Chelsea recruit Christian Pulisic is eager to reach the same heights as star Eden Hazard at the Premier League giants.

Pulisic, 20, agreed to a reported €64million move from Borussia Dortmund in January before finishing the season on loan at the Bundesliga club.

The United States international may get a chance to play alongside Hazard, although the Belgian star is linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge.

However, Pulisic said he wanted to match Hazard, who has helped Chelsea win two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, an EFL Cup and a Europa League.

"It is incredible to see what Eden can do. He is a guy to look up to and what I would love to become," he told the BBC.

"It is definitely a goal. Any player would be dumb not to want to be in the same team as him."

Chelsea, who face Arsenal in the Europa League final on May 29, finished third in the Premier League, but they were 25 points behind second-placed Liverpool.

But Pulisic believes his team can close the gap to Liverpool, and champions Manchester City.

"We are a confident group of guys," he said.

"Liverpool and City are two great teams who had great seasons but I have seen Chelsea compete against big teams and do well against them this season.

"We want to go in with a winning mentality and compete with them right away."

Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette is convinced he is in the form of his life after a strong campaign with the Gunners.

The former Lyon star has scored 19 goals and set up another 11 across all competitions for Arsenal, with his partnership with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang thriving.

Although he was left out of the latest France squad on Tuesday, the 27-year-old believes he has been at the top of his game this season, even if his Premier League goal haul of 13 was one less than last term and way off his personal best of 28 for a single campaign in the 2016-17 Ligue 1 calendar.

But the Frenchman still won the club's Player of the Year award and has been particularly effective in the Europa League, netting five times in nine games en route to the final, though he feels individual awards will be for nothing without a trophy.

"I've played the best football of my career this season and for Arsenal, not because of the goals I scored, but in my game - I really improved," Lacazette told Arsenal Player.

"Being able to contribute without scoring is important for the team. For me, as well as now, I enjoy working like this for my team-mates because I know it is going to be easier for them.

"In the past, I have always learnt that if you work for them, they will give you back the ball fast, and that is why I'm happy to help them.

"Individual awards are not really, really important. It is always a pleasure, of course, to receive things like this, but it is not the first thing I'm thinking of when I play football. I want to win a title, like the Europa League.

"I always do my best on the pitch even if sometimes I'm not good - but I always try to be the best. I fight for the club, so of course, I fight for them, for me, for my team-mates, for the coach, for my family and for everybody.

"I just want to win and everyone will support me. Everyone is behind me, so of course, I will fight for them as well."

Arsenal will play Chelsea in the Europa League final on May 29.

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech denied reports he has already agreed to become Chelsea's sporting director.

Cech is set to retire at the end of the season after a distinguished career at the top, with the 37-year-old spending most of it at Chelsea.

The final match of his career – should he play – will be against his former club in the Europa League final on May 29.

Media reports began circulating on Tuesday that Cech has sealed a deal with Chelsea to return as their new sporting director.

However, Cech insists he will only make his mind up about his next move after officially retiring.

Cech wrote on his official Twitter account: "Despite the news today [Tuesday], as I had already said to everybody before, I'll make decision about my future after the last game.

"Now my sole focus is to win the Europa League with Arsenal."

Vincent Kompany will feature for Manchester City one last time in a testimonial match to be played in September.

Kompany confirmed on Sunday that he will leave the club after 11 years in order to take up a player-manager role at former side Anderlecht.

The Belgian's last official game for City came in Saturday's 6-0 FA Cup final demolition of Watford, which completed an unprecedented domestic treble.

He said farewell to supporters during City's parade for FA Cup, Premier League and EFL Cup trophies on Monday, while coach Pep Guardiola insisted he would return to the club again one day.

Kompany will be back perhaps sooner than expected, as the club confirmed he will lead a 'City Legends' side against a Premier League 'All-Stars' team on September 11 at the Etihad Stadium.

