Ronaldo has hailed Inter's capture of Romelu Lukaku and believes the partnership with Lautaro Martinez will be "almost perfect".

Belgian striker Lukaku returns to Inter following a disappointing season with Chelsea, where he fell down Thomas Tuchel's pecking order following an interview where he expressed his desire to rejoin the Nerazzurri.

That move materialised in the current window, with Lukaku arriving on loan, having struck 30 goals across all competitions during Inter's Serie A title-winning 2020-21 campaign.

Ronaldo believes Inter would have defended their title if Lukaku had remained at the club last season, when Milan narrowly pipped them to the crown, and rates him as a "guarantee" to shine in the upcoming campaign.

"It will be a good fight between Inter and Juve. I don't see Milan as the favourite, even if whoever wins the Scudetto can never be considered out of the race. Inter could have won last year, Juve can't afford another wrong year," Brazil great Ronaldo told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Lukaku and Lautaro can be an almost perfect pairing. A lot of feeling, a lot of goals: things that are good for a team."

"Inter lost the Scudetto by losing the derby and mishandling the only two months of difficulty of the season. It's in those moments that you need courage, to win complicated games instead of drawing them. You need to cling to someone: clinging to someone as big as Lukaku is easier."

Ronaldo, who played for Inter from 1997 to 2002, also shared his thoughts on the situation with Paulo Dybala, who was heavily linked to the Nerazzurri following the end of his contract with Juventus but eventually joined Roma.

"In football you can't always do what you want, and maybe you want a certain thing, but you set yourself limits," Ronaldo said.

Inter's rejuvenation of their attack is set to continue with the departure of Alexis Sanchez, who is widely reported to have agreed to terminate his contract at San Siro.

A move to French outfit Marseille has been mooted for the former Arsenal and Manchester United forward.

Wales defender Joe Rodon has secured a season-long loan move from Tottenham to Rennes, with a permanent option included.

The 24-year-old leaves Antonio Conte's side in search of more regular opportunities ahead of Wales' World Cup campaign, which will be the nation's first since 1958.

Rodon made just 10 appearances for Spurs last season, including in the Conference League against Rennes, amid fierce competition for first-team football – and the signing of Clement Lenglet from Barcelona pushed him further down the pecking order.

Opportunities should be more forthcoming with the Ligue 1 side, who hold a clause to make the deal permanent next year for a reported fee of £17million.

The former Swansea City defender is a key part of Rob Page's international set-up, forging a partnership with Spurs' Ben Davies at the heart of Wales' backline and earning 28 caps to date.

Wales sealed their spot in Qatar with a play-off victory against Ukraine and will be in Group B alongside England, Iran and the United States.

A transfer to Rennes will also offer the opportunity of European football, with a fourth-placed finish in Ligue 1 last season securing a spot in the Europa League.

Rennes technical director Florian Maurice said Rodon had "no hesitation" about joining.

"He's a real central defender who likes to defend, he has that aggressive side that we need to allow us to be even more effective defensively," Maurice said.

"He is an international, a starter with Wales and will certainly be called up to play in the World Cup in November."

Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie must miss the opening weeks of the Serie A season after joining Paul Pogba on the injured list.

The United States international had been relishing the prospect of teaming up with new recruit Pogba in the new campaign, but that may not materialise for a long time.

Pogba could be sidelined for several months after suffering a knee injury, and Juventus have yet to decide whether he should undergo an operation.

They would have hoped to have McKennie available while Pogba recovers, but, like the Frenchman, he returned hurt from the team's pre-season US tour, damaging his left shoulder.

Juventus said in a statement on Monday: "Weston McKennie underwent radiological examinations at J Medical [the club's medical centre] this morning, which revealed a capsular lesion of the left shoulder. The player will begin rehabilitation, three weeks' differentiated work will be required."

McKennie sat out the final game of the Juventus tour, a 2-0 loss to Real Madrid at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday.

