Antoine Griezmann and Neymar are not on the shortlist for The Best FIFA Men's Player award, with Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi up against Cristiano Ronaldo and Eden Hazard for this year's prize.

Griezmann completed his long-awaited €120million transfer to the Spanish champions in July but his 15-goal contribution to Atletico Madrid's second-place finish in the 2018-19 LaLiga table was not enough to impress FIFA's panel.

Liverpool trio Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk are in contention after helping the Reds to glory in last season's Champions League, while Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong have been recognised for their part in helping Ajax to the semi-finals and to a domestic title.

There is no place for 2018 winner and Ballon d'Or holder Luka Modric, nor his Real Madrid team-mate Gareth Bale, and Neymar misses out while Paris Saint-Germain colleague Kylian Mbappe is among the nominees.

 

 

The Best FIFA Men's Player nominees:

Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)
Frenkie De Jong (Barcelona)
Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus)
Eden Hazard (Real Madrid)
Harry Kane (Tottenham)
Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Mohmed Salah (Liverpool)
Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

Bayern Munich star Joshua Kimmich has cast doubt on Leroy Sane's transfer by saying the Manchester City winger would "already be here" if he wanted to join the Bundesliga champions.

Speculation over Sane's future hit fever pitch after Bayern coach Niko Kovac publicly stated he is confident of signing the Germany international, before apologising to City boss Pep Guardiola for making the comments.

Kimmich, who played in all of Bayern's Bundesliga matches last season before clinching his fourth consecutive title since joining the club in June 2015, was unable to provide an update on Sane's situation but called his international team-mate's intentions into question.

"I do not know what the signals are," Kimmich told reporters after Bayern's 6-1 Audi Cup win over Fenerbahce.

"I guess the club would like to sign him.

"If Leroy wanted to, he would probably already be here, so I do not know what the state of affairs is."

Sane scored 10 goals in 31 Premier League appearances in 2018-19 as City successfully defended the title as part of a domestic treble, and Guardiola has admitted he would be "sad" to lose the 23-year-old.

He spent three seasons as a first-team player in the Bundesliga at Schalke before making a reported €50million (£45.7m) switch to the Etihad Stadium in August 2016, and Kimmich indicated he has not built up high hopes of seeing him return to Germany.

"You read something from time to time, then you read something else," said Kimmich.

"I have no idea. I'll only hear it from you [reporters], what you write. The president [Uli Hoeness] does not come into the dressing room saying, 'hey, listen to me, we want Sane'."

Jose Mourinho insists his fiery "identity" as a coach will not change when he returns to football.

The former Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid boss has been out of the game since being sacked by Manchester United in December.

Mourinho wants his next job to be in one of Europe's top-five leagues and is open to returning to England, where intense media interest has often accompanied his prickly demeanour.

An increasingly strained relationship with United star Paul Pogba preceded the Portuguese's departure from Old Trafford but Mourinho is not about to overhaul his personality.

"You cannot lose your identity, you are who you are and honestly I am so happy with who I am," Mourinho told Sky Sports.

"But there is a new period ahead of me, there is a new challenge, I think many challenges [are] ahead of me and honestly I look to that with more enthusiasm than looking back at what I did before.

"What I did, I did because I am so motivated. It is difficult to be, for the first time, without my football."

Mourinho will, however, take new support staff into the next challenge after deciding the time is right for a "few changes".

The three-time Premier League winner parted company with long-time assistant Rui Faria ahead of the 2018-19 season.

"I analyse different sports, I meet my future staff, because my future staff is going to be different to my previous staff because I thought it was the moment for a few changes," he said.

"Nothing personal, of course not, but in relation to the knowledge, to the motivation, I think it's a good moment to do that.

"I meet them, we speak, we analyse, we try to produce documentation to be the base for the next work, so we are always thinking."

The huge swap deal involving Paulo Dybala and Romelu Lukaku is seemingly getting closer.

In what shapes as being one of the biggest moves of the close season, Dybala could be heading to Manchester United and Lukaku to Juventus.