The fixture will raise money for homeless charity Tackle4MCR, a foundation the defender helped set up along with Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham.

"City favourites from the recent past and present will play alongside the captain again, with some familiar Premier League stars of the past decade in direct opposition," the club said.

France head coach Didier Deschamps is happy to give Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba his opinion on their futures but has warned them to be sure they make the right choice for their careers.

Atletico Madrid striker Griezmann confirmed last week that he intends to leave the Wanda Metropolitano at the end of the season, despite only agreeing a new five-year contract last year.

Pogba, meanwhile, has been heavily linked with a move to LaLiga giants Real Madrid after a largely difficult season with Manchester United.

Deschamps – who has named both players in his squad for a friendly against Bolivia and subsequent Euro 2020 qualifiers against Turkey and Andorra next month – will give them his view but is keen for them not to come to regret their decisions.

"Players are making choices, I'm not there to advise them," he told a media conference.

"I'm here to give them my opinion, but it's about them. It depends on their career, people and family.

"Most of them ask for my opinion. They can use it or not; it's not my choice.

"What matters is that when they decide something important, they think it is the correct choice. But sometimes you think, 'yes it's a good choice to join that club' and then it's not. It's easy to say after the fact. It goes well or badly."

Despite criticism of Pogba's form towards the end of the campaign, he ended 2018-19 with 13 Premier League goals and a further nine assists – more than any of his United team-mates managed – and earned a place in the PFA Team of the Year.

Deschamps believes people are too quick to find faults in the 26-year-old's game and says he brings a lot more than just goals.

"I hope you're watching all his games in the Premier League," he added. "We see Paul when he scores and gives assists, but Paul is not just about that. With us, he scores fewer goals, but he was and still is very important.

"A season lasts 10 months and players can't be at their peak all the time. With France, he knows I'm asking him different things because we have a team, and he's doing it very well."

Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Arsenal were provided with a comprehensive security plan to ensure his safety in Baku, UEFA said.

On Tuesday Arsenal announced midfielder Mkhitaryan will not travel to Azerbaijan to face Chelsea in the Europa League final on May 29.

Amid ongoing political tensions between Azerbaijan and his native Armenia, Mkhitaryan wrote on social media he was "hurt" not to be able to play.

UEFA said it respected the decision of Arsenal and Mkhitaryan and explained the measures taken in advance of the final.

"Working alongside Arsenal, UEFA sought and received assurances regarding the player's safety in Azerbaijan from the highest authorities in the country," the body's statement said. 

"As a result of these guarantees, a comprehensive security plan was developed and given to the club. 

"While the club acknowledges the efforts that UEFA and the Azeri government have gone to in this matter, we respect the personal decision not to travel with the player."

Mkhitaryan has made 11 appearances in this season's Europa League, which Arsenal have to win to secure their return to the Champions League.

Olivier Giroud has signed a new one-year contract at Chelsea, the Premier League club have confirmed.

Giroud, who joined from Arsenal in January 2018, will now remain with the Blues for the 2019-20 season.

The striker has scored a competition-high 10 Europa League goals this season and is set to face his old club in next week's final in Baku.

And he will do so with his future settled by putting pen to paper on a 12-month extension.

"I am very happy to sign a new contract," France forward Giroud told Chelsea's official club website.

"I really wanted to stay at least one more year - I have felt a part of the team, the family, since the beginning and hopefully there will be more trophies to come."

Giroud had been linked with a return to Ligue 1, with Lyon having expressed an interest in signing him on a free transfer and the 32-year-old also indicating he was open to the move.

But with Chelsea under a two-window transfer ban - which the club are appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport - they have opted to keep Giroud at Stamford Bridge.

"We are very pleased that Olivier will be a Chelsea player for another season," said Blues director Marina Granovskaia. "Since joining us 18 months ago, he has at times had to be patient and wait for opportunities, but has still been able to make a positive contribution to the team.

