Former Barcelona youth player Takefusa Kubo labelled Real Madrid "the best club in the world" following his move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Kubo, who previously played at Barcelona's La Masia academy, joined Madrid from J.League outfit Tokyo for a €2million fee last month.

The highly rated Japan international is set to play for Madrid's reserve team Castilla in 2019-20, but the 18-year-old has made an immediate impression during the club's pre-season training camp in Montreal.

Discussing his start to life with Madrid, Kubo – who spent four years at Barca before leaving in 2015 after the Catalan club were found to have violated FIFA's international transfer policy for under-18 youths – told Real Madrid TV: "In Japan there is a lot of passion for Real Madrid and I am very proud to play for the best club in the world.

"Players and coaches here are very friendly and I have been able to adapt very well, we have to take advantage of this opportunity, but you also have to have fun because not everyone has this opportunity.

"I'm learning a lot as a footballer and as a person, both on and off the field, I'm having a great time."

Madrid kick-off their International Champions Cup campaign against Bundesliga holders Bayern Munich in Texas on Saturday.

Real Madrid forward Luka Jovic said he has "really big dreams" as he prepares for his first season with the LaLiga giants.

Jovic joined Madrid from Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt in a €60million deal after scoring 27 goals in all competitions last term.

The 21-year-old Serbia international has emerged as one of the most lethal forwards in Europe, where he also reportedly attracted interest from Barcelona and Manchester City prior to moving to Madrid.

Jovic will team up with the likes of Eden Hazard, Sergio Ramos, Karim Benzema and Luka Modric under Zinedine Zidane at the Santiago Bernabeu, and he is aiming high in the Spanish capital.

"In the beginning, I was born in a small village in Serbia with 105 houses, a place that you have probably never heard of before," Jovic wrote in The Players' Tribune. "Where is this story going next? What will I achieve? What is the ending? I don’t know, but I have really big dreams. 

"I am very excited to come to Real Madrid, and once again, I would like to thank the club and the supporters of Eintracht Frankfurt for making me feel at home the last two years. Danke."

Jovic made his professional debut as a 16-year-old for Serbian giants Red Star Belgrade in 2014 before eventually transferring to Benfica two years later.

He struggled to establish himself in Lisbon, eventually moving to Eintracht on an initial two-year loan deal, which became permanent in April as the German outfit made a significant profit on Jovic.

Jovic said: "Things have happened very fast for me. A few years ago, I was just dreaming of playing for Red Star. To play in a Europa League semi-final [against Chelsea], to play in a World Cup, and now to move to Real Madrid, it is incredible.

"But I think the most important thing for a striker is confidence. I've never doubted my worth. I just feel like I have a quality that I was born with, and I will never doubt it.

"It's funny, the last time I played for the national team, one of my team-mates, Stefan Mitrovic, said something like, 'Man, the things I could do if I had your confidence'.

"But for me, it just makes sense. How can you be a striker without confidence? For this position, the most important part is not the beginning, it is the ending."

"Sometimes I think I was just born with it," he added. "Everyone in this life has certain talents, and I think mine is scoring goals."

Dries Mertens said Napoli must buy new and "top level" players if they want to dethrone Serie A champions Juventus.

Napoli have been linked to Real Madrid midfielder James Rodriguez throughout the transfer window as they look to eclipse back-to-back runners-up finishes.

Colombia star James is wanted by head coach Carlo Ancelotti and Napoli, though a deal with the LaLiga giants is yet to be completed.

As the season edges closer, Napoli – who finished 11 points adrift of Juve last term – need to reinforce their squad, according to veteran forward Mertens.

"I just want to say that I see other teams are buying a lot, we've signed Kostas [Manolas]," the 32-year-old Belgium international, who has been linked to the Chinese Super League, said during a Q&A.

"All those we buy must be at the top level and therefore someone like James would be welcome to aim even higher. He could make the difference.

"I think we need to buy great players to raise the level of the team. We already have a strong squad, but if we want to win something, we need to buy in order to raise the level. That is clear."

