Florentino Perez says it is "out of the question" for Real Madrid to sign Kylian Mbappe in January, but did not rule out a move for the forward further down the line.

It was reported last week that Mbappe wants to leave Paris Saint-Germain as he feels "betrayed" by the club only five months after signing a new three-year deal.

The France international had been strongly linked with a move to Madrid as a free agent at the end of last season after his contract expired, but instead opted to stay with the Ligue 1 champions.

Mbappe has rubbished reports he wants to make a PSG exit and Madrid president Perez says the European champions are not planning to make a bid for the 23-year-old.

He told El Larguero: "It's not that I'm bored about Mbappe, it's that I don't even read it. We already had a good summer, so that's out of the question.

"You can't know anything about the future, but the Real Madrid players are progressing spectacularly in the forward areas. Rodrygo and Vinicius [Junior] still have a lifetime to prosper. I see them both as Ballon d'Or [winners]."

Perez added: "Real Madrid only looks at the players it has and we are delighted with them. We are not doing badly with the number of young players we have. We have a very promising future."

The Madrid supremo hailed Karim Benzema after the Los Blancos captain won the Ballon d'Or for the first time on Monday.

He said: "I'm happy because at last he deserves to be the best player in the world. He has been the best for three or four years.

"He is a nine who is a mixture of Ronaldo Nazario and Zinedine Zidane. He is a nine who does these two jobs at the same time. He moves forward like Zidane did and shoots on goal like Ronaldo Nazario did."

Lorenzo Insigne was revealed as the clear top earner in Major League Soccer as the players' association published its list of annual salaries.

Italy striker Insigne joined Toronto FC from Napoli at the end of the 2021-22 Serie A season, signing a four-year contract.

It can now be revealed that Insigne will earn $14million in his first season, putting him far ahead of the next highest paid player in MLS, who is Chicago Fire's former Liverpool and Bayern Munich player Xherdan Shaqiri.

Shaqiri earns a base salary of $7.35m, but his guaranteed compensation comes to $8.153m. The 31-year-old joined Chicago from Lyon in February.

The MLS Players' Association (MLSPA) published its list that included a number of surprising salaries, with former Juventus and Italy captain Giorgio Chiellini collecting a modest – compared to Insigne – base salary of $1million with Los Angeles FC, which only climbs marginally to $1.075m when all guaranteed compensation is included.

Chiellini was therefore absent from the list of top 25 earners in MLS, and his club-mate Gareth Bale only squeezed into the list at number 23, with the former Real Madrid and Tottenham forward on a base salary of $1.6m and a total amount of $2.387m.

In third place on the list stands Javier Hernandez, the former Manchester United and Real Madrid striker, with the LA Galaxy star reeling in $6m base and $7.443m guaranteed.

Insigne's countryman and Toronto team-mate Federico Bernardeschi is fourth (basic: $3.125m; guaranteed: $6.256m), ahead of a former Juventus team-mate, LA Galaxy's Douglas Costa in fifth (basic: $3m; guaranteed: $5.8m).

Christian Benteke, who left Crystal Palace to join DC United in August, holds down 11th place with a base salary of $4m ($4.183m guaranteed).

An emotional Gonzalo Higuain called time on a glittering playing career after Inter Miami's exit from the MLS Playoffs on Monday.

The former Argentina international, who won 75 caps for his country, was on the losing side as Miami were beaten 3-0 by reigning champions New York City FC.

Higuain had confirmed his plan to retire earlier this month and was in tears as he left the field, with a career that included spells with Real Madrid, Napoli and Juventus now at an end.

"I felt like what I had loved the most as a job had ended. It was half my life, my career, 17 and a half years," said Higuain, who previously spoke of plans to become a mental health coach, as he explained why he was moved to tears.

"Images from my entire career came to my mind – what I lived, what I worked, what I experienced – and I’m leaving very happy because I gave it all until today. That's the most important thing.

"The dream is over and another life begins."

A six-time domestic league champion – with three LaLiga crowns and three Serie A triumphs – the 34-year-old signed for the MLS club in September 2020.

He has left a lasting impression on the club and coach Phil Neville, having scored 29 goals in 67 MLS appearances.

