Barca, Real, Juve to carry on Super League plans

Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid have vowed to carry on with plans for a European Super League after winning an important court battle with UEFA.

A court in Madrid has ruled that the governing body’s disciplinary proceedings against the founding 12 clubs of the proposed breakaway league must be scrapped, while the case will now be assessed by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

Twelve clubs announced themselves as founder members of the Super League on April 18, but the competition collapsed within 72 hours after nine withdrew amid fan protest, opposition from UEFA, FIFA and domestic leagues and even the British Government and Royal Family.

Those nine clubs – Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan and AC Milan – were each handed an approximate £7m fine by UEFA and fined five per cent of their prize money.

But a court in Spain has ruled those penalties must be removed while ongoing disciplinary proceedings against Barca, Juve and Madrid – who have always stuck by the project – must also be terminated.

PA - Chelsea supporters display a 'fans not customers' banner in protest over plans for a European Super League
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Chelsea supporters display a ‘fans not customers’ banner in protest over plans for a European Super League

It is a potentially seismic decision for the future of club football in Europe, with those three clubs vowing to plow on and end UEFA’s “monopolistic position”.

A joint statement on their websites read: “FC Barcelona, Juventus, and Real Madrid CF welcome today’s Court’s decision enforcing, with immediate effect, UEFA’s obligation to unwind the actions taken against all European Super League founding clubs, including terminating the disciplinary proceedings against the undersigning three clubs and removing the penalties and restrictions imposed on the remaining nine founding clubs for them to avoid UEFA’s disciplinary action.

“The Court backs the request made by the promoters of the European Super League, dismisses UEFA’s appeal, and confirms its warning to UEFA that failure to comply with its ruling shall result in fines and potential criminal liability.

“The case will be assessed by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, which shall review UEFA’s monopolistic position over European football.

“We have the duty to address the very serious issues facing football: UEFA has established itself as the sole regulator, exclusive operator, and unique owner of rights of European football competitions.

“This monopolistic position, in conflict of interest, is damaging football and its competitive balance. As shown by ample evidence, financial controls are inadequate, and they have been improperly enforced. Clubs participating in European competitions have the right to govern their own competitions.

“We are pleased that going forward we will no longer be subject to ongoing UEFA’s threats. Our aim is to keep developing the Super League project in a constructive and cooperative manner, always counting on all football stakeholders: fans, players, coaches, clubs, leagues, and national and international associations.

“We are aware that there are elements of our proposal that should be reviewed and, of course, can be improved through dialogue and consensus. We remain confident in the success of a project that will be always compliant with European Union laws.”

Varane bids farewell to Madrid: ‘A new chapter begins…’

Prospective Manchester United signing Raphael Varane has looked ahead to “a new chapter” ahead of his transfer from Real Madrid.

The clubs have agreed a fee believed to be worth £41m including add-ons for the France defender, subject to a medical and player terms being finalised.

Varane, 28, is departing after 10 years with Real Madrid, in which he has helped them win four Champions League titles and three La Liga crowns.

A post from Varane’s official Instagram account on Friday read: “These last few days have been charged with many emotions, feelings that I now want to share with all of you.

“After 10 incredible and wonderful years at Real Madrid, a club that I will always carry in my heart, the day has come to say goodbye.

“Since I arrived in 2011, together we have exceeded all expectations and achieved things that I could never have dreamed of. I would like to thank all the coaches and all the people who work or have worked at the club for everything they have done for me.

“Many thanks also to all the Madridistas who always gave me a lot of affection and with their great demand they pushed me to give my best and fight for every success.



France defender Raphael Varane (AP)








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Matt Upson believes Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane complement each other’s playing styles and their future partnership could be hugely beneficial for Manchester United next season.

“I have had the honour of sharing a dressing room with the best players in the world. Countless victories that I will never forget, especially ‘La Decima’ (the 10th European Cup success in Real’s history, achieved in 2014). I realise that it has been a great privilege to have been able to experience such special moments.

“Finally, I want to thank all Spaniards and especially to the city of Madrid, where my two children were born. This country will always be special to me.”

