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    Ex-Barcelona director accuses club of ‘selling smoke’ with claims of transfers for four stars including Bernardo Silva

    A FORMER Barcelona director has accused the club of “selling smoke” by telling fans they are ready to sign four top players.Toni Freixa hit out at his old club on social media by warning star-struck supporters not to expect anyone through the Nou Camp door this summer.
    Toni Freixa has accused Barcelona of creating a ‘smoke screen’ by claiming to target top playersCredit: EPA
    Freixa reckons Barca have no chance of signing stars including Man City’s Bernardo SilvaCredit: Getty
    That’s because Barcelona are broke and their finances are fried.
    President Joan Laporta said this month that he plans on bringing some big names to Catalonia – despite Barca’s reported £1BILLION debt.
    Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva, Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, Leeds’ Raphinha and Sevilla’s Jules Kounde are all targets for boss Xavi Hernandez.
    And Laporta revealed Barca members had voted in favour of a cash injection by selling off part of their merchandising arm – as well as some TV rights.
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    But Freixa believes Laporta is all talk and no action by telling fans that Xavi will not be landing any of his preferred targets.
    He tweeted: “You know that Lewandowski, or Kounde, or Raphinha, or Bernardo Silva will not come? You know, right?”
    Freixa was then invited to Cadena COPE’S El Partidazo to clarify his comments.
    But he simply doubled down on his angry tweet.
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    Freixa explained: “I don’t buy the talk of Barcelona’s signings. They are blatantly selling smoke. 
    “What they say clashes with reality and I have no choice but to warn people that this is not going to happen.
    “One could come in case a player is sold. It sells much more to say that Bernardo Silva is coming. If we want to sell the bike, let’s sell it, I don’t buy it.
    “I’m going a bit against the tide, what is convenient now at Barcelona is to generate an illusion.”
    Freixa’s comments came after Laporta admitted Barcelona need cash quickly to compete next season.
    He said: “Barcelona is a Formula One car with no fuel and a seized-up engine.
    “We need to do this because we have been making losses for years, we have inherited a very difficult situation.
    “I do not want to keep looking back. It’s important to make a profit because if we continue to make losses our competitors see us as weak.
    “And not only them but people with power in regulatory bodies systematically and obsessively put obstacles in our way.”
    But former agent Jose Maria Minguella, who worked on numerous big Barcelona deals, has warned the club they must be more prudent with future signings.
    He said: “I warned about the horrendous sporting management we have suffered when the club threw money at Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann.
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    “I want to warn now that the signings are key. Not everyone can sign players.
    “From signing well or badly you either succeed or go bankrupt. You don’t need to be clever to sign Lewandowski now but you do to sign him when he is only 22.” More

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    Barcelona target SEVEN transfers including hat-trick of world-class signings with Lewandowski and Silva on wishlist

    BARCELONA are reportedly targeting SEVEN signings this summer – regardless of the dire financial situation at the club.Boss Xavi is eyeing a hat-trick of world class stars that includes Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski.
    Robert Lewandowski has his heart set on a move to BarcelonaCredit: AP
    Barca will reportedly swoop for Bernardo Silva if Frenkie de Jong leavesCredit: Getty
    Jules Kounde is a top target for boss Xavi this summerCredit: Alamy
    Manchester City ace Bernardo Silva and Sevilla defender Jules Kounde are also on the shortlist, according to Mundo Deportivo.
    It’s claimed Barcelona have formulated a financial plan that allows them to sign all three players, ideally before their pre-season tour to America begins on July 16.
    Barca are expecting a cash injection from TV rights, plus licensing and merchandise, over the next month.
    There is also the potential of funds from the sale of Frenkie de Jong.
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Sun;font-size:18px;line-height:1.333;font-weight:700;letter-spacing:0%;font-stretch:normal;display:inline;}.css-i1acvs:hover:not(:disabled){-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}’AGENT BILL’ .css-8h3gc3{margin:0;padding:0;color:rgba(34,37,38,1);-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;font-family:The Sun;font-size:18px;line-height:1.333;font-weight:700;letter-spacing:0%;font-stretch:normal;display:inline;}.css-8h3gc3:hover:not(:disabled){-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}Chelsea fans say the same thing as Gilmour is spotted partying with Bellingham
    Barcelona and Manchester United remain locked in talks over a move for the Dutchman with the Spanish side demanding £74million.
    Lewandowski, 33, is said to have already agreed personal terms with Barca after confirming he wishes to leave Bayern Munich, and Mundo Deportivo claim all that is left is for the clubs to agree a fee.
    Bernardo, 27, is also admired but will only be targeted if De Jong does end up leaving leave for Old Trafford.
    Xavi sees Bernardo as the perfect replacement for De Jong.
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    Kounde on the other hand is a top priority, despite the 23-year-old being strongly linked with Chelsea.
    Barca chief Joan Laporta is said to be considering a player-plus-cash deal, which would include sending right-back Sergino Dest to Sevilla.
    Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen are expected to arrive on free transfers, although Financial Fair Play rules are currently said to be preventing them from being registered.
    And finally Chelsea duo Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilucueta are also being eyes on cut-price deals.
    The pair are both out of contract next year, but SunSport exclusively revealed Azpilucueta wants to leave this summer.
    Andreas Christensen is expected to join Barcelona this summer as a free agentCredit: Reuters
    Franck Kessie is thought to have agreed a deal with BarcelonaCredit: Getty
    Chelsea duo Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso are low-cost optionsCredit: Reuters More

