miralem Pjanic, per Correire dello Sport. Pjanic had looked set to return to Juventus.

- Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira will move to Fiorentina after turning down Eintracht Frankfurt, according to Romano.

Chelsea are continuing to eye Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, claims Romano. The Frenchman is ready to swap Seville for London after agreeing personal terms on a deal until June 2026.

- Inter are monitoring Torino star Andrea Belotti as they seek to replace Romelu Lukaku, says Calciomercato. The Serie A champions have also been linked to Lazio forward Joaquin Correa.

Thierry Henry hopes Kylian Mbappe remains at Paris Saint-Germain amid growing links with Real Madrid.

Mbappe has long been tipped to join Madrid and speculation is continuing to claim the LaLiga giants will try to prise the French star from PSG before the transfer window closes, while Manchester United and Liverpool have also been linked.

PSG forward Mbappe is in the final year of his contract in Paris, where the 2018 World Cup winner is no closer to re-signing despite the arrival of Lionel Messi.

French great Henry, who played for Monaco like Mbappe before starring for Arsenal and Barcelona, wants the 22-year-old to stay at PSG.

"I don't know what is happening with Kylian Mbappe," Henry said on Amazon. "We can always speculate and say a lot of things. Me, what I see is that he is still there, that he is training, he is walking, he is running and he is trying to create chances for his team-mates.

"He scores, I know that well. He is a player who is also honouring his contract, he is doing nothing bad and he is responding on the pitch, so be happy.

"Like I often say, with an exceptional player we are always looking for the little things wrong. I hope that he will stay at PSG, I hope that he will be good and we will see after for what the future will bring him because it is normal to evaluate things.

"But is he lacking in respect towards someone? No, I have not yet seen that. He is there, he is present and he is even playing well."

Mbappe was on target as Mauricio Pochettino's PSG overcame Brest 4-2 in Ligue 1 on Friday.

PSG's Mbappe scored his fourth Ligue 1 headed goal, his first with for club and his first since March 2017 with Monaco at Caen.

Mbappe has been decisive in eight consecutive Ligue 1 games (eight goals, three assists), his second-best run in the top-flight, behind February-November 2020 (10).

Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti was livid with his side after they "gave away two points" in Sunday's 3-3 LaLiga draw with Levante.

Madrid seemed in control leading 1-0 at the break following Gareth Bale's first LaLiga goal since 2019 but conceded two goals within 12 minutes of the restart to trail 2-1.

Vinicius Junior pulled a goal back in the 73rd minute before Rober restored Levante's lead with the Brazilian finding a leveler with five minutes to go.

"It was crazy, after controlling the first half well," Ancelotti told Marca. "We have given away two points after a very good first half.

"It is difficult to explain, we had to pay attention to any detail. We leave with a bad taste in our mouths. We have to be more attentive."

Los Blancos had started their LaLiga campaign with a strong 4-1 win away to Alaves but the Italian bemoaned his side's second-half attitude against Levante.

"The first half was very good," Ancelotti said. "In the second we did not enter with a good attitude. It was not a good response."

He added: "The third [goal] is bad luck. In the first [goal] we adjust the line badly and in the second [goal] we are three against two, and that cannot be."

Despite his frustrations, Ancelotti was delighted with the impact of 21-year-old Brazilian winger Vinicius Junior as a 59th-minute substitute and hoped he can build on his promise.

The Flamengo junior only scored three league goals from 35 appearances last term but has already equaled that output in two LaLiga games this season.

"He has a lot of quality," Ancelotti said. "He must score, but I don't know if he will be a great scorer.

"With that quality he must score many goals. It will be important for us. Sometimes it is more important to finish the games than to start them.

"It is not something that gives much importance, whether you are the owner or not."

Vinicius Junior spared Real Madrid's blushes on Sunday as his sublime 85th-minute strike secured a pulsating 3-3 draw against Levante.

Los Blancos kicked off their LaLiga campaign with a 4-1 victory over Alaves last weekend and they looked like they would cruise to back-to-back wins when Gareth Bale gave them an early lead at Estadi Ciutat de Valencia.

The hosts had other ideas, though, and went ahead thanks to goals from Roger Marti and Jose Campana inside the opening 12 minutes of the second half.

Substitute Vinicius drew the visitors level in the 73rd minute, yet it appeared Levante would claim a memorable three points when Rober Pier slotted home from close range six minutes later.

However, Brazil international Vinicius ensured a share of the spoils with a wonderful strike from the tightest of angles, while Levante goalkeeper Aitor Fernandez received a straight red card for handling the ball way outside his penalty area in the closing stages as he bid to stop a Madrid counter. 

Carlo Ancelotti says neither he nor his Real Madrid "team full of stars" are overly concerned by speculation surrounding mooted target Kylian Mbappe.

The transfer window closes at the end of August and Madrid have so far signed only David Alaba, who was a free agent after leaving Bayern Munich.

Los Blancos are enduring financial difficulties amid the coronavirus pandemic, estimating it had cost them "close to €300million", meaning they will "continue in the effort so far to contain spending".

