Ronaldo is like Nadal and Messi is like Federer, says ex-Real Madrid man Cassano

Antonio Cassano likened Cristiano Ronaldo to Rafael Nadal and Lionel Messi to Roger Federer as the former Real Madrid forward praised the two football superstars.

Ronaldo and Messi have dominated the sport over the past decade, splitting the last 10 Ballons d’Or awards as former players, pundits and fans debate the pair’s standing among the best ever.

And after Ronaldo swapped European champions Real Madrid for Italian giants Juventus in a sensational €100 million ($116m) transfer completed this week, Cassano used tennis greats Nadal and Federer to compare the 33-year-old Portugal captain and Barcelona icon Messi.

“I love Messi not as a counter-point to Cristiano, but because in my view he’s the best of all time and the emotions he gives me are unique,” former Italy international Cassano told Vanity Fair.

“If I have to rationalise it or convince you, I ask you to find me someone else who handles the ball and scores so consistently as Messi.

“Cristiano lacks nothing, let’s be clear, but that’s not the point. I love tennis. Now, Cristiano is like Nadal, a fantastic athlete built on talent, but also hard work and desire.

“Messi is more like Federer. He is pure artistry and class. They are different, and you can prefer one to the other. I am with Messi, as he can make the difference even when standing still, he almost doesn’t need physical fitness.”

“I also named my second child after Lionel,” Cassano added.

Ronaldo scored 44 goals in all competitions in 2017-18 as Madrid won their third successive Champions League crown.

Madrid’s all-time leading goalscorer, Ronaldo – who arrived from Manchester United in 2009 – helped deliver 15 trophies during his illustrious spell at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Cristiano Ronaldo Juventus

“He has these gifts from Mother Nature, but above all his mentality, the consistency of his training, his professionalism – all the things I hated,” Cassano said.

“I admire him a great deal for his ability to always be focused. He’ll remain in history forever as one of the greats and he deserved this success, because he earned it through talent, but above all through hard work.

“I was fortunate enough to play for Real Madrid when it was the team of the Galacticos. I know how it works there. Real is bigger than any one champion, even one who scored 450 goals, so I’m not surprised the sold him. They did without David Beckham, Ronaldo and Raul, so they can survive without him.”

“Cristiano will have a wonderful new experience, Juve will pay him a rich salary, but are still happy because €100m for a player like that is a bargain,” Cassano continued.

“He is 33 years old according to his birth certificate, but he looks after his physique so carefully it’s almost maniacal. With the level of this Serie A, he can score 30-40 goals per season for a long while yet.”

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African All Stars Transfer News & Rumours: Dortmund to offer Schurrle as part of Zaha deal


Dortmund to offer Schurrle as part of Zaha deal


Borussia  Dortmund are willing to offer Andre Schurrle plus money to Crystal Palace in an effort to sign Wilfried Zaha this summer, claims Bild.

The Bundesliga side are ready to include the former Chelsea player who is surplus to requirements at the club in the deal as they look to free up wages for the Cote d’Ivoire international.


Brighton sign Bissouma


Brighton and Hove Albion have signed midfielder Yves Bissouma on a five-year deal from French giants Lille.

The Mali international becomes the Seagulls’ sixth summer signing and will play alongside Nigeria’s Leon Balogun and Cameroon’s Gaetan Bong in Chris Hughton’s team.

Read the full story on Goal!


Awoniyi pens new long-term Liverpool deal


Taiwo Awoniyi has inked a new five-year contract with Liverpool as he set sights on breaking into Jurgen Klopp’s team.

The Nigeria youth international has spent last season on loan at Royal Excel Mouscron – where he scored 10 goals and provided four assists in the Belgian top-flight.

The 20-year-old is yet to make an appearance for the Reds due to work issues that will see him go out on loan again this campaign.

Check out the full story on Goal!


Khazri completes Saint Etienne move


Tunisia international Wahbi Khazri has completed his move from Sunderland to Saint Etienne, after signing a four-year contract.

Khazri has been at Sunderland since January 2016, spent last season on loan in the Ligue 1 with Rennes where he returned nine goals in 24 league matches.

Check out the full story on Goal!


