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Watch: Manchester United 1-1 Middlesbrough (7-8 on penalties)

Manchester United were eliminated from the FA Cup on Friday night, losing to Middlesbrough on penalties. You can watch the highlights of the game here. (Author: Gardener)

Manchester UnitedManchester United were eliminated from the FA Cup on Friday night, losing to Middlesbrough on penalties. You can watch the highlights of the game here. In truth, Ralf Rangnick's side have only themselves to blame after missing a number of clear chances, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes being the worst offenders. After Paul Pogba was fouled in the penalty area, the Manchester United number seven made an appearance but saw his penalty go wide in the 20th minute. As the ball crossed into the United box, the ball clearly hit Duncan Watmore's hand before playing the ball over the goal for Crooks to fire home. United kept pushing for a winner and after Bruno Fernandes fought the ball on the edge of the box it looked like they were about to take the lead again. United huffed and puffed as they searched for a winner but Chris Wilder's side persevered as the game ended 1-1 after extra time before emerging victorious on penalties. Neither goalkeeper looked like a save, but Boro was 8-7 up and youngster Anthony Elanga shot his penalty over the bar.

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Roy Keane says Man Utd star should have left last summer

Roy Keane believes Jesse Lingard should have pushed to leave Manchester United last summer. The 29-year-old has entered the final months of his contract at United and will... (Author: Gardener)

Roy KeaneRoy Keane believes Jesse Lingard should have pushed to leave Manchester United last summer. The 29-year-old has entered the final months of his contract with United and will be free to leave Old Trafford at the end of the season. Lingard impressed during his loan spell at West Ham in the second half of last season but was sidelined after his return to United. The midfielder is keen to secure more playing time to increase his chances of making England's World Cup squad later this year and was aiming to join Newcastle United in the January transfer window. But Newcastle were unwilling to meet United's demands, which included paying £12m if they avoided relegation from the Premier League, and Lingard will now see the season at Old Trafford. Speaking to ITV about Lingard's situation at United, Keane said: "He should have left last summer. “He had his chance, he went out and showed what he was about. “He's a good player, went to West Ham and hasn't played a lot of football but people get stuck in players' contracts, if they want to go for free you have to play the games. “He can complain whatever he wants, obviously it's not ideal between the club and Jesse at the moment. “Because at the moment he's just writing off the season and he can't afford that if he plans to get back into the England setup. “But there are a couple of important months ahead for United. Stranger things have happened, if he can come back he's shown he's got quality before.” For more stories like this, head over to our sport page.

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"Magic of the FA Cup lives and kicks"

Middlesbrough's stunning win at Old Trafford shows the FA Cup magic is alive, but what's next after Manchester United? (Author: Gardener)

Magic of the FA CupThen, of course, there was an exciting penalty shoot-out to decide everything. After 15 superbly executed penalties, Manchester United youngster Anthony Elanga launched his attempt over the bar to send Middlesbrough out of the Championship in the fifth round. Boro boss Chris Wilder summed it up best immediately after his side's famous win: "The FA Cup is alive and kicking." There were indications it was going to be one of those nights for Manchester United, even in a first half that largely controlled them. Ronaldo, so cool from the penalty spot so often, missed a chance to put the hosts ahead when he fired his shot just wide of the post following a Paul Pogba foul. It was soon forgotten, however, as Jadon Sancho's deflected goal gave United the lead shortly afterwards. A second goal always seemed necessary against a well-organised Middlesbrough side, but the hosts missed numerous opportunities to score it, with Fernandes notably failing to capitalize on a mistake in the visitors' defence. And so did Middlesbrough score, albeit in a controversial manner. As they attacked, the ball caught Duncan Watmore's hand before crossing Matt Crooks for a close-range shot. It seemed certain the goal would be abolished, but a repeal of VAR never arrived. Fans watching were confused, but it was a revision of football's legislature's interpretation of the rule of handball, the IFAB, which had been applied last summer, with accidental handball now only being penalized if the offending player then scores a goal . "How can it be random if he steers the ball in the air with his hand?" Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick asked after the game. Wilder also fully expected the end: “I immediately thought it was handball. Despite the controversy, it was a memorable win in a memorable season for Middlesbrough. It is now 11 games unbeaten in all competitions, with Wilder's side not only in the last 16 of the FA Cup but also in the mix for promotion to the Premier League. That result had feel-good stories throughout, with their equalizer from Watmore and Crooks, two players who were on the books as youngsters at Manchester United but were sacked before they made the grade at Old Trafford. "Me and Crooksy were here in a United age group team together - so it's even more special." Paddy McNair, who spent several years at Manchester United, scored in the shoot-out, as did Sol Bamba, who had overcome cancer to continue playing . "There's nothing like winning at Old Trafford on a Friday night," added Wilder. "We're happy, opponents will wonder how they didn't go through, it's the magic of the Cup, we rode our luck, took our chances and made it to penalties. They give themselves the opportunity, scenes like tonight witness, 10,000 fans come down the street and leave happy." Make no mistake this is a huge blow to Manchester United. Early defeats at home in both domestic cup competitions mean they now need an unlikely Champions League triumph lest they go trophy-less for the fifth consecutive season. United have little time to lick their wounds.

