Former Everton defender Ashley Williams has joined Bristol City on a short-term deal.

Williams, who was left out of the Wales squad this week, had been without a club since being released by Everton at the end of last season.

Bristol City have the option to extend the deal if the centre-back impresses at Ashton Gate before January.

"I'd like to offer Ashley a very warm welcome," head coach Lee Johnson told the club's website. "His experience will be invaluable, both on and off the pitch, and we're all looking forward to getting to work with him."

Williams, who turned 35 on Friday, could be in the squad for Saturday's Championship game against Hull City, although he admits he is unlikely to be fully fit until next month.

"I need a bit of work after missing pre-season," he said. "I haven't played since the internationals [in June], but we've got a plan and I'll be working on that over the next couple of weeks.

"There's a good set of players, nice guys first and foremost with a very organised manager who sets the weeks up brilliantly."

Franck Ribery could make his Fiorentina debut against Napoli when the Serie A season gets up and running this weekend, says Vincenzo Montella.

Ribery joined La Viola as a free agent on a two-year deal this week having left Bayern Munich at the end of his contract.

The former France international suggested in his presentation he would not be ready to play this weekend, and certainly is not fit to start.

But Montella is keen on using the 36-year-old for Saturday's season opener at Stadio Artemio Franchi.

"I want him to be with us because he wants to be a part of the game," Montella told a news conference. "I want him to be with us and I hope for a chance for him to play.

"He joined us because he wants to be still on the first line. He has to be competitive, I know he says he wants to, he works on it and I realised by myself in these first days of training.

"He doesn't pull himself out during the sessions. He knows he can get results only through hard work. I am sure he will transmit this mentality to all the squad.

"But I need to focus on the game. Dreams are great, but we need to keep our feet on the ground in this moment."

Ribery was given a rousing reception at his official presentation on Thursday, with thousands of Fiorentina fans attending to welcome him to the club.

Carlo Ancelotti commended Napoli's efforts in the transfer market after capturing Hirving Lozano a day before the new Serie A season.

Napoli reportedly spent €40million to sign the Mexico international from PSV.

Lozano, 24, joins centre-back Kostas Manolas, right-back Giovanni Di Lorenzo and teenage midfielder Elif Elmas among the new faces at Stadio San Paolo.

Ancelotti guided Napoli to second last term, 11 points behind champions Juventus, and thinks his squad is better resourced this season.

"We have become more competitive," Ancelotti said.

"With Lozano and the other new arrivals, the level of quality in the squad has increased and we're stronger overall than last year.

"The club has had a very good transfer window and spent big, which I'm pleased about."

An exciting winger, Lozano shot to international prominence when he scored the winner for Mexico against Germany at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The former Pachuca player scored 17 league goals in each of his past two seasons in the Netherlands and struck four times in the Champions League during a productive 2018-19 campaign.

"He's a player that we've been tracking for a while and thanks to the club's hard work, we finally now have him here with us," Ancelotti said.

"It wasn't a simple operation.

"Lozano brings extra technical quality to the squad. He's full of desire and is very excited and motivated to be at Napoli. Those are the characteristics that we like, besides his technical ability.

"Hirving can play anywhere across the frontline. On the left, right or behind the striker. Maybe he can also play as a striker himself.

"He's a complete footballer with fantastic quality."

Napoli begin their Serie A campaign away to Fiorentina on Saturday.

Fernando Torres did not get a fitting finale to his football career as Sagan Tosu were routed 6-1 on Friday by a Vissel Kobe side led by his former Spain colleagues Andres Iniesta and David Villa.

Torres played for the final time in the J.League clash in Tosu, but his struggling side were dismantled - with friend and former team-mate Iniesta playing a central role.

The former Atletico Madrid and Liverpool superstar played the full 90 minutes but failed to find the net, with Tosu's only strike a Thomas Vermaelen own goal.

Iniesta was in fine form for Vissel, scoring a 20th-minute penalty to put the visitors 2-0 up and then playing a gorgeous pass in the build-up to Junya Tanaka's well-worked effort two minutes later.

The ex-Barcelona midfielder was later withdrawn injured, but David Villa appeared from the bench as Vissel ran riot.

