Kroos, Ramos, Valverde 8/10 as Real Madrid win at Barcelona - ESPN
Toni Kroos, Sergio Ramos and Fede Valverde stole the show as Real Madrid took the Clasico honours on enemy territory.
Real Madrid beat Barcelona3-1 in the first Clasico of the season at Camp Nou to bounce back from losing two games in a row. An entertaining start saw Federico Valverde put Madrid ahead inside the first five minutes. Karim Benzema spotted the midfielder's run and he finished confidently past keeper Neto. The lead lasted just three minutes though, as Ansu Fati converted Jordi Alba's cross. Lionel Messi and Benzema both had shots well saved before half-time. - Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only) After the break, Philippe Coutinho headed just wide before Madrid were awarded a penalty for Clement Lenglet's shirt pull on Sergio Ramos. Toni Kroos could have added another but was denied by a double stop by Neto, who went on to save from Ramos before Luka Modric's composed finish secured the three points. Positives Madrid went into this match under huge pressure, needing to react after two surprise home defeats in a week to Cadiz and Shakhtar Donetsk. They responded with a blistering start, taking the lead early, and while Barca hit back soon enough, Zinedine Zidane's team ended the first half on top and competed well throughout the second period. The performance of Valverde -- not just scoring the opening goal, but as a whole -- was encouraging too. The Uruguayan impressed when he first arrived into the Real Madrid team in 2019, looking a must-pick in big games, but his form dropped off a little in 2020. Here he was back to his best, giving everything before being forced off feeling unwell. Negatives Zidane's options at right-back are getting more scarce every game. First-choice Dani Carvajal is out with a knee injury, reserve Alvaro Odriozola has a calf problem, and Nacho limped off here with discomfort in his thigh. Lucas Vazquez filled in, and Ferland Mendy can do a job on the right, but neither is a long-term solution. Madrid will also have been disappointed to concede so soon after going ahead, having barely three minutes to enjoy their early lead. Ultimately it didn't matter, and while the team's miserly defence was key to their title-winning run at the end of last season, and it has been breached far too easily of late. Manager rating out of 10 8 -- Zinedine Zidane added to his enviable record at Camp Nou as coach, unbeaten with three wins and three draws from six visits. This time he selected an attacking team, opting for 4-3-3 over 4-4-2. That meant picking Valverde over Modric, a big call which paid off. Zidane was forced into an early change with Nacho's injury, bringing on Vazquez, and had to replace Valverde with Modric later -- and both of those decisions were spot on, too. Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating) GK Thibaut Courtois, 7 -- Played well even if he couldn't add to the two clean sheets kept in both of last season's Clasicos. Made a crucial first-save from Lionel Messi. DF Nacho, 6 -- Picked at right-back, a position he occupied when Barca won 5-1 at Camp Nou in October 2018. Picked up a yellow card and then a thigh injury which forced his withdrawal. DF Raphael Varane, 6 -- Criticised and rightly so against Shakhtar, but better here. Couldn't quite get back in time to block Alba's cross for the Barca equaliser. DF Sergio Ramos, 8 -- His 45th Clasico, the most of any player, ever. Back in the team after missing the defensive disaster against Shakhtar through injury. Couldn't keep up with Ansu for his goal, but made up for it by putting away his second-half penalty in typically confident fashion and could have scored again later. Sergio Ramos celebrates after putting Real Madrid 2-1 up from the penalty spot. LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images DF Ferland Mendy, 7 -- Returned to his natural left-back role, having been one of Madrid's better performers in midweek on the right. Up against a quiet Pedri and a much more impressive Sergino Dest. MF Casemiro, 6 -- Booked for a first-half tackle on Messi, before a risky challenge on the same player inside the box saw the Brazilian fortunate to make contact with the ball. MF Toni Kroos, 8 -- Rested in midweek, Kroos' influence in midfield is underrated and in games like this he is essential. Had the energy to get forward into the box with five minutes to go, only to be denied twice. MF Fede Valverde, 8 -- Took his opening goal brilliantly after a lung-bursting run into the box. Worked incredibly hard before being taken off feeling dizzy in the second half. FW Vinicius Junior, 5 -- Scored in the last Clasico in March. Could have doubled Madrid's lead shortly after Valverde's opener, but his control let him down. A disappointing game overall. FW Marco Asensio, 6 -- Played on the right, as he did in midweek, up against a back-from-injury Jordi Alba. One dangerous-looking first-half run, but otherwise largely quiet. FW Karim Benzema, 7 -- Turned provider with an expertly weighted pass for Valverde's goal. Went into this match having only scored three times in 18 visits to Camp Nou, but his six assists in Clasicos at this stadium put him ahead of the likes of Messi, Xavi or Iniesta. Substitutes FW Lucas Vazquez, 8 -- Replaced the injured Nacho at right-back and performed admirably. MF Luka Modric, 7 -- Surprisingly left out of the starting XI. Brought on to help see out the game, and ended up scoring an effortlessly cool looking third goal. FW Rodrygo Goes, NR -- Came on for Asensio for the last 10 minutes.