The Turin giants begin their Serie A campaign against Sassuolo on August 15, with further games against Sampdoria, Roma and Spezia to come before the end of the month.

If McKennie is to be carrying out rehab and solo fitness work for three weeks, he appears unlikely to feature in any of the August fixtures.

 

Pogba looks to be a certain absentee too, and reports in Italy have suggested he may not play again until early 2023 should the former Manchester United man require surgery.

Having made just 21 Serie A appearances for Juventus last season, McKennie was touted for a potential move away, with a number of Premier League clubs suggested as possible destinations.

However, head coach Massimiliano Allegri declared in July the club had no intention of selling the 23-year-old former Schalke player.

Mauricio Pochettino does not believe Kylian Mbappe had a big say in his sacking and maintains he did a good job at Paris Saint-Germain.

PSG parted company with the Argentine coach in July, just 18 months after appointing him as head coach, naming Christophe Galtier as his replacement.

The former Tottenham boss won the Ligue 1 title last season, the Coupe de France in 2021 and the Trophee des Champions during his short reign.

Pochettino was unable to mastermind a first Champions League triumph for the Parisian giants, though, as they were knocked out by Real Madrid after squandering a two-goal lead in the last-16 stage.

There has been talk of Mbappe perhaps having increased power at PSG after he snubbed Madrid to sign a new contract, but Pochettino does not think the France forward pushed for him to be fired.

Pochettino said in a long interview with Infobae: "What I think is that PSG have done everything possible to retain Kylian and I also agree with that.

"He is one of the best players in world football today and I think that PSG, having all the resources to do it, have convinced him to stay.

"But I don't think Kylian is the one who designed the new project either. Those who rule, in this case the president [Nasser Al-Khelaifi], are those who would have thought that the most convenient thing was a new project in the club."

 

Pochettino feels there is too great an obsession with winning the Champions League at PSG, with anything but lifting the trophy deemed to be a failure.

"The only thing that has changed a bit now [from when he played for PSG] is the expectation, which is the Champions League, the Champions League and the Champions League," he said.

"The obsession is the Champions League and everything that is not winning the Champions League is synonymous with failure, but not for us. I believe that.

"We have done a job in which we have been honest, we have worked as hard as we could, and we had that misfortune in the last minutes against Madrid.

"We reached a semi-final last year when Mbappe was injured in the first leg against Manchester City, and with him in Manchester we could have reached the final after knocking out Barcelona and Bayern Munich. In other words, I think we have done a good job, perhaps not recognised externally because the expectation was to win the Champions League."

Sassuolo managing director Giovanni Carnevali says Juventus are still competing with Napoli to try and sign Giacomo Raspadori and "anything can happen" before the transfer window closes.

Napoli are reported to have emerged as the favourites to sign the Italy forward, who has just under two years remaining on his contract.

Juve are said to have cooled their interest in the 22-year-old, who was part of the Azzurri squad that won Euro 2020 last year.

Sassuolo sold striker Gianluca Scamacca to West Ham last week for a fee £30.5million (€36m) plus £5m in add-ons and look set to lose another prized asset.

Carnevali said in an interview with Il Giornale: "For Giacomo there are the eyes of Napoli and Juventus.

"It is clear that the transfer market is still long and anything can still happen, but it is equally true that our idea is to end the negotiations within a few days to concentrate on the championship.

"The goal is to enhance youngsters, just like Gianluca Scamacca and his arrival in the Premier League is a fantastic recognition."

Raspadori scored 10 goals and provided five assists for Sassuolo in Serie A last season.

Christian Eriksen revealed he snubbed repeated advances from Manchester United before signing up last month.

The Denmark international joined Erik ten Hag's side on a free transfer in July following a short-term stint with Brentford, having left Inter due to medical issues that meant he was no longer able to play in Italy.

The implantable cardioverter-defibrillator he had fitted after suffering cardiac arrest at the European Championship last year counted Eriksen out of a Serie A return to action.

