Atletico Madrid won 3-0 at Numancia in their first game since Antoine Griezmann's controversial move to Barcelona, but the striker's replacement Joao Felix was substituted due to injury.

Diego Simeone started with five debutants, including the teenage forward, for Saturday's trip to Estadio Municipal de Burgo de Osma.

But, after taking an early blow on his right hip, the €126million signing limped off the pitch in the 26th minute and went straight down the tunnel.

New signings Kieran Trippier, Mario Hermoso, Renan Lodi and Marcos Llorente also started while Joao Felix's replacement Angel Correa hit the post shortly before half-time.

Having made wholesale changes at the break, including sending on another new defender, Felipe, Atletico took the lead in the 69th minute.

Substitute Rodrigo Riquelme delivered a deep cross from the right wing that Vitolo tried to meet with a diving header, the ball appearing to bounce in off his left arm.

Ivan Saponjic, who like the club's record signing Joao Felix has joined from Benfica ahead of the 2019-20 season, then made it 2-0 to the visitors.

Neat build-up play led to Toni Moya freeing Manuel Sanchez on the left wing, with his centre coolly converted by Serbian striker Saponjic for his first Atletico goal.

Atletico had finally found their rhythm and they scored a third goal with six minutes to go, Felipe celebrating another debut goal for the Rojiblancos with impressive acrobatics.

Joao Felix had his Atletico Madrid debut cut short by injury as Diego Simeone's side opened pre-season away to Numancia.

The forward, a €126million signing from Benfica, was named in Simeone's starting lineup for Saturday's trip to Estadio Municipal de Burgo de Osma.

But a hip injury meant Joao Felix had to come off in the first half with Angel Correa - linked with a move to AC Milan - replacing him.

Simeone also handed debuts to new defenders Kieran Trippier, Mario Hermoso and Renan Lodi while a fifth fresh face, Marcos Llorente, started in midfield.

Correa hit the post shortly before the half-time whistle ended an opening 45 minutes light on goalmouth action at either end.

Barcelona sporting director Eric Abidal has denied talks were opened with Antoine Griezmann in March, as has been claimed by Atletico Madrid.

Griezmann completed his long-awaited switch to Camp Nou last week and is expected to make his Barca debut on their pre-season tour of Japan.

Barca paid €120m for Griezmann but Atletico argue the fee they received should have been €200m as they claim the Catalan club were in talks with the striker before his release clause fell on July 1.

Griezmann announced his intention to leave Atletico in a social media video posted before the end of the LaLiga season, but the Rojiblancos say his move to Barca had been agreed some weeks earlier.

Reports in Spain have claimed the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has opened proceedings against Barcelona over the club's move for Griezmann but, in an interview with Le Parisien, Abidal said the move for the France forward was above board.

He said: "The president [Josep Maria] Bartomeu got in touch with Atletico Madrid to discuss the terms of a transfer for Griezmann and to inform them, if negotiations weren't possible, that Barca would pay his €120m buyout clause. It was €200m in March and €120m in July..

"Atletico are defending their interests and we are defending Barca's. We never had a prior agreement with the player. We got in contact with his lawyer after Griezmann announced he wanted to leave the club.

"We can always talk about interest. We can like a player because our sporting department says they'd fit the profile of what we are looking for. But this interest only became concrete when the player expressed his wish to join Barca.

"He was a very important player for Atletico Madrid. He can make a difference in the big matches and is capable of playing in various positions. He's still a great goalscorer and Barca need players like him."

Despite adding Griezmann to a forward line already containing Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Ousmane Dembele, Malcom and Philippe Coutinho, Barca have been linked with making a sensational move for Neymar.

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo has confirmed the Brazil forward wants to leave the French capital with a return to Camp Nou two years after his world-record move said to be Neymar's preferred option.

Barca are reported to have offered PSG a choice of six players - including Coutinho, Dembele and Malcom - as makeweights but Abidal suggested the club's work in the transfer market could be complete.

"We needed six attacking players and, with Griezmann, we have those six," he added. "After that, it's the coach [Ernesto Valverde] who makes the decisions."

Messi is reportedly pushing for Neymar's return with the Barca captain said to be underwhelmed by Griezmann's arrival.

"That isn't Messi's role," Abidal added. "If he gives his opinion on someone who players for another team, it's disrespectful to his current team-mates. I believe that's why Leo didn't want to talk about Antoine."

New Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong has welcomed speculation that Neymar could make a dramatic return to the LaLiga champions.

De Jong, 22, was signed by Barca from Ajax in January for a reported €75million, but only made the move at the end of the season.

Neymar has reportedly told Paris Saint-Germain that he wants to leave the club during the close season, two years after his world-record €222million transfer from Barca.

The Catalan club appear to be keen on bringing the Brazilian superstar back to Camp Nou and De Jong says he would relish the opportunity to play alongside him.

"Of course I would like to play with Neymar," he told Sport. "I think he's a really good player but it isn't up to me to decide if he comes to Barcelona or not."

De Jong will be tasked with supplying a mouth-watering attack in the 2019-20 season, led by Lionel Messi, and the Netherlands international is looking forward to teaming up with a player he considers to be the very best.

"I think he's the best player in the world," he said. "I'm looking forward to playing with all the guys, not only with Messi."

