Mbappe drops PSG exit hint

Paris Saint-Germain star striker Kylian Mbappe has hinted that he may decide to leave his current club this summer in search of a new challenge in his career.

The 20-year-old has helped PSG to back-to-back French league titles, with the club from the capital having completed a domestic treble during the 2017/18 campaign.

Mbappe was also a key member of the France national team who strode to World Cup glory last summer, with the talented forward scoring four times during the tournament, including one in the 4-2 final victory over Croatia.

Mbappe said after picking up both the Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards for Ligue 1: "It's a very important moment for me, I've come to a turning point in my career.

"I have discovered a lot here and I feel it is perhaps the moment to have more responsibility.

"I hope that can maybe be at Paris Saint-Germain, that would be a great pleasure, or, perhaps elsewhere with a new project."

He later added somewhat cryptically: "I said what I had to say.

"When you are in such an occasion you can send messages, I think I have sent mine. If I speak more it will be too much and that is not the message I wish to send."

Mbappe, who has been heavily linked with interest from Real Madrid, has scored 59 goals in 86 appearances for PSG, including 32 in the current Ligue 1 campaign.

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Bale ‘doesn’t fit’ in Real team

Zinedine Zidane has suggested Gareth Bale simply isn't part of his plan at Real Madrid.

Bale was left on the bench for the duration of Real's final-day defeat to Real Betis in La Liga at the Bernabeu.

The home side were booed off the field at full-time, Loren Moron and Jese having scored second half goals in a 2-0 win for the visitors.

Marco Asensio, Isco and Lucas Vasquez were all sent in off the bench in the second half, while Bale stayed seated. Tellingly, Zidane suggested afterwards that he wouldn't have called on the Welsh ace even if he had a fourth change given to him.

The 29-year-old has struggled to hold down a starting place in the Real side since Zidane returned in March and the manager has consistently refused to offer assurances over his future, though it now seems clearer than ever that Bale's future may be away from the Spanish capital.

When asked about Bale leaving the Bernabeu after the defeat to Betis, Zidane said: "I don't know if it's the last game or not. I don't know what's going to happen.

"I'm sorry he didn't get to play, but no-one knows what will happen. If I think a player doesn't fit in the team I have to do what I think works best.

"No-one can change what Bale has done for the team, but as a coach I have to live in the present. I have counted on other players more in recent weeks, and if I had a fourth substitute today I would not have brought him on.

"I make these decisions when it is right to do so, and I must act in the best interests of the team at all times."

Bale has won four Champions Leagues, La Liga and the Copa del Rey during his six years at Real. His former side Spurs are 14/5 to win the Champions League final against Liverpool on 1st June. The Reds are 19/20 while the draw is 5/2.

Icardi pledges future to Inter

Argentinian striker Mauro Icardi has vowed to remain with Inter Milan next season, having been heavily linked with a summer departure from the San Siro.

The 26-year-old joined the Nerazzurri in the summer of 2013 and has since scored 123 goals in 211 appearances in all competitions, with Icardi finishing as joint top scorer in Serie A both last season and during the 2014/15 season.

However, having lost the Inter captaincy during the current campaign, there had been plenty of speculation that Icardi could move on, with Real Madrid reported to have shown a strong interest in the South American.

Icardi responded to such suggestions by posting on social media: "In response to incorrect media reports linking me with an exit from Inter Milan, this does not reflect my thoughts.

"I have repeatedly told the club that I want to stay and I want fans to know that. I hope this will end any more misunderstandings, I have told Inter my feelings – Inter Milan are my family."

Meanwhile, Inter are reported to be interested in adding to their strike options by tempting veteran Bosnia international Edin Dzeko away from Serie A rivals Roma.

The 33-year-old has netted 87 times during his four seasons in the Italian capital, being crowned Capocannoniere in 2016/17 as he scored 29 times in Serie A.