Varane said it had been “an incredible journey in every way” and that he was leaving “with the feeling of having given everything and I will not change a single thing in this story of ours”.



Ole Gunnar Solskjaer








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Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Raphael Varane is a proven winner and Sir Alex Ferguson had tried to sign the France centre-back when he was in charge.

The message concluded: “A new chapter begins…”

Varane, a 2018 World Cup winner, is set to join England winger Jadon Sancho, whose move from Borussia Dortmund for £73m was completed last week, in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad ahead of the new season.

United have also re-signed goalkeeper Tom Heaton this summer following his departure from Aston Villa.

Man Utd confirm deal with Real Madrid for Varane

Manchester United have confirmed they have reached an agreement with Real Madrid to sign defender Raphael Varane.

The price for the France international is believed to be £41m including add-ons.

A club statement said: “Manchester United is delighted to announce the club has reached agreement with Real Madrid for the transfer of French international defender and World Cup winner, Raphaël Varane, subject to a medical and to player terms being finalised.”

Having already signed England international Jadon Sancho for £73m from Borussia Dortmund, the acquisition of Varane represents a further statement of intent from United.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team were second in the Premier League last season but finished 12 points behind Manchester City.

Varane is well established as one of the world’s top defenders, having joined Real from French side Lens in the summer of 2011.

He has gone on to make over 350 appearances for the club, and be capped 79 times by France, helping them to World Cup glory in 2018.

He started all four of France’s matches at Euro 2020 before they were knocked out on penalties by Switzerland.

If the deal goes through as expected, Varane’s first competitive action for United could come when they start their Premier League campaign on August 14 against Leeds United at Old Trafford.



Bruno Fernandes has scored five goals and made three assists in seven Europa League games this season








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Playmaker Bruno Fernandes says he thinks Manchester United are on the up and will be a threat to win every competition they enter this season.

‘One of best central defenders in Europe’

Analysis from Spanish football expert Terry Gibson, speaking on Sky Sports News:

“If Man Utd do get Varane across the line, they are buying one of the best central defenders in Europe. He has been fantastic at Real since day one, he has all the attributes you need and he has been slightly overlooked because of Sergio Ramos.

“But in terms of quality, I do not think there are many better than Varane.”










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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says the arrival of Jadon Sancho shows the fans ‘we mean business’

Man Utd sign Sancho from Dortmund for £73m

United continue to look busy in the transfer market having recently signed Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund for £73m.

Sancho, whose move to Old Trafford was agreed in principle on July 1, completed a medical earlier this month after his participation at Euro 2020.

He has signed a five-year deal at United, with an option of a further year, and Sancho will wear the No 25 shirt for his new side.



Paul Pogba was only handed a brief cameo during the stalemate








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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists Paul Pogba is always professional despite speculation about his future at United

Pogba future up in the air

One player at United with an uncertain future is Paul Pogba. He is ‘increasingly unlikely’ to sign a new contract extension at Manchester United amid interest from Paris Saint-Germain.

Talks between Pogba’s representatives and United failed to find a resolution with reports claiming a concrete offer had been rejected by the France midfielder.

The 28-year-old has entered the final year of his current deal and United must now make a decision on whether to sell him this summer or allow him to see out his contract.

Man Utd Fixtures 2021/22

Man Utd fixtures 2021/22: Leeds on opening day

Manchester United will host rivals Leeds United at Old Trafford on the opening weekend of the 2021/22 Premier League season.

United face a possibly season-defining run of games in October and November, which starts with a trip to Leicester on October 16, the first showdown with Liverpool at Old Trafford on October 23, and a visit to Tottenham on October 30.

November 6 marks the first Manchester derby of the season as champions Manchester City travel to Old Trafford, before United head to Champions League winners Chelsea on November 27 before rounding off the month by hosting Arsenal on November 30.

Follow the summer transfer window with Sky Sports

You can follow all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms, as well as keeping track of all the developments on Sky Sports News.

New series: Football’s Cult Heroes



Football's Cult Heroes podcast








1:00

Football’s Cult Heroes is a new podcast series exploring the stories of players that carried their clubs on their backs – on and off the pitch. Follow on Spotify.

