With Gareth Bale seemingly on his way out of the Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid are ready to launch a fresh bid for Paul Pogba.

Bale is expected to join Chinese Super League (CSL) club Jiangsu Suning and, with the attacker's wages off the books, Madrid are again turning their attention to Manchester United star Pogba.

It has been a mixed pre-season for the LaLiga giants, but perhaps that could change if they land the man they have long been linked with.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID PREPARE £150M POGBA BID

Real Madrid will make a €166.6million (£150m) bid for Manchester United star Pogba, according to The Sun.

Madrid have rebuilt in the close season with the signings of Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic and Ferland Mendy, but Zinedine Zidane reportedly wants Pogba to increase his midfield options.

The France international would immediately add dynamism to a Madrid side that has been accused of being one-paced in recent years.

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- Romelu Lukaku seems to be inching closer to a Manchester United exit. Linked with a move to Inter, the striker has asked the Premier League club to lower their £80m valuation, according to The Sun. However, Juventus are also apparently in the race. Sky Sports News say Juve will offer Paulo Dybala as part of a deal for the Belgium international, while the Daily Mail report United want Douglas Costa.

- Nicolas Pepe is set for a big-money move from Lille, and it seems Arsenal are close to winning the race for the forward. Arsenal have agreed a £72m (€80m) deal with Lille, according to The Sun. But the report says they still face plenty of competition to sign Pepe amid interest from five other clubs – Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Napoli, Inter and Atletico Madrid.

- With the dominoes finally starting to fall, Manchester United have reached an agreement with Sporting CP for Bruno Fernandes, according to Sport. United will pay £63m (€70m) for the Portugal midfielder.

- Arsenal appear on track to strengthen further. They are increasingly confident of signing Celtic defender Kieran Tierney, according to Sky Sports News.

- Everton are continually linked with a move for a forward and they are in talks to sign Juventus striker Moise Kean, Sky Sports News say. The Serie A champions want £36m (€40m) for the teenager, along with a buy-back clause in the deal.

- Radja Nainggolan is unwanted at Inter, but the midfielder apparently wants to stay in Europe. According to Corriere dello Sport, Turkish giants Galatasaray are interested in the Belgian, but only on loan.

Wolves have announced the loan signing of Real Madrid defender Jesus Vallejo.

The centre-back will spend the 2019-20 season at Molineux, but neither club said whether the deal includes a purchase option or not.

Vallejo, 22, has had his time at Madrid severely affected by injury but he made four LaLiga starts last term.

He then went on to captain Spain to glory at the European Under-21 Championship, but with Madrid signing Eder Militao from Porto, Vallejo looked set to fall even further down Los Blancos' pecking order next term.

Gareth Bale appears to be on the brink of leaving Real Madrid for the Chinese Super League.

It is reported the Wales star has agreed a deal with Jiangsu Suning, who must now finalise matters with Madrid.

Bale will apparently double his salary by swapping LaLiga for the CSL.

 

TOP STORY - BALE ON BRINK OF CHINA MOVE

Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale is close to moving to Jiangsu Suning of the Chinese Super League, according to Marca and AS.

The Wales international will reportedly earn €22million a season if he completes a move to the club, which is owned by Inter majority shareholders Suning Holdings Group.

Jiangsu must now finalise terms with Madrid before they can announce Bale as the biggest star yet to head to the CSL.

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- James Rodriguez will now stay at Real Madrid as the LaLiga giants want cover for the injured Marco Asensio, reports El Chiringuito. Asensio suffered a serious knee injury in the International Champions Cup clash with Arsenal, while James has been linked to Atletico Madrid and Napoli.

Manchester United have agreed a fee in the region of €70million with Sporting CP for midfielder Bruno Fernandes, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Fernandes could end up replacing Paul Pogba, with ESPN claiming Real Madrid are confident they will strike a deal to sign the France star from Manchester United.

Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha could be tempted to join Everton, who are ready to offer £60m for the player, Sky Sports claim. Zaha has also been linked to Premier League rivals Arsenal and Chelsea.

- AC Milan are to sign Rafael Leao from Lille for €35m, with Tiago Djalo heading the other way for €5m, RMC Sport believe.

Dani Alves, who has emerged as a transfer target for Manchester City, called Barcelona to discuss a return to the club, according to Sport.

Tottenham's hopes of a stunning deal for Juventus forward Paulo Dybala could hinge on the departures of Danny Rose and Christian Eriksen, Sky Sports News say. Rose has been linked to Juve, while Eriksen is reportedly a target for Manchester United and Real Madrid.