"He's leaving in the way in which he should be leaving, with the goals he's scored, the happiness he's played with," said former Manchester United full-back Neville.

"The way he's embraced his team-mates and carried his team-mates is exactly what we expected. I think he can be massively proud.

"It's a massive adaptation period for any player to come to the MLS, particular when you've played in Europe, in the Champions League, to come here. I think it's a big learning curve if people come here and think it's going to be easy and it's not. 

"I'm proud to have managed him. I think as a club we're proud to have had him. He leaves in a good moment, he helped us get to the Playoffs, and he can now enjoy his retirement. We wish him all the best, and he'll always be welcome."

Reigning MLS champions New York City FC are one step closer to going back-to-back after comfortably handling Inter Miami 3-0 in the first round of the MLS Playoffs.

City were in control throughout, creating 16 shots in the first half compared to just four for Miami, but they went into halftime tied at 0-0 after hitting the woodwork three times.

In one instance, a turnover from Miami goalkeeper Drake Callender handed City's Heber a golden opportunity to break the deadlock, but his chip was cleared off the line into the crossbar, with the rebound then being hacked off the post by a second defender.

City's dominance was rewarded in the second half, with Santiago Rodriguez brilliantly working his way into the Miami penalty box before dishing it off for Gabriel Pereira to finish in the 63rd minute, before Rodriguez also set up the second goal six minutes later with a clever backheel to Maximiliano Moralez.

Heber completed the rout in stoppage time to end the career of Miami's iconic striker Gonzalo Higuain, who was playing in his final season, with City now set to take on Montreal in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

Later in the day, FC Dallas needed a penalty shoot-out to advance past Minnesota in the Western Conference.

Emanuel Reynoso's goal for Minnesota in the 53rd minute was canceled out by a 64th-minute strike from Facundo Quignon, and after 30 minutes of extra time, it all came down to penalties.

It was Minnesota's captain Wil Trapp who failed to come through with his side's second penalty, with his tame effort into the bottom-left corner being saved by Dallas' Maarten Paes, before Alan Velasco finished things in style with a cheeky panenka.

Robert Lewandowski earned the Gerd Muller Trophy by scoring 57 goals for club and country last season and is not about to shirk the challenge of reeling in Erling Haaland in the 2022-23 campaign.

Lewandowski was presented with France Football's award for world football's leading marksman for the second year in a row on Monday, before Karim Benzema landed the Ballon d'Or for the first time.

The honour – previously the Striker of the Year – has been renamed after Muller, the legendary Bayern Munich forward whose 40-goal single-season Bundesliga record Lewandowski broke en route to claiming the trophy.

But if the Barcelona man is going to retain the prize once again in 2023, he is going to have to overcome Manchester City's scoring sensation Haaland.

The City number nine has 20 goals for the club already, also netting once for Norway this season.

Meanwhile, Lewandowski, who was the fourth-best player in the Ballon d'Or rankings, has 14 for Barca and none for Poland to trail by seven.

The 34-year-old was asked about Haaland as he received the Muller Trophy at the Ballon d'Or ceremony, with Didier Drogba telling him of "this kid" at City who is "on fire".

Lewandowski said: "The season is very long, and I know for me it's also a new chapter with Barcelona. Since the first days, I'm feeling very well in this club.

"From the first minutes, I see that with my team-mates we have big potential and I have the opportunity to score a lot of goals. I am sure that all together we are working on this.

"This is football, and we have to be always ready. I know the new generation is also coming, but still I am here."

Reflecting on his achievement, Lewandowski said: "I am very happy and glad and proud not only to win but because also of the name of this trophy. Gerd was a huge inspiration.

"Before the season, I wanted to be closer to him, and I always wanted to break some of his records. It was always a huge challenge.

"It was very emotional to score 41 goals in Bundesliga because I did not think it was possible to break this record. Everything I did was for him."

While Haaland's bid will wait another year, as he scored 42 times for Borussia Dortmund and Norway combined, City did not go away empty-handed.

The Premier League champions beat Champions League finalists Liverpool and Real Madrid to the Club of the Year prize.

Karim Benzema said he had realised a childhood dream by winning the Ballon d'Or for the first time on Monday.

