Real Madrid outcast Gareth Bale was introduced by Zinedine Zidane at half-time in the International Champions Cup clash with Arsenal.

Bale has been tipped for an imminent departure from Madrid after he was left out of the squad for last week's defeat to Bayern Munich.

Zidane confirmed Bale was close to leaving the Santiago Bernabeu, with the Madrid boss determined to sell the Wales international sooner rather than later.

Bale – linked to the Chinese Super League – was among the substitutes in Maryland on Tuesday and he came off the bench as 10-man Madrid trailed Arsenal 2-0 at the interval.

Madrid had Nacho Fernandez sent off for a handball in the ninth minute before Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put Arsenal in control.

Lionel Messi has been handed a ban and fine after his red card during Argentina's Copa America win over Chile in the third-place play-off.

Messi, 32, will serve a one-match suspension after his altercation with Gary Medel, also sent off, during Argentina's 2-1 victory earlier this month.

In a statement on Tuesday, CONMEBOL also confirmed the Barcelona star had been fined $1,500, with no appeal possible.

The single judge of the disciplinary tribunal confirmed "the automatic suspension imposed on the player Lionel Andres Messi, not agreeing on any additional suspension" while imposing the $1,500 fine.

Messi, controversially sent off, railed against "corruption" and "a lack of respect" following his red card.

His statements angered the governing body, which hit back at what it felt were "unfounded accusations".

Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool are still working on making new signings but are unable to spend "crazy money" on arrivals.

Liverpool invested heavily in their squad during 2018 by signing Virgil van Dijk, Alisson, Naby Keita, Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri.

Ahead of the 2019-20 season, though, the Reds have only brought in teenage defender Sepp van den Berg from PEC Zwolle.

Lille forward Nicolas Pepe is reportedly a transfer target for the Anfield club as they seek reinforcements after winning last season's Champions League but Klopp indicated it might not be possible to strengthen his squad.

"It's not easy," Klopp told the Liverpool Echo. "I said last year that to improve the team is not easy with reasonable money. With crazy money, you always can do it – okay, you pay whatever you want, then it's possible.

"We are not a club like that. We cannot do that. We are really wealthy but we cannot do what some other teams are doing. That's how it is.

"But we don't have to. We have to find solutions during the season. Yes, you find sometimes the solution in the transfer market and we have done that. I don't have to name the players, everybody knows. But otherwise you have to find the solutions on the training ground and that's what we do now.

"We are still looking, but it will not be the [biggest] transfer window of LFC. It just will be a transfer window. We will see what we do, and if we haven't done anything by the end it will be for different reasons.

"It's about using this team. In the transfer window, you have to build a team that you think you want to go into the season with. But I have that team already. If we can bring somebody else in that makes it even better, we will see. But if not, this team is already there. And again we will have to find solutions at different moments."

Liverpool also confirmed the injury sustained by Yasser Larouci in a feisty pre-season friendly against Sevilla is not thought to be serious.

Larouci was caught by a wild tackle from defender Joris Gnagnon, who was sent off for the challenge and later apologised on social media.

A Liverpool statement said: "Larouci has suffered heavy bruising in his femur bone and the club's medical team will continue to monitor the injury as it settles. However, the Reds are optimistic the 18-year-old will only be ruled out for no more than a matter of weeks."

Liverpool continue their preparations for the new Premier League season by taking on Sporting CP at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday.

Maurizio Sarri has told his Juventus squad they must adapt to Cristiano Ronaldo's game after hailing him as the "player who makes the difference".

The Portugal international plundered 28 goals in his debut campaign for the Bianconeri following his move from Real Madrid, guiding them to an eighth successive Serie A title.

He picked up where he left off in Juve's first pre-season game ahead of the 2019-20 season on Sunday, scoring a typically clinical goal in his side's 3-2 International Champions Cup (ICC) defeat to Tottenham.

Speaking ahead of an ICC clash against Italian rivals Inter on Wednesday, head coach Sarri made it clear Ronaldo will be the focal point of his side in the forthcoming campaign.