And unlike Inter's move for the striker, Juventus appear to be making progress with the Premier League giants.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UNITED, JUVENTUS AGREE DYBALA-LUKAKU SWAP DEAL

Manchester United and Juventus have agreed a swap deal involving Dybala and Lukaku in principle, according to Sky Italia.

All that is left is for the Premier League club to agree terms with the Argentina international and the blockbuster move would be complete.

Lukaku has been heavily linked with a switch to Inter, while Dybala's Juve future has been uncertain after four seasons in Turin.

ROUND-UP

- Amid uncertainty at Valencia, former Real Madrid and Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho is being lined up as a potential replacement for coach Marcelino, according to Libertad.

- Neymar's potential return to Barcelona appears no closer to a resolution. Marca report Paris Saint-Germain have little desire to negotiate with the LaLiga champions, unwilling to even listen to offers from Barca. The saga rolls on.

- Nicolas Pepe is set to become an Arsenal player. The Mirror and The Sun report the striker's move from Lille for £72million (€78.5m) is done amid apparently leaked photos of the Ivory Coast international modelling the Premier League club's kit.

- With their move for Lukaku seemingly off, Inter are again turning to Roma striker Edin Dzeko. According to Gianluca Di Marzio, there was fresh contact between the Serie A clubs for a deal that would send Dzeko to Inter and Mauro Icardi, unwanted in Milan, to Roma. Meanwhile, he also reports Inter are continuing talks over Eintracht Frankfurt and Croatia attacker Ante Rebic.

- Moise Kean's surprise move from Juventus to Everton is almost done. According to CalcioMercato, the Premier League club have reached an agreement with Juve for a £27.5m (€30m) deal plus bonuses, which could take it to £37.5m (€40.9m), with the striker set to complete a medical on Wednesday.

- Are Manchester United looking elsewhere as they struggle to land Leicester City star Harry Maguire? Le10Sport say United are willing to make a £45.9m (€50m) offer for Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti as they look to strengthen their defence after Eric Bailly's serious knee injury.

Raphael Varane believes France team-mate Paul Pogba would be a "fantastic" addition if he joined Real Madrid.

Pogba, 26, has been heavily linked with a move to the Santiago Bernabeu this off-season, but the midfielder remains at Manchester United.

Varane, whose team's pre-season struggles continued with a 1-0 loss to Tottenham at the Audi Cup on Tuesday, would welcome Pogba to Madrid.

"I think we have a team. Pogba is a good player, I know him very well. For any team he would be fantastic," the defender said.

"I trust my team-mates. If new players come, we'll see. I trust my team-mates."

Madrid have lost three of their four pre-season games, with their only victory coming over Arsenal on penalties at the International Champions Cup.

But Varane is retaining belief in Zinedine Zidane's team, saying they would be a different beast once the season proper starts.

"I understand that you always want to improve. We are working on that and I trust in our work," he said.

"It is true that on an individual level we are making mistakes. They're not tactical, they're technical errors. This will be corrected. I think we're going to improve little by little. We are focused on our work.

"I understand that there are many expectations. I also want to see Madrid win, we all want more, it's good and normal.

"I remember that in 2017, when we won everything, we started the pre-season badly, with defeats.

"We all know that when the competition starts, Madrid is something else. This is not an excuse. We are focused on friendly matches.

"You have to be calm, this season didn't start. When it starts, we'll be ready."

Niko Kovac says he has apologised to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola after publicly stating he was confident Bayern Munich would buy Leroy Sane.

The Bundesliga champions have made no secret of their desire to bring the 23-year-old to the Allianz Arena after he appeared to fall out of favour at the Etihad Stadium towards the end of last season.

Although City's reported £90million asking price is said to have initially put Bayern off, Kovac recently suggested an agreement could soon be reached, saying: "I am very confident. I assume we can get it [done]."

Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, however, revealed his frustration at Kovac's comments ahead of the Bavarian giants' thumping 6-1 Audi Cup win over Fenerbahce on Tuesday, telling ZDF: "I did not like what he said."

The message has clearly got through to Kovac, who revealed after the game at the Allianz Arena that he has spoken to Guardiola and apologised for speaking publicly about his player.

