Ibrahimovic reveals he offered to play for free at Man Utd

Zlatan Ibrahimovic says he offered to play for free at Manchester United following his comeback from injury.

The striker sustained a cruciate ligament injury during his first season at the club, during which time he scored 28 goals.

Ibrahimovic earned a new contract at the club after returning ahead of schedule, but he could not replicate his form pre-injury, and was released in March, allowing him to join LA Galaxy.

The Swedish striker, who was not a member of his country’s squad at the World Cup despite repeated hints that he would end his international retirement if asked, has now taken the unusually humble step of admitting that he was not at the same level when he came back for United.

Indeed, such was his desire to return to his best, he even offered to play for nothing.

“The situation was not about having a contract and earning money – it was the opposite. I said, ‘I don’t want a salary, you keep it’,” he told the BBC.

“The mind can be ready but the knee was not ready.

“When I was ready, I said to myself ‘I am not there’. They had a Zlatan before. After, I was not ready to be that Zlatan.

“I was selected in many of the games but I told the coach: ‘Listen, I am not ready. I don’t want to disappoint you. The respect I have for my team-mates and the coach. Select someone else who can do the job better.’ I stood up and did it, even if I am Zlatan.”

Ibrahimovic has already made his own inimitable impact in Los Angeles, and scored twice in his debut, including a phenomenal 35-yard half volley.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic LA Galaxy

He followed that up with the winner in injury time, heading home to give his side a 4-3 win over LA Football Club, and Ibrahimovic says he knew his first goal was in from the moment he hit it.

 “I knew immediately, this is going in. You know when you get a good hit. When it went in, the whole stadium was crazy,” he added.

“I was feeling I was alive again after a long time doing this recovery. I had been injured but I was there, doing what I love. I am doing it in my way, that I have been doing all my career.

“I could not describe the moment. All that eight months for that 20 minutes was worth it.”

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AC Milan set to re-enter Europa League as CAS rules to overturn ban

AC Milan’s ban from the 2018-19 Europa League for breaching Financial Fair Play and licensing regulations has been overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

UEFA confirmed in late June they had taken drastic action against Milan’s apparent breaches of break-even requirements, barring them from competing in Europe’s second-tier competition for next season.

Milan, who qualified for the Europa League by virtue of finishing sixth in Serie A, immediately launched an appeal to CAS.

And their ban from the competition has, as a result, been annulled, although they could still end up with some form of punishment, with CAS telling UEFA to “issue a proportionate disciplinary measure”.

UEFA’s initial sanction related to Milan’s failure to fulfil the break-even requirement set out in the governing body’s Financial Fair Play regulations.

While CAS accepted this decision, rejecting the Rossoneri’s request to force UEFA into a settlement agreement, it claimed the ban from Europe was not a proportionate punishment.

CAS also said UEFA’s Adjudicatory Chamber had not properly assessed some “important elements” and pointed to the takeover of the club’s holding company by Elliott Management this month as a sign of Milan’s improved financial situation.

A CAS statement read: “The CAS panel rejected AC Milan’s request to order UEFA to enter into a settlement agreement but acknowledged that the decision of the adjudicatory chamber of the UEFA Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) to exclude AC Milan from the UEFA club competition was not proportionate.

“The Panel considered that some important elements have not been properly assessed by the adjudicatory chamber, or could not be properly assessed at the moment when the appealed decision was rendered, and noted in particular that the current financial situation of the club was now better, following the recent change in the club’s ownership.

“The panel decided to refer the case back to the adjudicatory chamber of the UEFA CFCB because the club had requested that the case be referred back to UEFA and because it considers that the adjudicatory chamber is in a better position than the CAS panel to issue a new proportionate disciplinary measure on the basis of the current financial situation of the club.”

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Transfer news & rumours LIVE: Real & Chelsea agree €190m Hazard deal

Chelsea & Real agree €190m deal for Hazard

Chelsea and Real Madrid have agreed a €190 million (£170m) deal for Eden Hazard, per Le10Sport .

Real are interested in securing both Hazard and Blues goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, but the deal agreed only includes the attacker.

