Leon Goretzka says Germany are not setting any firm World Cup targets after two disappointing tournaments, but hopes Die Mannschaft can "make a good impression" in their upcoming UEFA Nations League games ahead of their trip to Qatar.

The Bayern Munich midfielder has won 41 caps for his country, scoring 14 goals, but has enjoyed limited tournament success with the national team, featuring in underwhelming campaigns at the 2018 World Cup and Euro 2020.

Germany crashed out in the group stages in Russia in 2018 before being eliminated by England in the last 16 at the Euros last year, also missing out on qualifying for the Nations League semi-finals in 2020-21.

Goretzka, who missed Germany's 2014 World Cup triumph after suffering an injury in a pre-tournament friendly, recalled those negative experiences as he insisted Hansi Flick's side had yet to set any targets for their trip to Qatar.

Asked by Sky Sports Germany whether winning the tournament was a realistic aim, the 27-year-old said: "Answering the question doesn't do us much good. 

"We'll play our Nations League games first and see that we make a good impression and can go to the World Cup free. 

"I've already taken part in tournaments where we were considered one of the favourites and we failed quite a bit. Then there were tournaments where nobody expected us [to perform well] and we won. 

"Basically, we are an absolute footballing nation with great successes in the past, and accordingly we have our expectations in such a competition."

Germany have been drawn into a tricky Group E for the tournament, alongside Japan, Costa Rica or New Zealand, and Spain, having lost their last meeting with La Roja 6-0 in November 2020.

Before that, Flick's side face several tough Nations League fixtures, including a home clash with England and a double-header against European champions Italy, and Goretzka believes those contests will provide Germany with a real test after Flick won eight of his first nine games at the helm. 

"The opponents we have now are much more important," he added. "These are top games at the very highest level.

"We haven't had one under Hansi yet, so [with] many games against top opponents, which is why we made a good impression. Now we can prove that at another level, higher up."

Meanwhile, at club level, Goretzka endured an injury-hit campaign with Bayern, making just 19 league appearances as Julian Nagelsmann's men won the Bundesliga title, fewer than fellow midfielders Marcel Sabitzer (25), Joshua Kimmich (28), and Jamal Musiala (30).

Despite their domestic dominance, the midfielder said Bayern's Champions League quarter-final exit against Villarreal meant the team's season "wasn't satisfactory", and is targeting better things next term.

"We have a lot of things to improve. We played a pretty good, if not excellent, first half of the season. We were in the flow then," he added.

"You can't say that about the second half of the season. We weren't up to par in the important games - that wasn't Bayern-like. Getting kicked out in the Champions League hasn't happened to us against such an opponent in recent years. 

"That's why this season overall wasn't satisfactory, but that's what makes many in the club extremely motivated to do better next year."

Harry Kane is hoping to break Wayne Rooney's England goalscoring record at the World Cup later this year, as he looks to help the Three Lions improve on their 2018 semi-final appearance.

Kane has scored 49 goals in 69 appearances for England after moving level with Bobby Charlton's international tally in a 2-1 friendly win over Switzerland at Wembley in March.

The Tottenham striker is now just four goals behind Rooney's Three Lions record, despite playing 50 international games fewer than the Manchester United legend.

Indeed, Kane has averaged 0.71 goals per game for his country, compared to Rooney's 0.45, and it looks to be a matter of time before Gareth Southgate's captain establishes himself as the greatest goalscorer in the national team's history.

Kane also enjoyed a successful season at club level, registering 17 goals and nine assists in the Premier League to help Antonio Conte's Spurs to Champions League qualification.

 

Speaking on The Tonight Show, the Spurs talisman expressed his excitement for England to build on their 2018 World Cup semi-final loss to Croatia, as he targeted breaking Rooney's record in Qatar.

"I'm excited," Kane told host Jimmy Fallon. "In the last World Cup we got to the semi-finals, which was the furthest we've gone in the tournament for 30 years.

"The country was going mad, but we fell just that one step short. I'm looking forward to this one as we've got a really good coach and a really good team. 

"We've been building nicely to this World Cup, and hopefully I can break the goal record while we're there."

Kane could even break the record before the tournament, with England facing four Nations League contests next month, including clashes with Germany and Euro 2020 final conquerors Italy.

The 28-year-old scored six goals as England progressed to the final four of the last World Cup in Russia, and a repeat performance would also see him become his country's record goalscorer at the competition, with Gary Lineker having scored 10 goals across the 1986 and 1990 tournaments.

