Carlos Vela has been named the 2019 MLS MVP after a record-breaking season with Los Angeles FC.

Vela received 69 per cent of the weighted vote to beat LA Galaxy star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Atlanta United's Josef Martinez, and New York City pair Maxi Moralez and Heber to the award.

The 30-year-old Vela scored an unprecedented 34 goals in 31 regular-season appearances as LAFC claimed the Supporters' Shield.

Mexican forward Vela also supplied 15 assists to set a new MLS benchmark for goal involvements, surpassing Sebastian Giovinco's total of 38 (22 goals, 16 assists) for Toronto in 2015.

Despite taking his goal tally for the year to 36 with a double in the Western Conference semi-final victory over rivals the Galaxy, Vela drew a blank as Bob Bradley's team were eliminated from the MLS Cup play-offs by Seattle Sounders.

The writing has long been on the wall for Gareth Bale.

Zinedine Zidane wanted him gone from Real Madrid before the previous transfer window closed, but a move did not materialise.

But as the January window approaches, Bale is reportedly ready to leave.

 

TOP STORY – GARETH WANTS TO BALE

Gareth Bale wants to leave Real Madrid in January amid links to the Chinese Super League, according to Cadena Ser.

Bale was poised to make a shock switch to China after being told to move on by Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane, though the Welshman remained at the Santiago Bernabeu.

However, Bale is reportedly desperate for a January exit and wants Madrid to listen to offers from the CSL.

 

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- According to Calciomercato, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has offered himself to former club Juventus. Bologna have confirmed their interest in the LA Galaxy striker, whose contract is set to expire. A-League team Perth Glory want to bring the 38-year-old to Australia. Ibrahimovic spent two years at Juventus, however, the Serie A champions are reportedly not prepared to bring back the veteran as they look to trim their squad in January.

Roma are close to reaching an agreement with Manchester United for on-loan defender Chris Smalling. Calciomercato reports the Serie A side are preparing to present a €17million (£14.6m) offer for the Englishman.

William Saliba is yet to play a match for Arsenal but he could already be on the move. Saliba signed for the Gunners in July before he was immediately loaned back to Saint-Etienne for the 2019-20 season. However, Defensa Central claims Real Madrid are eyeing the 18-year-old French defender. Monaco's Benoit Badiashile and Boubacar Kamara of Marseille are also on the list to potentially replace Raphael Varane.

- The Telegraph says Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana is a target for clubs in the Chinese Super League and MLS. Lallana is out of contract at the end of the season.

Ronald Koeman dominates the frontpage of Monday's SPORT newspaper. The Netherlands boss is heavily linked to Barcelona having revealed a release clause in his contract, and amid growing pressure on head coach Ernesto Valverde .

- Former Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri and ex-Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta are among the candidates to replace Unai Emery should the Gunners sack the Spaniard, according to the Mirror. Allegri has also been linked to Bayern Munich and Manchester United, while Arteta is serving as Pep Guardiola's Manchester City assistant. Jose Mourinho has also reportedly emerged as an option.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic joining Bologna is a real possibility, according to the Serie A club's sporting director Walter Sabatini.

Ibrahimovic is set to become one of world football's most in-demand free agents with his LA Galaxy contract set to expire next month.

The MLS side are keen to extend their association with the former Sweden striker, who has suggested on social media he could return to Spain.

A-League club Perth Glory are among the teams to have confirmed their interest in Ibrahimovic, who has also been heavily linked with Napoli and a possible return to Manchester United.

It appears Bologna are also keen on the 38-year-old.

"Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Bologna is a real possibility," Sabatini told Sky Sport Italia. "Trust me, it's not impossible.

"He's considering our offer because he wants to help Sinisa Mihajlovic.

"We're trying to make it possible. It'd be fantastic. Let's see..."

Bologna 12th in the Serie A table with one win in their past eight league games after Saturday's 2-1 home loss to Inter.

Mihajlovic, the club's coach, has been undergoing treatment for leukaemia after confirming his diagnosis in July.