Hazard has scored 89 goals and provided 70 assists in 300 appearances for the Blues.

Juve reject Chelsea’s €30m Caldara bid

Juventus have turned down offers from Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund for defender Mattia Caldara, reports Sky Sport Italia .

Chelsea, who are interested in Caldara’s team-mate Daniele Rugani, have seen a €30 million (£27m/$35m) offer for the centre-half rejected, while Dortmund’s bid of €35m (£31m/$41m), plus €5m in add-ons, was also turned down.

Caldara has yet to make his debut for Juve after spending last season on loan at former club Atalanta, and the Serie A champions are not looking to sell the Italy international.

Leicester join Malcom hunt

Leicester have joined Everton in the bid to bring Bordeaux winger Malcom to the Premier League this summer, according to L’Equipe .

Everton have made a €35 million (£31m/$41m) offer, plus €5m in add-ons, for the Brazilian, who was previously a target for Arsenal and Tottenham.

Roma have also shown an interest in Malcom and reportedly met his representatives on Thursday, while Leicester are now exploring a deal for the 21-year-old.

Zaha wants to leave Crystal Palace

Wilfried Zaha has informed Crystal Palace he wants to leave after turning down an improved contract, the Sun reports.

The winger is wanted by Everton, Tottenham and Borussia Dortmund, but they may have to pay £70 million ($91m) to secure his services.

Zaha still has four years remaining on his current contract, but is not interested in agreeing a new deal as he looks to leave the club this summer.

PSG willing to sell Neymar

Paris Saint-Germain no longer consider Neymar untouchable in the face of a possible huge offer from Real Madrid for the Brazil superstar, reports Mundo Deportivo .

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is thought to value Neymar above all else, and new PSG boss Thomas Tuchel would use the money to reinforce multiple positions in his side.

The only PSG player considered off-limits by the Ligue 1 winners is teenage star Kylian Mbappe.

Willian still wants to quit Chelsea despite Sarri appointment

Chelsea attacker Willian still wants to depart the club this summer, despite the appointment of Maurizio Sarri, reports the Sun .

Willian fell out with previous Blues boss Antonio Conte, so the club’s officials hoped Sarri’s hiring and playing philosophy would tempt the winger to stay.

However, Willian has already had his head turned by talk of a move to Barcelona and Real Madrid, with Brazil team-mate Philippe Coutinho talking to him during the World Cup about joining the La Liga champions.

Pavard to join Bayern Munich

Benjamin Pavard has agreed to join Bayern Munich from Stuttgart in 2019, according to SWR Sport .

The France international has a release clause of €35 million (£31m/$41m) which will become valid in 2019, which is considered will below his market value.

Stuttgart and Bayern are discussing a possible exit this summer with Stuttgart receiving a larger fee for Pavard’s immediate departure.

Reyes draws interest from Premier League clubs

Mexico international Diego Reyes has drawn interest from West Ham and Newcastle, reports Sky Sports .

The defender’s contract with Porto has expired, meaning he can join any side on free transfer, with Turkish club Fenerbache having made an offer for Reyes.

Everton want part-exchange for Zaha

Everton are hoping to do a cash plus player swap to land Crystal Palace attacker Wilfried Zaha, according to the Mirror .

Everton, along with West Ham, have refused Palace’s £60 million asking price but the Toffees are hoping to include former Palace player Yannick Bolasie in a swap.

Borussia Dortmund are also interested in Zaha, who is ready to move on from the club this summer.

Wenger becomes Japan’s No.1 target

Arsene Wenger is the top choice of the Japanese Football Association to take over the national team head coaching job, reports the Daily Mail .

Wenger managed in Japan with the club Nagoya Grampus Eight prior to joining Arsenal and remains a popular figure in the country.

While Wenger prefers club football, his opportunities at that level appear limited to China, which may lead him to taking Japan’s offer.

Donnarumma on Chelsea three-man shortlist

AC Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma has been added to a three-man shortlist of goalkeepers Chelsea want to replace Thibaut Courtois, reports the Evening Standard .