The Real Madrid captain was rewarded for an outstanding 2021-22 campaign when he was named the best player in the world at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris.

Benzema scored an astonishing 44 goals in 46 games as Madrid accomplished a LaLiga and Champions League double under Carlo Ancelotti last season.

The France striker, who turns 35 in December, became the oldest Ballon d'Or winner since the great Stanley Matthews way back in 1956.

Benzema was presented with the award by his former Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane, who had been the last French player to win in 1998, on a special evening in his homeland.

He said: "Seeing this award in front of me makes me really proud of the work I have done. It was childhood dream, to have the motivation... I had two role models, Zidane and Ronaldo [the Brazil legend], and always I had this dream in my mind that anything is possible.

"There was a difficult period where I wasn't in the French team, but I never stopped working hard or gave up.

"Really proud of my journey here. It wasn't easy, it was difficult. To be here today for the first time, I am happy, pleased for my work and want to keep going.

"I want to thank all my team-mates at Real Madrid and France and my coach and the Real Madrid president, who is here this evening, and also the support of Jean-Michel Aulas [Lyon president].

"There are a lot of people to thank. It is an individual prize but still a collective one because of everyone who played a role in it."

Bayern Munich's former Liverpool forward Sadio Mane was the runner-up, with Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne third and Robert Lewandowski fourth after an outstanding final season for Bayern Munich before joining Barcelona.

Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah was ranked fifth and Paris Saint-Germain's prolific France international Kylian Mbappe only sixth.

Benzema added: "Age is just a number for me. People play until their later years now, and I still have this burning desire.

"It is this drive that has kept me going and never allowed me to let up. It kept this dream alive and was the fire behind me. I just want to make the most if it."

Cristiano Ronaldo finished in 20th place in the Ballon d'Or voting as he headlined an array of stars to fall short of 2022 winner Karim Benzema.

Ronaldo, Benzema's former Real Madrid team-mate, was nominated following a strong season with Manchester United, but he could not come close to adding a sixth Ballon d'Or.

The United forward instead fell to his lowest finish since he last came 20th in 2005, then tied with Liverpool's Champions League winner Jamie Carragher.

Great rival Lionel Messi did not even earn a nomination after his first year at Paris Saint-Germain.

Some of the biggest names of the future came rather closer to troubling Karim Benzema, with Kylian Mbappe sixth and Erling Haaland 10th.

But neither made the final four, where Robert Lewandowski's world-leading 57-goal season for club and country was only enough for fourth place.

Ahead of him, Kevin De Bruyne was in third, with Sadio Mane second, perhaps showing what might have been for the ex-Liverpool forward had the Reds, not Madrid, won the Champions League final.

With Ronaldo 20th and Messi absent, the highest-ranking former Ballon d'Or winner was 2018's Luka Modric, one of Benzema's existing Madrid colleagues.

Modric came ninth, the lowest of four Madrid players in the top 10, as Champions League final winner Vinicius Junior was eighth and Yashin Trophy recipient Thibaut Courtois seventh.

2022 Ballon d'Or:

1. Karim Benzema
2. Sadio Mane
3. Kevin De Bruyne
4. Robert Lewandowski
5. Mohamed Salah
6. Kylian Mbappe
7. Thibaut Courtois
8. Vinicius Junior
9. Luka Modric
10. Erling Haaland
11. Son Heung-min
12. Riyad Mahrez
13. Sebastien Haller
14. Fabinho
14. Rafael Leao
16. Virgil van Dijk
17. Casemiro
17. Dusan Vlahovic
17. Luis Diaz
20. Cristiano Ronaldo
21. Harry Kane
22. Trent Alexander-Arnold
22. Phil Foden
22. Bernardo Silva
25. Joshua Kimmich
25. Mike Maignan
25. Antonio Rudiger
25. Joao Cancelo
25. Christopher Nkunku
25. Darwin Nunez

Siuuuu, it's come to this. The sidekick takes centre stage. The man who carried water for Cristiano Ronaldo gets his champagne moment.

Karim Benzema has gone from jeers to cheers at Real Madrid, with his 13-year odyssey in Spain having been a tale of survival at times.

How many times was he touted for a move to Arsenal during the Arsene Wenger era?