- However, Sky also say Dybala could be offered to Manchester United as part of a Juventus bid to sign Romelu Lukaku, who is also wanted by Inter.

Joao Felix said beating your rivals is always special after Atletico Madrid humiliated Real Madrid 7-3 at the International Champions Cup.

Diego Costa starred with four goals as Atletico showed no mercy in Friday's pre-season clash in New Jersey, where Diego Simeone's men led 5-0 at half-time.

Joao Felix scored his first goal since arriving from Benfica in a blockbuster €126million deal, while the Portuguese teenager had two assists in a dazzling display.

And the 19-year-old revelled in the result, saying: "It's positive. Beating your rivals is always good and special.

"This win gives us confidence, but we will continue working like we've done until now.

"I want to score as many goals as possible so that we can reach our objectives."

Costa gave Atletico the lead after just 43 seconds before Joao Felix doubled the advantage in the eighth minute.

Angel Correa replaced the injured Alvaro Morata and he made it 3-0 in the 19th minute and Costa added a fourth nine minutes later, while the latter converted a penalty on the stroke of half-time.

Costa scored his fourth of the game six minutes into the second half before he was sent off following a clash with Madrid full-back Dani Carvajal.

Vitolo scored a stunning solo goal for Atletico with 20 minutes remaining, while Madrid managed to pull some goals back via Nacho Fernandez, Karim Benzema and Javi Hernandez.

Saul Niguez – who was influential for Atletico – added: "We're happy with the result. We played well since the first minute and we've proven that we're a team, we’re all together and that's very positive.

"When you wear Atletico de Madrid's colours, you always have to give it your all. The new players have settled in very well and worked very hard."

Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos said the LaLiga giants cannot lose like they did against Atletico Madrid, who incredibly won 7-3 on Friday.

Madrid endured a humiliating loss to bitter rivals Atletico at the International Champions Cup in New Jersey, where Diego Costa scored four goals in a merciless pre-season performance.

Atletico led 4-0 after 28 minutes and 5-0 at half-time as Madrid were put to the sword, while Zinedine Zidane's side managed to pull three goals back via Nacho Fernandez, Karim Benzema and Javi Hernandez.

While it was a pre-season fixture, it was a devastating result for Madrid – who had Dani Carvajal sent off following a clash with Costa – and star defender Ramos lamented the team's performance at MetLife Stadium.

"We're obviously not feeling great right now," Ramos told reporters. "This has only just begun, they're preparation games to get us up to the top level. There are many ways in which to lose, but we can't be doing it like we did today.

"We played the game like a friendly, it's a big margin and we head away frustrated. It's a very poor result and we have to try and reach the levels we aspire to."

"This team's ambition remains intact. We've won an awful lot but that's in the past now," he continued. "We have to forget about what happened last season, this is a pre-season campaign and it's far too soon to draw conclusions and be assessing things. We have to keep training as we are every day and we'll gradually reach our best to take on the challenges of the new season."

"That's the difference in football," Ramos said. "We played a friendly match and they went at it as if it were a final. We have to bring that intensity to every game. They got the better of us in terms of intensity, second balls, pressing, and they were sharp in front of goal today too.

"Ultimately, they are still our direct city rivals and madridismo will be frustrated like we are because you can't go home happy after a loss. We're getting in shape to try and reach our best and we'll draw conclusions once LaLiga has started and we've started to play competitive games."

Ramos, whose Madrid finished third in LaLiga last season, added: "I have absolute confidence and after so many years here, if I thought this team weren't capable of winning things, I'd be the first to go. I have immense confidence in this team and in madridismo."

Diego Simeone insisted Friday's stunning pre-season rout is not the reality of potential between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.

Atletico ran riot at the International Champions Cup after humiliating LaLiga rivals Madrid 7-3 in New Jersey on Friday.

Diego Costa scored a first-half hat-trick and four goals in total for Atletico, who led 5-0 at half-time, while Joao Felix netted his first goal since arriving from Benfica.

It was a stunning performance at MetLife Stadium but Atletico head coach Simeone played down the result.

"I do not rush to anything," Simeone told reporters. "I live the reality of the moment. It was a good game. I see them with enthusiasm, optimism, enthusiasm. Now wait for the next game to rotate the players and get to LaLiga."

"I do not consider this match to be the reality of potential between each other," added Simeone, whose Atletico finished second behind Barcelona in LaLiga last season, ahead of Madrid.

Atletico stormed out of the blocks after Costa opened the scoring inside 43 seconds before Joao Felix doubled the lead seven minutes later.

Angel Correa and another Costa goal made it 4-0 by the 28th minute, with the latter completing his hat-trick via the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time.