Brighton and Hove Albion right-back Tariq Lamptey is "considering" playing for Ghana instead of England at international level, according to England Under-21 manager Lee Carsley.

Former Brighton boss Chris Hughton was appointed technical director of the Ghana national team in February, and is reported to have proposed that Lamptey declare for the Black Stars ahead of the World Cup later this year.

The 21-year-old has made two appearances for England's U21 team, but is yet to feature at senior level.

Lamptey has struggled with injuries this season, making only 32 appearances for Brighton (18 starts) in all competitions, and was not named in either Gareth Southgate's latest senior Three Lions squad, or Carsley's U21 squad for upcoming games.

"There's an issue over his dual nationality," Carsley said, as reported by The Athletic. "He's had an approach. It’s something he’s considering at the minute.

"He's asked to be left out of the squad for a bit of head space. He's not switched, it’s not cemented or anything like that. But he's had an approach. We have to respect that.

"We've made it clear how important we see him to us. I know the seniors have as well. It's not something that we've given up on. Tariq is fully aware of how important we see him.

"To be fair, I have rang him every day. I probably shouldn't have, I probably pushed him. You can only make it clear so many times.

"I wouldn't say we've done as much as we can, but he knows where we stand with him. I think we have to respect now that he's got a decision to make. Not only with himself, but with his family."

Ghana face Madagascar and Central African Republic next month in Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, with Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah also rumoured to be someone who could declare for them soon.

Meanwhile, Nketiah's club team-mate Emile Smith-Rowe was named in Carsley's squad for the UEFA Under-21 Championship qualifiers, despite having played for the senior team. 

Two of England's best goalkeepers will face off as Arsenal host Everton on the last day of the Premier League season, and David James believes Jordan Pickford should remain number one for the Three Lions, for now.

Gunners shot-stopper Aaron Ramsdale is one of Pickford's chief challengers for the England jersey, though the two have had mixed fortunes as the league season comes to a close on Sunday.

Pickford has been in tremendous form for Everton as they steered clear of relegation, confirming their top-flight status for another year with a dramatic 3-2 comeback against Crystal Palace at Goodison Park on Thursday.

Ramsdale and Arsenal look to have missed out on a Champions League place after recent defeats to Tottenham and Newcastle United, with Mikel Arteta's side needing to beat Everton while hoping Norwich get the better of Spurs on the final day.

Speaking to Stats Perform, former Liverpool and England goalkeeper James said Ramsdale's form this season will not have gone unnoticed, but described Pickford as "exceptional" whenever he has appeared for the national team.

"I don't think Ramsdale's club form will be ignored," James said. "The way you get into England is by the good club form. However, Gareth Southgate is his England manager, not his club manager.

"It would be wonderful, I'm sure, for an international manager to look at his squad and everyone's playing at the best of their abilities at the top of the league, [but] that's never going to be the reality.

"I think what Jordan Pickford's done for England has been exceptional. Absolutely exceptional. It's not a case of not letting us down, he has been exceptional."

James says Ramsdale would have to seize any chance that comes his way with England.

"If he's to perform at the level that he's been performing for Arsenal for England, then Gareth has a question of 'actually now do I look at the overall picture?'," James said.

Only five goalkeepers have made more saves than Pickford's 117 in the Premier League this season, though he is 15th for save percentage (66.67), while Ramsdale is ninth (70.08).

In terms of expected goals on target (xGOT), Pickford has actually let in 0.9 more than expected, while Ramsdale has prevented 0.6 in that respect, though this is quite a way down from where it was heading into the last international break in late March (3.3).

James expects Pickford to remain England's number one ahead of the World Cup later this year, barring a dip in form that could prompt a change of heart from Southgate.

"If he looks at the quality of the goalkeeper and how much they positively influence England's performances, he may see a time to change," James said. "But at the moment, Jordan Pickford has been exceptional and therefore he's England's number one."

Brazil legend Cafu believes anything other than winning the World Cup in Qatar will be deemed as a failure for the Selecao.

Tite's side breezed through World Cup qualifying as they topped the South American group after going unbeaten through their 17 games, winning 14 and drawing three.

The world's number one ranked side and five-time winners have been labelled by many as favourites to lift the World Cup come December.

Brazil, who boast the likes of Liverpool pair Alisson and Fabinho, along with Paris Saint-Germain duo Neymar and Marquinhos, have been drawn into a group with Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon.