Ibrahimovic, whose former clubs also include Ajax, Inter, Barcelona, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain, has hit 53 goals in 58 MLS games for Galaxy.

A new striker in January is a priority at Manchester United and reports suggest a familiar face could make a sensational return to England.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has previously said the club will be doing business after Christmas, with a striker still required following the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez.

Marcus Rashford has scored three goals in his previous two matches, while Anthony Martial marked his return from injury with a goal against Norwich City last Sunday, but a surprising name could provide the answer to United's depth issues up top.

 

TOP STORY – MANCHESTER UNITED MAKE CONTACT WITH IBRAHIMOVIC

Manchester United have made contact with former striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, according to TuttoMercatoWeb.

Ibrahimovic scored 30 goals in MLS for LA Galaxy in 2019, but they were eliminated from the post-season after a 5-3 defeat to cross-town rivals LAFC in the Western Conference semi-finals last weekend.

Interest in the former Barcelona, Inter Milan and Paris Saint-Germain striker has increased since the end of LA Galaxy's season with the Swede still believing he can contribute at the highest level.

The 38-year-old is currently a free agent and scored 29 goals at Old Trafford in a brief spell with the club previously.

ROUND-UP

- One player who may create funds for Manchester United's January business is defender Chris Smalling, but Corriere dello Sport claim the Red Devils want double the €10 million price Roma are expecting to pay for him. 

- AS are reporting Edinson Cavani is weighing up his future at Paris Saint-Germain with Atletico Madrid and Inter Miami keeping tabs on the Uruguayan.

Stefano Sensi is currently on-loan at Inter Milan from Sassuolo, but Sport claim Sensi's agent is in Barcelona as speculation of a move to the Spanish champions grows.

- The Daily Mail claims Wolves will turn to Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes in January as they seek reinforcements to cover the injured Willy Boly.

- Chelsea are interested in signing Hertha Berlin winger Javairo Dilrosun when their transfer ban expires, according to Calciomercato.

- L'Equipe say Nantes are among several clubs showing interest in free agent forward Hatem Ben Arfa.

LA Galaxy will hold talks with Zlatan Ibrahimovic next week as the enigmatic Swedish striker mulls over his next move.

Ibrahimovic, 38, is out of contract in December and appears to have plenty of options in Europe and beyond.

The former Inter, Barcelona and Manchester United striker has been linked with several clubs in Serie A and himself hinted at a return to Spain in a cryptic Instagram post.

A-League club Perth Glory have also confirmed their interest.

But, according to Galaxy general manager Dennis te Kloese, a third season in the United States is not yet out of the question.

"My deal with him, and I have known him for a long time, is to sit down with him after things have calmed down post-season and evaluate what is good for him, his family, his fitness and for us as well," Te Kloese told ESPN Deportes.

Ibrahimovic has shone since moving to MLS from Old Trafford, scoring 53 goals across two seasons, but his regular criticism of the playing standard has made waves.

"You all already know Zlatan," Te Kloese added.

"He is a topic all by himself, he is a unique character with so many facets, and I think he helped us this year, basically and obviously with the number of goals he scored, which was so impressive.

"And all of that we will be talking about, for sure, next week when he returns.

"He is a very mature athlete in that sense and so we will first and foremost be speaking like adults, and after that we will determine what is the best for all parties involved."

Australian club Perth Glory confirmed they have made an approach for LA Galaxy superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Ibrahimovic's contract is set to expire following the Galaxy's elimination from the MLS play-offs and the 38-year-old striker is attracting interest.

Former Manchester United, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus star Ibrahimovic has been linked with a move to LaLiga, as well as Napoli, Bologna and Inter amid talk of a return to Europe.

Now, A-League premiers Perth have thrown their hat into the ring to bring the ex-Sweden international to Australia on a reported guest-player deal for up to six games this year.

"An approach has been made to his agent [Mino Raiola]," Glory CEO Tony Pignata told Fairfax.

"We've asked the question firstly about his availability and secondly of his interest."

Ibrahimovic has flourished since moving to Los Angeles from Premier League giants United in 2018 – scoring 53 goals across two seasons for the Galaxy.

