Fulham thrashed Millwall on Wednesday but are only third in the Championship table thanks to victories for Leeds United and Swansea City.

Sheffield Wednesday went top on Tuesday but have dropped three places following wins for three of the early-season pacesetters.

Cardiff City overcame Huddersfield Town in south Wales in a battle of two of last season's Premier League sides, while Jack Butland had a game to forget for Stoke City at Preston North End.

West Brom and Nottingham Forest, meanwhile, each earned a point by virtue of late goals.

 

FULHAM ON SONG AS CARDIFF EDGE HUDDERSFIELD

Fulham's front three of Ivan Cavaleiro, Anthony Knockaert and Aleksandar Mitrovic is starting to look a formidable attacking threat.

All three were on the scoresheet as the Cottagers saw off Millwall 4-0 for a third win in a row in England's second tier.

Cavaleiro fired home the opener and crossed for Knockaert to make it 2-0 at the end of a move that saw 26 completed passes involving all 11 Fulham players.

Mitrovic got the third from the penalty spot and Cavaleiro added a cool fourth for a Fulham side who enjoyed a remarkable 84 per cent of the possession and completed 934 passes.

Cardiff and Huddersfield, who joined Fulham in dropping out of the Premier League last season, played out a much more even encounter at Cardiff City Stadium.

Trevoh Chalobah cancelled out Joe Ralls' opener, but Neil Warnock's side snatched all three points in the 88th minute through Junior Hoilett's deflected strike.

LEEDS AND SWANSEA SETTING THE STANDARD

Leeds and Swansea are the only two teams with 10 points from their first four games of the season, although Marcelo Bielsa's side left it late at home to Brentford.

Arsenal loanee Eddie Nketiah was the hero on his Championship debut at Elland Road, tapping in Helder Costa's cross with nine minutes to go to seal a 1-0 win.

Swansea were a little more comfortable, although their 3-1 win away to QPR came despite them attempting 10 shots to the hosts' 22.

Bersant Celina put them ahead and, after Jordan Hugill headed in an equaliser, Borja Baston converted a penalty and Sam Surridge secured the points at Loftus Road.

BUTLAND IN DEEP TROUBLE AT DEEPDALE

Stoke's miserable start to the season continued with a 3-1 loss to Preston in which goalkeeper Butland had something of a nightmare.

Having failed to stop Daniel Johnson's improvised half-volley from finding the bottom-right corner, Butland allowed Billy Bodin's shot to squirm beneath his body and put Preston 2-0 up after 25 minutes.

Former Manchester United man Josh Harrop netted the third from a rebound after Butland denied Johnson, meaning James McClean's close-range finish was little consolation for a side who have taken one point from four games.

West Brom had been staring at a home defeat to Reading until the 88th minute, when Kenneth Zohore's penalty – conceded by Ovie Ejaria – cancelled out a stunning goal from the Royals' Liverpool loanee.

Charlton Athletic's meeting with Forest at The Valley also finished 1-1, with Albert Adomah earning a point after Lyle Taylor had headed in the opener.

Ousmane Dembele "doesn't feel at all threatened" by the possibility of Neymar going back to Barcelona, the forward's agent has said.

Speculation persists over Neymar's future at Paris Saint-Germain, with the latest reports saying Barca have had a bid of a two-year loan with an option to buy rejected by the Ligue 1 champions.

Should the Brazil star secure a return to Camp Nou, though, it is likely to leave Dembele's position in the first team unclear, with the France international struggling for consistency and fitness since his move from Borussia Dortmund for an initial €105million in 2017.

However, his representative, Moussa Sissoko, says Neymar's future will have no impact on Dembele's determination to succeed with the Spanish champions.

"When you are a high-level sportsman, you have to accept that you are praised but also subjected to criticism," he told RMC Sport. "[Dembele] is focused on his goals, and he knows what he has to do in order to succeed at Barca.

"He doesn't feel at all threatened. When you play for Barca, you expect there to be competition. Neymar or anyone else - he does not care about that and [only] cares about what he has to do."

