Former Liverpool and Chelsea boss deals Man Utd ANOTHER blow in Gareth Bale chase

United have been heavily linked with a move for Bale, with the Welsh winger coming in for criticism at Real in the latter part of the season.

The Spanish giants have already insisted on several occasions that Bale is not for sale.

But Carlo Ancelotti’s sacking means Bale will be even more difficult to prise away, according to reports.

claim that Rafa Benitez – who is ’99 per cent certain’ to replace Ancelotti – will make Bale central to his plans next season.

It is claimed that Benitez essentially sealed the job by promising president Florentino Perez that he would restore Bale’s confidence and get the best out of him and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Bale took to Twitter yesterday to reiterate his intention to return to Real next term, despite the interest of United and Chelsea.

He said: “Not the end of the season we had hoped for, we always want to win trophies!

“Will be working hard in the off season and looking forward to coming back next season stronger with @realmadrid.”

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Lionel Messi fires Barcelona to La Liga title as Real Madrid go down fighting

Four points behind before kick-off, second-place Real Madrid breathed life into the title race by taking the lead at Espanyol through Cristiano Ronaldo while Barca were still struggling to break through at the Vicente Calderon.

Messi then scored to render Real’s result irrelevant, and Los Blancos had to restore their lead through a Marcelo strike and two more Ronaldo goals after Christian Stuani managed to level for Espanyol.

It finished 4-1 at El Prat, but Real’s challenge was over with one match of the season remaining.

Treble-chasing Barca also through to the Champions League final on June 6 to face Juventus and will play Athletic Bilbao in the King’s Cup showpiece on May 30.

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PSG, Man Utd in contact as Ronaldo demands clear-the-air Real Madrid talks

and are monitoring ‘s situation at .

says are chasing Ronaldo, who wants clear-the-air talks with Real president .

Nasser Al Khelaifi is doing all he can to give his a boost and has happily confirmed that he wouldn’t think twice about forking out ??125 million to have Ronaldo playing for him.

Ronaldo would love to break Ra??l’s record as the club’s most prolific goalscorer, but first he wants to set the scene upon which to achieve it ?C one that at present does not exist.

offer the player pedigree and nostalgia, but Ronaldo remains largely unimpressed. In the next few days, he will clear up any doubts that he may have about his future.

He believes in the cause, but wants the assurance that he will have the necessary team to make it all work for him.

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David de Gea is still deciding on whether to leave Manchester United for Real Madrid

Guillem Balague says reports in Spain claiming David de Gea has agreed a move to Real Madrid are premature but confirmed the Spanish giants are pursuing the Manchester United goalkeeper.

The 24-year-old appears to be on the verge of exiting the club after United manager Louis van Gaal admitted he has no idea if his prized asset will be at Old Trafford next season.

Balague believes the Spain international has not yet made a decision on his future but did confirm he is the man Real have chosen to become the successor to Iker Casillas.

“He is a target,” Balague confirmed on . “They have been saying it for a while.

“There have been agents of goalkeepers – the top goalkeepers in the world in some cases – who have gone to Real Madrid and said ‘how about our guy?’ and the answer from Real Madrid is ‘we want de Gea’.

“He has not committed himself as has been published in the Spanish media. He hasn??t signed anything with Real Madrid but he has got a decision to make.

“What is interesting is that in the past the presence of Casillas would have been an issue but I??ve got the impression that he has changed his mind on that and he actually doesn??t mind.

“He will accept the challenge if he goes to Real Madrid and if Casillas is there.”

De Gea has been a revelation this season for United and looks a certainty to win United??s player of the year award for a second year running after becoming the first goalkeeper in the club??s history to earn the honour last season.

The Spaniard, who grew up in Madrid, is said to be drawn by the possibility of rejoining his family and girlfriend Edurne Garcia in his homeland but Balague revealed United are offering him more money than Real.

??On the table, there is an offer from Manchester United which increases his wages by five times and he will not earn as much money at Real Madrid,?? Balague said.

??The money is an issue but he also has to make a decision that also is to do with personal interests ?C his family is not there all the time and his girlfriend would love to be in Madrid more than in England.