Napoli have already boosted their defence with the signing of Greece international Manolas from Italian rivals Roma.

Manolas is set to form one of the best centre-back pairings in Serie A alongside Kalidou Koulibaly following his €36million arrival.

"I found a very good atmosphere and a warm welcome," Manolas said. "I won't tell you the reason I left Roma, as it's personal. The first call I received about Napoli was from my agent, then the director and the coach.

"They made me feel secure about my decision and it was clear straight away that they really wanted me in this team. I never had doubts, that's why I chose Napoli and I am sure I made the right decision.

"I liked watching the way Napoli played and was eager to become a part of it. I'd give anything to win the Scudetto here.

"Carlo Ancelotti is unique for what he's won throughout his career. I promise that I'll do everything I can to help the team achieve their targets and aim as high as possible."

Napoli star Lorenzo Insigne reiterated that Maurizio Sarri betrayed the club by joining Serie A champions Juventus, while the captain said he wants to retire at Stadio San Paolo.

Former Napoli head coach Sarri angered players and fans in Naples when he swapped Premier League outfit Chelsea for rivals Juventus last month.

Sarri guided Napoli to three consecutive top-three finishes during his time at the club before leaving for Chelsea in 2018.

Insigne was vocal at the time, warning a move to Juve would represent "a betrayal" of Napoli and the club icon stood by his comments on Monday.

"I said it and I say it again, for us Neapolitans, that was a betrayal," Insigne said during a Q&A session.

"Now we have to focus on ourselves and try to beat him. The Scudetto is a dream for all of us and we will try once more."

Insigne's future has been the subject of speculation as he waits to sign a new deal with Napoli.

The 28-year-old – who emerged from the youth team of his boyhood club in 2010 – is contracted to Napoli until 2022.

Insigne has been linked to Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool previously, and when asked if he could move abroad the Italy international added: "No. I'm still young, I'm happy in Naples and want to stay here for the rest of my career.

"Scoring that goal against Real Madrid gave me such strong sensations and I hope other young Neapolitan lads can feel the same way in future.

"It is the dream of all Neapolitan boys and I am very proud to be in this position."

Insigne made 28 Serie A appearances last season, scoring 10 goals as Napoli finished runners-up to Juventus.

Fabian Delph has moved from Manchester City to Everton, signing a three-year contract.

Everton swooped to sign the midfielder for a fee that could reportedly rise to £10million after he entered the final 12 months of his contract at the Etihad Stadium.

England international Delph made 89 appearances in all competitions for City over four seasons, occasionally filling in at left-back.

He started 21 times for Pep Guardiola's men when they cantered to the title in 2017-18 but featured less regularly last term as City were crowned champions again.

The 29-year-old's hopes of returning to first-team calculations were further diminished when City paid Atletico Madrid a club-record fee to secure the talented Rodri.

"Every time I have played against Everton, whether it was home or away, straight away the first thing that comes to mind when you see the fans is passion," Delph told Everton's official club website.

"The Everton fans seem to know football, seem to understand it, it seems to be in their blood and they really back the team.

"You are always going to hear Evertonians and I'm excited to play at home and hear them when I am playing.

"I'm really happy to be here, I'm going to give absolutely everything - nothing less than 100 per cent. Hopefully we can push together, fans and players, to do something special."

In arriving at Goodison Park, the former Leeds United and Aston Villa player becomes Everton's third signing of the close season.

Goalkeeper Jonas Lossl joined on a free from relegated Huddersfield Town and midfielder Andre Gomes inked a five-year deal after impressing during his loan spell from Barcelona.

"When I look to bring a new player into our squad, the first thing I look for above all the other things is quality and Fabian is a player with high quality," Everton boss Marco Silva said.

"But what they can bring to our dressing room is also important and if you can put those two things together then that can only be good for the club."

Philippe Coutinho will only consider returning to the Premier League to play for Liverpool and a potential move to Manchester United would be near impossible, according to agent Kia Joorabchian.

