Mahrez aiming to do better

Forward Riyad Mahrez believes he can develop his game further at Manchester City, having completed a big-money move from Premier League rivals Leicester City.

The 27-year-old Algeria international has signed a five-year contract with the Citizens, with a fee in the region of £60million reportedly involved in ensuring the deal was right for both clubs.

And Mahrez, who spent four-and-half years with the Foxes, helping them to Premier League glory in 2015/16, is excited about having finally secured his move to the Etihad Stadium, having seen a possible deal fall through at the end of the January transfer window.

He told his new club's official website: "I am so pleased to have joined City, a side playing great football under (coach) Pep Guardiola.

"Watching them from afar has been a pleasure. Pep is committed to playing attacking football, which is a perfect for me and City's performances last season were outstanding.

"They are redefining the English game and I wanted to be a part of it. I think we can be successful over the coming years and I believe my own game can develop."

Mahrez scored 48 goals in 179 appearances for Leicester in all competitions, with 17 of those strikes coming during the season the Foxes powered to an amazing league title success in May 2016.

Last season Man City romped to the Premier League by a massive 19-point margin, becoming the first side to accrue 100 points in a 38-game top-flight programme.

The Citizens are 4/7 to retain their league crown next season and are available at 11/2 to triumph in the Champions League.

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Ronaldo seals Juve switch

Real Madrid have confirmed that Portugal international Cristiano Ronaldo has left the club and joined Juventus.

The 33-year-old former Manchester United star, who has penned a four-year deal with the Old Lady, has moved to Turin in a deal worth £99.2million.

Ronaldo was signed by Real for £80million in 2009 and went on to score 451 goals for the club.

During the last five seasons, Real have won four Champions League finals, including the triumph against Liverpool in May.

"For Real Madrid Cristiano Ronaldo will always be one of our great symbols," said a statement from Real.

"Real Madrid wants to express its gratitude to a player who has proved to be the best in the world and who has marked one of the brightest times in the history of our club and world football.

"Real Madrid will always be your home."

Juventus have won 34 Serie A titles in their history including the last seven. They held off a strong challenge from Napoli to clinch the 2017/18 title.

They have two European Cup triumphs to their name – in 1984/85 and 1995/96 – and have been beaten finalists seven times, most recently in 2017 when they lost 4-1 to Real.

Juventus are 7/1 to win the 2018/19 Champions League while Real Madrid can be backed at 13/2.

"The time has come to open a new stage in my life, that's why I asked the club to accept transferring me," Ronaldo said.

Klopp: Salah deal a major message

Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp believes his club have sent out a huge message about their future prospects by handing a new, long-term deal to Mohamed Salah.

The 26-year-old, who has recently been in action at World Cup 2018 with Egypt, enjoyed a spectacular first season at Anfield, scoring 44 goals in all competitions to help the Reds reach the Champions League final and finish in fourth place in the Premier League.

And Klopp is more than happy that a fresh five-year contract has been agreed and signed off, with Salah a crucial figure in the German's plans to build on the success of last season.

He told the club's official website: "I think this news can be seen for what it is – rewarding a person who performed and contributed greatly for the team and the club last season.

"It demonstrates two things very clearly also – his belief in Liverpool and our belief in him.

"We want world-class talent to see they have a home at Anfield where they can fulfil all their professional dreams and ambitions – we are working hard together to achieve this.

"When someone like Mo Salah commits and says this place is my home now, it speaks very loudly I think.

"Equally, our commitment to him says we see his value and want him to grow even more and get even better within our environment."

Despite suffering a shoulder injury in the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid, Salah was on the scoresheet in both of the games he featured in for Egypt at World Cup 2018, but his side were unable to progress out of the group stage.

Meanwhile, Liverpool are 5/1 to win the Premier League title next season, with Manchester United 7/1 and Manchester City 4/7.

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Kovacic ready to leave Real

Croatia midfielder Mateo Kovacic has confirmed that he will seek a move away from Real Madrid this summer in search of more regular first-team action.

The 24-year-old, who has featured as a substitute for the Vatreni in both of their opening two games at World Cup 2018, has been at the Bernabeu since the summer of 2015, but has made just 37 league starts in three seasons.

And the former Inter Milan schemer is keen to try his luck elsewhere and prove that he is worth a more regal starting role.