Sissoko says there has been interest in Dembele but that all those clubs, PSG included, have been told the player has no desire for a transfer.

"We received notice of interest from big clubs," he said. "But we were clear on the fact that he did not want to leave. I told them from the start that he wants to succeed at Barcelona. The door is closed, and Paris or any other club are aware of our intentions.

"In our plans, he wants to stay and all his work is towards that. We are working on that."

Dembele was diagnosed with a hamstring injury this week that is likely to keep him out for over a month, furthering suggestions his lifestyle is hampering his fitness and professional development.

His former chef told Le Parisien on Wednesday: "Ousmane is a good guy but he doesn't have control of his life. He lives with his uncle and his best friend, who don't dare say anything to him. It's a crazy life.

"I've never seen him drink alcohol but he doesn't respect his rest times, there's no professional structure around him."

However, when asked about those comments, Sissoko said: "I do not want to give an advertisement to the chef who criticised him. Ousmane chose him, and it's me who stopped working with him, because he didn't correspond to what we wanted."

Davide Zappacosta has joined Roma on loan from Chelsea on an initial six-month loan deal.

Roma have confirmed the move and also hold the option to prolong Zappacosta's temporary stay at Stadio Olimpico until the end of the season, while the Blues have extended the full-back's contract at Stamford Bridge until June 2022.

"I am pleased to join Roma after an experience overseas that helped me progress as both a player and a person," Zappacosta told Roma's official website.

"Being able to play for a great club like this is a huge motivation – I cannot wait to start training alongside my new team-mates."

Former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte brought Zappacosta to the Premier League from Torino in August 2017 and he made 22 top-flight appearances in his maiden campaign.

However, opportunities last term proved scarce under Maurizio Sarri and he has yet to appear under Frank Lampard, who also has Reece James to compete with Cesar Azpilicueta at right-back when he returns to full fitness following an ankle injury.

Roma's sporting director Gianluca Petrachi, who also worked with Zappacosta at Torino, is sure he will make a big impact in the Italian capital.

"I'm pleased to be able to have Davide on my team once again," Petrachi said.

"Compared with the player that I knew at Torino, now Roma are getting a player who has matured both as a player and a person after a valuable spell in another league.

"I am certain that Davide will be able to make an important contribution during the course of the season."

Zappacosta earned winners' medals in the FA Cup and Europa League with Chelsea.

Lionel Messi returned to full training with Barcelona on Wednesday as he nears a comeback from a calf injury.

The 32-year-old missed the whole of Barca's pre-season programme and was not part of their squad for the 1-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao on the opening day of the LaLiga season.

Messi – whose last competitive outing was for Argentina in the Copa America third-place play-off victory over Chile, a match in which he was controversially sent off – has been doing solo exercises to build up his fitness and sat out the LaLiga champions' first training session on Wednesday but was pictured with the rest of his team-mates later in the day.

Barca head coach Ernesto Valverde may now consider the Argentina international for selection against Real Betis on Sunday, with Ousmane Dembele and Luis Suarez already ruled out.

Dembele will miss the next five weeks with a hamstring injury and Suarez is out for an indefinite period after injuring his right calf in the shock defeat to Athletic.

Wissam Ben Yedder is determined to help Monaco qualify for European football again after taking the "hard" decision to leave Sevilla.

The France forward signed a five-year contract with the Ligue 1 side last week as part of a deal that saw Rony Lopes move in the opposite direction.

After scoring 38 LaLiga goals during his three seasons with Sevilla, the former Toulouse player had been linked with a move to Spanish champions Barcelona and also Premier League side Manchester United during the close season.

Ben Yedder has instead returned to French football with Monaco – and he is not concerned about last season's successful battle to avoid relegation, insisting Monaco's struggles were an "anomaly".

"It was hard to leave Seville," he said at a press conference on Wednesday. "There was a lot of emotion, a lot of things happened in Spain for me. 

"But with the vice-president, [Oleg] Petrov, we exchanged a lot about the project. Monaco wants to be at the top of the table. Monaco is my choice. 

