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    Raphael Varane ‘studies Man Utd and asks for clips of set-pieces to get head start ahead of transfer from Real Madrid’

    RAPHAEL VARANE has studied clips of Manchester United defending set-pieces so he can hit the ground running when he joins, according to reports.The Real Madrid defender looks set to move to Old Trafford this summer, and he’s already looking into where they can improve.
    Varane, 28, wants a new challenge and has his sights set on a move to the Premier LeagueCredit: GETTY IMAGES

    According to the Manchester Evening News, Varane has been studying United’s defending from last season.
    And has specifically requested footage of their set-piece organisation.
    The four-time Champions League winner was told it would be a waste of time, as United were poor at defending set-piece situations last season, despite finishing second.
    Man Utd have already taken matters into their own hands by appointing Eric Ramsey as their set-piece coach.
    Varane, alongside club captain Harry Maguire, would form a formidable centre-back partnership.
    Both possess leadership qualities, are dominant in a tackle and in the air, which is just what United need.
    And as SunSport understands, Man Utd and Real are nearing an agreement over a fee believed to be in the region of £40million for the Frenchman.
    Personal terms with 28-year-old Varane are believed to be already agreed.
    We’ve signed a genuine world-class centre back. His list of honours is ridiculous, it’s as long as my arm.Rio Ferdinand
    United legend Rio Ferdinand – who formed a legendary partnership with Nemanja Vidic – is excited by the potential signing and the project that is at hand under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
    Speaking on his Youtube channel, Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE, he said: “What a signing. There’s been talk in the transfer market since it opened up – it must have come from the player.
    “He must have wanted to leave, and be part of the new Man United way, the project that’s going ahead.
    “With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer signing a new deal, Sancho coming in – the talent they’ve got there, the ability to play alongside Maguire after he did so well at the Euros probably played a part. 
    “I just think he sees this as a better project than what he’s got at Real Madrid now.”
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    Ferdinand also praised United’s ‘assertive’ approach in the transfer market.
    He continued: “United have been criticised in the past, and rightly so, for dilly-dallying in the market.
    “This one they were assertive, they went for their man and they got him. No doubt in my mind, he would have said to Real Madrid ‘I need it, I want it, I have to go.'”
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    Barcelona hope to announce Lionel Messi contract renewal before friendly against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus

    BARCELONA reportedly want to announce Lionel Messi’s new contract in the first week of August.And that would allow the Argentine ace to clash once again with old foe Cristiano Ronaldo.
    Barcelona hope to confirm Lionel Messi’s new deal in the first week of AugustCredit: AFP
    Messi, 34, is officially a free agent after his Nou Camp contract expired at the start of July.
    However, the legendary forward is said to be eager to extend his stay with Barcelona.
    And talks are ongoing over a new long-term deal.
    However, the Catalans have been unable to meet Messi’s terms as they struggle to balance the books.
    It’s reckoned a number of players must leave before Messi’s deal can be finalised.
    But Catalan newspaper Sport claims Barca chiefs are now hoping to confirm the contract by the end of next week.
    Should Messi officially return as a Barcelona player, it would mean he could face Ronaldo when Juventus play the Spaniards in a pre-season friendly on August 8.
    The old rivals duelled for Ballons d’Or, LaLiga titles and Champions Leagues during Ronnie’s time at Real Madrid.
    And fans will be salivating at the prospect of seeing them share the stage once again.
    Ronaldo, 36, has entered the final year of his Juventus contract.
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    And it’s reckoned he will not be offered an extension when it expires in 2022.
    Real have already been linked with a move for their former superstar after rehiring Carlo Ancelotti as boss.
    And that could set up a fresh battle between Ronaldo and Messi in El Clasico.
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    Best 25 football stadiums around world, from the Bernabeu to San Mames… but Tottenham’s £1bn ground down in 21