Eriksen excelled with Thomas Frank's Brentford side, scoring once and contributing four assists in 11 Premier League matches, leading to United's interest.

He indicated he had previously spoken to Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer about a potential move, having been admired since first moving to the Premier League in 2013 with Tottenham.

"I've spoken to every manager who's been here at Man United to see what the situation was," Eriksen told ESPN.

"But I was at Spurs at the time and I really couldn't see myself playing in another English team at that time. I went abroad and went to Inter.

"It's been on the books, well, not on the books but it's been spoken about. For me, it wasn't the [right] timing, it wasn't there and I was at a place at Spurs for a long time and I wanted to try something abroad, and I went to Inter and ended up having a lovely time.

"But then obviously something happened in the summer and that changed a bit the career path I had in mind, and then obviously to come back to Brentford first of all and then to be here is something I didn't think could happen a year ago."

Eriksen's impressive form at Brentford led to United battling the London side for his services, but the midfielder denied there was a possibility of a return to Tottenham.

"It was only talk. They never really came with anything, so it wasn't really a thing for me to go back to Tottenham at the time and Man United were very early on, very positive and I had good conversations," he said.

"It was very positive from the first few phone calls already and the club felt like they wanted me, so it was on for a long time."

Barcelona president Joan Laporta suggested the club's spending may not be overnand hinted at a move for reported target Bernardo Silva should head coach Xavi request it.

The Manchester City midfielder has been linked with a move to Camp Nou as a potential replacement for Frenkie de Jong, who is rumoured to be of interest to Manchester United and Chelsea.

Barca have already signed Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Franck Kessie, Andreas Christensen and Jules Kounde during the transfer window, though questions had been raised whether the club would be able to register them.

Speaking at a media conference to present Kounde after his move from Sevilla, Laporta explained the current situation around player registration, stating: "We are optimistic. We are doing everything possible to register the new purchases.

"I hope that the interpretation we give of the regulation is the same as [LaLiga]. There is time until August 13."

When asked if the club would be looking to add Silva as well, he replied: "First we have to register the players, then we will see what to do if the coach [Xavi] asks for more reinforcements."

The club also announced it had activated a third economic lever in order to try and register their new arrivals.

A statement on the Barca website on Monday read: "FC Barcelona announces the sale of 24.5 per cent of Barca Studios to the company Socios.com for €100million to accelerate the club's audiovisual, blockchain, NFT and Web.3 strategy.

"The sale has been made in accordance with the authorisation of the General Assembly of FC Barcelona Members held last October 23."

Barca, who had reportedly been €1.3billion in debt, had relied on two economic levers so far, the first seeing the Catalan giants sell 10 per cent of their LaLiga broadcasting rights to American investment firm Sixth Street.

The second reported involved transferring a further 15 per cent of their television rights to Sixth Street for the next 25 years, supposedly raising more than €500m from both.

Real Madrid have confirmed the departure of forward Borja Mayoral, who has joined Getafe on a five-year deal.

The 25-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan with Getafe, scoring six goals in 18 matches, and leaves Madrid after 15 years associated with the Spanish giants.

With Madrid, Mayoral has won the Champions League, Club World Cup, Super Cup and Supercopa de Espana, although he never quite established himself as a regular within the first-team squad.

Mayoral made his debut for Madrid in 2015 but subsequently went on loan to Wolfsburg for the 2016-17 season, returning to the Santiago Bernabeu the following year.

A two-year loan with Levante was followed by a two-season spell with Roma, which was cut short in January with Getafe taking over the deal for the remainder of the 2021-22 campaign before securing his permanent signing.

Jules Kounde has detailed the role Xavi played in bringing the defender to Barcelona from Sevilla, describing how "important" it was the coach was pushing for the deal.

The 23-year-old was long courted by Premier League outfit Chelsea, who were widely reported to be set to secure a deal before Barcelona moved to hijack the agreement.

It was the second time in the window a late Barca move had frustrated the English side, with the Blaugrana beating them to the signature of Raphinha from Leeds United, while they also signed Andreas Christensen on a free transfer from the Blues.

