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Gareth Bale and building from within are Real Madrid’s best options for life after Ronaldo

No sooner had Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Juventus been confirmed than the roll call of usual suspects to replace the Portugal captain at the Bernabeu was dusted off: Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Harry Kane, Eden Hazard … it is a list as well-thumbed as Florentino Perez’s cheque book during his first spell at the helm of Real Madrid.

The Real president’s first reaction will be to break the bank in response to losing his star attraction, but none of those players will be easy to land. Mbappe and Neymar are under lengthy contracts, and minimum release clauses do not exist in Ligue 1. Daniel Levy stands between Perez and Kane, and any inquiry for Hazard would be met with a similar response: not for less than €200 million and probably for considerably more.wholesale cheap nfl jerseys

Even Perez might balk at those numbers after Real issued a swift denial of a €272 million bid for the France international last week.

Above all, none but Hazard has openly stated any desire to play for Madrid: Mbappe had his heart set on Barca before eventually signing for PSG.12

Neymar might view Ligue 1 as a steppingstone, but having washed his hands of one player with a tendency to detract from the efforts of the collective — albeit one who scored a lot of goals — Perez would be well advised not to remove his fingers from the fire just to plunge them into the frying pan with a move for another.

There is little point in trying to replace the irreplaceable; Ronaldo is a one-of-a-kind player. But Perez pre-empted a post-Cristiano landscape in 2013 when he signed Gareth Bale for a world-record fee. Rather than forking out another this summer, it is time to hand the mantle to the Welshman.

With Ronaldo, the team often found itself playing for his benefit. They should now be handed the opportunity to prove that they can be successful in his absence. Madrid are not short of talent, and the notion that a new superstar is required undermines the entire squad.nfl jersey cheap wholesale china

In Julen Lopetegui, Perez hired a coach with a long-term plan in mind and one noted for developing youth. If Perez plays to his manager’s strengths, he might find the rewards more profitable than a quick fix.

What effect Ronaldo will have on a settled and unified Juve dressing room will provide an interesting side-narrative to Real’s season. Massimiliano Allegri was offered the Madrid job and turned it down. Accommodating Ronaldo is now his problem.

Perez’s experiment might not work. Lopetegui might not even last the season. But Madrid have spent the past two years hoovering up some of the finest young talent in the world, and on paper, Lopetegui is the right man to harness it.

Vinicius Junior could prove to be Madrid’s Mbappe. At €45 million he is hardly going to be eased in at Castilla and will be given an immediate chance to justify that price tag.

France aren’t broken, so Deschamps won’t change for World Cup final

It’s one of the oldest footballing maxims out there, and it exists in different idioms and cultures. Giovanni Trapattoni used to say that a good coach could make a team 5 percent better, but a bad one — or, to be a bit more civil, a coach who makes wrong decisions — could make a side 30 percent worse.

Diego Simeone served up his own version in his recent leaked WhatsApp j’accuse by saying that results were ordinarily 90 percent down to players, but when you have a disaster of a coaching staff (read: Jorge Sampaoli), then they can only influence things up to 60 percent.wholesale nfl jerseys cheap

France vs. Belgium at St. Petersburg’s version of the Death Star was a study in two contrasting managers. One, Didier Deschamps, lives by football’s version of the Hippocratic Oath: above all, do no harm. His France team do not have a distinct footballing identity beyond the Deschamps version of Hulk Hogan’s four demandments, only Didi has three: defend, work hard and wait for something to happen. There is no multiplier effect tactically, no attempt to create particular synergies between his players through sophisticated movement and positioning. It’s about trusting your big guns to do something of their own volition while raising the barricades at the back.11

That’s why you see France with three central midfielders and poor Paul Pogba asked to play little more than a bouncer role in front of the back four. And because that’s not enough, he gets help from the ubiquitous N’Golo Kante (if defensive players won awards, he’d be a shoo-in) and Blaise Matuidi too. All this in front of a back four with two safety-first fullbacks.

The other is Roberto Martinez who, believing in the added value his tactical mind brings, conjures up complicated schemes to get the best out of his side. When it works, it’s very good. When it doesn’t — and against France, it fell as flat as a road-graded waffle — it’s a disaster.nfl jersey cheap wholesale china

Before we get into it, let’s remind ourselves that Martinez has some mitigating circumstances. The first is that unlike Deschamps, he wasn’t born with a silver spoon. He didn’t have the same sort of stellar career as a player and wasn’t handed a top team straight out of retirement, either. He got where he is because he has a clearly defined approach to football and a reputation as a guy who makes teams more than the sum of their parts. So for him, going the Deschamps’ route of laissez-faire was not an option.

The other was that he was missing Thomas Meunier, who may not be a superstar outside his own household but was a critical cog in Belgium’s machine. He was the natural right-sided defender who could be deployed in a back four or as a wing-back. But Meunier was suspended for this match and his absence set off a chain of events that ultimately proved to be Belgium’s undoing.

