Barcelona have announced that they will face Major League Soccer sides Inter Miami and New York Red Bulls in the United States as part of their pre-season.

Barca still have one competitive game of the 2021-22 campaign to play – at home to Villarreal on Sunday – yet plans are in place for their preparations ahead of next season. 

Xavi's side will face David Beckham's Miami, who have been linked with Barcelona great Lionel Messi, at DRV PNK Stadium on July 19 and the Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena 11 days later.

With a big gap between those two fixtures, it has been reported that Barca are still hoping to arrange high-profile friendlies against Real Madrid and Juventus.

It will be the Catalan giants' first pre-season tour in three years, when also visiting USA and Japan, owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

Barca also have a friendly pencilled in this month, having previously announced an exhibition match against an A-League All Stars team in Sydney on May 25, less than 48 hours after their match with Villarreal. 

Premier League rivals Liverpool and Manchester United will face off in a pre-season friendly in Bangkok.

The game will be played at the Rajamangala Stadium on July 12, where Jurgen Klopp's men will battle the Red Devils for the Bangkok Century Cup.

It is the only pre-season fixture confirmed by Liverpool so far, but United announced they will also play Melbourne Victory at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on July 15, before facing more familiar opposition again in Crystal Palace at the same venue four days later.

The last time Liverpool and United played in a friendly was in 2018 and saw the Reds win 4-1 in front of more than 100,000 fans in Michigan as part of the International Champions Cup.

United will be hoping to have a new permanent manager installed by the time pre-season begins, with Erik ten Hag and Mauricio Pochettino among the favourites for the role, and the Liverpool fixture could be the first game for whomever is appointed.

Harry Kane has launched a staunch defence of under-fire England team-mate Harry Maguire after the defender was jeered by fans, describing the reception as "just not right".

Manchester United captain Maguire started Tuesday's 3-0 win over Ivory Coast at Wembley, where goals from Ollie Watkins, Raheem Sterling and Tyrone Mings sealed victory for the hosts.

Despite having been a key figure under Gareth Southgate, even earning a spot in the UEFA Team of the Tournament for his performances at Euro 2020, Maguire has become a target for the boo boys in club and international colours.

Southgate labelled the reaction "an absolute joke", and Kane took to Twitter on Wednesday to echo those sentiments, adding that Maguire had the full backing of his international team-mates.

"We’ve worked hard to rebuild our connection with England fans in the last few years so to hear Harry Maguire booed at Wembley before kick-off was just not right," the Tottenham striker tweeted.

"The fact that he's been brilliant on the pitch and given us all so many great memories makes it even harder to understand. He doesn't deserve that reception.

"He's got full support in the changing room and should have the same from every England fan."

 

Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson also offered his support to Maguire via social media.

"I can't get my head around what happened at Wembley tonight," he wrote on Twitter.

"Harry Maguire has been a colossus for England. Without him, the progress made at the last two tournaments would not have been possible.​

"To be booed at his home stadium, for no reason? What have we become? What happened tonight was just wrong. As someone who wants to win with England, I feel fortunate to share a dressing room with him.

"We all feel the same!"

Luis Enrique believes Spain have what it takes to win the 2022 World Cup, but adds his side will still have to contend with luck after a 5-0 rout against Iceland.

Braces for Alvaro Morata and Pablo Sarabia, plus Yeremi Pino's first goal for his country, helped La Roja to a runaway victory against their visitors at the Riazor.

After struggling to break through a stubborn Albania on Saturday, Tuesday's performance fell more in line with the high-energy performances of Euro 2020 last summer.

With a semi-final finish at their last major tournament as incentive, Luis Enrique certainly feels he has the players to help him go one step further and claim victory in Qatar later this year.

"We are capable of fighting anyone," he stated. "We are going to be competitive, for sure.

"The luck factor is important, as we saw in South Africa, and we hope to control everything that does not depend on that luck factor."

With several names pressing for inclusion, Luis Enrique further admitted whittling his squad down from the roster of players in contention for a place will be just as tough a task in itself too.

"It's going to be tough," he added. "26 [players]? Only 11 play. What I can say is that this team is going to compete with anyone and put anyone in trouble.

"But make no mistake, anyone can beat us. The atmosphere that lives in this team is very special. The base you know what it is.

