Rangers set down marker with superb comeback win over Real

Rangers ended their pre-season in impressive fashion, coming from behind to beat Real Madrid 2-1 in their final friendly ahead of Saturday’s Scottish Premiership opener.

Steven Gerrard’s side looked sharp and dangerous in attack throughout the first half. Summer signing Fashion Sakala carved out numerous chances in the opening 45 minutes, while Ryan Kent hit the underside of the crossbar.

However, it was Real Madrid who went in ahead after Rodrygo’s (8) early goal – their only shot of the opening period.

But ten minutes after the break, Sakala finally scored the goal he deserved (55), powering home past Real Madrid goalkeeper Andriy Lunin and introducing himself to the Rangers fans in superb style.


Saturday 31st July 12:30pm


Kick off 1:30pm

Sky Sports Football HD
Sky Sports Football HD

The visitors’ evening was about to get worse too. Nacho was sent off for a second yellow (75), with Cedric Itten (77) firing a thunderous effort home two minutes later to seal a deserved victory for Rangers.

It will be an ominous warning for the other Scottish Premiership sides as Rangers begin their title defence on Saturday against Livingston, live on Sky Sports.

How Rangers saw off Real Madrid

Rangers were the better side from the off, and should have opened the scoring twice inside three minutes. Firstly, John Lundstram found Sakala in the middle after a driving run down the right wing, but the latter did not make the right contact. It was Sakala again moments later, but his fierce volley flashed across the face of goal.

Real’s only chance of any note in the first half saw them find the net. It was a quickfire break that caught Rangers out, with Martin Odegaard driving down the field. He then slotted in Rodrygo to his left, who managed to skip through the blue shirts ahead of him before slotting home past Allan McGregor.

How Rangers and Real Madrid lined up

  • Rangers first half XI:McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Helander, Barisic, Davis, Lundstram, Wright, Hagi, Kent, Sakala.
  • Rangers subs used:Arfield, Kamara, Simpson, Itten, Middleton, Bassey, Patterson, Jones, Kelly and Balogun.
  • Real Madrid starting XI:Lunin, Nacho, Marcelo, Vazquez, Jovic, Odriozola, Odegaard, Isco, Rodrigo, Blanco, Chust.
  • Real Madrid subs used:Arribas, Gutierrez, Park, Gila and Dotor.

Rangers should have equalised almost immediately with two superb chances. They were awarded a free-kick on the right of the area, with Connor Goldson seeing a powerful header saved from the delivery. Just after, Kent drove down the left, but his effort on the angle was well saved by Andriy Lunin.

Rangers continued to see chances fall their way – Kent and Sakala in particular going close – and the former should have equalised just before the half an hour.

It was a sensational break from Rangers, the lively Scott Wright driving into the area before cutting the ball back for Sakala in the middle. His attempted shot was scuffed, but landed kindly to the waiting Kent at the back post. However, his strike pinged off the underside of crossbar before going wide.

Rangers had 17 shots in the first half, and ten minutes after the break, they finally found the net. Sakala had impressed throughout, and nabbed his first goal for the club as he hammered the ball past Lunin. Glen Kamara had done superbly in the build-up too, battling against Lucas Vazquez to slot Sakala through.

Soon after, there were a raft of changes on both sides which altered the complexion of the game, but Real stalwart Nacho had few excuses when he was shown a second yellow card in the 75th minute. He caught Kamara high on the thigh with his studs up and, having already been booked, was shown a red.

Two minutes later, Rangers nabbed their deserved equaliser. It was a superb finish for Itten’s third pre-season goal, waiting for the ball to bounce in the right spot before thundering the ball home into the far corner to round off an impressive performance from the hosts.

Gerrard pleased after friendly double-header

Speaking to Rangers TV, manager Steven Gerrard said: “First and foremost, we deserved the win and we have been excellent over the whole weekend.

“Obviously, it was two different teams for obvious reasons, but every single person over the course of the two 90 minutes has been excellent and they have given me a lot to think about in the two days in terms of picking teams for real next week.

“We have got valuable minutes into important players and we have shown a level out of possession that I really like – our speed across the grass, our aggression and moving together as a unit in our shape, I am really happy with that and yesterday, we did a lot of things right but we missed a little bit of magic in the final third in terms of our outcomes, but today, we found that magic.

“It was two great finishes from the boys and they will get a lot of plaudits, but for me, I am more pleased with the two performances from everyone over the weekend.”

What’s next?

Rangers kick off their Scottish Premiership title defence on Saturday when they host Livingston, live on Sky Sports Football; kick-off 1.30pm. Real Madrid are back in friendly action on Sunday 8 August when they play AC Milan. They begin their La Liga campaign on Saturday 14 August away to Alaves.

Pogba ‘increasingly unlikely’ to sign new Man Utd deal

Paul Pogba 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.

Paris Saint-Germain are interested in signing Pogba – but as yet, there has been no official bid or club-to-club contact.

Pogba, who can sign a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club in January, wants to assess all his options before deciding on what is likely to be the last big contract of his career.