England’s Jamie Vardy ‘looking doubtful’ to face Sweden – Southgate

England forward Jamie Vardy is “looking doubtful” to be able to face Sweden in the World Cup quarterfinal on Saturday, said coach Gareth Southgate, who also expressed concerned over “two or three” other players.

Vardy, who entered as a substitute against Colombia in the round of 16, picked up a groin strain and needed an injection, leaving him uncertain for the next game.

Southgate compared the trainer’s room to a “scene from M*A*S*H*”, though he also believes that the other seven teams left in the competition have similar concerns.nike jerseys nfl cheap

“Vardy didn’t train today, so is looking doubtful for this game,” Southgate said on Thursday. “But we’ll know a bit more tomorrow, really. The others were all on the pitch. We didn’t do a lot.

“I think at this stage, minimal time on the pitch, a lot of our information is going to have to be in meetings. Because it really is as much about recovery, physical and psychological, as everything else.

“The downside of that is we can’t push the players enough today to see whether they’re OK. So we’ll know more tomorrow. We’ll have to make late decisions. I think every team will be in the same boat on that.”36

Southgate was more confident on the fitness of Dele Alli, Ashley Young and Kyle Walker, however.

“Dele was absolutely fine after the game, didn’t feel anything. I think the extra couple of days were really helpful for him,” Southgate said. “Had he gone into the last one a bit earlier he might have come out of the game feeling something. He was fine.

“Young and Walker, we’ve no reason to believe they’re serious issues. They were back on their feet today. But equally there might be a couple of others, who until they’re extending themselves a bit more.

“I think when you’ve had a long game like that, you don’t know until you’ve really started to extend in training again exactly what you might be carrying.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“But our feeling is, certainly nothing serious, but two or three in particular that we’ve probably got to assess quite closely tomorrow and see exactly what level they’re at. Again, because we’ve got good players to come in.

“So if we’ve got players that are 75 percent, then the guys who haven’t been in the team deserve to come in and be at 100 percent.”

Serie A expresses ‘extreme worry’ over ban on gambling-related ads in Italy

Serie A has expressed “extreme worry” after the approval of a new decree that would see a blanket ban on any gambling-related advertising in Italy.

The Decreto Dignita, which was approved by Italy’s council of ministers on Monday, will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

All advertising of gambling-related products and services will be banned, while sports clubs will also be prohibited from carrying sponsors from that industry. Those with existing agreements will be granted concessions to honour their contracts, while the decree excludes the state-run national lottery.

It will impact directly on sport, especially football, where more than half the Italian clubs in top-tier Serie A have a sponsorship deal with a betting company.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

“The Lega Serie A is following with extreme worry the developments of the ‘Decreto Legge Dignita’ and the impact on Italian football of rules which ban advertising from betting firms,” said the governing body in a statement.35

“In highlighting the clear disparity compared to other countries in Europe and the world, where such bans don’t exist, and showing the negative consequences of such a measure, the Lega Serie A points out that in the 2017-18 season 12 top-flight clubs had a partnership agreement with companies from the betting sector.”

It said football clubs would lose millions of euros worth of sponsorship.

More money could also be lost from a knock-on effect on revenue from the sale of television rights as TV companies would not be able to sell advertising slots at high prices to gambling firms during games.nike jerseys nfl cheap

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), which represents the leading privately owned European online betting and gaming operators, told The Associated Press that “each year gambling operators contribute about €120 million ($140m) to sponsor sports teams and leagues in Italy.”

Serie A’s governing body pointed to the success of the Premier League and warned of lost money for Italian teams.

“In the Premier League, identified by everyone as the benchmark for its ability to generate resources, 45 percent of clubs have a gaming firm as a shirt sponsor and in all the stadiums, on screens pitchside, there is advertising from betting companies,” its statement said. “Prohibiting the firms from this sector to invest in advertising in our country would bring competitive disadvantages to Italian clubs, directing abroad advertising budgets meant for our teams.”

Wayne Rooney: England ‘should be dreaming now’ of World Cup glory

Wayne Rooney has urged England coach Gareth Southgate to give his players “a lot of freedom” in their World Cup round-of-16 game against Colombia, and said the Three Lions can start dreaming about lifting the trophy already.china nfl jerseys cheap

The Three Lions will face Colombia on Tuesday after advancing from Group G as runners-up with wins over Tunisia and Panama before a defeat to Belgium in which Southgate opted to use his reserves.

A win against Colombia would leave England among as the favourites to reach the final from their side of the bracket, and the Three Lions’ all-time leading goal scorer said the young squad have the ability to take the game to the South Americans.