Football’s Cult Heroes is a brand new podcast series exploring the stories of the players that carried their clubs on their backs – on and off the pitch.

Told by the players, fans and journalists that were there – we delve into why these players created such a strong bond with their fans and how they are still remembered years on.

Follow on Spotify so you can listen to the weekly episodes as soon as they drop.

The view from Spain: Gil, Varane exciting, Messi pressure

Spanish football expert Terry Gibson runs the rule over new Tottenham signing Bryan Gil, Man Utd-bound defender Raphael Varane, and Lionel Messi’s future at Barcelona.

Speaking on Sky Sports News, Gibson insists Gil’s arrival in exchange for Erik Lamela is a deal that suits both Spurs and Sevilla, and that Spurs fans should be massively excited by the arrival of the 20-year-old.

Gibson also insists Varane is one of the best central defenders in Europe as he nears a move to Old Trafford, but fears for Real Madrid’s central defence having also lost Sergio Ramos this summer.

And what is going on at Barcelona? Gibson says they face a race against time to lower their wage bill ahead of the new season, and to tie down Lionel Messi to a new contract.

‘Gil made a fantastic impression’










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Terry Gibson thinks Bryan Gil has the talent to enrich the Premier League

Gil, capped three times by Spain, has signed a five-year contract at Spurs.

“I am excited, that’s for sure. Gil was one of the most talked about players in La Liga last season and I have to say one of my favourite players.

“He was playing in a team that was struggling in Eibar, who finished bottom of the league, but this young player on loan from Sevilla was making such a fantastic impression.

“He is a player people will enjoy watching, he’s an old-fashioned winger. Great at dribbling, great first touch, good passer of the ball.

“I am absolutely delighted Spurs have managed to sign him.

‘Lamela to Sevilla suits everyone’

Tottenham Hotspur's Erik Lamela celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday March 14, 2021.
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Erik Lamela has signed a three-year deal at Sevilla

Lamela goes in the other direction on a three-year deal, and Gibson said: “I think he’s suited to La Liga. I think Tottenham supporters appreciated what he did for them while he was at the club.

“One of the reasons Sevilla have allowed Bryan Gil to leave is they have an abundance of really good wide attacking players, so it is difficult to see where Lamela is going to fit in straight away, hence the reason I think Sevilla were quite content to allow Gil to leave.

“It is good money for the club and it means they can keep one or two of their more established players that they do generally have to sell.

“[France international defender] Jules Kounde is a player a lot of clubs around Europe want to sign – but I think Sevilla are going to do their utmost to try and keep him.

“I think it’s one of those deals that suits everyone – Lamela is going to a fantastic club, a fantastic city, who play a really good style, and Tottenham have got a young player in Bryan Gil, Sevilla have some money so it’s going to be exciting for both players.”

‘Varane one of the best in Europe’



AP - Raphael Varane








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Gibson gives his verdict on Manchester United’s pursuit of Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane

The price for France international Varane is believed to be £41m including add-ons and the deal is set to go through, subject to a medical.

Gibson said: “If Man Utd do get Varane across the line, they are buying one of the best central defenders in Europe. He has been fantastic at Real since day one, he has all the attributes you need and he has been slightly overlooked because of Sergio Ramos.

“But in terms of quality, I do not think there are many better than Varane.”

‘Will Real Madrid’s defence cope?’

“They have signed David Alaba on a free from Bayern Munich, Eder Militao finished the season quite strong last year, and Nacho is still at the club, but when you look at losing two wonderful footballers and personalities in Varane and Ramos, at the same time, it means the centre of Real’s defence is going to look completely different.

“It will be fascinating to see how Real Madrid cope.”

‘Time running out, immense pressure on Barca’

Lionel Messi (AP)
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Lionel Messi has reached a verbal agreement on a five-year contract extension at Barcelona, but nothing has been made official

Lionel Messi has reached a verbal agreement on a five-year contract extension at Barcelona, with his salary to be reduced by 50 per cent under terms of the new deal, but is yet to officially sign.

Antoine Griezmann, Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele are also on a list of at least nine players Barcelona would be willing to part with this summer to raise funds and lower the wage bill.