He told ZDF: "We [Bayern and him] talked about it. Maybe I was too offensive in that interview. I talked to Pep and apologised because of it.

"I would like to apologise to the club, too. I will restrain myself in cases like this in the future."

Bayern were in fine form against their Turkish opponents, racing into a 5-0 lead at the break thanks to goals from Renato Sanches, Leon Goretzka, Kingsley Coman and two from Thomas Muller.

World Cup winner Muller completed his treble in the second half as Bayern booked their place in the final against Tottenham, who beat Real Madrid earlier in the day, on Wednesday.

Muller was introduced in the 20th minute for Serge Gnabry, who appeared to be limping as he went off, but Kovac has confirmed that his withdrawal was merely precautionary.

"Nothing happened to Serge," he explained. "He got a bit tight on his right thigh. It was just a precaution."

Harry Maguire would be a good signing for Manchester United if they can lure him from Leicester City, says Wayne Rooney.

Maguire is reportedly a target for United, as well as Premier League rivals Manchester City, but the Foxes are said to value the England international at £80million, which would be a world-record fee for a defender.

Brendan Rodgers has confirmed Leicester have already turned down two offers for the England international, who missed training on Monday, although James Maddison joked on social media his team-mate's absence was due to an upset stomach.

United's need for defensive reinforcements was exacerbated on Tuesday when it was confirmed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that Eric Bailly could be out for five months after undergoing surgery on a knee injury.

Reports in Spain have suggested United are interested in Barcelona and France defender Samuel Umtiti, but the club's all-time leading goalscorer Rooney has backed Maguire to be a success at Old Trafford.

"I think Harry's a good player and over the last few years he's improved as a player," Rooney said to ESPN FC.

"He's gotten better, and he's been a main player for Leicester City, but also for England. I think he'd be a good signing if they can get him."

While Maguire may arrive at Old Trafford ahead of August 8's transfer deadline, Paul Pogba continues to be linked with a move away.

Pogba's agent Mino Raiola confirmed this month he is working on a deal for the midfielder, who has been touted as a target for Real Madrid and former club Juventus.

"It's obviously down to the club, to the board, to the manager, but I think also to the player," Rooney added when asked about the World Cup winner.

"If the player wants to stay, he'll stay and prove what a good player he is.

"Behind the scenes, I'm sure they're working on whether to keep him or whether to let him go."

Mauricio Pochettino has reiterated he does not control Tottenham's transfers and suggested his job title at the club should change.

Pochettino, who led Spurs to the Champions League final last season, was first team coach for his first two years at the club but when he signed a new deal in 2016 his role changed to manager, which typically includes involvement in transfer business.

He has regularly shown signs of frustration at Tottenham's activity in the market, over which chairman Daniel Levy has the final say.

January arrival Lucas Moura was the north London club's only signing in 2018, although they have broken their transfer record to bring in Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele.

The former Lyon midfielder is the only fresh face in Tottenham's squad for 2019-20 at this stage, with Leeds United winger Jack Clarke remaining at Elland Road on loan after joining Pochettino's side.

Despite the lack of business, Tottenham impressed in Tuesday's 1-0 Audi Cup defeat of Real Madrid, while they have also beaten Serie A champions Juventus in pre-season.

Pochettino, though, has again indicated he is dissatisfied with Tottenham's lack of signings, with the club continuing to be linked with a move for Real Betis midfielder Giovani Lo Celso.

"I need to repeat in the past few press conferences what I told your colleagues in England," he told reporters. "I am not in charge and I know nothing about the situation of my players. I am only coaching them and trying to get the best from them.

"These type of things will happen or not happen. Sell, buy players, sign contract, not sign contract. I think it is not in my hands, it's in the club's hands and in Daniel Levy's. At the moment I am managing the team the best way possible.

"The club need to change my title and description, no? My job now is to coach the team. It's not a question for me, it's a question for the club and maybe they change my title and description.

"I told you [the media] before I am not in charge about the individual situations. Of course, I am the boss deciding the strategic play, training, mentology and philosophy are my areas, but in another area I don't know. Today, I feel like I am the coach."

Asked if he should have more say in transfers, Pochettino added: "It's difficult to talk like this but I think it's not in my hands.