??All in all, it is a decision that is as much personal as it is professional.??

pundit Gary Neville stated on his podcast on Sunday that United should try and use a de Gea as a makeweight for Gareth Bale if the Spaniard is set on leaving.

However Balague dismissed the possibility and revealed his sources have told him neither the club nor the player are ready to give up on the union.

??He is staying at Madrid – end of,?? Balague said. ??There is no story there. Gareth Bale is going to be at Real Madrid next season.

??Is Gareth Bale the happiest? Is at the best he can be at Real Madrid? Certainly not.

??But there is more to come from Gareth Bale at Real Madrid and of course he would like to play in a position where he is more comfortable, play in a position similar to the one that made him famous and made him cost ??101m.

??He needs more freedom on the pitch and to link up with Ronaldo in a different way. Why not Ronaldo as a number 9 with Gareth Bale behind him?

??It is something that will have to be decided, either by Ancelotti or the next coach, but Bale is definitely staying at Real Madrid.??

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Real Madrid close on Rafael Benitez as new manager

Rafael Benitez is expected to be installed as the new Real Madrid manager after his season with Italian club Napoli finishes on Sunday.

The former Liverpool manager, 55, has not yet signed a contract with the 10-time European champions but negotiations are at an advanced stage.

Carlo Ancelotti on Monday after two seasons in charge at the Bernabeu.

Italian Ancelotti, 55, secured Real’s 10th European Cup last season.

But this year they were knocked out by Juventus in the Champions League semi-finals, while Barcelona won La Liga.

Spaniard Benitez has managed in his home country before, winning two La Liga titles and the Uefa Cup with Valencia.

He has been at Napoli since 2013 leading the Serie A side to the Coppa Italia last season.

The Spaniard had also been linked with the vacant job at West Ham, following the departure of Sam Allardyce.

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Man Utd hero Park: My PSV pal Depay IS similar to Ronaldo

hero is expecting big things from .

The Eindhoven winger is joining United this summer.

Park played with Depay during his second spell at last season and told : “He??s still a young player ?C only 21 years old ?C but I played with him and he has so much potential: he has strength, passing ability and skill.

“Some people say he??s like and I can imagine that ?C he really has the desire to be the best player and United can help him achieve that. It??s a really good signing for both him and the club, and I??m sure he??ll show his quality for us.”

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Arsene Wenger coy over Arsenal move for Liverpool target Benzema as Man Utd eye ?40m bid

Wenger is currently preparing his side for Saturday’s FA Cup final against Aston Villa.

And the French boss insists he won’t start thinking about transfers until after that game is out of the way.

It’s all suspicions, nobody knows if its true or not.

Arsene Wenger

The Gunners have been linked with a move for Benzema for some time, although Liverpool are also thought to be interested and Manchester United are reportedly considering a ?40million bid.

Asked about Arsenal’s interest in the player, Wenger refused to rule out a move and hinted that it would depend on both Real Madrid and Benzema’s wishes.

He said: “You can suspect that at the moment I’m not in a transfer mode.

“We’ll deal with transfers after the FA Cup final. It’s all suspicions, nobody knows if its true or not.”

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TRANSFER RUMORS:De Gea agrees terms with Real Madrid

Florentino Perez has started re-building his team after a trophy-less season. According to Spanish newspapers, Manchester United’s goalkeeper David De Gea has reached an agreement with Real Madrid’s boss to join Los Blancos next summer. The 24-year old shot stopper would pen a six-year deal with the Spanish club, who have been looking to sign him for a while now. De Gea rejected various offers to extend his contract with the Red Devils, and now both clubs will have to reach an agreement to make it official.

Reports from various sources indicated De Gea was keen on returning to his homecountry, and that was the reason behind his numerous denials to extend his commitment with Manchester United. De Gea’s salary would be around the ??5.5 million mark, and his switch would put an end to Iker Casillas’ era as Real Madrid’s Number One keeper.