However, the Selecao have not appeared in a World Cup final since 2002, when they won the competition, with the last four editions seeing European teams triumph.

Cafu – the only man to appear in three consecutive finals, winning in 1994, losing in 1998 and captaining in the 2002 win – believes it is time for Brazil to claim a sixth World Cup.

"Every competition that Brazil steps into there is the pressure to win it. They are a huge country in the world with a huge history," Cafu told BBC Sport.

"The pressure to win is always there in any game, not just the World Cup. We have a very good generation of Brazilian footballers coming through so the expectation is there as usual.

"It is about time we won, it is clear if we don't win the World Cup it will be a failure. We all have the expectations and hopes that we can do it."

Gareth Southgate's England must negotiate a group with Iran, the United States and one of either Wales, Scotland or Ukraine.

England are on the opposite side of the draw to Brazil, meaning the two sides cannot meet before the semi-final stage.

Cafu, who is his country's most-capped player after making 142 appearances, suggested a meeting between the two nations would be a dream for Brazilian fans.

"For the Brazilian people it would be considered a dream final because of the historical weight of the two nations in football," he said.

"This match would carry huge emotion and it would be beautiful not only for the fans of England but also for football in general."

Brazil great Cafu feels he and "one of the best right-backs in the world" Trent-Alexander Arnold share many similarities, while he heaped praise on England's transformation under Gareth Southgate. 

Alexander-Arnold remains in contention for an unprecedented quadruple with Liverpool, who have already won the EFL Cup and FA Cup and face Real Madrid in the Champions League final next Saturday. 

Jurgen Klopp's side also head into the final day of the Premier League season just a point behind leaders Manchester City, requiring a win against Wolves and hoping Pep Guardiola's side falter against Aston Villa. 

Alexander-Arnold has again been one of Liverpool's stars this campaign, with his 120 chances created far ahead of any other defender in Europe's top five leagues – David Raum in second has 88. 

The England international also leads the way for assists in the same group this term, with his 18 putting him three clear of Liverpool team-mate Andy Robertson. 

Former right-back Cafu, who played most of his career in Serie A with Roma and Milan, was quick to hail the progress Alexander-Arnold has made. 

"I have been following Alexander-Arnold and the campaign he has had at Liverpool," he told BBC Sport. "His progress over the last few years has been amazing and for sure is one of the best right-backs in the world. 

"He is young, strong and has developed hugely considering his age. He also has a lot of experience and I see a lot of similarities between him and myself. 

"We both had a will and commitment to attack, to go forward and have the boldness to shoot and to put the crosses in. The diagonal movements he makes on the pitch are also similar to what I was making as a player." 

Alexander-Arnold will hope to carry his club form into international duty in the Nations League with England before aiming for World Cup glory in Qatar in November and December. 

Southgate's side made their first major final since 1966 by reaching the Euro 2020 showpiece and Cafu credited the changes the England boss has overseen. 

"I have been following England and the evolution of their national team has been very good under Gareth Southgate," he added. "Along with Portugal, I consider England as the team to have evolved most on the pitch in the last few years. 

"They have a very strong squad with individual players who are performing at a very high level for their clubs. This helps the national team and the progress they have shown with their players means they have a good chance to go far in the [World Cup]. 

"If the England players listen to their coach as a group, then they have a better chance of winning." 

Pep Guardiola would be an ideal coach for Brazil as his style of play would benefit the likes of Neymar and Vinicius Junior, according to Julio Cesar. 

Brazil are on the hunt for a new boss with Tite leaving the role after the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and Guardiola has been linked with the position.

The Catalan is under contract at Manchester City, who he could lead to Premier League glory on Sunday, until June 2023 but has previously expressed a desire to move into international management.

Julio Cesar thinks he would be a great fit for the Selecao as his possession-based approach would help Brazil's most talented players.

"He has all the qualities to do it. He is one of the best in the world, his style of play is very Brazilian," Julio Cesar told Stats Perform courtesy of Enterprise Rent-A-Car. 

"Everyone knows that Brazilian players love to keep the ball; the majority of them also play in Europe and they are learning to play better on the pitch.  

"We have so much quality on the Brazilian national team: Neymar, Raphinha, [Lucas] Paqueta, Vinicius Junior. All these players are very talented and having a manager like Guardiola would give these players the opportunity of playing the ball more. 

