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    Man Utd striker Edinson Cavani ‘wants to join Barcelona on free transfer this summer and achieve his dream’

    EDINSON CAVANI reportedly ‘wants’ a move to Barcelona at the end of the season. His current Manchester United deal expires in the summer, and he has ambitions of playing in La Liga before calling time on his career.
    Cavani has started just twice in the league this seasonCredit: Richard Pelham / The Sun
    The Uruguay international believes he still has two years left at the top level, and wants to link up with Xavi at Barcelona according to The Times.
    Cavani joined the Red Devils in 2020 and signed a one-year extension in the summer.
    But he seems unlikely to put pen-to-paper on another extension at Old Trafford with a move to Barcelona on the cards.
    And with cash-strapped Barca targeting low-cost transfers, the free signing of Cavani is an attractive prospect.
    The club are long-term admirers of the forward but with mounting debts cannot afford to pay a transfer fee for Cavani.
    The striker has already been linked with the club this season after falling well down the pecking order at Man Utd.

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    Cavani has started just two Premier League games this campaign and has been struggling with a tendon issue, meaning he won’t play in United’s game against Arsenal.
    With incoming interim boss Ralf Rangnick renowned for playing young talents capable of his exhausting demands, Cavani’s opportunities may be further limited.
    However nobody can question Cavani’s commitment in the 47 times times he has ran out for the club so far.
    A move to Barcelona though would offer the chance for more game time given Sergio Aguero’s health concerns.
    Xavi’s apparent ill-feeling towards Luke de Jong leaves Cavani as a realistic option to lead the line.
    Cavani himself and Jesse Lingard are reportedly two names drawn up by Barcelona on a transfer shortlist.
    Both players are out of favour at Old Trafford, and could find themselves on their way out of the club either in January or at the end of the season.

    ⚽ Read our Manchester United live blog for the latest news and transfer gossip from Old Trafford More

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    Five defenders Chelsea could sign to replace Rudiger including Kounde and Szalai as Real Madrid close in on centre-back

    CHELSEA are still sweating over the future of Antonio Rudiger. The German, 28, is yet to sign a new deal and has attracted attention from Europe’s elite, most notably Real Madrid.
    Chelsea are still sweating over the future of Antonio RudigerCredit: Rex
    Cesar Azpilicueta, 32, Thiago Silva, 37, and Andreas Christensen, 25, are also defenders Chelsea face losing for nothing unless contract extensions are agreed.
    The Blues are said to be prepared to offer all four new deals, but it will not stop them from scouting out alternatives.
    Here, SunSport runs down five centre-back options for Chelsea.
    Jules Kounde
    Frenchman Kounde, 23, looked all set for a move from Sevilla to Stamford Bridge in the summer and is believed to have agreed personal terms.
    But, after Chelsea sold Kurt Zouma, 27, to accommodate the move, Sevilla raised the price tag to £60million at the last minute, opposed to the original £43m.
    That is said to have caused Chelsea to pull out of the deal, which in turn paved the way for 22-year-old Trevoh Chalobah’s emergence in the squad.
    Jules Kounde looked all set for a move to Stamford Bridge in the summerCredit: Getty

    Attila Szalai
    Fenerbahce’s Szalai, 23, has emerged as a cut-price alternative option at the back for the Blues.
    And speculation from Turkey has even claimed Chelsea have agreed a deal of £20m to sign the defender in the winter window.
    Szalai has won 21 caps since making his senior international debut for Hungary in 2019.
    Attila Szalai has won 21 caps since making his senior international debut for Hungary in 2019Credit: PA
    Marquinhos
    Chelsea were last summer linked to the Brazilian, 27, who is the current PSG captain.
    And despite reportedly being prepared to pay up to £86m for Marquinhos, neither the player or PSG appeared interested in the deal.
    But that is not to say Chelsea would not try their luck again, especially as Marquinhos could be deemed the perfect successor to former team-mate Silva.
    Marquinhos is the current PSG captainCredit: Getty
    Niklas Sule
    Earlier in the year, German Sule, 26, was rumoured to be a target Chelsea were considering signing in the summer.
    Since then, he is yet to sign a new Bayern Munich deal, which is set to expire at the end of this season.
    It means Chelsea could be cleared to negotiate a free transfer with Sule as soon as next month, with Newcastle also linked with the defender.