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    ‘It’s the right step’ – Antonio Rudiger reveals Chelsea team-mate encouraged him to make Real Madrid transfer

    ANTONIO RUDIGER has revealed how Mateo Kovacic helped encourage him to join Real Madrid.The German defender was unveiled by Los Blancos on Monday after completing his free transfer from Chelsea.
    Antonio Rudiger has revealed how an ex-Chelsea pal helped him move to Real MadridCredit: Getty
    The 29-year-old snubbed an extension at Stamford Bridge in order to run down his contract and move to the Bernabeu for nothing.
    Rudiger was linked with a whole host of clubs prior to his exit, with Premier League rivals Manchester United and Bayern Munich also linked.
    It then emerged that Barcelona were jostling with Madrid for his signature – but the centre-half has already admitted how he snubbed the Catalans.
    Now he has also revealed the role that his Croatian former Chelsea teammate Kovacic, who moved to the Blues from Madrid, had in him signing for the LaLiga giants.
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    Rudiger told Marca: “To be honest I didn’t speak to Toni Kroos too much about it here.
    “I spoke more to Mateo Kovacic about Real Madrid and he told me quite a lot.
    “And because of him speaking a lot with [Luka] Modric, and because of him, I spoke with him and he told me “You’re going to enjoy it here, it’s the right step to do.”
    “I never heard anyone say anything bad about Madrid. I’m looking forward to starting.”
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    Rudiger had previously revealed how Madrid initially made their first move for him almost a year ago.
    He said: “The first time they contacted my agent was in September of last year.
    “The second time, in April, when I spoke with [Carlo] Ancelotti.
    “This was the most important moment as it was at this moment that I decided to play for Madrid.” More

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    Joao Felix offered to several European giants including PSG in shock transfer from Atletico Madrid

