Ronaldo wanted PSG move

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Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo was unhappy in Italy and wanted a move to Paris Saint-Germain prior to the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The 35-year-old is only in his second season in Turin following his €100 million move from Real Madrid but reports today have come out saying that the Portuguese superstar wanted a move to PSG this summer.

Ronaldo’s global brand alone would have been a huge attraction for the French champions, and partnering him with the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in attack would have immediately put Thomas Tuchel’s side among the favourites to win the Champions League.

PSG could still accomplish that this season even without the five-time winner, as they are set to face Atalanta in the single-legged quarter-finals next week.

Despite their riches and domestic dominance over the past eight years, the Parisians are still to progress past the quarter-finals of Europe’s elite club cup competition this millennium. In fact, the only time they have accomplished this in their history was in 1994-95, when they were beaten 3-0 on aggregate by AC Milan in the semi-finals. Their sole European trophy to date came the following season when they beat Rapid Vienna in the final of the Cup Winners’ Cup.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored 31 goals in 33 Serie A appearances this past season, 12 of those coming from the penalty spot, as he helped Juventus win their ninth consecutive Scudetto. Maurizio Sarri’s side too remain in the Champions League, but they are looking to overturn a 0-1 deficit against Lyon in their Round of 16 second leg on Friday. However, Ronaldo has not tasted Coppa Italia success, with Juventus having previously won the domestic cup for each of the four seasons prior to his arrival.

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Ligue 1 to allow 5 substitutes in 2020-21

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Clubs in France’s Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 will be allowed to make up to five substitutes per match for the 2020-21 campaign, the French League (LFP) confirmed on Friday.

 

This follows a string of top European leagues to have already made the announcement, after successes in the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga and German Bundesliga among others following the restarts of their divisions this summer.

The additional substitution allowance was due to fixture congestion, with most teams playing two games each week to get their domestic campaigns finished and in order for the Champions League and Europa League’s to resume later this month.

However, teams will only be allowed to make these changes during three occasions during play, as well as at the half-time interval. Teams from France’s top two divisions will also be allowed to name up to nine substitutes in their matchday squads, compared to seven previously.

France cancelled their 2019-20 season indefinitely and awarded runaway leaders Paris Saint-Germain the title on a points per game basis. The new season is set to start on Saturday 22 August, the day before the Champions League final, which PSG themselves could be involved in.

PSG are set to face Atalanta in the quarter-finals of the competition over in Lisbon Portugal on Wednesday 12 August.

 

How does this effect fantasy football?

This news, although no different from the other top European leagues, will likely make a huge difference in the 2020-21 fantasy football season.

Managers across the top divisions were able to rest their star players early in the second half after gaining a big lead, and essentially rest half of their outfield players with 20 or so minutes remaining at times.

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Kevin De Bruyne finishes season at the top

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Manchester City ended the season on a high with a cruising 5-0 thumping of relegated Norwich City at the Etihad Stadium.

Gabriel Jesus opened the scoring, whilst Kevin De Bruyne scored a goal at the end of each half, either side of goals from Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez against the hapless Canaries.

The brace saw the Belgian star end the campaign with 13 goals and 20 assists, collecting the most fantasy points among English Premier League players.

De Bruyne was back to his best this past season after missing half of 2018-19 through injury. His first on Sunday was a sumptuous 20-yard strike across goal into the top corner of Tim Krul’s goal. He had earlier been heavily involved in the buildup to Jesus’ opener.

The midfielder’s second goal of the game, Manchester City’s final of their Premier League campaign, was a first time effort in off the post after Mahrez’s blocked effort fell kindly into KDB’s path.

However, three points in the final game and Kevin De Bruyne’s exceptional performance throughout the season weren’t enough to help City retain their Premier League title as Liverpool ran away with the championship, finishing an incredible 18 points above Pep Guardiola’s runners-up.

Kevin De Bruyne ended the fantasy Premier League season with 206 points – 14 ahead of runner-up Trent Alexander-Arnold. Liverpool had five of the top seven players in the final standings, whilst the next City player on the list was Riyad Mahrez down in 12th.