"Every player would love to work with a manager like him. It wouldn't be a bad idea, although we also have really good managers in Brazil. He is a big name in the football world and it wouldn't be a bad thing having him representing our national side. I like the idea." 

Tite's only previous World Cup campaign with Brazil ended in a quarter-final defeat to Belgium in Russia four years ago. 

He steered the Selecao to Copa America glory in 2019 but they were unable to defend their title two years later, with Argentina defeating them in the final. 

Julio Cesar already believes Tite will leave a lasting legacy but has no doubt that leading Brazil to glory in Qatar would achieve him an even higher status. 

"This is what the World Cup gets you, it will level you up. If you can bring the World Cup to Brazil, you can leave with your head held high, you have done your job," he said. 

"He won the Copa America in 2019, he got to the final again against Argentina. He did very well so far, even in the [World Cup] qualifiers he got first place ahead of Argentina.

"He can leave with his head held high, but winning a World Cup with Brazil will take him to the top." 

Roberto Mancini suggested the failings of Italy are due to the problems within Serie A where "coaches don't let young players play because they are afraid of making mistakes".   Italy secured their first European Championship since 1968 with a penalty shoot-out win over England last July, but World Cup play-off heartbreak followed in March for the Azzurri against North Macedonia.   The narrow 1-0 defeat meant Italy missed out on a second successive World Cup, having failed to qualify for both Russia in 2018 and Qatar four years later.   Italy's failure was met with widespread criticism of the domestic game in which critics suggest younger players are not offered as many opportunities to develop, with a preference to rely on foreign players.   This was represented by Mancini's reliance on the likes of Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci, Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne, with the younger players largely remaining on the periphery at Euro 2020.   Mancini, speaking at a forum to discuss Italian football on Friday, acknowledged little has changed in Italy to develop homegrown talent in recent years as he expressed his concern.   "In the last four years, little has happened and in fact in the national team we are always the same," he said, as quoted by CalcioMercato.   "The first thing is to give more confidence to the coaches as Milan did with [Stefano] Pioli: two years ago he seemed to be leaving, today he is winning the championship.   "Many coaches they don't let young players play because they are afraid of making mistakes. Being down to 32 per cent of Italian players [in Serie A] is highly limiting for all national teams.   "[Nicolo] Zaniolo arrived in Coverciano [Italy's training base] for the first time and looked like a child, after two months everything has changed. The boys improve quickly."

Mancini was quick to praise the race for this season's Scudetto, with Milan requiring just a point on the final day at Sassuolo to secure the title ahead of Inter, who have an inferior head-to-head record.

However, he reiterated his desire to see younger players provided with more opportunities.

"First of all we must say that it was a beautiful championship, where many have fought for the Scudetto until recently," he added. 

"I don't know who will win, I think Milan are at a bit of an advantage. But the matches must be played, then whoever wins will deserve it, be it Inter or Milan. Both have had a great championship anyway.

"Honestly I hoped more players could come through, but in recent years the situation hasn't changed: there are many good young people who can't find chances."

As for Italy's failings in World Cup qualification, Mancini is targeting a response from his side, who start their Nations League campaign at home to Germany on June 4.

"We absolutely didn't deserve to go out, but we have to accept defeat and start again," he continued. 

"We know we don't have big choices, but we have to come up with something like what happened four years ago."

Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti suggested Italy are falling behind in international football due to an inability to find a new generation of footballers and a failing Serie A system.

Italy lifted the Euro 2020 title last July with a penalty shoot-out victory over England in the final, the Azzurri's first European Championship since 1968, but followed that up with failure to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar.

A play-off defeat to North Macedonia in March condemned Italy to a second successive absence from the global competition, having also missed out on qualification for Russia 2018.

Roberto Mancini and the Italian football system were met with widespread criticism for their reluctance to utilise younger players, instead relying on the experience of the likes of Giorgio Chiellini and Ciro Immobile.

There were also suggestions the problems were more deep-rooted in the Italian game, with a lack of opportunities granted for homegrown talents in Serie A that failed to establish a clear path to the national team.

Ancelotti, who featured for Italy as a player and has managed five Italian clubs, echoed those sentiments as he reflected on the improvements needed in his home country.

"I believe that Italian football must seek an improvement in the spectacle it offers," Ancelotti said at a forum to discuss Italian football, as quoted by Tuttomercatoweb. "It is not attractive for several reasons.

