Madrid president Perez unsure of Varane's future amid Man Utd links, refuses to discuss Mbappe and Haaland

By Sports Desk June 24, 2021

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is unsure of Raphael Varane's future at the LaLiga giants amid ongoing links with Manchester United, while he refused to discuss reported transfer targets Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland.

United have long been linked with Varane and the Premier League powerhouse are reportedly determined to prise the French centre-back from the Santiago Bernabeu this off-season in attempt to bolster their defence.

Chelsea and Manchester City are also believed to be interested in the 28-year-old, who has won four Champions League titles and three LaLiga trophies since moving to Madrid in 2011.

Perez was asked about Varane's future on Thursday and he told Onda Cero's El Transistor program: "I don't know what will happen with Varane.

"He's in the Euro's now and we will talk to him when he returns.

"We haven't received any offer for Varane. If he wants to leave, he'll say it."

It is an off-season of change for Madrid, who have already farewelled head coach Zinedine Zidane and superstar captain Sergio Ramos, with Carlo Ancelotti returning to the dugout.

Paris Saint-Germain's Mbappe and Borussia Dortmund sensation Haaland are reportedly high on Madrid's list of targets after being dethroned by bitter rivals Atletico Madrid in 2020-21.

But Perez said: "Mbappe? He's not a Real Madrid player so I cannot talk about him. I know what the fans want. We are working on a rebuild.

"You all know who I am. You know what I can do. The people trust me because they know what I can do. They know I bring the best players in the world.

"Mbappe is a PSG player and that must be respected, you know I cannot talk about him. I won't talk about Mbappe and Haaland."

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    Kieron Edwards has been elected new President of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA).

    Edwards, leading Team Progressive, defeated Colin Wharfe and his Transformation team at the Elective Congress 38-19 on Saturday morning at the Home of Football in Couva.

    The new administration will be the first self-governed TTFA in more than four years. This as William Wallace's administration was removed months after he was elected in November 2019, as FIFA intervened and installed its Normalisation Committee in March 2020, citing financial concerns.

    In keeping with the amended TTFA constitution, members were only asked to vote for a president. Edwards’ entire slate will serve alongside him.

    “Our slate [did] the work and left it in the hand of the membership, and they made the decision,” said Edwards.

    Edwards pointed out that his team will meet on Monday to hit the ground running to move football forward in the twin island republic. His administration comprises Colin Murray, Osmond Downer, and Jameson Rigues as the three vice-presidents, while Alicia Austin, Inspector Andrew Boodhoo, Allan Logan, Ryan Nunes, and Shelton Williams are the ordinary members.

    Looking ahead, Edwards revealed that his administration will review the positions of all TTFA staff including that of general secretary Amiel Mohammed, who was hired by the Robert Hadad -chaired Normalisation Committee.

    “He is the general secretary currently and I will work with him until further notice,” said Edwards.

    “Coaches that are under contract, we will honour those contracts and we will work with them. It is not a situation of moving this one (or that one), it is about giving support and enhancing what we do to ensure that we qualify for tournaments, and we do well in tournaments. That is the objective of the next executive going forward," he added.

    He was gracious too to outgoing Normalisation Committee, which included Nigel Romano and Trevor Nicholas Gomez, as well as members of Wharfe’s slate.

    “It is one TTFA and we will work together with all members and your voice will be heard. It is about inclusion; the Normalisation Committee played a crucial role, and we need to acknowledge the service they did for Trinidad and Tobago," Edwards noted.

    Meanwhile, Wharfe promised to continue doing what he can for football in Trinidad and Tobago.

    “We at Team Transformation accept the result and will continue to work for football in any way that we think possible. I will continue to do my job (as TTPFL CEO) and the new executive will make determinations in terms of what tomorrow would look like,” he said.

  • Ten Hag refuses to entertain question about United’s worst Premier League season Ten Hag refuses to entertain question about United’s worst Premier League season

    Erik ten Hag refused to entertain a question about potentially overseeing Manchester United’s worst Premier League season and has not given up on Champions League qualification.

    Seventh-placed United suffered another setback in an underwhelming campaign after requiring a Bruno Fernandes brace to scrape a scarcely-deserved 2-2 draw at Bournemouth.

    United have never finished below their current position since the league’s inception in 1992.

    “I don’t comment on that question,” replied Ten Hag as he walked out of his post-match press conference when asked about the prospect of ending below seventh place.

    “That is not important at the moment.”

    Ten Hag’s men were tormented by impressive Bournemouth for much of an uninspiring outing at Vitality Stadium and twice trailed in the first half following goals from Cherries pair Dominic Solanke and Justin Kluivert.

    United, who have a lengthy injury list, particularly in defence, sit 10 points adrift of the top four with only six games remaining on the back of just one win from seven matches.

    Asked if the Champions League places were now beyond his team, Ten Hag replied: “No. I didn’t say that.