"Whether it is his unselfish link-up play or his 10 Europa League goals this season, he has been a crucial member of the squad and we hope he will be able to pick up a second Chelsea winner's medal in Baku later this month to accompany last season's FA Cup win."

Giroud featured in every game as France won last year's World Cup in Russia, although he did not manage to find the net for Didier Deschamps' side.

Arsenal have confirmed Henrikh Mkhitaryan will not travel with the squad to Baku to face Chelsea in the Europa League final.

Political tensions between Azerbaijan and the midfielder's native Armenia will see Mkhitaryan left out by head coach Unai Emery.

Mkhitaryan also did not travel to Azerbaijan when Arsenal faced Qarabag in the Europa League group stage last year.

"We have thoroughly explored all the options for Micki to be part of the squad but after discussing this with Micki and his family we have collectively agreed he will not be in our travelling party," said an Arsenal statement.

"We have written to UEFA expressing our deep concerns about this situation. Micki has been a key player in our run to the final so this is a big loss for us from a team perspective.

"We're also very sad that a player will miss out on a major European final in circumstances such as this, as it is something that comes along very rarely in a footballer's career.

"Micki will continue to be part of our preparations until we depart for Baku at the weekend."

Mkhitaryan also acknowledged the decision to miss the May 29 final against Premier League rivals Chelsea with a post on social media.

"Having considered all the current options, we had to take the tough decision for me not to travel with the squad to the Europa League final," he wrote on Instagram. 

"It's the kind of game that doesn't come along very often for us players and I must admit, it hurts me a lot to miss it.

"I will be cheering my team-mates on! Let's bring it home."

Mkhitaryan has made 11 appearances in Arsenal's run to the Europa League final, with a place in next season's Champions League at stake.

Olivier Giroud is relishing facing his old club when Chelsea take on Arsenal in the Europa League final.

Giroud is expected to lead the line in the May 29 showpiece, with his 10 Europa League goals the most anyone has scored in this season's tournament.

The World Cup winner left Arsenal for Chelsea in January 2018 but has been linked with a return to Ligue 1 for more playing time at the end of the season.

Giroud therefore has the chance to sign off in style when Maurizio Sarri's side take on the Gunners in Baku.

"I always like playing against my old teams," Giroud told the Daily Mail. "It's going to be tough, and it could be painful if it's not going the right way, but you have to put the feelings and memories aside.

"I enjoyed the years I spent there. It has been a big part of my career, my first club in England and it will always be special, but now I feel my blood is blue. The same as the national team, blue suits me well.

"I settled in quickly. I felt like part of the family straight away. I knew a few of the players and I'm a sociable person, I always try to communicate. It wasn't difficult to integrate. I always see it as a new challenge. 

"I couldn't have hoped for it to be better. And now I want to win my second trophy with Chelsea, to finish as top scorer and help my team. Our target is to win a trophy every season and this is the last chance."

Giroud previously aired his frustration over his back-up role at Stamford Bridge but indicated he is open to signing a new contract at Chelsea.

"I feel very happy at the club," he said. "Maybe I need a bit more game time but I won't give up. That's my mentality. That's how I'm made. It's not sorted yet but we are talking about another year."

Chelsea's transfer ban - which is being appealed by the club - could see the Blues forced to put faith in young talent, a move that would be welcomed by Giroud.

"The main difference is Arsenal always tried to give the chances to the young players," he added. "It felt like more players formed at the club could have the opportunity to play. Maybe you would get more time at Arsenal. They would be more patient.

"At Chelsea you have to be ready quickly because, in terms of trophies, it has been the best club in England for the last 10 years. You don't have time at Chelsea and when you are young it is quite difficult to find your place.

"You can see we have a very good academy producing very good players and a few of them are in the first team. That is a good example for the future generation.

"I don't want to kill the dreams of these young Chelsea players. They are very talented, but it makes sense because Chelsea invest more in every transfer window and they buy more top players in the world who are more experienced.