The Nerazzurri face a tough trip to Napoli on Sunday evening, with Inter battling to ensure a top-four finish and a place in the Champions league next season.

Inter are 15/8 to win the game in Naples, with the draw available at 5/2.

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Zidane unclear on Bale future

Zinedine Zidane says he is not sure whether Sunday's final La Liga game of the season will be Gareth Bale's last for the club.

With the title long since sealed by Barcelona, Real Madrid host Real Betis on Sunday with little to play for, consigned to finishing third in the table, well behind Barca and Atletico Madrid.

Zidane was not responsible for that relative failure, only returning to the Bernabeu in March and the team starting next season is likely to be somewhat different to the side that ends the current campaign on Sunday.

One player whose future has been the subject of constant speculation in recent months is Bale with the Welshman having not played since a match against Rayo Vallecano last month.

The 29-year-old is back in the squad to face Real Betis but Zidane wasn't prepared to discuss his future at the club beyond that.

In a press conference ahead of the game Zidane said: "He'll be part of the squad tomorrow and that's all I can tell you.

"You'll see the team that we put out. I don't know whether this will be his last game.

"We're at the end of the season and next year there'll be changes, but I don't know whether this will be his last game or not."

Bale has long been linked with a move back to the Premier League with Manchester United and previous club Tottenham likely to be interested if he does become available.

Others in the Real squad including Keylor Navas, Toni Kroos and Isco could also be on the move in the summer as Zidane seeks an improvement after failing to challenge Barcelona in La Liga and also not reaching the finals of the Copa del Rey or the Champions League.

"They always win a lot of things here, and it's very difficult when you're not playing for anything, but we want to have a good game against a good Betis side who will also want to finish the season well," Zidane added.

Real Madrid are 1/2 to sign off with a win on Sunday with Real Betis 17/4 and the draw 4/1.

Barcelona play Valencia in the Copa del Rey final next weekend and are 4/9 to make it a league and cup double while Valencia are priced at 11/2.

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Hazard waits to reveal his future

Chelsea ace Eden Hazard says he has made a decision about his future, but will not reveal his choice until after the Europa League final against Arsenal.

The Belgium international winger has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid, with his current Blues contract running out at the end of next season.

However, Hazard has refused to be drawn on whether he will leave Stamford Bridge or not, telling reporters after the goalless draw with Leicester City: "Yes, (I made the decision) a couple of weeks ago. I have made my decision, that's it."

Blues head coach Maurizio Sarri was also reticent to give anything away, adding: "Eden has played seven years in England and done very well. He has become one of the best players in the world, but we have to respect him and his decision.

"I hope like every Chelsea fan that he will remain with us."

Meanwhile, Sarri hopes his side can top off their campaign with Europa League glory, with the Blues having finished third in the Premier League to ensure Champions League football next season.

The Italian added: "We have finished in third position, we reached the target of the club to get back in the Champions League and we played a final against Manchester City in the League Cup.

"Now we have to play a very important match in the Europa League final. Right now the season is very good, but hopefully it can become wonderful."

Chelsea are priced at 4/6 to win the Europa League final, with Arsenal available at 11/10.

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La Liga: Real Madrid Owes it’s Fans a Performance

Real Madrid vs Villarreal

Summer can’t come soon enough for the white half of Madrid, after a forgettable season which is just about to fizzle out.

La Liga Real Madrid vs Villarreal is an attractive fixture for the neutrals, but for the home side, it’s a chance to give the Bernabeu faithful something to cheer as they head towards a welcome break.

The us odds backed a Barca title from the off, but the way Los Blancos’ have meekly surrendered will not have pleased their fans one bit. Crashing out of the Champions League and then losing to Barca in the Copa Del Rey all adds to the pain of watching the Catalans stroll to another La Liga title.

Head coach Zinedine Zidane has a rebuilding job to do.