Courtois is expected to leave for Real Madrid once the Blues have lined up a replacement, and Donnarumma joins Leicester City’s Kasper Schmeichel and former Blues keeper Petr Cech on that list.

Milan are interested in Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata, and while it’s possible both players will switch teams, it is unlikely it will be done in a straight swap.

Navas willing to battle Courtois

Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas is willing to stay and fight for his place amid the likely arrival of Thibaut Courtois, reports AS .

While Navas has lost two major allies in former manager Zinedine Zidane and goalkeeping coach Luis Llopis, the Costa Rica international has no plans to ask for a transfer.

Madrid are open to keeping Navas around due to his service to the club, though Kiko Casilla and Luca Zidane would be likely to be moved on.

Everton make £14m Digne offer

Everton are targeting Barcelona full-back Lucas Digne and made £14 million ($18m) offer, reports Mundo Deportivo .

Digne is among the players Barcelona are considering moving on this summer, along with Andre Gomes, Rafinha, Marlon and Aleix Vidal.

West Ham make £20m Vida offer

West Ham have jumped ahead of Premier League rivals Everton in the hunt to sign Croatia defender Domagoj Vida, according to Milliyet.com .

The Hammers have made an offer to Besiktas of £20 million ($26m) for Vida, and are willing to pay much of that money up front.

The defender has a contract until 2022, with the club hierarchy meeting to decide whether or not to cash in on Vida.

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African All Stars Transfer News & Rumours: Swansea demand £12m for Ayew brothers

Swansea demand £12m for Ayew brothers

Swansea City are looking to gain £12 million from the sale or loan of Jordan Ayew and Andre Ayew this summer, Football Ghana claims.

The Swans are ready to release the Ghanaian duo who are part of their top earners as they look to free up wages for life in the Championship.

Liverpool and Celtic have been linked with Jordan while Besiktas and Newcastle United chase Andre.

   Marseille back for Slimani 

Marseille have re-ignited interest in signing out-of-favour Leicester City star Islam Slimani, according to Le10 Sports .

The French Ligue 1 club have turned to the Algeria international as transfer talks with Mario Balotelli are being delayed.

Rudi Garcia’s side will be looking to step up their pursuit for Slimani who has also attracted interest from Sporting CP.

    Napoli close to €15m Sabaly deal

Napoli have reached an agreement with Bordeaux to sign their €15m-rated Senegalese defender Youssouf Sabaly, Gazzetta dello Sports reports.

Sabaly was a key member of Aliou Cisse’s squad at the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia and he is expected to join his compatriot Kalidou Koulibaly at Stadio San Paolo this summer.

The Partenopei are requesting for a discount as the 25-year-old is currently nursing a minor problem with the medial collateral ligament in his knee.

    Sporting CP want Slimani return

Sporting CP are looking to bring Islam Slimani back to Portugal after enduring a difficult spell at Leicester City, the Sun reports.

Slimani has managed just eight Premier League goals for the Foxes since his arrival on a club record fee in August 2016.

The Algeria international spent the second part of 2017-18 season on loan at Newcastle United, however, Sporting are interested in bringing the forward back to Lisbon following the departure of a significant number of their first-team players.

Kasimpasa target Junior Ajayi

Al Ahly forward Junior Ajayi has emerged as a potential signing for Kasimpasa should Mahmoud Trezeguet leave this summer, according to KingFut .

The Egyptian winger has been heavily linked with several European clubs including Galatasaray, Inter Milan and Parma.

However, a move away from the Turkish top-flight club would see the Apaches turn to the Nigeria international who scored seven goals and provided 10 assists in the Egyptian Premier League last season.

Bolasie to complete Fenerbahce move this week

Everton winger Yannick Bolasie is expected in Istanbul this week to complete his loan move to Fenerbahce, according to Milliyet .

Fenerbahce director of football Damien Comolli has struck a deal with both Everton and the DR Congo international who has struggled for form at the Goodison Park due to injuries.

The 29-year-old would be the second Toffees player to move to the Turkish Super Lig this summer after Henry Onyekuru joined Galatasaray.