"He will be the player who will make the difference for us so the other 10 will have to adapt to him," Sarri told a media conference.

"During this tour he will play mostly as a left offensive striker, knowing very well he likes to move more central next to the other striker.

"As a team we have to be quick to adapt to his movements since he is capable of making the difference and he will do it for sure. In the first game, he scored and had a further couple of chances."

The defeat to Tottenham also saw the debut of Matthijs de Ligt, the new signing from Ajax who arrived last week for an initial fee of €75million.

Sarri described the 19-year-old as a "phenomenal prospect" but would not be drawn on whether he will command an immediate place in his preferred starting XI.

"De Ligt is a phenomenal prospect," Sarri said. "He is a 19-year-old kid who has already been captain in an important club like Ajax so he is an important prospect.

"I don’t know whether he will stay on the bench or not. If not, on the bench there will be other important defenders like [Leonardo] Bonucci, [Giorgio] Chiellini and [Daniele] Rugani."

Trinidad and Tobago national under 15 team coach Stuart Charles Fevrier has called on the TTFA to secure more matches with Central American opponents in order to close the gap between the twin-island republic and CONCACAF’s top teams.

The recently concluded TTFA Youth Invitational football tournament proved to be a chastening experience for the national team.  The young Trinidadians lost matches to Panama, Venezuela, and Mexico. 

The match-up with the Panamanians was closely contested with T&T losing 5-4 by the odd goal, the team, however, went on to lose 4-0 and 4-1 to Venezuela and Mexico respectively.

With the tournament serving as a warm-up for the CONCACAF Under-15 Championship in August, the gulf in quality has proven to be a concern.

“We need to play more Central American and North American teams instead of Caribbean teams.  It’s not that we can’t play Caribbean teams, we are from the Caribbean region but I believe now we have to focus a lot more on the Central American and North American teams.  If we are to qualify for any major competition these are the teams we have to beat,” Fevrier said.

“Playing against Caribbean teams is a lower level obviously because when you watched the level of football tonight (against Mexico) for me it was very high,” he added.

“In the last 10 minutes they were still going, it was nothing for them.  They already have a professional mentality and our boys are still playing college football.”

Gareth Bale's agent is not willing to enter into "slanging matches" with Zinedine Zidane after the Real Madrid boss claimed the Wales forward refused to play in the pre-season friendly with Bayern Munich.

Madrid boss Zidane accused Bale of making his own decision not to feature in the International Champions Cup defeat to the Bundesliga champions at the weekend.

The absence occurred in the wake of Zidane admitting his desire for the 30-year-old to be sold sooner rather than later.

Bale's agent, Jonathan Barnett, branded the Frenchman a "disgrace" in response to those comments, but insisted there would be no ongoing war of words on Tuesday.

"That's not something we've ever spoken about [missing the Bayern game]. I'm not getting into any slanging matches," Barnett told Omnisport.

"I've never criticised anybody for anything other than what they said or what they did."

Bale joined LaLiga giants Madrid in 2013 and signed a lucrative contract extension in 2016.

And with three seasons still left to run on that deal, there is no urgency from his camp to force a resolution.

Barnett confirmed on Tuesday to Sky Sports News that the player will not consider a loan move away from the Spanish capital amid strong links to the Chinese Super League, where clubs are reportedly considering offering wages of £1million per week.

Barnett declined to reveal Bale's preference for China or Europe, adding: "If Gareth finds something that he really likes then we'll talk about it.

"He's a Real Madrid player. He's got three years on his contract. Nothing can change that fact.

"If he didn't have a contract it would be a problem for him. But he's fine. He's signed a contract and he's fine."

Madrid face Arsenal in an International Champions Cup clash in Maryland on Tuesday.

Antoine Griezmann made his Barcelona debut on Tuesday but was unable to prevent the LaLiga champions slipping to a 2-1 friendly defeat to Chelsea in Saitama.