"We don't know what would have happened if I had stayed in Spain. There were many clubs that were interested in me. I chose Monaco and I am satisfied.

"It's a big club, although the situation is difficult at the moment. But during the last five seasons, there was a Champions League quarter-final and a semi-final. 

"We will make sure that what happened last season is just an anomaly. We will do everything to reach the European competitions."

Ben Yedder's arrival at Stade Louis II was expected to pave the way for Radamel Falcao to leave, with Galatasaray heavily linked with the Colombia international.

However, Petrov wants Falcao to stay put and see out the rest of his contract.

"Falcao told us that he wants to play in the Champions League, but we want him to stay in the team," Petrov said. "Falcao is a very good professional. He has to respect his contract with us."

Ben Yedder led Monaco's attack in Falcao's absence against Metz last weekend but was unable to prevent his new employers slipping to a second successive defeat at the start of the new season.

Rather than replace him, Ben Yedder hopes to get the chance to play alongside the 33-year-old.

"I will be glad if Falcao stays," he said. "Falcao is an extraordinary player and if he stays we will try to do everything to be at the top of the table, scoring as many goals as possible. 

"I learned a lot from the Spanish league and it's very important for me to continue and improve."

Monaco are reported to have paid €40million to trigger Ben Yedder's buyout clause, offset by receiving €20m for Lopes in a separate deal.

Islam Slimani became the French side's latest signing of a busy window on Wednesday, following on from the arrivals of Gelson Martins, Benjamin Lecomte, Henry Onyekuru, Ruben Aguilar and Ben Yedder.

Franck Ribery is to take on a new challenge in Serie A at the age of 36, having agreed a deal to join Fiorentina.

The winger has signed for La Viola on a free transfer after leaving Bayern Munich at the end of last season.

Ribery enjoyed 12 hugely successful years in Munich but is excited by the prospect of playing for "a big team" in "a beautiful city", while others of a similar age elect to wind down their careers on less high-profile shores.

The former Marseille man says he spoke with ex-team-mate Luca Toni before accepting Fiorentina's offer - a wise decision, given Toni is one of only four people to have represented both clubs as player or head coach.

Below, we look at how the others got on...

Stefan Effenberg
Bayern: 1990-92
Fiorentina:1992-94
Bayern (again): 1998-02

Although best known for his success at the heart of the midfield of Bayern - where he won three Bundesligas and the 2001 Champions League among nine trophies in total - Effenberg did spend two years in Tuscany.

Joining at the age of 24 after Lothar Matthaus had returned to Bayern to take his place, Effenberg endured a miserable first season as Fiorentina were relegated from Serie A. He helped them bounce straight back to the top flight as Serie B champions, though, before returning to Germany with Borussia Monchengladbach.

 

Mario Gomez
Bayern: 2009-13
Fiorentina: 2013-16

Gomez won the treble in 2012-13 in his final season with Bayern before heading to Florence, having scored 113 goals in 174 appearances in all competitions and lifted seven trophies.

The striker's time in Italy was unlucky, though, with knee ligament damage restricting him to only 21 starts in Serie A before he was loaned to Besiktas for the 2015-16 campaign. He helped them win the Turkish Super Lig.

 

Franck Ribery
Bayern: 2007-19
Fiorentina: 2019-?

Winning 23 trophies in 12 seasons is remarkable by anyone's standards, and it highlights just how important Ribery has been to Bayern's restoration as the pre-eminent force in German football over the past decade.

The treble of 2012-13 was his crowning achievement and should, arguably, have seen him win the Ballon d'Or. Since then, injuries have begun to take their toll, and it is unclear just how effective the Frenchman will prove to be in Italy.
 

Luca Toni
Fiorentina: 2005-07
Bayern: 2007-10
Fiorentina (again): 2012-13

Toni won the World Cup with Italy midway through an impressive first spell with Fiorentina, prompting Bayern to spend a reported €11.6million to take the striker to Germany.