Real Madrid's Zidane 'with the players to the death' amid speculation over future - ESPN
Zinedine Zidane has backed his Real Madrid team to deliver and said he's "with the players to the death" amid speculation about his future
Zinedine Zidane has backed his Real Madrid team to deliver in El Clasico on Saturday and said he's "with the players to the death" amid mounting speculation about his future at the club. Zidane, who won the Champions League in three successive seasons with Madrid between 2016 and 2018 as well as winning La Liga last season, insisted he feels supported by the club and president Florentino Perez ahead of the crunch game against Barcelona. - Insider Notebook: No Sanchez-style pay bump for Pogba- Stream FC Daily on ESPN+ Madrid were beaten 1-0 by newly promoted Cadiz in La Liga last weekend before a shock 3-2 loss to a weakened Shakhtar Donetsk side in the Champions League on Wednesday. "Yes [I feel supported], by everyone," Zidane said at a prematch news conference on Friday. "I have won a lot of things with these players, they have made me win a lot. I'll be with the players to the death. "I feel the support of everyone, but now we need to change things. We've had two complicated games. TOP FOOTBALL NEWS Notebook: Utd won't break bank for PogbaExclusive: Ozil's agent on player's Prem axeSuarez donates 1,000 Big Macs at eventPique: Messi deserves Barca stadium nameZidane will back his players 'to the death'Ole backs Greenwood amid lateness claimsUSMNT to face Wales in November clash "I think it's a good game to prove ourselves, to prove that we want to change the situation." The back-to-back defeats have prompted speculation that his position could be under threat, despite a managerial track record of regularly winning silverware. "It's what people say, I can't deny that," he said when asked if the team were playing for his future. "But what changes? Nothing. Last year it was the same, in my first spell it was the same. What I have to do is my job, give 100%, give everything I have." Zidane also confirmed that captain Sergio Ramos would be fit to feature against Barca after hurting his knee against Cadiz and watching the disastrous defensive display against Shakhtar from the stands. "Sergio is our captain and our leader," he said. "We won't take any risks at all. Sergio has recovered and he'll be with us. It's about being 100% and I think Sergio is now." Editor's Picks Barcelona go into the match as favourites after bouncing back from a league loss to Getafe with a convincing 5-1 thrashing of Ferencvaros in the Champions League on Tuesday. Antoine Griezmann was left on the bench for that game, but coach Ronald Koeman said the forward is a candidate to feature against Madrid. "He has options to play tomorrow," Koeman said. "He's an important player and we want everyone at their best. The team is the most important." Jordi Alba has also been named in Barcelona's matchday squad after almost three weeks out through injury. The Spain international is in contention to start the match, having completed just one full training session with his teammates.
Man United will stick with Maguire through ups and downs - Solskjaer - ESPN
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is determined to stick with captain Harry Maguire against Newcastle if the defender is passed fit.
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said he is determined to stick with under-fire captain Harry Maguire against Newcastle this weekend if the defender is passed fit. Maguire has faced criticism for his performances so far this season amid suggestions the defender is struggling to deal with the fall-out from his arrest in Greece during the summer. - Play English Soccer Pick 'Em with ESPN- Stream FC Daily on ESPN+- Insider Notebook: Reyna, U.S. stars on Barca radar The 27-year-old picked up an early red card during England's defeat to Denmark on Wednesday but Solskjaer insists he will start at St James' Park on Saturday if he passes a fitness test. "When Harry is part of the England team that beat No. 1 ranked Belgium, that's just a normal day but you get the headlines when you get the sending off, that's just football for you," Solskjaer told a news conference on Friday. "Harry has got great resilience. I know he'll bounce back. I know he wants to play and work his way out of the last couple of games he's been criticised for. "He picked up a knock just before he came off so I'm just hopeful he'll be fit." Solskjaer accepts United have "started badly" this season after two defeats from the first three games, including a humiliating 6-1 home defeat to Tottenham. The result prompted reports of a rift between Solskjaer and midfielder Bruno Fernandes but ahead of the game at Newcastle, the United boss said there are no problems within the squad. "We are united and have to stay together, we can't listen to everyone outside, we've got to get on with it," Solskjaer said. "Bruno has lost two league games and came in February. It's been two in quick succession and he's not used to losing league games. "They are going to try and create a division between us but it's not going to happen. This is a group that wants to work together and stick together." Solskjaer has also had to deal with more public flirting between Paul Pogba and Real Madrid during the international break. Pogba said it would be a "dream" to play for the Spanish giants, comments that angered supporters. "Paul's our player, he's going to be here for another two years and I'm sure he's focused on doing his best for us," Solskjaer said. "We want to see the best for Paul and I'm sure in the next couple of years we'll get the best out of him."
