Rumour Has It: Messi will extend Barca contract, Man Utd nearing Sancho deal

By Sports Desk June 24, 2021

Is Lionel Messi's future close to being resolved?

Messi is out of contract at Barcelona and the six-time Ballon d'Or winner has been linked with a move away.

But, if reports are to be believed, the superstar is on the verge of extending his Barca contract.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI SET TO RENEW AT CAMP NOU

Lionel Messi will renew his contract with Barcelona until 2023, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Messi is out of contract at Camp Nou and the superstar captain has been linked with Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.

But Messi is poised to re-sign, with an official deal reportedly only a matter of time.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United are edging closer to signing long-time transfer target and Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, reports Bild.

- Diario AS claims Real Madrid are set to rival Arsenal for Real Sociedad star Alexander Isak. The Sweden international appeals as a more affordable option compared to Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and PSG forward Kylian Mbappe.

- Inter star Achraf Hakimi is expected to join PSG, says Romano. Personal terms have reportedly been agreed until 2026. He has also been linked with Chelsea.

- Premier League champions City are willing to wait a year to sign a striker if they are unable to prise Harry Kane from Tottenham, according to ESPN. Kane has been linked with City, United, Chelsea, Madrid and Barca amid reports he wants to leave Spurs. With Tottenham unwilling to sell Kane, City are prepared to wait in the transfer market as they also eye Haaland.

- Mundo Deportivo claims Inter want to sign Barca full-back Jordi Alba, with the Serie A holders willing to offer three players – Milan Skriniar, Lautaro Martinez and Marcelo Brozovic.

- Maurizio Sarri's Lazio are close to signing Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira, reports Sky Sport Italia.

West Ham have made a bid to sign Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic, says Sky Sport Italia. The Serbia international has previously been linked with Tottenham, United and Milan.

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    Carlo Ancelotti believes Vinicius Junior has "something special" after his stunning late strike sealed a 2-1 win for Real Madrid against Sevilla on Sunday.

    Karim Benzema had cancelled out Rafa Mir's opener before half-time at the Santiago Bernabeu, setting the stage for Vinicius to secure maximum points in the 87th minute with a thunderous drive from 22 yards.

    The Brazil international has now scored nine goals in 14 LaLiga appearances this season – one more than in his previous 82 games for Los Blancos in the competition.

    Ancelotti has long been impressed with the forward's all-round play, but he is delighted that the 21-year-old has added goals to his game.

    "Vini has something special," Ancelotti said. "His goal was extraordinary; a spectacular shot.

    "He did not have the opportunity to make a difference with dribbling, he could not do what he wanted, but he has focused on being effective in the game.

    "It's another step towards being one of the best. I knew his quality in one on one situations, in dribbling, but he did not have that ability to score goals in the past. He has shown another quality; he had never shown it."

    The result moved Los Blancos four points clear of Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad at the top of the table, with Sevilla a further point back in fourth.

    It meant Madrid have now won more points from losing positions than any other team in LaLiga this season (10).

    "The rival was very strong and they showed all their qualities in the first half," Ancelotti said. "After their goal it was difficult for us to press up; we became unbalanced and we gave them opportunities.

    "After our first goal, though, we controlled the game. We finished the game well."

    Madrid are in action again on Wednesday when Athletic Bilbao travel to the capital, and Ancelotti revealed he will likely have to shuffle his pack.

    "Those who have come off the bench, like Eduardo Camavaniga and Federico Valverde, brought a lot of energy," he said.

    "I can think of some changes I will make as the team is tired – we play every three days. Valverde – we need him because he is a player who puts all his energy into the game."

  • Real Madrid 2-1 Sevilla: Vinicius stunner seals victory for Ancelotti's men Real Madrid 2-1 Sevilla: Vinicius stunner seals victory for Ancelotti's men

    Vinicius Junior's stunning late strike helped Real Madrid to a 2-1 win over Sevilla at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.

    Sevilla, led by former Los Blancos boss Julen Lopetegui, could have moved a point clear of Madrid at the top of the table with victory, and they got off to a fine start thanks to Rafa Mir's early header.

    Karim Benzema pulled the hosts level shortly after the half-hour mark, before Vinicius secured maximum points three minutes from full-time with a wonderful long-range drive.

    The result moved Carlo Ancelotti's men four points clear of Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad at the top of the table, with Sevilla a further point back in fourth.

    Sevilla went ahead in the 12th minute when an unmarked Mir headed Marcos Acuna's corner past Thibaut Courtois from 12 yards.

    The striker should have scored again just minutes later, but David Alaba cleared his initial effort off the line and Courtois got down well to block the follow-up.

    Lucas Ocampos hit the crossbar from distance as Sevilla sought to consolidate their lead, but Madrid pulled level when Benzema slotted into an empty net after Yassine Bounou had spilled Eder Militao's long-range strike onto the post.

    Marco Asensio whipped wide from 25 yards shortly before the hour mark, while Vinicius wastefully blazed over after a rapid counter-attack. 

    The Brazil international had the final say, though, cutting in from the left and fizzing a strike past Bounou from 22 yards to seal an important win.

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    Michael Carrick led Manchester United to a good point at Chelsea as he waited to learn whether that would be his first and last Premier League match as Red Devils manager.

    Jadon Sancho's opener against the run of play was cancelled out by Jorginho's penalty at Stamford Bridge, where caretaker boss Carrick named Cristiano Ronaldo as a substitute.

    United have a home match against Arsenal coming up on Thursday and that might be Ralf Rangnick's first game at the helm.

    Rangnick, currently working at Lokomotiv Moscow, is the man that United are targeting to lead them through until the end of the season, which is when they intend to make a more permanent appointment.

    The sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last Sunday followed a run of five defeats in seven Premier League games, fatally rupturing hopes of a title challenge.

    Speaking after the 1-1 draw with Chelsea, Carrick told a news conference he was unsure what would lie ahead for him.

    "As of now, I haven't got any more news for you really. I was purely focused on the game. There was enough in my head to prepare the boys for this," he said.

    "After the game, I'm sure I'll be updated and aware, and see what happens the next few days, but as of now I haven't got anything more to give you."

    Carrick told television interviewers there was no truth behind the theory his team selection was influenced by Rangnick.

    United harried Chelsea with more gusto than they have other teams of late, and got away from west London with a point despite coming under plenty of pressure.

    Chelsea led the shot count 24-3, had 66 per cent of possession, and the expected goals (xG) count told its own story. Based on the quality of chances each team had, Chelsea had an xG total of 2.54 and United managed 0.82, suggesting this was a missed opportunity for the hosts to inflict another defeat on their visitors.

    The decision to start with Ronaldo on the bench, rather than in his usual role as the focal point of the attack, was a move by Carrick that caught the eye.

    "Obviously, we came here with a plan," said Carrick, a long-serving former United midfielder.

    "I kind of knew how Chelsea were going to be playing. A lot of it was stopping the little passing moves they thread through to Jorginho and [Ruben] Loftus-Cheek through the middle of the pitch.

    "We were conscious of that. [We brought] a little freshness to the team, two or three changes and a couple of little tweaks and changes in tactics."

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