New recruit Felipe is not concerned about filling Diego Godin's boots at Atletico Madrid.

Godin has signed a three-year deal with Inter, ending a nine-year stay in the Spanish capital that yielded a LaLiga title and two Champions League final appearances, though Atleti lost on both occasions to neigbours Real Madrid.

After joining from Porto for €20million and agreeing a three-year contract, Felipe is widely expected to be Atletico's replacement for captain Godin.

But the 30-year-old defender is not feeling the pressure of following in the footsteps of one of the club's modern greats.

"Godin is Godin, he's a great player and he's made a great story," Felipe said of the two-time Europa League winner. 

"I'm here to make my story. I want to play a great role, I know the club is huge.

"I really wanted to come in. I have very high expectations of having a good season."

Atletico face a substantial rebuild with Lucas Hernandez joining Bayern Munich and veteran right-back Juanfran leaving, while striker Antoine Griezmann has announced his intention to depart and left-back Filipe Luis also expected to be on his way out.

Spain midfielder Rodri is close to completing his move to Manchester City, with the Premier League champions paying his release clause, though Marcos Llorente has arrived from Real Madrid.

Lionel Messi railed against refereeing decisions as Brazil knocked Argentina out of the Copa America, the Barcelona star's rage coming after he suffered yet more international heartbreak.

Messi lost international finals in 2014, 2015 and 2016 but Argentina fell in the last four of this year's tournament, Brazil running out 2-0 winners in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday.

His lack of success for the national team - outside of the Under-20 World Cup in 2005 and striking gold at the Olympic Games three years later - contrasts sharply with his club career, with Messi inspiring Barcelona to 10 LaLiga titles as well as four Champions League crowns.

Messi will likely have another shot at glory as the Copa America is being held again in 2020 - Argentina are co-hosts with Colombia - but how have things gone wrong for him in Albiceleste colours?

 

World Cup final (2014): Argentina 0-1 Germany (aet)

When measured against the all-time greats, one thing has always proven to be easy pickings for Messi's detractors – unlike Pele and compatriot Diego Maradona, he has not won a World Cup.

That argument could have been laid to rest in Brazil, where Messi scored four goals to help Alejandro Sabella's side secure a final clash with Germany.

But Messi was below-par at the Maracana and Argentina fell to a 1-0 extra-time loss courtesy of Mario Gotze's goal, with the Barca star having fired a late free-kick off target.

He was named the player of the tournament in the immediate aftermath but showed little interest in the award as a far greater prize had just slipped through his fingers.

 

Copa America final (2015): Argentina 0-0 Chile (aet, 1-4 pens)

Messi did not shy away from his spot-kick duties when the 2015 Copa America final went to penalties against hosts Chile.

At the end of a tournament in which Messi scored just once, he stepped up to take Argentina's opening effort, just as he had in the quarter-final win over Colombia.

The result was the same – Messi found the net. However, he was then reduced to the role of spectator.

And what followed was agonising to watch for the forward, as misses from Gonzalo Higuain and Ever Banega preceded Alexis Sanchez's decisive strike.

 

Copa America final (2016): Argentina 0-0 Chile (aet, 2-4 pens)

The Copa America Centenario proved a far more productive one for Messi, who hit five goals in Argentina's march to yet another final against Chile.

Gerardo Martino's men scored 18 times in the United States, including a 2-1 triumph over Chile on their way to winning Group D.

But when the final rolled around, the goals dried up, with a 0-0 stalemate ensuring more shoot-out drama.

Messi again went first, but this time blazed over the crossbar as Chile defended their title. The crushing blow of the subsequent loss forced him into a decision to retire from the international game, though he later changed his mind.

 

World Cup last 16 (2018): France 4-3 Argentina

After a poor qualifying campaign, Messi dragged Argentina to Russia 2018 single-handedly with a stunning hat-trick against Ecuador, but he could not repeat the magic at the tournament.

A superb goal against Nigeria helped Jorge Sampaoli's side squeeze through the group stage, Argentina having opened with a draw against Iceland before losing 3-0 to Croatia.