He told Marca: "I understand the situation, but because of that I believe the best thing for me would be to go to another club where I'd have the opportunity to play regularly as a starter.

"I think I can have this opportunity and it's one I want right now. Of course I am not happy when I don't play.

"I have really enjoyed these three years in Madrid, alongside some incredible team-mates and winning trophies, but I haven't been completely happy because my contribution to all of this hasn't been complete and this is something I want to change."

Real Madrid won a third straight Champions League title last season, but could only finish in third place in La Liga, ending some 17 points adrift of champions Barcelona.

Real can be backed at 6/1 to win the Champions League again next season, with Barca available at 6/1 and Bayern Munich 7/1.

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Real confirm Lopetegui appointment

Real Madrid have confirmed that Julen Lopetegui will become their new head coach once he has completed his World Cup 2018 duties with Spain.

Lopetegui has agreed a three-year contract to succeed Zinedine Zidane at the Santiago Bernabeu, with the latter having opted to step aside after winning a third consecutive Champions League title.

Fifty-one-year-old Lopetegui, who made one senior appearance for the club, worked with Real as coach of their B team between 2008 and 2009, before moving into the national team set-up, where he coached at three different levels.

In the summer of 2014 he was tempted back into club management with Portuguese powerhouses FC Porto, where he lasted around 18 months before being sacked.

However, within a matter of months Lopetegui was handed the top job back in his homeland, taking over in July 2016 on the retirement of Vicente del Bosque.

Since then he has led La Roja in 20 matches, of which they have won 16, drawn four and lost none.

In World Cup qualifying they dropped just two points from ten games played in finishing top of Group G, five points ahead of Italy – who went on to lose to Sweden in the play-offs.

For the finals in Russia, which start on Thursday, Spain have been drawn in Group B alongside neighbours and European champions Portugal, as well as Morocco and Iran.

Spain can be backed at 8/15 to top Group B, while they are 9/2 to be eliminated at the semi-final stage of the tournament and are 11/2 to lose in the final.

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Pochettino quashes Real rumours

Mauricio Pochettino, who signed a new five-year contract at Tottenham last week, has played down rumours linking him with Real Madrid.

The former Southampton boss is believed to be Real's first choice to succeed Zinedine Zidane, who resigned on Thursday just five days after leading the Spanish side to their third consecutive Champions League title.

Pochettino insists he is happy at Spurs and has been quick to confirm that there is no clause in his contract that would permit him to speak to the La Liga side.

The Argentine said: "When Real Madrid call you, you have to listen to them. Although in this case it doesn't depend on me. I have just signed a long contract with Tottenham and I am very happy here.

"Right now I want to focus on planning for next season and keep out of all the things that are being said. There will be lots of rumours, lots of things said, but I have no news from Real Madrid."

However, earlier this year, Pochettino refused to rule out managing Real when asked directly if he could succeed Zidane.

The 46-year-old has been in charge at Tottenham since 2014 and has guided the club to three consecutive top-three finishes and to the last-16 of the Champions League this season.

Joachim Low, the Germany manager, is thought to be another name on Real's shortlist, although he has a contract with the 2014 World Cup winners until 2022.

Pochettino is 5/4 to be Real Madrid's next permanent manager while Low can be backed at 16/1. Meanwhile, Spurs are 16/1 to win the 2018/19 Premier League title.

Bale breaks Reds resistance

Gareth Bale scored one of the all-time great Champions League final goals as Real Madrid overcame gallant Liverpool 3-1 in Kiev.

The La Liga giants became the first team since Bayern Munich in the mid-1970's to be crowned champions of Europe three seasons running as manager Zinedine Zidane extended his flawless record in the competition.

Welsh wizard Bale came off the bench to replace Isco on the hour-mark and within two minutes he scored a true wonder-goal.

Marcelo's cross from the left was acrobatically volleyed into the roof of the net by Bale from 16-yards.

Bale extended Madrid's advantage eight minutes from full-time when his long-distance shot was somehow fumbled over the goal line by Loris Karius, capping a nightmare evening for the Liverpool goalkeeper.

Karius was also culpable as Karim Benzema opened the scoring six minutes into the second half.

He saw his attempt to throw the ball out to his full-back cannon off Benzema's outstretched foot and spin away into an unguarded goal.

To their credit, Liverpool responded in kind as Sadio Mane stabbed home from close range following a well worked corner just four minutes later.

