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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 21 August 2018

Liverpool close to world record deal for Brazil goalkeeper Alisson

British media reports Premier League club have agreed to meet Roma's valuation of €75 million for first-choice Brazil international

Liverpool have reportedly agreed to meet Roma's valuation of €75 million for Brazil's Alisson. Toru Hanai / Reuters
Liverpool have reportedly agreed to meet Roma's valuation of €75 million for Brazil's Alisson. Toru Hanai / Reuters

In what is likely to be one of the biggest transactions of the summer transfer window, Liverpool are closing in on a world-record deal for Roma goalkeeper Alisson.

British media reports the Premier League club have agreed to meet Roma's valuation of €75 million (Dh320.7m) for the first-choice Brazil international.

The current record transfer in pounds for a goalkeeper is the £35m paid to Benfica by Manchester City for Alisson's compatriot Ederson last summer, while the highest price in Euros was Gianluigi Buffon's €53m move to Juventus back in 2001.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has given public backing to Loris Karius following his poor Uefa Champions League final performance but has made signing a goalkeeper a priority.

The club are not prepared to say anything publicly until the deal is completed and as yet no medical has been arranged, with the possibility remaining that another club could match Liverpool's offer.

Chelsea have also been linked with the 25-year-old player, who began his career with Internacional before moving to Roma two years ago.

Alvaro Odriozola, who joined Real Madrid, previously played for fellow Spanish club Real Sociedad. Paul White / AP Photo
Alvaro Odriozola, who joined Real Madrid, previously played for fellow Spanish club Real Sociedad. Paul White / AP Photo

Odriozola thrilled to join Real Madrid

Real Madrid's new signing Alvaro Odriozola said his dream had come true after being unveiled by the club at the Bernabeu.

Spain defender Odriozola completed a £35.36m (nearly Dh170m) move to the European champions from Real Sociedad this month.

"It is an honour for me to be here and fulfill the dream of every football player to sign for Real Madrid," Odriozola said.

"I know the responsibility that comes with wearing this shirt and the only thing I can promise is that I will give everything, humility and sacrifice so that our future is successful.

"The last year and a half has been like a movie and I'm now fulfilling the dream of wearing the shirt of the biggest club in the world, that of Real Madrid. It's a day I'll never forget and I'll not let this opportunity pass me by. Hala Madrid!"

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Full-back Odriozola progressed through Real Sociedad's youth system and after an impressive first full season in their starting line-up won a place in Spain's World Cup squad for Russia 2018.

Madrid won their third successive Uefa Champions League in May - their fourth in five years - with victory over Liverpool, and club president Florentino Perez said the club would never stand still when introducing their latest signing to the media.

"We always want more," Perez said. "We have a great team, a great squad that is going to be reinforced with great players.

"And that's why we welcome a player who was wanted by a lot of big clubs, but he was clear where he wanted to play.

"At 22 years old he has been involved in a World Cup and has shown a great level that has brought him to defend the shirt and the badge of Real Madrid."

Andres Iniesta signs his autograph for Japanese fans upon his arrival at Kansai International Airport in Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, western Japan. EPA
Andres Iniesta signs his autograph for Japanese fans upon his arrival at Kansai International Airport in Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, western Japan. EPA

Iniesta grabs attention in Japan

Hundreds of football fans flocked to cheer Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta when he arrived in Japan on Wednesday to join his new club Vissel Kobe.

The 34-year-old Spanish World Cup winner, who lifted 32 major trophies at Barca and made over 600 appearances for the Catalan giants, completed a big-money move to Japan in May.

About 300 fans came to Kansai airport at Osaka in western Japan to greet Iniesta when he arrived in the early morning, according to a Vissel Kobe spokesman.

"I was looking forward to coming to Japan. I want to play as soon as possible," Iniesta said, according to the spokesman.

"I hope to get ready for Sunday and show the fans good play."

Iniesta's choice of Kobe is arguably Japanese football's biggest transfer coup, with many top players now moving to cash-rich Chinese clubs in the twilight of their careers.

Iniesta had said that moving to a Chinese club was also an option for him.

His signing is a timely boost to the J-League, which attracted luminaries such as Brazilian great Zico and England's Gary Lineker when it began in 1993 but has struggled to lure marquee players in recent years.

Iniesta will join former Arsenal striker Lukas Podolski in the western port city of Kobe after Podolski completed a move from Galatasaray last summer.

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