"Only I describe the situation of what happens and I think it's important for the players and people to know that I am going to be, like I told you before, that I will be happy with the squad that the club are going to provide to me. Of course we will give our best.

"My mood is always the same and my emotional balance is always similar. I am emotional, but I am a person like everyone that thinks a lot. I only describe the situation to make clear that, if you have some question, I am not the person that is going to [be able to] answer what you want."

Spurs play Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich in the final of the Audi Cup on Wednesday, with the Premier League's transfer window closing on August 8 ahead of the new season getting under way.

Manchester United defender Eric Bailly will be sidelined for the foreseeable future after having knee surgery.

The 25-year-old centre-back suffered a knee injury against Tottenham during a pre-season friendly in China last week.

The initial signs were not good and Bailly may not play again in 2019, having also battled knee problems during an injury-plagued 2018-19.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed the news after watching his side scrape past Norwegian outfit Kristiansund 1-0 in Oslo on Tuesday.

"Eric has had an operation and will be out for four to five months," he said.

"Hopefully we'll have him back around Christmas time."

Solskjaer acknowledged his side were fortunate to post their fifth straight pre-season victory after Juan Mata went down in the penalty area in the 91st minute.

Mata appeared to make the most of little-to-no contact from Andreas Vaikla, the third goalkeeper used by Kristiansund during the match, before scoring from the spot.

"They held their own. They defended really well," Solskjaer told MUTV.

"Of course we couldn't really break them down. They defended well and their 'keepers, all three of them, they did really well. But it's one of these games that we might get in the league ... sometimes it's the 91st minute, sometimes it's the first minute.

"The goal was very good... quality pass, great run and you're happy winning the game."

Solskjaer's son, Noah, appeared off the bench for Kristiansund in the dying stages, while the manager was flanked by his youngest son Elijah throughout the contest.

Asked if it was a proud night for his family, the United boss added: "I think so. Noah makes his debut for them in front of 28,000. It's not very often a Norwegian boy does [that]. Elijah next to me, he enjoyed it. That's what it about."

United play AC Milan in the International Champions Cup on Saturday.

Bayern Munich chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has revealed his frustration at Niko Kovac's decision to publicly express his confidence that a deal will be struck for Leroy Sane.

Germany international Sane has spent three seasons at Manchester City since leaving Schalke, developing into one of Europe's best wingers.

Bayern have made no secret of their desire to bring the 23-year-old to the Allianz Arena and, although City's reported £90million asking price is said to have initially put them off, boss Kovac recently suggested an agreement could soon be reached.

He said on Sunday: "Our club management is very committed. It is not easy in this day and age, you see, otherwise it would already be sorted. But I am very confident. I assume we can get it [done]."

Speaking ahead of Bayern's Audi Cup clash against Fenerbahce on Tuesday, though, Rummenigge expressed his irritation with Kovac.

"I did not like what he said," he told ZDF. "We have a good relationship with Manchester City and our former coach Pep Guardiola.

"Sane still has a contract there. Neither optimistic nor pessimistic quotes help us in that matter."

Kovac is seeking attacking replacements for Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery after both wingers left Bayern at the end of the 2018-19 season.

His need for reinforcements might be accelerated further after Serge Gnabry went off injured in the first half of the game against Fenerbahce.

Wolves have signed striker Patrick Cutrone from AC Milan in a deal that could reportedly rise to around £20million.

The one-cap Italy international has left his boyhood club to take up a four-year contract at Molineux.

"I'm very pleased to be here because the club really wanted me. I'm very happy and want to give my all for the team," Cutrone said in a statement.

"The club really wanted me and being able to play in the Premier League for Wolves is fantastic. I just can't wait to get started.

"I've come here to play football. I'll have to settle in initially and I'm looking forward to heading out on to the pitch to play.

"You never stop learning and I'm here to learn new things, but I'll certainly give my all for the team."

Wolves sporting director Kevin Thelwell added: "Patrick is an exciting signing at a very exciting period for this football club.

"We have a strong philosophy under the leadership of Nuno [Espirito Santo] of bringing in the right type of people and developing young talent while staying humble and grounded as individuals, and we feel Patrick perfectly fits into our philosophy.