For Kounde, though, the key to his decision was the conversations he had with Xavi.

"I had some good conversations with Xavi, he always expressed desire for me to come here, and that was important for me," he told a news conference.

"This is an important moment in my career, and in the conversations, he asked me to continue to do what I was doing in Sevilla, to continue to be aggressive, bring the ball out from the back, distribute, those are some of my strengths. 

"Barcelona is a great club, very demanding as well, and that's something that Xavi talked to me about."

Kounde's arrival at Barcelona comes as part of a significant recruitment drive from Xavi's side, with Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Christensen and Franck Kessie fellow new arrivals.

However, the France international has an advantage due to his experience of playing in Spain and believes he will quickly settle into the club.

"My knowledge of the league is going to make it easier to adapt as soon as possible, to adapt to the Barcelona style as well," he explained.

"My coach is obviously going to ask me to know my team-mates as well, and that's going to take time, but it won't be a problem.

"There is lots of competition, I think it's very good for the team. It's good to have a lot of competition in each spot; there are lots of games, of course.

"What I have to do here is grow and learn. I'm very young still, and I'm here to help the team at any given moment, whatever the coach asks of me and my team-mates.

"It's good that there is competition, I'm really looking forward to playing, and when there's competition, it's a challenge and that's great."

Neymar insists team-mate Lionel Messi has nothing to prove to his critics in his second season as a Paris Saint-Germain player.

Messi had an underwhelming first campaign with PSG following his move from Barcelona, scoring 11 goals in 34 games – down on the 38 scored with Barca the previous year.

Those 11 goals came from an expected goals (xG) value of 16.8, suggesting Messi underperformed in front of goal based on the quality of his chances.

Messi assisted 14 goals, though, 10 of which came after the turn of the year – only Barca's Ousmane Dembele (11) has managed more across Europe's top five leagues in 2022.

The 35-year-old impressed in his first competitive outing of the 2022-23 campaign on Sunday as he opened the scoring in PSG's 4-0 Trophee des Champions win over Nantes.

However, when asked if that display is a sign of a new Messi at PSG, Neymar leapt to the defence of his colleague.

"I don't think so. I think people talk too much," he told Amazon Prime. "They don't know what's going on every day, what's going on inside.

"Leo, it's Leo. It's still Leo, it doesn't change. No, he continues to make the difference. He adapts.

"It is obvious that we hope that everything goes well for the three of us, for me, for Leo, for Kylian [Mbappe]. If the three of us are well, I'm sure it's good for the team."

 

Neymar scored twice after Messi had opened the scoring in Tel Aviv and Sergio Ramos was also on target as PSG won their first silverware under Christophe Galtier.

The Parisians have now won 11 Trophee des Champion crowns, including nine of the past 10 editions of the competition.

Neymar, who also created a game-high three chances, is pleased to have started the new campaign – his sixth with PSG – in style.

"I'm satisfied. We had a very good match with the team," he said. "It's very important to start winning and it's a match that ends in a trophy. Whatever happens, you have to win."

Wayne Rooney kept his belief in his DC United team as his coaching reign in MLS started in familiar fashion, with a dramatic late win over Orlando City.

Several highlights of Rooney's playing career with DC had come against Orlando.

The former England captain had five goal involvements in three meetings with Orlando, netting in both matches in 2019 – including a stunning strike from his own half.

But the most iconic moment of Rooney's MLS stint came in his first clash with the Lions in 2018.

The forward provided two assists, including a remarkable intervention to snatch a 3-2 win in the 96th minute, with Rooney tracking down a counter-attack – as Orlando's Will Johnson raced towards an open goal – and then crossing for Luciano Acosta's decisive header.

Sunday's coaching bow was similarly sensational, as DC still trailed to Junior Urso's early strike entering second-half stoppage time.

But a pair of late goals from Chris Durkin, in the 91st minute, and Taxi Fountas, in the 95th, ensured a winning start for Rooney, who had been confident the chances would come.