    ATMOSPHERE, capacity and the quality of the toilets are all taken into consideration when fans argue about the best stadiums in the world.And a poll to determine which ground holds that honour has revealed some surprising results.
    Boca Juniors’ La Bombonera home in Buenos Aires is one of the most iconic stadiums in the worldCredit: Getty
    Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium is also one of the most well knownCredit: Getty
    Tottenham splashed out a staggering £1BILLION on their new North London home which currently ranks just 21st despite being the most expensive stadium ever built.
    But surprisingly, it’s a stadium in Egypt that sits in the No 1 spot.
    Here SunSport reveals the results of a poll conducted by Spanish outlet Marca.
    1 CAIRO INTERNATIONAL STADIUM
    Home team: Al Ahly
    Capacity: 75,000
    Location: Cairo, Egypt
    Cairo International StadiumCredit: Getty – Contributor
    2 SANTIAGO BERNABEU
    Home team: Real Madrid
    Capacity: 81,044
    Location: Madrid, Spain
    Santiago Bernabeu stadiumCredit: Getty – Contributor
    3 NOU CAMP
    Home team: Barcelona
    Capacity: 99,354
    Location: Barcelona, Spain
    Nou CampCredit: Getty
    4 MOUNUMENTAL DE CHILE
    Home team: Colo Colo
    Capacity: 47,347
    Location: Santiago, Chile
    Monumental de ChileCredit: Getty
    5 SAN MAMES
    Home team: Athletic Bilbao
    Capacity: 53,289
    Location: Bilbao, Spain
    San Mames stadiumCredit: Getty – Contributor
    6 WANDA METROPOLITANO
    Home team: Atletico Madrid
    Capacity: 68,456
    Location: Madrid, Spain
    Wanda MetropolitanoCredit: Getty – Contributor
    7 ANFIELD
    Home team: Liverpool
    Capacity: 54,074
    Location: Liverpool, England
    AnfieldCredit: Getty
    8 LA BOMBONERA
    Home team: Boca Juniors
    Capacity: 49,000
    Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Boca Juniors’ La BomoneraCredit: Getty
    9 SIGNAL IDUNA PARK
    Home team: Borussia Dortmund
    Capacity: 81,360
    Location: Dortmund, Germany
    WestfalenstadionCredit: Getty – Contributor
    10 MOHAMED V
    Home team: Raja and Wydad Casablanca
    Capacity: 52,000
    Location: Casablanca, Morocco
    Mohamed V Stadium – CasablancaCredit: Africa Cup of Nations

    11 STADE OLYMPIQUE DE RADES
    Home team: Tunisian national team
    Capacity: 60,000
    Location: Rades, Tunisia
    Stade Olympique de RadesCredit: Getty
    12 WEMBLEY
    Home team: England national team
    Capacity: 90,000
    Location: London, England
    Wembley StadiumCredit: Alamy
    13 OLD TRAFFORD
    Home team: Manchester United
    Capacity: 76,000
    Location: Manchester, England
    Old TraffordCredit: PA:Press Association
    14 MARACANA
    Home team: Brazil national team, Flamengo, Fluminense
    Capacity: 78,838
    Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    Maracana stadiumCredit: Getty
    15 SAN SIRO
    Home team: AC Milan, Inter Milan
    Capacity: 80,018
    Location: Milan, Italy
    San SiroCredit: Getty
    16 ALLIANZ ARENA
    Home team: Bayern Munich
    Capacity: 75,024
    Location: Munich, Germany
    Allianz ArenaCredit: Getty – Contributor
    17 STADE VELODROME
    Home team: Marseille
    Capacity: 67,394
    Location: Marseille, France
    Stade VelodromeCredit: Getty – Contributor
    18 ESTADIO DA LUZ
    Home team: Benfica
    Capacity: 65,647
    Location: Lisbon, Portugal
    Estadio da Luz, LisbonCredit: Getty
    19 JOHAN CRUYFF ARENA
    Home team: Ajax
    Capacity: 54,990
    Location: Amsterdam, Holland
    Johan Cruyff arenaCredit: Getty – Contributor
    20 MOUNUMENTAL
    Home team: River Plate
    Capacity: 70,074
    Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Monumental, Buenos AiresCredit: AFP
    21 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR STADIUM
    Home team: Tottenham Hotspur
    Capacity: 62,303
    Location: London, England
    Tottenham Hotspur StadiumCredit: Getty
    22 ESTADIO AZTECA
    Home team: Mexico national team, Club America and Cruz Azul
    Capacity: 87,523
    Location: Mexico City, Mexico
    Estadio AztecaCredit: Getty
    23 SOCCER CITY STADIUM
    Home team: South Africa national team, Kaizer Chiefs
    Capacity: 94,736
    Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
    Soccer City StadiumCredit: Getty – Contributor
    24 CELTIC PARK
    Home team: Celtic
    Capacity: 60,411
    Location: Glasgow, Scotland
    Celtic ParkCredit: PA:Press Association

    25 AZADI STADIUM
    Home team: Iran national team
    Capacity: 78,116
    Location: Tehran, Iran
    Azadi StadiumCredit: Getty
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    Cristiano Ronaldo will stay at Juventus and not seek transfer away, says club legend and vice president Pavel Nedved

