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Source: Varane staying at Real amid United links

Raphael Varane will stay at Real Madrid amid reported interest from Manchester United, a source close to the player has confirmed to ESPN FC.

Sources told ESPN FC in April that the 2018 World Cup winner was seriously considering seeking a new challenge, which alerted clubs throughout Europe including United, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Since returning to the Bernabeu bench in March, Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has been clear that he wanted his fellow Frenchman to remain at the club — and the pair have regularly discussed where Varane fits into the new project being planned by Zidane and club president Florentino Perez.6

Varane also felt that leaving the Bernabeu after such a poor season was not something he could do, and is instead looking forward to a “new start” after the summer.

Monday saw the announcement of a contract extension for Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos, another player who was reportedly unsettled this season. However, the source said that no discussions had taken place about extending Varane’s current deal which ends in 2022.

He has always had a strong relationship with Zidane, who was instrumental in his arrival in the Spanish capital as an 18-year-old for just €10 million in 2011.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Varane has won 16 trophies since, including two La Ligas and four Champions Leagues, but saw his form slip this season.

Madrid have already added a new centre-back to their squad for next season, with 21-year-old Brazil international Eder Militao joining from Benfica for €50m.

And with Varane now sure to stay, Madrid’s transfer decision-makers will likely turn their attention to other areas of the team, with Eden Hazard, Paul Pogba, Luka Jovic, Christian Eriksen and Ferland Mendy among their many reported targets.

Sources: Chelsea trigger Giroud contract extension

Chelsea have triggered their option to extend Olivier Giroud’s contract by another year, sources have told ESPN FC.

Giroud had been set to become a free agent, but Chelsea have decided to keep him as they weigh up whether to take their appeal against a two-transfer window ban imposed by FIFA to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Chelsea’s move to retain the France international follows their decision to break their policy of only offering one-year extensions to players over the age of 30 when David Luiz signed a new two-year contract earlier this month.

Giroud has made a positive impact since joining from Arsenal for £18 million in January 2018 and is the joint-top scorer in this season’s Europa League, netting 10 goals in 13 appearances to help Chelsea reach the final.4

But he has been unable to break into Maurizio Sarri’s team in the Premier League, starting just seven of Chelsea’s 38 league games.

Speaking last month, Giroud said he would only agree to stay at Chelsea for another season if the club could assure him of a bigger role.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

“Obviously I’m happy to be here,” he said. “The thing is I just want to enjoy. It’s not because I’m 32 and I’ve won the World Cup, because I don’t want to retire. I want to be first choice.

“With what I’ve achieved here, there is no reason they won’t give me one more year. But I need to be happy also.”

Twins’ Cruz opts to rest injured wrist, goes on IL

Minnesota Twins slugger Nelson Cruz was disappointed he won’t get a chance to play against one of his former teams.

Taking care of his strained left wrist was a bigger priority than trying to hit another home run in Seattle.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

The Twins placed Cruz on the 10-day injured list Friday with a balky wrist that was showing improvement but not enough to avoid sidelining the slugger. The move was retroactive to Tuesday and came after Cruz missed four straight games.

The expectation is that Cruz should be ready to go when the 10 days expire, and he’s likely to rejoin the lineup May 24 when Minnesota returns home to host the Chicago White Sox.6

“It’s tough, regardless of where you’re playing. But it’s a little more special to play against a former team,” Cruz said. “I think I should be good for next Friday and have my wrist under control and be pain-free.”

Cruz had not played since Sunday due to the wrist strain and said the time of the year was a major factor. Rather than trying to play through the injury, Cruz and the Twins decided resting the wrist now would be the best move. Cruz said if it was later in the season, he would play through it.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

Cruz is hitting .270 with seven home runs, 22 RBIs and a .508 slugging percentage in his first season with Minnesota. But there was noticeable disappointment about Cruz being unable to play this weekend in Seattle, where he spent the previous four seasons and hit 163 home runs with 414 RBIs.

“He has great perspective. He’s been around, he’s seen it all,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Doesn’t get easy to put him on the [injured list]. … But if we can knock this out and put this past us, or not really have to worry about it playing a big factor going forward we’re going to take the next week and do that. I think he totally realizes it makes sense.”

Minnesota recalled Luis Arraez from Triple-A Rochester. Arraez was recently promoted to Triple-A and had hit .342 at Double-A Pensacola.

Indians’ Kluber to have X-rays on broken arm

Indians pitcher Corey Kluber will have an X-ray on Thursday to evaluate his right arm, broke when hit by a line drive on May 1.