"There is the technical aspect, in the sense that there is a lack of figures to look up to in a generation of footballers that has had difficulty producing great champions after the 2006 World Cup, where there were the likes of [Francesco] Totti, [Alessandro] Del Piero, [Andrea] Pirlo, [Gennaro] Gattuso.

"Italy struggled to find a generation of new talents. It is true that the unexpected success at the European Championships arrived, but the individual quality of Italian players at the moment is not that of 15 years ago."

As for how Italy can improve, Ancelotti pointed towards the development opportunities in Serie A as a vital factor.

"In my opinion, right now young people are struggling to find chances in Serie A," he added. "Especially with the new rules, which benefit foreign players and do not allow Italians the time they need.

"In 2019 there was a youth final between Italy and Portugal: the Portuguese players included the likes of [Rafael] Leao, now they play in the top Portuguese or English leagues.

"If you look at the squad, the Italian players are much less active."

Italy will look to get back on track when they face South American champions Argentina in a match billed 'Finalissima' at Wembley on June 1.

Gareth Bale returning to Cardiff to play for his hometown club "ticks all the boxes" according to Wales boss Robert Page.

Bale's contract at Real Madrid will expire at the end of this season, with only two games remaining for Los Blancos – Friday's home game against Real Betis to end the LaLiga season, before next Saturday's Champions League final with Liverpool.

While speculation around a potential retirement should Wales fail to qualify for the World Cup persists, he would likely need to find a new club in the event they progress past Scotland or Ukraine in June's playoff.

In response to rumours of a move to Cardiff for Bale, Page asserted that is simply feels right but respects his captain's right to make his own decisions after the playoff.

"It ticks all the boxes," he said. "Ultimately, it's Gareth's decision and Cardiff City's.

"I think he's right to say 'Let's throw full focus on to the fifth [of June]. Let's get there first and have that discussion.

"We can carry on talking about it and guess, have our opinion, and it does make sense. It makes a lot of sense. He can base himself at a training ground he's familiar with."

Bale has made a solitary appearance in LaLiga since February, coming on as a substitute late in the second half of Real Madrid's win over Getafe in April.

He has been sidelined with back problems since, with Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti even revealing it immobilised him at times.

The 32-year-old was named in Wales' 27-man squad for the June window, which includes four Nations League games, but could join camp if he is not named in Madrid's Champions League final squad.

"We will keep in touch with him," Page said. "It's common sense that if he is not going to feature at all, and Real Madrid are happy with releasing him, then of course we would like him on camp.

“They don’t have to. We don’t have the players [officially] until the 30th, so we can’t pull rank on that.

“We just have to go with what they suggest. Rightly so because he’s employed by the club, but if there’s an opportunity to get players in earlier then we would like that.”

FIFA should set aside $440million of World Cup revenue as compensation for workers who have suffered during preparations for the 2022 World Cup, human rights group Amnesty International has said.

That sum matches the total prize money on offer to teams at the tournament, which takes place in November and December.

Amnesty, which as part of a coalition has written to football's world governing body to request a "comprehensive remediation programme", claimed there has been "a litany of abuses" since FIFA awarded the tournament Qatar.

It said a "lack of enforcement of Qatar's labour reforms, and the narrow group of workers covered by FIFA's commitments, have limited their impact".

In response, FIFA said the awarding of the World Cup has "served as a catalyst for landmark labour rights reforms in Qatar".

Amnesty, in a report published on Thursday, said that "the scale of abuses requiring remediation since 2010 remains vast", claiming thousands have been "cheated of their wages by abusive employers, made to work excessive hours, or subjected to conditions amounting to forced labour". It said some had died after working in inhospitable conditions, alleging "their deaths were rarely investigated, and their families hardly ever compensated".

According to Amnesty, FIFA "contributed to a wide range of labour abuses that were both preventable and predictable".

Agnes Callamard, secretary general of Amnesty International, said: "Given the history of human rights abuses in the country, FIFA knew⁠ – or should have known⁠ – the obvious risks to workers when it awarded the tournament to Qatar. Despite this, there was not a single mention of workers or human rights in its evaluation of the Qatari bid and no conditions were put in place on labour protections. FIFA has since done far too little to prevent or mitigate those risks.

"Providing compensation to workers who gave so much to make the tournament happen, and taking steps to make sure such abuses never happen again, could represent a major turning point in FIFA's commitment to respect human rights.