World Cup winner Griezmann – who joined the club in a €120million move earlier this month – made little impact during his 45-minute appearance against Frank Lampard's side, who went in front through Tammy Abraham's 34th-minute goal.

Barcelona looked bright at the start of the second period before Ross Barkley's fine finish nine minutes from time sealed the win, despite Ivan Rakitic's late strike.

Chelsea continue their preparations for the 2019-20 season with a game against Championship side Reading on Sunday, while Barca take on Vissel Kobe – and their former player Andres Iniesta – a day earlier.

Barcelona could – and perhaps should – have gone ahead inside the opening minute but Oriol Busquets' header from eight yards sailed over Kepa Arrizabalaga's goal.

Abraham was equally wasteful in the 23rd minute, blazing a half-volley over from six yards after Marc-Andre ter Stegen had failed to hold Christian Pulisic's powerful strike.

The striker made up for that miss soon after, though, coolly rounding Ter Stegen and slotting into an empty net after Jorginho had cut out Sergio Busquets' sloppy pass on the edge of the penalty area.

Pulisic could have doubled their advantage five minutes before the interval but crashed a left-footed effort into the side netting, while a subdued Ousmane Dembele saw his low strike kept out by Kepa at the other end.

Barca were a team reborn after making 11 changes at the break, Rafinha, Carles Perez and Carles Alena all testing Kepa with low strikes in the opening stages of the second half.

Chelsea substitute Kenedy inexplicably headed well wide after latching onto Barkley's lofted pass but the England international made no mistake in the 81st minute, squeezing an effort inside Neto's right-hand post from 18 yards.

The Spanish side at least ended the game on a positive note, Rakitic thundering into the top corner from distance in stoppage time.

Maurizio Sarri insists he has several ways of incorporating Paulo Dybala into his plans at Juventus amid speculation about the player's future.

Manchester United have been linked with an approach for the Argentina international, who struggled for form under Massimiliano Allegri last season.

Dybala scored just five Serie A goals, his worst return for the club, while struggling to nail down a consistent role following Cristiano Ronaldo's arrival.

There have been questions about how he will fit into Sarri's system, and whether Gonzalo Higuain's return could prompt a departure, but the new Bianconeri boss has ideas in mind for Dybala.

"He could easily play in the false nine role," Sarri said.

"We could also find different solutions. He could play as a midfielder, or as a trequartista [playmaker] behind two strikers."

The Argentine forward is not part of Juve's pre-season tour of Asia as he takes a break after playing in the Copa America.

Sarri took charge of the Serie A champions for the first time on Sunday and suffered a late 3-2 loss to Tottenham in the International Champions Cup.

Bouncing back could prove difficult in a Derby d'Italia date with Inter in Nanjing, although the ex-Chelsea and Napoli boss tempered expectations for a feisty encounter.

"Juventus against Inter is a game like no other," he said. "But you will see two teams facing each other that will not be able to express themselves at their best, because of the physical conditions and given the humidity.

"We'll try to carry on in the same manner as our initial comeback against Spurs.

"I don't expect a big difference to that of the first game."

Antonio Conte insists he never came close to making a dramatic return to Juventus before his appointment as Inter head coach.

Conte signed a three-year contract to replace Luciano Spalletti at San Siro but had been linked with a return to Juve – who he guided to three titles during his time in charge - following Massimiliano Allegri's departure at the end of the 2018-19 season.

Maurizio Sarri was eventually appointed by the Serie A champions and prior to facing his former club in the International Champions Cup, Conte revealed he did not even speak to Juventus.

"No, I have never been close to becoming Juventus coach again," he told a media conference. "I never received any phone call.

"It was always Inter that showed great affection and great interest in me. I feel great responsibility towards my new club and want to build something that at the moment is not there."

Asked is Sarri was the right man for the job, Conte replied: "If Juve has taken this decision they will have had good reasons. It is not for me to judge."