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Man United lead the hunt for Barca's Araujo

Barcelona's Ronald Araujo could leave Spain for England with Manchester United interested in the defender. Transfer Talk has the latest. (Author: Gardener)

BarcaThe January 2022 transfer window has closed, but there's still a lot of gossip about who's going where. Transfer Talk brings you the latest on rumours, come-and-goes and of course deals done!Manchester United are leading the race for Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo, Marca report. Araujo, 22, has a contract that expires in 2023 and the LaLiga club are hoping to extend his stay at the Camp Nou. However, talks have not progressed and the Red Devils are said to be the front-runners to place him ahead of Real Madrid, Chelsea and Man City. The Uruguay international has had a growing influence on Barca's first-team in recent years, starting just over half of the club's La Liga games this season despite missing six through injury. There were plans to extend his contract ahead of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic but a mix of that and the club's financial situation (€1.4bn in debt) have prevented proposals from moving forward. In fact, the first new contract offer has since been rejected by the player, who knows clubs across Europe are interested. Manchester United are looking to rebuild in the summer with a new manager to replace interim boss Ralf Rangnick and Araujo could bolster their defense as they struggle to secure a consistent centre-back partnership of Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and to find Phil Jones. - Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (US only) Get instant access20.39 GMT: A little double recap of retirement and leadership news here as former New England Revolution and LAFC midfielder Lee Nguyen called on his playing days and will sign as an assistant coach for Washington Spirit in the NWSL. Nguyen, who was a finalist for the 2014 Major League Soccer MVP award, joined the Spirit coaching staff in October just ahead of her surprise run to the National Women's Soccer League title and is joining the team for the 2022 season. It was really hard to think of the day I would finally put it on because if you have something you love as much as I do this game you should have pulled me off this field," Nguyen said via his Instagram account on Friday "But after having time to think, I can finally say that I'm happy to retire from the game for good." , so the Germany coach knows he will be enlisting the services of the Spain international for at least the rest of this season.18.54 GMT: Brazil striker Luquinhas appears set to make a move to the States.The 25-year-old is said to be set to leave, according to reporters Pat Novak to join the New York Red Bulls Before playing in Poland, Luquinhas spent five years playing in Portugal for clubs including Benfica and Benfica B-old Arsenal- Shirt No. 14, now he has left the club for Barcelona. Martinelli, 20, currently wears the No 35 but will play a huge role in the club's future and now wants to wear the shirt made famous by legend Thierry Henry.15.34 GMT: He has today in the FA Cup against Man City struck, but Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said the club were still keen on signing Fulham midfielder Fabio Carvalho in the summer after a last-hour move in January fell through. Sources told ESPN on Wednesday the club were still interested in signing the 19-year-old in an £8million deal and Klopp confirmed the club had taken a step to hire him on Monday's deadline, just so the club runs out of time to comp Let the transfer. "With that we'll see. It was late to finalize the deal before the transfer window closed again. These things are sometimes out of our hands envy of world football but the trio are either almost 30 years old or already 30 and the club has Just signed winger Luis Diaz for an initial €45m. Meanwhile, negotiations are ongoing to give Salah a new contract." But also because Salah is the only one who can consistently perform at a level that can justify the kind of contract he and his representatives are demanding." 13.41 GMT: Liverpool and Manchester City are both watching the progress of striker Bukayo Saka at Arsenal and could make a move if the Gunners fail to qualify for the Champions League, says ESPN's Mark Ogden Saka, 20, has a contract at the Emirates which expires in 20-23 so Arsenal faces a crucial summer to build the England youngster Week in exile Dembele, who is out of contract in the summer, has not been called up for Barca's last two games after being told to either sign a new contract or find a new club January is now closed, Xavi said the situation has changed and he will count on the player until the end of the season."We didn't find a solution with Ousmane n, so the circumstances have changed now," the Barca coach said in a press conference on Saturday. He's on contract, he's part of the squad and we won't shoot ourselves in the foot if we don't use him." Xavi also urged the fans to support Dembele, who most recently lost in the Spanish Supercopa defeat to Real Madrid on 27 12 when he plays Atletico at the Camp Nou this weekend."I understand the fans could be hurt by [the situation] but I encourage them to come and support the team and Ousmane when he plays "He added to close the ranks and consider what is best for the club. We believe he can help us and will use him when we see fit. Follow his progress first and wouldn't get in Consider paying