Sebastian Rode has completed his return to Eintracht Frankfurt, signing a five-year deal after leaving Borussia Dortmund.

Rode spent the second half of last season on loan at Eintracht, making 20 appearances in all competitions.

And last season's Europa League semi-finalists have now sealed a permanent deal for the midfielder, with no transfer fee disclosed by either side.

Rode spent four years in Frankfurt earlier in his career before joining Bayern Munich for a short spell in 2014.

Sebastian Rode has joined Eintracht Frankfurt on a permanent transfer.

We wish him the best of luck in the future. pic.twitter.com/xlwwkx1zjw

— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) July 27, 2019

"I've seen how strong Eintracht have become in the last six months," Rode told the club's official website. "I'm happy to remain a part of that."

Rode could miss the start of the new Bundesliga season as he is still recovering from a knee injury sustained in the Europa League last-four tie against Chelsea.

Wolves have announced the loan signing of Real Madrid defender Jesus Vallejo.

The centre-back will spend the 2019-20 season at Molineux, but neither club said whether the deal includes a purchase option or not.

Vallejo, 22, has had his time at Madrid severely affected by injury but he made four LaLiga starts last term.

He then went on to captain Spain to glory at the European Under-21 Championship, but with Madrid signing Eder Militao from Porto, Vallejo looked set to fall even further down Los Blancos' pecking order next term.

Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling scored as Manchester City beat Yokohama F. Marinos 3-1 in their final pre-season friendly.

Pep Guardiola named what looked close to his strongest XI in China on Saturday, although Ederson, Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero remained absent following international duty at the Copa America.

Sterling restored City's lead after Keita Endo cancelled out De Bruyne's opener, with Lukas Nmecha adding a late third for the out-of-sorts Premier League champions.

Guardiola's men are next in action against Champions League winners Liverpool in the Community Shield at Wembley next weekend.

City found an early groove and Bernardo Silva set up De Bruyne to cut inside and fire home the opener in the 18th minute.

But Ange Postecoglou's side quickly hit back, with Claudio Bravo only able to parry Marcos Junior's effort to Endo for a simple tap-in.

City were showing some sloppiness in possession but retook the lead when De Bruyne threaded a pass through for Sterling to strike.

Sterling thought he had extended City's lead early in the second half, collecting Kyle Walker's pass to smash a fine finish into the top-right corner, but the offside flag denied him.

Yokohama could have snatched an unlikely draw only for Teruhito Nakagawa to pull a shot wide from a presentable position.

Makito Ito then wasted an even better opening to equalise after the ball broke to him in the box, the substitute's mishit strike saved by Bravo.

And City added a third goal in injury time when Adrian Bernabe's low right-wing cross was bundled home at the back post by fellow youngster Nmecha.

Young winger Carles Perez struck a second-half brace to give Barcelona a 2-0 victory over Vissel Kobe in a low-key friendly in Japan on Saturday.

The Spanish champions toiled for nearly an hour before substitute Perez made the breakthrough following a neat exchange of passes with Malcom.

His second followed four minutes from the end, the 21-year-old clinically firing into the bottom right corner off his left foot.

Ernesto Valverde started Antoine Griezmann, Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic but saved Frenkie de Jong, who debuted in the 2-1 loss to Chelsea earlier in the week, until the second 45 minutes.

De Jong's half-time introduction denied him the chance to go head-to-head with Blaugrana great Andres Iniesta, one of three former Barca players involved in the J.League side's matchday squad.

Iniesta, 35, managed to test Marc-Andre ter Stegen five minutes before the interval in a rare moment of defensive concern in what was otherwise a comfortable outing for LaLiga's champions.

Riqui Puig and Croatia international Rakitic threatened either side of Iniesta's shot but it was not until Perez arrived that Valverde's men were able to break the deadlock.

Barca, who before the match announced the beginning of formal partnership with Vissel Kobe, next face Premier League side Arsenal on August 4.

Antoine Griezmann is proud of winning Lionel Messi's praise and says he is "desperate" to play alongside the Barcelona superstar for the first time.

France forward Griezmann joined Barca from Atletico Madrid earlier this month but is yet to share the pitch with captain Messi, who skipped the club's tour of Asia due to his involvement at the Copa America.

Messi, 32, has spoken highly of his new team-mate in the past, describing him as "one of the best" in the world in 2018.

Griezmann was being linked to Barca at the time and, having now made the move, is looking forward to making up for lost time.

"His words made me feel very happy," Griezmann told Sport. "He's the best. When he talks, the whole world listens. He knows this.

