Benjamin Pavard says Bayern Munich fans can expect a successful season and should not fear any "little crisis" that comes the way of the Bundesliga champions.

Niko Kovac's side beat Real Madrid 3-1 in the International Champions Cup on Sunday despite goalkeeper Sven Ulreich's late red card in Houston.

There were encouraging signs of improvement following Bayern's 2-1 loss to Arsenal last Thursday, particularly with the DFL-Supercup showdown with Borussia Dortmund now less than two weeks away.

Bayern's domestic dominance looked under serious threat from Dortmund last term, but a strong second half to the season saw them claim the league title and the DFB-Pokal.

And Pavard, who completed his move from Stuttgart after the end of 2018-19, thinks there is every reason to be optimistic heading into the new campaign.

"We were strong, we defended very well, attacked very well," he said after the win over Madrid. "We scored three goals. We conceded a goal, which is annoying, but it does not matter. We just must remember the fact we won. We feel better and better.

"Of course, it's a very big club, which has a habit of winning a lot of titles. We know that if we lose one or two matches in the season, it's a kind of little crisis. But I don't worry: we really have a very good squad and a great atmosphere. It will be okay.

"I have a lot of confidence. There is a very good atmosphere. On the pitch, we can see that everyone takes pleasure. We are making every effort together."

Bayern face AC Milan and Fenerbahce in their remaining pre-season games before meeting Dortmund on August 3 at Signal Iduna Park.

They then take on Energie Cottbus in the first round of the DFB-Pokal before getting their Bundesliga campaign underway at home to Hertha Berlin on August 16.

Mauricio Pochettino does not know if Tottenham have made a bid to sign their former player Gareth Bale from Real Madrid.

Zinedine Zidane revealed on Sunday that Madrid are working on selling the Wales international after omitting him from the squad that lost to Bayern Munich in the International Champions Cup (ICC) on Saturday.

Zidane seemed to indicate the club were in negotiations with a particular club, saying: "We are working on his transfer to a new team."

Newspaper reports on Sunday have suggested that Paris Saint-Germain are interested in a swap deal involving Neymar, while Pochettino – speaking after his side's 3-2 ICC win over Juventus – refused to rule out if his chairman Daniel Levy has tabled an offer for the 30-year-old.

"I saw the reports in the media but I don't know which club is trying to sign him," he told reporters.

"I don't have any information from my chairman; I don't know if it's us or another club. It's the job of my chairman."

Harry Kane struck a sensational stoppage-time winner from the halfway line as Pochettino's side opened up their pre-season campaign with a win over Juve in Singapore.

Gareth Bale's days at Real Madrid appear to be numbered after head coach Zinedine Zidane confirmed the club are working on a transfer for the forward.

Zidane was billed a "disgrace" by Bale's agent Jonathan Barnett, who has previously confirmed the coach and player have a fraught relationship, with the Frenchman seemingly not valuing Bale's ability despite his contribution to three consecutive Champions League titles.

It was Bale's double that sealed Madrid's last European crown a year ago, a stunning overhead kick contributing to a 3-1 defeat of Liverpool in Kiev that proved Zidane's last match in charge - soon after he announced his shock resignation.

But Zidane is back and seemingly set on selling Bale, so what are the options available to the Wales international now the Madrid coach has clearly signalled he has no place for him?

 

TOTTENHAM

The romantic option, a return to Tottenham would enable Bale to play first-team football and slot back into a club where he became a global superstar. Finances would surely scupper a permanent move although Spurs have smashed their club record to buy Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele and are reportedly considering doing so again to sign Giovani Lo Celso from Real Betis. An initial loan has been mooted but Madrid would still likely have to cover a large portion of Bale's massive wages - how desperate are they to move him on? Bale would certainly improve Mauricio Pochettino's forward options and a front three of Son Heung-min, Harry Kane and Bale looks incredibly strong on paper.


MANCHESTER UNITED

Bale has long been linked with United, but their failure to qualify for the Champions League does not make them an attractive option for top-level players right now although they remain among the world's biggest clubs. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has also indicated he is willing to put his faith in young players such as the talented teenager Mason Greenwood, who has impressed in pre-season to force his way into first-team contention at Old Trafford despite being just 17. Bale would be an upgrade on United's wing options but they seem to be going in a different direction with the arrivals of Dan James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka signalling a long-needed change in transfer policy. Madrid's reported interest in Paul Pogba could see Bale offered to United as part of a potential deal, though.


PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN

If PSG lose Neymar - the club confirmed recently he wants to leave - they will have room for another elite talent and Bale might just fit the bill. Whether moving to what is essentially a one-team league due to PSG's financial firepower is attractive to the Welshman is unclear, but teaming up with a thrilling talent like Kylian Mbappe could be persuasive. PSG are also one of a very small number of teams who could pay Bale the wages he has become accustomed to earning in Madrid and he has plenty of experience of winning the Champions League, which remains PSG's goal.


CHINESE SUPER LEAGUE

According to the bookmakers, Bale's most likely next destination is the Chinese Super League. Finances are again the key here, although CSL clubs have shown a reduced willingness over the last 12 months to pursue the most expensive players on the market due to a change in the league's regulations, which means they must pay considerable taxes on top of large transfer fees. Bale has been unable - or perhaps unwilling - to learn Spanish while in Madrid so it would be interesting to see how he would fare with the culture clash in China.


STAY AT REAL MADRID

Reports in Spain previously claimed Bale is happy to see out his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu, which still has three years to run. It would be a tempting option given no other clubs are likely to match his pay packet, while the lack of stability in the dugout could play in his favour. Zidane was Madrid's third permanent head coach last term and failed to inspire any significant improvement in the latter weeks of the 2018-19 campaign. Although the Frenchman has considerable credit from his trio of consecutive Champions League titles, it is not impossible to see Madrid starting the season poorly and president Florentino Perez opting for yet another change of head coach. Another man in charge could see Bale as an asset so the 30-year-old may choose to stay put for now.

Zinedine Zidane intends to use Rodrgyo Goes in a central position at Real Madrid, the teenager revealed after marking his debut for the club with a goal on Sunday.

Rodrygo was one of four Madrid debutants in the International Champions Cup defeat to Bayern Munich, along with Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic and Ferland Mendy, and he scored a superb late free-kick as Zidane's men went down 3-1 in Houston.

After the game, the former Santos forward was quoted by Marca as saying: "Zidane [Madrid's head coach] wants me to play more down the middle.

"I am typically more used to operating on the wings, but that is what the coach wants. It's a position in which I am comfortable and enjoy."

Still only 18, Rodrygo is unsure whether he will see regular action in his first season in Spain.

"I am not sure whether I will be playing in the first team yet. It is up to Zidane and his staff to decide where best to utilise me," he added.

Discussing his superb debut goal, Rodrygo said: "I always used to take free-kicks at Santos. That is why I asked to take it."

Gareth Bale's agent has branded Zinedine Zidane "a disgrace" and insists the Wales winger will only leave Real Madrid on his own terms.

Zidane revealed Madrid are working on selling Bale after omitting the four-time Champions League winner from the squad that lost to Bayern Munich in the International Champions Cup on Saturday.

"We hope he leaves soon, it would be best for everyone," Madrid's head coach said.

The comments have not gone down well with the Bale camp.

Bale has never shown much interest in leaving Madrid and still has three seasons left to run on his contract.

"Zidane is a disgrace to speak like that about someone who has done so much for Real," Bale's agent, Jonathan Barnett, told ESPN.

"If and when Gareth goes it will be because it is in the best interest of Gareth and nothing to do with Zidane pushing."

Bale has been linked to Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Tottenham during the close season.

Barnett this week dismissed the latter link as "rubbish" amid doubts over Spurs' ability to compete financially.

Few clubs in Europe appear capable of meeting Madrid's asking price and Bale's likely wage demands, complicating LaLiga side Madrid's hopes of negotiating his exit. 

However, Zidane said: "We are working on his transfer to a new team."

Renato Sanches is content to adhere to Niko Kovac's instruction by remaining at Bayern Munich, so long as he gets opportunities to play.

Restricted to four Bundesliga starts last season, midfielder Sanches boosted his case for first-team opportunities with a strong showing in the 3-1 victory over Real Madrid in the International Champions Cup (ICC).

The Portugal international helped Bayern established superiority during the opening 45 minutes and could take on a more prominent role following the end of James Rodriguez's two-season loan deal.

Speaking ahead of the Madrid match, Kovac confirmed the club had told Sanches to forget about finding new employers, advice that has been heeded by the player.

"I'm ready to stay," Sanches told Bild.

"I had good talks with the coach and [club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge]. I think I will stay. Kovac is the boss, he makes the decisions.

"As long as I play, I'm happy."

Bayern have one final ICC fixture to come against AC Milan, though Jerome Boateng will not be involved as he returns to Munich for personal reasons.

The centre-back, another player that seemed headed for the exit towards the end of the 2018-19 season, impressed against LaLiga giants Madrid, keeping Eden Hazard and company goalless until the 84th minute.