    Niklas Sule is yet to sign a new Bayern Munich dealCredit: Reuters
    Pau Torres
    Villarreal’s Torres, 24, was close to a move to London in the summer, but with Chelsea’s rivals Tottenham.
    And already the defender could be a favourite amongst Blues fans after turning down Spurs.
    He is said to have been a name shortlisted on Chelsea’s defensive targets in the past and is believed to have a £56m release clause in his contract.
    Vllarreal centre-half Pau Torres rejected a move to SpursCredit: Getty More

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    Cristiano Ronaldo publicly agrees with damning attack on ‘thief’ Lionel Messi after Man Utd ace’s Ballon d’Or heartbreak

    CRISTIANO RONALDO has branded claims made by a fan page that Lionel Messi stole the Ballon d’Or from himself and Robert Lewandowski as ‘facts’.The Paris Saint-Germain star pipped Lewandowski to the award by just 33 points.
    Messi won his seventh Ballon d’Or to move two clear of RonaldoCredit: AFP
    A fan page says Ronaldo’s achievements were better than Messi’s, describing the Argentine’s win as ‘theft’
    Ronaldo replied ‘facts’…. having dinner together might be off the table
    But also conceded the Bayern Munich striker deserved a Golden Ball of his own after his incredible achievements in 2020.
    Ronaldo – who finished sixth – wasn’t in attendance to watch his rival collect his seventh Ballon d’Or.
    He stayed in England, but couldn’t resist having a pop on Instagram.
    A Ronaldo fan page slammed Messi’s achievements from last season, comparing them to CR7’s on Instagram, before saying: “Steal. Dirt. Shame. It’s just unfortunate.
    “Who saw it, saw it. Those who are intelligent enough know who deserve the truth.
    “Receiving awards without deserving it, is false happiness, without pride.

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    “Regardless of those awards, the CR7 will always be the best in history!”
    Ronaldo replied: “Facts.”
    The comment caught traction, receiving over 30,000 likes and 10k-plus comments.
    Ronaldo is evidently upset finishing outside the top three for the award for the first time in 11 YEARS.
    And the 36-year-old even hit out at the awards chief, who he says made false claims about wanting to finish his career with more Ballon d’Ors than Messi.
    The United star wrote: “Today’s outcome explains why Pascal Ferre’s statements last week, when he said that I confided in him that my only ambition was to finish my career with more Ballons d’Or than Lionel Messi.
    “Pascal Ferre lied, he used my name to promote himself and to promote the publication he works for.
    “It is unacceptable that the person responsible for awarding such a prestigious prize could lie in this way, in absolute disrespect for someone who has always respected France Football and the Ballon d’Or.
    “And he lied again today, justifying my absence from the Gala with an alleged quarantine that has no reason to exist.”
    ⚽ Read our Manchester United live blog for the latest news and transfer gossip from Old Trafford
    Watch Messi’s angry reaction as organiser asks Antonela to get out of Ballon d’Or photo More

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    Barcelona got £225m Inter offer for Lionel Messi in 2006 – more than QUADRUPLE the world-record transfer fee at time

    BARCELONA turned down a £225million Inter Milan bid for Lionel Messi in 2006, according to their former club president Joan Laporta.The Catalan politician served as the club’s chief between 2003 and 2010 before returning earlier this year.
    Messi was already hot property back in 2006Credit: AFP – Getty
    Joan Laporta revealed the bid back in AprilCredit: EPA
    And Laporta, 59, was asked about the future of unhappy talisman Lionel Messi – leading to a stunning admission.
    He told Radio Onda Cero in April: “Nobody who loves Barcelona can have doubts about Messi.
    “We rejected a £225m offer coming from Inter in 2006. [Massimo] Moratti wanted to bring him to his club.”
    The offer dwarfed what was the transfer world-record at the time, which was then the £46.6m that Real Madrid paid for Zinedine Zidane in 2001.
    At the time, inspired by the likes of Javier Zanetti, Adriano and Luis Figo, Inter had just won Serie A – while Messi had picked up his first Champions League medal with Barca.
    The Argentine, now 34, has gone on to pick up three more – but not since 2015.
    Ultimately, Barcelona lost their talisman for nothing when he departed for Paris Saint-Germain once his contract expired.
    And former club figure Jaume Llopis has hammered Laporta for his handling of the Messi and CVC investment saga.
    The transfer record was previously held by Zinedine Zidane at £46.6mCredit: AFP