    JOAO FELIX has been offered to many of Europe’s top clubs including Paris-Saint Germain, according to reports. Atletico Madrid are willing to sell the Portuguese star claims Spanish journalist Shay Lugassi.
    Joao Felix of Atletico Madrid has reportedly been offered to PSGCredit: Getty
    Atleti boss Diego Simeone allegedly does not consider the 22-year-old attacker as someone he must retain for next season.
    Felix’s agent is rumoured to be in contact with a number of top clubs with his departure not ruled out.
    Tottenham are one of the side’s who could potentially be interested, according to the Daily Express, as are Chelsea.
    Atletico signed Felix back in the summer of 2019 for a staggering £113million after he impressed at Benfica.
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Sun;font-size:24px;line-height:1.1666666666666667;font-weight:400;letter-spacing:0%;font-stretch:semi-condensed;padding:1px 0px;}.css-1x7hydu::before{content:”;display:block;height:0;width:0;margin-bottom:calc(-0.24520833333333342em + -0.5px);}.css-1x7hydu::after{content:”;display:block;height:0;width:0;margin-top:-0.2333333333333334em;}.css-1lobn43{display:inline;font:inherit;margin:0;color:rgba(0,0,0,1);}.css-1lobn43 svg{fill:rgba(0,0,0,1);}READ MORE TRANSFER 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.nk-headline-heading{color:rgba(71,30,121,1);}.css-1uyse24:before{content:”;top:0;right:0;bottom:0;left:0;overflow:hidden;position:absolute;z-index:1;}.css-n392go{border-width:0 1px 1px 1px;border-style:solid;border-color:rgba(155,201,183,1);padding:12px;max-height:104px;min-height:98px;}.css-1p5s3t0{padding:0;border-width:0 1px 1px 1px;border-style:solid;border-color:rgba(155,201,183,1);padding:12px;max-height:104px;min-height:98px;}.css-124tga5{overflow:hidden;-webkit-line-clamp:3;-webkit-box-orient:vertical;display:-webkit-box;word-wrap:break-word;line-height:1;}.css-5jzxpx{overflow:hidden;-webkit-line-clamp:3;-webkit-box-orient:vertical;display:-webkit-box;word-wrap:break-word;line-height:1;}.css-i1acvs{margin:0;padding:0;color:rgba(34,99,73,1);text-transform:uppercase;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;font-family:The Sun;font-size:18px;line-height:1.333;font-weight:700;letter-spacing:0%;font-stretch:normal;display:inline;}.css-i1acvs:hover:not(:disabled){-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}GET YOUR GOSS .css-8h3gc3{margin:0;padding:0;color:rgba(34,37,38,1);-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;font-family:The Sun;font-size:18px;line-height:1.333;font-weight:700;letter-spacing:0%;font-stretch:normal;display:inline;}.css-8h3gc3:hover:not(:disabled){-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}PSG ‘ready to SELL Neymar’, Frenkie de Jong ‘wants Man City transfer’
    But since his move to the Wanda Metropolitano he has never netted over ten goals in a LaLiga season.
    Last campaign he scored eight times and registered four assists in the league. Additionally, Felix managed to find the net just once in eight Champions League appearances.
    The versatile forward is capable of playing anywhere across the attacking line and could need a transfer to rediscover his best form.
    Felix has been the subject of bids from Premier League clubs before in 2020.
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    Atletico are open to selling a number of attackers this summer and have already allowed Luis Suarez, 35, to leave on a free with the Uruguayan supposedly wanted by Juventus.
    The Spanish giants are also reportedly willing to let Alvaro Morata go, with the Spain international having spent the last two years on loan at Juventus.
    Arsenal and Newcastle have been linked with the ex-Chelsea striker. More

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    Man Utd and Barcelona have been in ‘direct contact’ over Frenkie de Jong – but Barca not budging on £74million valuation

    MANCHESTER UNITED and Barcelona have been in “direct contact” today over Frenkie de Jong, according to reports.However, the Spanish giants are refusing to budge on their £74million valuation of the midfielder.
    Manchester United are in negotiations with Barcelona over Frenkie de JongCredit: Getty
    According to journalist Fabrizio Romano, the two clubs will continue their negotiations to see if a deal can be done.
    New United boss Erik ten Hag wants to be reunited with his former Ajax star.
    De Jong left Amsterdam for the Nou Camp in a deal worth up to £75m three years ago.
    He is under contract with Barca until 2026.
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Sun;font-size:18px;line-height:1.333;font-weight:700;letter-spacing:0%;font-stretch:normal;display:inline;}.css-i1acvs:hover:not(:disabled){-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}Man Utd news .css-8h3gc3{margin:0;padding:0;color:rgba(34,37,38,1);-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;font-family:The Sun;font-size:18px;line-height:1.333;font-weight:700;letter-spacing:0%;font-stretch:normal;display:inline;}.css-8h3gc3:hover:not(:disabled){-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}Alvarez could be added to Antony Ajax raid, Ronaldo dances on TikTok
    And due to Barcelona’s financial situation and strict LaLiga rules, they are determined to ensure they make their money back on the Netherlands international.
    Not only that, but they also want to guarantee receiving the full £74m so they can reinvest in the squad.
    United are on a desperate search for a new midfield maestro after Paul Pogba was released as a free agent.
    However, with the Red Devils unable to get anything sealed just yet, rivals Manchester City could potentially scupper a deal.
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    Pep Guardiola is also a huge admirer of De Jong and has been linked previously with signing the former Ajax academy graduate.
    However, it is the Spanish boss’ refusal to sell Bernardo Silva that could wreck United’s chances of landing De Jong – as Barca view the Portuguese playmaker as the ideal replacement.
    Old Trafford CEO Richard Arnold told angry fans this weekend the club are trying their best to complete the transfer.
    He said: “As a club we’re doing everything possible to get the deal done.
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    “I’ve been up for days trying to get it done, the money is there but there’s things standing in our way which I can’t say.”
    De Jong is even said to have cleared out his Barcelona locker in preparation for a summer move.
    Elsewhere, SunSport revealed Ten Hag is on the brink of completing his first signing as Red Devils boss.
    Winger Antony looks set to sign from Ajax in a £40million deal.
    His team-mates Jurrien Timber and Lisandro Martinez have also been linked, as has Christian Eriksen. More