Coutinho moved to Barcelona from Liverpool in January 2018, the Reds receiving a transfer fee that could hit €160million (£142m) with add-ons.

He initially appeared to be a good fit, producing some solid performances in his first few months at Camp Nou as he finished the 2017-18 season with eight goals in 18 LaLiga matches.

But he flattered to deceive last term, netting only five times in 22 league starts as he failed to live up to expectations.

He has been linked with a transfer to United, with Barca said to be eager to free up funds to sign Neymar, but his agent effectively ruled out such a move.

"Manchester United is a great club, I have players there and I have all the respect for them, but as far as Philippe goes, it would be an extremely difficult to a near-impossible move," Joorabchian told talkSPORT.

"I would be very difficult for Philippe to play for any of Liverpool's rivals, because he has such a great affinity towards Liverpool. His time there was fantastic.

"Like all big players at some point you want to experience a different thing in your career because your career is very short, but it [his Liverpool exit] has no reflection on the fact his heart and affinity is very much with Liverpool.

"I know he was cheering every time they had the chance. Lucas Leiva is the same way. A lot of these guys who leave Liverpool remain Liverpool fans because of the fans and the passion they have.

"So, it would be hard for him to go to a rival. Every time we've spoken about it we've had that same conversation, he would find it hard to play for another club in the Premier League."

Coutinho has also been tentatively mentioned as a potential target for the Reds, though Joorabchian doubts a return to Anfield will materialise.

"The thing is, Liverpool have built a tremendous squad," he said. "The manager has a great balance there and it's probably one of the best run football clubs in the country.

"So, with the build-up they've done and the squad they have, it [bringing Coutinho back] would really have to be something they would have to decide, whether or not they feel there is now a gap in the squad for someone like Philippe.

"I think it's going to be a very difficult deal, but most of the big ones are always very, very difficult.

"Obviously, if he were to move back [to the Premier League], it would have to be Liverpool, but at the moment I think it would be difficult and it would be up to them."

Arsenal should sell polarising playmaker Mesut Ozil and sign Hakim Ziyech from Ajax, according to former Gunners star Marc Overmars.

Ozil has long been a contentious figure at Arsenal, with many supporters underwhelmed by his performances in recent years despite being one of the Premier League's highest-paid players.

The German seemingly failed to endear him to head coach Unai Emery, who afforded Ozil only 20 league starts in 2018-19.

In contrast, Ziyech, a hard-working attacking midfielder, was inspirational in Ajax's run to the Champions League semi-finals and is reportedly available for the relatively low figure of €35million.

Dutchman Overmars - who is technical director at Ajax - claims he told Arsenal to replace Ozil with Morocco international Ziyech, but his advice went unheeded.

"I am a bit surprised that it is still so quiet around Hakim," Overmars told Voetbal International.

"I think he has played better every year and his statistics are exceptionally good. Many clubs are increasingly looking at that.

"They look more at the numbers than at what he shows and what is happening around him. I think Hakim Ziyech is better than Mesut Ozil.

"I would say [to Arsenal]: sell him [Ozil] and you will get Ziyech for half the price, but they didn't listen to me. So, it could just be that he stays with Ajax."

One Ajax star who is being strongly linked with other clubs is David Neres, the Brazil international winger who also enjoyed a strong campaign.

Atletico Madrid are said to be the favourites to land him and Overmars did confirm an offer has been made to Ajax, with the bid from an unnamed club set to be discussed in the coming days.

"Next week we are going to the table [for discussions] with his guidance," Overmars said. "For David, one club's interest is concrete, with an offer.

"We will then talk about that, but it is the intention that we as Ajax are leading [the discussions]. He was able to leave for China last winter, but we didn't let him go.

"Look how it worked out for Ajax, but also for him; he is now an international with Brazil."

Monaco have announced the signing of Benjamin Lecomte from fellow Ligue 1 side Montpellier.

Lecomte has signed a five-year deal after Monaco paid a reported €13million to buy the goalkeeper.

The 28-year-old has been Montpellier's first choice for two years and will compete with Danijel Subasic for the gloves.