Kluber has had his arm in a cast since being injured. Cleveland manager Terry Francona said Monday the cast could be removed and replaced with a removable splint, depending on the results of the X-ray.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping5

A two-time AL Cy Young Award winner, Kluber was diagnosed with a nondisplaced fracture to his ulna when struck by a line drive off the bat of Miami’s Brian Anderson. The Indians said surgery was not needed,nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Kluber is 2/3 with a 5.80 ERA in seven starts. Francona said the pitcher has been working on the stationary bike.

The Milwaukee ‘Bench Mob’ is overwhelming Toronto

George Hill is demanding to know how this story got told. It’s true, he said. He did, in fact, jump into a chilly lake to save Paul George’s drowning dog a few years ago.

It was back when Hill and George were teammates on the Indiana Pacers. As both a self-identified “fix it” guy and an animal lover, Hill just had to jump in after the pooch when he saw it struggling to keep its head above water.

Hill approaches his role on the Milwaukee Bucks much the way he did in saving the struggling pup: He is ready when called upon and prides himself on his unselfishness. Along with his ability as a proven shooter, those traits made him well-suited for the Milwaukee system.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

The Bucks have touted their depth all season, and Hill, along with the rest of the team’s “Bench Mob,” often has been the difference-maker in the playoffs, too. Entering the Eastern Conference finals, the Milwaukee bench ranked third leaguewide in points per game, third in field goal percentage, first in 3-point attempts and second in assists.6

In a 125-103 Game 2 victory against the Toronto Raptors on Friday night, the Bucks’ bench outscored the Raptors’ backups 54-39. Milwaukee scored its most points in the first half of a playoff game (64) in the past 20 seasons, and the Bucks head to Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena for Game 3 on Sunday with a commanding 2-0 series lead.

It’s not the first time this postseason that Milwaukee’s bench players have been heavy contributors. The Bucks owed their Game 3 win over the Boston Celtics in the conference semifinals to a third-quarter run by the bench; Hill outscored Boston’s reserves 21-16 by himself for the game.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

But in the conference finals, the disparity between the two teams’ depth has been apparent. Toronto’s starting lineup has struggled to find chemistry, and Kawhi Leonard didn’t get much help in Game 2, as only two other Raptors finished in double figures. It wasn’t much better for Toronto in Game 1, as only three Raptors finished in double figures — and Milwaukee reserve guard Malcolm Brogdon outscored the visiting team’s bench 15-12.

Toronto’s depth was further stretched on Friday because starting center Marc Gasol, who has been a matchup target for the Bucks, scored only two points in 19 minutes on 1-of-9 shooting from the field. Pascal Siakam, officially a finalist for this season’s Most Improved Player award, fouled out in 26 minutes with eight points and was overpowered by Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The Raptors are relying on Fred VanVleet, Serge Ibaka and Norman Powell to play strong rotation minutes in this series; forward OG Anunoby is still not close to playing because of an emergency appendectomy just before the start of the postseason. VanVleet has struggled significantly, shooting only 28.4 percent from the field in the postseason, and Ibaka is the only reserve averaging more than 20 minutes in the playoffs. Powell had a strong Game 2 (14 points, 6 of 9 field goals), but prior to Friday, Toronto head coach Nick Nurse hadn’t played him more than 20 minutes since the first round against the Orlando Magic.

For the Raptors, Game 3 came down to their will to survive

Lineup rotations can be tweaked and defensive coverages can be refined, but no matter how much preparation has been performed, the crucial minutes of a playoff game are nothing more than a desperate exercise in survival. Every possession is a fire drill, and few of them resemble the inspired plays drawn up on crisp whiteboards by basketball brainiacs when all is at peace.

For the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night, fighting for their postseason lives, unforeseen circumstances were the norm. Kawhi Leonard landed awkwardly in the first quarter with questions swirling throughout the game about his condition.

Their starting point guard, Kyle Lowry, fouled out of the game with more than six minutes remaining in regulation. Their most productive offensive guard in Game 3 was reserve Norman Powell — and he fouled out five minutes later. That left the Raptors with a backcourt of Danny Green and Fred VanVleet, who had shot a collective 2-for-20 on the night. With seven seconds remaining in regulation, Pascal Siakam — a 78.5 percent shooter at the line this season — had an opportunity to secure the win with a pair of free throws but missed both.nfl authentic jerseys cheap

Despite the persistent foul trouble, and squandering leads of four points with about 70 seconds remaining in both the fourth quarter and the first overtime, the Raptors leaned on Leonard and a feisty defense to outlast the Milwaukee Bucks 118-112 in double overtime of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.4

The greater the stakes on a given possession, the less artful the play from both teams. With Lowry on the bench, the Raptors were without their game manager for the final 16 minutes of action. “It was f—ing terrible to watch,” Lowry said of having to watch the game unfold as a spectator.