"I am just being honest. People who know football and the Premier League and these two clubs, they know Arsene Wenger could not spend too much money. It was the philosophy of the club and because of that — or thanks to that — he would give the opportunity to young players."

Pep Guardiola believes Vincent Kompany's destiny is to return Manchester City later in his career as the centre-back prepares to leave for a player-manager role at Anderlecht.

Kompany has spent 11 years at City and enjoyed great success, with the Champions League being the only major trophy he failed to win at the Premier League club.

His final success came on Saturday when City crushed Watford 6-0 to lift the FA Cup, completing an unprecedented domestic treble, adding to Premier League and EFL Cup triumphs.

The 33-year-old Belgian announced a day later that he was to leave and return to Anderlecht, his first club as a professional, and will take up a player-manager position.

City will struggle to replace Kompany's experience and influence, but Guardiola is confident the defender will return one day.

"I think we're going to miss him [Kompany] a lot," Guardiola said during City's trophy parade on Monday.

"I'm going to miss him, but he is going to see us in the future because he is coming back sooner or later.

"It's the best way to say goodbye after an incredible season together. He was a real captain, he helped us a lot.

"Now it's time to have good food, good wine and enjoy this incredible season together. In a few weeks we are going to think about [the future]. Now we are going to enjoy what we have done."

Bernardo Silva vowed to "go for" the Champions League after being named Manchester City's Player of the Season at the club's trophy parade on Monday.

Silva enjoyed a fine campaign, nailing down a spot in the starting spot despite Riyad Mahrez's arrival and excelling in a number of different roles.

The Portuguese midfielder's haul of seven goals in the Premier League helped City retain the title, while they also claimed the EFL Cup and FA Cup, the latter of which they won in a 6-0 hammering of Watford on Saturday.

City announced Silva had topped a fan vote for the individual honour during Monday's celebrations, with the winner declaring his intention to help secure European success next term.

"Thank you very much everyone," he said. "The way you pushed us this season. You made it real for us. Without them [the fans], it wouldn't be possible. Next season, we'll come back, trying to give you more titles.

"A lot of hard work has been put in. We're very tired! It's been a long season, a fantastic season for us, but with four trophies [the Premier League, EFL Cup, FA Cup and Community Shield] for all squad and staff, it's been amazing.

"Hopefully, we want to do better, try and go for European trophies as well - it's what we're missing.

"The supporters need to demand more from us. European trophies - we need that. Let’s go for it."

Vincent Kompany bid farewell to Manchester City's supporters by declaring his undying love for the club he believes to be the best in the world - then signed off with a mic drop at their trophy parade.

Kompany and City broke the news on Sunday that the Belgian is to depart the club after 11 years, returning to Anderlecht to take up a player-manager role.

The centre-back has enjoyed great success at City, winning four Premier League titles and the EFL Cup on four occasions. He is also a two-time FA Cup winner after Saturday's 6-0 hammering of Watford at Wembley.

That victory clinched an unprecedented domestic treble, having already won the Premier League and EFL Cup this season, allowing Kompany to depart on a high.

City took to the streets of Manchester on Monday for an open-top bus parade with those three trophies and the Community Shield, allowing Kompany the opportunity to say goodbye to the fans.

He said: "I've wanted to do this all my life. You are the best club in the world, I don't care whether you win the Champions League or not.

"You are the best club in the world and remember that forever. These guys deserve all your love every day of the week, every single day of the year they'll work hard.”

"This is the way I want to leave, I love you – I'm out," Kompany concluded before dropping the microphone.

Prior to the speech, footage of musician Noel Gallagher - a City fan - thanking Kompany for his service was shown on the big screen, before the musician played 'Wonderwall' in tribute to the Belgian, with both supporters and the rest of the squad singing along.

Brighton and Hove Albion have appointed Graham Potter as manager on a four-year deal. 

