Zidane suggested Hakimi move was more than a football decision

By Sports Desk July 02, 2020

Zidane explained why Achraf Hakimi was being sold hours before he sealed his Inter Milan move.

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  • Rumour Has It: PSG's Mbappe interested in Liverpool move, Madrid back Zidane Rumour Has It: PSG's Mbappe interested in Liverpool move, Madrid back Zidane

    What does the future hold for Kylian Mbappe?

    For so long, the Paris Saint-Germain forward has been tipped to join Real Madrid.

    However, Mbappe is believed to be attracted to the idea of leaving Parc des Princes for Anfield.

     

    TOP STORY – MBAPPE INTRIGUED BY LIVERPOOL

    Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe is interested in a move to Premier League champions Liverpool, according to Le Parisien.

    Mbappe is contracted to PSG until 2022 but the France international forward has reportedly made it clear he has no plans to extend his deal in Paris.

    He has long been linked with LaLiga champions Real Madrid, though the 21-year-old is attracted to Liverpool's style of play. Barcelona have also emerged as a possible destination.

     

    ROUND-UP

    Zinedine Zidane retains the backing of Madrid following last week's shock defeat to newly promoted Cadiz, says AS. Head coach Zidane has come in for criticism after Madrid's first loss of the season. While delivering LaLiga glory last term, Zidane is reportedly under pressure to succeed in the Champions League following their last-16 exit in 2019-20.

    - The Daily Star says Arsenal outcast Mesut Ozil is wanted by MLS outfit DC United. Wayne Rooney previously played for DC between 2018 and 2020.

    - Todofichajes claims PSG and United are interested in Inter midfielder Christian Eriksen, who has struggled to establish himself in Milan since arriving from Tottenham in January.

    Tottenham are close to agreeing a contract extension with Spurs star Son Heung-min, reports The Athletic.

  • Chelsea 0-0 Sevilla: Blues kick off Champions League campaign with goalless draw Chelsea 0-0 Sevilla: Blues kick off Champions League campaign with goalless draw

    Chelsea kicked off their Champions League campaign with a Stamford Bridge stalemate as they were held 0-0 by Sevilla.

    An even contest between the two favourites for progression from Group E produced plenty of chances, but neither side could apply the finishing touch necessary to claim all three points.

    Rennes' draw with FK Krasnodar in France meant that it was honours even across the group following the first matchday.

    Chelsea's leaky defence had come in for scrutiny once again following a weekend Premier League outing that saw them held to a 3-3 draw by Southampton.

    And head coach Frank Lampard's nerves will not have been helped by Thiago Silva's failure to make a seemingly simple headed clearance during an early passage of play that led to a Lucas Ocampos shot, albeit from a marginally offside position.

    Saturday's result had no doubt contributed to a defensive reshuffle that saw Edouard Mendy replace Kepa Arrizabalaga in goal among other changes.

    The potential value of that particular switch was shown after 18 minutes when the Blues' recent signing was on hand to claw away a Nemanja Gudelj header that had been diverted goalward by a deflection off Kurt Zouma.

    At the other end, Chelsea evidenced their own threat when Timo Werner produced his team's first shot on target following a sweeping move involving the lively Reece James.

    Still, they could not entirely limit Sevilla, who came close through a Suso header following brilliant work from Marcos Acuna and an Ocampos shot that needed a Mendy save just prior to the whistle sounding.

    Although Lampard opted against making substitutions at the break, a tactical tweak that saw Christian Pulisic move from the right side to the left almost paid immediate dividends.

    The American's quick feet earned Chelsea a corner that saw Zouma head on target, and he followed that with another dangerous cross from his preferred flank just seconds later.

    With Pulisic benefiting from a direct approach, the Blues called for more thrust on the opposite wing with an hour gone as Hakim Ziyech replaced the ineffectual Mason Mount.

    But their opponents were by no means ready to give up their share of the points and went close themselves when Joan Jordan showed great technique in volleying just over the bar from a corner.

    What does it mean? Chelsea cure defensive blues

    Although a draw at Stamford Bridge is rarely welcome for a team of Chelsea's ambitions, Lampard will take great encouragement from a hard-earned clean sheet for his side.

    Europa League holders Sevilla created some chances, of course, but the Blues looked infinitely more defensively solid than they have during a chaotic start to the season.

    Mendy offers keeper hope

    After Kepa produced another erratic display against Southampton, there was pressure on Chelsea's new goalkeeper to shine on his return to the team.

    While the Frenchman wasn't particularly busy, making just two saves, his handling was impressive enough to fill Blues fans with hope that they may have found their new number one.

    Havertz quiet in Blues attack

    While Werner was a constant threat in behind and Pulisic improved once he moved to the left, it was a quiet night for one man in the Chelsea attack: Kai Havertz.

    The German took 67 touches but failed to have a shot or produce a key pass, and he surrendered possession on 15 separate occasions.

    What's next?

    Chelsea return to Premier League action on Saturday when they travel north for a mouth-watering clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford. Sevilla, meanwhile, face Eibar at home in La Liga.

  • Wijnaldum slams 'unacceptable' Everton after Van Dijk injury Wijnaldum slams 'unacceptable' Everton after Van Dijk injury

    Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum has blasted Everton's conduct as "completely unacceptable" following injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Thiago Alcantara sustained in Saturday's Merseyside derby.

    Van Dijk is likely to miss most of the campaign after suffering anterior cruciate ligament damage following a wild challenge from Jordan Pickford in the 2-2 draw at Goodison Park.

    With Van Dijk having been flagged offside, Everton's goalkeeper did not receive any punishment for the tackle, while the Football Association confirmed on Monday that Pickford would not face retrospective action.

    Premier League leaders Everton did subsequently have a player sent off, with Richarlison seeing red for a lunge on Thiago late on, and the former Bayern Munich star has not made the trip to Amsterdam to face Ajax in the Champions League.

    Richarlison's red card was the 22nd sending off in a Merseyside derby in the Premier League era, with the Toffees having had 15 players dismissed.

    The incidents left a sour taste for Wijnaldum, with the Dutchman believing Everton – who had four players carded on Saturday compared to Liverpool's two – have a track record of being too robust in derbies.

    "Of course we are upset. The way Pickford went in was completely stupid," he said.

    "I believe he didn't want to injure Virgil, but the way he took the tackle, he didn't care. I think we've had it a lot in the games against Everton.

    "In my opinion, they take it way too far in the games we play against them. Sometimes you go a little over the top, but this was too much.

    "We can talk about the tackle from Richarlison, it was also a nasty one. That's what bothered me the most. Accidents can always happen, you can be unlucky, but the way they were doing it was completely unacceptable. It makes it harder that they don't get punished."

    While Richarlison issued an apology for his tackle on Thiago, it was confirmed on Sunday that Van Dijk will require surgery and Wijnaldum acknowledged that the squad are hugely concerned for their star defender.

    "First of all we're still devastated, it's also different than normal. The way it happened is really hard for us," he added.

    "Everyone has a really bad feeling about it. When we were speaking with the players after Saturday I think none of the players slept because of what happened with Virgil. It's a really hard one to take.

    "People will say that because Virgil is really important part of our team. He had really big performances, a really important player for us, a leader.

    "It's quite normal people will say that, but it's up to us. It's a situation we didn't deal with before, but it's what we have to deal with. Everyone can see what kind of impact he's had."

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