But despite Messi recording a brace of assists in the first knockout round, France ran out 4-3 winners in Kazan on their way to winning the trophy.

Argentina captain Messi subsequently refused to speak to the media and took nine months out of the international spotlight amid speculation he would not play for his country again.


Copa America semi-final (2019): Brazil 2-0 Argentina

Messi did return to play for his country in the build-up to the Copa America, but there was yet more disappointment for the 32-year-old on the international stage.

He struggled to show his best form in Brazil, with a penalty against Paraguay his only goal of the tournament heading into the semi-finals.

Although unplayable at times in Belo Horizonte, Brazil's defence kept a fifth clean sheet in a row as Messi struck the post with a shot and set up Sergio Aguero for a header that hit the crossbar.

Whether Messi, who argued Aguero should have had a penalty at 1-0, is willing to put himself through the hurt again remains to be seen, but the chance to have one last Copa crack - and on home soil - will be tempting.

Real Madrid refuse to give up on a move for Paul Pogba - and Gareth Bale could be the key to getting a deal done.

Pogba, 26, has been linked with a Manchester United exit, having said last month it could be time for a "new challenge" three years after returning to Old Trafford.

Madrid's rebuild is well and truly under way with Zinedine Zidane and, linked with a midfielder, the LaLiga giants are continuing to chase Pogba.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID RETAIN POGBA HOPE

According to AS, Real Madrid have not given up on signing Pogba.

The report says Manchester United have so far refused to negotiate a deal for the France midfielder, but Madrid are still pursuing the World Cup winner.

Bale could be part of a potential deal, however, with Madrid willing to offer United the attacker, according to Marca.

However, Bale has told Madrid he wants to see out the rest of his contract, which runs until 2022, at the Santiago Bernabeu, per AS.

ROUND-UP

- Antoine Griezmann's expected move from Atletico Madrid to Barcelona is happening. L'Equipe report Griezmann will make a €120million switch, with Marca saying Barca are preparing to present the France forward next week.

- With Griezmann's arrival, and potentially that of Neymar too, there are expected to be departures from Camp Nou. Sport report Philippe Coutinho has agreed terms with Paris Saint-Germain in the first piece of the puzzle that will lead to Neymar's return to Barcelona. Sport also say Barca are prepared to listen to offers of at least €50m for defender Samuel Umtiti.

- Harry Maguire appears set for Manchester, but which half remains to be seen. The Sun report Manchester United had a £70m bid for the defender rejected by Leicester City, while Manchester City are also willing to bid that much. Maguire has reportedly told Leicester he wants to leave and, unsurprisingly, Arsenal are looking to land the centre-back on the cheap, prepared to offer £50m, according to The Sun.

- Alexandre Lacazette could be on his way out of Emirates Stadium. The Arsenal forward is a target for Barcelona, according to Yahoo Sport FR, while the Mirror link Lacazette with Atletico Madrid.

- Having fallen down the pecking order at Anfield, Dejan Lovren could be set for a close-season exit. La Gazzetta dello Sport say Lovren's agent has held talks with AC Milan, with Liverpool apparently wanting €27.9m (£25m) for the centre-back.

- Marko Arnautovic is again linked with a move to China. The West Ham forward has lodged a transfer request after a £19.7m bid from Shanghai SIPG, according to the Mirror, just months after opting against a move to the Chinese Super League.

- After Rafael Benitez left for Dalian Yifang in the Chinese Super League, Newcastle United have made Belgium boss Roberto Martinez their top target, per The Sun. Martinez has managed in the Premier League with Everton and Wigan Athletic, but Pep Guardiola's assistant at Manchester City, Mikel Arteta, also continues to be linked to the vacancy.

Kevin-Prince Boateng has shot down suggestions he could join Barcelona permanently by confirming his exit on social media.

The 32-year-old made four appearances for the Spanish champions during his spell on loan from Sassuolo during the second half of last season.

Despite Boateng's limited game time, Sassuolo's chief executive officer Giovanni Carnevali suggested the former Ghana forward may stay at Camp Nou on a full-time basis.