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    PSG ‘look to nab Robert Lewandowski’ as Barcelona ‘refuse to meet Bayern Munich’s £43m transfer demands’

    PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN could be about to scupper Robert Lewandowski’s move to Barcelona, according to reports.The legendary Poland striker is thought to be close to finalising a switch from Bayern Munich to Barca and agreeing a three-year deal.
    Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski is said to be keen on a move to BarcelonaCredit: Getty
    The German giants have confirmed he wants to leave and his agent Pini Zahavi says he has “always dreamed” of joining the Catalans.
    But Bayern are apparently reluctant to sell the 33-year-old star, who has bagged 238 goals in 253 appearances for them and is under contract until June 2023.
    Their sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic has just flown out to meet Lewy face-to-face at his holiday home in Mallorca to convince him to stay, according to Marca.
    And with Barca facing financial trouble this summer it remains to be seen whether they will be able to meet Bayern’s £43million valuation.
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.nk-headline-heading{color:rgba(71,30,121,1);}.css-1uyse24:before{content:”;top:0;right:0;bottom:0;left:0;overflow:hidden;position:absolute;z-index:1;}.css-n392go{border-width:0 1px 1px 1px;border-style:solid;border-color:rgba(155,201,183,1);padding:12px;max-height:104px;min-height:98px;}.css-1p5s3t0{padding:0;border-width:0 1px 1px 1px;border-style:solid;border-color:rgba(155,201,183,1);padding:12px;max-height:104px;min-height:98px;}.css-124tga5{overflow:hidden;-webkit-line-clamp:3;-webkit-box-orient:vertical;display:-webkit-box;word-wrap:break-word;line-height:1;}.css-5jzxpx{overflow:hidden;-webkit-line-clamp:3;-webkit-box-orient:vertical;display:-webkit-box;word-wrap:break-word;line-height:1;}.css-i1acvs{margin:0;padding:0;color:rgba(34,99,73,1);text-transform:uppercase;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;font-family:The Sun;font-size:18px;line-height:1.333;font-weight:700;letter-spacing:0%;font-stretch:normal;display:inline;}.css-i1acvs:hover:not(:disabled){-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}BAGS PACKED .css-8h3gc3{margin:0;padding:0;color:rgba(34,37,38,1);-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;font-family:The Sun;font-size:18px;line-height:1.333;font-weight:700;letter-spacing:0%;font-stretch:normal;display:inline;}.css-8h3gc3:hover:not(:disabled){-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}Lewandowski & wife hang out on boat in Majorca as agent tries to seal transfer
    Barca are reportedly in a situation where they will have to sell some of their stars to bankroll new arrivals in this window.
    That has opened up the door for PSG to make a move, according to Foot Mercato.
    The French champions are said to be in the market for a striker that “compliments” their own talisman Kylian Mbappe – and Lewandowski fits the bill.
    The move might be helped by the fact that Zahavi was instrumental in taking Neymar to PSG in 2017.
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    CASINO SPECIAL – BEST NEW CUSTOMER SIGN UP DEALS
    Prem powerhouses Chelsea and Manchester United have also been linked with moves for the ex-Borussia Dortmund star.
    While speculation over his future continues, Lewandowski has been enjoying a summer holiday with his wife Anna, 33, in Spain. More

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    New Real Madrid signing Antonio Rudiger reveals other European giant he REJECTED transfer to after leaving Chelsea

