Football latest: Leonardo Bonucci denies Juventus half-time bust-up during Uefa Champions League final
Alves to leave Juventus
Dani Alves has asked to leave Juventus, the Italian champions’ chief Giuseppe Marotta said on Wednesday, as reports gather pace that the Brazilian is set to reunite with former manager Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
Alves, 34, had a spectacular impact in his only campaign in Serie A after eight trophy-laden seasons at Barcelona, helping the Italian team to a league and cup double and playing a crucial role in driving them to the Uefa Champions League final, where they lost 4-1 to Real Madrid.
Bayern Munich rule out transfer of Robert Lewandowski
Bayern Munich have said striker Robert Lewandowski is staying at the club despite media reports that Premier League clubs Manchester United and Chelsea are interested in signing the Poland captain.
Bayern told Sky Sports News that “FCB is not wasting any thoughts on a Lewandowski transfer”.
The club added that Lewandowski’s agent, Maik Barthel, had not held any contract talks concerning the player.
Lewandowski was reportedly unhappy with teammates for a lack of support as he missed out on the Bundesliga’s top-scorer award to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Borussia Dortmund forward scored twice on the final day of the season to win by one goal.
Barthel told Kicker magazine “he was so disappointed like I’d never seen him before.”
Lewandowski’s contract at Bayern runs until 2021.
Monaco sign Barca boy
French champions Monaco plucked promising teenage winger Jordi Mboula from Barcelona on a five-year deal on Wednesday, the Ligue 1 club announced.
Mboula, 18, shone during last season’s Uefa Youth League, scoring eight goals in as many matches, and the Spain youth international becomes Monaco’s fifth signing of the close season.
“Jordi Mboula demonstrated some great things with Barca’s academy and Monaco are offering him an ideal environment to carry on his development,” Monaco vice president Vadim Vasilyev said.
Monaco have already signed Belgian international midfielder Youri Tielemans from Anderlecht, young defender Jordy Gaspar from Lyon, Swiss international goalkeeper Diego Benaglio from Wolfsburg and midfielder Soualiho Meite from Belgian side Zulte Waregem.
Bonucci denies rift
Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci has denied being involved in a half-time bust-up with teammates during the Uefa Champions League final defeat against Real Madrid.
Reports in Italy have suggested the 30-year-old had a spat with Paulo Dybala and Andrea Barzagli during the interval in Cardiff on June 3.
Serie A champions Juventus were level at 1-1 at the break but went on to lose 4-1 as their hopes of winning the treble fell away in the second half.
However, Italy international Bonucci insists there was no half-time altercation at the Principality Stadium and has sought to clarify the situation.
A post on his official Facebook page read: “With regard to what has been written over the last few days by some press reports concerning alleged arguments and verbal clashes, which would have seen myself and others as protagonists, I think it is time to make one point.
“Nothing that has been written or narrated has truth. There was no dispute, no physical acts involving me or anyone else.
“The interval between the first and second half of the [Champions League] final was an interval like many others where, I repeat, nothing happened.
“These are the only words I have to say about this, and I hope they are the last.”
Di Maria reaches tax agreement
Former Real Madrid player Angel di Maria has reached an agreement with Spanish prosecutors over a tax evasion charge related to his image rights, a Madrid-based court said on Wednesday.
Di Maria, who now plays for France’s Paris St-Germain, will plead guilty to two charges of tax fraud, carrying an eight-month prison sentence for each, and pay a €2 million (Dh8.2m) settlement, the court said.
Under Spanish law, a first-time offender is not required to serve time in jail for a sentence below two years.
The Argentine midfielder is accused of failing to pay some €1.3m to the Spanish tax authorities in 2012/2013 by giving up his image rights to companies based in tax havens, such as Panama.
Man United in the clear over Pogba signing
Manchester United have been cleared of breaching any rules over Paul Pogba’s world-record transfer from Juventus, but Fifa has opened disciplinary proceedings against the Italian club.
In May football’s world governing body asked for clarification on all aspects of Pogba’s £89 million move to Old Trafford last summer.
The decision was believed to be linked to newspaper claims that agent Mino Raiola earned £41m from the deal that took the France international to Manchester.
United insisted they had nothing wrong at the time, with a spokesman saying: ‘We don’t comment on contracts, Fifa have had the documents since the transfer was completed last August.”
Fifa has now confirmed United face no action, although Juventus are now the subject of further action.
A Fifa spokesman said: “We can confirm that disciplinary proceedings have been opened against Juventus FC. We cannot comment further as proceedings are ongoing.
“We can confirm that no disciplinary proceedings have been opened against Manchester United.”
Swansea keen on Chelsea’s Abraham
Swansea are hopeful of signing Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham on loan, Press Association Sport understands.
The two clubs are in discussions over a deal for the 19-year-old, who is currently at the Uefa Under 21 Championship with England, for the 2017/18 season.
Nothing has yet been finalised but Swansea seem well-placed to beat off interest from other clubs, including Newcastle and Brighton, for the youngster.
Swansea manager Paul Clement previously worked with Abraham while he was on the coaching staff at Chelsea.
Abraham impressed during a spell with Championship side Bristol City last season, scoring 23 league goals.
Sinclair seeks another undeaten season
Celtic forward Scott Sinclair has set his sights on another unbeaten season.
Brendan Rodgers’ treble winners completed a remarkable campaign last term by going 47 games without losing to Scottish opposition.
Celtic will learn on Friday who they will kick off the new campaign against when the 2017/18 top-flight fixtures are announced.
And double Player of the Year award winner Sinclair reckons his team are more than capable of extending their incredible record into a second year.
Asked if the team could go unbeaten again this term, the Englishman said: “I’d like to think so. When we go into these games we’ll be looking to do exactly the same as we did last year.
“I think we’re much stronger now [than at the beginning of last season]. Throughout last year, game by game I thought we improved dramatically from the start to the finish.
“We started well and finished even stronger.
“If we can do that again going into this season then hopefully we can do the same.”
Oxford joins Borussia Monchengladbach
Reece Oxford is to spend the coming season on loan with Borussia Monchengladbach from West Ham United.
The 18-year-old, who can play in both defence and midfield, joins the Bundesliga club on July 1, having spent the second half of 2016/17 in the Championship with Reading.
“We believe Reece has a very exciting and successful future here at West Ham, and he now needs regular first team football to ensure his progress continues,” West Ham manager Slaven Bilic told the club’s official website.
“He will play in a league which is very technical, which can only help him immensely, and he will also learn a new culture and gain valuable life experience.”
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Updated: June 21, 2017 04:00 AM