The Englishman, celebrating his 44th birthday on the day of his arrival at the Amex Stadium, left his post at Swansea City on Monday to succeed the sacked Chris Hughton.

Hughton lost his job despite leading the Seagulls to Premier League safety and the FA Cup semi-finals, with Potter quickly emerging as the leading candidate to take over.

Brighton will reportedly have to pay more than £2million in compensation.

Potter said: "I was sold by the long-term vision and passion shown by Tony Bloom, Paul Barber and Dan Ashworth.

"The ideas and plans they have for the future of this football club excited me; I am thrilled and honoured to be a part of it."

It is the former Stoke City and West Brom player's first job in England's top flight and caps a remarkable rise from the relative obscurity of Sweden's fourth division.

Potter landed at unheralded Ostersunds in 2010 and secured three promotions, along with a memorable victory over Arsenal at Emirates Stadium in the Europa League, before departing for Wales in 2018.

He earned praise for helping cash-strapped Swansea to 10th, while also guiding them to the FA Cup quarter-finals, and implementing a forward-thinking playing style during his lone season in charge.

Ilkay Gundogan is ready to reopen contracts talks with Manchester City after their historic domestic treble.

Watford were thrashed 6-0 at Wembley on Saturday as City became the first English men's team to complete a clean sweep, adding the FA Cup to their Premier League and EFL Cup titles.

Gundogan is heading into the final year of his contract at the club, who also won the Community Shield at the start of the season.

The Germany international has enjoyed extra responsibility under Pep Guardiola this season, making 31 Premier League appearances, partly down to injury issues for Fernandinho and Kevin De Bruyne.

City have already lost Vincent Kompany after the club captain left to take a player-manager role at Anderlecht but Gundogan suggested he will stay at the Etihad Stadium.

"Now is enough time to reflect on the situation and to take up the talks again more intensely with the club," he told Bild of his contract situation.

While City made history domestically, Guardiola has acknowledged his time at the club will be judged by European success.

And his side fell short again in their bid for a Champions League crown as they were knocked out by Premier League rivals Tottenham in stunning fashion.

"The exit in Europe was extremely bitter," Gundogan said of the quarter-final defeat. "But it would be wrong to mourn the Champions League after our domestic success.

"If I can wish for something at club level for my future, then it is definitely to win the Champions League.”

Aymeric Laporte said Manchester City are aiming to "stay on the top always" after completing a historic treble of domestic trophies in his first full season at the club.

The former Athletic Bilbao stopper, who City paid a reported €65million for in January 2018, featured in all but four of Pep Guardiola's starting line-ups in the Premier League in 2018-19 and played again in the 6-0 FA Cup final victory over Watford.

After celebrating the treble at Wembley, Laporte outlined City's vision for next season and underlined his belief in their ability to improve their performance in the Champions League and sustain their success long into the future.

"It has been a great season," said Laporte, who played in City's Champions League quarter-final defeat to Tottenham in April.

"We were disappointed with the Champions League but I think we reacted really well and made an amazing season.

"This [the FA Cup]  is the last one and I'm very happy to win it too. Now we will look ahead to the new season.

"Of course we want to stay on the top always. We have the team to do these things.

"I think we're going to be on the top all the seasons but we know other teams play too and it's difficult to win the Premier League.

"We have the players and we will try to do that."

Laporte shed light on the experience of working with Guardiola, who was seen having an animated conversation with Raheem Sterling after the forward scored a brace against Watford.

France youth international Laporte signed a new contract in February, tying him to the club until 2025, and he indicated that working under former Barcelona midfielder Guardiola was key to his happiness at the Etihad Stadium.

"Of course he's one of the best managers in the world, if not the best," said Laporte.

"I'm very happy to work with him every single day and improve every day, and what you saw is true - he wants the best for us and wants us to improve all the time.

"It's amazing every day with him. I've improved in my positioning, tactically.

"Every day you train on tactics, technical [elements]."

Page 1 of 304
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.