Author: AFP

Zidane: Bale declined to play

Washington (AFP) – Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has denied disrespecting Wales star Gareth Bale as he discussed the expected transfer of the 30-year-old forward from the La Liga giants on Monday. Speaking to reporters on the eve of Real Madrid’s friendly with Arsenal at FedEx Field — home of the NFL’s Washington Redskins — Zidane said it was Bale who chose not to play in Madrid’s 3-1 friendly defeat to Bayern in Houston on Saturday. “I did not disrespect anyone, least of all Gareth,” a frustrated-sounding Zidane said. “I said that the club is working to facilitate Bale’s departure, ... Read more

Cristiano Ronaldo will not face rape charges in US

Los Angeles (AFP) – Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo will not face any charges over an alleged rape in Las Vegas a decade ago after US prosecutors said Monday they did not have enough evidence to proceed. A district attorney in the state of Nevada said it would not prosecute the Portuguese soccer player because it “cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt” that a sexual assault occurred. Kathryn Mayorga, a former model, alleges that Ronaldo raped her in a Las Vegas hotel in 2009. The former Manchester United and Real Madrid forward reached a financial settlement with her one year ... Read more

Cristiano Ronaldo will not face rape charges in Nevada

Los Angeles (AFP) – Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo will not face any charges over an alleged rape in the US state of Nevada a decade ago, prosecutors said on Monday. The Clark County District Attorney’s Office said it had declined to prosecute the Portuguese star because it “cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt” that a sexual assault occurred. Kathryn Mayorga, a former model, has claimed that Ronaldo raped her in a Las Vegas hotel in 2009. The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star reached a financial settlement with her following the incident but has denied allegations of sexual ... Read more

Ajax face awkward Champions League qualifier against PAOK

Paris (AFP) – Last season’s Champions League semi-finalists Ajax were on Monday drawn to face Greek champions PAOK Thessaloniki in the third qualifying round for this year’s group stages. The Dutch side do not get automatic entry into the group stages despite winning the Eredivisie for the 34th time and coming within seconds of reaching the Champions League final. If they beat PAOK, Erik ten Hag’s team will still need to win a play-off to join the likes of Liverpool, Real Madrid and Juventus in the main competition. It is not the easiest of ties for Ajax who have already ... Read more

Mata hopes ‘positive’ Pogba remains at Man Utd

London (AFP) – Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata hopes Paul Pogba remains at Old Trafford next season and rubbished suggestions the Frenchman could be a disruptive influence if he is not allowed to move. Pogba has publicly stated his wish for a “new challenge,” amidst interest from Real Madrid. The World Cup winner’s agent Mino Raiola also told The Times earlier this month that “everyone knows the willingness of Paul to move on.” However, Pogba has travelled with United on their pre-season tour of Australia and Singapore and shone in victories over Perth Glory, Leeds United and Inter Milan. “We ... Read more

Liverpool fall 2-1 to Sevilla in Fenway friendly

New York (AFP) – Alejandro Pozo delivered the late dagger in 10-man Sevilla’s 2-1 friendly win over Liverpool in Boston Sunday, a defeat made worse for the European champions when they saw Yasser Larouci stretchered off. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was furious at Joris Gagnon’s outrageous kick at an on-rushing Larouci in the 76th minute. Gnagnon was shown a straight red card after sweeping one of the Frenchman’s legs out from underneath him, toppling him to the pitch where his head bounced hard on the ground. Even with the La Liga outfit reduced to 10 men, however, Liverpool were unable ... Read more

Kane stunner earns Spurs victory over Juventus

Singapore (AFP) – Harry Kane scored a stunning 93rd minute winner from the halfway line as Tottenham Hotspur edged Juventus 3-2 in an entertaining pre-season friendly in Singapore on Sunday. The England captain latched onto Lucas Moura’s short pass and launched a first-time shot high over a scrambling substitute Wojciech Szczesny in the Juventus goal as Spurs rallied past new manager Maurizio Sarri’s Italian champions in front of a delighted National Stadium crowd. “It’s probably one of the best goals of my career. I noticed the keeper was often off of his line and thought if I get a chance ... Read more

Sheffield United break club record to sign Mousset

London (AFP) – Premier League newcomers Sheffield United broke their club transfer record to sign France Under-21 striker Lys Mousset from Bournemouth on Sunday. Mousset agreed a three-year contract with the newly-promoted Premier League side, who are reported to have paid £10 million to complete the deal. “For the third time this summer, the Blades have smashed the club’s transfer record,” United announced on their official website. “French striker Lys Mousset has signed a three-deal with the Blades after an undisclosed fee with AFC Bournemouth was reached for his services.” Mousset joined Bournemouth from Le Havre in 2016 for £5.7 ... Read more