Al Nassr plot £40 million move for Ahmed Musa


Saudi Arabia club Al Nassr are ready to splash a whopping £40 million to sign Nigeria’s World Cup star Ahmed Musa from Leicester City, Leicester Mercury claims.

Following his impressive performances at the World Cup, the 25-year-old has attracted interests from several European teams this summer including Galatasaray, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Huddersfield Town.

Musa joined Leicester City from CSKA Moscow for £16 million in January 2016 but has been restricted to regular first-team action in Claude Puel’s team.


Leicester, Sevilla locked in battle for Djene Dakonam


Leicester City and Sevilla are locked in the transfer race to sign Getafe’s centre-back Djene Dakonam, Lequipe reports.

The Togo international had an excellent campaign in the Spanish top-flight where he played in all of his club’s league matches but two during the 2017-18 season.

Sevilla are looking at the 26-year-old as replacement for Clement Lenglet who left for Barcelona this summer while Leicester want to bolster their ranks with the defender’s capture.

Dakonam who joined Getafe last summer has a release clause of £30 million. 


Jeremie Boga nears Chelsea exit


Chelsea have agreed to sell Cote d’Ivoire midfielder Jeremie Boga to Serie A club Sassuolo for £3.5 million, Goal understands.

The 21-year-old is now set to agree personal terms with the Italian side after spending last season on loan with Birmingham City in the Championship.

Read the full story on Goal !


Goztepe make loan move for Omeruo


Turkish Super Lig club Goztepe have made an inquiry to take Chelsea defender Kenneth Omeruo on a season-long loan, according to Sporx

The Nigeria international is yet to play a competitive game for the Blues since his transfer from Standard Liege in 2012 and he has spent the last three seasons on loan in the Turkish top-flight with Alanyaspor and Kasimpasa. 


Amrabat joins Saudi club Al Nassr


Morocco star Nordin Amrabat has penned a three-year deal with Saudi club Al Nassr from Watford.

Following his decent performances at the just concluded World Cup in Russia, the winger has earned himself a deal worth $10 million [£7.5 million] and will continue his career in the Middle East with the Saudi Professional League outfit.

Check out the full story on Goal!


Fenerbahce reach agreement with Bolasie


Everton winger Yannick Bolasie has agreed terms with Fenerbahce as he closes in on a loan move to the Turkish Super Lig, Fanatik claims.

The DR Congo international is expected to join the Istanbul outfit in a matter of days following Marco Silva’s approval for the winger’s temporary departure.


Bissouma close to Brighton switch


Brighton and Hove Albion are close to completing an £18 million swoop for Lille midfielder Yves Bissouma, according to  Record .

The Seagulls are set to beat Porto to the signature of the versatile 21-year-old who had a fine campaign in the French Ligue 1 last season.

The Mali international could be the second African player to join Chris Hughton’s side this summer after Nigeria’s Leon Balogun.


Trabzonspor keen on Didier Ndong


Trabzonspor have intensified their chase for Sunderland midfielder Didier Ndong by submitting an undisclosed offer for the midfielder, according to Taka .

Ndong has attracted interests from Cardiff City and Serie A clubs including Fiorentina and Atalanta after seeing a £6.6million move to Italian side Torino fizzle out this summer.

The Gabon international is one of the top earners at the Stadium of Light that the club want to get off their books as they prepare for life in the third tier of the English league.


Napoli demand £80 million-plus for Koulibaly


Napoli have placed an £80 million price tag on Kalidou Koulibaly to fend off interest from Chelsea, Mirror reports.

The centre-back has been a long term target for the Blues but the Partenopei are reluctant to see one of their key players follow former manager Maurizio Sarri and Jorginho to the Stamford Bridge.


Olympiacos terminate Emenike’s contract


Greek giants Olympiacos have released Nigeria international Emmanuel Emenike after struggling regain top form, according to Gunes .

The 31-year-old is now a free agent this summer despite having a year remaining in his contract with the Legends.

Emenike joined Olympiacos from Fenerbahce in July 2017 and was sent out to Las Palmas on loan where he didn’t play a single game in the second part of last season.


Gael Kakuta returns to Rayo Vallecano


Rayo Vallecano have reunited with Gael Kakuta after the DR Congo international signed a four-year deal. 