United have been looking at alternative midfield targets including Rennes’ Eduardo Camavinga and Bayern Munich’s Leon Goretzka.

Varane back for Real pre-season as reps finalise Man Utd terms

PA: Raphael Varane
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Raphael Varane is understood to be keen to move to Man Utd this summer

Meanwhile, Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane has returned to pre-season training as his representatives continue to finalise personal terms with United.

United will not open official talks with Real over a fee until personal terms are agreed.

Once a final agreement is reached, it is hoped United will be able to quickly negotiate a fee with Real and add the France international to their squad.

It is understood Varane himself is keen to make the move to the Premier League runners-up last season.

Varane would be a significant statement of intent to compete with Manchester City for the Premier League title next season, having established himself as one of the world’s best defenders since joining 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 and starting all four of their matches at Euro 2020 before they were knocked out Switzerland.

Man Utd sign Sancho from Dortmund for £73m



Jadon Sancho has completed his move to Manchester United








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Jadon Sancho says it is an honour to sign for Manchester United and he is ‘eager to win’ at Old Trafford. Pictures from the Manchester United App

Manchester United have 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.

Manchester City retain a sell-on clause for their former youth-team player, whose contract in Germany was due to run until the summer of 2023.

“I’ll always be grateful to Dortmund for giving me the opportunity to play first-team football, although I always knew that I would return to England one day,” Sancho told United’s official website.

Man Utd fixtures 2021/22: Leeds on opening day

Man Utd Fixtures 2021/22

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.

Man Utd close to agreeing personal terms with Varane

Manchester United are close to agreeing personal terms with the representatives of Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane.

Once a final agreement is reached, it is hoped United will be able to quickly negotiate a fee with Real and add the France international to their squad.

United, however, remain cautious but hopeful a deal can be struck before the end of the summer transfer window.

It is thought Varane would welcome the move, with the 28-year-old’s contract up next summer.



Jadon Sancho is undergoing a medical at Manchester United ahead of a £73m move from Borussia Dortmund








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Tottenham’s Rebecca Spencer believes Marcus Rashford’s injury could have a significant impact on Jadon Sancho’s introduction at Manchester United.

Real risk losing him for nothing if they do not sell in this transfer window.

Varane would be another significant statement of intent to compete with Manchester City for the Premier League title next season, having established himself as one of the world’s best defenders since joining 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 and starting all four of their matches at Euro 2020 before they were knocked out Switzerland.



Eduardo Camavinga








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Dharmesh Sheth says Manchester United are interested in signing 18 year old Rennes and France defender Eduardo Camavinga.

Varane: Missing piece in Man Utd’s defensive puzzle?

Sky Sports’ Jack Wilkinson:

Let’s face it, despite undoubtedly improving as a defensive pair throughout last season, Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof are yet to give off the air of confidence and authority to suggest they will be the centre-back pairing that sends Manchester United back into title contention.



England forward Jadon Sancho (PA)








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Sancho tells those who racially abused him after his penalty miss against Italy in the Euro 2020 final shoot-out that they will never win with their actions.

Rightly or wrongly, Lindelof has always been viewed as the weak link in the partnership, while Eric Bailly has been out of the conversation completely. Sourcing an upgrade to sit alongside Maguire has been earmarked as an area of improvement for United and in Raphael Varane, they may just have found what they’re looking for.

But the prospect of establishing a back four of Varane and Maguire at centre-back, with Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the full-back positions, would undoubtedly represent a step up in quality.

Maguire has proven for club and country he has the leadership qualities and technical ability to shoulder expectation, with the pace and experience of Varane in tow, United would have their strongest defensive line-up since they last won the title.

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.

Man Utd allowed to discuss Varane terms

Manchester United have been given permission to approach Raphael Varane and are negotiating personal terms ahead of a potential move from Real Madrid.

If terms can be agreed, United are expected to open talks with Real Madrid over a fee – although Paris Saint-Germain are also in talks with Varane’s camp.

It is thought the 28-year-old centre-back would be open to the move if an agreement can be reached.

United are believed to be cautious as they do not want a repeat of what happened with Sergio Ramos in 2015, when they were given encouragement the player would come to Old Trafford – only for him to sign a new contract at the Bernabeu.

Varane still has a year left on his Real Madrid contract and United are keen to negotiate a lower transfer fee knowing he is free to sign a pre-contract agreement in January.

The France international is one of a number of centre-backs United are looking at this summer as they make the position a priority to strengthen.

Sky Sports News has already reported their interest in Atalanta’s Cristian Romero, Sevilla’s Jules Kounde and Lille defender Sven Botman.

Jadon Sancho
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Man Utd have already confirmed they have agreed a deal to sign Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho

The Premier League side have also moved to strengthen their attack, completing a deal to sign England international Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund for £73m, subject to a medical.

Varane would be another significant statement of intent to compete with Manchester City for the Premier League title next season, having established himself as one of the world’s best defenders since joining 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 and starting all four of their matches at Euro 2020 before they were knocked out Switzerland.