"That he would say that about me made me feel very proud. I insist that I'm desperate to finally play alongside him.

"I want to meet him, get to know him, watch him in training, play alongside him, provide assists. I've thought about it when I'm in bed, at training, and watching videos.

"You make the 'film' in your head and I know it'll go well. It'll be really nice."

Griezmann appears likely to form a fearsome front three with Messi and striker Luis Suarez when Ernesto Valverde brings his entire squad together back on home soil.

And although he was the figurehead of Atleti's attack, slotting in alongside two established LaLiga stars sits comfortably with the Camp Nou newcomer.

"On paper, it sounds really good," Griezmann said.

"Later, you have to show it out on the pitch, but I trust us, I trust the team.

"There's also Ousmane [Dembele], Malcom, Philippe [Coutinho] too. There are a lot of top-quality attackers who I'm sure will help the team do great things."

That could still include Neymar if the Paris Saint-Germain forward gets his wish for a move back to Barca.

"Let's see what happens," Griezmann said. "There are a lot of details to a transfer. Neymar is world-class, a top player, so he could fit in at Barca."

Raheem Sterling says he was pleased to see Liverpool win the Champions League but insists Manchester City's priority remains the Premier League.

England international Sterling left Liverpool in acrimonious circumstances in 2015.

The Anfield club have finished behind City in each of the subsequent four seasons but beat Tottenham 2-0 in Madrid last month to secure their sixth European crown.

"I was really happy for them, happy for some of the players I know to lift the Champions League," Sterling told the Manchester Evening News.

The 24-year-old, who has flourished under manager Pep Guardiola, added: "The Champions League is massive for us as a club but our most important thing is winning the Premier League.

"For me, what we did last season – every day, week in week out – was exceptional.

"It was a massive stepping stone to have belief in our squad, that belief we've been building over these last couple of years.

"Since the manager has come in we've got stronger every year. Yes, it'd be nice to win the Champions League but first and foremost we want to win the league. The Premier League is your bread and butter, every weekend, what you train for every day."

Thomas Vermaelen has followed Andres Iniesta and David Villa to J.League club Vissel Kobe following the expiry of his contact with Barcelona.

The Japanese side announced the signing of their fourth former Barca player as the clubs, who were preparing to face each other in a pre-season match on Saturday, moved to formalise their growing links.

Ahead of the friendly encounter, LaLiga champions Barca and Vissel Kobe announced the agreement of a knowledge-sharing partnership spanning marketing, commercial and staff management practices.

Scouting reports will also be shared and young players will have the opportunity to move between the clubs for training experience.

Vissel Kobe are owned by e-commerce company Rakuten, Barca's shirt sponsor and "main global partner" since 2017.

Iniesta left Camp Nou for the J.League in 2018 and has since been joined by former team-mates Villa and Sergi Samper.

Belgium international Vermaelen is the latest beneficiary of the link following Barcelona's decision not to renew his deal for a sixth season.

"When I came here, I had a very warm welcome and a lot of support," former Arsenal player Vermaelen said upon signing for his new club.

"I can't wait to start. I'm excited about it. I would like to do my best to improve the team."

Barca's clash with Vissel Kobe was their second pre-season outing, Ernesto Valverde's men having lost 2-1 to Chelsea earlier this week.

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley claims Rafael Benitez "took the soft option" by quitting the Magpies and moving to China.

Spanish manager Benitez parted ways with the Premier League club following the expiry of his contact at the end of June.

The former Valencia, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Inter boss took over as head coach of Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang less than a week later.

Ashley, who appointed Benitez in March 2016, accused the 59-year-old of being motivated by money.

"He took the totally soft option, took the money and went to China," Ashley told the Daily Mail.

"That disappoints me. If he'd gone back to Real Madrid, or a top six club in the Premier League, I get it. But it was about money and all he had to do was say that from the beginning."

Ashley added: "He asked for a 50 per cent pay increase and I think he did that because he knew it couldn't work.

"And if we had agreed to that, I think it would have been something else. And everyone thinks we lost him because we wouldn't pay a couple of quid more. He had the microphone and we didn't."

Ashley commended Benitez on doing an "excellent job" during his time at the club but revealed their relationship "deteriorated very quickly" when the manager refused to sign off on the £40million acquisition of Joelinton, who eventually joined from Hoffenheim earlier this week.

Newcastle have not made any other signings, adding further ammunition to fan criticism of the unpopular owner.

Aware of the disdain supporters have shown towards him, and having decided to no longer attend matches at St James' Park, Ashley suggested there is no end in his sight to his custodianship.