Costa netted his fourth six minutes into the second half before he was sent off, along with Madrid's Dani Carvajal, as tempers boiled over.

"We prepared the game well. Having seen Madrid, we looked for where we could harm them," Simeone said. "We tried to find good places at the exit of the ball ... and we were very precise, that in football it is important.

"There is always something that can be improved. Beyond the scoreboard Madrid went to our end with great force. And they had chances. That has to be adjusted and try to add talent and effort. Today all the important teams have three or four talented players in the group."

Portuguese sensation Joao Felix showed there is life after Antoine Griezmann with a dazzling display, which included a goal and two assists for Atletico.

On his big-money signing, Simeone added: "I see him better playing in front, with people ahead, so that with his vision of the game he can hurt.

"When you have Joao's talent and enthusiasm for improvement you can play anywhere."

Zinedine Zidane is hurt but "convinced" Real Madrid will enjoy a good season following their 7-3 rout at the hands of rivals Atletico Madrid at the International Champions Cup.

Madrid were put to the sword in New Jersey, where LaLiga neighbours Atletico led 5-0 at half-time in the pre-season fixture on Friday.

Diego Costa took centre stage with four goals before he was sent off, along with Madrid full-back Dani Carvajal, following a clash in the second half.

It was an incredible match at MetLife Stadium, where the margin of defeat could have been greater if not for some desperate defending and late goals from Karim Benzema and Javi Hernandez.

Discussing the result post-match, Madrid head coach Zidane – whose team conceded after just 43 seconds – told reporters: "What happened is that we entered the game very badly. A high-level competition, we entered very badly.

"At eight minutes we were down 2-0. There was no response from us to change something. The first part was difficult. We never entered the game. We have lacked everything. Especially intensity."

Zidane continued: "They scored seven goals, it can't happen. That is also known to the players, who are disappointed. You don't have to spin it over. It's a pre-season game. They've been better at everything. There is "nothing more to talk about.

"We are preparing a season and being calm. We have to be on August 17, with the first league game. For now, we have lacked things for sure tonight."

Madrid, who overturned a two-goal deficit in a 2-2 draw with Arsenal after losing to Bayern Munich 3-1 in their pre-season opener, finished third behind champions Barcelona and runners-up Atletico in LaLiga last season.

"We will be motivated. I have no doubt about that. Our season is going to be good. I am convinced," added the Frenchman, who saw Luka Jovic leave the game in the first half with an apparent leg injury. "Today we cannot be happy. For the rest I am convinced that I have a team that will compete and very well. That's it. We have to go back and get some rest.

"It doesn't worry me, but it hurts. When you lose ... you don't play to lose. But that's it, we can't look back. It's a bad game and you have to think about what we've done."

Madrid will face Tottenham (August 30) and Red Bull Salzburg (August 7) before opening their LaLiga campaign against Celta Vigo on August 17.

Diego Costa scored four goals as Atletico Madrid humiliated LaLiga rivals Real Madrid 7-3 in an incredible display at the International Champions Cup.

Atletico showed no mercy in New Jersey, where Diego Simeone's men led 5-0 at half-time thanks to Costa's first-half hat-trick on Friday.

Big-money signing Joao Felix scored his first goal since arriving from Benfica and set up two others, while Angel Correa was also on target in a sensationally one-sided first half at MetLife Stadium.

Costa teamed up with Joao Felix to add his fourth six minutes into the second half before he was sent off after clashing with Dani Carvajal, which sparked a melee.

Vitolo scored a sensational solo goal in the 70th minute after Nacho Fernandez reduced the deficit on the hour-mark, while Madrid substitute Karim Benzema converted an 85th-minute penalty and Javi Hernandez bundled the ball over the line late.

Atletico were ruthless from the outset, last season's runners-up breaking the deadlock after just 43 seconds when Joao Felix played a neat pass to Costa, whose deflected shot beat Thibaut Courtois.

That was a sign of things to come as Joao Felix made it 2-0 less than seven minutes later – the former Benfica teenager stepping in front of Marcelo and side-footing from close range after Saul Niguez cut a pass back into the penalty area.

After a lively Alvaro Morata left the field due to an apparent calf injury, his replacement Correa – linked to AC Milan – put Atletico 3-0 ahead in the 19th minute with a volley past Courtois.

While Joao Felix and Costa continued to wreak havoc, Madrid's woes were compounded by what appeared to be a knee injury to new signing Luka Jovic, who had to be substituted following a collision with Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak.

Madrid's defensive problems were highlighted again as Atletico went 4-0 ahead in the 28th minute – Saul winning the ball after a bad pass from Ramos and sliding in a simple pass for Costa and he made no mistake.