Although yet to be capped, Lecomte has been named in France squads on two occasions by World Cup winning coach Didier Deschamps.

"I am proud to come to Monaco, a big club in the French league," Lecomte told Monaco's official club website.

"It's a new challenge in my career. I arrive with a lot of motivation and the desire to bring as much as possible to the group.

"I hope we all have a great season together. I am now looking forward to joining my new team-mates and starting this new adventure."

Lecomte is the first signing ahead of 2019-20 for Monaco, who lost playmaker Youri Tielemans to Leicester City.

Neymar has returned to training with Paris Saint-Germain, but a television interview with the forward may not now be aired in his native Brazil after the recording was stolen.

The world's most expensive footballer did not report to training last week as expected, leading PSG to release a strongly worded statement criticising him.

Neymar's official website published photographs on social media of him back at work, yet the 27-year-old continues to be engrossed in controversy.

He had recorded an interview with Brazilian television network Band in which he was expected to talk about his future at PSG, with a return to Barcelona rumoured.

However, on Monday, Band said the car where the recording of the interview was being stored had been stolen.

A statement from Sao Paulo civil police office confirmed a vehicle belonging to the journalist who interviewed Neymar had gone missing.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp expects Simon Mignolet to remain at Anfield despite the goalkeeper playing a back-up role to Alisson.

After the Brazil international signed from Roma a year ago, briefly becoming the world's most expensive goalkeeper, Alisson started all 38 Premier League games last term.

Mignolet was restricted to playing in domestic cup competitions but made only two appearances as Liverpool exited the EFL Cup and FA Cup early.

The Belgium goalkeeper said in January it was hard mentally to cope with bench duty, but Klopp is hopeful the 31-year-old will not be moving on.

"Yes. I would say, yes," Klopp told reporters when asked if he feels Mignolet will stay at Liverpool for the 2019-20 season. 

"I have had a lot of conversations with him in the last couple of years and months. We spoke before we left [for the close-season break].

"It is because at a club like Liverpool you need two number ones, at least, in the club. That's cool with Ali and Simon.

"A good situation for the club and a situation you should have. Everything is fine from my point of view."

Liverpool's pre-season campaign includes games against Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla and Napoli in the next two weeks.

After facing Manchester City in the Community Shield, Klopp's side then open the 2019-20 Premier League season at home to newly promoted Norwich City on August 9.

The Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) has denied reports claiming Morocco coach Herve Renard has resigned.

Morocco endured a disappointing Africa Cup of Nations campaign, exiting the competition in the round of 16 with a 4-1 penalty shoot-out defeat to Benin following a 1-1 draw.

And reports emerged on Monday suggesting former Lille and Ivory Coast coach Renard had stepped down from his post following the underwhelming showing.

However, the FRMF denied the speculation by insisting Renard - who took charge of the Atlas Lions in 2016 - is still in charge.

The FRMF did, though, confirm meetings were held with Renard to review Morocco's AFCON performance.

"The Royal Moroccoan Football Federation denies the news that is currently being circulated about the resignation of Herve Renard from the training of the national team," a statement website read.

"It is worth mentioning that the president of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation held two meetings on Sunday and Monday with Mr Renard to evaluate the participation of the national team in the African Cup of Nations in Egypt."

Renard, 50, has led both Zambia and Ivory Coast to Africa Cup of Nations glory during his coaching career.

Barcelona have completed the signing of young Japan attacker Hiroki Abe on a four-year deal from Kashima Antlers.

The J1 League side confirmed Abe's impending departure on Friday after agreeing a reported €2million deal, and Barca have since announced his arrival.

Abe, 20, was named Rookie of the Year in Japan's top-flight last year and featured in all three of Japan's group matches at the 2019 Copa America.

He is expected to initially link up with Barca's second string but could feature for the first-team on their pre-season tour.

Matthijs de Ligt's transfer to Juventus is nearing its conclusion, according to Ajax's director of football Marc Overmars.