the outlandish fees being discussed to sign the 15-year-old for the first time in their history.Madrid have been unable to sign Endrick. He turns 18 in July 2024 but feels bummed his relationship with his agent, who also represents Vinicius Junior, put him in a strong position should he decide to make the switch. Sources said Madrid wouldn't be willing to spend more than signing Vinicius, a deal that cost €45m in 2018. In addition, the club is proceeding cautiously as it "does not want another Reinier", sources said contract, says Sky Germany. Gnabry, 26, is now in the final 18 months of his contract and wants to remain at the club. Real Madrid, Barcelona, ​​​​Man United and Liverpool are among the sides interested in the former Arsenal striker, Bayern's second-best scorer this season with 12 goals in all competitions, but Bayern are confident of persuading him to stay on GMT : Man City have spent around £15m ($20m) to sign Julian Alvarez from River Plate before sending him back to the Argentinian club on loan. 10.45am GMT: Barcelona finalize an agreement to sign Chelsea full-back Cesar Azpilicueta in the summer, Mundo Deportivo report. Azpilicueta, 32, has a contract with Chelsea that expires at the end of the season but has yet to agree to an extension. Barca have very little money to spend given their publicly revealed €1.4 billion debt and are targeting players with free transfers. on the market. Spurs had a hectic end of the month with Dele Alli joining Everton while Tanguy Ndombele, Bryan Gil, Giovani Lo Celso and Jack Clarke left the club on loan. Tottenham made two signings of their own and brought on Rodrigo in the Juventus duo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski - the former in a €19m deal and the latter initially on loan - who are looking to push for a top-four finish in the Premier League alongside a run in the FA Cup that continues on Saturday with a draw in the fourth round against Brighton. "Sure it was strange to send [four] on loan and sell one player in January," said Conte. Loaning four players and selling one player in January was weird in the past. But when you send away on loan players you bought in the last two or three years, it means there was something wrong [with what] you've done in the past, you look at the list of players in the squad, you're looking at the players that you had in the squad and all players are important players. Ndombele, we paid a lot, it was the same for Lo Celso, it was the same for Gil. It's only when you stay in the situation that you understand very well what's the best solution for the club, for the players, at that moment. Sure, losing four players in January isn't normal, News. The source said not all terms have been agreed, but talks are advanced enough that the Fire are confident it'll get done. Chicago needs to be in the frame Helping that Fire sporting director Georg Heitz and Shaqiri have a long-standing relationship that dates back to when both were at Swiss side FC Basel, where the player began his professional career. If the acquisition were complete, it would be a major commitment for a Chicago team that has only qualified for the MLS Cup playoffs once in the past nine years, with the addition of a summer hiring central midfielder, with work beginning before a new permanent manager is appointed, sources told ESPN Amadou Haidara at RB Leipzig is all under consideration. West Ham United are already naming suitors - including Manchester City and Chelsea - in excess of £100m for Rice's signature, while doubts remain as to whether Phillips would be willing to join one of Leeds' biggest rivals.- Atletico Madrid have serious interest in signing Matty Cash , Aston Villa right-back, for next season, reports Fabrizio Romano. The La Liga club recently signed full-back Kieran Trippier to Newcastle for €15m and are looking to replace him. Direct talks to sign Cash, 24, began in January and Atleti will step in for him again in the summer. Antonio Rudiger has turned down Chelsea's latest contract offer, according to the Daily Mail. The Germany international is one of a number of Blues defenders available on a free transfer at the end of the season, alongside Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta. Rudiger has been a key player for Thomas Tuchel, although he has reportedly turned down a number of new contract offers, including one for almost £200,000 a week. Central defender Felipe is considering a move to Brazil after leaving Atletico Madrid, writes Ekrem Konur. The 32-year-old's contract expires in the summer, allowing him to sign a preliminary contract with a club outside of Spain. The journalist claims that Flamengo, Atletico Mineiro and Corinthians are all watching him.- Although Juventus already secured the €70m transfer of Dusan Vlahovic from Fiorentina in January, Juventus have yet another move for a young striker in Serie A in the eye. Calciomercato claim the old lady is hoping to sign Sassuolo striker Giacomo Raspadori at the end of the season, with Alvaro Morata set to return to parent club Atletico Madrid once his loan expires. Rangers have no clause in their loan deal with Juventus for midfielder Aaron Ramsey to sign him permanently at the end of the season, according to Fabrizio Romano. The 31-year-old reportedly had a number of options before joining the Scottish Premier League on deadline day, although there is no agreement on a permanent signing should he impress. However, Romano claims the club will have priority in summer transfer negotiations if he so chooses.

