Bruno Guimaraes is playing a major role in Newcastle United's impressive start to the 2022-23 season.

The 24-year-old Brazilian midfielder has scored two goals and provided two assists for the Magpies this Premier League season.

Guimaraes joined Newcastle from Lyon in January on a four-and-a-half-year contract.

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL AND REAL JOIN GUIMARAES PURSUIT

The list of suitors for Newcastle United midfielder Bruno Guimaraes is growing with Liverpool and Real Madrid keen on the Brazilian, according to TNT Sports.

Newcastle are eager to sign the midfielder to an improved and lengthy contract extension, making him their highest paid player to ward off interest.

Last week, Goal linked Chelsea with him, with clubs reportedly monitoring his contract status ahead of potential January offers.

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– Premier League leaders Arsenal are looking to spend in January with three players on their radar according to The Sun. The Gunners are chasing Palmeiras midfielder Danilo, Shakhtar Donetsk attacking midfielder Mykhaylo Mudryk and Villarreal winger Yeremy Pino .

– L'Equipe reports Bayern Munich are weighing up moving for Borussia Monchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram as they look for a long-term replacement for Robert Lewandowski, who left for Barcelona in the close season.

Juventus have commenced talks with English teenager Samuel Iling-Junior on a new deal, claims Calciomercato. The 19-year-old made his Champions League debut on Tuesday.

– Football Insider claims Nottingham Forest will spend another £50m-£100m in the January transfer window to enhance their Premier League survival hopes. Forest made a record 22 signings following their promotion last term.

– Former Bochum boss Thomas Reis will take over as Schalke head coach, reports Sky. Schalke sacked Frank Kramer last week after their DFB-Pokal exit.

Barcelona, Liverpool and Chelsea are reportedly all interested in 21-year-old Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez.

Fernandez arrived at Benfica from River Plate just four months ago in June for a fee of €10million, and immediately took the Primeira Liga by storm, with the league naming him August's player of the month.

He has since helped Benfica to an undefeated record in both the league (8W 1D) and the Champions League (2W 2D), playing in every game, and his exploits in back-to-back draws against Paris Saint-Germain seem to have convinced some of the world's top clubs that he is up to the level.

TOP STORY – WORLD POWERHOUSES CLAMOUR FOR 21-YEAR-OLD BENFICA MIDFIELDER

According to a report from Sport, Barcelona had the chance to sign Fernandez for €10m but opted against it, allowing Benfica to swoop in, and he is now said to be valued at over €50m.

That figure could continue to rise as well. Having made his senior international debut for Argentina in September, Fernandez could play a significant role in his country's World Cup campaign as they enter the tournament on a 35-match unbeaten streak.

The report claims Barcelona will face opposition from Premier League giants Liverpool and Chelsea, and while there is no indication that Benfica would be willing to let Fernandez go six months into a five-year contract, the club that specialise in turning a profit in the transfer market could be faced with an offer they cannot refuse.

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– 90min is reporting Chelsea have made Napoli striker Victor Osimhen their priority forward target, following reports they are also heavily interested in RB Leipzig's Christopher Nkunku and Lille's Jonathan David.

– According to Sky Sport in Germany, Everton have also been keen on Lille's David, with the 22-year-old Canadian tied with Neymar for the most goals in Ligue 1 this season (nine in 11 games).

– The Evening Standard is reporting Chelsea are also weighing up moves for Borussia Dortmund's teenage English star Jude Bellingham, as well as West Ham's Declan Rice.

Arsenal are said to be joining Barcelona and Real Madrid in the chase of 16-year-old Palmeiras striker Endrick, per FourFourTwo.

– Calciomercato claims Milan are considering a move for Chelsea's Hakim Ziyech in January, with Chelsea said to be open to a loan move for the 29-year-old.

Former Chelsea and Brazil midfielder Ramires has announced his retirement.

The 35-year-old had been without a club since leaving Palmeiras in November 2020, and after a period of "reflection", the 52-time Brazil international decided to call it quits for good.

Ramires came through the ranks at Joinville before establishing himself with Cruzeiro, where his form earned a move to Europe and Benfica in 2009.