Barcelona have the option to buy Boateng outright, but that looks unlikely to happen as he has said his goodbyes to the club on his Instagram page.

"Today ends one of the most exciting experiences of my career," he said. "I thank every person who made this possible.

"I thank my teammates who made me feel at home from day one, champions and great people.

"I thank all the management, available and always present.

"A special thought goes to all the fans: I will always carry you in my heart. I wanted to give something more, but I did my best in every minute that was given to me to honour this fantastic shirt!"

Barcelona are the 10th club Boateng has represented during his career, and the second in LaLiga following his stint with Las Palmas in 2016-17.

Raheem Sterling insists he is at Manchester City "for the long haul" but would like to fulfil his dream of moving to a foreign club before the end of his career.

The 24-year-old has spent the past four seasons playing in the Premier League with City following his high-profile switch from Liverpool in 2015.

He has won six major honours during his time at the Etihad Stadium, including back-to-back league titles, and is under contract until 2023.

However, Sterling has reiterated a desire to try his luck abroad in the coming years, hinting a move to LaLiga could be his preference. 

"Looking at it now it's like, Manchester, I love it. I love it here," he told British GQ. "This is one of the best clubs in the world and I'm here for the long haul. 

"But you just don't know what happens in the future. I'm still young and, like I say, I am loving every minute. 

"Ever since I was a kid, 100 per cent it's always been a dream of mine to play abroad somewhere. It would be nice one day to finish training and go home and sit in your garden and eat some dinner. 

"I would need to see where it's minimum 17°C or 18°C constantly."

Asked if he would consider a move to the Bundesliga, Sterling responded: "Not really - the language barrier. It sounds very difficult [to learn].

"I hear Leroy [Sane] and Ilkay [Gundogan] talking and sometimes I think they're having me on. 

"Spanish sounds like... 'Hola! Raheem!' I feel that one I can definitely catch on!"

Sterling has managed to silence critics over the past two seasons after a slow start upon his £49million arrival from Liverpool.

The England international conceded he struggled amid the deluge of criticism aimed his way, but it ultimately made him stronger.

"My lowest point? Probably my first season at City, purely because I came in excited for my move here and then it went from 'This kid is going to be the next whatever' and before making a mark I was written off," he said. 

"I was the golden boy six, seven, eight months before that, a big money move, and it's kind of switched without even hitting a ball. Before I've even done anything it's just, 'He's not good enough'. I was like, 'What's going on?'

"At first it got to me because I was 19, it was my first time as a professional football player and it's a learning curve. Now you can say or do what you want and I wouldn't take it in."

Four years on from his big-money switch from the reigning European champions to this season's treble winners, Sterling has no regrets.

"When I got into Liverpool I said if I haven't won the Premier League by the time I'm 21 I need to look at my options and see what I'm doing there," he added.

"I put that into place from a young age. And I came to City and won my first Premier League.

"It's just good to know what I've set out to do - what we've set out as a team to do - is going as planned."

Neymar's father has refuted a report that claimed he was travelling to Barcelona for discussions about his son's proposed move from Paris Saint-Germain.

Barca are believed to be interested in fulfilling Neymar's rumoured wish for a return to Camp Nou after two seasons in France.

Negotiations between the clubs are said to have started and a report in Brazil claimed Neymar Sr was set for talks with Andre Cury, an adviser to the LaLiga champions.

But it appears the speculation of a deal moving closer is wide of the mark.

"I'm not going to Barcelona to negotiate," Neymar Sr told Fox Sports Brazil.

"I am in Brazil and I will continue here until we return to Paris with my son."

In April, Neymar's father claimed the former Santos forward had no interest in leaving PSG, telling supporters to "sleep easy".

The Ligue 1 side sealed a second successive title later that month, weeks before Barca's humiliating exit from the Champions League at the hands of Liverpool.

Paris Saint-Germain have signed Sevilla attacking midfielder Pablo Sarabia after triggering his reported €18million release clause.

The 27-year-old's future had been in question for several months after a fine season in LaLiga and he has made the switch to PSG on a five-year deal.