The mood is quite the opposite in the visitors’ camp as a run of ten points from five games has lifted the Yellow Submarine out of the drop zone, and now five points clear. But their safety isn’t yet guaranteed, so head coach Javier Calleja will have his team right up for this game, which could mean more pain for Los Blancos.

opacity 0 CLICK HERE TO SEE UPDATED ODDS UEFA – Champions League

 

Talking Points

ZZ’s Summer Plans

Two wins, two draws and two defeats in the last six league games rather sums up a patchy season for Real Madrid, who have lost ten games in total. That’s some number for a team touted to challenge at the start of the campaign. But a poor start to the season under the newly installed Julen Lopetegui set the tone for nine months of disappointment for the Real fans.

Zidane was drafted in to sort things out, and I expect he will with a summer spending spree. Premier League stars Eden Hazard and David de Gea are already in his sights.

But with three games still to play to see out this campaign, Real Madrid owes their fans a decent finish. Los Blancos’ striker Karim Benzema has been in superb form, scoring each of his side’s last eight goals, a club record, but a hamstring injury is keeping him sidelined, and that has meant two games without a goal and a shocking 1-0 defeat to relegation threatened Rayo Vallecano in midweek.

Gareth Bale prepare for La Liga clash vs Villarreal

Gareth Bale has come under fire after scoring just eight goals

The spotlight is on Gareth Bale again, for much of the season the target of the fans anger. The Welshman has only scored eight league goals and often cut a disgruntled figure, but he’s the second top scorer at the Bernabeu, with the next highest scorer being centre back Sergio Ramos.

The Rayo result was a disaster, but it was no real surprise that Los Blancos played out a 0-0 draw away to Getafe last week, the minnows are in fourth place and chasing a Champions League spot.

How times have changed!

Yellow Submarine is ready to surface

Villarreal fans have had a torrid time for much if this season too. Languishing in and around the drop zone is unchartered territory for the Yellow Submarine in recent years; and when you look at the talent in their squad it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

But head coach Javier Calleja has turned things around, just in time, as his team has played with a combination of incisive attacking and steely defence. Calleja has plenty of creative talent in his squad with top scorer Karl Toko Ekambi outscoring respected marksmen Carlos Bacca and Gerard Moreno. Meanwhile, former Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla has made ten assists.

Defensive trio Alvaro Gonzalez, Mario Gaspar and Ramiro Funes Mori have accumulated a whopping 39 yellow cards and three red cards between them this season, so Bale and company can expect a rough ride.

History

The head to head Real Madrid vs Villarreal results are no surprise. In the 37 games played over the past two decades Los Blancos have had the lion’s share of the wins with 21 to Villarreal’s four, and there have been ten draws.

But Santi Cazorla scored a brace as the Yellow Submarine held Los Blancos to a 2-2 draw earlier in the season, and Villarreal hasn’t lost in the last three meetings.

The visitors will try to keep things tight and unsettle the home crowd, if the hosts do get an early goal they should go on to win, having accumulated four home victories on the bounce.

Betting Tip

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Real Madrid vs Villarreal Under 3.25 goals @ 1.84
May 05, 22:15 (GMT+8)

So for the hosts this game is as much about pride as anything, while the in form visitors still have plenty to play for.

The latest Real Madrid vs Villarreal betting odds suggest this will not be a walkover; with the home side at 1.70, Villarreal at 5.00 and 3.55 the draw.

Los Blancos have failed to score in the last two games, and with Karim Benzema sidelined the Villarreal defence will be set up to frustrate.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (??) BETS ARE WORTH:
?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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Zidane demands better from Real

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane has told his team in no uncertain terms that they must finish what has been a difficult season with some improved displays.

Zidane was speaking after seeing Los Merengues lose 1-0 at Rayo Vallecano, with Real having now won just two of their last six La Liga matches.