These statements have not prevented continued links to Paris Saint-Germain forward Mbappe, however.

The World Cup winner, now a team-mate of Lionel Messi as well as Neymar, is out of contract next year and is widely considered a top target for Madrid.

But Madrid coach Ancelotti was unmoved on Saturday, speaking ahead of the trip to Levante, by the suggestion Mbappe could arrive in the coming days.

"The atmosphere in the dressing room is very good because the players are focused on the work they are doing and they are not talking about the market," he said.

"You only talk about the matches and I don't know if everyone then thinks about this.

"I talk to the club every day and the idea that the club have about the future is the same as I have. But I don't think it's fair to talk about it here."

Ancelotti, who has won all four of his LaLiga games against Levante, added: "I don't care what's going to happen in the next few days.

"I have a very good squad that I really want to train with and I'm only focused on the team I have."

Former Madrid favourite Cristiano Ronaldo has also been linked with a return, yet he looks set to stay at Juventus and the idea was dismissed by Ancelotti.

"The issue is settled," he said. "After clearing up the rumours, I just want to say what I said before: the idea of the club is the same as mine.

"After that, everyone knows my affection for Cristiano."

Without bringing in Mbappe or Ronaldo, Madrid are a side seemingly lacking an obvious superstar – but Ancelotti disagrees.

"This squad as it stands can compete with everyone," he said. "We have a lot of top players.

"Courtois, Carvajal, Benzema, Bale, Hazard... I'm going to forget someone. This team is full of stars."

Karim Benzema has certainly picked up the slack since Ronaldo's departure in 2018, with no Madrid player scoring as many goals (89), providing as many assists (30) or playing as many games (148) as the France forward in all competitions in that time.

Benzema this week signed a contract extension to keep him at Madrid until the end of the 2022-23 season.

"Karim is a fundamental part of this team," Ancelotti said. "I'm not going to find out myself. I see him with more personality and more mature.

"It's a pleasure to coach him and watch him play. He has renewed and I am very happy and I think he is very much looking forward to continuing at Real Madrid."

Benzema scored twice in the opening fixture against Alaves and will be looking to net three times across the first two games of a league season for the first time.

That would go a long way to helping Madrid extend their unbeaten run in the competition to 20 matches, the longest current streak.

The transfer window is not even closed but attention is already turning to next season.

Kylian Mbappe is into the final year of his Paris Saint-Germain contract, while Erling Haaland's Borussia Dortmund deal has clubs queuing up.

Manchester United are reportedly set to pursue both.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE, HAALAND FUTURE RED DEVILS?

Manchester United have made Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe a target for next season, according to ESPN.

Mbappe has long been tipped to join Real Madrid and Saturday's Marca and Diario AS claim the LaLiga giants are still trying to sign the PSG star before the end of the transfer window.

Liverpool have also previously been linked with Mbappe, but United are keeping tabs on his situation, with the Frenchman out of contract at the end of 2021-22.

French journalist Julien Laurens, meanwhile, also suggests next year could be the perfect time for United to prise Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund.

Haaland has no shortage of suitors, linked with Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City and Bayern Munich as his release clause comes into force at season's end.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Daily Mail says City are willing to sell defender Aymeric Laporte for £60million (€69m). The Spain international is reportedly wanted by Juventus and Madrid.

Chelsea remain interested in Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde, per The Telegraph. The Blues have also been linked with Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez, who has also caught the attention of United and Liverpool.

- Diario AS says wantaway Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele is eyeing a switch to Madrid, Barca or Bayern.

Real Sociedad are tracking PSG star Pablo Sarabia, according to Le Parisien. Sevilla could also reportedly rival Sociedad for the Spain international.

- Sky Sport Italia reports Juve are set to meet with Paulo Dybala's agent to discuss a new contract.

Karim Benzema will remain a Real Madrid player through to the end of the 2022-23 season after the talisman agreed a one-year extension to his contract.

The Spanish capital giants continue to be linked with moves for Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland, but they have ensured Benzema will be around to help any new arrivals settle.

A fresh deal for the 33-year-old was announced on Friday as the France striker pledged his allegiance again to the cause he joined in 2009 after beginning his career at Lyon.

Head coach Carlo Ancelotti saw Benzema prove his value to the team with two goals in the 4-1 season-opening LaLiga win at Deportivo Alaves on Saturday.

This season more than ever it appears Benzema will have a crucial role to play, given his seniority and profile at the club. Marcelo has been appointed as captain following the departure of Sergio Ramos, but there is little doubt Benzema will also be expected to show leadership.

With Marcelo absent for the Alaves game, it was Benzema who skippered the team, spearheading the attack as Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard supported from the flanks.

The value of Benzema to Madrid has long been obvious, but since Cristiano Ronaldo's departure to Juventus in July 2018 his goals and forward play have become ever more important.

In the period since record scorer Ronaldo moved on, Benzema has scored 89 goals in 148 games for Madrid, surpassing an expected goals score of 79.88. Only four players from Europe's top five leagues have scored more in that time: Robert Lewandowski, Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Ronaldo.

