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Southgate says Kane can be as good as Messi or Ronaldo

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England head coach Gareth Southgate says Harry Kane continually compares himself to Lionel Messi’s and Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal tallies, and believes he can reach those heights.

The Tottenham striker scored twice in the 4-0 England win over Malta on Friday, and he has five goals in his last three international matches. That gives him eight goals in just 19 caps, a furious pace should he keep it up through the next few years.

“He’s in top form,” Southgate said of Kane ahead of England’s next qualifier against Slovakia, “but he’s also got the mentality to want to be the best. He knew this morning how many goals in games he had, and also how many Ronaldo and Messi had at this point. He’s driven to be one of the world’s best. Why can’t that happen moving forward?”

Obviously there’s a long way to go, but Kane’s current pace is just behind Ronaldo’s 78 goals in 144 caps, and nearly even with Messi’s 58 goals in 118 caps. The Telegraph points out that Kane’s total career goals are just slightly behind Ronaldo at the same age, and a good distance behind Messi at that stage. According to Southgate, Kane knows all the numbers, international and overall, and at his young age, he could have a long, productive career ahead.

“We’re still talking about a 24-year-old, so there’s still much more to come from him. Alan [Shearer] was 25/26 when he was top scorer in [Euro] 96. Harry is still in the early stages of his career, but was top-scorer in the league two years running and is in a really good place.”

Kane will also only go as far as his team will take him. In Shearer’s days, England was at the top of the world rankings and reaching the latter stages of tournaments, allowing him more games to reach milestones. In Euro 1996, Shearer was able to be top scorer because England reached the semifinals. Kane and England, meanwhile, were knocked out of Euro 2016 in the Round of 16, while Ronaldo and Portugal won the tournament, allowing Cristiano to reach 5 goals, one off Antoine Griezmann’s lead.

“You’ve got to have that drive and belief, and that’s what he’s got,” Southgate said of Kane. “He had that when we weren’t picking him in the Under-21s. He’d come and say: ‘Hold on a minute, why? What’s the rationale?’ I never minded that self-belief. He’s doing that for Spurs, and now in the biggest matches.”

Mesut Ozil discusses critique of Turkish background

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Germany’s dismissal from the World Cup came as a shock to many, but one of its players received heavier scrutiny for off-the-field actions.

[ MORE: Whitecaps teen Alphonso Davies nearing move to Bayern ]

Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil appeared in two of the three group stage matches for the Germans in Russia, however, his play was overshadowed by his meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan prior to the start of the tournament.

The meeting between the two caused several German media outlets to criticize Ozil due to the heated relations between the two European nations.

Additionally, Ozil says his brand was affected as well, with various sponsors pulling their support due to the meeting with Erdogan.

The 29-year-old is of Turkish and German descent, which would have made him eligible to represent either country.

Ozil took to Twitter on Sunday to discuss how the ordeal has affected how the media and sponsorship has affected him over the last month.

Barcelona, Sevilla to play Spanish Super Cup in Morocco

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La Liga champions Barcelona will meet Sevilla in the 2018 Spanish Super Cup in Tangier, Morocco on August 12.

[ MORE: Klopp talks Pulisic, Liverpool spending ]

The Real Federación Española de Fútbol (RFEF) announced the decision on Sunday, as Barca looks to kick off the 2018 season against last year’s Copa Del Rey runners’ up.

Lionel Messi and Co. defeated Sevilla, 5-0, in the 2017/18 Copa Del Rey final, giving the Blaugrana a domestic double for the first time since the 2015/16 campaign.

La Liga play opens up in Spain on August 19, however, the full fixture list will be revealed on Tuesday.

Ibrahimovic: MLS is “lucky I didn’t come 10 years ago”

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been a major bright spot, as expected, in his debut season in Major League Soccer.

[ MORE: Whitecaps teen Alphonso Davies nearing Bayern Munich transfer ]

The LA Galaxy striker recorded a goal and an assist in Saturday’s 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Union, raising his goal tally to 12 on the year — which ranks fourth-best in the league.

At the age of 36, Ibrahimovic has shown he’s more than capable of producing as a veteran, but it raises the question: how amazing would he have been in MLS had he joined sooner?

Following the Galaxy’s win over the Union, Ibrahimovic joked with media, suggesting he could have had the entire country in his hand if he had arrived in the United States sooner.

“They’re lucky I didn’t come 10 years ago,” Ibrahimovic said, “because I would be the president today.”

Puel insists Chelsea hasn’t inquired about goalkeeper Schmeichel

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Chelsea could very be in the market for a goalkeeper over the summer, but Leicester City’s manager insists that their number one isn’t being targeted by the Blues; or at least not yet.

[ MORE: Klopp discusses Christian Pulisic, Liverpool’s spending ]

With the Blues likely set to lose Belgium international Thibaut Courtois to Real Madrid, new manager Maurizio Sarri would have to look elsewhere to solidify the team’s goalkeeping situation.

One player that has drawn significant interest after a strong World Cup performance for Denmark is Leicester’s Kasper Schmeichel, who played a big role in the Foxes’ 2015/16 Premier League title.

Although Schmeichel would be a viable replacement for Courtois at Stamford Bridge, Leicester boss Claude Puel says Chelsea hasn’t expressed its interest to this point.

“No, there is no problem with this,” the Frenchman told Sky Sports. “There is a lot of speculation at this moment, it is normal.

“I think he [Ward] can bring more competition to the squad and more possibilities. It is a good thing to have competition between players in the squad to develop desire.

“It gives good focus and concentration.”

The Foxes recently brought in young Liverpool keeper Danny Ward, which raised further questions about the future of Schmeichel at Leicester.