Sarabia scored 12 goals and set up another 13 in LaLiga last term, enjoying by far his best campaign in senior football.

He joined Sevilla for a fee thought to be in the region of €1million from Getafe in 2016 and swiftly became an important part of the team, showing versatility in attack and chipping in consistently with goals and assists.

It was the 2018-19 campaign where he really came to the fore, however, linking up particularly well with Wissam Ben Yedder – another player who has been linked with PSG.

Sevilla had been trying to tie Sarabia down to a new contract for the best part of a year, given his deal was due to expire in 2020 and contained a low release clause.

But after failing to secure an extension, Sevilla are reported to have urged him to engineer a move as soon as possible.

Yet to be capped by Spain's senior side, Sarabia will offer competition out wide and in attacking midfield for PSG, who are hoping to win a third successive Ligue 1 title next term.

Paris Saint-Germain have signed Sevilla attacking midfielder Pablo Sarabia after triggering his reported €18million release clause.

The 27-year-old's future had been in question for several months after a fine season in LaLiga and he has made the switch to PSG on a five-year deal.

Sarabia scored 12 goals and set up another 13 in LaLiga last term, enjoying by far his best campaign in senior football.

He joined Sevilla for a fee thought to be in the region of €1million from Getafe in 2016 and swiftly became an important part of the team, showing versatility in attack and chipping in consistently with goals and assists.

It was the 2018-19 campaign where he really came to the fore, however, linking up particularly well with Wissam Ben Yedder – another player who has been linked with PSG.

Sevilla had been trying to tie Sarabia down to a new contract for the best part of a year, given his deal was due to expire in 2020 and contained a low release clause.

But after failing to secure an extension, Sevilla are reported to have urged him to engineer a move as soon as possible.

Yet to be capped by Spain's senior side, Sarabia will offer competition out wide and in attacking midfield for PSG, who are hoping to win a third successive Ligue 1 title next term.

Arturo Vidal holds no concerns about Barcelona pursuing Neymar as the Brazilian's return to Camp Nou reportedly edges closer.

Reports in Spain indicate the two parties are growing increasingly optimistic of pushing through an agreement with Paris Saint-Germain.

The 27-year-old enjoyed four successful seasons in his first stint at Camp Nou but questions have been raised about the wisdom of a reunion.

Ex-Barca boss Pep Guardiola pondered whether Neymar would return as the "same person" but midfielder Vidal, who is away on Copa America duty with Chile, is not about to question his club's decisions.

"I am already playing with the best in Barcelona, and if Barcelona want Neymar that is none of my business," Vidal said.

"I am focused on the national team, on trying to win this tournament, then to get some rest.

"There are people in Barcelona in charge of those matters."

Vidal and Chile, winners of the past two Copa America tournaments, are preparing for a crunch semi-final date with Peru in Porto Alegre.

The dynamic former Bayern Munich man and team-mate Charles Aranguiz will have to be on their best behaviour after each picked up a yellow card in the quarter-final victory Colombia.

Another on Wednesday would mean a suspension for the final, should favourites Chile overcome their less experienced opponents.

Vidal said: "Neither me nor Charles are worried about our bookings.

"If we have to give our lives out there, if we have to risk another yellow card we will do it.

"Our most important goal is to produce the best game in this tournament for the team so we can reach the final."

Slowly but surely, Neymar's return to Barcelona appears to be getting closer.

The Paris Saint-Germain star, who is sidelined with an ankle injury, is heavily linked with a return to Camp Nou, two years after his world-record €222million switch to the Ligue 1 giants.

Amid reports of talks between Barca and PSG, steps continue to be taken for a possible return for Neymar.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR'S FATHER MEETING WITH BARCA

Neymar's father and his lawyer are set to meet Barcelona representative Andre Cury on Tuesday, according to Esporte Interativo.

The report says Cury, who was involved in Neymar's sale, will put forward Barca's point of view.

If those talks go smoothly, Barcelona would only need to seal negotiations with PSG for a deal to be done.