Iniesta had written a letter to Torres in tribute before the match and the striker could at least be comforted by continued messages throughout and after the defeat.

Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard appeared in a video on the big screen at the stadium to address Torres, while Sergio Ramos led the numerous Twitter posts.

"Team-mate, opponent, friend, legend," Ramos wrote. "A kid from Fuenlabrada who won everything while always remaining the same 'Nino'."

Torres addressed the crowd with a speech after the match, thanking the club and fans for their attitude and welcoming nature during his time in Japan.

"Even when in the danger of being relegated last year, everyone continued to be professional and hard-working," Torres told the crowd. "They kept their positive attitude no matter how hard things were.

"I really learned a lot from everyone and I hope everyone learned something from me, even a little bit. I hope I can move forward.

"Thanks to all of Japan for accepting our family. Please know that there is a wonderful country called Japan."

Aaron Ramsey will miss the chance to make his competitive Juventus debut in their opening Serie A game against Parma.

The Wales midfielder, who left Arsenal as a free agent to join the Italian champions, is absent from Juve's 23-man squad.

Daniele Rugani, who has been linked with a move away from the club, is also missing but new signing Matthijs de Ligt could feature.

Fellow fresh faces Adrien Rabiot, Danilo and Merih Demiral are also included, along with former Parma goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon after his return from Paris Saint-Germain.

Juve's new head coach Maurizio Sarri will not make the trip to Stadio Ennio Tardini as he is recovering from pneumonia.

The club confirmed in a statement released on Thursday that former Chelsea boss Sarri would also be absent from the bench for the visit of his old club Napoli next weekend.

Paulo Dybala's presence is no hindrance to Juventus' ongoing search for new signings, according to the club's vice-president Pavel Nedved.

The Serie A champions head into Saturday's season opener against Parma with a host of new signings at their disposal, including Matthijs de Ligt, Aaron Ramsey and right-back Danilo.

Argentina forward Dybala seemed set to make way amid the influx with Manchester United, Tottenham and Paris Saint-Germain all linked at various stages.

None of those proposed moves have transpired and the 25-year-old is still standing at Allianz Stadium, a situation that sits comfortably with Nedved.

"Dybala will never be a problem for us because he is a great player," the former Bianconeri midfielder said on Friday, sitting in at a pre-match news conference as head coach Maurizio Sarri continues his recovery from a bout of pneumonia.

"Maurizio is using him as a false nine and I believe he is playing the role very well. He had a great pre-season."

Nedved dodged questions about Inter outcast and rumoured Juve target Mauro Icardi but revealed there could yet be further new arrivals.

"[Sporting director] Fabio Paratici has had done extraordinary things, some beautiful and important deals," he said.

"The transfer window is still open and we will see if there are opportunities we can seize.

"We are not forced to do anything. If there are possibilities, we will do something. Otherwise we will remain as we are."

Juve will, however, have to do without the guidance of head coach Sarri for their first two Serie A fixtures as he recuperates.

The former Chelsea boss is to return to work after the international break, Nedved confirmed.

He said: "Pneumonia is not a simple thing. Sarri would like to be out the training pitch and in the office every day because he is a great professional, but he needs time. He is getting better.

"Obviously there are difficulties for us, but we have managed them before."

Steve Bruce suggested "there's always a storm" at Newcastle United as he responded angrily to suggestions his players do not know their roles.

Bruce was appointed as Newcastle's new head coach heading into the season, replacing the popular Rafael Benitez, and has endured a tough start.

The Magpies were beaten by Arsenal on the opening weekend following confusion over a second-half substitution, while they were completely outplayed in a humbling defeat at Norwich City.

Heading into a match against Tottenham, for which Newcastle will have £40million striker Joelinton fit, Bruce told a news conference: "After two games, there's a so-called mini-crisis and all the rest of it.

"That is over-sensationalised. Everything seems to be that way. But look, I understand that, it's the nature of the club - it always has been. There's always a storm in Newcastle and, at the minute, we're in one.

"The only way we can do it is to get a couple of results and the team to perform. After two games, it's very, very early to judge just yet."