Hermoso and Thomas Lemar also went close, while Vinicius Junior hit the post for Madrid. But Atletico netted their fourth on the stroke of half-time after Costa completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot following Isco's foul.

Atletico did not take their foot off the pedal in the second half – Felix and Costa continuing their frightening combination as the former split Madrid's defence with a delightful pass and the former scooped the ball over Keylor Navas in the 51st minute.

Eden Hazard was virtually non-existent in first half, but the Belgian star showed a flash of brilliance to help Madrid pull a goal back on the hour-mark, crossing the ball into the six-yard box for Nacho to bundle the ball over the line.

There was a flashpoint five minutes later when Costa and Carvajal were both sent off after the pair and both teams came together as tempers threatened to boil over.

It got worse for Madrid after Vitolo won the ball from two defenders on the half-way line and beat another two opponents before finding the back of the net following a stunning solo run with 20 minutes remaining.

Atletico were hungry for more and they should have scored another two or three goals but some desperate goalkeeping and defending denied Los Rojiblancos, while Benzema and Hernandez added goals for Madrid late in the game.

Diego Costa scored a first-half hat-trick as Atletico Madrid humiliated LaLiga rivals Real Madrid by taking a 5-0 lead into half-time in their International Champions Cup clash.

Atletico showered no mercy in New Jersey, where big-money signing Joao Felix and substitute Angel Correa also scored in an incredibly one-sided first half on Friday.

The first-half rout, which saw Luka Jovic suffer an apparent knee injury, comes after Marco Asensio ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament and external meniscus in the 2-2 draw with Arsenal – who had led 2-0 at half-time.

Madrid – who finished third behind champions Barca and runners-up Atletico last season – were also beaten 3-1 by Bayern Munich in their pre-season opener.

Dani Ceballos has revealed that former Arsenal forward Jose Antonio Reyes was his "childhood idol" and he spoke to his father before moving to north London.

The Spain Under-21 star will spend the 2019-20 season on loan with the Gunners from Real Madrid, where he had been struggling for regular first-team football.

Ceballos always followed the Gunners because of Reyes, a member of the 'Invincibles' side of 2003-04, who was killed in a car accident in June.

Having asked Reyes' father for some advice ahead of the move, Ceballos is now relishing the prospect of playing for the same side as his boyhood hero.

"This is a historic club that I've always looked out for because of Jose Antonio Reyes, who is from the same town as me and played here," he told the club's website.

"He made history at this club, winning the league title, so it's an important step in my career for me to join Arsenal.

"I spoke to his father just before coming here and he told me not to think twice because this is a wonderful club. Jose had a fantastic time here. 

"When I came into the training ground I saw a picture of him and it really struck me because he's like my childhood idol. Being at the club where he made a name for himself is a big step forward and I hope to make this club even bigger."

Ceballos will hope to make his first appearance for the club in the Emirates Cup match with Lyon on Sunday.

Eden Hazard and Virgil van Dijk have been revealed as two of the cover stars for the FIFA 20 video game.

Three editions of FIFA 20 will be released, with Hazard - now at Real Madrid following his move from Chelsea - on the cover of the "standard" version of the game.

Liverpool's Van Dijk, who led the Reds to Champions League glory last season, will take up the cover on the "champions edition". A cover star for the "ultimate edition" is yet to be confirmed.

Hazard starred for Chelsea in 2018-19, scoring 18 goals across all competitions as the Blues finished third in the Premier League and won the Europa League final.

Van Dijk, meanwhile, was the key cog in a Liverpool defence that conceded 22 goals in the league, as they finished a close second behind Manchester City.

While Hazard headlines a glut of new Galactico signings at Madrid, Van Dijk's efforts with Liverpool have led to him being regarded as a possible Ballon d'Or winner.

"FIFA is the biggest football game on the planet, and I have been playing it for years against my brothers," said Hazard. "I am lucky to have been on the cover before but to be on FIFA 20 globally is amazing and I hope to excite as many gamers as I do when I take the field for Madrid this season!"

Van Dijk added: "It is a huge honour for me. I've been playing FIFA for as long as I can remember and so it's an extremely proud moment for me to be representing Liverpool on the cover of such an iconic game."

Cristiano Ronaldo featured on the cover of FIFA 19 and FIFA 18, though Juventus will not be an officially licenced team in this year's version of the game, with the Serie A champions to be instead called Piemonte Calcio.

Zinedine Zidane has dismissed speculation he does not get along with Dani Ceballos, insisting the midfielder was loaned to Arsenal to increase his game time.