Three domestic trophies in his first season were followed by a more fallow spell, however, while an Achilles injury and disagreements with coach Louis van Gaal led to his departure in 2010. A return to Fiorentina would come three years later, where he enjoyed a single productive season before heading for Hellas Verona.

 

Giovanni Trapattoni
Bayern: 1994-95
Bayern (again): 1996-98
Fiorentina: 1998-00

For a man who turned out for just two clubs as a player, Trapattoni has certainly enjoyed a nomadic coaching career.

He was twice Bayern boss, winning the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and DFB-Ligapokal in his second spell, before he returned to Italy with Fiorentina. Those two years in Florence ended trophyless, but they were enough to land him the job with the national team.

Thierry Henry is confident he can become a managerial success, despite being sacked three months into his first job as head coach of Monaco.

The 42-year-old was suspended and then dismissed by the Ligue 1 side in January after a run of four wins in 20 matches.

He had previously worked as assistant to Roberto Martinez with the Belgium national team before making the transition into management.

Seven months on from leaving Stade Louis II, former Arsenal striker Henry has targeted a return to the sport and revealed he has already received a number of offers.

"Call me crazy if you want, but I love football and I still believe I can be a successful coach," he told The Telegraph. 

"I'm not thinking about the pain, I'm not thinking about failure. I don't like easy. I like to lead and it's on me to make it happen. The same when I joined Arsenal as a player, the same when I went to Belgium with Roberto. It's an evolution. 

"My phone didn't ring for four months after I left Monaco and then all of a sudden I got five calls. Some were not what I was looking for and some were as a number two - very interesting offers, but I can't leave my staff behind. 

"I've got guys who stopped working for me and what do I say to them? 'Hey guys, you stopped working for me but now I've got a job'. I won't do a number two job because I want to be a number one."

Henry does not regret taking on the Monaco job and is grateful to have been given a chance at the club where he started his player career, but admitted he will think carefully before accepting his next position.

"There is something I always say," he said. "You win or you learn and, as you can imagine, I learned a lot. 

"I still have Monaco in my heart, it's the club that gave me my first opportunity as a player and gave me my first opportunity as a coach, so I will always be thankful to the people who gave me that, people who are there, some are gone.

"My heart talked at the time. I wanted to go back to where I started everything. I have zero regrets about what happened. It was a very difficult task and I felt that if I'd had more time I could have done more.

"If I knew I only had three months, then maybe I would have acted a different way, but I was trying to plan something for the future and doing that in such a little amount of time is very difficult."

Henry failed to inspire a turnaround during his short time at Monaco, leaving the club a point and a place above the bottom of the Ligue 1 table.

Leonardo Jardim, the man Henry replaced, was appointed as the Frenchman's successor and kept them in the top flight.

"I'm proud of what we did achieve with such a young team," Henry said. "We had to win in Caen and Amiens, and those six points were very important. I had no doubt that team was going to stay up because there was enough quality.

"I am not complaining and I can only say thank you to everybody, but to build a legacy and build something for the future, it takes time."

Daniel Sturridge has agreed a three-year contract with Trabzonspor, the Turkish Super Lig side have confirmed.

The striker, who left Liverpool at the end of last season, is set to join his new club until 2022, with the option of an extra year.

Sturridge was released by the European champions when his contract expired in June after six years at Anfield, in which he scored 67 goals in 160 appearances.

In July, the 29-year-old was fined £75,000 and banned for six weeks - four of which were suspended - for breaching betting rules in English football.

Sturridge, who was free to play again from July 31, said it was "extremely disappointing" to hear the Football Association would be appealing against what the governing body considered to be an insufficient punishment.

"I will continue to defend the case and the appeal," he said.

Trabzonspor finished fourth in the Super Lig last season, six points behind champions Galatasaray.

They face AEK in a Europa League play-off first leg on Thursday.

Ronald Koeman has named uncapped PSV forward Donyell Malen in Netherlands' provisional squad for their upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Germany and Estonia.

The 20-year-old has started seven of PSV's eight matches this season and is in contention to make his senior international bow next month.