Wednesday's game in Nanjing will be the first time Conte has faced his former club since his departure and says there will be no love lost once the game kicks off.

"There will be excitement on my part," he said. "It is the first time I have met the Bianconeri as an opponent since my relationship with them ended.

"Seeing so many friends will be exciting but when the whistle goes it will all be over. Juve is an opponent for me and they consider me the same way."

Inter have been heavily linked with a move for Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku during the close season, with Conte already revealing that it is his "will and hope" that a deal is struck for the Belgium international.

When asked if a potential move was any closer, Conte said: "I think that some reflections will be made then decisions will be taken for the good of Inter.

"We will take everything into account. Not only on the field but also in terms of financial fair play. Certainly, decisions can shift the balance and also expectations."

David Alaba admits being on Barcelona's transfer radar is flattering but insists his focus remains on Bayern Munich.

The Austria international has been linked with a move to LaLiga champions Barca in recent days.

Reports in Germany indicate Bayern are unlikely to entertain negotiations for a player viewed as one of the finest and most versatile left-backs in the world.

Alaba joined the Bundesliga giants as a teenager in 2009 and has two seasons left to run on his contract.

"Of course, it's an acknowledgement, it's an honour for me," Alaba told reporters in the United States, where Bayern are based for the International Champions Cup.

However, he added: "My focus is fully on Bayern here in America and on pre-season. I want to concentrate on the essentials."

Bayern are set to return to Germany following their final ICC match against AC Milan in Kansas City.

Jerome Boateng will miss the clash after leaving the tour for private reasons.

Boateng had looked headed for the Allianz Arena exit towards the end of last season, but boss Niko Kovac insists the experienced centre-back will not be short on opportunities during the forthcoming campaign.

"Should he stay, which is what looks like happening right now, he will have the same chances as any other player," Kovac said.

"He is doing very well and I am very happy with his performance so far in pre-season."

Antoine Griezmann will make his Barcelona debut against Chelsea after being named in the starting XI for Tuesday's friendly in Saitama.

World Cup winner Griezmann joined the club in a €120million move earlier this month and is now set to line up alongside the likes of Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets.

Fellow new signing Frenkie de Jong features among the substitutes, while Lionel Messi remains absent following his involvement at the Copa America.

The match is Barca's first of a pre-season schedule that also includes games against Vissel Kobe, Arsenal and Napoli.

Savo Milosevic said Real Madrid recruit Luka Jovic is a "goal machine" every big club in the world needs, and he believes the striker will be afforded time to settle at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Jovic is preparing for his first season with LaLiga giants Madrid following his reported €60million arrival from Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt.

The 21-year-old caught the attention of Europe's biggest teams after scoring 27 goals in all competitions to help Eintracht reach the Europa League semi-finals last term.

Jovic made his pre-season bow for Madrid in the 3-1 International Champions Cup loss to Bayern Munich on Saturday and Serbian great Milosevic hailed the former Red Star Belgrade sensation.

"[It's] definitely not going to get bigger than this," Milosevic – now head coach of Partizan Belgrade – told Omnisport. "It's going to be tough for Luka, it will be difficult, but he possesses such a great quality of scoring goals. He is a goal machine.

"It's a big club [where] there is a lot of pressure and it's important how he is starts. He is still young but psychologically, if he can handle the pressure of a big club, things will be good for him.

"He is a player that every big club in the world needs. Those players with a capacity to score 25-30 goals a season, there isn't many of them. He is definitely one of them."

Milosevic added: "I believe they will be a little bit patient with him because of his age, but not too much, Madrid are a big club and they won't wait a long time.

"Luka scored 25-30 goals last season and I believe Madrid are bigger with better potential. Madrid will create chances and if Luka starts well and collects confidence from the beginning, things could go in the right direction immediately."

Jovic joined his new team-mates following the European Under-21 Championship, where Serbia struggled in Italy.

Headlined by Jovic, Benfica's Andrija Zivkovic, Eintracht recruit Dejan Joveljic and Marseille winger Nemanja Radonjic, Serbia bowed out in the group stage after three losses – including a humiliating 6-1 defeat to Germany.