He spent just one season in Portugal before securing a big-money switch to Chelsea, with whom he enjoyed the most successful spell of his career.

Ramires had five and a half years at Stamford Bridge and won every domestic trophy once, while he also won the Champions League and Europa League before departing for Jiangsu Suning of the Chinese Super League.

Announcing his decision in a post on Instagram, Ramires said: "After some time of reflection, I would like to announce that I have decided to officially end my career as a professional football player.

"At this point, I can only thank God first, for he has trained and led me to the highest levels that sport can offer. Thank you very much also to all the clubs I've passed through, Palmeiras, Chelsea, Benfica, Cruzeiro, Jiangsu and Joinville. I will always carry you and your fans in my heart.

"Gratitude also to the Brazilian national team for having provided me the pleasure of playing two World Cups, which was the realisation of a dream.

"I'm thankful also to all the team-mates, staff, coaches and managers that I had the pleasure of working with.

"To my relatives, mother, children, brothers and true friends, thank you so much for being by my side unconditionally all these years, for celebrating each achievement of mine as if it were yours. You've always been my greatest strength and motivation.

"I'm going to go in other directions, but with the same happiness and courage I've had since I was a child, when, against all expectations, I left my city in the interior of Rio de Janeiro to see the world. Thanks for everything, football!"

Cristiano Ronaldo's future at Manchester United was a major source of speculation during the transfer window.

The 37-year-old Portuguese forward reportedly wanted to leave United in order to fulfil his desire to play Champions League football and challenge for trophies in the top leagues.

However, Ronaldo was unable to secure a move, with the likes of Napoli, Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid publicly distancing themselves from him following links, which may have led to another option being considered down the line.

TOP STORY – RONALDO TO RE-VISIT SAUDI OFFER IN JANUARY

Cristiano Ronaldo is reconsidering a lucrative offer from an unnamed Saudi Arabian club and could move in January, according to The Mirror.

Ronaldo had a stunning £211million Saudi offer during the transfer window but declined the move as he remained focused on playing in Europe.

But he will re-visit that in January after failing to secure a move, as he comes to the realisation his desire to play Champions League football and win trophies in top leagues may be fading.

Ronaldo has also struggled for game time this season at United under new boss Erik ten Hag, starting just one out of six Premier League games so far.

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– L'Equipe claims that Kylian Mbappe's Paris Saint-Germain contract expires in 2024 and not 2025, as that final year is at the sole discretion of the player. Mbappe was close to joining Real Madrid last term before signing a lucrative extension with PSG.

Inter are eager to work on a contract extension for defender Milan Skriniar who is out of contract at the end of this season, reports L'Interista. The Slovakian defender was pursued by PSG during the last transfer window, while Tottenham were also credited with an interest.

Arsenal will look to loan out 19-year-old Brazilian winger Marquinhos in order to gain first-team experience and game time, reports FourFourTwo. As a result, the Gunners will aim to bring in a short-term replacement in January.

N'Golo Kante has declined a new two-year deal with Chelsea and is out of contract in 2023, claims The Athletic.

– UOL says  Brighton and Hove Albion are interested in hiring Palmeiras boss Abel Ferreira to replace Graham Potter, who exited for Chelsea last week.

A dramatic late comeback was needed for Athletico Paranaense to book their spot in their second-ever Copa Libertadores final, securing a 2-2 draw away at Palmeiras after a 1-0 win at home in the first leg.

Palmeiras controlled the first leg, finishing with 63 per cent of the possession while Athletico scored from their only shot on target, so when Gustavo Scarpa equalised on aggregate less than three minutes into the second leg, it appeared the reigning back-to-back champions would run away with the tie.

With 11 shots to three in the first half, it was all Palmeiras in front of their home fans – until a VAR review deemed centre-back Murilo Cerqueira's challenge worthy of a straight red card.

Everything changed after half-time, as it was now Athletico controlling 62 per cent of the ball and dictating play, but in the 55th minute Palmeiras took control as Gustavo Gomez found the back of the net to make it 2-0, and 2-1 on aggregate.

Needing goals, Athletico subbed on Pablo, who paid immediate dividends when he scored one minute after his arrival in the 64th minute.