An initial 29-man group has been named for the games against Germany in Hamburg on September 6 and Estonia in Tallinn three days later.

Ajax centre-back Joel Veltman has been recalled by Koeman but there is still no room for Lyon right-back Kenny Tete, who has been used as a sub in Lyon's first two Ligue 1 matches.

Beaten UEFA Nations League finalists Netherlands also have Liverpool pair Virgil van Dijk and Georginio Wijnaldum in their squad, while Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong and Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt are in line to feature in both matches.

Netherlands squad in full:

Marco Bizot (AZ), Jasper Cillessen (Valencia), Kenneth Vermeer (Feyenoord), Jeroen Zoet (PSV); Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace), Nathan Ake (Bournemouth), Daley Blind (Ajax), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Denzel Dumfries (PSV), Hans Hateboer (Atalanta), Terence Kongolo (Huddersfield), Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus), Joel Veltman (Ajax), Stefan de Vrij (Inter); Donny van de Beek (Ajax), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Davy Propper (Brighton and Hove Albion), Marten de Roon (Atalanta), Kevin Strootman (Marseille), Tonny Vilhena (Krasnodar), Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool); Ryan Babel (Galatasaray), Steven Berghuis (Feyenoord), Steven Bergwijn (PSV); Luuk de Jong (Sevilla), Donyell Malen (PSV), Memphis Depay (Lyon), Quincy Promes (Ajax), Wout Weghorst (Wolfsburg).

 

Leicester City have sent Islam Slimani on a season-long loan to Monaco, who confirmed the deal includes an option to buy.

Algeria striker Slimani joined Leicester from Sporting CP for a reported £28million in 2016 but he has failed to live up to expectations in the Premier League.

The 31-year-old struggled to dislodge Jamie Vardy at King Power Stadium after scoring eight goals in all competitions in his first season in England.

Slimani spent the second half of the following campaign on loan at Newcastle United and was shipped out to Fenerbahce last term.

"I am very happy to be involved with Monaco, a big club that aims to fight for the first places in the championship and to qualify for European competitions," Slimani said.

"I will give everything to help the club achieve its goals."

Slimani won the Africa Cup of Nations in July, appearing as a late substitute as Algeria defeated Senegal in the final.

Reports in England suggest Monaco are closing in on Southampton midfielder Mario Lemina as their next signing.

Leonardo Jardim's men have struggled in the early part of the new season, recording successive 3-0 losses in their opening two fixtures.

Franck Ribery has completed a move to Serie A side Fiorentina following his departure from Bayern Munich.

Ribery, 36, became a free agent when his Bayern contact expired at the end of June.

The French winger spent 12 years in Bavaria, winning nine Bundesliga titles, and was given a warm welcome by Fiorentina fans when he flew into Florence on Wednesday.

The length of the deal has not been confirmed, but reports in Italy indicate it will run for two years.

"I am here with my family. We're doing something together," Ribery told reporters when he arrived in Florence.

"I have already spoken to Fiorentina and Luca Toni, who told me this was a great club and a beautiful city."

Vincenzo Montella could potentially include Ribery in his squad for Saturday's season opener at home to Napoli, who are coached by former Bayern boss Carlo Ancelotti.

Premier League club Sheffield United, A-League side Western Sydney Wanderers and teams in Saudi Arabia and Qatar had all been linked to the former Marseille star.

Ribery made 25 appearances and 10 starts in his final Bundesliga campaign, scoring six goals.

Franck Ribery has completed a move to Serie A side Fiorentina following his departure from Bayern Munich.

Ribery, 36, became a free agent when his Bayern contact expired at the end of June.

The French winger spent 12 years in Bavaria, winning nine Bundesliga titles, and was given a warm welcome by Fiorentina fans when he flew into Florence on Wednesday.

Franck Ribery was given a warm welcome by excited Fiorentina fans as he prepares to finalise a move to the Serie A side.

The 36-year-old flew into Florence on Wednesday and is expected to undergo a medical before putting pen to paper on what will reportedly be a two-year contract.