Wenger's consistent message that he did not need Benzema because Arsenal already had plenty of quality forwards has not aged particularly well.

Today, we need to talk about Karim, because it would be hard to think of a worthier Ballon d'Or winner.

His 44 goals in 46 games last season came in a double-winning cause, with Real Madrid carrying off the Champions League and LaLiga trophies. Make it a treble if you're counting the Supercopa, where the final saw Benzema score from the spot against Athletic Bilbao.

He has spent much of the year skippering Los Blancos, given club captain Marcelo was just a fringe figure in Carlo Ancelotti's team before leaving at the end of last season.

You might ask yourself: is this the same Karim Benzema as the player heckled from the Santiago Bernabeu stands five years ago? The player whose five goals in 32 LaLiga games in 2017-18 had some supporters ready to wave him off?

What use was a 30-year-old five-goal striker?

 

Benzema backed himself then as he backs himself today, and with Zinedine Zidane and Ancelotti similarly convinced, the Frenchman has gradually moved into the spotlight, the last survivor of the BBC combination that rivalled Barcelona's MSN.

Just like Messi-Suarez-Neymar, the Bale-Benzema-Cristiano all-star trio was compelling, but there was often a sense it was two thoroughbreds and a workhorse, the latter constrained by the dutiful role he was asked to fulfil.

Benzema knew better than to be a neigh-sayer, swallowed the sugarcoated reassurances, and proved himself a champion stallion after all.

When Ronaldo trotted off to Juventus in 2018, and as Bale's contributions waned, for the first time Benzema found himself the talisman.

He had been overshadowed all the way back to his first week at the club, when his presentation followed three days on from Ronaldo's own first big welcome at the Bernabeu.

Ronaldo's unveiling came on July 6, 2009, in front of an 80,000 crowd. Some of those returned for Benzema's own bow, but most had other things on.

Benzema was signed for €35million from Lyon amid an extraordinary spree, one that saw Florentino Perez's second term as president begin with not only Ronaldo and Benzema coming in, but Kaka, Xabi Alonso, Alvaro Negredo and Alvaro Arbeloa too.

An arduous first season (nine goals in 33 games) followed for Benzema, but in each of the next six campaigns he managed at least 20. Even in the Jose Mourinho era when he and Gonzalo Higuain would typically be fighting for one place.

Never mind that Ronaldo broke the 50-goal barrier in each of those seasons, Benzema was the magician's most trustworthy assistant.

In 2015, not long after losing his job at Madrid, Ancelotti told AS: "To me, Karim is the best player in the world in his position and not just as a goalscorer. Talking about whether he should score 30 goals is a false debate. He has great qualities; he is a complete player."

Ancelotti's short-lived successor, Rafael Benitez, made similar claims but also questioned Benzema's finishing and began to substitute him regularly, saying: "He is a phenomenon. Let him get mad. Next day, make sure you score twice instead of once."

It was tough love from Benitez, who was replaced in mid-season by Zidane. Benzema finished the season with 28 goals in 36 games across all competitions, scoring at a rate of one every 92.75 minutes.

In 2016-17, as the goals began to dry up, Zidane kept faith.

A poll conducted by sports daily AS showed that 88 per cent of Madrid fans preferred Benzema to start games as a substitute, but Zidane said: "We're not concerned, he's having a great season.

"We know what Karim can offer the side but the fans always want more from their players and that's something we must accept. He has the right character, he can accept the fans' point of view. He won't hide and he will always have my support."

In April 2018, Benzema spoke out in that great football bible, Vanity Fair, as he struggled to put the ball in the back of the net. All the while, Zidane had his back, and crucially another Champions League title was on the way that season.

"What I don't like is when people attack me when I play well, even if I don't score," Benzema said. "I play for the people who value what I do on the pitch.

"Those that come to the stadium to whistle, let them whistle. I'm not going to change their opinion."

In that season's LaLiga campaign, Benzema's five goals put him in a tie for fifth among the team's top scorers, alongside Casemiro and Toni Kroos. Ahead of him were Ronaldo (26 goals in 27 games), Bale (16 goals), Isco (7) and Marco Asensio (6).

Benzema was way behind his expected goals total of 13.22, which reflects the quality of his chances and likelihood of scoring.