Pablo then turned distributor for the decisive strike, finding David Terans in the 85th minute to stick a dagger into home fans and secure the 3-2 aggregate victory.

It will be Athletico's first appearance in the final since 2005, where they lost to Sao Paulo.

Athletico Paranaense are one step closer to the Copa Libertadores final after holding serve for a 1-0 home win in the first leg of their semi-final against Palmeiras.

Athletico have not made it to the final since 2005, when they lost to Sao Paulo, while Palmeiras are the reigning back-to-back champions from 2020 and 2021.

In a game where Palmeiras controlled 64 per cent of the possession and produced four shots on target compared to just one for the hosts, it was Athletico's one shot on target that made the difference.

It came in the 23rd minute, when a botched clearance went straight up in the air, allowing 17-year-old Vitor Roque to bring it down and control it deep in the penalty area, before squaring the ball along the six-yard box to Alex Santana for the easy finish.

With the lead, Athletico opted to attempt to sit on their advantage and park the bus, only controlling 28 per cent of the possession in the second half, and they would have to do it with 10 men after a hand-ball Hugo Moura resulted in his second yellow card in the 70th minute. 

Incensed, his manager and former Chelsea and Brazil boss Luiz Felipe Scolari was also shown a red card from the resulting fallout.

But the home side was gutsy enough to hold on, making five substitutes in quick succession in the dying minutes to try and kill the clock. It resulted in nearly 10 minutes of stoppage time, which they successfully navigated.

Palmeiras will host the second leg on Tuesday, September 6.

Tottenham have reportedly entered the race for 23-year-old Roma attacking midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo, with Juventus also heavily linked to the Italy international.

Zaniolo missed the entire 2020-21 season after suffering the second torn ACL of his career, but he made a successful return this past campaign, totalling 42 club appearances, including five goals and four assists in 10 Conference League fixtures.

The man with nine senior international caps has been linked with Juventus for some time now, but with the club yet to make any breakthrough, they could face competition from the Premier League.

TOP STORY – TOTTENHAM LOOK TO SWOOP IN FOR JUVENTUS TARGET

According to Tuttosport, Juventus and Roma have been holding discussions about different constructions of a deal for Zaniolo, including an iteration that would make it a loan this season with an option to buy after. The report mentions his price tag is believed to be between £30million and £40million.

With Tottenham set to play Roma in a friendly on Saturday, it is said to be an opportunity for the two clubs to sit down and discuss the possibility of a move.

Reports have claimed Spurs are willing to include Giovani Lo Celso in their bid, with the English club said to value the Argentinian at £17million.


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– L'Equipe is reporting that Marseille are investigating a potential move for Inter's Alexis Sanchez.

– Fabrizio Romano says Chelsea have yet to receive an acceptable offer for 20-year-old striker Armando Broja after turning down a £30million bid from West Ham, and that he may be competing for first-team minutes this season.

– Fabrizio Romano is also reporting that Everton have approached Paris Saint-Germain about bringing 32-year-old Idrissa Gueye back to the club after he left in 2019.

– According to 90min, West Ham are in talks with Eintracht Frankfurt about 29-year-old wing-back Filip Kostic after having their first bid turned down.

Ajax, Newcastle United and Bayer Leverkusen are tracking 18-year-old forward Giovani, playing for Palmeiras in the Brazilian top division, according to ESPN Brasil.

Palmeiras secured their progression to the quarter-finals of the Copa Libertadores on Wednesday, trouncing Cerro Porteno 5-0 in Sao Paulo.

Coming into the second leg with a 3-0 lead on aggregate, the Verdao eventually extended it to 8-0 over two legs with four goals in the final 20 minutes on Wednesday, following Braian Samudio's own goal in the first half.

Francisco Arce's side did little to put the two-time reigning Libertadores champions on the back foot, failing to generate a shot in open play in the penalty area over the 90 minutes despite the majority of possession.

Launches up the pitch from Palmeiras goalkeeper Weverton resulted in late goals, with Rony scoring in the 73rd minutes and then assisting for Breno Lopes with a deft back-heel two minutes later. 

