Rumour Has It: Pogba prefers Juve over Madrid, Pochettino nears Tottenham exit

By Sports Desk November 19, 2019

Paul Pogba has decided where he wants his next move to be, while Mauricio Pochettino is nearing a Tottenham exit.

Pogba, 26, was linked with a Manchester United departure during the close season but ended up staying at Old Trafford.

However, the France midfielder's future remains a talking point.

 

TOP STORY – POGBA PREFERS JUVENTUS RETURN OVER MADRID MOVE

Pogba would prefer to return to Juventus but would not say no to Real Madrid, according to Tuttosport.

The Serie A champions and LaLiga giants were the two clubs most heavily linked with a move for Pogba – who is contracted until 2021 – during the close season.

A potential Juve deal for Pogba could see Mario Mandzukic head to Manchester United, the report says.

ROUND-UP

- Pochettino has held "crisis talks" with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy as he nears an exit, according to The Telegraph. Spurs have struggled this season and sit 14th in the Premier League table through 12 games.

- While Mandzukic is wanted by United, Borussia Dortmund are ready to compete for the striker, according to Kicker. Mandzukic starred during two seasons with Bayern Munich before leaving the Bundesliga in 2014.

- Spain have offered Luis Enrique a chance to lead the nation at Euro 2020, according to AS. The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) have called a news conference for Tuesday, with Luis Enrique reportedly set to replace Robert Moreno at the helm.

- Manchester United are preparing to try to sign both Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho and RB Salzburg's Erling Haaland in January, according to Goal. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is set to try and strengthen his squad with United nine points adrift of the top four in the Premier League.

- Chelsea attacker Willian and Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz have slowed contract talks with their respective clubs amid interest from Barcelona, according to Mundo Deportivo. Willian is out of contract at season's end, while Fabian's deal runs until 2023.

- Manchester City are considering making a move for RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano, according to the Mirror. The Premier League champions lost Aymeric Laporte to a knee injury in September and may look to strengthen, although the Frenchman is expected to be back in early 2020.

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    Paris Saint-Germain are focused on Kylian Mbappe and Neymar over Cristiano Ronaldo.

    Mbappe and Neymar have both been linked with moves away from the Ligue 1 champions, while Ronaldo has reportedly been a target for PSG previously.

    PSG seemingly know where their priorities are.

     

    TOP STORY – PSG FOCUS ON MBAPPE, NEYMAR OVER RONALDO

    PSG would prefer to extend the contracts of Mbappe and Neymar than chase Juventus star Ronaldo, according to ESPN.

    Mbappe and Neymar are both coming to the end of their contracts in 2022 and have been linked to Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Arsenal are reportedly ready to splash the cash. The Sun says the Premier League side are set to spend £100million on Real Madrid's Dani Ceballos, Atletico Madrid's Thomas Partey and Lille's Gabriel Magalhaes, but must sell at least three players.

    - With Eric Garcia set to leave Manchester City, Barcelona are preparing a move. The Sun reports Barca will make a €15.5m (£14m) bid for the defender.

    - Will Chelsea find a way to land West Ham star Declan Rice? The Daily Star says Chelsea are looking to raise £65m to land the midfielder.

    - Liverpool continue to be linked with moves. The Liverpool Echo reports Watford attacker Ismaila Sarr is on the Premier League champions' shortlist.

    - Staying at Anfield and Yahoo reports Liverpool are tracking Vasco da Gama's 18-year-old forward Talles Magno.

    - Ryan Sessegnon continues to be linked with a move from Tottenham. The Guardian reports Ajax are interested in Sessegnon on loan.

  • Messi's home comforts and mission impossible for Chelsea – Champions League in Opta numbers Messi's home comforts and mission impossible for Chelsea – Champions League in Opta numbers

    Lionel Messi's sublime home record for Barcelona makes worrying reading for Napoli, whose task is not nearly as tricky as the one Chelsea face against a Bayern Munich side spearheaded by the sensational Robert Lewandowski. 

    The final two rearranged Champions League last-16 games take place on Saturday before the competition, which was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, heads for Lisbon. 

    Barca, who drew 1-1 at the San Paolo in the first leg, host Napoli for the first time in a competitive match, with Gennaro Gattuso's visitors aiming to become the first team to win their first away trip to Camp Nou since Rubin Kazan in October 2009. 

    Bayern's squad and coaching team will surely be having their passports stamped for a trip to Portugal having hammered Chelsea 3-0 at Stamford Bridge. Frank Lampard's Blues will have to do something that has never been done if they are to progress.