When Ronaldo left, something clicked. In LaLiga alone, Benzema had not had consecutive 20-goal seasons while Ronaldo was at Madrid, but four followed in succession: 21, 21, 23, and last season's 27-goal league haul.

He was thriving not merely on responsibility, for that had always been there, but on prominence. Previously a glorified gofer, he has become the go-to man.

And now, with Ronaldo and Bale withering in Manchester and Los Angeles respectively, Benzema is flowering as his 35th birthday approaches.

He is club captain, and although Zidane has departed, it would have heartened Benzema to see Ancelotti recalled to Madrid last year, his old advocate returning.

By now five times a Champions League winner and four times a LaLiga champion, the individual accolades have been flowing for Benzema since Ronaldo headed over the horizon.

He was UEFA men's player of the year and Champions League player of the season for 2021-22, having finished as top scorer in Madrid's glory run. He took the Pichichi prize as LaLiga's leading goal-getter last term, too.

Despite intense lobbying from Madridistas, Benzema finished just fourth in Ballon d'Or voting last year, as Lionel Messi took the award for a seventh time.

There was ample reason for Benzema to be a strong contender in 2021, but his case has become utterly compelling since. In a sense this is a lifetime achievement award and a single-season accolade rolled up into one.

Everything has led to this moment. The wait has been overwhelmingly worth it.

Perhaps there's something in the notion of a lucky Shamrock. Thirteen years on from making his Real Madrid debut in a friendly against Shamrock Rovers, Karim Benzema is the world player of the year, a richly deserving winner of the Ballon d'Or.

It was Cristiano Ronaldo who topped the bill at a jam-packed Tallaght Stadium in July 2009, having joined Madrid from Manchester United, but substitute Benzema was the matchwinner that night, a late goal delivering a 1-0 victory for Los Blancos.

He kept winning, and winning some more, even when others took the spotlight, but the winning has been almost unrelenting. And that has been the theme of his career.

Benzema had won four Ligue 1 titles with Lyon before, at the age of just 21, he earned himself a move to Madrid, where he has won five Champions League titles, four LaLiga crowns, four FIFA Club World Cups, four European Super Cups, four Spanish Supercopas, and two Copa del Rey winner's medals.

Now 34-year-old Benzema is harvesting the personal acclaim, having long played the patient consort to the garlanded Ronaldo and, even, Gareth Bale.

As he ascends to this particular throne, Stats Perform has looked at how Benzema reached such a high point, and what the Ballon d'Or result means in wider terms.

 

Brilliant Benz merks his rivals

This time it had to be him. The Karim of the crop. Last year, it was hard to distinguish what was more embarrassing: the constant campaigning for Benzema to take the Ballon d'Or by Real Madrid luminaries past and present, or the fact Lionel Messi took the prize again, ahead of Robert Lewandowski.

Messi's seventh Ballon d'Or felt like a long-service award. Benzema's triumph is both that, and a reflection of the greatest season of his career.

The Ballon d'Or rules shifted this year, with the time span set from August 1, 2021, to July 31, 2022, rather than the calendar year.

In that time, Benzema, more often than not as captain, hit 44 goals in 46 games, with his shot conversion rate at a career high of 24.18 per cent.

He scored 27 of those goals in 32 LaLiga games to earn his first Pichichi – the award that goes to the league's leading scorer – and in doing so led Madrid to the title.

Messi won the Pichichi eight times, while Ronaldo took it on three occasions, with Luis Suarez (2015-16) the only other player to lay his hands on the trophy in the seasons from 2009-10 to 2020-21.

Benzema's league goals came at a rate of one every 96.15 minutes, which he has bettered only once in Spain (2015-16: 24 goals in 27 games, one goal every 83.04 minutes). Significantly, he was a provider in the league too, weighing in with a career-best 12 assists.

His 15 Champions League goals in Madrid's glorious campaign came from 12 games, at one goal every 73.73 minutes. He vastly surpassed his expected goals tally of 8.2, the metric that reflects the quality of a player's chances and likelihood of scoring.

He has made a career of exceeding expectations. When he made a €35million switch from Lyon all those years ago, not even Benzema could have imagined he would be peaking in his mid-thirties.