Meanwhile, Bucks starting point guard Eric Bledsoe struggled during his minutes on the court, as did de facto point guard Giannis Antetokounmpo, who fouled out in the opening minutes of the second overtime. Khris Middleton, who suffered a series of miscues with the game in the balance, also had a forgettable night.

Leonard has been the one constant for a Toronto team whose individual performers have been variable for the better part of three weeks. The Raptors escaped the Philadelphia 76ers thanks to Leonard’s theatrics a week ago with a 4-3 series win, but the historic shot — the squat, the four bounces and all the rest of it — occurred during a cold-shooting snap that has confounded the Raptors for days.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

The two losses in Milwaukee to begin the conference finals exacerbated a tension that’s familiar in a game in which probabilities rule — but not always justly. Coming into Game 3, the Raptors had compiled just a 52.1 effective field goal percentage on uncontested shots since the start of the Philadelphia series after ranking second in the NBA (a 68.1 percent eFG) in uncontested attempts during the regular season.

Eagles’ Long says he’s retiring after 11 seasons

Eagles defensive end Chris Long, the reigning Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, is calling it a career after 11 seasons.

Long made the announcement Saturday night on social media, sharing a photo of a red cup in his hand and the mountains in the distance.

The Eagles released a statement congratulating Long, saying, in part, “He will always be part of the Eagles family.”

“There aren’t many players who can say they won back-to-back Super Bowls and the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award,” the Eagles said. “There’s no question that his work ethic combined with his unique talent made him into one of the greatest of this era’s professional athletes. We’re very thankful Chris chose to play for the Philadelphia Eagles.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Long, 34, spent much of the offseason weighing whether to retire or play another season. He made it clear that his role would need to be right if he were to return for a 12th NFL season.5

Long wanted ample opportunity to get after the quarterback. With Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett slated to be the Eagles’ starters and defensive tackle Malik Jackson likely to stay on the field on third down, Long’s playing time in pass-rushing situations would have been more limited than he’d like.

“It’s kind of like at the amusement park, when they click that seat belt on, the roller coaster going — you can’t get out. There’s no quitting,” Long told ESPN earlier this offseason. “Some guys might think differently, but when you’re in, you’re in, so I want to make sure I’m in. I think most players need to do that, and I’m just honest about it. Maybe some guys just aren’t telling the truth. But it’s all about the situation for me. I know I can still play. I think I played well, especially in the second half of the year this year, once I got healthy and I got more snaps, so we’ll see.”nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Selected second overall by St. Louis in the 2008 NFL draft, he spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Rams before being released in 2016 as injuries limited his production. His 6.5 sacks this past season were his most since 2013.

The son of NFL legend Howie Long, he posted 70 career sacks and 85 tackles for loss over his career.

For all of his on-field success, Long’s legacy largely will be defined by the way he used his platform to maximize his humanitarian efforts. Through his organization, Waterboys, he has helped provide more than 200,000 people with clean water in Africa, building close to 60 water wells in Tanzania.

Dak on deal talks: ‘Want to be a Cowboy forever’

“I mean, I want to be a Cowboy forever,” Prescott said Wednesday night at Dr Pepper Ballpark, where the quarterback and his teammates were raising money for the Salvation Army through the Reliant Home Run Derby. “I think the people that are doing the deal feel the same way, so to me, it’s no rush. I know it will get done.”

Prescott is set to make $2.02 million in the final year of his four-year rookie contract that he signed after the Dallas Cowboys drafted him in the fourth round in 2016.

Last week, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said talks with the agents for Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper were “off and running,” and Jones did not rule out a deal for running back Ezekiel Elliott, either.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Owner and general manager Jerry Jones has said keeping Prescott is a priority for the future and that he knows it will come at a big price.

Russell Wilson recently signed a four-year, $140 million extension with the Seattle Seahawks. Prescott is likely to see a deal that could come in around $30 million per year.4

Last month, DeMarcus Lawrence signed a five-year, $105 million deal that is the most in Cowboys history in terms of average per year ($21 million) and guaranteed money ($65 million). Prescott figures to top those marks.