Criticism of Bruce built this week as former Newcastle striker Michael Chopra claimed he had been told "some of the players don't know their jobs".

Meanwhile, defender Paul Dummett had to clarify on Twitter that issues with the warm-up at Norwich were "about us as players and as a team, not the coaching staff".

Bruce has been frustrated by the scrutiny, and said: "The Chopra thing was blown out of all proportion.

"It's laughable, really, for the people in the dressing room and my staff. Some of this stuff is just nonsense, but obviously it gets mentioned regularly."

Bruce said many of the claims made about Newcastle have been "fabricated and lies", adding: "When it's like that, you think, 'Why is that making national headlines?'.

"For the past four or five weeks, it's been relentless - let's make no mistake about it - but I've grown accustomed to it and if I can protect the players then I will.

"Ultimately, it's always my responsibility. I'm the one who sits here, I'm the one who talks to [the media], I'm the one who picks the team.

"No formation, no tactics, substitutions wrong? It's the whole thing at the minute. We can't even take a warm-up?

"Some of it is a bit laughable, but you just have to try to get through it and keep your dignity and make sure you're strong enough to see it through."

Zinedine Zidane is desperate to see the end of the transfer window after growing tired of the circus surrounding rumoured Real Madrid target Neymar.

LaLiga giants Madrid and fierce rivals Barcelona are believed to be battling for Neymar's signature as Paris Saint-Germain listen to offers for the Brazil international.

The 27-year-old was a topic of interest at Zidane's news conference on Friday, which occurred amid speculation in Spain that Keylor Navas could head in the opposite direction.

Head coach Zidane made clear his preference for Navas to remain in Madrid but was less forthcoming with his views on a potential deal for Neymar.

"I'm working with the players I have at my disposal and we have a game on Saturday," Zidane said ahead of the clash with Real Valladolid.

"Anything can happen until September 2, when the transfer window closes.

"Some might come, some might leave. I want September 2 to come as soon as possible so there will be no more questions.

"I am looking ahead to Saturday's game, that's what I'm concerned about right now."

Costa Rica international Navas watched from the bench as Madrid beat Celta Vigo 3-1 in their season opener last weekend but, despite PSG's apparent interest, the 32-year-old could well stay in the Spanish capital.

That is, at least, if head coach Zidane gets his way.

"Keylor is here with us and wants to be here with us," the Frenchman said.

"He has always been a great professional. We will have many games and I will count on him. Keylor is our player and an important player for us."

Zinedine Zidane wants Gareth Bale to repeat the performance he showed against Celta Vigo and prove he is good enough to stay at Real Madrid in the long term.

Head coach Zidane claimed in July it would be better for all concerned if Wales star Bale were to leave the club, but a move to Jiangsu Suning in the Chinese Super League collapsed.

With no other options for an exit materialising, Bale was a surprise starter in the LaLiga opener against Celta and responded with an excellent display, setting up Karim Benzema for the opening goal of the 3-1 victory.

Madrid boss Zidane confirmed after the game that Bale would be staying at the club, and he now wants the former Tottenham man to perform consistently to the standard he hit at Balaidos.

"It was a good game by Gareth," Zidane said on Friday ahead of Madrid's meeting with Real Valladolid. "He worked hard defensively. We want to continue playing this way.

"We need to improve to achieve good things this season. These are talented footballers who want to play, and I want all my players to play a part.

"What we want from the players is that they want to remain at the club, want to be here. A lot of things were said but now he wants to stay, we want him to play a part. He' s an important player, he's proven that in the past and he has to do that again, to show just how good he is."

Zidane has similarly challenged James Rodriguez to impress, the Colombia playmaker another to find himself surprisingly back in the Madrid first-team picture as prospective moves to Atletico Madrid and Napoli have failed to materialise.

"We're happy to have James back here at the club," Zidane said. "Let's see how things progress going forward. He's happy to be here. There are lots of games coming up and all the players are going to have a role to play."

When asked if James could replace the suspended Luka Modric against Valladolid, Zidane replied: "We'll see. We choose 11 and three players could come in. And we have 24."

Andres Iniesta penned an emotional letter to Fernando Torres as the two prepared to face one another a final time in the Sagan Tosu striker's last professional match.

