What's next for U-23 coach Donovan Duckie?

By George Davis, Wayne Lewis& Mariah Ramharack August 01, 2019

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  • Ribery could make Fiorentina debut against Napoli - Montella Ribery could make Fiorentina debut against Napoli - Montella

    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.

  • Ancelotti excited about Napoli potential following Lozano signing Ancelotti excited about Napoli potential following Lozano signing

    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.

  • Torres bows out in 6-1 humbling to Iniesta's Vissel Kobe as tributes continue Torres bows out in 6-1 humbling to Iniesta's Vissel Kobe as tributes continue

    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."

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