Benzema also drew level with Raul's haul of 323 goals for Madrid last season, going joint-second on the club's all-time list, behind only Ronaldo (450).

Second place has since become Benzema's outright, with the goals still coming. He probably won't catch Ronaldo, but he might not be far behind.

No longer a young man's game?

With Benzema landing the award just two months before he turns 35, it is another example of the younger generation not yet doing enough to challenge the old guard.

The last player aged under 30 to win the Ballon d'Or was Messi, who took the 2015 award.

Kylian Mbappe might have been a reasonable shout this time around, if Paris Saint-Germain had not perished against Madrid and Benzema in last season's Champions League, but the other serious challengers were on the top side of 30: the likes of Lewandowski, Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

Next year is likely to be a different story, with Mbappe and Manchester City's Erling Haaland surely pushing for the trophy. The World Cup could also be impactful on the 2022-23 vote, and Qatar 2022 might yet bring Benzema more glory with France.

End of an era as the GOATs go out to pasture

This year's 1-2-3 was conspicuously lacking in GOATs. Neither Messi nor Ronaldo made the podium, which is the first time that has occurred in Ballon d'Or voting since the 2006 awards.

In fact, there have been 11 occasions when both have been in the top three, such has been their preeminence.

Messi has had 13 podium finishes and seven wins, just edging Ronaldo's 12 podiums and five awards.

Four of Ronaldo's awards came while a team-mate of Benzema at Madrid. While the Portugal great made the shortlist this time around, finishing 20th, Messi did not, and it might be a stretch to expect either man to threaten a top-three result again.

Karim Benzema has been rewarded for his career-best 2021-22 season with his first Ballon d'Or in a ceremony at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris.

Real Madrid captain Benzema was a strong favourite for the top award on Monday after inspiring the Spanish giants to a LaLiga and Champions League double last term.

Ahead of a November-December World Cup, a change in the format saw the Ballon d'Or awarded based on performances over a regular season rather than the calendar year for the first time.

France international Benzema would have been a leading candidate in either case, but he was the clear winner after scoring 44 goals in 46 matches and earning a fifth European crown in the 2021-22 campaign.

Although his haul was topped by Robert Lewandowski (50) – then of Bayern Munich and now of Barcelona – 10 of Benzema's goals came in the Champions League knockout stages, tying a Cristiano Ronaldo single-season record.

Vinicius Junior netted the decisive strike in the final versus Liverpool, but Benzema had already established himself as the world's best with hat-tricks against both Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea.

Adding 15 assists, Benzema's total of 59 goal involvements last season fell just shy of Kylian Mbappe's Europe-wide high of 60 (39 goals, 21 assists).

Benzema had been nominated for the Ballon d'Or on 10 previous occasions but only cracked the top 10 for the first time in 2021, finishing fourth as Lionel Messi – not nominated this year – claimed a seventh award.

Barcelona and Spain midfielder Alexia Putellas took home a second straight Ballon d'Or Feminin award on Monday to become the first two-time winner.

Putellas was recognised in 2021 after winning the Champions League with Barca, before returning to the final this year.

The Blaugrana this time came up short, losing to Lyon, but Putellas finished as the competition's top scorer and Player of the Season.

She was then denied the opportunity to feature at the Women's Euro 2022 after tearing her anterior cruciate ligament on the eve of the finals.

Despite missing the tournament, while three of her four fellow Ballon d'Or finalists featured, Putellas was named the world's best player by France Football again in Paris.

Beth Mead, who inspired England's Euros triumph, finished second, but Putellas was a popular winner and gave an emotional speech as she reflected on a tough period in her career.

"Thanks to France Football and the members of the jury," she said. "On April 5, I broke my knee and I believed that this [winning the Ballon d'Or] would not be possible, because I believed that the most recent European Championship would be remembered.

"My most sincere congratulations to the English FA for the organisation they had for the European Championship and how they are having that impact on women's football in that country. They are an example of how they are doing it.

"I hope that the next time I have to speak, it will be on the pitch again, and I hope that we will see each other again there."

Dinthill Technical will have the distinction of being the only team in the 2022 daCosta Cup to advance to the next round on the back of a perfect group stage record thanks to a 4-0 home victory over McGrath High on Friday.

