x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Transfer talk: Real Madrid narrow in on James Rodriguez; Evra joins Juventus

Monday reports suggested James, Colombian star of the World Cup, was on the verge of a move to Real, while Patrice Evra's move from Old Trafford to Italy was made official.

James Rodriguez scored the goal of the World Cup against Uruguay in the round of 16 on June 28, 2014. Felipe Dana / Getty Images
James Rodriguez scored the goal of the World Cup against Uruguay in the round of 16 on June 28, 2014. Felipe Dana / Getty Images
Real Madrid
James Rodriguez's spectacular volley against Uruguay was crowned the best goal of the World Cup on Monday as speculation mounted that he will soon be unveiled as Real Madrid's latest big money signing.
Spanish sports dailies Marca and As said Real had agreed a deal worth between 75 and 80 million euros (Dh372.6m-Dh397.4m) with the Colombian striker's French club AS Monaco and he could be presented as a new signing on Tuesday.
The 23-year-old is waiting in Europe for the call to Madrid while his teammates prepare for a pre-season friendly in Miami, the reports said.
Rodriguez became the hot property of the World Cup with his six goals that gave him the Golden Boot for the top scorer.
In a Fifa.com poll, his volley against Uruguay in the last-16 was declared goal of the tournament by more than four million voters - three quarters of those who took part.

Robin van Persie's diving header for Netherlands against Spain in Group B came second.
Rodriguez collected a ball on the edge of the penalty area with his back to the Uruguay goal. He chested the ball over his head, turned and fired the volley into the goal via the underside of the crossbar.
The goal established the global reputation of the young playmaker, who cost Monaco ?45m one year ago when he was signed from FC Porto of Portugal.
Marca newspaper said Real will pay ?75m straight away and up to ?5m more in add-ons.
If confirmed, the fee would make Rodriguez the fourth most expensive player in history behind Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo (both of Real) and Luis Suarez who joined Barcelona this month.
Monaco's coach Leonardo Jardim denied any knowledge of a transfer when asked about Rodriguez's future at a press conference in Colombia on Sunday.
Monaco, who have Rodriguez and fellow Colombian international Radamel Falcao on their books, played a friendly there before moving on to Miami.
Juventus
Manchester United's France international Patrice Evra has joined Juventus on a two-year contract, the two clubs announced on Monday.
The move brings to a close the 33-year-old left back's eight-and-a-half year stint at Old Trafford.
"After a great deal of thought I have decided the time is right for me to leave Manchester United," the player told United's website.
"It is the biggest decision of my career as this club is, and will always remain, in my heart."
A Juventus statement read: "Juventus football club can today announce that Patrice Evra has signed a two-year contract with the club after a fee of £1.2m (Dh7.5m), to be paid in two separate instalments, was agreed with Manchester United.
"A further payment of £300,000 will be made to Manchester United in the event of Juventus qualifying for the 2015/16 Champions League."
Evra was part of the France side that made it to the World Cup quarter-finals. Four years ago he was the captain who led a team protest.
Atletico Madrid
Portuguese midfielder Tiago Mendes has re-signed with Spanish champions Atletico Madrid for another two years, ending speculation he could return to Chelsea and the English Premier League.
Tiago, 33, who played for Chelsea under compatriot Jose Mourinho in the 2004/05 season, became a free agent in June and was reportedly prepared to move back to Stamford Bridge while entertaining various rival offers from around the world.
But Tiago has instead committed to Atletico - the Champions League runners-up in May - after signing a new deal and flying out to their pre-season training camp in Segovia.
Speaking to the club's official website, he said: "The club offered me the chance to renew my contract.
"I felt proud because we had had an incredible season, but I had thought it was the right time for the cycle to come to an end.
"I have been offered the chance to play in various international leagues and have taken some time to evaluate my options during the summer, but my final decision became clearer, and Atletico was the only option."
Aside from contributing to Atletico's remarkable run to the Champions League final, Tiago has won the La Liga title, the Europa League and the Copa del Rey with Diego Simeone's Atletico.
He also boasts a Premier League winner's medal from his year with Chelsea.
"El Cholo (Simeone) always left the door open for me and I am now very happy that I have made the right decision," Tiago added.
Valencia
Valencia said Monday they had released Portugual's World Cup defender Ricardo Costa a year before the end of his contract.
The Spanish side reached an "amicable" agreement with the 33-year-old defender who moved to Valencia in 2010, they said in a statement.
Costa made his name in a seven-season spell at FC Porto where he won the Champions League in 2004. He moved to Wolfsburg in Germany in 2007 and following five months with Lille in early 2010 signed for Valencia.
Monday's accord allows Costa, reportedly the highest paid member of the Valencia squad and their captain last season, to find a new side with a free transfer.
"These have been years of great happiness where I felt the support of the fans through the good and bad times," Costa said on the club website.
Greece
Serbian goalkeeper Branimir Aleksic has moved from Spartak Subotica to Greek Super League side Kalloni. Aleksic, 23, played once for the Serbian national team in 2012.
Croatian international defender Gordon Schildenfeld, 29, will remain at Greek side Panathinaikos this season on loan from Dynamo Moscow where he arrived last year, the Greek side said. Schildenfeld has 21 caps for Croatia.
Greece international midfielder Kostas Fortounis, 21, has moved to Olympiakos from Gereman side Kaiserslautern, the Greek champions announced.
Italy
Former AC Milan midfielder Demetrio Albertini has announced he is running for Italian football federation president.
Albertini has been a FIGC vice president since 2007 under Giancarlo Abete, who resigned along with Italy coach Cesare Prandelli immediately after the Azzurri were eliminated from the World Cup last month.
The 42-year-old Albertini says, "I was always a leader on the pitch and now I want to lead a change in direction."
Along with the national team's struggles, Italian football is rife with problems such as falling attendance, crumbling stadiums, fan violence and racism.
Amateur leagues president Carlo Tavecchio is also running in the August 11 election and appears to have majority support but Albertini is backed by Juventus president Andrea Agnelli and several other prominent clubs.
Gary Meenaghan gives Chitrabhanu R Kadalayil a list of his top three games and teams in Brazil 2014. He also backs Fifa for giving the tournament a 9.25 rating.

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