"By turning a blind eye to foreseeable human rights abuses and failing to stop them, FIFA indisputably contributed to the widespread abuse of migrant workers involved in World Cup-related projects in Qatar, far beyond the stadiums and official hotels."

FIFA strongly denies it turned a blind eye, responding in a letter published by Amnesty by stating: "Human rights-related matters have been taken into consideration in FIFA World Cup 2022 planning from the very beginning, with the bid committee aiming to use the competition as an instrument to shape wider social change in Qatar."

The world body said "the due diligence put in place to protect workers involved in FIFA World Cup projects has been a source of continuous learning".

FIFA said "countless workers have received financial remediation" already, including outstanding wages and the repayment of $22.6m of recruitment fees by December 2021, with a further $5.7m allocated in that area.

The letter from FIFA, which is led by president Gianni Infantino, was signed by Andreas Graf, its head of human rights and anti-discrimination.

He added: "The work to hold companies to account on labour rights has not been without challenges and will continue to require serious efforts during the coming months.

"At the same time, we are pleased to have seen significant progress not only for FIFA World Cup workers but also in the country at large and which has led to tangible positive
changes for hundreds of thousands of workers in Qatar."

United States Soccer has announced that collective bargaining agreements have been put in place to ensure the men's and women's national teams will receive equal pay.

This means that World Cup prize money received by FIFA will be combined and split evenly between the two teams.

The men's team will compete in the World Cup in Qatar later this year, having been drawn in the same group as England, Iran and the winner of the final European playoff.

The women's team won the 2019 World Cup in France and will be among the favourites for the 2023 event in Australia and New Zealand.

An announcement by U.S. Soccer on Wednesday stated: "The United States Soccer Federation (USSF), the United States Women's National Team Players Association (USWNTPA) and the United States National Soccer Team Players Association (USNSTPA) have agreed to terms of historic, first-of-their-kind collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) that achieve equal pay and set the global standard moving forward in international soccer.

"The two CBAs, which run through 2028, achieve equal pay through identical economic terms. These economic terms include identical compensation for all competitions, including the FIFA World Cup, and the introduction of the same commercial revenue sharing mechanism for both teams.

"The agreements will ensure that U.S. Soccer’s Senior National Team players remain among the highest paid in the world.

"Under these agreements, U.S. Soccer becomes the first Federation in the world to equalise FIFA World Cup prize money awarded to the U.S. Women's National Team (USWNT) and the U.S. Men's National Team (USMNT) for participation in their respective World Cups.

"Equally as important, the new CBAs improve non-economic terms, including player health and safety, data privacy and the need to balance responsibilities to both club and country."

The total purse for the 2019 women's World Cup was $30million, with the United States receiving $4m as winners.

France took home $38m for winning the men's World Cup in 2018 in Russia from an overall purse of $400m.

The President of U.S. Soccer, Cindy Parlow Cone, called it a "historic moment" and said the agreement has "changed the game forever in the United States"

"I am grateful for the commitment and collaboration of both the men’s and women's national teams and I am incredibly proud of the hard work that has led to this moment. Everyone who cares about our sport should share in this pride as we look forward to working together to grow soccer for generations to come," Cone added.

Giorgio Chiellini asserted it was the right time to end his Juventus career after making his final home appearance for the club, revealing Italy's failure to reach the Qatar World Cup influenced his decision.

Chiellini played the first 17 minutes of a Serie A clash with Lazio on Monday, in which Juve threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2.

First-half goals from Dusan Vlahovic and Alvaro Morata looked set to ensure the Bianconeri marked the Allianz Stadium swansong of Chiellini – and Paulo Dybala – with a win, only for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to equalise with the final kick of the game after Alex Sandro put through his own net.

The 37-year-old defender, who has won 20 trophies during his incredible career with the Turin giants, has made 392 top-flight appearances for the club, a tally bettered only by Gianluigi Buffon (489) and Alessandro Del Piero (467).

With Juventus guaranteed to finish fourth in Serie A after enduring a frustrating season, which also saw them lose the Coppa Italia final to Inter, Chiellini said the time had come for the Bianconeri's young players to take centre stage.

"The decision came in months, weeks, not days," he told Sky Sports Italia. "I have always said that I would like to leave at a high level, and I succeeded. 

"It was a difficult year, for Juventus and for me, but in the matches I managed, I played at my level. 

"All this led me to leave now, to leave room for young people. Juve need to restart, and young people have to take responsibility and mature. I helped to clip some people's wings, now it's right for them to fly alone. 