"We will assess when the time comes. What matters is the mentality of adding. My parameters are not going to change."

Gareth Southgate described the reaction of some England supporters towards Harry Maguire as "an absolute joke" after the defender was booed before kick-off on Tuesday.

Manchester United captain Maguire started the Three Lions' victory against the Ivory Coast, as goals for Ollie Watkins, Raheem Sterling and Tyrone Mings secured a 3-0 success at Wembley.

The centre-back has been a key performer for Southgate since breaking through into the senior set-up, and he was named to the UEFA Team of the Tournament for his performances at Euro 2020.

Yet since scoring in England's penalty shoot-out loss to Italy in last year's final, Maguire has struggled for form at club level, and has often found himself a scapegoat for United's on-field issues.

Those frustrations translated themselves into audible jeers from sections of the home support on Tuesday, leaving Southgate to launch a passionate defence of his player at the full-time whistle.

"I thought the reception was a joke, an absolute joke," manager Southgate said. "The way he has performed for us has been absolutely phenomenal.

"I don't get it. We're either all in this together or we're not. He's in an England shirt and [...] you support a player in an England shirt regardless.

"When you've played at the level he has for us and put the performances in he has, it should be total commitment behind him. I don't get it at all.

"His performance was pretty faultless really. He stepped out from the back really well for his first goal, was involved in the second one too.

"The team are totally united. We recognise everyone has difficult moments, but he's a top player and he will come through it.

"They are real England fans and some are influenced by whatever – social media or players that played previously who are influencing opinion.

"The club situation is obviously very difficult, but he's in an England shirt. I remember decades ago a few players being booed in an England shirt, and it's never been acceptable to me. Fans should always get behind their team."

 

Jack Grealish also came to Maguire's defence, with the Manchester City attacking midfielder hailing the defender's creative prowess as crucial to the Three Lions' success against Ivory Coast.

"Personally I think it's ridiculous," Grealish said. "Harry's been unbelievable for this country. Our first two goals have come from him.

"Not every centre-back can have those qualities. It was ridiculous for him to get booed, and it wasn't something the team liked one bit."

Alvaro Morata feels the future is bright for Spain thanks to their young talents, after the forward bagged a history-making brace in Tuesday's 5-0 win over Iceland.

The Juventus forward netted a first-half double to set up a Roja rout at the Riazor, while goals from Yeremi Pino and Pablo Sarabia completed the victory after the interval.

In doing so, Morata has become only the eighth player in Spain history to hit 25 goals for the men's national team, while Pino has become their second-youngest scorer for a decade-and-a-half.

But speaking afterwards, the former was happy to deflect attention away from his own feats, to lavish praise on his young team-mates and what they could offer going forward.

"There are many young players [among the squad] to look forward to the future with optimism for," he stated.

"It doesn't matter who scores the goals. I'm very happy for mine, but I'm very happy for those of Sarabia and Yeremi too."

Villarreal winger Pino, one of Spain's rising generation who hope to be in the frame for the World Cup later this year, bagged on his first senior start for La Roja.

The teenager admitted he has taken strength from manager Luis Enrique's faith in him, and says the team already have an eye on how far they can go in Qatar.

"I'm very happy, the coach has given me enough confidence," he added.

"The desire is there, we don't take any game as a friendly. From Albania, we are already thinking about Qatar."

Leandro Trossard shone with a goal and two assists as Belgium cruised to a 3-0 friendly victory over Burkina Faso in Brussels on Tuesday. 

Roberto Martinez made six changes to the side that started the 2-2 draw against the Republic of Ireland, but it was one of those who kept their place that opened the scoring. 

Hans Vanaken's header was the first of two goals in the space of two minutes, with Trossard netting an opportunistic strike after setting the Club Brugge midfielder up. 

Another brilliant delivery from Trossard was nodded home by substitute Christian Benteke with 15 minutes remaining, rounding off a comfortable outing for the Red Devils. 

It could have been very different had Matz Sels not bailed out Sebastiaan Bornauw for a lax pass that Dango Ouattara pounced on with an important tackle early on.

It was a rare opening for the visitors, who fell behind in the 16th minute when Vanaken planted a header from Trossard's cross into the bottom-left corner.  

