Mbappe gets Real Madrid's number nine shirt as official unveiling confirmed

By Sports Desk July 10, 2024

Real Madrid have confirmed Kylian Mbappe will wear their famous number nine jersey as they revealed the date for his official unveiling.

Mbappe, who is joining Los Blancos as a free agent after leaving Paris Saint-Germain, will be unveiled as a Madrid player at an event at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday, July 16.

The 25-year-old is fresh from exiting Euro 2024, with France having lost 2-1 to Spain in the semi-finals.

Mbappe failed to score from open play through the tournament, after suffering a broken nose during France's opening match, though he did break his Euros duck by converting a penalty in their final group game against Poland.

Madrid also revealed Mbappe will take the number nine shirt previously worn by Karim Benzema.

There were also new shirt numbers for Edouardo Camavinga, who has taken the number six, while Federico Valverde has taken the number eight, vacated by the retired Toni Kroos.

Aurelien Tchouameni has switched to 14, with Arda Guler, who has starred at the Euros with Turkiye, taking 15.

Guler's stunning goal against Georgia early in the tournament made him the youngest player to score on his debut at a European Championship finals (19 years and 114 days), surpassing Cristiano Ronaldo's previous record of 19 years and 128 days set at Euro 2004.

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    Jessie Marsch says Canada showed "incredible potential" by finishing fourth at the Copa America, even if he believes they threw a bronze medal away against Uruguay.

    Ismael Kone and Jonathan David scored as Canada fought back from 1-0 down to lead Saturday's third-place play-off in North Carolina, but Luis Suarez levelled after 92 minutes.

    Kone and Alphonso Davies then failed to convert in the penalty shoot-out as Uruguay emerged as 4-2 victors, becoming the first nation to win multiple shoot-outs at two editions of the tournament (2024 and 1999).

    Canada, meanwhile, fell short of becoming the third CONCACAF nation to get on the podium at the Copa, after Mexico (1997, 1999 and 2007) and Honduras (2001).

    While Marsch was disappointed with the way Canada let that achievement slip away in the dying moments, he was full of pride when discussing their campaign overall, particularly as they build towards a home World Cup in two years' time.

    "The players are disappointed in the way that we gave the match away, but I was very positive with them," Marsch said.

    "We've been together for a little over six weeks. We came into this match, put some new players on the pitch, played against one of the best teams in the world and dominated.

     

    "We're still a young team. If you look at their team, they have experienced players across the board, players playing at big clubs, a lot of experience in understanding how to handle moments. We're still developing that."

    Marsch only took the reins in mid-May but navigated a route through a challenging group containing Argentina, Chile and Peru, then oversaw a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over Venezuela in the quarter-finals.

    "The beauty was the clarity with which the way that we're playing was executed by the new players that came in," he added.

    "It's not easy to build a tactical model in such a short time and under such big stresses against good opponents and then perform and execute at such a high level.

    "So, again, what a positive sign. What a great group of guys. What incredible potential we have with this team."

  • Injury fears behind Messi ahead of Copa America final Injury fears behind Messi ahead of Copa America final

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    Messi is looking to lead La Albiceleste to a third major tournament win in as many years on Sunday, as the 2021 Copa America and 2022 World Cup winners face Colombia at Miami's Hard Rock Stadium.

    He has endured a mixed tournament, needing four games – and 12 shots – to score his first goal as he finally got off the mark against Canada in the semi-finals.

    A muscle injury forced Messi to sit out Argentina's third group-stage match against Peru, but he says he is fully fit and raring to go ahead of Sunday's showpiece game.

    Speaking to Dsports, the eight-time Ballon d'Or winner said: "With Canada I felt very good physically. 

    "Against Chile I had an adductor problem and I no longer played comfortably. I was already slowed down, it bothered me when I had to stand up or move laterally. 

    "Versus Ecuador [in the last eight] I arrived just in time too. I was fine from the injury, but I had it in my head that I had something wrong. 

    "In the last match I lost my fear, I felt better and for the final I will feel even better."

     

    Many believe Messi could call time on his glittering international career after Sunday's final, after he said he was fighting his "last battles" with Argentina last week.

    Messi is set to become the first player in Copa history to feature in five finals, having led his nation to glory three years ago after losing the 2007, 2015 and 2016 finals.

    He currently shares the record for most final appearances with former team-mate Javier Mascherano, who played in the 2004, 2007, 2015 and 2016 showpiece matches.

  • Lorenzo bemused as Copa America organisers plan Shakira half-time show Lorenzo bemused as Copa America organisers plan Shakira half-time show

    Colombia boss Nestor Lorenzo has hit out at the decision to have an extended half-time break during Sunday's Copa America final to facilitate a performance by Shakira.

    Colombia will go in search of their second Copa America title at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, while holders Argentina are targeting a record-breaking 16th triumph.

    Tournament organisers are planning a 25-minute interval, rather than the traditional 15, with Colombian pop sensation Shakira performing during the break.

    While Lorenzo says the extended break will not give an advantage to either team in particular, he is worried about the potential for it to impact players' conditioning.

    Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Lorenzo told reporters: "I hope you enjoy, Shakira is great. 

    "For a final, when the rules change for both teams, bad pitches for both or same weather for both, then I can't say if it's bad, or if it favours one side.

    "I can't understand it, I wish it were like the rest of the games."

    Lorenzo pointed to incidents which saw Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Venezuela sanctioned by CONMEBOL for late arrivals after half-time during the group stage.

    "When we came out in the 16th minute we were sanctioned, but now that there is a show we can come out in the 20th minute," he said.

    "Players can get cold, but it's on both sides. I found out today that this is how it is, and that's it."

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