Ceballos' season-long loan to the Premier League club was confirmed on Thursday, as the Spain international became the Gunners' second signing of the transfer window, followed closely by William Saliba.

The 22-year-old joined Madrid from Real Betis in 2017, having shined in the European Under-21 Championship following an impressive 2016-17 season in LaLiga.

However, Ceballos struggled to establish himself under Zidane, making 22 appearances in all competitions in 2017-18 before featuring 34 times last term.

Only three of those appearances came after Zidane had been reappointed as Los Blancos boss in March, though, and Ceballos has been handed an opportunity to test himself in England's top flight.

But Zidane affirmed he has no problem with Ceballos.

"No, it's not that I didn't get on with Ceballos. I think Dani needed to play a lot because he's an important player," Zidane told a news conference.

"It's true that at Madrid he has not had enough minutes, it's just about that. There are a lot of players here, a lot of competition. I wish him to play many games and do well."

Zinedine Zidane insisted talk about James Rodriguez's Real Madrid future was not his concern amid claims the playmaker has no interest in staying.

James, 28, is linked with Napoli and Atletico Madrid after returning to the Santiago Bernabeu from a two-year loan spell at Bayern Munich.

Atletico chief executive Miguel Angel Gil Marin told ESPN on Thursday that James did not want to continue at Madrid, nor did the LaLiga giants want him to.

Asked about those comments, Zidane said the Colombia international's future was not something for him to worry about.

"It is a matter for the club," he told a news conference ahead of Madrid's International Champions Cup clash against Atletico on Friday.

"It is something between them – the presidents – not me."

Zidane was seemingly tired of answering questions about Gareth Bale, who is expected to leave the club, and reported transfer target and Manchester United star Paul Pogba.

And while midfielder Marco Asensio could be set to miss the entire season due to a serious knee injury, Zidane said nothing changed in regards to Madrid's plans.

"We are working with the players here. We think about the first league match," he said.

"Nothing changes. I don't think about that, who will replace Marco, no. We are touched by the injury, but there is a game tomorrow. We will see later."

Real Madrid midfielder Marco Asensio lamented his bad luck but has vowed to bounce back after suffering a serious knee injury.

The 22-year-old is likely to miss between six to nine months of action after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in Madrid's friendly with Arsenal earlier this week.

Asensio scored an equaliser for his side in the International Champions Cup clash - which Madrid won on penalties following a 2-2 draw - and was expected to play a key part for Zinedine Zidane's men this coming campaign, but he is instead starting a long road to recovery.

Speaking for the first time since Madrid confirmed the extent of his injury, Asensio posted a message to supporters on his social media platforms.

"I began this season with renewed hopes, looking after even the last tiny detail of my preparation so that this would be a great season for all the Madrid fans and for myself," he said.

"At the highest points in life, you can have an unexpected stroke of bad luck and suddenly everything changes. It is hard to accept everything these days, but I begin another personal challenge in my life. I still trust that this will be a great season. 

"Your messages of support and loving gestures give me even more strength to face this challenge. Heartfelt thanks to all of you for your support. See you soon."

Zidane also faces being without Ferland Mendy for the start of the new campaign as the €48million signing from Lyon injured his leg in the draw with Arsenal.

Mendy's injury will continue to be monitored but he could miss around four weeks, according to reports in Spain.

Madrid begin their LaLiga campaign with a trip to Celta Vigo on August 17.

Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed Napoli are in negotiations to sign Lille forward Nicolas Pepe.

The Ivory Coast international hit 22 Ligue 1 goals last term to announce himself among Europe's most in-demand talents.

Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain have been linked with Pepe, as well as Champions League winners Liverpool.

And Napoli are also in the race after Pepe's representative arrived in Italy to begin talks over the 24-year-old's future.

"If his agents are here it is obvious we're interested," Ancelotti told reporters on Thursday. "Negotiations are ongoing, anything can happen."

A deal for James Rodriguez appears no closer to completion but Ancelotti seems confident of Napoli signing a player he previously coached at Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.

"I am neither optimistic nor pessimistic, he is among the players who we are interested in," the Italian added.

"Let's see what happens. There is the will of Real to sell and of Napoli to take him."

Napoli have also been linked with a move for Mauro Icardi, who has been told he is not part of Inter's project.

Icardi is reportedly keen on joining Serie A champions Juventus instead, but Ancelotti indicated it would not mean Arkadiusz Milik leaves Napoli if the Argentina attacker signs for the Partenopei.

"None of our players are currently on the market," Ancelotti added. "All the players are here because we intend to keep them. Of course, if someone wants to try a new experience, we're here to listen."

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