"I will cheer for them from near or far, and I made this decision with joy and serenity."

The legendary Chiellini has made 25 appearances for Juventus in all competitions this season, 17 of them starts.

Chiellini will end his Italy career after facing Argentina at Wembley Stadium on June 1, having won 116 caps to date during a glittering career with the Azzurri.

Having helped Italy to Euro 2020 glory last year, he revealed March's shock World Cup qualification play-off defeat to North Macedonia had influenced his desire to step away from both Serie A and international football.

"Of course, I wanted to get to the World Cup. It was the obsession I had after the European Championship," he added. "It is inevitable that I cannot play every match, but I wanted to be part of the national group. 

"It didn't go the way we wanted, which accelerated my choice. [But] I leave a national team and a Juve in good hands."

Chiellini is not planning on retiring, however, and has been linked with a potential move to Major League Soccer.

Although he said he had not yet made a final decision regarding his future, Chiellini hinted that a move abroad would interest him. 

"I don't know. It has attracted me, but for 10 years, I have to decide at home," he added. 

"An experience abroad enriches you, I think I need to see a little outside my life and Juve. I have to understand together with the family, I have to take a look outside, also for my future."

Gareth Bale could be set for a return to English football when his Real Madrid contract expires next month, according to his agent Jonathan Barnett, who has confirmed the winger's imminent exit from the Santiago Bernabeu.

The 32-year-old already looked set to leave Los Blancos at the end of his deal, with Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti saying last month that Bale wanted "to finish on a high note" with the club.

While Madrid wrapped up their 35th league title recently, Bale's role in that success was virtually none-existent, with the former Tottenham man making just seven appearances all season in all competitions, totalling just 290 minutes of action.

Bale has won four Champions League titles during his nine-year spell in the Spanish capital, scoring three goals in finals of the competition (one against Atletico Madrid in 2014 and two against Liverpool in 2018).

However, he has attracted the ire of the club's fans ever since he paraded a flag bearing the slogan "Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order" after helping his national team qualify for Euro 2020, and was described as a "parasite" in Spanish sports daily Marca earlier this year.

Bale remains a key man for his country, scoring a brace in Wales' 2-1 World Cup qualification win over Austria in March to put them within one win of reaching the tournament in Qatar, and Barnett says the result of the Dragons' June play-off against either Scotland or Ukraine will inform any decision on the player's future.

He also hinted Bale could return to England next season, having returned to Tottenham on loan for the duration of the 2020-21 campaign. 

"Gareth will leave Real Madrid, but we have to wait for what Wales will be able to do," Barnett told Portuguese outlet Record.

"It all depends on whether Wales qualify for the World Cup, then we will make a decision, which may vary on whether or not Wales go to the World Cup. 

"Is he likely to return to England? I think so, but we'll have to wait and see."

Wales will face either Scotland or Ukraine on June 5 in Cardiff for a place at the World Cup, where they would face England after being drawn into Group B. 

World Rugby has confirmed Australia and the United States as the next two hosts of the men's Rugby World Cup.

The men's tournament will be held in Australia in 2027, and the women's World Cup will be hosted Down Under two years later. 

Australia has not hosted the men's tournament since 2003, when Jonny Wilkinson's last-gasp drop-goal ensured victory for England over the Wallabies in the final.

The USA, meanwhile, will host the competition for the very first time in 2031, with the women's tournament held there in 2033. The next women's World Cup, in 2025, will take place in England.

World Rugby confirmed the news at its annual meeting in Dublin on Thursday, promising to deliver "a golden decade for the sport".

Bill Beaumont, chairman of World Rugby, said: "We have approved three exceptional Rugby World Cup host nations – England, Australia and the USA – providing unprecedented certainty and an unparalleled opportunity to accelerate the growth and impact of rugby globally. It is great for rugby, for fans and for the host nations.

"Today is a landmark moment for the sport, and an exciting development for fans. I would like to congratulate everyone involved in making this dream a reality as we look to deliver a truly global sport for all."

Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan labelled it as "an historic day for rugby in Australia", while USA Rugby chief executive Ross Young said: "I speak for the rugby community and fans across the United States when I express our sincere gratitude to World Rugby for their trust and endorsement of our vision to grow this incredible sport exponentially across our country."

The next men's World Cup will be held in France in 2023, with South Africa the reigning champions following their triumph over England in 2019 in Japan.

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