    The former Espai Barca member told Cadena SER: “The first contract was not accepted because, according to Laporta, it meant mortgaging the TV rights of Barcelona for the next 50 years.
    “But CVC were willing to negotiate. And they did not negotiate either.
    “Laporta was convinced by Ferran Reverter, the new CEO, that it was not possible to sign with CVC, and by Florentino Perez with the European Super League project.
    “It also happens that Ferran Reverter has a long-standing friendship with Florentino Perez and between them they convinced him and Laporta to radically change his mind and refuse to continue negotiating.”
    Lionel Messi greets PSG fans as they light flares and scream his name at historic unveiling More

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    Cesar Azpilicueta recalls nightmare of facing Cristiano Ronaldo 11 years ago when he played for Spanish side Osasuna

    IT is more than 11 years since Cesar Azpilicueta played against Cristiano Ronaldo.And the Chelsea captain will be keen to avoid a repeat of what happened when they met in LaLiga back in May 2010.
    Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid against Cesar Azpilicueta of Osasuna in 2010Credit: AFP
    Azpilicueta said: “I played against him when I was at Osasuna and he was at Real Madrid.
    “I don’t remember the score. Maybe in the Bernabeu we lost!”
    Indeed they did. Osasuna took an early lead but Ronaldo  equalised after twisting an equally fresh-faced Azpilicueta this way and that, then firing in a low shot.
    The score was 2-2 by  half-time and remained that way until Ronaldo headed an 89th-minute winner.
    More recently, in the group stage of the 2018 World Cup, Azpilicueta was watching from the Spain bench when Ronaldo completed a hat-trick with a late free-kick equaliser for Portugal in a 3-3 draw.
    The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has kept up that happy habit of grabbing crucial late goals since rejoining United.

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    Azpilicueta added: “He’s a player that can be dangerous at any time, so we have to be very careful.
    “He has a great ability to find spaces, he can shoot right and left and he’s a very good header of the ball.
    “We are lucky to be in the best league in the world, playing against very tough opponents. Every day you face different challenges.
    “To be part of the era where we have faced Cristiano and Messi is great but you always have to be on your toes because they are very dangerous.”

    Chelsea captain Cesar AzpilicuetaCredit: Signathon
    Tuchel yells out the nickname of Chelsea captain Azpilicueta wrong before Pulisic steps in to correct new boss More

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    PSG to ‘rival Man Utd for Vinicius Jr transfer to replace Mbappe and will offer star £275k-a-week to quit Real Madrid’

    MANCHESTER UNITED could face stiff competition from Paris Saint-Germain in their pursuit of Real Madrid star Vinicius Jr.The French giants are trying to tempt the Brazil superstar with a £14.4million-a year wage offer, according to Spanish media outlet ABC.
    Vinicius Jr is in the form of his life at Real MadridCredit: Rex
    PSG star Mbappe is thought to be a target for Real MadridCredit: Getty
    That works out at a staggering £275,000-a-week.
    Their report explains how Real still hope to convince the 21-year-old to extend his current contract from 2024 to 2027 with an improved deal.
    The Spanish giants are said to be offering Vini Jr an annual wage increase from £2.8m to £6.7m with a number of big performance-related bonuses.
    But PSG are trying to secure him as a possible replacement for Real Madrid target Kylian Mbappe should he move to the Bernabeu, the report adds.
    The Red Devils hierarchy are likely to be keeping a close eye on developments as they are also reported to be preparing a ‘major offer’ for the star.
    The Brazilian has been in red-hot form for the LaLiga giants with ten goals and seven assists in 18 appearances already this season.