    Barcelona v Napoli

    6 - Napoli's Dries Mertens has scored six Champions League goals this season, one shy of the record for goals in a single season in UEFA competition for the club; both Edinson Cavani (2012-13 Europa League) and Gonzalo Higuain (2014-15 Europa League) scored seven each. 

    11 - Messi has been directly involved in 11 goals in his last five home Champions League knockout matches at Camp Nou (8 goals, 3 assists), scoring a brace in four of those five games. 

    12 - Barcelona have qualified for the Champions League quarter-finals in each of the last 12 campaigns, last failing in 2006-07 under Frank Rijkaard; no other team has qualified for the last-eight of the competition in more than eight consecutive seasons. They have also progressed from each of their last 19 Champions League knockout ties after avoiding defeat in the first leg away from home, only failing to do so once (vs Juventus in the 2002-03 quarter-final). 

    2 - Napoli's two previous away Champions League knockout matches have ended in defeat, losing 4-1 to Chelsea in March 2012 and 3-1 to Real Madrid in February 2017. They have failed to progress from nine of their last 10 UEFA European knockout ties when failing to win the first leg. 

    1 - This is Quique Setien's first home Champions League match as Barcelona boss – 10 of their previous 11 managers have won their first in charge at Camp Nou, with only Louis van Gaal failing to do so in a 2-2 draw against PSV in October 1997. 


    Bayern Munich v Chelsea

    6 - All six of Serge Gnabry's Champions League goals for Bayern this season have come against English teams (four vs Spurs, two vs Chelsea). Only two players have scored more goals against teams from a single nation in one season – Cristiano Ronaldo in 2013-14 vs German teams (7) and Luiz Adriano in 2014-15 vs Belarusian teams (8). 

    41 - Lewandowski has scored 11 goals and assisted two more in six Champions League appearances this season, averaging a goal or assist every 41 minutes. The German side have failed to win any of their last five knockout stage games in the Champions League in which Lewandowski has not been on the scoresheet (D3 L2). 

    1- Chelsea have only scored three goals in an away Champions League knockout match once previously, winning 3-1 at Liverpool in April 2009; Bayern have only conceded three times in three of their 43 home Champions League knockout games, though did so most recently in a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool in March 2019. 

    0 - In the entire history of the European Cup and Champions League, no team has ever won by three or more goals in the first leg of a knockout match away from home and failed to progress, going through on all 92 previous occasions. 

    3- Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick is looking to become only the third manager in Champions League history to win his first five matches in charge, after Fabio Capello (first six with Milan in 1992-93) and Luis Fernandez (first six with PSG in 1994-95). 

  • Juventus are 'cursed' in the Champions League, says Sarri Juventus are 'cursed' in the Champions League, says Sarri

    Maurizio Sarri believes Juventus are "cursed" in the Champions League after their exit at the hands of Lyon on Friday.

    Cristiano Ronaldo's brace helped Juve to a 2-1 win in Turin, but they fell in the last-16 tie on away goals after a 2-2 aggregate draw.

    Memphis Depay had given Lyon the lead in the second leg before Ronaldo's double, with Juve's wait for a first Champions League title since 1996 to go on.

    Sarri, who is under increasing pressure at the helm, said the Serie A champions were cursed in the competition.

    "We are out of a competition where we won six out of eight games we played, we drew one and lost one. That means that in eight matches we got 19 points," he told a news conference.

    "If there were a Champions League table we would be first or second. Instead, we are out. That's why I feel incredibly sad. It makes me understand that in this competition Juventus are cursed.

    "If I weren't so bitter, I would get out of this match with a smile on my face, because I saw the lads in good shape again, they gave all they had, they fought until the end, they put their heart and soul into the match. I appreciated it."

    Lyon and Juventus were both awarded controversial penalties during the second leg, with Depay and Ronaldo converting.

    Sarri felt the spot-kick given to Lyon was "crazy" as he rued the first-leg away loss.

    "We played a good match. In a match where we had to come from behind, we found ourselves one goal down because of a crazy penalty, because in my opinion it shouldn't even have arrived to the box because I think there was a clear enough foul on [Gonzalo] Higuain. And the penalty itself I think it is debatable," he said.

    "The referee was clearly unfit for a situation like this, because for us to concede that goal was like to concede two goals. We were good because we stayed into the game and turned the match around, but we spent a lot of energy.

    "We had two or three chances to score towards the end with headers from Cristiano Ronaldo, Higuain and I think [Leonardo] Bonucci, so I think we were close to the qualification.

    "If we have to have a regret it has to be for our performance in the first half at Lyon. At these levels, it is something you pay for."

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