Manchester City will be back in action on Friday 7 August for the second leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie against Real Madrid. The Premier League side were 2-1 winners in the first leg in the Spanish capital back in February.

Real Madrid were resurgent following the restart, winning their first 10 games to clinch the 2019-20 La Liga title before drawing their season finale with nothing at stake. Zinedine Zidane’s side conceded just four goals during that 10-game winning streak. However, they were facing the likes of Eibar, Mallorca and Espanyol… not Manchester City.

Kevin De Bruyne and teammates certainly have the beating of this Real Madrid side, as they showed in the first leg. Manchester City created numerous chances before finally scoring twice in the final quarter-of-an-hour.

Despite Real Madrid’s recent impressive defensive record, it’s nothing for City to fear. They themselves scored 21 goals in their final five Premier League matches, winning each of them.

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Arsenal vs Chelsea: FA Cup final preview

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Arsenal and Chelsea will contest the 2019-20 FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

Both London teams defied the odds in beating Manchester City and Manchester United in the semi-finals to setup an all-London affair in the final.

Chelsea wrapped up a Champions League finish on Sunday by beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 at Stamford Bridge to finish fourth. This proved to be a rather impressive debut season for Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge considering the transfer embargo the club was under.

If the former Derby County manager and Chelsea playing legend can take home a piece of silverware on Sunday it will go a long way to proving the doubters wrong after he was appointed last summer.

To reach the final, Chelsea had been on top of Manchester United in the last round prior to Olivier Giroud‘s opener in the 11th minute of first-half stoppage time. The Blues doubled their lead immediately after the restart when David de Gea spilled Mason Mount’s long-range effort into his own net. They went on to win 3-1 in the end.

Meanwhile, the Gunners were 2-0 winners over City with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring 20 minutes into the game and 20 minutes from the end, despite Mikel Arteta’s side only seeing 30% of the possession.

The Spaniard has been in charge of the North London club even shorter than this weekend’s opponent as he was only appointed back in December following the dismissal of Unai Emery.

Arsenal had initially made a shaky start once the season resumed before beating Wolves 2-0 and Liverpool 2-1 prior to their impressive FA Cup performance.

They will be looking to win a record 13th FA Cup on Sunday, though the bookmakers have Chelsea as the narrow favourites.

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5 more players Real Madrid could sell this summer

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Zinedine Zidane guided Real Madrid to the 2019-20 La Liga title earlier this month in his first full season back at the Spanish giants.

The French manager had an aging squad to play with but managed to blood a number of younger players, including Federico Valverde, Vinicius, Rodrygo, Eder Militao and Luka Jovic.

Next season could see further youngsters given a chance in the first team, with Martin Odegaard and Takefusa Kubo returning from loan spells in La Liga this past season.

So far the club have yet to announce any new signings but somewhat surprisingly sold Achraf Hakimi in a €40 million deal for Internazionale. The 21-year-old had looked very impressive in his two-year loan at Borussia Dortmund.

Zidane may simply be happy with Dani Carvajal and the returning Alvaro Odriozola as his options at right-back next season.

Five other players in the first team squad that I wouldn’t be surprised to see leave the Bernabeu this summer are:

James Rodríguez

Following a two-year loan spell at Bayern Munich that saw the German champions pass on the opportunity to make the deal permanent, James Rodriguez returned to Real Madrid at the start of this past season.

The Colombian made just eight La Liga appearances (5 starts) with only one of those coming after the restart. He was originally sent on loan to the Bavarians during Zidane’s first spell in charge of the club, so don’t be surprised to see him leave Madrid this summer.

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FA Cup Final Best Combined XI

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Sunday’s FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium will be contested between two London teams as Arsenal and Chelsea meet for the third time this season.

Frank Lampard’s side have had the better of the first two meetings this season, in the Premier League, winning 2-1 at the Emirates in December and then being held 2-2 at home the following month.

Arsenal looked to have improved greatly in the final weeks of the season, including victories over both Liverpool and their FA Cup semi-final win against Manchester City.

Prior to the final showdown here is the best side we could pick among the two squads based on their current form:

Goalkeeper: Emi Martinez
Frank Lampard has a decision to make over whether to keep Willy Caballero as his cup goalkeeper or start Kepa in the final. His opposite number doesn’t have much choice with Bernd Leno injured but Emi Martinez has looked good since finally being given a chance at Arsenal.