With 30 points from 10 games, Dinthill can celebrate their progression to the next round as winners of Zone K. McGrath ended with 21 points and will advance alongside Dinthill while Charlemont finished two points behind McGrath in third.

Frome Technical and Rusea’s will advance from Zone B. Frome won the zone with 22 points from eight games while Rusea’s finished three points behind them in second. The teams played out a 0-0 draw at Frome on Saturday.

William Knibb hammered Herbert Morrison 10-0 at home on Saturday to confirm their progression as Zone C winners with 22 points from eight games. Cedric Titus finished second with 16 points from eight games despite a 0-2 home loss against Spot Valley, who finished five points behind in third.

Manning’s and Petersfield played out a 0-0 draw on Saturday and will both advance from Zone D. Manning’s amassed 24 points from their 10 games to advance as zone winners while Petersfield ended their preliminary round campaign with 20 points from 10 outings.

STETHS finished the preliminary round with nine wins and one loss to finish with 27 points and win Zone E. Their final game saw them beat Munro College 2-0 at home on Saturday. B.B Coke, who entered their last game needing a win to confirm their passage to the next round, beat Maggotty 3-1 to secure their spot with 19 points, three more than Munro in third, from their 10 games.

Manchester secured their spot as Zone F winners with a 2-1 win over DeCarteret College at Kirkvine on Saturday. They ended with 25 points from their 10 games. Belair High will also advance after a 4-0 away win over Mt. St. Joseph, leaving them three points behind the leaders and three ahead of DeCarteret in third.

Zone G was extremely close as Christiana and Holmwood both finished with 15 points, one point ahead of Mile Gully in third. Christiana entered a Friday clash with Holmwood three points behind their opponents and got a 2-1 home win to end up as zone winners by two on goal difference.

Clarendon College and Edwin Allen played out a 1-1 draw at Edwin Allen on Saturday as both confirmed their progression from Zone H. Clarendon College won the zone with 22 points from eight games while Edwin Allen ended seven points behind their opponents in second.

York Castle was already confirmed as Zone I winners before a 5-1 win over Marcus Garvey at Drax Hall on Thursday. They ended the group stage with 22 points from eight games. Browns Town entered their game with Ocho Rios on Thursday needing a point to join York Castle in the next round and got it thanks to a goalless draw. They finished with 12 points, one more than Oracabessa in third.

Zone J was the closest as the top four teams all ended up within two points of each other. Tacky won the zone with 17 points while St. Mary Tech had the same number of points in second, trailing by three on goal difference. Horace Clarke finished a point behind them while Annotto Bay ended two points adrift. Saturday saw Tacky and Horace Clarke play out a 1-1 draw at Horace Clarke while St. Mary Tech beat Wycliffe Martin 2-0 at Wycliffe Martin and Annotto Bay beat St. Mary High 1-0 at the Highgate Community Center.

Paul Bogle finished with 24 points from 10 games to win Zone L after a 2-1 away win over Yallahs on Thursday. They will be joined in the next round by Seaforth who ended with 21 points after a 6-1 win over St. Thomas Technical at the Eastern Banana Complex, also on Thursday.

Glenmuir beat Central High 2-0 at home on Saturday to confirm their status as winners of Zone M, finishing with 19 points. Central ended up second, three points behind Glenmuir while Denbigh ended u a distant third with 10 points after a 2-1 win over Old Harbour at the Port Esquivel Sports Club.

Defending champions Garvey Maceo will advance as Zone N winners after a 3-0 home win over Winston Jones on Saturday. They ended up with 22 points from their eight games, six points more than second-placed Vere Technical who booked their spot in the next round with a 5-0 home win over Foga Road.

Happy Grove and Titchfield both ended with 12 points from six games to advance from Zone O. Happy Grove won the zone by two on goal difference thanks to a 4-1 win over Fair Prospect at Fair Prospect while Titchfield got a 2-0 win over Port Antonio at Carder Park.

 

 

 

Juventus have confirmed defender Bremer has sustained a hamstring injury that will keep him out for close to three weeks.

Bremer, who signed for Juve from Torino ahead of this season, has started all 10 of the Bianconeri's Serie A games this season.