De Ligt's move away from Ajax is set to be one of the biggest deals of the transfer window, with the 19-year-old having been linked to a number of Europe's biggest clubs.

Serie A champions Juve are the team who look set to secure the 19-year-old centre-back, however, for a reported fee of €66million.

Ajax confirmed on Sunday that De Ligt had been left out of their travelling squad for a pre-season trip to Austria, and Overmars believes the transfer is all but done, with the player expected in Turin to undergo a medical on Tuesday.

"The end of the transfer of De Ligt is near," Overmars told reporters.

"We're awaiting bank guarantees, because we are very strict with this at Ajax. Hopefully things will progress, but I think there will be no further obstructions. They are Italians."

De Ligt will leave a big void in Ajax's defence, with the youngster having been instrumental in leading Erik ten Hag's side to the Champions League semi-finals last term.

Mexico international Edson Alvarez could act as De Ligt's replacement, though Overmars insists the Club America centre-back would have been a target regardless.

"This transfer is not depending on the development of De Ligt's transfer," Overmars added.

"Edson is a player we think is good, so he might come to us. He is a good age, 21, and plays on a regular basis in the national team of Mexico and we know him very well because we scouted him over a longer period.

"He has progressed very well, and he can play in many positions."

New Juventus signing Aaron Ramsey believes he has secured a "dream" move and insists he paid offers from other clubs no mind once he heard of the Old Lady's interest.

Ramsey left Arsenal on a free transfer at the end of the 2018-19 season, with the two parties failing to agree a new contract.

Juve are reported to have struck a deal with the Wales international in January, with their agreement being made official a month later.

It brought an 11-year association with the Gunners to an end, but also ensured he is able to return to the top of the European game, with Serie A champions Juve in the Champions League, unlike Arsenal.

It had been clear since the start of the season that it was to be Ramsey's final campaign at Emirates Stadium and numerous Italian clubs were linked with him, but there was only one place he wanted to be.

When asked in his presentation news conference if he ever considered another Italian side, Ramsey said: "As soon as I knew Juve were in for me, there was no question about where I was going to go. You can't turn down that opportunity.

"I'm so excited to be here and hopefully I can be a part of a new history. There were other clubs, but this is the right club for me.

"When I knew Juve were interested, I couldn't refuse them. It's a great club, one of the biggest. To have the opportunity to come here, play for them, is a dream to play at the top level.

"It's a challenge for myself as well, to come here, experience a different way of life, different culture. I'll take that in and embrace it.

"Hopefully it goes nicely over here. I know how hard it's going to be, but I've prepared myself for that and I'm looking forward to the challenge."

Ramsey is not the only new recruit Juve have picked up from the Premier League, as coach Maurizio Sarri traded Stamford Bridge for Turin.

The Wales midfielder is familiar with the Italian and was impressed with his solitary campaign in England.

"From what I saw last season, he had a very good season for Chelsea," Ramsey said. "He got to two finals [the EFL Cup and Europa League], won one of them, and finished in the top four.

"That's not easy to do, so it was definitely a success. Hopefully he can bring his philosophy to this team, winning and playing good football, that's the ideal situation.

"Hopefully this will be something we can do, being really successful doing it."

Mason Mount has signed a new five-year deal with Chelsea, keeping him at Stamford Bridge until 2024.

Mount spent last season on loan at Derby County, excelling under Frank Lampard, who has since taken over at Chelsea.

The 20-year-old's spell at Derby followed on from a season-long loan at Vitesse in 2017-18, with Mount netting 14 league goals from 32 Eredivisie appearances.

But with Lampard and Mount enjoying a good relationship at Pride Park, and Chelsea serving a two-window transfer ban, the playmaker looks set to play a part for the Blues next term.

"It's a massively proud moment for myself and my family," Mount, who joined the club in 2005, told Chelsea's official website.

"I joined this club at six years old and it was always my goal to play for the first team one day.

"I'm really looking forward to the coming season now and working hard to have an impact here at Chelsea. I've been at the club for a long time already and hopefully I'll stay for a long time to come."

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