Club captain Manuel Neuer welcomed the increasing likelihood of Boateng and Sanches staying in Bavaria.

"We all played well today, Renato as well as Jerome," goalkeeper Neuer said after seeing off Los Blancos in Houston.

"We know what these players are capable of and we're of course happy if they stay."

Christian Eriksen put some of Europe's biggest clubs on alert when he declared he would "like to try something new" and now it seems the Tottenham star could make a surprise move.

Initial speculation suggested that Real Madrid would make a move for the talented Spurs playmaker.

As the 2019-20 season draws ever closer, however, it could be that another Spanish giant – and neighbours of Real Madrid – steal a march in the quest to land the Denmark international.

 

TOP STORY – ATLETI AND TOTTENHAM IN ERIKSEN TALKS

Atletico Madrid have enjoyed a productive transfer window – despite losing Antoine Griezmann, Rodri and Diego Godin – and could be set to swoop for Tottenham's Christian Eriksen.

The Dane has spent six seasons with the north London club but is ready for a new challenge and could join former team-mate Kieran Trippier in the Spanish capital.

AS reports that the two clubs have started discussions over a fee for the 27-year-old, with Spurs likely to demand in excess of €70million.

ROUND-UP

- Paris Saint-Germain have found their target if Neymar gets his desired move away from the Parc des Princes. According to RMC Sport, Juventus midfielder Paulo Dybala is PSG's top option if Neymar leaves.

- James Rodriguez is linked with the likes of Atletico Madrid and Napoli, and Real Madrid want around €40m for the playmaker, according to Marca.

- David de Gea will become the world's highest paid goalkeeper. The Manchester United shot-stopper has agreed to a six-year deal worth around £117m with the Premier League giants, according to The Telegraph.

- Arsenal could land Moise Kean from Juventus, but only if any deal includes a buy-back clause. The Daily Mail say Juve will insist on a £36m (€40.1m) clause in a possible deal involving the forward.

- Danny Rose is widely expected to leave Tottenham this close season, with numerous clubs linked with the left-back. Now, the Mirror report Serie A champions Juventus are the frontrunners to sign the defender.

- After Aaron Wan-Bissaka's move to Manchester United, Crystal Palace may have found their replacement. The Daily Mail report Palace have held further talks over a potential deal for Liverpool right-back Nathaniel Clyne.

Zinedine Zidane said Gareth Bale is close to leaving Real Madrid after he was left out of Saturday's International Champions Cup clash against Bayern Munich.

Bale has been deemed surplus to requirements by head coach Zidane and the Welsh star was absent as Madrid lost 3-1 to Bayern in Houston.

The 30-year-old, who has three seasons remaining on his contract, has been linked to former club Tottenham, Manchester United and Bayern.

And Bale's future is close to being resolved, with Zidane determined to sell the Wales international sooner rather than later.

Asked why Bale was left out of the squad on Saturday, Zidane told reporters: "Bale did not play because he is very close to leaving.

"We hope he leaves soon, it would be best for everyone. We are working on his transfer to a new team."

"I have nothing personal against him, but there comes a time where things are done because they must be done, I have to make decisions, we have to change," he added.

"The exit is the coach's decision, and also of the player, who knows the situation.

"The situation will change, I do not know if in 24 or 48 hours, but it will, and it's a good thing for everyone."

Eden Hazard made his Real Madrid debut as the LaLiga giants were beaten 3-1 by Bayern Munich at the International Champions Cup in Houston.

Hazard wore the Madrid jersey for the first time since his big-money move from Chelsea, while fellow recruits Luka Jovic, Ferland Mendy and Rodrygo Goes also made their bows for Zinedine Zidane's side.

But Corentin Tolisso, Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry stole the show as Bayern put Madrid to the sword in the second half, which saw Zidane make 11 changes at the interval.

Tolisso opened the scoring in the 15th minute and Bayern completely dominated in the second half, with substitutes Lewandowski and Gnabry condemning Madrid to defeat in their ICC opener on Saturday.

Madrid did have something to celebrate when Rodrygo capped his debut with a stunning 84th-minute free-kick after Sven Ulreich was sent off for bringing down the former Santos youngster.

Gareth Bale was left out of the Madrid squad amid ongoing uncertainty over his future, with the Welshman linked to Bayern. While there was no room for Bale, Jovic, Rodrygo and Mendy were on the bench.

It was an entertaining and end-to-end first half, with Bayern's Manuel Neuer the busier of the two goalkeepers at NRG Stadium.