ROUND-UP

- Christian Eriksen said last month he wanted a fresh challenge away from Tottenham amid links to Real Madrid, who are reported to be chasing a central midfielder. Marca report one of Eriksen's lawyers will meet with Madrid this week to find out their intentions.

- Gonzalo Higuain's future is unclear after Chelsea opted not to exercise their purchase option on the Juventus forward. Now, Tuttosport report Atletico Madrid could be interested in Higuain.

- Frank Lampard's dream return to Stamford Bridge is a done deal. The Mirror report the England great has agreed a three-year deal to become Chelsea manager, with confirmation expected in the next 48 hours.

- As they prepare to potentially make room for Neymar and Antoine Griezmann, Barcelona are expected to sell at least one player, with Ousmane Dembele linked with a move away. Kicker report the LaLiga champions have put the France attacker up for sale.

- Manchester United continue to try to get a deal done for Sporting CP midfielder Bruno Fernandes. According to Gazzetta dello Sport, United have reached an agreement with Fernandes and must now finalise a deal with the Primeira Liga outfit. Staying at Old Trafford, Gianluca Di Marzio reports Inter are set to resume talks with United regarding Romelu Lukaku on Tuesday.

- Nicolas Pepe is expected to leave Lille amid links to some of Europe's top clubs. In good news for Liverpool, L'Equipe report the forward – who scored 22 Ligue 1 goals in 2018-19 – is keen on a move to Anfield.

Luuk de Jong has signed for Sevilla after the LaLiga club agreed a deal with PSV.

De Jong scored 28 goals in 34 Eredivisie appearances last season as PSV fell short of defending their league title.

The Netherlands forward had thrived in Eindhoven after underwhelming spells at Borussia Monchengladbach and Newcastle United.

And De Jong's form has led to another move away from his home nation, the 28-year-old signing a four-year contract with Sevilla, who finished sixth in LaLiga last term and have paid PSV a reported €12.5million.

De Jong won three Eredivisie titles during his time at PSV, who are also likely to lose Hirving Lozano this off-season.

The Mexico forward has been heavily linked with Serie A club Napoli, after scoring 21 goals in all competitions in 2018-19.

Sevilla, meanwhile, have sold Quincy Promes and Luis Muriel, with winger Pablo Sarabia reportedly set to join Paris Saint-Germain, while Wissam Ben Yedder has been linked with a move to Manchester United.

Gelson Martins has completed a permanent switch to Monaco after spending the second half of 2018-19 on loan from Atletico Madrid.

Winger Gelson only joined Atleti in July 2018, but the former Sporting CP star failed to establish himself under Diego Simeone.

The Portugal international subsequently joined Ligue 1 strugglers Monaco in January, scoring four goals in 16 appearances.

And Gelson has now made his switch to Monaco permanent, signing a five-year contract.

"I am very happy to be able to join Monaco in time and I am now very much looking forward to seeing the group again in preparation for the upcoming season," Gelson told the club's official website.

"Despite the difficult situation, we managed to show some good things last season and I will do everything to help the club achieve its goals this season."

It is July 1, meaning players who had run down their contracts at former clubs are now officially free to move.

Some, such as Aaron Ramsey, Diego Godin and Adrien Rabiot have already signed with new clubs, while the likes of Ander Herrera seem to have transfers all but finalised.

However, there are plenty of players yet to have secured their next destination.

 

Aaron Ramsey

Wales international Ramsey called time on his 11-year stay in February, signing a pre-contract agreement with Serie A champions Juventus.

While Massimiliano Allegri was in charge when Ramsey agreed to join, it is Maurizio Sarri who will have the midfielder at his disposal for the upcoming season and, after an injury-hit end to 2018-19, the 28-year-old will be eager to quickly cement his place in the Bianconeri's starting XI.

Diego Godin

A mainstay in Atletico Madrid's defence since 2010, Godin announced his departure from the Wanda Metropolitano in May.

Inter were always favourites to sign the 33-year-old and that deal was officially announced on Monday, with the Uruguay international penning a three-year contract at San Siro.

Adrien Rabiot

France midfielder Rabiot did not play for Paris Saint-Germain in 2019 due to a dispute over his contract situation.