Fiorentina shared to social media a photo of Ribery on the tarmac wearing a club scarf and polo with the caption: "#WelcomeLegend".

Addressing reporters outside the airport, the former Bayern Munich star was quoted as saying: "I am here with my family. We're doing something together.

"I have already spoken to Fiorentina and Luca Toni, who told me this was a great club and a beautiful city."

Ribery became a free agent when his Bayern contract expired at the end of June.

He spent 12 years in Bavaria, winning 23 trophies including nine Bundesliga titles and the Champions League.

The ex-Marseille star had been linked to Sheffield United, A-League side Western Sydney Wanderers and teams in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Cristiano Ronaldo believes a 25-year-old version of himself would be worth up to €300million in today's transfer market.

Juventus splashed out €112m including add-ons when they signed the Portugal captain from Real Madrid in 2018.

Only five players – Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Joao Felix, Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho – have commanded larger fees.

Two members of the quintet made their mega-money moves as teenagers and Ronaldo, now 34, has reservations about the increasing prices for youngsters who are yet to prove themselves at the top level.

"Today there is a lot of focus on potential and the football industry is different," the superstar forward told Portuguese broadcaster TVI.

"I'll put the case of Joao Felix aside. Nowadays any player is worth €100m, even without proof. There is more money in football.

"Central defenders and goalkeepers are worth €70million, €80million.

"I do not agree with it, but this is the world we live in. The market is like that, we have to respect it."

Ronaldo formerly held the all-time transfer fee record after Madrid forked out €94m to prise him away from Manchester United in 2009.

Asked how much he would be worth aged 25 in modern terms, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner replied: "It is hard to calculate.

"If a goalkeeper is worth €75m, a player who has done what I had must be worth three to four times more. Easy.

"But I have no such illusion."

Barcelona are officially making a move for Neymar and Paris Saint-Germain are set to reject their offer.

The Neymar saga is seemingly no closer to ending as the Brazil star looks to leave the Ligue 1 champions before the transfer window closes on September 2.

Barca are set to at least make a bid as they aim to get a deal done for their former star, but it will be rejected.

 

TOP STORY – PSG TO REJECT BARCELONA'S LOAN BID FOR NEYMAR

PSG have no interest in initially loaning Neymar to Barcelona, according to Le Parisien.

It was reported the bid from LaLiga's champions would be for a temporary move, but PSG want an outright transfer so they can find a replacement for the forward, amid reported interest in Juventus playmaker Paulo Dybala.

Barcelona are willing to accept a purchase option if €160million can be paid in instalments, according to Sport.

Meanwhile, the cover of Marca says Neymar is entering "Zone Florentino", referencing Real Madrid president Perez as Barca's rivals maintain hope of signing the 27-year-old.

ROUND-UP

- There could be plenty of movement at Barcelona late in the window. Juventus are discussing a potential swap deal to land Ivan Rakitic and see Emre Can head to Camp Nou, according to Tuttosport, which says the Catalans also put Luis Suarez on the table.

- One midfielder not leaving Turin is Blaise Matuidi. RMC Sport reports the France international will stay at Juventus amid links to PSG and Bayern Munich, with Can seemingly more likely to depart the Serie A champions.

- Mariano Diaz's future is uncertain. AS claims Mariano is not in Real Madrid's plans for this season, but no club has come close to meeting a €20m valuation of the forward.

- Franck Ribery is set to become a Fiorentina player. The former Bayern Munich star has agreed to a deal with the Serie A club, according to Sport Bild and Gianluca Di Marzio, with the Frenchman set to sign on Thursday.

- Amid reported interest from Manchester City and Manchester United, Jadon Sancho is said to be re-signing with Borussia Dortmund. The 19-year-old England international has sealed a £190,000-per-week long-term deal with Dortmund, according to the Daily Mail.

- Michy Batshuayi is not ready to give up on his Chelsea career. The Belgium striker wants to stay and fight for a place in Frank Lampard's team, according to the Evening Standard.

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