Palmeiras captain Gustavo Gomez scored what would be a cherished goal against his boyhood club Libertad's rivals to make it 4-0 in the 78th minute, before Breno returned the favour for Rony to round out the scoring in the 83rd.

Abel Ferreira's side will now meet Atletico Mineiro in the quarter-finals, after they progressed past Emelec on Tuesday.

Second-half barrage sees Flamengo through 

Flamengo set up a high-profile quarter-final with Corinthians in the late game on Wednesday, smashing Deportes Tolima 7-1 in Rio de Janeiro in their second-leg clash.

Dorival Junior's side confirmed an 8-1 win on aggregate over two legs, scoring five goals in the second half at the Maracana.

Pedro bagged a poker on the night, putting the two-time Libertadores winners up 1-0 in only the fifth minute, before helping put the aggregate result beyond doubt in the second half with another three goals.

Velez knock out River in huge upset 

Even after Corinthians eliminated Boca Juniors at La Bombonera on Tuesday, Velez Sarsfield claimed the last-16's biggest scalp, progressing past River Plate with a 0-0 draw on Wednesday in Buenos Aires.

Julio Vaccari's side absorbed pressure and looked relatively comfortable at the Monumental, against a River side that grew increasingly short of ideas.

Despite 71.1 per cent of possession in the second half, in what will likely be Julian Alvarez's last game for the club before completing his move to Manchester City, River Plate did not generate a shot in the penalty area from open play in the final 30 minutes.

Palmeiras are in control of their last-16 tie against Cerro Porteno in the Copa Libertadores after claiming a 3-0 win in Tuesday's first leg in Asuncion.

A second-half brace from Rony before a late sealer from Murilo gave the two-time defending Libertadores champions a healthy buffer coming back to Sao Paulo for next Wednesday's second leg.

Abel Ferreira's side just edged it on the basis of play over 90 minutes and took the lead right on the hour, with Rony meeting Gustavo Scarpa's inviting cross to the back post, to head home in transition.

After a VAR confirmation and some wonderful individual work from Raphael Veiga to bring Gustavo Gomez's hoof under control to release Scarpa, Rony made it 2-0 in the 69th minute and effectively ended the contest.

Murilo put the punctuation mark on the result, heading home from close range in the 87th, following Gomez's knock down from a corner.

Palmeiras moved to 19 straight away games without a defeat in the Libertadores, looking to win the tournament three times in a row for the first time since Independiente claimed four consecutive titles between 1972 and 1975.

 

Quintero returns but Velez triumph

Velez Sarsfield claimed a shock first-leg win over River Plate, winning 1-0 at the Estadio Jose Amalfitani.

Lucas Janson scored the lone goal from the penalty spot in the 15th minute, but Velez arguably should have won by more, with a scuffed effort from Manchester City signing Julian Alvarez in the 38th minute the only notable chance for River.

Juan Fernando Quintero was introduced for River after half-time, making his return from an injury sustained in April, but Velez had the better chances of the second half.

Velez captain Lucas Pratto had an chance to double the margin in the 52nd minute, with Franco Armani also denying substitute Abiel Osorio twice from close range. Janson then had a goal disallowed in the 75th minute, keeping River in the tie.

Flamengo take first leg victory

Last season's finalists Flamengo side took the first-leg victory despite a poor performance in Ibague, defeating Deportes Tolima 1-0.

Andreas Pereira capped off what will be his final week at the club on loan from Manchester United, scoring the winning goal in the 17th minute.

Lucas Silvestre's side did little to consolidate their margin with the ball, with a passive majority of possession taking over and facilitating chances on the other end.

Palmeiras midfielder Danilo has been granted his first call-up to the Brazil squad, while Tite selected Fabinho for the upcoming friendlies in June despite injury concerns over the Liverpool star.

Brazil announced a 27-man squad on Wednesday for friendlies against Korea Republic, Japan and South American rivals Argentina next month.

Fabinho is one of 13 Premier League players called up, despite the midfielder limping off in Liverpool's 2-1 win over Aston Villa on Tuesday after suffering a muscle injury.