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Real Madrid join PSG and Spurs in race for Milan's Kessie

Real Madrid are ready to turn to Franck Kessie, who joins PSG and Tottenham in the midfielder race. Transfer Talk is LIVE with the latest. (Author: Gardener)

Real MadridTransfer Talk brings you the latest in rumours, rumours, comings and goings and of course deals done!Real Madrid are ready to turn their attention to AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie as the 25-year-old midfielder moves into the final months of the year his deal at the San Siro, according to the Spanish outlet AS. He scored 13 goals and provided four assists last season and it hasn't gone unnoticed by contenders across Europe. The Ivory Coast international has already received offers from Tottenham Hotspur and Paris Saint-Germain and the latter is believed to be the favorites in the race. But with Los Blancos now ready to cool down their pursuit of Antonio Rudiger over hefty salary demands, the Santiago Bernabeu hierarchy will instead focus on Kessie, hoping to land him on a free transfer before the summer. - Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (US only) Get instant access22.15 GMT: Manchester City will soon start talks with Ilkay Gundogan over a new contract, writes Ekrem Konur. Pep Guardiola's side want to grant the 31-year-old a three-year extension until 2025, with talks moving forward to dissuade teams across Europe from testing the waters for his signature. Gundogan has contributed to seven goals in 12 Premier League starts this season .21.50 GMT: Tahith Chong will not be recalled by Manchester United from his loan at Birmingham City, the Mirror reports. The 22-year-old winger required surgery after an injury in October, despite rumors he could be called back to Old Trafford to continue his rehabilitation at his home club, the latest hint suggests he will be at the club until the end of the season blues will remain. There is hope that Lee Bowyer can welcome him back to the squad soon as he nears a full recovery. 21.30 GMT: Newcastle United are reviewing possible targets for a Jamal Lewis loanee, according to Ekrem Konur. The 24-year-old defender has only played four Premier League games this season and the Magpies want him to temporarily join a team in Switzerland, Russia or Turkey with the winter transfer window still open in some leagues in Europe. 21.00 GMT: Leeds United are ready to make Raphinha their highest-paid player, according to Football Insider. Marcelo Bielsa's side are confident of reaching an agreement with the 25-year-old winger, who has attracted interest from Champions League clubs throughout the season. And with positive talks ongoing with his representatives, a new deal is now expected to be announced in the coming weeks. 20.30 GMT: As Jesse Lingard's contract at Manchester United expires, teams are beginning to monitor the contract, with Juventus now one of the clubs in the queue, according to Calciomercato. The Italian broadcaster claim that Massimiliano Allegri will continue to revolutionize their squad in the summer, with several stars already being transferred from Allianz Stadium. And with 29-year-old Lingard available on a free transfer at the end of the season, he could now be considering a Serie A.19.15 GMT option as MLS side Vancouver Whitecaps sign striker Brian White on a long-term contract extension. The club announced on Friday. The deal includes four guaranteed years and a club option for a fifth year, according to the report. White, who turned 26 on Thursday, recorded 12 goals and five assists in 27 games (23 starts) with the Whitecaps last season after coming on June 2 from the New York Red Bulls. 18.47 GMT: Charlotte FC are in the final stages of a move that will complete the signing of Granada star Darwin Machis. A deal in the region of €5m has been agreed for the 28-year-old attacking midfielder, who contributed to 10 goals in 21 La Liga starts last season, according to author Pedro Almeida. The transfer is expected to be completed soon, only with the final paperwork and a medical exam prepared in advance by the MLS club. 18.06 GMT: Midifelder Marcelo Brozovic could make a decision as he nears the final months of his Internazionale contract, as Barcelona report he is interested in his signature, according to Calciomercato. The Serie A club's leadership were initially confident he would agree to the new terms, but with the 29-year-old midfielder still delaying his decision on a €6m-plus deal, he may now have to take an approach from La Liga to consider. It is reported that the Blaugrana manager wants Xavi Hernandez Brozovic in his midfield and they are expected to convince him to join the Camp Nou. 17.15 GMT: Fabrizio Romano reports that LA Galaxy has reached an agreement with Douglas Costa. ESPN's Jeff Carlisle and Gustavo Berton reported last week that the Galaxy are chasing the 31-year-old winger in Angeles on Saturday. He is also reported to have turned down an approach from Flamengo, with the Brazilian opting to make MLS the next step in his career's biggest deal: the rise of the so-called 'leverage transfer': 'We're talking about leverage , and the arrival of Luis Diaz to [Liverpool] from Porto is perhaps the best example.” Diaz is 25 and has cost Liverpool around £37m (US$50m), with bonuses to a potential £49m (US$66m). -dollars) rise. Especially since they need to raise the money to renew the contracts of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, all of whom are scheduled to become free agents by the end of next season?” The answer lies in that last question. – Marcotti: Alvarez, Diaz, Vlahovic and the trend of using transfers The 32-year-old joined Barca on a free transfer after his contract at Arsenal was terminated, where he had been sidelined since December. Arteta dropped the forward, forced him to train alone and stripped him of the captaincy for a number of disciplinary offenses during his tenure, according to the Spain coach. "It's been [two] difficult months," said Aubameyang during his presentation as a Barca player on Thursday. Now he has signed him. The 32-year-old, who has been with the club since 2000, is relaxed about his future. "So far, no one from the club has approached me," Müller told Sport Bild. I've been in the business too long for that." The Germany international, who has been linked with interest from Premier League clubs Everton and Newcastle United, added: "I definitely want to play top-flight football by 2025. I feel really good physically and the ball still obeys me most of the time."