“It’s all generational money, life-changing money, so it’s just a blessing to be able to be in this position,” Prescott said. “But as far as the numbers are concerned, my focus is on the locker room, and that will all take care of itself.”cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Since 2016, only Tom Brady has won more games than Prescott in the NFL. Prescott was named NFL Rookie of the Year in 2016 after he took over for an injured Tony Romo and threw 23 touchdown passes with just four interceptions in leading the Cowboys to an NFC-best 13-3 record.

Prescott has started every game in his career, compiling a 32-16 record with two NFC East titles and two playoff appearances. He followed up his rookie campaign with back-to-back seasons with 22 touchdown passes. He had 13 interceptions in 2017 and just eight in 2018. He is the only quarterback in NFL history to throw for at least 20 touchdown passes and run for at least five scores in each of his first three seasons.

The Cowboys picked up the fifth-year option on Elliott’s contract for 2020 at a cost of $9.09 million, and they would like to sign him to a long-term deal, as well.

Joaquin calls for patience after Real Betis suffer season of mediocrity

Spain’s penultimate league weekend of the season was so intense, unpredictable, tearful and joyous in almost equal measure that you may well have missed a legend doing something legendary.

Real Madrid were torn apart, humiliated ahead of their season finale against Real Betis. Barcelona wandered their way through the post-Anfield hangover but still managed to almost fatally pierce Getafe’s Champions League aspirations.

Girona crumbled to almost certain relegation despite winning at Madrid this season, drawing with Barcelona at the Camp Nou and eliminating Atletico Madrid from the Copa del Rey — a message to Eusebio and his disdain for 3-5-2: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

On the weekend when Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City were winning the title in England, why on earth wouldn’t Real Valladolid’s saviour — given that they are presided over by a guy, Ronaldo, who starred with the City coach in Bobby Robson’s Barcelona of the mid-1990s — be named Guardiola? Okay, Pep is Pep and Sergi isn’t related, but there was a hint of the universe being in harmony, a kiss from kismet.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

Diego Godin’s emotional goodbye, Abdoulaye Ba being brainless again for Rayo Vallecano, Iago Aspas paying further homage to Antonin Panenka in scoring against Athletic — then sportingly consoling keeper Iago Herrerin for leaving him with egg on his face. It was all there, a cornucopia of quality, drama, relief, embarrassment, salvation — an Iberian A to Z of La Liga’s beauty and quality.6

The legendary act? Drawing 1-1 against a side who didn’t seem to have waved the white flag, despite their descent into the inferno of Spain’s second division being confirmed some time ago, Betis were about to end their wilting season to the sound of jeers, whistles, boos and potentially the sight of restless natives with pitchforks and lanterns storming the citadel of the Benito Villamarin that night to chase coach Quique Setien out of town.

There had been eight minutes of added time on the display board held up by the fourth official. In a game for which you care with all your heart and your nails are bitten down to your knuckles, you, me, indeed everybody who loves their football team would look at eight minutes as an odyssey — a universe of time in which equalisers, winners or more goals to humiliate a beaten opposition can be scored.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Oh this occasion, eight minutes seemed to the irritable, passionate, hot-headed and long-suffering Betis support as some kind of cosmic joke at their expense. “Mas basura, mas sufrimiento y mas verguenza,” (“More rubbish, more suffering and more shame”) were the kind of sentiments that were rippling around the venerable old stadium where poor old Betis and their aficionados will have to suffer either Barcelona or Valencia lifting the Copa del Rey in a couple of weeks’ time.

Joaquin had already put Los Verdiblancos 1-0 up early in the match with the kind of header that had Marco Van Basten scored it, would have merited anthologies of poetry, portraits hung in art galleries and perhaps a statue or two created in its honour. In doing so, he’d reached 100 professional goals, and 49 for Betis — becoming the 12th-oldest scorer in La Liga history.

Ex-Chelsea midfielder Mikel considering Premier League offers – source

John Obi Mikel is closing in on a return to the Premier League with a source telling ESPN FC that the former Chelsea star is considering multiple offers from around the league and could make a decision before heading off to the Africa Cup of Nations with Nigeria.

With Boro’s season over and no promotion, a source close to the Nigeria international said he has received multiple offers to return to the Premier League, including newly promoted Norwich and Sheffield United.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china4

“There are some options right now, and a few more we expect to see over the coming days,” the source told ESPN FC. “Once all the options are on the table, he will make a decision.”

That decision is likely to be made before the Africa Cup of Nations Finals.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

Mikel has just been recalled to the Nigeria squad after nearly one year out, and is expected to lead his country to the Africa Cup of Nations finals.

“He will most likely make the decision before the finals, although that will depend on what is on the table,” the source added.