Nick DeLeon's stunning late goal led Toronto past defending champions Atlanta United 2-1 and through to the MLS Cup final.

With 12 minutes remaining in Atlanta on Wednesday, DeLeon produced a thunderous long-range effort that beat Brad Guzan and secured Toronto's spot in the November 10 final.

Toronto will travel to Seattle Sounders in a rematch of the 2017 decider, which the Canadian side won 2-0.

After Los Angeles FC's shock defeat to Seattle on Tuesday, there was another upset as Frank de Boer's Atlanta were dethroned on home soil.

Julian Gressel gave Atlanta a fourth-minute lead after a selfless pass from team-mate Gonzalo Martinez at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

However, their lead only lasted 10 minutes as Toronto's Nicolas Benezet found the far corner of the net with a curling effort.

Toronto had the final say away from home after DeLeon somehow created enough space to find the top corner in the 78th minute.

Kylian Mbappe is the star attraction of the latest Team of the Week on FIFA Ultimate Team after he scored twice for Paris Saint-Germain in the 4-0 Classique win over Marseille on Sunday.

Although the Frenchman has had an injury-hit start to the season, he has still managed to net eight goals in nine appearances across all competitions, with PSG looking sharp.

He is not joined in the team by Jamie Vardy, however. The striker scored a hat-trick as Leicester City equalled the record for the biggest Premier League win when they demolished Southampton 9-0 on Friday.

Instead of the English forward, his Leicester team-mate Ayoze Perez – who also netted a treble – gets the nod, though he only takes a place among the substitutes, with Ben Chilwell the only Foxes star in the starting XI.

Below, we have the full squad of in-form cards that are now up for grabs online.

FUT Team of the Week

GK: Matz Sels (Strasbourg) – 82

CB: Domagoj Vida (Besiktas) – 83

CB: Nicolas Nkoulou (Torino) – 84

LB: Ben Chilwell (Leicester City) – 82

RM: Karim Bellarabi (Bayer Leverkusen) – 84

CM: Saul Niguez (Atletico Madrid) – 86

CDM: Fabinho (Liverpool) – 86

LW: Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain) – 90

CAM: Yusuf Yazici (Lille) – 82

ST: Carlos Vela (Los Angeles FC) – 85

ST: Josip Ilicic (Atalanta) – 86

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Gabriel (Lecce) – 81

CB: Bernardo Espinosa (Espanyol) – 81

LM: Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) – 82

CAM: Calvin Stengs (AZ) – 81

RW: Ayoze Perez (Leicester City) – 82

ST: Karl Toko-Ekambi (Villarreal) – 82

ST: Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham) – 82

RESERVES

CAM: Zelimkhan Bakaev (Spartak Moscow) – 78

RM: Maicol Balanta (Independiente Santa Fe) – 75

LM: Amahl Pellegrino (Kristiansund) – 72

ST: Kodjo Fo-Doh Laba (Al Ain) – 79

ST: Eoin Doyle (Swindon Town) – 73

Raul Ruidiaz scored twice as Seattle Sounders shocked Los Angeles FC 3-1 to advance to the MLS Cup final.

Supporters' Shield champions LAFC had dominated throughout the season and broke records along the way, however, Bob Bradley's side came unstuck on Tuesday.

The visiting Sounders took control after Eduard Atuesta opened the scoring for LAFC in the 17th minute, with quick-fire goals from Ruidiaz and Nicolas Lodeiro putting Seattle ahead nine minutes later.

Seattle sealed their place in the November 10 final thanks to Ruidiaz's second goal of the match with 26 minutes remaining in Los Angeles – the Sounders to face either defending champions Atlanta United or Toronto in the decider.

Confidence was high at Banc of California Stadium after LAFC overcame city rivals LA Galaxy in an eight-goal thriller in the Western Conference semi-finals.

LAFC looked on track to reach their maiden final when Atuesta curled a stunning free-kick past Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei, however, that was as good as it got.

Ruidiaz scored a 22nd-minute equaliser following a brilliant moment of skill and Lodeiro's effort from outside the penalty area gave the Sounders the lead four minutes later.