Trossard then got on the scoresheet himself, converting on the follow-up after Michy Batshuayi's volley was parried by Burkina Faso goalkeeper Herve Koffi.  

Burkina Faso enjoyed more of the ball in the second half and Sels was forced to make a diving save to keep Cedric Badolo's curling effort out of the bottom-right corner after the hour mark. 

Benteke was sent on for Batshuayi in the 69th minute and, after being denied by Koffi with his first chance, he glanced a header home to seal a routine win for Belgium – just their second in six games. 

Marco Verratti and Jorginho were among a group of six players to leave the Italy camp after their failure to qualify for the World Cup. 

Ciro Immobile, Lorenzo Insigne, Domenico Berardi and Gianluca Mancini also returned to their clubs ahead of schedule, with the latter two having sustained knocks. 

Italy coach Roberto Mancini is expected to ring the changes in a friendly against Turkey on Tuesday following the Azzurri's shock defeat to North Macedonia in a World Cup qualifying play-off semi-final on Thursday. 

The Euro 2020 champions' first ever home loss in World Cup qualifying meant they failed to reach successive finals for the first time in their history. 

Instead of taking on Portugal in the play-off final, Italy will depart for Konya on Monday. 

Alan Browne's late header salvaged a 2-2 friendly draw for the Republic of Ireland against an understrength Belgium at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday. 

Belgium boss Roberto Martinez opted not to pick any players with more than 50 caps during this international break, meaning Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Dries Mertens, Yannick Carrasco and Thibaut Courtois were all left out.  

Michy Batshuayi took advantage of the opportunity he was given with a great early goal, but Chiedozie Ogbene teed himself up for an overhead kick to equalise before half-time.  

Hans Vanaken restored Belgium's advantage but substitute Browne powered in an 85th-minute header to secure a draw for Ireland in their centenary game. 

Batshuayi fired Belgium into a 12th-minute lead when he cut inside of Seamus Coleman and curled a fine finish into the bottom-right corner from the left of the box.  

The visitors struggled to create further chances despite controlling possession and their advantage vanished after Callum Robinson's cross was not dealt with and Ogbene converted an acrobatic finish.  

Ireland would have moved in front two minutes after the restart were it not for a goal-line block from Jason Denayer to stop Robinson flicking James McClean's strike home.  

Shane Duffy did well to deflect a shot from Batshuayi wide but the resulting corner was nodded in by Vanaken with the help of a deflection off Coleman. 

Belgium were unable to see out just a second win in five matches, though, as Browne's powerful header gave the Ireland fans late reason to cheer.
 

What does it mean? Experienced hands show their worth  

While Martinez selected a number of younger players in his squad, it was two of the more experienced picks that took their chance to impress.  

Batshuayi netted his 23rd international goal while Vanaken, who will be 30 by the time the World Cup comes around, showed he can provide valuable depth by setting up the opener before scoring himself.  

Ogbene on form

Although some of the shine of his overhead kick was taken off by a deflection off Denayer, Ogbene's incredible ingenuity was undeniable. He also supplied a brilliant delivery for Browne's equaliser.

Coleman caught short  

Ireland captain Coleman was disappointing in the centre of defence. He let Batshuayi by too easily on the opener and sent Vanaken's header into the back of the net.  

What's next?  

Belgium entertain Burkina Faso in another friendly on Tuesday, while Ireland are in action against Lithuania. 

England intend to use the World Cup in Qatar to highlight concerns around the host country, but Gareth Southgate says they must be "realistic" as any demonstration will be "complicated" and "different to taking the knee".

Qatar's poor human rights record has been a concern during the build-up to the 2022 finals.

The nation's stance towards women and the LGBTQ+ community was widely raised as an issue before FIFA awarded it the 2022 tournament. Since then, during preparation for the finals, the deaths of thousands of migrant workers have been reported, although Qatar's organising committee disputed what it called "inaccurate claims" around the number of fatalities.

England – semi-finalists in Russia in 2018 – have qualified for the World Cup and plan to make the most of their platform.

However, manager Southgate suggested it was unlikely the Three Lions would follow the example of Norway, who wore T-shirts in qualifying calling for "human rights on and off the pitch".

Indeed, Southgate explained it was difficult to come up with the right response after learning of female and LGBTQ+ fans who were staying away.