France vs. Ukraine - Football Match Report - October 7, 2020 - ESPN
Get a report of the France vs. Ukraine 2020 International Friendly football match.
Olivier Giroud became France's second top scorer when he netted a double to take his international tally to 42 goals as the world champions crushed an injury and COVID-19-ravaged Ukraine 7-1 in a friendly in a near-empty Stade de France on Wednesday. Giroud, who celebrated winning his 100th cap, found the back of the net twice in the second half to move within nine goals of Thierry Henry's French scoring record on the men's side. Eugenie Le Sommer holds the all-time French scoring record with 82 goals after she overtook Marinette Pichon (81) with a brace in a UEFA Women's Euro 2021 qualifying match last month. Chelsea striker Giroud leapfrogged Michel Platini, who scored 41 goals from 72 games between 1976-87. "I feel a lot of pride, it's a great honour for me and I'm happy it happened for my 100th cap," Giroud told French TV channel TF1. Asked whether he was going for Henry's 51-goal mark, he said: "There's no limit. You have to set yourself goals. Let's see when I reach 46, 47 goals." The other goals came from the 17-year-old Eduardo Camavinga, who became the youngest France scorer since 1914, an own goal by Vitaliy Mykolenko, Corentin Tolisso, Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann, while Ukraine reduced the arrears through Viktor Tsygankov. Camavinga put France ahead on nine minutes with a clever overhead kick after Giroud's header had been parried by Heorhiy Bushchan. Bushchan was the only active keeper on the Ukraine team sheet, although assistant coach Oleksandr Shovkovsky, retired since 2016, was included in the squad to make up for the absence of their other two keepers who had tested positive for COVID-19. Camavinga, who will turn 18 on Nov. 10, is the youngest scorer for France since Maurice Gastiger's goal at the age of 17 years, five months and five days against Switzerland in 1914. At the other end of the age spectrum, Giroud, 34, doubled France's tally with a splendid 20-metre curled shot into the top corner in the 24th minute and he added the third nine minutes later with a header before Mykolenko headed a Houssem Aouar cross into his own net six minutes before the break. Ukraine coach Andriy Shevchenko had to improvise with six injuries and eight COVID-19 cases in his expected squad, but the visitors managed to pull one back in the 52nd minute thanks to a long-range strike from Tsygankov. Tolisso added a fifth for Les Bleus in the 65th with a curled shot and Mbappe scored the sixth at the end of a dazzling run eight minutes from fulltime. Griezmann, who like Mbappe came on as a second-half substitute, fired home in the 89th to complete the rout. France next face Portugal in a Nations League Group 3 clash on Sunday as Ukraine take on Germany in a Group 4 game.
Atletico Madrid angry with Thomas Partey over Arsenal move - sources - ESPN
Atletico Madrid are angry with Thomas Partey for the way his last-minute deadline day move to Arsenal was conducted, sources have told ESPN.
