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Napoli sign Spain defender Raul Albiol from Real Madrid

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Napoli have landed another big fish in the summer transfer market.

Today the Serie A club announced the signing of Spain defender Raul Albiol from Real Madrid. Napoli made the announcement through their website, saying: “The 27-year-old Spanish defender arrives from Real Madrid and has signed a four-year contract.”

The player’s transfer fee has not been revealed although Italian media have reported it to be in the range of $15.8 million (€12m).

The move for Albiol is yet another sign of Napoli’s desire to strengthen the squad following strong domestic and Champions League campaigns. Last week the club sold its prized asset, Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani, and collected a fee of $84 million (€64m) for his services.

With their pockets laced the club immediately launched into a buying spree purchasing Albiol’s former Real teammate Jose Callejon. Shortly thereafter Napoli secured a loan-deal for Liverpool goal-keeper Pepe Reina after talks on a similar deal for Queens Park Rangers goal-keeper Julio Cesar hit a snag.

With Reina in tow, Partenopei have managed to strengthen their defense by acquiring Albiol, who was limited to 18 appearances for Madrid last season.

Despite a lack of consistent playing time under Jose Mourinho, Albiol has managed to keep his place with the Spanish National Team, where he has secured 40 appearances since 2007.

Albiol’s transfer to Napoli will be a reunion of sorts as the 27 year old links back up with Rafa Benitez, who managed Valencia from 2001-2004 when a teenaged Albiol was playing for the club’s B side.
At Napoli, Albiol is expected to slot into the right back spot for the departed Hugo Campagnaro, who left the club for Inter Milan earlier this summer.
So who’s the next target for Napoli club president Aurelio De Laurentiis?
Another Madrid player, Gonzalo Higuain.

How can Man United qualify for last 16 of Champions League?

Wayne Rooney, Manchester United FC
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Heading into the their final UEFA Champions League Group B game, Manchester United hold their destiny in their own hands, but any slip-up could mean it’s Europa League on Thursday nights for Louis Van Gaal‘s men.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

The Red Devils would have advanced to the knockout stage with a victory over third-place PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday, but slumped to an ugly 0-0 draw instead.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Man United 0-0 PSV ]

So, here’s all of the scenarios for the final matchday of the group stage, away to Wolfsburg, in which United would advance to the round of 16 advance:

  • A Man United win will see Man United finish top of Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV draw or loss (vs. CSKA Moscow), will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV victory, will see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV loss, will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United loss by more than one goal, coupled with a PSV draw, would see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV win, would see Man United finish third in Group B

[ MORE: Champions League schedule

There are your scenarios for Man United as it’s pretty simple to break it down: Win, and they go through. Fail to win, and their fate is completely in the hands of PSV.

VIDEO: Can Leicester stun the world? Man United title favorites?

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The Foxes are top of the Premier League and are led by a surging Jamie Vardy but how long can they keep shocking the world?

With six tough games coming up between now and the start of 2016, Claudio Ranieri‘s men will be pushed to their limit but so far this season they’ve been sensational and Vardy has equaled Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistlerooy’s record of scoring in 10-straight PL games.

[ MORE: Full PST Extra archive ]

Can he make it 11 in a row on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) when United visit the King Power Stadium? As for the Red Devils, they sit in second place and are just one point behind the flying Foxes’. Louis Van Gaal‘s men have certainly flown under the radar so far and our churning out wins at an impressive rate.

Jenna Corrado and I discuss that and more in the latest edition of PST Extra. Click play on the video above to see our chat in full.

Men in Blazers podcast: The Leicester fairytale goes on

Men In Blazers - Sept. 22
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Rog and Davo revel in another chapter of the Leicester City fairytale, break down Liverpool’s shock dismantling of Manchester City and discuss Arsenal’s slip against West Brom.

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

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Pellegrini updates status of Joe Hart’s hamstring injury

Joe Hart, Manchester City FC
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Joe Hart was forced to leave Manchester City’s 1-0 defeat to Juventus in UEFA Champions League play on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, which he seemed to incur while making a spectacular one-on-one kick-save late in the second half.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini confirmed after the game that Hart’s injury is indeed a hamstring issue, and went on to say that he would need further tests once the team arrives back in Manchester to determine the severity and how long, if at all, City and England’s no. 1 would be out of action.

Man City, currently third in the Premier League on 26 points, will host eighth-place Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).