Numerous takeover rumours have come to nothing since the British businessman bought the club in 2007, the latest of which involved the Dubai-based Bin Zayed Group.

"There are no offers," Ashley said, adding: "I think I could own this football club for ever. That is my new mental state."

Gareth Bale appears to be on the brink of leaving Real Madrid for the Chinese Super League.

It is reported the Wales star has agreed a deal with Jiangsu Suning, who must now finalise matters with Madrid.

Bale will apparently double his salary by swapping LaLiga for the CSL.

 

TOP STORY - BALE ON BRINK OF CHINA MOVE

Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale is close to moving to Jiangsu Suning of the Chinese Super League, according to Marca and AS.

The Wales international will reportedly earn €22million a season if he completes a move to the club, which is owned by Inter majority shareholders Suning Holdings Group.

Jiangsu must now finalise terms with Madrid before they can announce Bale as the biggest star yet to head to the CSL.

ROUND-UP

- James Rodriguez will now stay at Real Madrid as the LaLiga giants want cover for the injured Marco Asensio, reports El Chiringuito. Asensio suffered a serious knee injury in the International Champions Cup clash with Arsenal, while James has been linked to Atletico Madrid and Napoli.

Manchester United have agreed a fee in the region of €70million with Sporting CP for midfielder Bruno Fernandes, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Fernandes could end up replacing Paul Pogba, with ESPN claiming Real Madrid are confident they will strike a deal to sign the France star from Manchester United.

Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha could be tempted to join Everton, who are ready to offer £60m for the player, Sky Sports claim. Zaha has also been linked to Premier League rivals Arsenal and Chelsea.

- AC Milan are to sign Rafael Leao from Lille for €35m, with Tiago Djalo heading the other way for €5m, RMC Sport believe.

Dani Alves, who has emerged as a transfer target for Manchester City, called Barcelona to discuss a return to the club, according to Sport.

Tottenham's hopes of a stunning deal for Juventus forward Paulo Dybala could hinge on the departures of Danny Rose and Christian Eriksen, Sky Sports News say. Rose has been linked to Juve, while Eriksen is reportedly a target for Manchester United and Real Madrid.

- However, Sky also say Dybala could be offered to Manchester United as part of a Juventus bid to sign Romelu Lukaku, who is also wanted by Inter.

Joao Felix said beating your rivals is always special after Atletico Madrid humiliated Real Madrid 7-3 at the International Champions Cup.

Diego Costa starred with four goals as Atletico showed no mercy in Friday's pre-season clash in New Jersey, where Diego Simeone's men led 5-0 at half-time.

Joao Felix scored his first goal since arriving from Benfica in a blockbuster €126million deal, while the Portuguese teenager had two assists in a dazzling display.

And the 19-year-old revelled in the result, saying: "It's positive. Beating your rivals is always good and special.

"This win gives us confidence, but we will continue working like we've done until now.

"I want to score as many goals as possible so that we can reach our objectives."

Costa gave Atletico the lead after just 43 seconds before Joao Felix doubled the advantage in the eighth minute.

Angel Correa replaced the injured Alvaro Morata and he made it 3-0 in the 19th minute and Costa added a fourth nine minutes later, while the latter converted a penalty on the stroke of half-time.

Costa scored his fourth of the game six minutes into the second half before he was sent off following a clash with Madrid full-back Dani Carvajal.

Vitolo scored a stunning solo goal for Atletico with 20 minutes remaining, while Madrid managed to pull some goals back via Nacho Fernandez, Karim Benzema and Javi Hernandez.

Saul Niguez – who was influential for Atletico – added: "We're happy with the result. We played well since the first minute and we've proven that we're a team, we’re all together and that's very positive.

"When you wear Atletico de Madrid's colours, you always have to give it your all. The new players have settled in very well and worked very hard."

Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos said the LaLiga giants cannot lose like they did against Atletico Madrid, who incredibly won 7-3 on Friday.

Madrid endured a humiliating loss to bitter rivals Atletico at the International Champions Cup in New Jersey, where Diego Costa scored four goals in a merciless pre-season performance.

Atletico led 4-0 after 28 minutes and 5-0 at half-time as Madrid were put to the sword, while Zinedine Zidane's side managed to pull three goals back via Nacho Fernandez, Karim Benzema and Javi Hernandez.

While it was a pre-season fixture, it was a devastating result for Madrid – who had Dani Carvajal sent off following a clash with Costa – and star defender Ramos lamented the team's performance at MetLife Stadium.