Seattle's place in their third MLS Cup final, having won the title in 2016 and finished runners-up the following year, was secured when Ruidiaz completed his brace after the hour.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has announced he is "coming back" to Spain in what could be a hint over his next career move.

The 38-year-old's contract with LA Galaxy expires in December and he has previously talked up a possible return to Europe.

A move to Italy seemed most likely, with a host of Serie A clubs - including Napoli - believed to have showed an interest.

However, the former Barcelona striker posted a short clip on Instagram on Tuesday that may point to a future move to a LaLiga club.

"Hola Espana, guess what? I am coming back," he said.

Ibrahimovic, also touted as a target for South American teams Boca Juniors and Flamengo, spent one season in the Spanish top flight with Barcelona in 2009-2010.

The former Sweden international was on Monday named in the MLS Best XI for 2019 after scoring 30 goals and assisting seven more in 29 regular-season matches.

Despite his prolific form in front of goal, LA Galaxy were eliminated from the MLS play-offs by Los Angeles FC last week.

As well as Barcelona, Ibrahimovic's former clubs include Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Inter, AC Milan, Ajax and Juventus.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Carlos Vela have been named in the MLS Best XI for 2019.

LA Galaxy striker Ibrahimovic was named in the side for the second successive campaign after scoring 30 goals and assisting seven more in 29 regular-season matches.

Vela has enjoyed a stellar year with Los Angeles FC, meanwhile, having netted a single-season record 34 goals to win the Golden Boot and earn links with a move to LaLiga giants Barcelona.

LAFC won the Supporters' Shield and are well represented, with midfielder Eduard Atuesta and defender Walker Zimmerman also included.

There was also a place for Atlanta United's Josef Martinez, who broke his own MLS record by scoring a goal in 15 consecutive matches this year.

Vito Mannone got the nod in goal after making 129 saves in his debut campaign with Minnesota United, helping them qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time.

 

MLS Best XI: Vito Mannone (Minnesota); Ike Opara (Minnesota), Miles Robinson (Atlanta), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC); Alejandro Pozuelo (Toronto), Carles Gil (New England), Eduard Atuesta (LAFC), Maxi Moralez (NYCFC); Carlos Vela (LAFC), Josef Martinez (Atlanta), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA Galaxy).

Carlos Vela would fit in perfectly at LaLiga champions Barcelona, according to his Mexico team-mate and Blaugrana youth product Jonathan dos Santos.

Barca reportedly considered a move for the former Arsenal and Real Sociedad forward in January as they sought cover for Luis Suarez.

The short-term switch failed to materialise, however, with the Spanish champions instead signing Kevin-Prince Boateng, who barely featured in his six months at the club.

Should Barca come calling again, though, Dos Santos – whose LA Galaxy side were beaten 5-3 by Vela's Los Angeles FC in the MLS Western Conference semi-final on Friday – believes Vela would have no problems slotting in alongside Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann and Suarez.

Dos Santos, who played for Barca between 2009 and 2014 after also representing their academy and B team, told reporters: "Vela could fit in at Barcelona. He is a great player with a lot of quality; he has shown it in every team that has been.

"I hope a team like Barcelona is interested in Vela. He would do well surrounded by such excellent players."

Speaking after Friday's game, Galaxy star Zlatan Ibrahimovic made headlines by suggesting MLS would be forgotten quickly if he were no longer playing in the league.

Amid rumours the former Sweden international could return to Europe when his contract expires in December, Dos Santos said: "Zlatan is very mysterious. He has not said anything else after the game and if he stays he will help us a lot in the campaign. He is a player of excellent quality."

AC Milan director Paolo Maldini believes "fear" could hold Zlatan Ibrahimovic back from returning to Serie A.

LA Galaxy superstar Ibrahimovic's contract is set to expire and the former Milan, Inter and Juventus striker has been linked with a move back to Italy.

Ibrahimovic, whose side were eliminated from the MLS play-offs by Los Angeles FC, claimed he would score 20 goals a season in Serie A amid growing links to Napoli, Bologna and Inter.