That run has left them a massive 18 points adrift of champions Barcelona, with second place now all but certain to go to city rivals Atletico

Real also crashed out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage in losing to Ajax, while their Copa del Rey campaign ended in a semi-final defeat to Barca, who are 1/5 to lift the trophy and 2/5 to defeat Valencia in normal time in the final.

That has left Zidane demanding better from his star-studded squad, while he also made it clear that France defender Raphael Varane will not be leaving the Bernabeu in the summer.

He told the Spanish media: "The season has to end, because it's true that we have complications and there's nothing at stake. We have to think about the future and finish the last three games well.

"It would be better for the season to end as soon as possible, but we have three games left and we have to play them and we cannot finish like that, giving that image.

"We have to respect the game of football, respect this club and we have to finish these three games, because we are going to have to play better than this. What we saw was unacceptable.

"The positive point of this season finale is that Varane will stay."

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La Liga: The Stuff of Dreams and Nightmares at the Coliseum

Getafe 0-0 Real Madrid

This La Liga meeting prompted me to think of dreams and nightmares.

Because for one minnow of the game, this has been a season of chasing a monumental dream. One that, if it comes true, will provide the La Liga new story of this and many a season.

In complete contrast, for a giant of the game, this campaign has been one to forget.

From the moment they were defeated by their neighbours in the final of the UEFA Super Cup, it has been instantly forgettable and embarrassing for the club.

Throw in an El Clasico humbling which cost Julen Lopetegui his job, followed by a home Champions League humbling to Ajax which ended their three year reign as European champions — and you, us fans, get the picture.

In terms of resources and strength, this was a mismatch. Yet on the pitch, it was anything but.

1X2 Bayern Munchen Under 3.75 @ 2.08 Total Goal 2-3 @ 2.70 Third Line text CLICK HEREDisclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.Bundesliga

Highlights of the game

The hosts were without Vitorino Antunes and Djene Dakonam due to injury and suspension, respectively. While Madrid missed the injured duo of captain Sergio Ramos and Alvaro Odriozola.

Recently returned coach Zinedine Zidane did, though, welcome Gareth Bale and Isco back into his starting line-up in the Coliseum.

However, all eyes were elsewhere in the Real team.

Karim Benzema had scored all of the team’s previous eight goals going into this one, and had also an impressive scoring record against Getafe.

The Frenchman had scored three in his last four here and is just two away from matching his best-ever return of 32 in a season.

It was no surprise that the first chance fell to him within the opening 60 seconds as he ran onto Isco’s long pass and dragged his shot wide.

Chances weren’t easy to come by as spirited Getafe matched their millionaire opponents stride for stride, and it wasn’t until nine minutes before the break that Benzema and Casemiro saw dangerous shots cleared.

Leandro Cabrera went close for the home side early in the second period before an important block by Bruno Gonzalez denied Isco a likely goal as Madrid’s chances of closing the gap on second place Atletico Madrid diminished.

It took a fine double save from Keylor Navas – preferred to Thibaut Courtois – to keep out Jorge Molina and Jaime Mata. But still, the deadlock could not be broken.

Indeed, it was the home side which finished stronger and substitute Samuel Saiz possibly saw the morning headlines when he would have been advised to pass to a team-mate, allowing Navas to save.

It didn’t matter as Getafe claimed a point which took them back into fourth spot — who are now six points behind second-placed city rivals Atletico Madrid with four games to go— and into the Champions League places above Sevilla, who had earlier thrashed bottom club Rayo Vallecano 5-0.

Whatever happens in the final weeks of 2018/19, their coach Jose Bordalas has overseen a remarkable campaign.

Jose Bordalas wary of Real Madrid Karim Benzema to tilt Getafe chance on Champions League title in La Liga clash

Getafe manager Jose Bordalas reacts during their 0-0 draw against Real Madrid in La Liga

Indeed, it’s easy to forget that, compared to the illustrious sides around them, Getafe’s record transfer is no more than €5m.