"We're obviously not feeling great right now," Ramos told reporters. "This has only just begun, they're preparation games to get us up to the top level. There are many ways in which to lose, but we can't be doing it like we did today.

"We played the game like a friendly, it's a big margin and we head away frustrated. It's a very poor result and we have to try and reach the levels we aspire to."

"This team's ambition remains intact. We've won an awful lot but that's in the past now," he continued. "We have to forget about what happened last season, this is a pre-season campaign and it's far too soon to draw conclusions and be assessing things. We have to keep training as we are every day and we'll gradually reach our best to take on the challenges of the new season."

"That's the difference in football," Ramos said. "We played a friendly match and they went at it as if it were a final. We have to bring that intensity to every game. They got the better of us in terms of intensity, second balls, pressing, and they were sharp in front of goal today too.

"Ultimately, they are still our direct city rivals and madridismo will be frustrated like we are because you can't go home happy after a loss. We're getting in shape to try and reach our best and we'll draw conclusions once LaLiga has started and we've started to play competitive games."

Ramos, whose Madrid finished third in LaLiga last season, added: "I have absolute confidence and after so many years here, if I thought this team weren't capable of winning things, I'd be the first to go. I have immense confidence in this team and in madridismo."

Supporters' Shield leaders Los Angeles FC put their derby disappointment aside to overcome Atlanta United 4-3 in a thrilling MLS clash on Friday.

LAFC succumbed to a Zlatan Ibrahimovic hat-trick in last week's loss to city rivals LA Galaxy, however, Bob Bradley's high-flying side bounced back.

Four unanswered goals from Adama Diomande, Diego Rossi, Carlos Vela and Eduard Atuesta saw LAFC come from behind to beat reigning MLS champions Atlanta in Los Angeles.

Mo Adams gave Atlanta a second-minute lead before Diomande, Rossi, Vela and Atuesta scored in a 12-minute period prior to the interval.

Josef Martinez reduced the deficit in the second minute of first-half stoppage time and Eddie Segura's 51st-minute own goal gave Atlanta some hope away from home.

However, LAFC held on for their fourth victory in five league games to move 12 points clear atop the Western Conference and 10 clear in the Supporters' Shield race.

Meanwhile, New York City claimed back-to-back wins by defeating 10-man Sporting Kansas City 3-1.

Alex Ring scored and had two assists to lead New York to third in the Eastern Conference.

Diego Simeone insisted Friday's stunning pre-season rout is not the reality of potential between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.

Atletico ran riot at the International Champions Cup after humiliating LaLiga rivals Madrid 7-3 in New Jersey on Friday.

Diego Costa scored a first-half hat-trick and four goals in total for Atletico, who led 5-0 at half-time, while Joao Felix netted his first goal since arriving from Benfica.

It was a stunning performance at MetLife Stadium but Atletico head coach Simeone played down the result.

"I do not rush to anything," Simeone told reporters. "I live the reality of the moment. It was a good game. I see them with enthusiasm, optimism, enthusiasm. Now wait for the next game to rotate the players and get to LaLiga."

"I do not consider this match to be the reality of potential between each other," added Simeone, whose Atletico finished second behind Barcelona in LaLiga last season, ahead of Madrid.

Atletico stormed out of the blocks after Costa opened the scoring inside 43 seconds before Joao Felix doubled the lead seven minutes later.

Angel Correa and another Costa goal made it 4-0 by the 28th minute, with the latter completing his hat-trick via the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time.

Costa netted his fourth six minutes into the second half before he was sent off, along with Madrid's Dani Carvajal, as tempers boiled over.

"We prepared the game well. Having seen Madrid, we looked for where we could harm them," Simeone said. "We tried to find good places at the exit of the ball ... and we were very precise, that in football it is important.

"There is always something that can be improved. Beyond the scoreboard Madrid went to our end with great force. And they had chances. That has to be adjusted and try to add talent and effort. Today all the important teams have three or four talented players in the group."

Portuguese sensation Joao Felix showed there is life after Antoine Griezmann with a dazzling display, which included a goal and two assists for Atletico.

On his big-money signing, Simeone added: "I see him better playing in front, with people ahead, so that with his vision of the game he can hurt.

"When you have Joao's talent and enthusiasm for improvement you can play anywhere."

Zinedine Zidane is hurt but "convinced" Real Madrid will enjoy a good season following their 7-3 rout at the hands of rivals Atletico Madrid at the International Champions Cup.

Madrid were put to the sword in New Jersey, where LaLiga neighbours Atletico led 5-0 at half-time in the pre-season fixture on Friday.

Diego Costa took centre stage with four goals before he was sent off, along with Madrid full-back Dani Carvajal, following a clash in the second half.