"We are very pleased to have a player of Patrick's ability join the club and look forward to him being a part of Nuno's squad in another historic season for Wolves."

Cutrone, 21, looked at home when he broke into Gennaro Gattuso's side two seasons ago, scoring 18 goals in all competitions.

Fewer starting chances resulted in a less prolific second campaign, although another four goals in Europe lifted his career tally on the continent to double figures.

That record could prove useful for Wolves as the Premier League club target a place in the Europa League group stage.

Nuno's men take a 2-0 advantage into the second leg of their qualifying tie against Northern Irish side Crusaders on Thursday.

Jesus Vallejo, who joined on loan from Real Madrid, is Wolves' only other new signing to date.

Milan, meanwhile, will likely have to pursue a replacement partner for Krzysztof Piatek in new boss Marco Giampaolo's preferred two-striker system.

Wolves have signed striker Patrick Cutrone from AC Milan in a deal that could reportedly rise to around £20million.

Alisson has warned Liverpool's rivals at home and abroad that a Champions League triumph will not be enough to satisfy the club's ambitions this season.

Jurgen Klopp's side were crowned kings of Europe last term but had to settle for second spot in the Premier League behind Manchester City.

The Reds' top-flight title drought now spans 29 years but optimism is rife around Anfield.

Liverpool pushed City all the way in the 2018-19 campaign and Pep Guardiola's side ultimately won the Premier League by just one point. 

Alisson wants to go one better in the league this time around as Liverpool eye success across all competitions. 

"We are excited but we have to keep our feet on the ground, just as we did last season," Alisson told Liverpool's official website.

"We want to try for everything this season so we need to work.

"The level of the football is high and similar at every club so we need to work hard to achieve the same things and achieve even more this season."

Alisson only returned to Liverpool this week after a busy off-season in which he helped Brazil to Copa America glory.

"It's a special title, as is the Champions League," he added.

"So it was an important title for me, for the nation. For Brazil, it's been a long time since we won it – the last time was 2007, if I am not mistaken, so it was important for us.

"To win two titles, two big titles during the season was great for me. I hope this season – and I will work this season – to make it more."

Premier League winner Shinji Okazaki has signed for Spanish side Malaga after leaving Leicester City on a free transfer.

The Japan international moves to the Segunda Division outfit on a one-year deal and becomes the first Asian player in Malaga's history.

Okazaki, 33, departed Leicester following the expiry of his contract at the end of June.

He spent four seasons at the King Power Stadium and scored 14 league goals, including five on the way to the Foxes' famous title triumph in 2015-16.

Okazaki will be officially presented as a Malaga player at a news conference on Wednesday.

Paris Saint-Germain have confirmed the signing of midfielder Idrissa Gueye from Everton for a reported €32million.

The 29-year-old joins the Ligue 1 champions on a four-year deal.

PSG were strongly linked with a move for Senegal international Gueye during the January transfer window.

The Toffees were able to hold on to the former Lille and Aston Villa player for the rest of the campaign but PSG have now got their man, the club's sixth new addition of the close season.

"I feel tremendous pride in joining Paris Saint-Germain," Gueye said.

"After remaining focused on the Africa Cup of Nations, I wanted to give new boost to my club career by engaging with Paris Saint-Germain, one of the most structured and ambitious sporting projects in the world.

"I thank the directors, the coach and his staff for the confidence they have shown in me."

Gueye's arrival will help to address the loss of Adrien Rabiot after the France international joined Juventus on a free transfer.

PSG have also brought in Ander Herrera, Pablo Sarabia and Abdou Diallo ahead of the 2019-20 season, with Moussa Diaby, Christopher Nkunku and Timothy Weah among the fringe players to depart.

Everton, for whom Gueye made 108 competitive appearances, have denied the money will be used to mount a second bid for Wilfried Zaha after Crystal Palace rejected their opening offer, which was said to be worth £52m.

"A bid was made over the weekend which was turned down. Both clubs agreed that was the end of the matter," the Goodison Park side said in a statement circulated on Monday.

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