Torres has announced he will retire from football following Friday's fixture between his Sagan side and Iniesta's Vissel Kobe.

The Spain greats enjoyed international success at the 2010 World Cup and two European Championships, having played together since representing their country at youth level.

Iniesta wrote a lengthy letter to Torres before Friday's game, in which the playmaker netted a penalty before going off injured as Vissel surged into a 3-0 half-time lead, published in El Mundo.

"How weird. Don't tell me it's not, Fernando. It's very strange, I would say beautifully strange," he wrote.

"Here we are both about to play your last game as a professional. I still have some left, but here we are on the other side of the world. It is as if life brought us to Japan to say goodbye.

"Football joined us more than 20 years ago when we were children. Well, you will be forever El Nino. And it will never separate us."

Reflecting on their continued success with Spain while representing rival clubs, Iniesta goes on: "Separated, but always together - and until the last moment.

"Above shirts or clubs, we lived in different cities - you in Madrid and I in Barcelona - but we were never enemies, simply friends who wore a different shirt."

Iniesta, who plays with fellow former Spain star David Villa in Japan, concluded: "It has been a wonderful trip. It has taken us to all corners of the world.

"And look where we are today: in Tosu, you and I playing a football game, one more. But it is not one mor, it is your last game. Who was going to tell us? You face 'El Guaje' Villa and I.

"Then, you will return home. Yours are waiting for you, although you have to know that the ball will be sadder today than yesterday.

"Enjoy everything that comes to you now and be happy. But how strange, Fernando. You haven't left yet and I miss you already."

Torres responded to Iniesta's letter with a Twitter post: "Today I woke up knowing that I play my last game as a professional and thinking that I would face it normally.

"Then I read a friend's letter and I start to get excited... thanks friend, @andresiniesta8."

Rodri could partner Sergio Busquets in a two-man midfield for Spain because of his "incredibly quality", according to national team boss Robert Moreno.

Manchester City's club-record signing has adjusted well since moving to the Etihad Stadium, starting the club's opening two Premier League matches.

The 23-year-old honed his playmaking abilities at LaLiga sides Villarreal and Atletico Madrid, with Rodri now considered a potential long-term national team successor to 31-year-old Barcelona mainstay Busquets.

Although they perform similar roles at club level, Spain boss Moreno thinks the deep-lying pair could work in the same side.

"Of course, if there is a match in which we consider that the opponent is good in the air, or that we need more physical players we will try, without losing our identity, to include the players that can improve us in that department," Moreno told El Pais.

"I think we now have players that have many characteristics.

"Rodri has incredible quality, but Fabian [Ruiz] too.

"We have Koke and Saul [Niguez], who were not part of the squad last time, but who can give us that touch football and also that aggressiveness they have with [Diego Simeone]. We also like to have that.

"Simeone's style, while not being the football that I propose, I love it."

Spain return to Euro 2020 qualifying action next month with games against Romania and Faroe Islands.

Moreno took charge on a permanent basis in June after Luis Enrique stepped down for family reasons.

Napoli have completed the signing of Mexico forward Hirving Lozano from PSV in a deal reportedly worth €40million.

Lozano spent two seasons in the Eredivisie, scoring 34 league goals for PSV across the two campaigns, and impressed in the Champions League last term.

The 24-year-old winger also starred for Mexico at the 2018 World Cup, scoring a memorable goal in a 1-0 win over Germany in the group stage.

Lozano, who had also been linked with Manchester United, has now swapped the Eredivisie for Serie A, with Napoli reportedly paying a club-record transfer fee reported to be €38m plus bonuses.

Prior to the club's official announcement on Friday, Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis had shared a photo of Lozano signing his contract on his official Twitter account.

Napoli kick off their Serie A campaign against Fiorentina on Saturday.

Will they, or won't they?

Barcelona are trying to re-sign wantaway Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar before the transfer window closes on September 2.

LaLiga rivals Real Madrid are also interested, so this is set to go down to the wire.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA RENEWING NEYMAR EFFORTS

According to Sport, Barcelona are preparing a fresh offer to prise Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain.