Excluding penalties from the equation, Benzema has netted more times than Ronaldo, scoring 80 to his former team-mate's haul of 72 for Juve.

Only Bayern Munich's Lewandowski (33 goals) has scored more headers than Benzema's 23 in the same period. Messi, who left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain this month, is the only player to have hit the woodwork more often: 33 times to Benzema's 26.

Karim Benzema will remain a Real Madrid player through to the end of the 2022-23 season after the talisman agreed a one-year extension to his contract.

The Spanish capital giants continue to be linked with moves for Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland, but they have ensured Benzema will be around to help any new arrivals settle.

A fresh deal for the 33-year-old was announced on Friday as the France striker pledged his allegiance again to the cause he joined in 2009 after beginning his career at Lyon.

Arsenal have completed the signing of Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid on a permanent deal for a reported fee of around £30million (€35.2m).

The Norway international, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Emirates Stadium, is thought to have agreed a four-year deal with the Premier League side.

Odegaard returned to parent club Madrid but was not part of their matchday squad for last week's 4-1 win over Deportivo Alaves on the opening weekend of the new LaLiga season.

Having been restricted to just eight league appearances for Los Blancos since joining in 2015, the majority of that time spent out on loan, the attacking midfielder has now departed the Spanish capital on a permanent basis.

Arsenal confirmed the news on their official website on Friday and the 22-year-old is now in contention for the Gunners' home league clash with Chelsea on Sunday.

Odegaard made 20 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal after joining on loan at the end of the January transfer window, 14 of those outings coming in the Premier League.

He scored one goal and provided two assists, while his 20 chances created was the most of any Arsenal player during his spell on loan, three more than Emile Smith Rowe.

The Stromsgodset product also ranked highly for dribbles completed, his tally of 13 in the league bettered only by Nicolas Pepe (14), Thomas Partey (15) and Bukayo Saka (18).

Odegaard becomes Arsenal's third signing of the window following the arrivals of Nuno Tavares, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Ben White.

Mikel Arteta's side were beaten 2-0 by newly promoted Brentford in their first game of the campaign.

The 22 shots they registered without scoring against the Bees was their most without finding the net in a league match since December 2017 against West Ham (also 22).

Arsenal have completed the signing of Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid on a permanent deal for a reported fee of around £30million (€35.2m).

The Norway international, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Emirates Stadium, is thought to have agreed a four-year deal with the Premier League side.

Odegaard returned to parent club Madrid but was not part of their matchday squad for last week's 4-1 win over Deportivo Alaves on the opening weekend of the new LaLiga season.

Having been restricted to just eight league appearances for Los Blancos since joining in 2015, the majority of that time spent out on loan, the attacking midfielder has now departed the Spanish capital on a permanent basis.

Arsenal confirmed the news on their official website on Friday and the 22-year-old is now in contention for the Gunners' home league clash with Chelsea on Sunday.

Odegaard made 20 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal after joining on loan at the end of the January transfer window, 14 of those outings coming in the Premier League.

He scored one goal and provided two assists, while his 20 chances created was the most of any Arsenal player during his spell on loan, three more than Emile Smith Rowe.

The Stromsgodset product also ranked highly for dribbles completed, his tally of 13 in the league bettered only by Nicolas Pepe (14), Thomas Partey (15) and Bukayo Saka (18).

Odegaard becomes Arsenal's third signing of the window following the arrivals of Nuno Tavares, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Ben White.

Mikel Arteta's side were beaten 2-0 by newly promoted Brentford in their first game of the campaign.

The 22 shots they registered without scoring against the Bees was their most without finding the net in a league match since December 2017 against West Ham (also 22).

Erling Haaland is one of the most in-demand players in Europe.

Clubs from across the continent are queuing up to sign the Borussia Dortmund forward.

Real Madrid, however, are firmly placed to make a move for the Norwegian.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID STILL EYEING HAALAND

Real Madrid believe a deal to sign Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland could be done next year, according to the front page of Friday's Marca.

Kylian Mbappe – out of contract in 2022 – has dominated headlines as Madrid target the Paris Saint-Germain forward.

But Madrid have not forgotten about Haaland, who is also reportedly wanted by Manchester United, Manchester City, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Athletic says Bernardo Silva has turned down a move to Tottenham as part of a potential deal that would help send Harry Kane to City. Atletico Madrid and Barca have also been linked with City's Silva.

Pedri could sign a new four-year deal with Barca by September, reports Sport. The 18-year-old has been a revelation at Camp Nou.

- Fabrizio Romano claims Milan are nearing a deal to sign Tiemoue Bakayoko from Chelsea. Bakayoko spent the 2018-19 season on loan at Milan. Di Marzio, meanwhile, says Milan are interested in bringing Monaco's Pietro Pellegri to San Siro on loan.

- Staying in Milan and Tuttosport reports the Rossoneri are interested in Sassuolo and Italy star Domenico Berardi. Leicester City are also reportedly among his admirers.

- Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga is dreaming of a move to PSG, according to Le Parisien. United have also been linked with the France midfielder.

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