- Bundesliga on ESPN+: Stream LIVE games and replays (USA only) becomes the highest-paid player in league history after winning a Rodman, daughter of NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman and the youngest player in league history, has signed a contract extension with Washington Spirit, the club announced on a four-year deal worth $1.1 million, according to Sportico drafted by the NWSL will extend her contract with the NWSL Championship-winning club through the 2024 season with an option for 2025. According to the Washington Post, Rodman last joined the league a three-year contract a year at a base salary averaging $42,000 US dollars plus housing and bonuses Octagon Soccer, Rodman's agency, confirmed her salary as a league record The Spirit was able to keep Rodman above the maximum salary d pay out the league using grant funds, an expense allowance that exceeds salary caps and team budget caps. 12.47 GMT: Barcelona must respect The fact that Ousmane Dembele still has a contract with the club and will play him for the rest of the season explains former Barca and Brazil star Rivaldo. Dembele is set to lose his contract in June and amid the failure to sign an extension, Barca told him he had to find a new club before January 31. However, the transfer window closed as Dembele is still at Barca and Xavi must now decide how to use him between now and the summer. He has been left out of the matchday squad for the last two games. "It's a shame that Ousman Dembele keeps missing opportunities to establish himself at Barcelona because he's a fantastic player who has already had enough time to adapt to the club. but for one reason or another it's still not happening for him," Rivaldo, winner of the Ballon d'Or in 1999, told Betfair. "Now that his departure seemed almost certain he will stay at the club at least until the end of the season and I think the club should make an effort to play him as he is still under contract and needs to professional him for internal or disciplinary reasons Reasons not to be left out of the team for a long time."He's a great talent who still has some good performances to thank for the club and I hope he's got that on his mind now and is making an effort to help the club through a difficult time in their history.11.5 8 GMT: Raith Rovers have withdrawn the signing of David Goodwillie, who was found guilty of a rape in a civil case in 2017, after previously saying they would stand by the player, the Scottish club published issued a statement on Tuesday following backlash inside and outside the club leading up to the signing Raith, who defended the move, had said he was "a proven goalscorer" and "his football skills" are "our most important consideration". Shirt sponsor Val McDermid ended all their association with the club over the signing. The women's team also reprinted their jerseys without the club crest and filed a request to terminate their affiliation with the club. Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown - who is a supporter of the club - both condemned the decision to sign him in recent days. We were wrong," club chairman John Sim said in a statement. "In our initial decision, we focused far too much on football matters and not enough on what that decision would mean for our club and the community at large. 11.31am GMT: The January window has only just closed, with over £620m spent by teams in Europe's major leagues, but the biggest clubs are already preparing for what could be the most spectacular summer of transfers to come Erling Haaland, Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba and maybe even Cristiano Ronaldo ready to switch clubs at the end of this season. January was not without some eye-catching moves, with Dusan Vlahovic's €70m transfer from Fiorentina to Juventus proving to be the most expensive deal ahead of the £46.3m move of Ferran Torres from Manchester City to Barcelona. But the biggest players will typically only become available in the summer window, and the race to sign the best talent is likely to be longer than ever competitive. This is not only due to the expected player changes, but also because the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will take place in the winter, which means an earlier start, meaning that clubs need to do business quickly to have players available at the start of the 2022 season- 23 Some players, including Mbappe and Pogba, will be free agents this summer and free to decide their own future without two clubs having to negotiate a transfer fee. There are others, like Manchester City's Raheem Sterling and Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, who have just 12 months left on their contract and will be in a strong position to push for a move or a lucrative new deal. Then there's Haaland, the Borussia Dortmund striker who is wanted by all of Europe's top clubs and is available for €75m thanks to a release clause in his contract with the Bundesliga club. As some of the biggest stars prepare for their move this summer, what's the latest on their future? - Ogden: Who could be on the move as a blockbuster summer transfer looms? 