Cesar Azpilicueta
One of the most consistent defenders in Premier League history, Cesar Azpilicueta starts on the right of our back three.

Antonio Rudiger
Arsenal have lost Shkodran Mustafi for the remainder of the season through injury whilst David Luiz is inconsistent. Antonio Rudiger is the best centre-back at Chelsea, usually alongside Kurt Zouma with Fikayo Tomori not getting much action since January.

Kieran Tierney
The Gunners have found a gem in Kieran Tierney on the left-hand side of their defence. He could start the FA Cup final in a back three due to injuries. Has a very good cross when bombing forward.

Marcos Alonso
The Chelsea left-back and left wingback edges out Bukayo Saka in our team to play on the left of our midfield four. Marcos Alonso puts some good crosses in from out wide and usually comes up with a few goals and assists over the season.

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Teenage star considering offer from PSG

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Stade Rennais midfielder Eduardo Camavinga has received an offer from Paris Saint-Germain ahead of the upcoming summer 2020 transfer window.

The French champions are believed to be facing competition from Bayern Munich, whilst Real Madrid have previously been linked with a move for the teenage star to go through in 2021.

Camavinga is still only 17 years old but established himself as a regular in the Rennes first team during the disrupted 2019-20 campaign, helping the side to a surprise third place finish and a Champions League qualifying round berth.

News from Spain is that PSG and Bayern Munich are looking to test the water with an offer for the holding midfielder this summer, whilst Real Madrid were planning to make a move in 12 months’ time.

Eduardo Camavinga is strong in the tackle, breaking up possession of the opposition, whilst also playing a sensible passing game in front of his defence. Not only has he raised many an eyebrow over the past season given his young age, he has come across as if he was much older than 17.

Should Rennes keep hold of their young talent and qualify for the Champions League group stage it would only raise Camavinga’s value even further. Whether the Brittany club can persuade the player to stay is another issue entirely.

Being the most attractive club to play for his current country of residence, PSG could certainly be the destination for Eduardo Camavinga next season. This would allow him to further establish himself and grow more as a player before moving onto world footballing giants Real Madrid.

Thomas Tuchel also likes to rotate his side. Idrissa Gueye, Marco Verratti, Marquinhos, Leandro Paredes and Ander Herrera all got plenty of playing time in central midfield this past season.

Casemiro is the regular holding midfielder at Real Madrid but otherwise Zinedine Zidane is fairly short of options to replace him with. Toni Kroos and Luka Modric aren’t out-and-out holding midfielders, whilst the latter is 34 now.

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Mbappe to miss Atalanta tie

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Paris Saint-Germain will be without Kylian Mbappe for their single legged Champions League quarter-final tie against Atalanta.

The game is set to be played at Benfica’s Estadio da Luz in Lisbon on Wednesday 12 August.

Mbappe sustained an ankle injury in Friday night’s French Cup final and is expected to be out for three weeks. He left the stadium on crutches.

PSG confirmed Kylian Mbappe’s injury today, saying scans showed “an ankle sprain with damage to the external ligament.”

“The player is expected to be sidelined for approximately three weeks.”

The Parisians were 1-0 winners thanks to Neymar‘s goal in the 14th minute to claim the domestic double. Thomas Tuchel’s side were awarded the Ligue 1 title at the end of the April following France’s division to suspend play indefinitely.

Tuchel has plenty of options in attack, with Mauro Icardi and Neymar expected to be part of the front three next month. Attacking midfielder Pablo Sarabia replaced the injured Mbappe on Friday.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Mouting and Julian Draxler were both among the substitutes. The French champions will be without Edinson Cavani and Thomas Meunier, who both left on a free transfer when their contracts expired on 1 July.

Kylian Mbappe scored 18 goals in 20 Ligue 1 appearances (17 starts) in the disrupted Ligue 1 season, adding a further five assists. The 21-year-old scored five goals in seven Champions League appearances (5 starts).

The French Cup final was the Parisians’ first competitive game since mid-March, which could play a role in their match against Atalanta.

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