Newcastle yet to contact Swansea over Ayew

Newcastle United are yet to make an inquiry to Swansea City over the availability of Andre Ayew this summer, WalesOnline reports.

The Magpies are yet to table an offer for the Ghana international despite being reportedly interested in signing him.

Ayew remains a real target for Beskitas who have offered a season-long loan deal for the forward.

Stoke, Swansea & West Brom chase Amartey

Championship clubs West Bromwich Albion, Stoke City and Swansea City are weighing up a move for Leicester City utility player Daniel Amartey, according to Birmingham Mail .

The Ghana international has found it difficult to break into Claude Puel’s team where he managed 14 appearances across all competitions before suffering an hamstring injury in March that ended his 2017-18 season.

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.

Crystal Palace close to signing Sassuolo’s  Babacar

Crystal Palace are finalising a £12 million deal for Senegal international Khouma Babacar barely two weeks after he moved to Sassuolo, Mirror reports.

Babacar joined the Serie A club permanently on July 1 after impressing during his loan spell from Fiorentina last campaign.

The forward scored seven goals in 31 matches last season and he is expected to spearhead the Eagles’ attack alongside Christain Benteke next season.

Huddersfield keen on Diakhaby

Huddersfield are interested in signing Monaco striker Adama Diakhaby, according to Sky sources .

The 22-year-old who is eliglible to play for Senegal scored two goals in 16 Ligue 1 games in the 2017-18 season after moving from Rennes last summer.

Porto still want Mbemba

Portuguese league champions Porto are still keen on signing Chancel Mbemba from Newcastle United, according to A Bola .

The DR Congo international has agreed a four-year contract with the Dragons but are unwilling to pay the £8 million asking price from the Magpies.

The 23-year-old is reported to be a transfer priority for Sergio Conceicao this summer.

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.

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FIFA 19: What new features, teams & players will be on next game?

With the World Cup over, football fans are eagerly awaiting the start of the new club season and everything that entails – including the launch of FIFA 19 this autumn.

The newest version of the world’s most popular football video game promises to be an improvement on last season’s edition, especially with the inclusion of the Champions League.

EA Sports will look to build on the success of FIFA 18’s hugely popular World Cup expansion and use some of the elements from that in FIFA 19, making it the most realistic football experience yet.

Before his transfer to Juventus, Cristiano Ronaldo was announced as the cover star for FIFA 19, and his move to Serie A is sure to make the Italian league a popular choice for football fans.

Ahead of the autumn release of the new game, Goal takes a look at all the new features, teams and players you can expect to see in FIFA 19.

What new features are in FIFA 19?

The addition of the Champions League is the biggest news for FIFA 19, with Europe’s elite club competition now being officially licensed, meaning that all the branding, stadiums, trophy and even the anthem will be in the game.

This will improve all aspects of the game, including the newest chapter of the Journey, which is the third and final part of Alex Hunter’s rise to glory. After making his breakthrough in FIFA 17 and then moving to Major League Soccer in FIFA 18, Hunter’s goal in FIFA 19 will be to lift the Champions League in a story called ‘The Journey: Champions.’

The Europa League is also included in FIFA 19, meaning that the days of competing for the “Euro League” are now over. This will make Career Mode more realistic and ensure that winning a European trophy feels more rewarding.

As well as all that, there are also plenty of improvements to the gameplay itself. Shooting has been improved to make it more accurate with better-timed button presses resulting in sweeter finishes. 

Player instructions has also been revamped which can help with off-the-ball runs, allowing you greater control over how your team plays on the pitch. FIFA 19 offers unique gameplans which come into play when certain situations happen in the game e.g. going 1-0 down could cause your team to become more attacking and press more to win the ball back higher up the pitch.

Graphically, minor tweaks will also improve the gameplaying experience. The mini-map offers a new display where one team will have triangles to denote their players, making it easier to quickly tell the difference – especially in instances where the colours of the team kits are similar.

What will Champions League mode be like?