10.39 GMT: Lyon are hoping to bring former striker Alexandre Lacazette back to the club in the summer when his Arsenal contract expires. Lacazette joined the Gunners from his hometown club in a £46.5million transfer in 2017 and has since scored 70 goals in 194 games for the club. The 30-year-old has been Arsenal captain in recent weeks since Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had his armband removed for disciplinary reasons and Lacazette will keep it until the end of the season after Aubameyang joined FC Barcelona on a free transfer from president Jean-Michel Aulas said: “It's Lacazette, he interests us because he shaped this club. Yes, in our context [Lacazette] is more approachable than [Real Madrid striker and another ex-Lyon player Karim] Benzema .09.46 GMT: Liverpool remain hopeful of securing a deal to sign Fulham's Fabio Carvalho without a Tribunal needed to determine a fee, sources told ESPN's James Olley on Monday, but couldn't get the required paperwork through before the deadline. Liverpool are keen to secure Carvalho's signing as soon as possible to beat competition from a host of foreign clubs including Borussia Dortmund and Sevilla. Although Carvalho cannot be registered as a Liverpool player until the end of the season, talks are ongoing and sources have told ESPN that Liverpool still believe a compromise can be reached, although his rating remains a sticking point. The midfielder's contract expired at the end of the season and has turned down at least one offer to sign an extension, according to the club's website this week that he has found it difficult to adjust to life in the Premier League - most of his starts to date in cup competitions this season – but also said a change was needed for him to grow as a player "I had to say goodbye to the world of Atletico Madrid for a while because I've been there since I was 12, so everything affects you a lot more," he said. "When the fans boo you, it affects you a lot more because those people are your people and when you have difficult moments you experience them differently." The 27-year-old, who is expected to face Plymouth in the FA Cup this weekend , said he "feels good" at Stamford Bridge and sees battles for places with Jorginho, N'Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Ruben Loftus- Cheek as "a challenge to compete with the best". 08.00 GMT: Barcelona have left Dani Alves outside of their Europa League squad but Ousmane Dembele remains registered despite being told to leave the club in January amid the standoff over his contract. Alves was one of four signings at Barca last month, along with Ferran Torres, Adama Traore and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang , but UEFA regulations only allow clubs to add three more players to their European squad during the season. Head coach Xavi Hernandez has also had to drop youngsters Abde Ezzalzouli and Ferran Jutgla from his Europa League plans. None of the players were registered at the start of the season and they do not count as youth players because they have not been with the club long enough. However, Dembele remains eligible to represent the club in Europe despite reports that Barca would terminate his contract after he failed to agree to a move from Camp Nou in January. He is out of contract in June and as they couldn't reach an agreement to sign an extension Barca told him that he had to find a new club before January 31. However, the transfer window closed as Dembele still has to stay at Barca and Xavi decide now how to use him until the summer. He has been left out of the matchday squad for the last two games.- Real Madrid, Internazionale and AC Milan are all pursuing defender William Saliba, according to Calciomercato. It is reported that La Liga side have inquired at Arsenal about his availability during the January transfer window with the club currently looking for reinforcements in defence. The 20-year-old centre-back is on loan at Marseille, where he has been a key figure in the Ligue 1 team's season so far, and has even caught the eye of legendary defender Paolo Maldini, who included him in Milan's shortlist has a possible target in the summer.- Fenerbahce have made an offer to sign Diego Costa on a free transfer until the end of the season, reports Ekrem Konur. Costa, 33, recently became a free agent after winning the league title in Brazil with Atletico Mineiro and could now opt for a move to Turkey's Super Lig despite interest from LaLiga. - Napoli are set to make a decision on Kalidou Koulibaly's future in the next transfer window, according to Calciomercato. The 30-year-old centre-back is seen as an important part of the squad but with his contract due to expire in the summer of 2023, the Serie A club's hierarchy is keen to prevent Lorenzo Insigne's situation from repeating itself. In the process, they lost a star player to a free transfer to MLS club Toronto FC. It is reported that Napoli will try to sack him if Koulibaly doesn't agree to a new deal. The Senegalese international has previously been linked with Manchester United. The Times writes that Manchester City are confident of reaching an agreement on a new deal for Bernardo Silva. Positive talks are understood to have been held with the 27-year-old attacking midfielder's representatives and despite reports he wanted to leave last summer, his heavy involvement in Pep Guardiola's success this season has prompted a postponement that he is now considering wants to stay at Etihad Stadium.- According to Fabrizio Romano, Manchester United turned down the chance to sign Boubacar Kamara in January. After failing to sign Denis Zakaria and Julian Alvarez, it has been reported that the Old Trafford hierarchy have also handed the 22-year-old Marseille midfielder over on plans to take on a new manager in the summer. - Sebastian Blanco will stay with the Portland Timbers as the free agent is close to finalizing a new deal, according to ESPN's Jeff Carlisle. The 33-year-old Argentinian midfielder's contract expired after the end of the MLS season but he now wants to stay with Cascadia.