Barcelona have already reportedly had an initial loan deal turned down by PSG, who are determined to recoup the world-record €222million fee they spent on Neymar in 2017.

Real Madrid, however, are still said to be determined to trump Barca to the signing of the Brazilian forward.

 

ROUND-UP

- Should Neymar be granted his wish to leave PSG, the Ligue 1 holders are reportedly considering a move for Juventus forward Paulo Dybala. That is according to Tuttosport, after Dybala had been linked to Manchester United and Tottenham prior to the Premier League's transfer window closing.

- Marca also reports goalkeeper Keylor Navas is close to leaving Real Madrid for PSG. Navas wants out after reportedly being told he will be Thibaut Courtois' understudy this season.

Manchester United will not make an offer for Fernando Llorente, according to the Daily Mail. Llorente is a free agent after leaving Tottenham and reports in Italy linked the Spaniard to Old Trafford following Romelu Lukaku's move to Inter. However, the Red Devils are reportedly not interested in the veteran.

Inter are close to signing full-back Cristiano Biraghi from Serie A rivals Fiorentina, reports Calciomercato. Biraghi was part of Inter's youth academy before moving on to the likes of Cittadella, Pescara and Fiorentina. Inter are said to be looking to include Dalbert in a swap deal for the Italy international.

Inter and United are continuing talks over Alexis Sanchez, claim Sky Sport Italia and Sportitalia. More discussions are reportedly planned, with United wanting Inter to cover more of the Chilean's salary during the proposed loan spell.

- According to The Telegraph, Leicester City midfielder Adrien Silva is poised to return to Monaco on loan. The Portugal international spent the second half of the 2018-19 season on loan at the Ligue 1 side. It comes after Sky Sport Italia reports AC Milan and Franck Kessie rejected Monaco's proposal for the midfielder.

Roma are weighing up a move for Atletico Madrid striker Nikola Kalinic, says Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio. After re-signing Edin Dzeko, Roma are reportedly considering Atletico fringe figure Kalinic if Patrik Schick and Gregoire Defrel leave.

Erik Hurtado scored the 88th-minute winner as Sporting Kansas City stunned Minnesota United 1-0 in MLS.

Hurtado was the hero for Peter Vermes' Sporting KC, breaking the deadlock with two minutes remaining at home to Minnesota on Thursday.

Sporting KC needed all three points to keep their play-off hopes alive and Hurtado stepped up as the match petered out for a draw at Children's Mercy Park.

Hurtado latched onto a Johnny Russell throughball and rounded Minnesota goalkeeper Vito Mannone before tapping into an empty net.

With the win, Sporting KC moved to 34 points – three points adrift of the seventh and final play-off spot in the Western Conference.

Minnesota remain second and 19 points adrift of Western Conference leaders Los Angeles FC.

Adrien Rabiot said Cristiano Ronaldo is helping him improve at the Serie A champions as he hailed the Juventus superstar.

Rabiot is preparing for Saturday's league debut with Juventus against Parma after joining from Ligue 1 holders Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer.

Having settled in Turin, French midfielder Rabiot praised Juve team-mate and five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo.

"I played a lot this summer, because I needed to adapt to the team," Rabiot told Sky Sport 24.

"I'm managing to create an excellent affinity with Cristiano Ronaldo, because he also plays on the left. Training with him allows me to improve myself a lot and his presence is very good for the group."

"Turin is different from Paris. It's smaller, but it's a beautiful city," he added. "I am finding myself at ease and I managed to adapt well, which is very important for what I can then give on the field.

"Personally, I can't wait to start this adventure. I feel fit, we have worked a lot this summer, but we are ready for this appointment. With Parma it will be difficult, because we are the team to beat, and everyone will always give their best against us, but we are confident."

New head coach Maurizio Sarri will not be on the Juventus bench for their opening two Serie A games as he recovers from pneumonia.

Sarri, who arrived from Chelsea in the off-season, will miss Saturday's trip to Parma as well as the home match against former side Napoli on August 31.

"The coach made an excellent impression on me," said Rabiot. "He has a precise game philosophy and knows exactly how we must play, both in the offensive and defensive phases.

"We have already absorbed his concepts and we are working well with his staff."

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