Reports suggest Fabinho will miss the upcoming FA Cup final against Chelsea, along with league games against Wolves and Southampton, as he faces a race against the clock to feature in the Champions League final against Real Madrid on May 28 as Liverpool hunt an unprecedented quadruple.

Fellow midfielder Danilo was the other notable inclusion by Tite, with the Palmeiras man earning his maiden call-up after impressing at the Club World Cup, where his side were defeated in the final by Chelsea.

On Danilo's inclusion, Tite told reporters: "Danilo is one of those players that we have been following, we are always attentive to players that are emerging. 

"Danilo played well at the Club World Cup in games that we followed live and made visits to the club. We were looking at a series of things on how he performs so we could justify his selection."

Fabinho's Liverpool team-mate Alisson also made the list, along with fellow goalkeeper Ederson, while Manchester United duo Alex Telles and Fred were named alongside Arsenal's Gabriel Magalhaes.

Newcastle United's Bruno Guimaraes was again selected by Tite and will look to add to his six caps, but there was no room for Magpies team-mate Joelinton, who has impressed since dropping into midfield under Eddie Howe.

Casemiro could partner Guimaraes in the middle alongside Lyon's Lucas Paqueta, while Weverton and Guilherme Arana were the only other two players to feature from Brazil's domestic league.

Tite will have vast experience in the backline to call upon as well, with the likes of Alex Sandro, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva and Marquinhos to select from.

Up top, Gabriel Jesus will look to carry over his scoring form from his exploits with Manchester City, with Neymar, Vinicius Junior and Real Madrid's Champions League hero Rodrygo part of a star-studded attacking line-up.

The upcoming friendlies are part of Brazil's penultimate preparations for the 2022 World Cup, where Tite's side are placed in Group G alongside Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon.

Brazil squad: Alisson (Liverpool), Ederson (Manchester City), Weverton (Palmeiras); Alex Sandro (Juventus), Alex Telles (Manchester United), Dani Alves (Barcelona), Danilo (Juventus), Guilherme Arana (Atletico-MG), Eder Militao (Real Madrid), Gabriel Magalhaes (Arsenal), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain) and Thiago Silva (Chelsea); Bruno Guimaraes (Newcastle United), Casemiro (Real Madrid), Danilo (Palmeiras), Fabinho (Liverpool), Fred (Manchester United), Lucas Paqueta (Lyon) and Philippe Coutinho (Aston Villa); Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal), Matheus Cunha (Atletico Madrid), Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain), Raphinha (Leeds), Richarlison (Everton), Rodrygo (Real Madrid) and Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid).

River Plate left it late to claim their third successive win in this season's Copa Libertadores group stage, defeating Colo Colo 2-1 in Santiago.

Matias Suarez and Esequiel Barco scored in the final 10 minutes for the four-time Libertadores winners in an overall cagey 90 minutes at the Monumental David Arellano.

Los Albos had an apparent penalty waved away in first-half injury time, when Paulo Diaz brought down Juan Lucero as he was cutting back onto his right foot to shoot.

Diaz would be prominent again with Matias Suarez breaking the deadlock for River in the 83rd minute, though. The Chile international and former Colo Colo player quickly won back possession before playing through Marcelo Herrera, whose cross was not dealt with, and Suarez was on hand to punish.

Returning from injury, Esequiel Barco played a full match and doubled the margin in the 88th minute, rifling home from just outside the penalty area, before Lucero scored a consolation in the second minute of injury time.

Palmeiras make it three from three

Palmeiras took control of Group A and secured their third win of this season's group stage, with the 2021 Libertadores winners defeating Emelec 3-1 in Guayaquil.

The Verdao have not struggled for goals despite a middling start to the Serie A season, and they opened the scoring in spectacular fashion in the 19th minute. 

Following Mayke's cross-field pass, Rony headed in Wesley's first-time delivery back across the penalty area, with the ball not touching the ground in that sequence.

Gabriel Veron made it 2-0 six minutes later, cutting through the Emelec defence in transition, before calmly slotting home past Pedro Ortiz. Joao Rojas scored for the hosts in the 61st, but Breno Lopes eventually restored the two-goal margin.

