Rumour Has It: Barca preparing Messi contract announcement, Man City still eyeing Kane

By Sports Desk June 28, 2021

Is Lionel Messi's future on the verge of being resolved at Camp Nou?

Messi's contract with LaLiga powerhouse Barcelona expires this week and the six-time Ballon d'Or winner has been linked with a move.

But, if reports are to be believed, the superstar is poised to extend his long stay at Barca.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA READYING MESSI ANNOUNCEMENT

Barcelona are preparing to officially announce an agreement has been reached with Messi, according to Football Espana and Fabrizio Romano.

The superstar captain has been linked with Premier League champions Manchester City and Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain.

But Messi is now set to renew for a further two years at Barca, where the 34-year-old has spent his entire senior career.

 

ROUND-UP

City will renew their attempts to sign Harry Kane from Tottenham after Euro 2020, claims Romano. City are among a host of clubs interested in Kane, who is also reportedly wanted by Manchester United, Chelsea, Barca, Real Madrid and PSG. Spurs, however, are unwilling to sell the England star. City have also been linked with Inter's Romelu Lukaku and Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland.

Brahim Diaz will join Milan from Madrid on loan with an option to buy, reports Sky Sport. The Spaniard spent the 2020-21 season on loan at San Siro. Milan are also interested in Alvaro Odriozola if they are unable to bring Diogo Dalot back from United.

- Gianluca Di Marzio says Arsenal are trying to sign Benfica full-back Nuno Tavares, who has also been linked with Napoli and Lazio.

- Serie A champions Inter are eyeing Franck Kessie amid his contract stalemate with neighbours Milan, according to Tuttosport.

- Tuttosport reports Arsenal are pressing to bring Italy forward Andrea Belotti to London from Torino. Roma have long been linked with Belotti, as well as Milan.

Juventus are ready to make a bid for Lille and Portugal star Renato Sanches, per Calciomercato. Milan are also interested as Juve look to prise Manuel Locatelli from Sassuolo.

- Mundo Deportivo says Atletico Madrid are interested in former Barca midfielder Paulinho. The Brazilian is a free agent after leaving Chinese outfit Guangzhou FC.

- There are two clubs trying to sign Luka Jovic from Madrid, claims Diario AS. Jovic, who returned to former club Eintracht Frankfurt on loan in 2020-21, has been linked with Milan.

- Gazzetta dello Sport reports Achraf Hakimi will complete his move to PSG from Inter, who are eyeing Arsenal's Hector Bellerin as a replacement.

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    Carlo Ancelotti is not getting carried away over Real Madrid's Champions League prospects despite Tuesday's 2-0 win at home to Inter sealing top spot in Group D.

    Madrid just needed to avoid a defeat to go through to the knockout phase as group winners, but they ultimately battled to a commendable victory over the Italian champions.

    Toni Kroos netted a glorious first-half opener, before a similarly satisfying Marco Asensio curler wrapped up the win 11 minutes from time.

    As such, Madrid will – theoretically – get a kinder draw than runners-up Inter in the last 16, potentially setting them up nicely to reach the quarter-finals.

    Los Blancos went as far as the last four in 2020-21 following back-to-back round-of-16 eliminations, though Ancelotti is not making any sweeping statements regarding their chances of going deeper into the competition this time around.

    He told reporters: "We have the quality to win LaLiga and the quality to compete in the Champions League.

    "There are no teams with the quality [guaranteed] to win the Champions League, just to compete.

    "There are more intense teams, others with more quality. We are not an intense team in the defensive aspect, but we have a lot of quality, a lot of experience and a lot of commitment."

    Luka Modric made his 100th Champions League appearance on Tuesday, becoming only the ninth player to reach that landmark while at Madrid. Eight of those games came during his time at Tottenham.

    Modric turned in a typically controlling display and completed the full 90 minutes, which was somewhat surprising given the important nature of Sunday's clash with Atletico Madrid.