The former Chelsea forward joins the La Liga club from Hebei China Fortune after spending last season on loan at Amiens. 

Check out the full story on Goal! 


Leicester City to offer Ndidi improved contract 


Leicester City are set to have talks with Wilfred Ndidi over an improved deal as a reward for his impressive displays in the past campaign, DailyMail claims.

The Nigeria international who was the best tackler in the English Premier League last season , currently earns £35,000 per week at the King Power Stadium.


Napoli in advanced talks with Sabaly


Napoli held a positive meeting with Youssouf Sabaly’s agents over a possible move, according to Sky Italia .

The Serie A side want to agree terms with the Senegal international before coming to the table with Bordeaux who have requested around €12 million for the right-back.

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Rooney backs Man Utd to push Man City for Premier League title

Wayne Rooney believes former club Manchester United can challenge Premier League champions and neighbours Manchester City this season.

Jose Mourinho’s United finished second and 19 points adrift as record-breaking City cruised to the title in 2017-18.

United have already bolstered their squad with the signings of Fred , Diogo Dalot and Lee Grant , and more arrivals are expected before the transfer window closes.

Former captain and all-time leading goalscorer Rooney – who left Everton for MLS outfit D.C. United last month – feels the Red Devils are on track to claim their first Premier League crown since 2012-13.

“Obviously they can challenge, it’s a massive club. Last year was different because of how well Manchester City did,” the 32-year-old told BBC Sport after making his DC United debut last week.

“In any other year, they might have won the title. A lot of people looked at what Manchester City did and said Manchester United didn’t play that well.

“But they actually had a good season. Obviously they didn’t win anything but I think they can take confidence from that and I believe they can push Manchester City next season.

“I saw that people said they weren’t playing the most attractive football. But they scored a lot of goals. I think they are getting there. Hopefully it won’t be long before they win the title again.”

Wayne Rooney D.C. United MLS 2018

Mourinho’s side are on their pre-season tour of the United States, where they will face Mexican giants America on Thursday.

United will also play San Jose Earthquakes (July 22) before meeting Milan (July 25), Liverpool (July 28) and Real Madrid (July 31) in the International Champions Cup.

The club will conclude their Premier League preparations against Bayern Munich at Allianz Arena on August 5.

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Dalic: Not even coaching Brazil or Barcelona could top leading Croatia at World Cup

Zlatko Dalic said he could coach Brazil or Barcelona but Croatia will always remain his favourite job after the country’s run to the World Cup final.    

Croatia made history under head coach Dalic following their first World Cup final appearance in Russia, where they lost 4-2 to France in the decider .    

Dalic and Croatia earned admirers for their football throughout the tournament, while the Balkan nation were greeted by an estimated half-a-million fans on the streets of Zagreb having returned home to a remarkable reception despite defeat.   

Reflecting on Croatia’s World Cup exploits, Dalic said in an emotional speech: “I can be coach of Brazil or Barcelona but this will always be the favorite job, to lead the Croatian national team.  

“There is still grief because we had to win the trophy. But if someone had offered me to be in the final before the World Cup, we’d all have taken it.”

Dalic – who worked his way up the ranks in Asia where he led UAE giants Al Ain to the 2016 AFC Champions League final – replaced Ante Cacic in October as Croatia struggled during World Cup qualifying.  

The 51-year-old oversaw a change in fortunes, guiding Croatia past Greece in the play-offs before the nation made their mark at Russia 2018.

The Croatians topped the likes of Argentina, Russia, England and Denmark during their impressive run, with midfield ace Luka Modric winning top individual honours for his showings throughout the competition . 

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Transfer news & rumours LIVE: Chelsea to hijack Liverpool move for Alisson


Chelsea to hijack Liverpool’s Alisson move


Chelsea will look to hijack Liverpool’s move for Roma goalkeeper Alisson, according to the Mirror

Goal reported on Tuesday that the Reds have opened talks with Roma over a £62 million ($82m) deal for the 25-year-old.

But Chelsea are now prepared to bid £70m ($92m) in an effort to steal the Brazilian away from their Premier League rivals. 


Everton in advanced Malcom talks


Everton are in advanced talks to sign winger Malcom from Bordeaux, Sky Sports News reports. 