Pikachu gets two assists as Fortaleza relieve pressure

In the other Group F result, Fortaleza claimed their first-ever win in the Libertadores, defeating Alianza Lima 2-1 at home on Wednesday.

After two respective defeats to begin their Serie A and Libertadores campaigns, Silvio Romero put Fortaleza ahead five minutes after the restart.

Alianza claimed an equaliser in the 70th minute with Pablo Lavandeira getting on the end of Yordi Vilchez's cross, but Yago Pikachu got his second assist of the night, setting Hercules up for the winner nine minutes later.

Thomas Tuchel felt Chelsea were deserving Club World Cup winners and has challenged his "relentless" side to keep adding to their growing collection of titles in the remainder of the season.

Kai Havertz converted an extra-time penalty to secure a 2-1 win against Copa Libertadores holders Palmeiras, as Chelsea added success in FIFA's showpiece club tournament to the Champions League and Super Cup titles they lifted last year.

Tuchel, who missed his team's semi-final win over Al Hilal after testing positive for COVID-19 but was able to travel to the United Arab Emirates for the final, was full of praise for his charges after the contest.

While admitting Chelsea needed a little luck to avoid a shoot-out, the beaming former Paris Saint-German boss considered this a deserved victory.

"You need luck to score late on, but we were relentless, and we did not stop trying", Tuchel told Channel 4, having seen Romelu Lukaku's opener cancelled out by Raphael Veiga's spot-kick.

"We did not give in. We had the lead, then lost it, but never stopped. It was deserved, but it's also lucky when you score so late.

"The penalty [from Havertz] did not look nervous but for sure he was. 

"You cannot not be nervous in this situation. We trusted the statistics, and I'm happy for him."

Kai Havertz converted a penalty deep into extra time to clinch Club World Cup glory for Chelsea with a 2-1 win over Palmeiras.

The game appeared destined for a penalty shoot-out after a drab extra period, but the Blues got the opportunity to go in front again and they took it.

Romelu Lukaku initially put Chelsea ahead with an excellent header just before the hour, but Palmeiras levelled nine minutes later through a Raphael Veiga spot-kick.

Havertz then kept his cool from the spot in the 117th minute as Chelsea were crowned world champions for the first time.

Chelsea are eager to fly out Thomas Tuchel to the Club World Cup final, as Jorginho said the head coach could make all the difference.

Tuchel tested positive for COVID-19 in the lead-up to the trip to the United Arab Emirates, with Chelsea announcing that blow to their preparations last Saturday.

The Champions League winners beat Al-Hilal 1-0 in the semi-finals without Tuchel on the touchline, thanks to a Romelu Lukaku goal, and now they are preparing to face Palmeiras in the final.

Brazilian giants Palmeiras, holders of the Copa Libertadores, were 2-0 winners against Al Ahly and will present tough opposition for Chelsea.

Saturday's trophy match is one that Tuchel would want to attend, and Chelsea reportedly have a private jet on standby, but he needs negative test results before he can be cleared to travel to Abu Dhabi.

Asked about preparing for the game without Tuchel, Jorginho said: "Of course it's different. His energy helps a lot, but he's not here now and the staff is trying to do their best. We can feel that.

"We feel sorry Thomas is not here with us, but he's involved all the time, in touch with the staff and team. We can feel the staff, all of them, are doing their best."

It would help, however, if Tuchel can be present in person, rather than making plans from afar.

"Of course it gives you more," Jorginho said. "There's more energy in the changing room. It'll be really important for us if he could be here. That's what we hope but at the moment we just don't know. We can hope."

Chelsea assistant boss Zsolt Low, set to lead the team if Tuchel cannot make the trip, added: "We still hope he can come and enjoy the group and the final as soon as possible.

"He is following the rules and getting tested. There is a lot of time. Any test he does could be negative. We hope this happens in the next hours. Thomas absolutely thinks he can be there, and the team and the whole staff want him to come for the final.

"We hope he can come, but if he cannot, we are still well prepared. We have had a lot of meetings. We had a video conference after the first game analysing it, and seeing what we can do better and what problems we had. We are absolutely clear what happened in the first game and what we have to do better in the second game."