“They’re good. They’ve got a lot of potential. They’ve been exciting, young, great energy, playing with a lot of freedom,” Rooney said of England’s chances while speaking to ESPN FC on Monday at his introductory news conference with D.C. United.

“I just hope Gareth allows them to do that in this game against Colombia and doesn’t maybe think it’s a knockout game you need to hold back a bit. Let them play. I think they’re enjoying having that freedom. They’re expressing themselves.12

“I think sometimes if you take a bit away from that it might hurt us, but I’d say let them play and let them continue to go on.”

Should England reach the quarterfinals, only the likes of Sweden, Switrzerland, Croatia and Russia stand between them and the final.

And asked whether England can start dreaming of glory if they beat Colombia, Rooney said: “I think we should be dreaming now.”

But regardless of the results to come, Rooney also stressed that the fans should get behind the team, which is likely to feature many of the same players at Euro 2020 and the next World Cup.

“It’s early, but whatever happens now in this World Cup — whether we go out tomorrow or we go on and win it — the fans and the media back home, I think they need to get behind these lads.

“I’ve seen it two years ago. I said it two years ago when I was captain of the team: give these lads a bit of time, because I’ve seen the quality and the ability they all had.authentic nfl jerseys china

“And, again, after this tournament, whatever happens now, get behind them, because in two years’ time, four years’ time, that might be the support that helps them go on and win that trophy.”

Southgate took his share of criticism for opting to make eight changes against Belgium, who won 1-0 to top the group. But Rooney said he had no doubt that Southgate made the correct choice in allowing the likes of Harry Kane to rest for the knockout stage.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp delighted as coach Pepijn Lijnders returns

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said he is pleased to welcome Pepijn Lijnders back to the club, describing his return as “really important.”

Lijnders, who left his post as first-team development coach to manage NEC Nijmegen in January, returned last month in a “senior capacity” as part of Klopp’s backroom staff.

The 35-year-old was dismissed by NEC in May after failing to achieve promotion to the Eredivisie, but Klopp feels he returns to Merseyside with greater experience.where to get nfl jerseys cheap

“It’s good. It’s very, very good. We sent him away for half a year to get very important experience and to have him back now feels just fantastic,” he told Liverpool’s website.

“When he came in the building, everybody was really delighted about that. He’s a fantastic person and a fantastic coach, so it’s really important that we have him back and I’m really looking forward to working together with him.”11

Assistant manager Zeljko Buvac has been absent at the start of Liverpool’s preseason work.

Buvac’s situation remains unresolved after Liverpool confirmed in April that he would be spending time away from the club for personal reasons.

Meanwhile, the 26 Liverpool players not on international duty reported to Melwood on Monday after the summer break, with Andrew Robertson taking part in his first full preseason as a Liverpool player.

The left-back completed his transfer from Hull midway through last summer, meaning he missed out on the preseason tour to Hong Kong.

“I think I did the first three weeks with Hull so it was a lot different — it’s always good to get a full preseason with the team you’re going to be with,” he said.china nfl jerseys cheap

“Over the close season I’ve been working on getting fit and now I want to get fitter until August and it’s all leading up to that West Ham game [on the opening weekend] now.”

West Ham, Wolves both interested in West Brom’s Ahmed Hegazi – sources

West Ham United and Premier League newcomers Wolves are chasing West Brom defender Ahmed Hegazi, sources have told ESPN FC.new nike nfl jerseys cheap

Hegazi has been away at the World Cup with Egypt this month, playing in all three games against Uruguay, Russia and Saudi Arabia as his national team failed to progress from the group stage.62

Hegazi started all 38 Premier League games last season and his impressive performances brought him to the attention of a number of clubs, with West Brom facing a major battle to keep hold of him following their relegation from the Premier League.

He was one of West Brom’s best players and has a release clause in the region of £10 million in his contract at The Hawthorns, with Hegazi’s suitors ready to trigger the release as they look to land him for a bargain fee.

New West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini is looking to bolster his defensive options and Hegazi figures highly on his wanted list as he reshapes the squad at the London Stadium.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

Wolves, who are planning for life back in the Premier League, are planning to add quality to their ranks and the fact Hegazi has Premier League experience makes him an attractive proposition.

Socceroos are going to give Australia a night to remember – Mat Ryan

Maty Ryan has promised Australians a night to remember as they try to beat Peru and advance from Group C as just the second Socceroos side to reach the knockout rounds of the World Cup.

Ryan is one of the few players to have featured from the get-go in Australia’s qualifying mission that began three years ago.

He said putting the scale of the achievement into context was near impossible.

“It’s difficult to find words to describe that,” he said.

“It would be the absolute meaning of why myself and many others play this sport. To be as successful as you can and try and create as many lifelong memories.

“If we’re successful in achieving that tomorrow, I dare say not only us as players but the whole nation of Australia is going to remember that night.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

“And that achievement, for the rest of their lives. Just as the team did back then in 2006 in Germany.”