    There had been calls prior to the weekend win over Real Sociedad for Ancelotti to rotate his midfield more, yet Modric is heading into the derby having played 90 minutes both against La Real and Inter.

    The Croatian is not concerned, however.

    "I feel very good," the 36-year-old told Movistar. "I think you don't have to look at the years, you have to look at what you do on the field. The years are less and less noticeable because players' careers are prolonged.

    "I feel very good, and I feel like I am younger than 30!"

  • Klopp 'couldn't be more proud' of Liverpool after Milan win Klopp 'couldn't be more proud' of Liverpool after Milan win

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    Despite their progression to the knockout stages as group winners already secured, the Reds put in a dominant performance to claim a 2-1 success in San Siro.

    And the manner of the performance from a team showing eight changes left Klopp delighted at full-time.

    He told BT Sport: "[It's] really difficult in the hectic schedule. We have to be always on fire for the next game and, what the boys did tonight, I couldn't be more proud. 

    "It was an incredible game, I'm so happy about so many things I saw tonight and, of course, in the end that we won the game is great as well. 

    "But the performance was absolutely outstanding; playing this game tonight, having 21 shots, not 21 on target but 21 times we finished a situation off. 

    "[There were] so many situations where we played outstandingly well and defended with passion and good organisation. So many good things I saw tonight, really happy."

    Klopp went on to pay tribute to the three players who retained their starting places from the weekend win over Wolves: Alisson, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

    The German was most pleased with the desire that trio showed while being involved in a game that, in truth, had little riding on it for the visitors. 

    He added: "I have to say, we changed it eight times but Ali is a goalie and that he could play and wanted to play so desperately speaks for him. 

    "The same for Sadio and Mo, the game they played tonight was absolutely outstanding. 

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    "Mo obviously scores the first, Sadio sets up the second, that speaks really for the boys. 

    "So, because it's a mix of fresh legs and quality as well, it was a really good mix tonight."

    The Liverpool boss also hailed teenage midfielder Tyler Morton, who put in another impressive performance on just his second Champions League start.

    Klopp continued: "I don't want to make his night more complicated than it is already with playing at such a young age for a club like Liverpool, playing a game like this with a performance like this. 

    "I think we should all calm down, but it was really good tonight! 

    "It was a big pleasure to watch the boy playing and the football knowledge, football brain he showed tonight was absolutely exceptional. 

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    "On top of that, he defended incredibly well together with the other boys."

  • Inter have a lot of regrets after Madrid defeat, bemoans Inzaghi Inter have a lot of regrets after Madrid defeat, bemoans Inzaghi

    Simone Inzaghi said Inter were made to regret failing to capitalise on a positive first-half display in their Champions League defeat against Real Madrid.

    Inter were denied top spot in Group D after going down 2-0 to Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday.

    Though already guaranteed a place in the knockout phase, goals from Toni Kroos and Marco Asensio ensured Inter will be drawn to play a group winner in the last 16.

    Inter were on top of large periods of the first half; with 13 shots, 14 open-play crosses and 54.9 per cent of the possession.

    But for all their positive play, visiting Inter could only register a single shot on target and their task was made more difficult after the break following Nicolo Barella's dismissal.

    Despite a 10th defeat in 12 European matches against Spanish opposition, Inzaghi insisted the experience will stand his side in good stead heading into the knockout stages.

    Inter have lost each of their last four European meetings with Madrid, and have now lost each of their last seven away games against the LaLiga giants.

    "Clearly, we wanted to get a different result, but it will be very useful for our future," the head coach said. 

    "There are a lot of regrets with the first half because, in my opinion, we played very well and with personality. 

    "Unfortunately, we created a lot of situations where the numbers were in our favour, but we went into the interval a goal down.

    "It was an open match; we were close to scoring the equaliser after the break. When it became 10 against 11, it was more difficult.

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