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Real Madrid's double bid ends in shock defeat to Athletic Bilbao

Real Madrid's hopes of winning the Spanish double were dashed on Thursday when Athletic Bilbao scored a dramatic 89th-minute winner to knock them out of the Copa del Rey. (Author: Gardener)

Athletic BilbaoFormer Broncos G.M. and current Broncos recruitment consultant John Elway has issued a statement in response to the allegations made against the team in the Flores lawsuit. "Although I had no intention of publicly referring to the false and [more]

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Ex-Barcelona Prez says Mbappe 'signed' for Real Madrid, Troyes snaps American, more

This week's notebook also shows Gladbach Eberl stepping down and Bruce returning with the Baggies (Author: Gardener)

Ex-Barcelona PrezThe transfer window is now closed until the summer but that won't stop speculation surrounding Kylian Mbappe's future and a possible move from Paris Saint-Germain to Real Madrid. Elsewhere, a USMNT hopeful has made a permanent loan move, Borussia Monchengladbach have said goodbye to their sporting director and Steve Bruce is back in the game in England's second division. According to former Barcelona president Joan Gaspart, the French superstar has already 'signed' for Real from PSG and told Marca about this 'exclusive' as he said: 'I'll give you the news. Kylian has already signed for Real. I know ( Real President) Florentino (Perez) and I'm sure of it." Why It Matters: Mbappe's future has been the subject of intense speculation and it won't do anything to quench those flames while we look forward to the meeting PSG are preparing with Real when the UEFA Champions League resumes (on Paramount+ and CBS) Bild has similarly denied her claims by the 23-year-old's entourage so this likely won't be the last we of City Football Group's Ligue 1 side have signed 24-year-old American player Erik Palmer-Brown on a permanent loan after a first loan by Bruno Irles Why It Matters: After hopping to various European clubs since joining from Sporting Kansas City, the Napoleon, Ohio man has finally found his place at the Stade de l'Aube a place he can call home. Like Philippe Sandler's stop-start experience as part of the CFG talent pipeline before joining Feyenoord, this should boost Palmer-Brown's USMNT hopes in the long run as he finally gets the stability he needs to develop. The Bundesliga club is currently in a whirlwind and must now face the future without its emblematic sporting director, who has announced his resignation with immediate effect: "This is by far the toughest press conference I have had to hold in my time as sporting director at Borussia", said the former player, "After 23 years, I'm ending what my life has become. I've been doing this as sports director for 13 years. "Why it's important: Eberl was not only one of the longest-serving in his field in Germany, he is also considered to be one of the best, having been instrumental in making Gladbach a springboard club for a number of top European talents, establishing them as a consistent Bundesliga presence at a time when many traditional names like Hamburger SV, Schalke 04 and Werder Bremen are all West Bromwich Albion have appointed the 61-year-old to replace Valerien Ismael, who left the club n left after a win in seven games. Bruce left Newcastle in October shortly after the Saudi takeover and the ex-boss of Aston Villa, Birmingham City, Sunderland and Hull City takes over at the Hawthorns with the Baggies in sixth place. "I'm delighted to have the opportunity to manage a club that has such great history and tradition," said Bruce. "It's a club I obviously know well from my time in the Midlands and I'm already looking forward to the challenge of taking it forward. I didn't expect to return to management so quickly but when I got the call from Ron, I knew I couldn't resist the challenge of getting this club back to where it wants to be. Why It Matters: As well as being a promotion and survival specialist, Bruce is something of a post-villa regional expert on West Midlands blues magic, boding well for a West Brom side trying to turn their faltering Reversing form to get back in the automatic promotion battle.The ex-Palermo president died this week at the age of 80, and despite being known for being trigger-happy and often impulsive when he changed coaches, he presided over important ones Periods for Rosanero and Venezia to write themselves in Calcio folklore. "The Palermo family is united in their sorrow at the death of Zamparini," the club said in a statement. "The most decorated president in Rosanero history, who is always in the heart of every fan." Zamparini led Palermo to Serie A after a 31-year absence, saw them reach a Coppa Italia final and have different European adventures between 2002 and 18 He also led Venezia from the fourth division to the top flight in 1997, whilst also being known for spotting gems like Edinson Cavani, Paulo Dybala and Andrea Barzagli, all of whom went on to have accolades.

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Benzema's importance to Real Madrid as Copa dream ends

Real Madrid were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Athletic Bilbao, leaving Carlo Ancelotti to regret Karim Benzema's absence. (Author: Gardener)