Atletico Madrid are angry with Thomas Partey for the way his last-minute deadline day move to Arsenal was conducted, sources have told ESPN. Partey, 27, joined the Premier League club on Monday night after they paid his 50 million buyout clause. - Deadline Day: All the winners and losers- Stream FC Daily on ESPN+- Arsenal sign Partey from Atleti in last minute deal Atletico said they were informed by La Liga at 11.28 p.m. Spanish time -- just over half an hour before the transfer window closed -- that Arsenal's representatives had been at their Madrid headquarters that evening to exercise the player's release clause. Sources told ESPN that Atletico were "resigned" to Arsenal's actions rather than being upset by them. How the summer transfer market worksKuper:Coronavirus' impact on transfersBarnwell's best moves:100-51 | 50-1Best statement signings everSummer transfer gradesLatest completed major transfers The club had been aware there could be some late movement in the market, and coach Diego Simeone admitted on Saturday that the club were "worried" about "bad surprises, which can always happen in football," ahead of deadline day. ESPN reported in August that Atletico were concerned about having to replace, or cope without, one of their biggest stars -- such as midfielder Partey or goalkeeper Jan Oblak -- if a club paid their buyout clause this summer. That led to an air of acceptance at the club's offices on Monday when the news broke, and a realisation that there was nothing they could do about it. A year earlier, Atletico had lost Antoine Griezmann, Rodri Hernandez and Lucas Hernandez in similar circumstances. The difference in Partey's case is that the departure came in the final minutes of the window, although Spanish rules give them an extra month to find a replacement, as long as that player comes from within La Liga. Nonetheless Atletico were unimpressed with Partey's willingness to leave a club where he'd spent eight years -- being viewed as akin to an academy product after joining as a teenager in 2012 -- in this manner, putting them in a difficult position. Partey broke into the first team in 2015, and became a key player over the past three seasons, but remained one of the worst-paid members of the first-team squad, despite being among the best performers. The club had offered Partey a new improved contract earlier this year before the coronavirus pandemic, which he rejected. He was later offered a reduced deal in the new financial environment, with Atletico desperate to increase his buyout clause to a figure more reflective of his market value. That offer was ignored and Partey went on to be linked to Arsenal throughout the summer. Atletico maintained that no formal bids had been made, with the Gunners reluctant to pay the full value of his clause and Atletico refusing to negotiate, until Monday's dramatic late-night conclusion. Later on Tuesday, Atletico full-back Kieran Trippier tipped his former teammate to adapt quickly to the Premier League. "He's unbelievable, his physicality, how he breaks up play. Technically he's got everything. He ranks as one of the best midfielders I've played with," he said. "He speaks perfect English. I don't think he'd have a problem with the Premier League."
Manchester United to sign Atalanta winger Amad Diallo in January - ESPN
Manchester United have agreed a deal with Atalanta to sign winger Amad Diallo in January, the Old Trafford club announced on Monday.
Manchester United have agreed a deal with Atalanta to sign winger Amad Diallo in January, the Old Trafford club announced on Monday. Diallo, 18, has only played 25 minutes for Atalanta in Serie A but United are keen to sign the young winger for a fee worth in the region of £18. 2 million plus £9.1m in add-ons, sources have told ESPN. - LIVE: Deadline DayBarca want Memphis in, Dembele out- Stream FC Daily on ESPN+ The deal will have to wait until January to be completed due to work permit regulations, sources added. United have long been looking to bolster their resources on the wing. Sources told ESPN Diallo will be considered a first-team signing, along with 18-year-old Facundo Pellistri who they are trying to bring in from Uruguayan side Penarol. Diallo was close to signing for Parma earlier in the summer, but the deal broke down. United have been monitoring the young winger for the past three years and have been locked in talks with Atalanta for a while but sources have told ESPN there has been a breakthrough in negotiations. United had been keen to add another winger to the squad before the deadline closed, with Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele and Watford's Ismaila Sarr on their radar, but no deal materialised.
Man United set to sign Telles from Porto Cavani arrives for medical sources - ESPN
Manchester United are set to sign Edinson Cavani and Alex Telles before the transfer window closes, sources have told ESPN.
Manchester United are set to sign Edinson Cavani and Alex Telles, sources have told ESPN. Cavani arrived in Manchester on Sunday ahead of final talks and medical tests at Carrington. The 33-year-old is set to sign an initial one-year contract with the option of another 12 months. - Stream FC Daily on ESPN+- Insider Notebook: Utd's frantic chase: Sancho, Dembele, Ocampos Telles should follow the Uruguayan in at Old Trafford ahead of Monday's transfer deadline after sources told ESPN United are in advanced negotiations over a deal for the Brazilian left-back. Mourinho's Spurs hit six past Man UtdSources: Man Utd to sign Cavani, Telles Rooney: United must sign Kane over SanchoMan Utd's Dalot joins AC Milan on loanSources: Napoli not to travel for Juve clashBarca thrash Madrid in 1st women's Clasico Porto have accepted a bid of around 15 million plus add-ons after initially demanding closer to 20m up front. The 27-year-old is scheduled to undergo a medical before joining up with the Brazil national team. United turned down the chance to sign Cavani in January after being put off by his wage demands of £360,000-a-week. After leaving Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, the striker has been offered to every major club in Europe before United stepped up their interest last week. Sources have told ESPN his wages will be significantly lower than his demands in January and the agent fees involved in the deal will be lower than 10m. Cavani has already spoken to former PSG teammate Thiago Silva, who joined Chelsea in the summer, about the Premier League and life in England. United were keen to tie up a deal for a centre forward knowing that Odion Ighalo loan from Shanghai Shenhua is set to end in January. Meanwhile, United full-back Diogo Dalot has joined AC Milan on loan for the rest of the season.