The 25-year-old made his debut for Brazil in September, playing 44 minutes as a substitute in a 3-0 friendly defeat of Ghana.

However, he now faces a race to be fit in time to make Tite's squad for the World Cup.

Juve confirmed on Monday that Bremer, who was taken off in the 52nd minute of Saturday's win over his former side Torino, had suffered a "low-grade lesion to the hamstring of the left thigh."

Bremer faces approximately 20 days out of action, meaning he will miss games against Empoli, Benfica, Lecce, Paris Saint-Germain and Inter but might be fit to feature for Juve in matches against Verona and Lazio ahead of the break for the World Cup, which starts on November 20.

Brazil's first game sees them take on Serbia four days later. While Bremer's place in Tite's squad was by no means guaranteed, the Selecao will be hoping Tottenham forward Richarlison – who has been a key player in recent seasons – recovers from a calf injury in time to make it to Qatar.

Harry Kane's future at Tottenham is at a curious stage, having become more settled during Antonio Conte's tenure.

Kane has scored 10 goals in all competitions this term, including nine in the Premier League with Spurs starting strongly to sit third.

The England international had pushed to move to Manchester City in mid-2021 but ultimately was convinced to stay.

TOP STORY – SPURS PUSH TO OPEN KANE CONTRACT TALKS

Tottenham are eager to commence talks with Harry Kane on a new deal, but the England forward is holding off, claims Football Insider.

Antonio Conte's future at Spurs is a factor for Kane, with the Italian out of contract at the end of this season.

Bayern Munich have been linked with Kane who signed a six-year deal with Spurs in June 2018, tying him down until 2024.

ROUND-UP

– Fabrizio Romano says Liverpool are not considering a move for Barcelona's unsettled midfielder Frenkie de Jong, following reports to the contrary.

Napoli are weighing up a potential move for Tottenham's Tanguy Ndombele who is on loan with the Italian club, reports Inside Futebol. The Frenchman's release clause is €30 million, which Napoli are willing to trigger.

– Calciomercato claims Denis Zakaria is set to return to Juventus in January with Chelsea planning to terminate his loan deal, having failed to play a minute of first-team football since joining on deadline day.

– Italian champions Milan may make a move for Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek in January, reports Calciomercato.

Second-year franchise Austin rallied from two goals down before goalkeeper Brad Stuver's penalty shoot-out heroics sent them into the MLS Western Conference Semifinals with victory over 10-man Real Salt Lake on Sunday.

Austin triumphed 3-1 on penalties after a thrilling 2-2 draw where Sebastian Driussi's 94th-minute spotkick sent the game into extra-time at Q2 Stadium.

Stuver stepped up in the shoot-out, saving efforts from Andrew Brody and Braian Ojeda, before Tate Schmitt skied his effort well over the crossbar to end RSL's campaign.

The game turned completely when Rubio Rubin was sent off in the 52nd minute for a second bookable offence with a late sliding challenge on Stuver. Austin, down 2-1 at the time, dominated with 25-3 shots from that point.

Los Verdes, making their first playoffs appearance after finishing 12th in the Western Conference in their debut season, were down 2-0 inside 15 minutes after Sergio Cordova's early brace.

Cordova glanced in Brody's right-wing cross for the opener after three minutes. The Venezuelan sent Stuver the wrong way from the spot on the quarter hour after a Jhojan Valencia handball to make it 2-0.

Argentine forward Driussi, who was a big-money signing from Zenit last year, pulled one back with a 31st-minute header from Diego Fagundez's cross.

Rubin saw red early in the second half and Austin subsequently barraged the RSL goal, finally getting their equalizer when Scott Caldwell handballed, with Driussi converting the lifeline

RSL goalkeeper Zac MacMath did his best to withstand the barrage, blocking Zan Kolmanic's long-range effort in extra-time, before Stuver stepped up decisively in the shoot-out.

Montreal claimed their maiden MLS Cup playoffs victory since 2016 as they advanced past Orlando City 2-0, booking an Eastern Conference Semifinals date against either New York City or Inter Miami.

Djordje Mihailovic set up Ismael Kane's 68th-minute opener before converting a stoppage-time penalty to clinch the win.

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