    CRISTIANO RONALDO has been tipped to stay at Juventus by vice president Pavel Nedved, ending any transfer speculation.Ronaldo has just one year left on his contract with the Italians and having not extended it, question marks over his future were raised.
    Cristiano Ronaldo has just one year left on his contractCredit: Rex
    Pavel Nedved said Cristiano Ronaldo will stay at JuventusCredit: Getty
    PSG and former clubs Manchester United and Real Madrid have both been linked with the superstar forward.
    But Juve legend and now club chief Nedved have told them to forget about it, as Ronaldo is staying put.
    He told Sky Sport: “Ronaldo has been called up for July 26, he’ll be back on Monday and will stay with us.”
    Ronaldo, 36, is currently on holiday in Mallorca, having led Portugal to the last 16 of the European Championships in the summer.
    According to Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport, he is expected to arrive in Turin very shortly to discuss his future with Juve.
    He signed for the Serie A giant in 2018 for £99million from Real Madrid and won the league in his first two seasons.
    But under Andrea Pirlo, 42, last term it was a disaster for the club, who only just finished fourth and missed out on the title for the first time in ten years.
    Pirlo has since been replaced by Massimiliano Allegri – who left the club in 2019 – but it has not yet convinced Ronaldo to commit his future.
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    PSG is seen as realistic destination, although it is believed they will NOT make a move unless Kylian Mbappe leaves.
    Frenchman Mbappe, 22, has been a long-time transfer target of Real Madrid.
    But as was the case with Nedved, 48, PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi promised the forward will not be going anywhere.
    He told L’Equipe: “I will be clear. Mbappe is going to stay in Paris.
    “We will never sell him and he will never leave on a free. Mbappe has everything he needs in Paris.”
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    Gareth Bale back in Real Madrid training as Man Utd transfer target Raphael Varane takes part on first day of pre-season

    RAPHAEL VARANE returned to Real Madrid’s training ground today with his move to Manchester United still in the balance.The 28-year-old is keen to move to England.
    Raphael Varane has returned to pre-season with Real Madrid but could be off to Manchester United soonCredit: Getty
    But with nothing yet signed off he had to report to Valdebebas for tests at the end of his summer break.
    The Red Devils have been in talks with the French defender’s representatives over personal terms in recent weeks.
    United are believed to be reluctant to match the huge financial package he currently has at the Bernabeu.
    Varane, 28, benefits from preferential tax rates as a non-Spanish resident.
    It means he is believed to earn around £400,000 a week.
    And that has held up the deal – meaning the former Lens defender remains in limbo.
    Old Trafford sources say talks are ongoing and they have yet to open discussions with Madrid over the transfer fee.
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    As he has just one year left on his contract, United will hope to land him for around £40million and remain hopeful a deal can be done.
    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has identified Varane as the new centre-back he wants.
    He previously looked at Seville’s Jules Kounde and Pau Torres of Villareal.
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    Gareth Bale spent last season at Tottenham but is back in Madrid this termCredit: Getty
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    Barcelona CONFIRM they are open to Antoine Griezmann transfer exit as Laporta admits ‘there’s a market’ for him

    BARCELONA are reportedly considering offers for Antoine Griezmann with the club ramping up efforts to clear its enormous wage bill. And Nou Camp president Joan Laporta has claimed there is interest from the Blaugrana’s rivals in the France playmaker, according to Goal.  
    Barcelona are reportedly open to transfer bids for GriezmannCredit: AFP
    Barca, who finished third in LaLiga last term, are facing a budget headache as they bid to ease their financial crisis. 
    In January Mundo Deportivo claimed the Catalan giants were in debt to the tune of £1billion (1.173 bn euros). 
    The club is thought to be keen on selling several players this summer with officials reportedly open to bids for Griezmann. 
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    The forward, 30, who sealed a £102million 2019 move from Atletico Madrid, currently costs Barca a reported £30m a year in wages. 
    And French sports paper L’Equipe claims the 2018 World Cup winner has been offered to four sides including Juventus, Tottenham and his former employers Atletico Madrid. 
    At a press conference Laporta told reporters: “Griezmann is a Barca player, he has a contract with the club until 2024 and, unless circumstances change, we are counting on him.
    “There have been some movements on the market and we can’t deny that there’s been interest in him. That’s a sign of his quality.
    “It’s a special market and you have to use your imagination, perhaps thinking in swap deals, but we value Antoine a lot.
    “The club made a big investment in him and we are happy with him.
    “It’s not easy for a club to come in with an offer for a player at his level. But the transfer window is just getting started and there’s a market for Griezmann.
    “If things start moving, we’re open to all proposals because we’re in a delicate moment financially and we have to balance the books to comply with the league’s financial fair play rules.”
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    Griezmann was part of the Les Bleus side who fell to a shock round 16 loss to Switzerland at the 2020 Euros. 
    And the player had some early-season struggles on the pitch at Barcelona last term failing to net in his first six games under boss Ronald Koeman. 
    However, the player went on to score 20 goals in 51 games across all competitions for the club. 