Real MadridCarlo Ancelotti admitted Real Madrid missed Karim Benzema's quality as he claimed Copa del Rey elimination against Athletic Bilbao came as no surprise. The LaLiga leaders were beaten 1-0 at the San Mames on Thursday, Alex Berenguer scoring a brilliant goal in the 89th minute to send Athletic through to the semis. It was a revenge of sorts for Marcelino's men who lost 2-0 to Madrid in last month's Supercopa de Espana final, in which Benzema scored the second goal. In the absence of Benzema, who has scored 24 goals in 28 games this season, Madrid managed just two shots on target against Athletic, while first-half goals expected were the lowest since January 2020 at 0.1. Ancelotti accepted the decision not to do so, with Rush Benzema back in action leaving his side without enough threat up front. "We're injured because we want to win everything." "We don't have players of Karim's quality. We tried to play from behind but we couldn't. Athletic's pressing was really great up until the 70th minute. "I think we would have had an advantage in extra time, but they scored in the last minute. We played too much on the wings. It didn't go the way we wanted it to.” “It's not the worst game of the season. I'm not surprised at how the game went." Even as Madrid's attack struggled, Ancelotti left Eden Hazard, Gareth Bale and Luka Jovic on the bench, his only substitutions being Isco for Toni Kroos and Eduardo Camavinga for Vinicius Junior posited Ancelotti that the trio were punished by being kept under the substitutes but he replied: "I have nothing to say. [Dani] Ceballos and [Jesus] Vallejo didn't play either. They're on the same level as the others who haven't played. “Kroos was substituted due to fatigue, as was Vinicius. Madrid's next game is at home against Granada in LaLiga on Sunday.

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Ancelotti angered by questions about benching Hazard and Bale after Real Madrid were eliminated from Copa del Rey by Athletic Club

Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has reacted angrily to questions about his decision to bench Eden Hazard and Gareth Bale for a 1-0 Copa del Rey quarter-final defeat by Athletic Club. (Author: Gardener)

Athletic ClubReal Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has reacted angrily to questions about his decision to bench Eden Hazard and Gareth Bale for a 1-0 Copa del Rey quarter-final defeat by Athletic Club. Los Blancos, who clinched the Super Cup against their Bilbao rivals in January, had hoped to move one step closer to bigger title wins on Thursday but saw a late goal from Alejandro Berengeur end their dreams. Ancelotti opted against signing Belgium playmaker Hazard and Wales international Bale as his side looked for a breakthrough - with Luka Jovic, another attacker missing playing time - but the Italian has tried to defend his selection. Asked if a trio of star strikers have been penalized after struggling to deliver consistently for Real, Ancelotti said: "Why are you talking about Bale, Jovic and Hazard? "Why don't you talk about [Dani] Ceballos or [Daniel] Carvajal? “I made my decision but if you are honest you would talk about Ceballos who didn't play even a minute and the others who sat on the bench and didn't play. Although Real won't win the Copa del Rey this season, they remain four points clear at the top of the league table. Hazard and Bale have struggled with more injury woes this season and have just one goal and one assist in La Liga, but they remain proven performers at the highest level. Both will feel they have something to prove, with Hazard continuing to speculate about a move from Madrid while Bale is set to drop into the free agent pool this summer. Jovic is another who has seen questions about his future in the Spanish capital, with the Serbian striker scoring just three goals in 47 games for Real. It remains to be seen what role three underperforming active players will have to play for the remainder of the 2021-22 season when Ancelotti's men are back in action on Sunday when they host Granada.

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Ancelotti suffers from Real Madrid defeat but defends the failures of big names

The absence proved costly as the Spanish giants toppled the Copa Del Ray (Author: Gardener)

Real MadridLos Blancos manager Carlo Ancelotti says his side's late 1-0 defeat by Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey could make his side stronger. Real Madrid and Athletic Club looked set for extra time in the quarter-finals of the cup on Thursday night. Karim Benzema was absent for the game and Madrid used a false nine in his absence. Well-known wingers Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard were both unused substitutes and drew questions from the media. But the Real Madrid coach admitted he didn't feel the defeat would negatively affect his team. Ancelotti told Real Madrid's official website: "We hurt because we want to win every competition that we are involved in. We won the Super Cup, we're in good form in two other competitions and I don't think this defeat will have any negative consequences. “The consequence is that this defeat could make us stronger. We knew it was going to be a tough game and we had players out. “I dropped Kroos due to exhaustion for Camavinga, Vini Jr and Isco's move was due to fatigue... I had more changes and I wanted to use them in overtime. Unfortunately, they scored in the last minute and I didn't have time to field other guys.” Despite Karim Benzema's absence, Ancelotti chose not to use two star wingers who were available from the bench. Both Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard fell to their knees in the Copa del Rey defeat. Ancelotti defended the decision, saying: "I have nothing to say. Why are you talking about Bale, Hazard and Jovic? "All the guys who don't play have to because they're going to be penalized, right? "I made decisions that didn't involve those players but if we're honest you have to talk about Ceballos who didn't play a single minute and those who are on the bench like Vallejo who have the same quality .” Real Madrid's decision to use Marco Asensio as a false nine against Athletic Club appeared to backfire. Without Karim Benzema, Carlo Ancelotti could have opted for Luka Jovic instead. "We didn't play with a pure centre-forward," explained Ancelotti. "We didn't change our plan, we tried to play from behind but they pressed well and that made it harder for us to create clear chances. It didn't work because Athletic pressed very high and made it more difficult in that respect.

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