The Reds had no answer to Bale's brilliance however and were left flailing in the wake of a second howler from their goalkeeper as Madrid played out time for an historic 13th Champions League title.

Jurgen Klopp will be left to rue the loss of Mohamed Salah after 30 minutes, the Egyptian forward having apparently dislocated his shoulder after crashing into the ground under a challenge from Sergio Ramos.

Real Madrid are 6/1 to win the Champions League again next season, while Liverpool are 10/1. Manchester City meanwhile are 11/2 to be kings of Europe next term.

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Ramos: We’re hungry for trophies

Sergio Ramos says Real Madrid have not lost any of their desire as they attempt to beat Liverpool in Saturday's Champions League final.

Real have won three of the last four finals and are 4/6 to beat Jurgen Klopp's team in Kiev and 3/1 to keep a clean sheet against the free-scoring Reds.

Real captain Ramos said: "There's no lack of motivation. We're hungry and the fact we keep winning it is another reason to want to win it again. The fact we can make history is a unique privilege.

"We have to treat the game as if it's our first Champions League final. We can't look at the past, it's inevitable, but we don't like to. Being in the final is marvellous, we need to enjoy it."

Meanwhile, Real coach Zinedine Zidane has played down his side's chances of winning European club football's top prize for the 13th time in their history.

Liverpool have not been in a Champions League final since losing 2-1 to AC Milan in 2007 but Zidane is certainly not taking another triumph for his team for granted.

"It's another final and we have the same chance of winning it as they do," the former France international said.

"It's 50/50, like every final is and we're going to have to put on a huge display if we are to win. Inside the dressing room we don't feel like we are favourites at all."

Real Madrid beat Juventus 4-1 in last year's final and are 28/1 to triumph against Liverpool by the same scoreline.

Henderson hails inspiring Klopp

Jordan Henderson believes Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has taken the club to new heights in the last two-and-a-half years.

The 50-year-old was appointed Reds boss in October 2015 when he replaced Brendan Rodgers.

He had previously spent four years with Borussia Dortmund, guiding the German team to back-to-back Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012, as well as the DFB-Pokal in 2012 and the DFL-Supercup in 2013 and 2014.

Dortmund also reached the Champions League final five years ago when they were beaten by Bayern Munich.

Liverpool played in the Europa League final seven months after Klopp had been appointed but they were beaten 3-1 by Sevilla despite taking the lead.

The Reds have secured top-four finishes in each of the last two seasons and have reached the Champions League final – they are 10/1 to beat Real Madrid 2-1 on Saturday in Kiev.

Henderson, 15/2 to score at any time in the Champions League final, said: "After the Europa League final defeat the boss had this vision that made me think in the future we'd get to another final.

"He wanted to use the experience of that final to keep us together and use it as a positive. If we got to another final we'd be ready.

"At that moment I sensed that he could see that he was confident about getting to another final. I can't remember word for word but he had something about him that felt it was the start of something.

"I think you can see how he has taken the team forward since then has been fantastic… I see how hungry the team are to be successful."

Emery has his eyes on prizes

New Arsenal head coach Unai Emery is determined to mould his side into serious challengers both domestically and in Europe as quickly as possible.

The Spaniard has the unenviable task of succeeding Arsene Wenger as the man at the helm of the Gunners and Emery is eager to make his mark as soon as he can, with a return to the Champions League one of his top priorities.

He told reporters at his first press conference after being confirmed as the new man in charge of the Londoners: "I believe we can grow with the players we have. The objective is to work hard together and with these talented players.

"Success next season would be developing, but how? By battling for every title – that's in Arsenal's and my history.

"All the titles that will be in the next season and the future – (the aim is) to be a candidate and challenge for all the titles. That is very important for the club after two years outside the Champions League.

"We need to arrive and be with the best clubs in the Premier League and the best clubs in the world."

Under Emery Arsenal are 28/1 to win the Premier League title next season, while they are 2/1 to finish in the top four and 4/11 to finish in fifth place or lower.

Meanwhile, former Valencia, Sevilla and PSG coach Emery also paid tribute to the man he has replaced at the Emirates Stadium, adding: "I want to say thank you Arsene Wenger for your legacy.

"For all the coaches in the world, he is a reference. We learned, I learned from him all the things in football.

"It's a big challenge for me, but I have worked also in other projects, big projects. For me, I am proud to be here and to work after Arsene Wenger."

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