They have just six internationals in their current squad, and the team that started their previous La Liga game was assembled for €19m. In addition, their Coliseum, Alfonso Perez stadium, has a capacity of just 17,000 and rarely draws crowds of more than 12,000.

Whether or not the La Liga 2019 betting odds are overcome, this was the start of a tough run-infor Bordalas to take a club that had been in danger of relegation to the third tier of Spanish football when he first took over, to the brink of Champions League qualification in the space of a little over two-and-a-half years, is nothing short of incredible.

While they dare to dream, Real surely  can’t wait for their nightmare season to be over.

Key statistics

Benzema has netted eight goals against Getafe, more than any other opposition in a Madrid shirt.

Before this evening, Real had won their last four LaLiga games at Getafe, as many as in their previous nine games (won four, drawn one, lost four).

Getafe’s stadium is named after a player who never actually played for them, although he did play for Madrid.Alfonso Perez was born in Getafe and played for Real Madrid, Barcelona, Real Betis, Marseille and Spain.

What’s next?

Two contrasting seasons are drawing to a close for these two sides.

Both have four La Liga matches remaining.

Getafe visit Real Sociedad next before hosting Girona on May 5.

Madrid are at Vallecano this weekend before welcoming Villarreal at the Bernabeu.

 

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Tuchel rules out Mbappe exit

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel is adamant that star striker Kylian Mbappe will not be sold this summer, despite talk of major interest from Real Madrid.

The 20-year-old France World Cup winner reached the 30-goal mark in Ligue 1 this season with a hat-trick in a 3-1 win over former club Monaco on Sunday, with PSG now confirmed as champions of France for a second successive season.

And the form of Mbappe has prompted much talk of a potential bid from Madrid at the end of the season, with Real having not replaced Cristiano Ronaldo following his move to Juventus last summer.

However, Tuchel is confident that Mbappe will not be sold, telling the French media: "The president (Nasser Al-Khelaifi) has always told me the same thing – there are no opportunities for other clubs to buy Kylian this summer.

"I've always been convinced that he'll always be our player. This is important to achieve all our objectives. To win, we need players like Kylian.

"We need to have Kylian on the team. He's a decisive player for us, he can improve, he shows it every week, every three days. There's nothing else to say about Kylian – I've already said everything.

"If we play for PSG, everyone expects us to win – we expect that from us, too. For that, we need the best players like Kylian in attack. If he plays, everyone is confident of scoring at any time."

Meanwhile, PSG are 1/14 to win the Coupe de France this season, with final opponents Rennes priced at 8/1.

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Ronaldo to remain with Juve

Superstar forward Cristiano Ronaldo has assured Juventus that he will still be at the club next season and he hopes to help them challenge for Champions League glory.

The 34-year-old former Real Madrid ace helped Juve clinch a record eighth straight Serie A title on Saturday, with his cross turned into his own net by German Pezzella for what proved to be the decisive goal in a 2-1 win at home to Fiorentina.

And afterwards, Ronaldo was keen to show his commitment to the Juve cause, with the Italian giants having suffered a Champions League quarter-final exit at the hands of Ajax earlier in the week.

He told both DAZN and Sky Sport Italia: "I am staying at Juve, 1,000 per cent. In my opinion it was a very good first season and I adapted well.

"We won the Scudetto and the Italian Super Cup, which is certainly not easy to achieve. After winning the league in England and Spain, now I can say I've won it in Italy too.

"It was a year of success, we are happy and you can't win all the time. We felt that we could do more and we wanted to win (the Champions League), but only one side can win it.

"Next year is a new page."

Ronaldo has scored 26 goals in 39 appearances on all competitions for the Bianconeri, including a hat-trick in a 3-0 Champions League victory over Atletico Madrid in mid-March.

He can be backed at 3/1 to finish the season as the top scorer in Serie A, with AC Milan star Krzysztof Piatek 5/2 and Sampdoria veteran Fabio Quagliarella 6/5.

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