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    And it seems the interest from both European powerhouses is likely to improve Vini Jr’s negotiating power when it comes to thrashing out a new deal in Spain.
    Real signed Vini Jr from Brazilian side Flamengo in 2018 for about £40m.
    Club president Florentino Perez has made it a priority to tie him down to a longer deal, with plans to team him up with Mbappe and Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland in the future.
    And any player signings at Old Trafford are going to be of keen interest to Ralf Rangnick, who is reportedly ready to sign on as United’s interim boss for the remainder of the season.
    Owen tips Pochettino to become next Man Utd manager and claims he can do more with players than he can with PSG More

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    Newcastle leading transfer chase for Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele amid contract expiring and negotiations stand-off

    NEWCASTLE are preparing to splash some of their considerable cash on Barcelona contract rebel Ousmane Dembele, according to reports in Spain.The Saudi-owned Toon are gearing up to spend big in January and have put the France winger on their shopping list, says Mundo Deportivo.
    Dembele is yet to agree a new deal at the Nou CampCredit: Reuters
    The 24-year-old’s contact with the Spanish giants expires at the end of the season.
    Barca have apparently made him an attractive offer to stay but Dembele and his agent Moussa Sissoko are keeping their options open.
    That has opened the door for the Geordies, who have apparently made him ‘an astronomical proposal’.
    Mundo Deportivo report the Magpies are willing to offer Dembele £12.6million per season in wages and a chunky commission payment to Sissoko.
    It would be a blow to new Barca boss Xavi, who is keen to tie the star down, despite fining him for being late for training earlier this month.
    The signing of Dembele would be a big boost for the Prem-propping Magpies, who are keen to rebuild and become challengers for major honours following their £305m takeover.

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    Dembele’s time in LaLiga been blighted by injury following his £138m switch from Borussia Dortmund in 2017.
    The highly-rated Frenchman has only netted 30 goals in 120 matches for the Catalans.
    He returned to action earlier this month following a five-month lay-off due to a knee injury, before picking up yet another hamstring knock.
    Sergio Aguero ‘set to retire following heart problems aged 33’, according to sensational reports in Spain More

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    Barcelona vs Espanyol LIVE: Stream, score, TV channel, team news and kick-off time as Xavi has first game

    BARCELONA play host to Espanyol TONIGHT in another La Liga derby which will be Xavi’s first game as Barca boss.The home side currently sit ninth in the league table, with their opposition two places behind in 11th.

    Kick-off: 8pm
    Barcelona: 1 Ter Stegen; Mingueza, 3 Pique, 24 Garcia, 18 Alba; 5 Busquets, 21 F. De Jong, 28 Gonzalez, 30 Gavi, 37 Akhomach, 9 Memphis
    Espanyol: 13 Lopez; 22 Vidal, 24 Gomez, 4 Cabrera, 3 Pedrosa; 15 Lopez, 10 Darder, 25 Herrera; 23 Embara, 9 Puado, 9 De Tomas
    TV/live steam: Premier Sports 2