    “We give what we can but I am also realistic, so when the full squad was there, I still would have said I believe.

    “But we will keep fighting with the players who are available and you can see there is high potential.

    “But also young players they make mistakes. They have proved they can compete with the best teams on the highest level but now they have to do it consistently. There is always the next step for young players.”

    Solanke and Kluivert each capitalised on passive United defending to fire beyond Andre Onana, while Bournemouth also missed a host of first-half chances and struck the crossbar through Milos Kerkez.

    Fernandes briefly levelled between those strikes and, having hit the bar from distance, equalised for a second time with a 65th-minute penalty after Adam Smith was punished for handling Kobbie Mainoo’s harmless deflected effort.

    United looked set to face a stoppage-time penalty before breathing a sigh of relief when VAR intervened to rule Willy Kambwala’s challenge on Ryan Christie was outside the 18-yard box.

    Ten Hag, who revealed centre-back Harry Maguire played with an injury issue in the first half, dismissed the suggestion his players are lacking motivation.

    “I have been in football a very long time and they are very motivated,” said the Dutchman.

    “We are motivated but the organisation wasn’t right and we lost balls where we shouldn’t and the pressure of the opponent.

    “But our players are better than this.

    “The good thing is we returned twice from losing positions. The spirit is good, the resilience is good.”

    Bournemouth boss Andoni Iraola questioned the consistency of top-flight officiating after falling agonisingly short of securing his club’s first league double over the 20-time English champions.

    The Spaniard felt Kambwala’s challenge on Christie continued into United’s 18-yard box and deemed Smith’s handball “very harsh”.

    “It’s not only about the important decisions,” said the Premier League’s manager of the month for March.

    “It’s about Kobbie Mainoo diving in the first half, nothing happens; Ryan Christie, with much more contact, dives in the second half, yellow card. It’s about consistency.

    “We are safe, yes, but you have to value our points, the same way you value United’s points – in the same exact way.

    “The last decision, for the VAR to intervene for something that should be clear and obvious, the first touch between the players can be one centimetre outside, it has to be clear, but it’s obvious he continues making the offence inside and doesn’t allow Ryan to finish the play.”

    Speaking of Smith’s handball, Iraola said: “It’s very harsh. It’s coming from his own team-mate, a rebound.

    “You are two metres away, you don’t have time to do anything. They are going in the right way with the handballs because at one moment they were calling everything but today they changed their way of refereeing.

    “At the end, one point against United is always important. But if anyone deserved to win today, it was clearly Bournemouth.”

  • Aurelien Tchouameni hands Real Madrid hard-fought win over Mallorca Aurelien Tchouameni hands Real Madrid hard-fought win over Mallorca

    Real Madrid kept themselves in control at the top of LaLiga with a 1-0 win at Mallorca.

    In a game of limited clear chances, a deflected effort from Aurelien Tchouameni early in the second half proved the difference for Los Blancos, who built towards a defining period of the campaign next week in the Champions League and hosting Barcelona in El Clasico.

    With an eye on next week’s European quarter-final second leg against Manchester City, Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti opted for five changes, but England midfielder Jude Bellingham retained his place in the side.

    The visitors made a bright start, with Luka Modric sending an early free-kick straight into the wall.

    Mallorca, recently beaten in the Copa del Rey final by Athletic Bilbao, were proving difficult to break down.

    In the 34th minute, Bellingham sent in a curling effort from the edge of the penalty area but it looped over the goalkeeper and cannoned off the crossbar.

    Real finally made their pressure count three minutes after the restart.

    Tchouameni picked the ball up around 25 yards out before drilling in a rising drive which took a deflection off a Mallorca defender and spun off up into the top right corner.

    Brahim Diaz had a chance to quickly double the lead after running into the Mallorca penalty area but his effort was straight at goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic.

    As the hour mark passed, Mallorca substitute Abdon Prats saw his shot blocked before Real missed the chance to add a second.

    Modric cut a pass back to Diaz just outside the six-yard box but the winger’s touch was too strong, which allowed Rajkovic to kick the loose ball clear.

    Ancelotti then made a couple of changes, with Diaz and Bellingham given a rest as Vinicius Junior and Eduardo Camavinga were sent on.

    Real pressed for another goal to kill off the match, with Camavinga playing in Federico Valverde, only for his effort to be hacked off the line by Mallorca defender Matija Nastasic.

    Sergi Darder almost scored a fine equaliser when his 25-yard effort, flying towards the top left corner, was palmed away by Real keeper Andriy Lunin at full stretch.

    With 10 minutes left, Joselu’s header from a free-kick was saved by Rajkovic.

    Mallorca almost snatched a dramatic equaliser with what proved to be the last kick of the game deep into stoppage-time.

    Lunin jumped with Vedat Muriqi as he tried to catch a high cross into the Real box but dropped the ball – which the Kosovo striker then stabbed wide of an open goal.

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