In 2006, Harry Kewell’s late equaliser against Croatia in Stuttgart sent the Socceroos into the round of 16 at their expense.

Germany’s World Cup — including Tim Cahill’s iconic goals on Australia’s drought-breaking return to the tournament — was a formative experience for the modern-day team.61

An experience, a dream, they will now live against Peru in Sochi on Tuesday night.

“I for one am never going to forget those nights,” Ryan said. “Getting up and celebrating in Australia when we beat Japan and getting the results we needed to progress.

“And obviously the heartache that followed in the Italian game.

“It would mean the absolute world to me and show all the sacrifices and dedication all over the years to achieve something like that.

“It would have all paid off.”

Coincidentally, the Croatians loom as a likely opponent for Bert van Marwijk’s side if they are to replicate the feat of the 2006 team.

In Russia, the equation is trickier than it was for Guus Hiddink’s trailblazers.new nike nfl jerseys cheap

Not only must Australia beat the already eliminated firebrand South Americans, they must also hope France defeat Denmark.

Ismael Tajouri-Shradi brace lifts New York City FC past Orlando City

Rookie Ismael Tajouri-Shradi scored two goals as NYCFC remained unbeaten at home with a 3-0 victory over Orlando City FC on Saturday night at Yankee Stadium.

Tajouri-Shradi made it 1-0 by converting New York’s first scoring chance in the 35th minute. Trailing the play, he went into the box, took the pass from Anton Tinnerholm and released a nifty left-footed shot after defender Donny Toia fell to the ground that sailed into the far side of the net.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

Tajorui-Shradi’s big night helped NYCFC improve to 6-0-0 at home and beat Orlando for the second time this season.

He added his seventh goal of the season by converting a rebound off a free kick by Maximiliano Moralez in the 78th minute.

It was the second career two-goal game for the 24-year-old, who was born in Switzerland to Libyan parents. He also tallied twice on March 24 in a 2-2 tie at the New England Revolution.

Moralez made it 3-0 in the 87th minute after Orlando was unable to clear the box twice, just moments after David Villa hit the crossbar with a left-footed shot.

NYCFC is outscoring opponents 18-2 in six home games this season.48

NYCFC improved to 8-3-3 on a night when Villa was not in the starting lineup. No reason was given for Villa’s absence at the start, but he warmed up briefly on two occasions around the 22nd minute and the 52nd minute before entering the game in the 65th minute.

Orlando played without leading scorer Dom Dwyer for the third straight game with a lower-body injury. Dwyer, who was seen at training this week, missed his sixth game this season, and Orlando dropped to 0-5-1 when he sits out.cheap official nike nfl jerseys

Orlando, which lost its fourth straight game, was unable to convert five corner kicks and missed a golden opportunity to tie the game on a penalty kick in the 48th minute when Sacha Kljestan hit the right post with his right-footed shot.

New York’s Sean Johnson made two saves and notched his 48th career shutout. It was his fifth shutout this season.

Alan Gordon, Aleksandar Katai lead Chicago Fire past San Jose Earthquakes

Alan Gordon and Aleksandar Katai scored as the Chicago Fire defeated the hapless San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 on Saturday at Toyota Park, winning at home for the just the second time in five matches.

Gordon put the Fire on top in the 29th minute as he ran to the far post and jumped over San Jose defender Jimmy Ockford to head Luis Solignac’s cross from the right sideline past Earthquakes goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell. Johan Kappelhof also received credit for an assist on the goal.nike cheap nfl jerseys

Katai added to Chicago’s lead four minutes into the second half, taking a nifty pass from Brandt Bronico on the head run to beat Earthquakes forward Florian Jungwirth into the box before lobbing a shot over the head of the hard-charging Tarbell and into the far side of the net.47

Gordon and Solignac had great chances to add to the lead in the 57th minute, but each player had shots cleared off the line by San Jose defenders after they got past Tarbell.

San Jose cut the Fire’s advantage in half in the 74th minute when Danny Hoesen rushed into the zone to receive a pass from Chris Wondolowski and boot it into the goal, as Chicago keeper Richard Sanchez had no chance to respond.

Katai had a chance to ice the match in the 85th minute, but his hard shot from inside the 18-yard line was parried wide by Tarbell.

San Jose has won just once away from home in eight matches in 2018 and has just one victory in its past 12 outings. The Earthquakes dropped their third straight game and extended their winless streak to four matches.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

The Earthquakes outshot Chicago 14-13 and each team had four shots on target. San Jose also earned advantages in blocked shots (6-3), crosses (25-10), total passes (481-433), possession (53 percent to 47 percent) and duels won (51-47), but had little to show for its good work.

San Jose returns home to host LAFC next Saturday while the Fire stay in the Windy City to host New England, also on Saturday.