Barca were linked with a move for De Jong's former Ajax team-mate, Matthijs de Ligt, but the 19-year-old opted to join Serie A champions Juventus.

De Jong says he would have loved De Ligt to have joined him at Barca but believes he has made a positive move.

Asked if he was disappointed by De Ligt's decision, De Jong said: "No, I'm not disappointed. Not at all. Of course, I'd be happier if he had decided to join Barcelona, but it's his decision and he made it with his family, his agent and girlfriend.

"I'm happy for him. He's made a great move. I would rather see him at Barcelona but Juventus is a good move for him."

Ousmane Dembele, Samuel Umtiti and Ivan Rakitic have all been included in Barcelona's pre-season tour squad despite speculation they have been offered to Paris Saint-Germain.

The trio, as well as Malcom and Nelson Semedo, will head to Japan although reports have claimed they are among six Barca players who could be makeweights in a deal to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou.

Philippe Coutinho, the sixth member of the group, is not included in a squad of 26 players named by Ernesto Valverde as he remains on holiday following the Copa America.

Lionel Messi is absent for the same reason, as are Uruguay striker Luis Suarez and Brazil midfielder Arthur, but Antoine Griezmann could make his Barca debut along with fellow new arrival Frenkie de Jong.

Neymar, meanwhile, is not in PSG's squad for Saturday's pre-season game against Nurnberg despite the forward saying he is almost 100 per cent fit after missing the Copa America due to an ankle injury.

PSG said the club will "take appropriate action" against the Brazil star after he failed to report to pre-season training on time, although Neymar's father said the Ligue 1 champions knew when he would be arriving.

Barca's first pre-season game ahead of the 2019-20 campaign is against Premier League side Chelsea in the Rakuten Cup on Tuesday.

Three days later, Barcelona face a reunion with former players David Villa and Andres Iniesta when they take on Japanese side Vissel Kobe.

The defending LaLiga champions will then kick off the new league season away to Athletic Bilbao on August 16.

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."

Diego Simeone has expressed gratitude to Antoine Griezmann for gracing Atletico Madrid with five "faultless" seasons.

Griezmann left the club for Barcelona just over a week ago, a move that upset many at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Atletico claim the LaLiga champions still owe an additional €80million, believing Barca to have privately agreed terms with the France international before his release clause dropped from €200m to €120m on July 1.

The sense of resentment is not shared by Rojiblancos boss Simeone, who holds no ill will towards the player he signed from Real Sociedad in 2014.

"I talked with him a lot," Simeone told TyC Sports. "It's an important moment in his career in which he decided to move to an extraordinary team like Barcelona.

"I am grateful to the people who have been with us. People are normally valued for the final decision, but not by me. I value the five years he gave us that were faultless.

"He gave his best, he improved as a player and he listened to us. He makes me happy as a coach.

"I love him very much and I have a great relationship with the family.

"Obviously he's going to a very strong team and surely if he maintains the rhythm of when he was among the best he will have a great season."

Griezmann won the Europa League and secured two third-place finishes in the Ballon d'Or under Simeone's guidance.

The mutual respect between the pair has shone through amid the tension between Griezmann and his former employers. 

"I am lucky to have learned from Cholo Simeone," the World Cup winner said in the wake of his move to Barca.

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.

Armando Izzo has signed a new contract at Torino, ending speculation he could move to the Premier League.

Arsenal were reportedly interested in the centre-back, who has also been linked with Manchester United and Everton.

But Izzo, who made his first Italy appearance in a Euro 2020 qualifier in March, has instead signed a new five-year deal with Torino.

Speaking last month, the 27-year-old indicated he would commit to the Granata and he is thrilled to have agreed an extension.

"Happy to continue with the Bull, with the same determination we will still face many battles together!!" Izzo wrote on Instagram.

Torino, who finished seventh in Serie A last season, will play in the Europa League in 2019-20 due to AC Milan's ban.

Walter Mazzarri's side face a qualifier against Hungarian outfit Debrecen, with the first leg to be played on Thursday.

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."

Midfielder Alberto Soro will join Real Madrid imminently, according to Real Zaragoza president Christian Lapetra.

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

Lapetra said on Friday he expected the transfer to be formally announced "in a matter of hours".

"As president, I have to sign off on the sale and I want to announce Soro will join Real Madrid in a matter of hours," he said, as reported by AS.

"All that remains is to sign a deal that is already done."

The 20-year-old made 29 appearances in a breakout season in the Segunda Division last term, scoring twice.

Alvaro Gonzalez has become Andre Villas-Boas' first signing at Marseille after joining on an initial one-season loan from LaLiga side Villarreal.

The agreement includes an option for Marseille to purchase the Spanish centre-back on a permanent basis.

It is the first time the 29-year-old has played outside his homeland and he will be tasked with shoring up a defence that shipped 52 goals in Ligue 1 last season.

His arrival comes as a welcome boost for ex-Chelsea boss Villas-Boas, who has endured a difficult few weeks since replacing Rudi Garcia.

Marseille lost 2-1 to Accrington Stanley in a friendly in Manchester and were then routed 4-0 by Rangers at Ibrox.

Star striker Mario Balotelli left the club on a free transfer at the end of last term.

Page 1 of 143
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.