Earlier this week, De Gea was seen taking a plane back to Madrid to take a few days off. United fans saw this as a sign of things to come, even though the player dismissed any rumors about a possible meeting with Real Madrid’s officers. The shot-stopper, who has been arguably the team’s MVP this season, would provide a huge blow to Louis Van Gaal’s side with his departure, and would open a new debate about who could take his place defending the Red Devils’ net. De Gea’s current deal with Manchester United ends in 2016, so the club could either make the decision of selling the shot-stopper while they can earn some money with his transfer, or watch him walk away with a free transfer tag next year.

The historic Spanish goalkeeper did not have an easy season with Los Blancos. Ever since the days of Jose Mourinho, Casillas was not as reliable as he once was, and some blamed him of leaking information to the media in order to de-stabilize Mourinho. When Carlo Ancelotti arrived, Diego Lopez was handed goalkeeping duties for La Liga games, while Casillas defended the net in Copa del Rey and Champions League matches. In fact, Casillas was set to during the past summer, but he decided otherwise after his disappointing World Cup performance. Iker has been linked to Arsenal and other Premier League sides, while sources indicate Florentino Perez would be willing to pay his full contract in order to facilitate his departure. Casillas’ deal with Los Blancos ends in 2017.

 

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Barcelona, Real Madrid great Figo withdraws from FIFA presidency

Luis Figo has dropped out of the FIFA presidency race.

The Portugal great has withdrawn from the 2015 vote, providing very strong reasons for his decision, suggesting that the process is not at all democratic.

The former , and star joins Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) president Michael van Praag as the two men to pull out on Thursday leaving current chief Sepp Blatter and Jordan??s Prince Ali bin al-Hussein to battle it out in next week??s election.

Figo said: “I have witnessed consecutive incidents, all over the world, that should shame anyone who desires soccer to be free, clean and democratic.

“I have seen with my own eyes federation presidents who, after one day comparing FIFA leaders to the devil, then go on stage and compare those same people with Jesus Christ. Nobody told me about this. I saw it with my own eyes.

“The candidates were prevented from addressing federations at congresses while one of the candidates always gave speeches on his own from the rostrum. There has not been a single public debate about each candidate’s proposals.

“Does anyone think it’s normal that an election for one of the most relevant organisations on the planet can go ahead without a public debate?

“Does anyone think it’s normal that one of the candidates doesn’t even bother to present an election manifesto that can be voted on May 29???

He continued: “That is why, after a personal reflection and sharing views with two other candidates in this process, I believe that what is going to happen on May 29 in is not a normal electoral act. And because it is not, don’t count on me.

“I do not fear the ballot box, but I will not go along with nor will I give my consent to a process which will end on May 29 and from which soccer will not emerge the winner.”

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UEFA Champions League: Real Madrid & Arsenal out of Pot Number 1

Today, UEFA revealed which teams will have a top-seeded spot in next year’s UEFA Champions League draw, with the confirmed news about Real Madrid not making the list. The European organization decided to change their ranking system, forcing Los Blancos to be out of the top seeded pot.

Last year, teams in Pot 1 were decided via a “European coefficient”, a number based on their past performances in European competitions. For the upcoming draw, UEFA decided that each of the top European league champions will be drawn first. Barcelona, Chelsea, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Benfica, PSG, Zenit and PSV Eindhoven. Usually, the UEFA Champions League winner would be granted a spot, but since both Barcelona and Juve have won their respective leagues, the Dutch champions will be given a spot among the top eight teams in the continent.

“Previously, the pots were ordered purely by the coefficients of the competing clubs. The change was proposed in 2014 by the UEFA Club Competitions Committee before being approved by the UEFA Executive Committee. It is another decision that helps strengthen the hand of domestic title holders in the competition. The other three pots will be set using the club coefficient rankings, which UEFA compiles based on results over the last five UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League campaigns,” UEFA officers revealed via their .

With that in mind, Spain could have up to three clubs in Pot Number 2, considering Real Madrid, Atletico and Sevilla, clubs which have enjoyed good European seasons recently. 

*Possible* 2015/16 UCL Pot 2: Real Madrid Atletico Madrid FC Porto Arsenal Man Utd Valencia Leverkusen Man City

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