It raised further questions about the state of Serbian football, despite an array of technically gifted players in the Balkan country, who won the 2015 U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.

"It's very difficult to answer in one response, I need two days to explain everything. In the process of making the football players at 10-18 years of age, we are far behind big countries," Milosevic added. "We need to improve in all aspects, physically especially, sports medicine – those things are very important.

"Tactically and technically, we need to improve our process. Our system is too old. People working in the system, they don't understand what it is needed in modern football.

"So, we are behind and it's exactly what you see when you see our teams, we have talented players but many things missing."

Arsenal's quiet transfer window seems to be about to spark into life.

Widespread reports on Monday claimed Dani Ceballos is on the verge of joining the Gunners on loan from Real Madrid.

William Saliba could follow him to Emirates Stadium by the end of the week, too.

 

TOP STORY - CEBALLOS BOUND FOR ARSENAL

Arsenal are close to completing the loan signing of Dani Ceballos from Real Madrid.

AS report the midfielder could head to London on Tuesday for a medical, with Marca saying the 21-year-old is excited about the prospect of spending a season under Unai Emery.

Various UK media outlets have also stated Ceballos is not far from finalising a deal, while the BBC's David Ornstein says Saint-Etienne defender William Saliba could follow him to north London before the week is out.

 

ROUND-UP:

- Barcelona are to open talks with Lionel Messi to try to extend his contract beyond 2021, according to ESPN.

Jiangsu Suning have joined Chinese rivals Beijing Guoan in the race for Real Madrid outcast Gareth Bale but must offer wages of £1million per week, reports the Telegraph.

- Fotosport in Turkey say Galatasaray have made an approach to sign Fred on loan from Manchester United.

- Inter are still eager to sign Romelu Lukaku and have offered Manchester United a choice of €78m or €55m plus winger Ivan Perisic, FCInternews.it suggests.

Ademola Lookman is expected to arrive in Germany in the next 36 hours to finalise a transfer from Everton to RB Leipzig, say Sky Sports.

- Marca claim Atletico Madrid would prefer to sign Real Madrid's James Rodriguez than Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen.

- Atletico Madrid are likely to earn a total of €57m when Angel Correa finalises his move to AC Milan, Sky Sport Italia say.

- Corriere dello Sport claim Napoli are pushing to sign Mauro Icardi from Inter, with James Rodriguez poised for Atletico Madrid.

Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri is pushing the Serie A champions to sign Tottenham full-back Danny Rose, according to the Daily Mail.

Eden Hazard stressed the importance of winning trophies every season at Real Madrid as the star signing eyes silverware in 2019-20.

Hazard swapped Chelsea for Madrid in a big-money move during the off-season after the LaLiga club's difficult 2018-19 campaign.

Madrid finished third behind bitter rivals Barcelona in LaLiga, crashed out of the Champions League in the last 16 and lost in the Copa del Rey semi-finals.

Hazard – who led Chelsea to Europa League glory last term – understands the importance of titles at the Santiago Bernabeu.

"When you play for Real Madrid you need to win things every season. You need to win, win, win," Hazard told Jay Shetty via Madrid's official website.

"If you don't win the Champions League the fans get down and that's to be expected. At this club you always want to win and that's why I'm here.

"I want to play games, score goals and, come the end of the season, lift trophies."

Hazard made his debut for Madrid in last week's 3-1 loss to Bayern Munich at the International Champions Cup.

The Belgium international and Madrid are back in action against Arsenal in Maryland on Tuesday.

"I play with freedom. That's difficult in football because there are defenders, midfielders... but that's the kind of player I am," Hazard said.

"If I don't have that freedom I don't play well and end up on the bench. I like to get on the ball, move to the right, to the left, shift around and play with my instinct.

"I don't think: I have to do this, play the ball to the right, to the left. I just play, get on the ball and decide what to do."

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