The possibility of Ibrahimovic returning to Milan has also been mentioned as the Rossoneri struggle for goals, however, Maldini cast doubt over the 38-year-old's Italy comeback.

"Ibra would be a dream return for many reasons, but I think within his mind there is a little fear that he won't be the dominant Ibra of old," Maldini told Sky Sport Italia.

"I remember when [former Milan head coach] Carlo Ancelotti put me on the bench for a derby and that's when I realised, I could not accept a season like that. I don't know if Ibra could accept that either.

"Krzysztof Piatek is a good striker. He needs to think more about playing with the team, but his strength is scoring goals."

Ibrahimovic has flourished since moving to Los Angeles from Manchester United in 2018 – scoring 53 goals across two seasons for the Galaxy.

 

 

Kylian Mbappe is long admired by Real Madrid and they are again intent on adding the 20-year-old to their front line, it seems.

Mbappe was linked with a switch to the Santiago Bernabeu before opting to stay in Ligue 1 when joining Paris Saint-Germain from Monaco in the 2017-18 season.

The Spanish giants have not forgotten about the France international, though, and are planning to move two superstars on in order to get their man, according to reports.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE BACK ON MADRID'S RADAR WITH BALE AND JAMES TO MAKE WAY

Real Madrid were unable to land Kylian Mbappe a couple of seasons ago, but they are keen to sign him over the next few transfer windows, according to Calciomercato.

Mbappe is one of world football's star names and would fit into the old Galactico culture at Madrid, although Los Blancos would need to offload two star names in order to raise finances and complete a deal with Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain.

One of those names is Gareth Bale, who is still reportedly unhappy at Madrid, while Colombia playmaker James Rodriguez could also move on having struggled at times to find form this season following a loan spell at Bayern Munich.

It remains to be seen whether any club is willing to pay the substantial transfer fee and wages required to secure either of the duo, but if they do make way then it could pave the way for Mbappe's move.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying in Madrid and ElDesmarque believe Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba could be heading to Real Madrid in exchange for Gareth Bale and €90million.

- Bleacher Report claim Mesut Ozil's advisors are trying to convince the Arsenal playmaker to make a switch to MLS.

- Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly is the number one transfer target for Manchester City, according to Calciomercato.

- Manchester Evening News are reporting City may also take up their option to buy back Douglas Luiz from Aston Villa.

- Frank Lampard is hopefully of securing Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham to new contracts at Chelsea, Goal have said.

- Athletic Bilbao defender Unai Nunez is a January transfer target for Bayern Munich, say Spox.

- Argentina striker Lautaro Martinez's contract talks with Inter have been put on ice as Barcelona and United circle for the 22-year-old's signature, according to Calciomercato.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic wondered if Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson was distracting the El Trafico VAR when Carlos Vela's controversial second goal was allowed to stand.

Los Angeles FC claimed their first victory over rivals LA Galaxy in the MLS Western Conference semi-finals, running out 5-3 winners in an instant classic.

Vela netted twice to open the scoring, but his second effort saw a borderline call go in LAFC's favour, with Brian Rodriguez and the Mexican having appeared to be offside in the build-up.   

LAFC part-owner Johnson was in the stands, prompting Ibrahimovic to playfully suggest he had a role in the referee's failure to reassess the decision with the help of VAR.

Told Vela's strike was offside by a reporter, Ibrahimovic replied: "Was it? Are you sure? Are you 100 per cent sure? And you think we didn't know that? But the referee didn't know that.

"[VAR] didn't [get involved]. What was he doing upstairs? Drinking coffee with Magic Johnson?

"It's difficult, because if you have the VAR, it means the game is extra-controlled by the fifth referee upstairs. But if he's drinking coffee with Magic Johnson, it's difficult to play the game.

"He has to be in control. [The referee] didn't even go out and check. He said he needed a signal from the VAR people to go out and check. So what are the VAR people doing?

"But I don't want to complain about that, guys. We just lost, and I don't want to be a loser complaining about the refs because it's not my level."

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