    ANTONIO RUDIGER has revealed that he rejected Barcelona in order to sign for Real Madrid.The German defender was unveiled by Los Blancos yesterday after completing his free transfer from Chelsea.
    Antonio Rudiger revealed he rejected Barcelona to join Real MadridCredit: Getty
    The 29-year-old snubbed an extension at Stamford Bridge in order to run down his contract and move to the Bernabeu for nothing.
    Rudiger was linked with a whole host of clubs prior to his exit, with Premier League rivals Manchester United and Bayern Munich also linked.
    It then emerged that Barcelona were jostling with Madrid for his signature – but now he has admitted that he knocked back the Catalans as Real were the only club for him.
    Speaking at his official welcoming ceremony, he said: “It is a very special day.
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.nk-headline-heading{color:rgba(71,30,121,1);}.css-1uyse24:before{content:”;top:0;right:0;bottom:0;left:0;overflow:hidden;position:absolute;z-index:1;}.css-n392go{border-width:0 1px 1px 1px;border-style:solid;border-color:rgba(155,201,183,1);padding:12px;max-height:104px;min-height:98px;}.css-1p5s3t0{padding:0;border-width:0 1px 1px 1px;border-style:solid;border-color:rgba(155,201,183,1);padding:12px;max-height:104px;min-height:98px;}.css-124tga5{overflow:hidden;-webkit-line-clamp:3;-webkit-box-orient:vertical;display:-webkit-box;word-wrap:break-word;line-height:1;}.css-5jzxpx{overflow:hidden;-webkit-line-clamp:3;-webkit-box-orient:vertical;display:-webkit-box;word-wrap:break-word;line-height:1;}.css-i1acvs{margin:0;padding:0;color:rgba(34,99,73,1);text-transform:uppercase;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;font-family:The Sun;font-size:18px;line-height:1.333;font-weight:700;letter-spacing:0%;font-stretch:normal;display:inline;}.css-i1acvs:hover:not(:disabled){-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}GET YOUR GOSS .css-8h3gc3{margin:0;padding:0;color:rgba(34,37,38,1);-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;font-family:The Sun;font-size:18px;line-height:1.333;font-weight:700;letter-spacing:0%;font-stretch:normal;display:inline;}.css-8h3gc3:hover:not(:disabled){-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}Mane IN MUNICH for Bayern medical, PSG ‘keen on Lewandowski transfer’
    “I would like to thank my parents, because without them I could not be here. They have always supported me in my life.
    “I also want to thank the president for giving me the opportunity to play for this club. And I want to thank the Madrid fans for their welcome, I can promise that I will give it my all.
    “I want to win all the titles we can. Hala Madrid and nothing more.”
    Then came his Nou Camp confession, saying: “There was interest from Barcelona.
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    FREE BETS AND SIGN UP DEALS – BEST NEW CUSTOMER OFFERS
    “I told my agent that it was Madrid or nothing.”
    Rudiger then revealed how Madrid made their move for him early as they made their interest known almost a year ago.
    He added: “The first time they contacted my agent was in September of last year.
    “The second time, in April, when I spoke with [Carlo] Ancelotti.
    “This was the most important moment as it was at this moment that I decided to play for Madrid.” More

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    Marcelo Bielsa set to become new Athletic Bilbao manager and has already ‘been preparing for position’

    MARCELO BIELSA is in the frame to become the new Athletic Bilbao manager just months after being sacked by Leeds United.The 66-year-old is believed to already be making preparations in case he is appointed.
    Marcelo Bielsa could be back in management just months after leaving Leeds as he may re-join former club Athletic BilbaoCredit: Alamy
    Bielsa joining the Spanish club is dependent on Inaki Arechabaleta winning the presidential battle, with the Argentine gaffer having an agreement with him to take over as boss.
    Arechabaleta said in a press conference: “[Bielsa] is the most respected coach in the world.
    “He is also a coach for the future, although in the past he gave us the best season of this century.
    “Bielsa has evolved since then and his ambition, quality and abilities are going to take us to the Athletic that we must become.”
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    Elections take place at the end of this week.
    Bielsa was the Athletic Bilbao manager between 2011 and 2013.
    During his time at the Basque club Bielsa guided them to a runners-up place in the Europa League and the Copa del Rey.
    They famously beat Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United 3-2 at Old Trafford in Europe.
    However they finished 12th in LaLiga the following year and he left when his contract expired at the end of the season.
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    Bielsa lost some key players and had disagreements with staff at the club towards the end of his reign.
    The Athletic claim that Arechabaleta is the least likely of the three candidates to win the vote but his endorsement of Bielsa could help him.
    Reports have suggested Mauricio Pochettino was someone Atheltic Club were considering although he is believed to not be interested.
    Athletic Bilbao finished the 2021/22 season in 8th and reached the final of the Supercopa de Espana, but it was not enough for Marcelino to keep his job.
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    Bielsa was sacked as Leeds manager due to the club’s poor form that saw them dragged into a relegation battle.
    The Argentine remains a popular figure at the club. More