After Neuer managed to make a goal-line save to deny Karim Benzema in the 11th minute, Bayern broke the deadlock four minutes later via Tolisso.

A low cross from Kingsley Coman found a way through to Tolisso, whose initial shot was stopped on the line by Thibaut Courtois, but the Frenchman made no mistake with the rebound.

Madrid huffed and puffed in search of an equaliser – Benzema, who failed to capitalise on a pair of consecutive close-range chances, in the thick of the action but unable to put the ball over the line.

Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric and Hazard also had opportunities for Madrid prior to half-time, however, Bayern managed to preserve their advantage.

Madrid controlled possession early in the second half but Bayern were a threat in attack and the German giants sent a warning when an unmarked Thiago Alcantara drove into the box, however he was unable to direct Coman's cross on target approaching the hour mark.

That warning went unheeded as centre-back Niklas Sule picked out Lewandowski with a ball over Madrid's defence in the 67th minute and the Polish striker produced a stunning piece of skill to control it before turning and finishing into the bottom corner.

Gnabry completed the rout two minutes later when the German found himself unmarked in the area and he had time to take a touch and fire a half-volley past Keylor Navas.

Bayern ended the match with 10 men after Ulreich was red carded for a foul on Rodrygo outside the area in the 81st minute following Joshua Kimmich's sloppy back-pass and the Madrid signing converted his own free-kick to pull a goal back.

Niko Kovac says Renato Sanches' future is at Bayern Munich, with the coach ruling out a move for Gareth Bale.

Sanches has struggled to break through since joining Bayern from Benfica in 2016, the 21-year-old midfielder starting four Bundesliga games last term.

But the Portugal international still has a future with the German champions despite his problems, according to Kovac.

"We've told Renato that we'd like him to stay," Kovac said ahead of Saturday's International Champions Cup clash with Real Madrid.

"He's obviously been considering his options after last season, but we explained the reasons behind his limited game time and he understood them. He sees his future with us."

Bayern are seeking attacking reinforcements after the departures of veteran wing duo Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery.

Leroy Sane and Callum Hudson-Odoi have been confirmed as targets by the club but Kovac flatly denied a move for Madrid misfit Bale is possible.

Asked by a reporter if there was a place for the Wales forward in his squad, Kovac replied: "No."

He added: "I would like my German colleagues [journalists] to listen carefully to what I have to say. He [Bale] is a great player, like other players who are also great players.

"I can't tell you whether he really can play somewhere else apart from Real Madrid and if he will even succeed at other clubs. This is something that I don't know and I can't really predict."

Zinedine Zidane believes former Chelsea star Eden Hazard "needed a club like Real Madrid" to take his game to the next level.

Hazard, 28 is set to make his Madrid debut in an International Champions Cup clash against Bayern Munich in Houston.

The Belgium international signed a five-year deal with the LaLiga club last month after Chelsea agreed to his transfer wish.

Hazard's heart was set on moving to the Spanish capital and his new head coach commended the 28-year-old on taking the leap.

"He's a decisive player," Zidane said. "He scores goals and makes a difference.

"He's shown that throughout his career and now we have him. We will take advantage of his qualities.

"I'm very happy with him. Eden needed a club like Real Madrid to improve. This club has something special and we all know it.

"When I arrived at Real Madrid, I was 29 and I still had a lot left. I spent five years here as a player and improved things. Eden's situation is the same.

"We know the type of player he is and that he can give us a lot."

Yet one of Hazard's team-mates, left-back Marcelo, thinks Madrid might have done better in the transfer market.

The Brazilian defender rates compatriot Neymar, who faces an uncertain future at Paris Saint-Germain, as the superior player.

"Eden's a high-quality player," Marcelo said in an interview with YouTube channel De Sola.

"He's impressive. Like Ney, he has the quality to be in the top five [in the world]. You can't compare them, but Neymar is better for me.

"Having Neymar at Real Madrid would be a huge pleasure, but I don't make the decisions.

"Madrid always have to do everything to sign the best players in the world and his past at Barcelona wouldn't be a problem."

Zinedine Zidane insists Gareth Bale's reluctance to leave Real Madrid is causing no consternation at the LaLiga club.

Reports of Madrid wanting to sell Wales winger Bale have been amplified since Zidane's return as head coach in March.

The pair are said to share an uneasy relationship, a view given legitimacy when the player's agent, Jonathan Barnett, publicly questioned whether Zidane wished to keep the four-time Champions League winner.

