Bale: “I want to play for Real Madrid,” as Spanish press turn up the heat

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After Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas confirmed earlier today that talks are “ongoing” between the club and Gareth Bale about a new contract, more sensationalist reports have cropped up in Spain.

According to Spanish outlet Marca, Bale is demanding a move to Real Madrid and has hit out at Tottenham’s Chairman Daniel Levy over “false promises.”

Take this report with a pinch of salt, or a large dose of it, but Marca have repeatedly reported Bale’s potential move to Madrid is edging closer.

All week long reports from the Spanish newspaper have been escalating. Believe what you will. So here’s what they claim the 24-year-old Welshman had to say to Spurs Chairman Levy, as the club aim to keep him at White Hart Lane:

You made me a promise. You promised me if we didn’t qualify for the Champions League and a good offer turned up you’d listen to it. Well that offer has arrived and I want to play for Real Madrid. So keep your word and negotiate. I’m not interested in Manchester United or any other club. I only want to play for Real Madrid.

How have Marca got this information? Who knows. But Bale’s agent, Jonathan Barnett, has been very friendly with the Spanish media since the end of last season, and enraged Spurs fans last month by claiming Bale “would listen to an offer from Real Madrid.”

So, maybe Bale really does want a move to Real, and can you blame him?

source: Getty Images
Is Bale demanding a move to Madrid?

(MORE: Bale agrees to Real Madrid transfer but Spurs say, not so fast)

One thing is for certain, Bale and his agent are a lot closer to the Spanish media than we all previously thought. But we’ve heard this story time and time again, the rumors, Villas-Boas stating he is not for sale and that a new contract is being negotiated.

But we haven’t heard anything from Bale, not one word. And that tells its own story. Actions speak louder than words.

Anyhow, AVB stated this morning that Bale is not participating in Tottenham’s preseason tour of the Far East due to a Gluteal muscle issue. Apparently will be sorted out in the next week and Bale will train with the squad in London.

But if you believe reports… this time next week Bale’s healed Gluteus maximus could be heading to Madrid.

LA FC continues active offseason with addition of Laurent Ciman

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It seems like Major League Soccer’s latest expansion team is taking a page out of Atlanta United’s playbook in its buildup to the 2018 season.

[ MORE: NYCFC provides stadium details for Belmont proposal ]

After selecting five players in Tuesday’s MLS Expansion Draft, Los Angeles FC announced that it will be sending two of those players to the Montreal Impact.

LA FC will be sending Jukka Raitala and Raheem Edwards to the Impact.

The return? Bob Bradley and LA FC will acquire Impact center back Laurent Ciman — who has proven to be one of the best defenders in MLS since arriving in 2015.

“Laurent is a top defender who provides leadership and great distribution,” Bradley said upon acquiring Ciman. “His experience in the league and with the Belgian National Team will be invaluable as we build our club.”

With the addition of Ciman now in place, LA FC has built a strong central defensive partnership after the club also brought in former FC Dallas defender Walker Zimmerman in a trade on Sunday.

The expansion side already made a major splash with its first Designated Player signing this year, bringing in Mexican international Carlos Vela.

Huddersfield 1-3 Chelsea: Blues bounce back on the road

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Chelsea picked up a convincing road victory on Tuesday as the Blues topped Huddersfield Town, 3-1, at the Kirklees Stadium.

[ MORE: Gremio reaches Club World Cup final ]

The Blues came out hungry following Sunday’s defeat at West Ham, and an unlikely goalscorer gave  Conte’s group the lead.

Sloppy passing at the back saw Willian with the ball at the top of the Huddersfield area, before the Brazilian brilliantly played Tiemoué Bakayoko in on goal for his second finish of the season.

Willian — who played a key role throughout the match — extended the Chelsea advantage three minutes prior to halftime when his header snuck past Terriers goalkeeper Jonas Lössl.

Chelsea was clicking on all cylinders after halftime, when Willian helped set up Pedro for his third goal of the Premier League season.

Meanwhile, Laurent Depoitre pulled a goal back late for the hosts, but it was too late to rescue a result for Huddersfield.

Crystal Palace 2-1 Watford: Eagles storm back late, move up to 17th

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All things were pointing towards Watford’s direction on Tuesday, but a late change in fortune gave the Eagles a share of the points.

[ MORE: Burnley climbs into Premier League top four ]

A pair of late goals gave Crystal Palace a 2-1 win over Watford at Selhurst Park, and pulled Roy Hodgson’s side out of the relegation zone.

Bakary Sako and James McArthur each found the back of the net after the 87th minute to complete an important comeback for the Eagles. Now, Palace sits 17th in the PL standings on 14 points.

The big moment of the match came in the 87th minute, when Tom Cleverley was sent off after picking up his second yellow card.

Three minutes into the match, Daryl Janmaat struck for the visitors after the Dutchman headed home Richarlison‘s cross from close-range.

Burnley 1-0 Stoke City: Barnes’ late strike guides Clarets into top four

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Don’t look now, but the Clarets have climbed into the Premier League top four.

Burnley found a way Stoke City late on Tuesday, picking up a 1-0 win at the Turf Moor behind Ashley Barnes‘ late finish.

[ MORE: Gremio reaches Club World Cup final, awaits Real Madrid or Al Jazira ]

The Clarets, who have now secured 31 points over their first 17 matches this season, leapfrogged Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham with the victory. However, all three sides will be in action on Wednesday.

Steven Defour nearly put Burnley ahead on 69 minutes, when the front man tested Stoke keeper Jack Butland — who had to make a sprawling save to his right.

While Stoke mustered up several quality chances, it was Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s blast in the first half that nearly found the top left corner.

Next up for Burnley will be a date against Brighton on Saturday, while Stoke travels to Huddersfield the same day.