Describing that as "a great shame", Southgate said: "We stand for inclusivity as a team, and it would be horrible to think some of our fans feel they can't go because they feel threatened, or they're worried about their safety."

Detailing England's thought process, he continued: "I don't think it's something where we're just going to be able to come out with a statement that will satisfy everything.

"This is different to taking the knee and the importance we felt on that. We're not saying this is any less important.

"We feel the World Cup is an opportunity to highlight some of these issues and we have a platform to be able to do that. We've also got to do that in a responsible way.

"I'm not sure that just wearing a T-shirt makes a difference. I don't totally know what we can do in every aspect to make a difference.

"I think we have to be realistic about what that might be. We're going to a country that FIFA decided where this tournament was going to be played: it's culturally different and religiously different.

"So, there are some things we're not going to be able to affect. Maybe there are some things that we can affect.

"If we can and we think they're worthwhile, then we'll try to do that. Without a doubt, one of the priorities in my mind is our own fans and how they're going to be dealt with in particular, but there may be other issues.

"I don't think any of us are complacent about any of it. I'm certainly taking it very seriously. I want to make sure the players are protected, I want to make sure they are able to use their voice in the right way, but I also don't want them to be used with broader agendas at play, perhaps.

"So, it's going to be complicated. And I think we're going to get some criticism whatever we do, but we're going to try to do the best that we can."

Barcelona will face Boca Juniors in an exhibition match Saudi Arabia in December in honour of Diego Maradona.

The inaugural Maradona Cup will take place at Mrsool Park in Riyadh on December 14, a little over a year after the former Argentina star died in his homeland at the age of 60 from heart failure a fortnight after undergoing brain surgery.

Maradona played for Boca in 1981-82 before moving to Europe with Barca, where he won the Copa del Rey, the Copa de la Liga and the Supercopa de Espana.

He returned to Boca for the final two years of his career before retiring in 1997.

The match will take place in the week after Barca face Bayern Munich away in their final Champions League group game, with a LaLiga game at Osasuna scheduled for December 11.

Ronald Koeman's side will be due back in Saudi Arabia in January 2022 for the Supercopa de Espana along with Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao.

Barca and Boca have met 10 times previously, most recently in the Joan Gamper exhibition game in 2018, which the Catalans won 3-0.

Cristiano Ronaldo "is a player who really needs to play" insisted Portugal head coach Fernando Santos, who appeared to criticise Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Ronaldo scored for the ninth time in seven Portugal appearances as the Selecao eased past Qatar 3-0 in Saturday's international friendly.

The all-time leading men's international scorer with 112, Ronaldo started and played 45 minutes after he was benched by United boss Solskjaer in the Premier League last week.

Ronaldo – who has scored against a record 46 nations for Portugal – was rested as Solskjaer opted to start Edinson Cavani before introducing the Portuguese superstar for the final 33 minutes in a disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Everton.

After Portugal's routine win, Santos seemingly aimed a subtle dig at Solskjaer in Ronaldo's historic 181st international appearance.

"It was important to give him some playing time and I understood that it would be better to give him 45 minutes," Santos said post-match.

"Ronaldo is a player who really needs to play, to have contact with the ball. Training is not the same thing. In the last match, he had played 20 minutes [it was 33 minutes]."

Ronaldo has hit the ground running in his second stint with United, the 36-year-old having returned from Juventus before the end of the transfer window.

Named September's Player of the Month in the Premier League, Ronaldo has scored five goals for United, including three in the Premier League.

Ronaldo has outperformed his expected goals (xG – 1.03), expected goals on target (xGOT – 0.9) and goals (0.89) – all three topping the Premier League list.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored for the ninth time in seven Portugal appearances as the Selecao cruised to a straightforward 3-0 friendly win over Qatar on Saturday.

With Qatar hosting the 2022 World Cup in 13 months' time, this was another opportunity for them to test themselves against higher-quality opposition, but they were outclassed by a Portugal side who hardly got out of second gear.

Ronaldo capitalised on a defensive error to put Portugal 1-0 in front late in the first half, with the hosts having created numerous chances beforehand.