The 21-year-old Brazilian emerged as a target for a host of European clubs, with Inter thought to be his preferred destination.

But Malcom instead appears ready to move to Merseyside in a deal worth £30 million ($39m) plus add-ons.


Courtois nears €35m Madrid move


Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is closing in on a move to Real Madrid for €35 million (£31m/$41m), reports Marca

The Belgium number one has long been linked with a return to Spain to be with his family, after he spent three seasons on loan at Atletico Madrid between 2011 and 2014. 

With just a year left on his deal, the Blues will be forced to sell the 26-year-old at a relatively bargain rate rather than lose him for free next summer. 


Tottenham make Pavard approach


Tottenham have contacted Stuttgart to express their interest in signing defender Benjamin Pavard, reports TEAMtalk

The 22-year-old impressed at the World Cup, helping France lift the trophy in Russia. 

With Toby Alderweireld set to move on Spurs are hoping to land Pavard, who can play multiple positions on the back line and can also slot in at midfield. 


CSKA deny Golovin deal with Chelsea


CSKA Moscow president Evgeniy Giner has denied that a deal has been reached to sell Aleksandr Golovin to Chelsea.

The 22-year-old playmaker has been in high demand since starring for Russia at this summer’s World Cup.

Giner did confirm that Golovin is likely to leave CSKA soon, but was adamant that no deal with the Blues had been completed. 

Read the full story on Goal!


Zidane to join Juve as advisor


Former Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane will join Juventus as an advisor in the front office, reports Libertad Digital.

Zidane surprisingly resigned as Madrid boss in June after clinching the side’s third consecutive Champions League crown. 

And the Frenchman will now join his former club, where he played from 1996 to 2001. 


Pochettino wants Grealish on U.S. tour


Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino wants to sign Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish before the club’s U.S. tour, according to the Mirror

Time is running out for Spurs to wrap up a deal for the 22-year-old before they jet off to North America on Sunday. 

Cash-strapped Villa originally wanted ­£40 million ($52m) for Grealish, but they may now be forced to accept around half that amount. 


Brewster signs five-year deal at Liverpool 


Liverpool striker Rhian Brewster has ended speculation over his future by signing a five-year professional contract.

The highly rated 18-year-old will be given a chance to break into Jurgen Klopp’s first team at Anfield this season. 

Read the full story on Goal!


Chelsea offered chance to re-sign Cech


Arsenal have offered Chelsea the opportunity to re-sign goalkeeper Petr Cech, according to the Daily Mail.

Cech spent 11 seasons with Chelsea before moving to the Gunners, who are looking to raise funds for additional purchases this summer. 

The Blues are expecting to lose Thibaut Courtois this summer, and have also identified Kasper Schmeichel and Gianluigi Donnarumma as possible replacements. 


Bournemouth move for £57m South American pair


Bournemouth are ready to spend big money on Levante midfielder Jefferson Lerma and Genoa full-back Diego Laxalt, according to The Sun.

Both players impressed at the World Cup this summer, Lerma with Colombia and Laxalt with Uruguay. 

The Cherries will bid a club-record £32 million ($42m) for Lerma, while Laxalt will likely cost around £25m ($33m). 


Cahill ready to leave Chelsea


Gary Cahill is considering his future at Chelsea, according to the Evening Standard.

The 32-year-old defender fell out of favour last season, and could be pushed further down the depth chart with the possible arrival of  Daniele Rugani from Juventus. 

Cahill is set for talks with new manager Maurizio Sarri over his role, with the veteran hoping for assurances of more minutes in 2018-19. 


Conte could replace Gattuso at Milan


AC Milan could offer former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte an instant return to the sideline, claims Sport Mediaset.

U.S. hedge fund Elliott Management has taken control of the Serie A side, and are understood to desire a clean break from the club’s former management. 

Conte, who has been linked with the Rossoneri in the past, could be appointed in place of current manager Gennaro Gattuso.


West Brom reject Newcastle bid for Rondon


West Brom have rejected Newcastle’s loan bid for striker Salomon Rondon, according to The Telegraph. 

The Magpies looked to land the 28-year-old on an initial loan, but the Baggies will only accept a permanent deal for the 28-year-old.

Rondon has a buyout clause in his contract of £16.5 million ($22m). 

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