Luka Modric Champions League trophy 27052018

Licensing the Champions League is a huge coup for FIFA 19, with executive producer Aaron McHardy delighted that EA Sports were able to secure the deal to make the game even more realistic and immersive.

“This has been one of the most requested features from our players for over a decade, and for us the Champions League is so much more than a licence,” McHardy told Goal

“We’ve been working really hard to integrate the experience across the game in FIFA 19 and I don’t say that lightly. 

“We didn’t want to just bring in the licence teams so you can play with them in the right context, we really wanted to go over and beyond and add Champions League elements to every place we could in FIFA 19.

“It’s been a whole lot of work and it’s not just a coat of paint. It’s really integrating meaningful features around the Champions League. We moved a lot of dirt bringing it to life.”

Champions League matches will also feature a new commentary team, with Derek Rae and Lee Dixon offering their analysis on each European game, as well as the usual duo of Martin Tyler and Alan Smith for domestic games.

The Champions League is included in the normal game modes of Career and the Journey, but also can be played as a standalone mode which can be customised to see how Arsenal, Chelsea or even West Brom would fare in the competition.

What new teams will be in FIFA 19?

As of yet, there has been no official news about new leagues that will be added to FIFA 19. However, with the addition of the Champions League and Europa League, it is likely that some of Europe’s bigger clubs from smaller nations could be added to the game to improve the realism of these two competitions.

Last year, Sparta Prague was included as a Rest of the World team and more teams like this could follow to ensure official badges, kits and players will compete in the Champions League.

Despite the lack of news about new leagues, there will be some new playable teams in the lower leagues across Europe, with new sides having been promoted in 2017-18. Macclesfield Town and Tranmere Rovers won promotion to League Two, while 1860 Munich are back in FIFA, having been relegated to the fourth-tier at the end of the 2016-17 season. They went up to the 3. Liga alongside Energie Cottbus and KFC Uerdingen, who recently made headlines by signing World Cup winner Kevin Grosskreutz.

Liga 1|2|3 has four new teams: Mallorca, Rayo Majadahonda, Elche and Extremadura, while Paris club Red Star FC are now in Ligue 2, along with Beziers and Grenoble. Bari and Cesena’s financial problems mean they will not play in Serie B for 2018-19, with Livorno, Padova, Lecce and Cosenza all now in the Italian second tier.

Los Angeles FC was added to FIFA 18 ahead of the 2018 Major League Soccer season, which indicates that FC Cinncinati are likely to be included in FIFA 19 before they make their MLS debut next year. Teams from Miami and Nashville will join MLS in 2020, but will probably not be included in this year’s video game.

Unlike in previous years, FIFA 19 will probably not have the full Russian Premier League. While they gained the rights to the Champions League, Europa League and Super Cup, they lost the licence for Russia’s top flight. There may be some Russian teams included in the Rest of the World section, but the full league will not be playable.

What new players will be in FIFA 19?

Cristiano Ronaldo Juventus

One of the most exciting changes every year in FIFA is the updates to squad lists and player ratings following all the summer’s big transfers. Cristiano Ronaldo was the cover star of FIFA 18 in his Real Madrid kit and will be wearing the trademark black and white striped jersey of Juventus for FIFA 19, giving fans a chance to play with the superstar in Serie A.

Some of the players who excelled at the World Cup will likely receive ratings upgrades, such as France wonderkid Kylian Mbappe, Brazil goalkeeper Alisson and England wing-back Kieran Trippier. Every player’s overall score will be revisited for FIFA 19, with some ageing or out-of-form players seeing their ratings decreased.

Transfers from throughout the summer will reflected in the game’s rosters. For example, Brazilian midfielder Arthur will line out for Barcelona this season, replacing Andres Iniesta who has moved to Japan to join Vissel Kobe. Luckily, the J-League is in FIFA 19, so the Spain star will still be available.

New, young players are added every year, giving FIFA fans a chance to seek out the best youth talent in the world in Career Mode or fit them into their teams in Ultimate Team. As well as that, all the new teams added will have players who were not in previous editions of FIFA, giving a greater variety of signings and transfers for your in-game career.

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