"I told them they'd win the game," Rooney said of his half-time message to the MLS strugglers. "I believed we'd win the game.

"But the one thing we had to do was up the tempo. We were moving the ball across the back and with the goalkeeper side to side, and it was too slow. We were allowing Orlando to shift across and not really making them run as hard as we wanted them to.

"That was the big difference second half, the tempo with which we moved the ball and really made Orlando suffer and work and run.

"When a team's doing that, then gaps appear. We have to take advantage of those gaps, and we did."

It was just the 10th instance in MLS history of a team trailing at the start of stoppage time and still winning, with DC accounting for three of those.

Rooney acknowledged the nature of the victory could be vital for confidence moving forward.

"'Character' is a big word I've used over the last couple of weeks with the team," he said. "We need to be a team which shows a lot of character and fight and togetherness."

Rooney added: "I think [it is important] for the players, more than myself. I think the players needed that.

"This season has to start now. They've had some bad results in the first half of the season, and I think tonight the fashion we won the game – coming from a goal behind, scoring two late goals, the subs who came on were excellent...

"But we've got another tough game on Wednesday. We can't rest and think we've won a game; we have to be consistent, we have to go on a run."

Brendan Rodgers insisted Leicester City would not be selling Wesley Fofana to Chelsea and derided Newcastle United's reported offer for James Maddison.

Leicester are the only Premier League club yet to make a new signing with less than a week to go before the start of the season.

With finances said to be tight at the King Power Stadium, a number of key players appear to be of interest to rival clubs.

Chelsea are reportedly considering a move for centre-back Fofana, having lost Antonio Rudiger to Real Madrid and Andreas Christensen to Barcelona while missing out on top targets Matthijs de Ligt to Bayern Munich and Jules Kounde also to Barca.

Reports suggest Leicester would only countenance the sale of one of Fofana or Maddison, and Rodgers ruled out the possibility of his top defender departing.

"Naturally, he's a top talent," Rodgers said following Sunday's 1-0 friendly win over Sevilla. "He's not for sale.

"He still has lots of improvements to make. He's very happy here, he really enjoys being here.

"Naturally, he will attract the interest of other clubs. Our job, in not signing anyone so far, is to at least keep the players we have. I know that's the intention of the club."

Rodgers was slightly less firm on Maddison's future, although he suggested the £40million fee Newcastle were said to be willing to pay fell well short of the midfielder's value.

Newcastle have also been linked to Maddison's team-mates Youri Tielemans and Harvey Barnes, while they last season targeted Rodgers himself before appointing Eddie Howe.

"He's still very much a player here," Rodgers said of Maddison. "Naturally, the players are sought after because they are talents.

"You see his performance, you see how happy he is, and he's not a player we want to sell.

"It's not for me to put valuations on the players, it's not my side, but [£40m] might just cover three-quarters of his left leg, that price. He's a top player."

Another player who could leave Leicester is captain Kasper Schmeichel, who has held talks with Nice.

Lucien Favre, coach of the Ligue 1 club, said over the weekend a potential move was "a real lead" but "not yet done".

Rodgers added: "There's been a little bit of interest over the summer.

"Kasper has earned the right to have a think about the next chapter of his career and where that's going to be. When there's something concrete, we'll sit and discuss it and take it from there."

Wayne Rooney began his DC United reign with a dramatic comeback victory as two stoppage-time goals from his team secured a 2-1 victory over Orlando City.

The head coach watched on in a baseball cap as Chris Durkin and Taxiarchis Fountas struck late on, stunning an Orlando side who had led since the ninth minute after Junior Urso's sublime chipped finish.

Durkin fired DC level from close to the penalty spot in the first added minute after the regulation 90 was complete, finding the top-left corner with a first-time finish after meeting Ola Kamara's clever low cutback from the left wing.