Napoli will not travel to Juventus for Serie A clash due to positive COVID 19 tests sources - ESPN
Napoli will not travel to Turin for their Juventus clash on Sunday after two of their players tested positive for COVID-19, sources told ESPN.
Napoli will not travel to Turin for their Serie A clash with Juventus on Sunday after two of their players tested positive for COVID-19, sources have told ESPN. Piotr Zielinski and Eljif Elmas returned positive results following routine coronavirus tests and the entire Napoli squad is in isolation. - Serie A on ESPN+: Stream LIVE games and replays (U.S. only)- Insider Notebook: Utd's frantic chase: Sancho, Dembele, Ocampos The Campania region has seen a recent spike in coronavirus cases and local authorities have not allowed the team to travel, according to ESPN sources. Sources: Man Utd in talks with Cavani Sources: Napoli not to travel for Juve clashSources: Arsenal eye Jorginho loan dealSources: Bayern agree deal to sign RocaSources: Chelsea reject Hudson-Odoi bid Sources said the plane was on the runway and ready to take off for Turin, as they awaited a response to their request to travel as there can be exceptions made to the rule. The game has not been called off by Serie A and Juve are preparing to take to the field despite the absence of their opponents, sources said. This would result in a 3-0 victory for Andrea Pirlo's side. Sources also said that Napoli hope the league will postpone the match and have it replayed at a later date. Napoli's previous opponents Genoa had 10 players test positive following their clash on Sunday, which resulted in the postponement of this weekend's clash with Torino. However, all of Napoli's players tested negative in the immediate aftermath, before Zielinski and later Elmas returned positive results.
Persepolis striker handed six-month ban for offensive gesture - espn.com
Iranian striker Issa Alekasir has been handed a six-month ban by the Asian Football Confederation for a "discriminatory gesture."
Issa Alekasir will miss his side's game against Al Nassr, and the final of the Asian Champions League should Persepolis reach that stage . Photo by Simon Holmes/Getty Images Iranian striker Issa Alekasir has been handed a six-month ban by the Asian Football Confederation for a "discriminatory gesture" just hours before he was due to lead his club Persepolis into the semifinals of the Asian Champions League. The 30-year-old forward, who has scored four times in the last three games in the competition, received the ban after making an offensive gesture to television cameras after scoring against Uzbekistan's Pakhtakor in the quarterfinals on Wednesday evening. Persepolis won the game 2-0 and take on Saudi Arabia's Al Nassr in the semifinals on Saturday evening in Doha, where matches in the western half of the competition have been played due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. "The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Disciplinary and Ethics Committee has banned Issa Alekasir, of Persepolis FC, from taking part in any kind of football-related activity for six months for violating Article 58.1 of the AFC Disciplinary and Ethics Code [2019 Edition]," the AFC said in a statement. "The ban will take effect immediately." In addition, Alekasir, whose goal also took Persepolis through the round of 16 with a 1-0 victory over Qatar's Al Sadd, has been fined $10,000. Persepolis take on Al Nassr on Saturday with the winner facing the top club from the eastern half of the draw in the final on Dec. 19.
Liverpool's Sadio Mane tests positive for COVID-19 - ESPN
Liverpool forward Sadio Mane has tested positive for COVID-19, the club announced on Friday.
Liverpool forward Sadio Mane has tested positive for COVID-19, the club announced on Friday. The Senegal international's diagnosis comes days after teammate Thiago Alcantara was confirmed to have contracted virus. - Insider Notebook: Utd's frantic chase: Sancho, Dembele, Ocampos- Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only) Insider Notebook: Utd's frantic chase Liverpool's Mane positive for COVIDPep: No idea if Garcia leaves for BarcaPulisic set to make return from injuryArteta: Arsenal at 'crucial' momentSolskjaer: Utd has strong squad depthUEL: Milan vs. Celtic, Arsenal vs. Dundalk "Sadio Mane has tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently self-isolating according to the necessary guidelines," Liverpool said in a statement. "The forward, who started and scored in Monday's 3-1 victory over Arsenal, has displayed minor symptoms of the virus but feels in good health overall. "However, like with Thiago Alcantara, Liverpool Football Club are -- and will continue to -- follow all protocols relating to COVID-19 and Mane will self-isolate for the required period of time." Liverpool had announced on Tuesday that summer signing Thiago tested positive for the virus after the midfielder did not feature in the club's 3-1 Premier League victory over Arsenal the previous day. Liverpool's website had previously reported that his absence was due to a "minor fitness issue." Liverpool will travel to Aston Villa for a Premier League match on Saturday before heading club football halts for the international break.