    Follow ALL of the latest updates below…
    BARCELONA 1-0 ESPANYOL
    FULL TIME!
    It’s all over and Barca win the derby – and Xavi’s first match at boss – thanks to Memphis Depay’s controversial goal.
    BARCELONA 1-0 ESPANYOL
    90 MINS
    SIX mins of injury of time at the Nou Camp!
    BARCELONA 1-0 ESPANYOL
    89 YELLOW CARD
    Barcelona goalkeeper Ter Stegen gets booked for time-wasting as we approach stoppage time
    BARCELONA 1-0 ESPANYOL
    88 SUBSTITUTION
    Barcelona boss Xavi makes a late double change as Demir replaces Gonzalez, who appears to have hurt his ankle.
    Araujo also comes on for Mingueza
    BARCELONA 1-0 ESPANYOL
    86 WHAT A CHANCE!
    Espanyol miss another opportunity, and guess who wasted it!
    And yes, it was De Tomas once more!
    Morlanes delivers a wonderful cross from the left and the striker, who is completely unmarked, picks up a scintillating header.
    But the ball rattles Ter Stegen’s right-hand post!
    Terrible defending by Barcelona once more, the hosts are challenging their luck!
    BARCELONA 1-0 ESPANYOL
    85 Espanyol have missed several chances to equalise but are not giving up.
    On the contrary the missed opportunities have raised their confidence!
    BARCELONA 1-0 ESPANYOL
    84 WHAT A CHANCE!
    How are Espanyol not level?!
    Lei delivers a wonderful cross from the left and finds Dimata completely unmarked but his header misses the target!
    Terrible defending from Barcelona!
    BARCELONA 1-0 ESPANYOL
    83 YELLOW CARD
    De Jong gets booked for a foul on Lei as his hand goes too high on his opponent’s face
    BARCELONA 1-0 ESPANYOL
    81 CHANCE!
    Espanyol star De Tomas comes extremely close to an equaliser again!
    The striker delivers a free-kick, 25m away from goal, and the shot just misses Ter Stegen’s right-hand post
    BARCELONA 1-0 ESPANYOL
    80 Barcelona continue to control possession and tempo as we enter the last 10 minutes of the derby.
    It;s been a while asince Espanyol have last threatened…
    BARCELONA 1-0 ESPANYOL
    78 SUBSTITUTION
    Barcelona boss Xavi responds as he introduces Puig, who replaces Busquets
    BARCELONA 1-0 ESPANYOL
    77 SUBSTITUTION
    Espanyol manager Moreno is shaking things up for the last few minutes of the match.
    Lei and Dimata come on as they replace Embarba and Herrera respectively
    BARCELONA 1-0 ESPANYOL
    75 Barcelona are not getting complacent.
    Barca are pushing for that second goal to seal the win, Espanyol are not creating many chances
    BARCELONA 1-0 ESPANYOL
    73 CHANCE!
    Barcelona youngster Abde does amazingly well as he dribbles past two Espanyol players down the right flank and breaks inside the area.
    But the forward’s shot just misses the crossbar.
    Abde is so entertaining in one-on-one situations, and the Nou Camp crowd is loving it!
    BARCELONA 1-0 ESPANYOL
    73 So far so good for Barcelona and Xavi.
    But Espanyol have proven to be very dangerous on the counter-attack.
    How did De Tomas miss that glorious chance?
    GETTY IMAGES
    BARCELONA 1-0 ESPANYOL
    70 SUBSTITUTION
    Barcelona manager Xavi brings on Coutinho, who replaces Gavi
    BARCELONA 1-0 ESPANYOL
    70 WHAT A CHANCE!
    Espanyol come inches away from an equaliser!
    Vidal delivers an incredible ball from his own half and releases De Tomas in front of Ter Stegen.
    But the striker sends the ball out for a goal-kick!
    BARCELONA 1-0 ESPANYOL
    68 CHANCE
    The free-kick leads to a raft of deflections and it all ends with a poor shot by Morlanes from the edge of the box
    BARCELONA 1-0 ESPANYOL
    67 Espanyol get a free-kick from a promising position down the left on the edge of the box.
    Abde and Pedrosa are at it again, as the former fouls the latter
    BARCELONA 1-0 ESPANYOL
    65 NO GOAL!
    Barcelona think they made it 2-0 when Gonzalez releases De Jong in front of Lopez and beats him with a wonderful flick.
    But the Dutchman was just offside!
    BARCELONA 1-0 ESPANYOL
    64 YELLOW CARD
    Minguez becoems the second Barcelona player to get booked after fouling Herrera on a counter-attack
    BARCELONA 1-0 ESPANYOL
    63 We are seeing a much more entertaining second half with Barcelona pushing for a second goal.
    As mentioned earlier, the fact Barca already got their opener has relieved them of immense stress.
    That allows them to play their game with confidence
    BARCELONA 1-0 ESPANYOL
    61 WHAT A CHANCE!
    Barcelona come extremely close to a second only for Pedrosa to save Espanyol!
    Busquets stretches the visitors’ defence open with a wonderful ball that releases Abde.
    The youngster shoots the ball over Lopez and Pedrosa kicks it out in the nick of time!
    BARCELONA 1-0 ESPANYOL
    60 YELLOW CARD
    Barcelona’s Abde and Espanyol’s Pedrosa both get booked following that short melee
    BARCELONA 1-0 ESPANYOL
    59 Things are heating up in the derby following a clash between Abde and Pedrosa down the right flank.
    Players from both sides get into a melee, but nothing major
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