It was an incredible match at MetLife Stadium, where the margin of defeat could have been greater if not for some desperate defending and late goals from Karim Benzema and Javi Hernandez.

Discussing the result post-match, Madrid head coach Zidane – whose team conceded after just 43 seconds – told reporters: "What happened is that we entered the game very badly. A high-level competition, we entered very badly.

"At eight minutes we were down 2-0. There was no response from us to change something. The first part was difficult. We never entered the game. We have lacked everything. Especially intensity."

Zidane continued: "They scored seven goals, it can't happen. That is also known to the players, who are disappointed. You don't have to spin it over. It's a pre-season game. They've been better at everything. There is "nothing more to talk about.

"We are preparing a season and being calm. We have to be on August 17, with the first league game. For now, we have lacked things for sure tonight."

Madrid, who overturned a two-goal deficit in a 2-2 draw with Arsenal after losing to Bayern Munich 3-1 in their pre-season opener, finished third behind champions Barcelona and runners-up Atletico in LaLiga last season.

"We will be motivated. I have no doubt about that. Our season is going to be good. I am convinced," added the Frenchman, who saw Luka Jovic leave the game in the first half with an apparent leg injury. "Today we cannot be happy. For the rest I am convinced that I have a team that will compete and very well. That's it. We have to go back and get some rest.

"It doesn't worry me, but it hurts. When you lose ... you don't play to lose. But that's it, we can't look back. It's a bad game and you have to think about what we've done."

Madrid will face Tottenham (August 30) and Red Bull Salzburg (August 7) before opening their LaLiga campaign against Celta Vigo on August 17.

Diego Costa scored four goals as Atletico Madrid humiliated LaLiga rivals Real Madrid 7-3 in an incredible display at the International Champions Cup.

Atletico showed no mercy in New Jersey, where Diego Simeone's men led 5-0 at half-time thanks to Costa's first-half hat-trick on Friday.

Big-money signing Joao Felix scored his first goal since arriving from Benfica and set up two others, while Angel Correa was also on target in a sensationally one-sided first half at MetLife Stadium.

Costa teamed up with Joao Felix to add his fourth six minutes into the second half before he was sent off after clashing with Dani Carvajal, which sparked a melee.

Vitolo scored a sensational solo goal in the 70th minute after Nacho Fernandez reduced the deficit on the hour-mark, while Madrid substitute Karim Benzema converted an 85th-minute penalty and Javi Hernandez bundled the ball over the line late.

Atletico were ruthless from the outset, last season's runners-up breaking the deadlock after just 43 seconds when Joao Felix played a neat pass to Costa, whose deflected shot beat Thibaut Courtois.

That was a sign of things to come as Joao Felix made it 2-0 less than seven minutes later – the former Benfica teenager stepping in front of Marcelo and side-footing from close range after Saul Niguez cut a pass back into the penalty area.

After a lively Alvaro Morata left the field due to an apparent calf injury, his replacement Correa – linked to AC Milan – put Atletico 3-0 ahead in the 19th minute with a volley past Courtois.

While Joao Felix and Costa continued to wreak havoc, Madrid's woes were compounded by what appeared to be a knee injury to new signing Luka Jovic, who had to be substituted following a collision with Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak.

Madrid's defensive problems were highlighted again as Atletico went 4-0 ahead in the 28th minute – Saul winning the ball after a bad pass from Ramos and sliding in a simple pass for Costa and he made no mistake.

Hermoso and Thomas Lemar also went close, while Vinicius Junior hit the post for Madrid. But Atletico netted their fourth on the stroke of half-time after Costa completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot following Isco's foul.

Atletico did not take their foot off the pedal in the second half – Felix and Costa continuing their frightening combination as the former split Madrid's defence with a delightful pass and the former scooped the ball over Keylor Navas in the 51st minute.

Eden Hazard was virtually non-existent in first half, but the Belgian star showed a flash of brilliance to help Madrid pull a goal back on the hour-mark, crossing the ball into the six-yard box for Nacho to bundle the ball over the line.

There was a flashpoint five minutes later when Costa and Carvajal were both sent off after the pair and both teams came together as tempers threatened to boil over.

It got worse for Madrid after Vitolo won the ball from two defenders on the half-way line and beat another two opponents before finding the back of the net following a stunning solo run with 20 minutes remaining.

Atletico were hungry for more and they should have scored another two or three goals but some desperate goalkeeping and defending denied Los Rojiblancos, while Benzema and Hernandez added goals for Madrid late in the game.

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