“We hope we can cross this off soon, but we’re not entirely sure. As it stands, Barca still have some work to do to get it across the line. It’s incredible that at this moment Messi is not attached to Barcelona, he hasn’t put pen to paper yet.

“The intention is he will, but as we know Barcelona have to lower their wage bill quite considerably, as they’ve had to do over the previous two summers.

“This year they are working hard to get players off the wage bill, give away players in some cases, and work hard to get transfer fees for some players like Antoine Griezmann in particular, in order to register Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia.

“Time is running out, and Joan Laporta the president is under immense pressure to ge thtese deals done, primarly to keep Messi at Barcelona.”

Man Utd agree £41m fee with Real Madrid for Varane

Manchester United have agreed a fee of £41m with Real Madrid for defender Raphael Varane.

The price for the France international is believed to be £41m including add-ons and the deal is set to go through, subject to a medical.

Having already signed England international Jadon Sancho for £73m from Borussia Dortmund, the acquisition of Varane would be a further statement of intent from United.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team were second in the Premier League last season but finished 12 points behind Manchester City.

Varane is well established as one of the world’s top defenders, having joined Real from French side Lens in the summer of 2011.

He has gone on to make over 350 appearances for the club, and be capped 79 times by France, helping them to World Cup glory in 2018.

He started all four of France’s matches at Euro 2020 before they were knocked out on penalties by Switzerland.

If the deal goes through as expected, Varane’s first competitive action for United could come when they start their Premier League campaign on August 14 against Leeds United at Old Trafford.

‘One of best central defenders in Europe’

Analysis from Spanish football expert Terry Gibson, speaking on Sky Sports News:

“If Man Utd do get Varane across the line, they are buying one of the best central defenders in Europe. He has been fantastic at Real since day one, he has all the attributes you need and he has been slightly overlooked because of Sergio Ramos.

“But in terms of quality, I do not think there are many better than Varane.”










1:00

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says the arrival of Jadon Sancho shows the fans ‘we mean business’

Man Utd sign Sancho from Dortmund for £73m

United continue to look busy in the transfer market having recently signed Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund for £73m.

Sancho, whose move to Old Trafford was agreed in principle on July 1, completed a medical earlier this month after his participation at Euro 2020.

He has signed a five-year deal at United, with an option of a further year, and Sancho will wear the No 25 shirt for his new side.



Paul Pogba was only handed a brief cameo during the stalemate








0:18

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists Paul Pogba is always professional despite speculation about his future at United

Pogba future up in the air

One player at United with an uncertain future is Paul Pogba. He is ‘increasingly unlikely’ to sign a new contract extension at Manchester United amid interest from Paris Saint-Germain.

Talks between Pogba’s representatives and United failed to find a resolution with reports claiming a concrete offer had been rejected by the France midfielder.

The 28-year-old has entered the final year of his current deal and United must now make a decision on whether to sell him this summer or allow him to see out his contract.

Man Utd Fixtures 2021/22

Man Utd fixtures 2021/22: Leeds on opening day

Manchester United will host rivals Leeds United at Old Trafford on the opening weekend of the 2021/22 Premier League season.

United face a possibly season-defining run of games in October and November, which starts with a trip to Leicester on October 16, the first showdown with Liverpool at Old Trafford on October 23, and a visit to Tottenham on October 30.

November 6 marks the first Manchester derby of the season as champions Manchester City travel to Old Trafford, before United head to Champions League winners Chelsea on November 27 before rounding off the month by hosting Arsenal on November 30.

Follow the summer transfer window with Sky Sports

You can follow all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms, as well as keeping track of all the developments on Sky Sports News.

New series: Football’s Cult Heroes



Football's Cult Heroes podcast








1:00

Football’s Cult Heroes is a new podcast series exploring the stories of players that carried their clubs on their backs – on and off the pitch. Follow on Spotify.

Football’s Cult Heroes is a brand new podcast series exploring the stories of the players that carried their clubs on their backs – on and off the pitch.

Told by the players, fans and journalists that were there – we delve into why these players created such a strong bond with their fans and how they are still remembered years on.

Follow on Spotify so you can listen to the weekly episodes as soon as they drop.