A draw would have been a decent result for DC, who sit at the foot of the Eastern Conference, but it got even better as a superb goal won it. A volleyed cross from the left by Kimarni Smith was met 12 yards out by Fountas, and he deftly diverted the ball into the bottom-right corner. It was a team-leading 11th goal of the season for Fountas.

It meant that DC United won an MLS game after trailing at half-time for the first time since March 7 2020, when they did so against Inter Miami. That dismal 25-game barren run is over, with the Rooney impact already being felt.

The record goalscorer for Manchester United and England has joined DC – a team where he also had a two-season playing stint – after recently leaving English club Derby County.

Midfielder Ravel Morrison, recruited by Rooney, attempted 96 passes in the game, and that ranks as the highest total for a DC United player in MLS this season.

Orlando had not lost an away game in MLS when leading at half-time since September 22, 2019, the date they allowed a lead to slip against Houston Dynamo.

Christophe Galtier praised Paris Saint-Germain's "desire" after they won the Trophee des Champions with a resounding 4-0 victory over Nantes on Sunday.

Lionel Messi opened the scoring at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv, before Neymar doubled their advantage with a fine free-kick.

Sergio Ramos added a third, with Neymar grabbing his second from the penalty spot late on after an incident that saw Jean-Charles Castelletto dismissed.

PSG reclaimed the Trophee des Champions after their streak of eight consecutive wins was ended by Lille last season, and Galtier was delighted with his side's application in his first competitive game at the helm.

"We played a very serious match and I like the fact that we approached with great desire and determination," he told Amazon Prime Video. 

"We created some good chances at the start of the match and they had one or two of their own. 

"We were consistent and I saw players making a lot of effort; that's important to me. It's a great victory. It's good to bring the trophy back to Paris."

PSG cruised to the Ligue 1 title last season, yet they came under heavy criticism after throwing away a two-goal aggregate lead to crash out of the Champions League at the hands of Real Madrid at the last 16 stage.

That ultimately led to Mauricio Pochettino losing his job at the end of the campaign, and Galtier says he has seen enough during his brief tenure at the club to suggest the players are ready to right last season's wrongs.

"I think PSG were criticised last season when they were champions," he added. 

"These are players that I have observed a lot, with whom I discuss things. There must be a group dynamic, a team. What we have done over the past four or five weeks has gone very well.

"You have to be focused; the slightest word that derails goes around the world. 

"We have frank, direct exchanges with the players. We talk a lot about world stars but they are above all players, who like to play, who want to win trophies. We must help them without compromise."

PSG start their Ligue 1 defence away at Clermont on Saturday. 

Lionel Messi and Neymar were on target as Paris Saint-Germain thumped Nantes 4-0 to win the Trophee des Champions on Sunday.

Kylian Mbappe did not travel to Israel for the clash at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv, but his absence was not felt as Christophe Galtier started his reign as PSG boss in style. 

Messi set the Ligue 1 champions on their way in the 22nd minute with a cool finish, before Neymar doubled their advantage with a superb whipped free-kick from 25 yards on the stroke of half-time.

Sergio Ramos made it 3-0 shortly before the hour mark with an improvised finish, then Neymar claimed a second late on from the penalty spot after an incident that saw Jean-Charles Castelletto dismissed.

Achraf Hakimi and Pablo Sarabia went close for PSG inside the opening 10 minutes, while at the other end Ludovic Blas was superbly denied by Gianluigi Donnarumma.

PSG went ahead in the 22nd minute when Messi rounded Alban Lafont and slotted home after latching onto Neymar's deflected throughball.

Lafont got down well to deny Messi a second shortly before the interval, yet Galtier's men did go in at the break with a two-goal lead courtesy of Neymar's sumptuous free-kick.

Ramos added a third in the 57th minute, the former Real Madrid defender superbly backheeling into the net after Lafont had kept out Sarabia's initial effort. 

Neymar scored his second in the 82nd minute with a calm penalty after he had been brought down in the area by Castelletto, who was shown a red card by referee Orel Grinfeeld.

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