    Reports claim a move back to Atletico two years on from his big bucks departure from the club could be in the pipeline. 
    Sky Sports reported a swap deal involving Atletico’s Saul Niguez as being among the suggestions being mooted. 
    And it is also thought PSG are rumoured to have an interest in the France star with Kylian Mbappe’s Parc des Prince future thought to be uncertain.
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    Raphael Varane returns to Real Madrid training as Man Utd haggle over £50m transfer fee for defender

    MANCHESTER UNITED target Raphael Varane has reportedly returned to Real Madrid’s training complex following his holiday.The 28-year-old is understood to be seeking a fresh challenge having spent ten years in Spain after joining from Lens in 2011.
    Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane looks poised to join Manchester United this summerCredit: Getty
    And with the 2018 World Cup winner having just one year left on his contract, the Red Devils are looking to lure him to Old Trafford in a cut-price deal.
    It has been claimed that Varane is keen to link up with United, who are still haggling over his transfer fee.
    United are believed to be ready to fork out £43million on the defender, while Real are holding out for £50m.
    And Varane is not prepared to go on strike to force through a move to the Theatre of Dreams as he wishes to show his respect to Real president Florentino Perez.
    According to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, Varane has returned to Los Blancos’ training ground as talks with United and Real continue.
    He tweeted: “Raphael Varane has just arrived at Valdebebas as he’s not breaking his relationship with Real Madrid – respecting the club and Perez.
    “He knows Manchester United are in talks with Real Madrid – he wants Premier League experience.
    “Contract almost ready, up to the clubs.”

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    Despite winning four Champions League titles during his time at Real, former Tottenham midfielder Jamie O’Hara has expressed concerns over the player.
    He told talkSPORT: “My question would be, why is he leaving Real Madrid veryone’s making out he’s the best centre-half in the world, so why is he leaving Real Madrid?
    “They need a centre-half and if they did get him, it improves the team massively. It would be a top signing and it was a position they definitely needed to improve.
    “It’s world class, Varane and Maguire. But I’d worry a little bit potentially for pace. I saw Varane get torn apart by Chelsea in the Champions League.
    “Pace would be something that teams would try and exploit against them two.”
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    David Alaba ‘proud and honoured’ to be Real Madrid player as he’s unveiled by club and takes No4 jersey

    DAVID ALABA has expressed his delight at finally being unveiled as a Real Madrid player.The Austrian – who signed for Los Blancos on a free transfer in May – has been handed Sergio Ramos’ old No4 jersey.
    David Alaba has been handed Sergio Ramos’ old number four jersey at Real MadridCredit: Getty
    The Austrian has finally been unveiled in Spain after his free transfer from Bayern MunichCredit: Getty
    Alaba was joined by president Florentino Perez and manager Carlo AncelottiCredit: Getty

    Alaba’s arrival following a 12-year stint with Bayern Munich came as a boost to Madrid after Spain legend Ramos’ move to Paris Saint-Germain.
    The 29-year-old gave the thumbs up as he underwent his medical before his five-year contract with the LaLiga giants was officially confirmed.
    Alaba said: “Hello everyone, thank you very much for the warm welcome. It’s a great day in my career, I’m very excited for it.
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    “I’m very proud and honoured to wear this white jersey of Real Madrid.
    “For sure I will give everything [so] we can be very successful together. Vamos! Hala Madrid!”
    President Florentino Perez – who is present at the unveiling of every new Galactico – challenged Alaba to join the many stars that etched their names in club history.
    I’m very proud and honoured to wear this white jersey of Real MadridDavid Alaba
    He said: “Whenever great players arrive, Madridistas have special enthusiasm.
    “The arrival of this magnificent player coincides with a great era with the return of Ancelotti. We want our fans to be proud of our team.
    “We welcome an extraordinary footballer, David Alaba. I want to thank you for choosing Madrid.
    “You come from one of the great clubs in the world, a friendly club in which you have won 28 titles. You are one of the great legends of Bayern.
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    “You arrive in Madrid with the highest recognition in the world of football.
    “You now face an exciting challenge, to add titles with Madrid and be part of the history of our club.
    “Welcome to the club with which you dream of getting new titles, welcome to your new home.”
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