But with three seasons left to run on his contract, and a wage unlikely to be matched elsewhere, Bale appears destined to remain in the Spanish capital for a seventh season.

"Him staying is not a problem," Zidane said ahead of the International Champions Cup clash against Bayern Munich.

"I can't say that the player is a problem. He has a contract, he is here and what I can say is that anything could happen.

"I have to respect all the players, he is with us and he is a Real Madrid player.

"We will see what will happen. His role has not changed compared to in June."

Bale is part of the squad that has travelled to the United States for the start of pre-season, along with new signings Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic and Ferland Mendy.

There may yet be more arrivals before the real campaign begins with Madrid believed to be closely monitoring wantaway Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba.

When asked about the France international, Zidane replied: "We know with the club what we want to do and we are working on what we want to do.

"What I'm looking forward to is tomorrow's match and working bit by bit.

"We have time for the rest and we'll see what will happen."

The Neymar saga has dominated the narrative at Paris Saint-Germain in recent days, with his future yet to be settled.

But the Ligue 1 champions still have moves to make themselves in the remaining weeks of the transfer market.

And PSG might back themselves to tempt an out-of-favour Juventus star to make the switch to France.

 

TOP STORY – PSG MAKE APPROACH FOR DYBALA

If Neymar does leave Paris, Paulo Dybala would represent a fine replacement. He is an option, according to RMC Sport.

It is reported PSG have approached Dybala's camp, with any deal quite separate from Neymar's future.

A fee of less than €50million could be enough to see Juventus sell, with Dybala no longer a vital cog following Cristiano Ronaldo's arrival last year.

 

ROUND-UP

- Dybala might not be the only Juventus player heading to Ligue 1, though. Le Parisien have reported PSG interest in Blaise Matuidi, who Sky Sport Italia say is also a target for Monaco.

- Further movement in Serie A could see Suso heading off. According to Calcio Mercato, the AC Milan star is a target for Roma. The Rossoneri will ask for close to €40m despite the midfielder appearing to be out of favour.

- Working rather harder to keep a key man are Tottenham. They will offer Christian Eriksen £200,000 a week to keep Real Madrid at bay, according to the Daily Mail.

- With Laurent Koscielny's future at Arsenal uncertain, Unai Emery's captaincy group will look quite different next season. According to the Mail, Rob Holding or Calum Chambers could be in line to be skipper.

- Their London neighbours Chelsea, meanwhile, are set to temporarily part ways with Ethan Ampadu. The teenager is on the brink of joining RB Leipzig on loan, according to the Guardian, and could be joined at the Bundesliga club by Ademola Lookman of Everton.

- But as one young prospect arrives in Germany, another might be on the way out. Bild say Barcelona are keen on Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Kai Havertz, who is also said to be in the sights of Bayern Munich and Liverpool.

Udinese have announced the signing of Cristo Gonzalez from Real Madrid.

Gonzalez, 21, has agreed a five-year deal with the Serie A side, who are reported to have paid €1.5million.

Madrid are said to have included both a buy-back clause and a sell-on fee in the deal for the striker.

Gonzalez scored 21 goals for Real Madrid's reserves last term and hit his first senior goal for the club in a Copa del Rey win at Melilla.

Madrid, meanwhile, are closing in on the signing of midfielder Alberto Soro, according to Real Zaragoza president Christian Lapetra.

Soro will reportedly sign for Madrid in a €2.5m deal that could rise to around €5m, before returning to Zaragoza on loan.

Paolo Maldini insists AC Milan did not make an offer for Luka Modric this close season, although he admits the Real Madrid man would be "perfect" at San Siro.

Modric is expected to stay at Madrid, where he has been since 2012, but the 33-year-old was linked with moves to Inter last year and rivals Milan in recent months.

Maldini, acknowleding the midfielder's blend of experience and talent, says there was never any negotiation for the 2018 Ballon d'Or winner.

"We never negotiated for Modric, but we've said to [coach Marco] Giampaolo this club are looking for good young players and some experienced ones," Rossoneri technical director Maldini told a news conference.

"The growth of young players takes place through the presence of experienced players. Modric would be perfect here, but we've never negotiated for him."

Maldini was speaking alongside Rade Krunic and Theo Hernandez as they were presented as Milan players on Friday.

Hernandez, a left-back just as Maldini was in his playing days, was delighted to have joined Milan.

"It is a real honour to be sitting next to [Maldini]," Hernandez said. "He will always be the best full-back in the world.

"We met in Ibiza, where he had some very beautiful and sincere words for me. Since then, I have had the desire to join Milan. I trained hard to succeed and in the end I did it."

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