The 24-year-old has now officially left the Ligue 1 champions for their Serie A counterparts Juventus, who announced an agreement on Monday.

Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery

After defining an era at Bayern Munich, Robben and Ribery have officially left the Allianz Arena.

Ribery has been linked with a move to the A-League, while PSV are one of the clubs to have declared an interest in Robben. However, neither of the veteran wingers have found a new home yet.

Ander Herrera

Manchester United tried in vain to keep hold of former Athletic Bilbao midfielder Herrera, who made 132 Premier League appearances after joining the club in 2014.

A move to Paris Saint-Germain is expected to go through in the first week of July.

Daniel Sturridge

Sturridge was a key figure in Liverpool's title challenge in 2013-14 but injuries have gradually taken their toll on the forward, who managed four goals from 27 appearances in all competitions last season.

Divock Origi usurped Sturridge as Jurgen Klopp's first-choice back-up striker and the 29-year-old is now on the lookout for a new club, with Rangers – managed by Liverpool icon Steven Gerrard – reportedly leading the chase for his signature.

Mario Balotelli

Former Manchester City, Liverpool and AC Milan striker Balotelli signed a six-month deal with Marseille in January and went on to score eight Ligue 1 goals.

The 28-year-old has not extended his stay at Stade Velodrome, though, and a return to Serie A is an option, with Parma having confirmed their interest.

Mateo Kovacic has completed a permanent switch to Chelsea after impressing on loan from Real Madrid last season.

The Blues are banned from registering new signings for the next two transfer windows because FIFA found they had breached regulations relating to the international transfer and registration of players aged under 18.

However, as Kovacic was already registered with the club having spent last term on loan at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea have been able to sign the Croatia international permanently on a five-year deal for a fee reported to be in the region of £40million.

"I really enjoyed my season on loan with Chelsea, I feel comfortable at the club and like London and the Premier League very much. I am very happy to be able to join permanently," Kovacic said.

"We had a successful year, winning the Europa League and I hope I can make a big contribution in the coming seasons."

The 25-year-old helped the Blues win the Europa League and reach the EFL Cup final, and he made 32 Premier League appearances as Chelsea finished third in Maurizio Sarri's one and only season in charge.

Sarri has since left for Juventus and is expected to be replaced by club great Frank Lampard after Derby County permitted him to miss pre-season training to continue talks with the Blues.

Kovacic, who spent three years at Madrid after moving from Inter, joins Christian Pulisic in arriving ahead of the 2019-20 campaign.

They may be the only incomings at Stamford Bridge for the foreseeable future, although Chelsea have lodged an appeal against their transfer ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Kovacic's arrival comes after Chelsea confirmed Gonzalo Higuain's departure from the club.

The striker will return to Juventus after the Blues opted not to pursue a permanent deal or take an option to extend his loan for a further 12 months.

Borussia Dortmund have signed highly-rated teenager Mateu Morey from Barcelona.

The right-back,19, has agreed a five-year contract with the Bundesliga club and arrives on a free transfer after running down his deal at Barca.

Morey, who was also reportedly a target for Juventus and Manchester City, missed the entire 2018-19 season after suffering a serious knee injury but is now fully fit and set to be involved in Dortmund's pre-season.

"Borussia Dortmund are a fantastic club that place a lot of emphasis on youth. I'm confident that, with my individual qualities, I will have a lot to offer the club in the years to come," Morey said. 

"I want to integrate myself quickly, support my team and, above all, learn the language. Doing the latter will certainly make everything easier!"

Morey was part of Spain's Under-17 side that won the European Championship and triumphed in the 2016-17 UEFA Youth League with Barcelona. 

"Mateu Morey is a top defensive talent from the Barcelona academy, who possesses exceptional technical quality," Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc said.  

"We see this transfer as one for the future and we are greatly looking forward to developing Mateu as part of our first-team squad."

Morey's arrival continues a busy close-season at Dortmund following the signings of Mats Hummels, Nico Schulz, Thorgan Hazard and Julian Brandt.

 

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