Jose Fonte's first ever international goal and an Andre Silva header then sealed the win for Portugal in the second period, with Qatar – who could only muster a 1-1 draw with Luxembourg last time out – offering no threat to Diogo Costa in the home side's net.

Portugal peppered the Qatar goal in the first half but were initially rather wasteful.

Silva smashed an effort into the face of Saad Al Sheeb when one-on-one in the 12th minute, though the goalkeeper knew a little more about his save soon after to deny Goncalo Guedes at the end of a bursting solo run.

Ronaldo was then guilty of slicing wide from 10 yards after reaching Diogo Dalot's cross, but he was on hand to tap in when a defender failed to clear a header across goal from his Manchester United team-mate.

Al Sheeb was drawn into a necessary save to keep out Danilo Pereira's header two minutes after the interval, but he parried the ball right to Fonte, who slammed in from close range.

A host of substitutions saw Portugal's tempo drop even further – not that it mattered. They still looked infinitely more dangerous as Silva continued to keep the Qatar defence and goalkeeper busy.

The forward did eventually find the net, meeting a wonderful cross from debutant substitute Rafael Leao – who had previous hit the crossbar and post – with a stooping header that wrapped up a simple victory.

What does it mean? Fernando Santos learns precious little

The objective of this friendly from Portugal's perspective was presumably just to keep players sharp ahead of next week's competitive action. Other than that, it is difficult to see what benefit this game was to the Selecao.

The gulf in quality was massive, far greater than the scoreline ultimately suggested, which probably is not a particularly encouraging thought for a Qatar side who will be keen not to be embarrassed as World Cup hosts next year.

Dalot stakes his claim

While the quality of the opposition may not have been great, Dalot certainly did his chances of earning a regular spot no harm with his performance on either flank. His five chances created were not bettered by anyone on the pitch, while he also played the pass that led to Ronaldo's opener.

Silva gets reward for persistence

Silva's overall display was good, with the RB Leipzig striker a regular threat to the Qatar goal, though he was quite wasteful. He had six shots – only two of which were on target – before eventually finding the net with his seventh.

What's next?

Portugal return to World Cup qualification on Tuesday as they host Luxembourg.

Ibrahima Konate was left lost for words after making his first Anfield appearance for Liverpool in Monday's pre-season win over Osasuna.

The centre-back, signed for a fee in the region of £36million (€42.5m) from RB Leipzig, started the 3-1 friendly victory and played 80 minutes in front of a crowd of around 40,000.

The 22-year-old now cannot wait to experience a competitive game on Merseyside, with the Reds' first home game of the 2021-22 season coming against Burnley on August 21.

"To be honest, I don't have the words to explain my feelings when I put my first foot on the pitch," he told Liverpool's website. "It's amazing and I'm very happy to have my first game at Anfield with fans.

"Today was amazing. I cannot imagine the stadium in the Premier League or Champions League."

Liverpool were comfortable winners against the LaLiga side, Roberto Firmino scoring twice after Takumi Minamino broke the deadlock with a deflected strike.

Jurgen Klopp's men are looking in good form ahead of their season opener away to Norwich City on Saturday.

"I think we did a very good game together and this is the most important [thing]. I am happy about my performance," said Konate.

"It was the last friendly game, the last game of the pre-season – now the Premier League will start [on] Saturday and I am very excited for this moment.

"We were together for four weeks [in pre-season]; it was a little bit hard because we were in the hotel, but it was very good because we had a very good atmosphere with the team.

"Now I hope we are ready for the Premier League and the season."

Liverpool defender Andy Robertson has confirmed he suffered ankle ligament damage in the 1-1 pre-season friendly draw with Athletic Bilbao.

The Scotland international limped off after attempting to block a cross and was replaced at half-time by Owen Beck.

Manager Jurgen Klopp said further tests were required to determine the level of damage, casting doubt on Robertson's availability for Liverpool's opening game of the Premier League season away to Norwich City on August 14.

Ahead of Monday's friendly with Osasuna, the Reds' final warm-up game before the 2021-22 season, Robertson said via Twitter that he expected to be sidelined for a time.

"Thanks to everyone for the kind messages and support," he wrote. "Scan suggests nothing too major but there's some ligament damage which will need to mend.

"I will be grafting every day so I can help the team again sooner rather than later. Good luck to the boys playing tonight."

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