Chelsea have yet to decide whether goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, back from helping Senegal win the Africa Cup of Nations, should come back into the team in place of Kepa Arrizabalaga.

"We have to take this decision tonight or latest tomorrow," said Low. "We talk to Thomas about it, we talk with the goalkeeper coaches, and we will make the final decision tomorrow, some hours before the game.

"Whoever sits on the bench has nothing to be worried or sad about. Both goalkeepers have had big performances in the last weeks, and that's why it's just a decision for this game."

Jorginho will be targeting another major trophy, after his Champions League win with Chelsea and Euro 2020 triumph with Italy last year.

"It's an important trophy. It's February. It's so much. We really want it. We're not thinking about the Premier League right now, we're thinking about tomorrow," Jorginho said. "That's the important thing right now."

This will be the fourth Club World Cup final between an English and a Brazilian side, making it the most commonly contested final by teams from two specific nations.

Brazilian sides have won three of their four games against English opposition at the tournament, the exception being a 1-0 defeat for Flamengo against Liverpool in the 2019 final.

Chelsea lost to Corinthians in the 2012 final, and Palmeiras are bidding to become the fifth Brazilian winners of the competition.

Palmeiras certainly head into the final in strong form, having achieved a 10-game unbeaten run across all competitions (W7 D3), with their last defeat coming back in November against Fortaleza in the league.

Raphael Veiga and Dudu recorded a goal and an assist each as Palmeiras eased past Al Ahly 2-0 in the FIFA Club World Cup semi-finals at Al Nahyan Stadium.

After losing to Tigres UANL in last year's semi-final before being beaten on penalties by Al Ahly in the third-place game, it will be a relief to Palmeiras to have reached the final.

Veiga opened the scoring six minutes before half-time, and turned provider for Dudu to double the Copa Libertadores' champions lead early in the second half. Chelsea or Al-Hilal await Palmeiras.

Al Ahly were missing some key players, though started Egypt international Amr Al Soleya despite the midfielder playing an hour of the Africa Cup of Nations final on Sunday.

He had two attempts during the first half but both came after Dudu had set Veiga away in the 39th minute, with the latter finishing well across Aly Lotfi.

Veiga returned the favour when he played in Dudu four minutes after the restart – the winger racing down the right before firing high into the net.

Another disappointed AFCON finalist, Hamdi Fathi, came on as part of a triple substitution following the second goal, and Al Ahly finally stepped up their intensity, having three times as many shots in the first 15 minutes of the second half (six) than they had in the entire first period.

Mohamed Sherif had the ball in the net in the 72nd minute when he followed up a shot that was spilled by Weverton, but it was disallowed for offside.

Salt was rubbed into Al Ahly wounds further with 10 minutes to go when VAR deemed Ayman Ashraf's reckless challenge on Rony worthy of a red card.

What does it mean? Palmeiras improve on last time out

It is a rare occurrence for the CONMEBOL representative to fail to make the Club World Cup final, so losing to Mexican side Tigres last year was a big blow for Palmeiras, as was only finishing fourth after defeat to Al Ahly.

Abel Ferreira's men always looked relatively comfortable here though, despite Al Ahly hitting the crossbar late on. Palmeiras are now the eighth different Brazilian side to reach the final of the Club World Cup, with Flamengo in 2019 the last team from the country to progress to the competition’s showcase.

Palmeiras on a roll

Palmeiras may have been expected to dominate their opponents with flair and skill, and in the first half they mostly did just that, but the second half was a solid example of keeping the opposition at arm's length to close out the win, ideal for knockout tournament football.

They are now unbeaten in their last 10 games across all competitions (W7 D3), since a 1-0 league defeat to Fortaleza back in November.

Another semi-final defeat for Al Ahly

Al Ahly are making their seventh appearance at the Club World Cup, but are yet to reach the final of the competition having now lost each of their previous four semi-final appearances (2006, 2012, 2021 and 2022).

What’s next?

Palmeiras will play the winner of Chelsea and Al-Hilal in Saturday's final, while Al Ahly will face the loser of that game in the third-place playoff earlier that same day.

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