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Kane doesn’t want rest despite ongoing England goal drought

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Harry Kane would rather play his way through his ongoing 479-minute goal drought for England than opt for a bit of rest after playing nearly 4,000 minutes (equivalent to more than 40 shifts of 90 minutes) for club and country thus far in 2018.

[ MORE: Thierry Henry announced as AS Monaco manager ]

Speaking after England’s 0-0 draw with Croatia on Friday, Kane was asked whether or not he’s concerned by the fact he’s not scored for the national team since the Three Lions’ round of 16 triumph over Russia on July 3 (six appearances). Much like his manager Gareth Southgate, Kane essentially shrugged off the rough patch as part of the ebbs and flows a footballer experiences over a prolonged period of time.

He has, after all, led the Premier League in combined goals over the least four-plus seasons, and he’s currently second in 2018-19 despite the obvious lack of form. In case anyone had forgotten, he’s happy to remind them — quotes from the Guardian:

“When you set the standards that I’ve set over the last few years and you fall a little bit below them, people are going to talk. That’s just the game we are in. I’m experienced enough now to know that and not to get too high or too low.

“I just stay focused on my job and what I need to do. In the Premier League, I’m second-top goalscorer. I’d like to have scored more for England recently but, as a striker, you go through spells where maybe it goes off the bar, whereas other times it comes off your heel and goes in the back of the net like in the World Cup.

“I don’t think my game has dipped. It’s been tough after the World Cup, not getting much rest, but I think I’ve dealt with it well. I’ve stayed fit and stayed healthy. That’s my main priority at the start of the season. Now it’s building on that and pushing forward over the winter period.”

“I thought I played well against Croatia in a tough game. When you are up there, you just have to battle, hold it up, bring others into play. For me, it’s just focus on my job for the team. I’ll be ready to go Monday.”

Still, it’s painfully apparent to anyone who has watched Kane on a game-by-game basis for the last four years that he’s not playing up to his maximum potential. He hasn’t done so since suffering an ankle injury early last spring, only to miss a very brief period of time before being rushed back for the conclusion of the PL season.

[ MORE: UEFA Nations League: Germany trounced by Netherlands ]

Bullishness and self-belief are two very big parts of what helped Kane get to where he is in his career, but they might also be doing him more harm than good at the moment.

Pique: Copa-losing Barca still “really hurting” from UCL exit

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Barcelona was the favorite to win La Liga, the UEFA Champions League, and the Copa del Rey for the majority of the season, but only claimed one.

Liverpool’s amazing comeback to beat Barca in the second leg of the UCL semifinals met Saturday’s loss to Valencia in the Copa del Rey Final to give Barca a league title alone.

[ MORE: Real, Chelsea debate Hazard fee ]

Even with that La Liga advantage being decisive — Barca carried the table by 11 points over Atletico Madrid and finished 19 ahead of Real Madrid — there’s a very dour mood and promised change for the Camp Nou set.

And Gerard Pique says it all traces back to the loss against Liverpool. From The Liverpool Echo:

“I believe that if we had gotten through at Liverpool, we would have won the treble. We would have come here [to the Copa del Rey final] with a different mood, and I’m convinced we would have won the Champions League final, but that is football. We are really, really hurting.”

There are hints of a massive clear-out at Barcelona, with Lionel Messi and Pique two of the only safe bets to stay. When will Barca get over it?

Brazilian team tangles in locker room futmesa (video)

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It was defense versus attack in the Brazil dressing room.

Neymar and Gabriel Jesus squared off with international teammates Filipe Luis and Ederson in a game of futmesa/table soccer this week.

[ MORE: Real, Chelsea debate Hazard fee ]

Neymar and Filipe Luis are used to be on different sides of the field from their time in La Liga, while Jesus and Ederson are teammates at Manchester City.

Brazil is hosting this summer’s Copa America and is the favorite to win its first tournament since 2007, when it claimed its fourth in five tries.

It’s really impressive stuff for us normal to subpar athletes, even if standard for those with such deft talent.

Quite a winner from Man City’s young striker.

Jovic could see himself in Premier League, Serie A

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Maybe Luka Jovic’s presumed move to Real Madrid won’t happen this summer.

Or at all.

[ MORE: Real, Chelsea debate Hazard fee ]

The Eintracht Frankfurt striker has been tipped for a move away from the Bundesliga after another strong campaign, and taking the center forward reins from Karim Benzema at Real Madrid.

Several outlets reported the deal as done, but Jovic isn’t speaking that way (or at least the Serbian is throwing us off the scent.

From Goal.com:

“In terms of the physique, the Bundesliga is very demanding, but after the games against Chelsea or Inter Milan, I personally had the feeling that I could feel even better [playing] in the Premier League or Serie A. … The way the teams play there suits me better.”

Jovic scored 27 times in 48 appearances for Frankfurt, adding seven assists at the tender age of 21. Ten of those came in the Europa League, and we’re not talking about flooding the nets of minnows; Jovic scored against Chelsea (twice), Marseille (three), Lazio (two), and Inter Milan (once).

Report: Chelsea, Real $38M apart on Hazard

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How much for Hazard?

Real Madrid are willing to pay $127 million, no small fee, to bring Eden Hazard from Chelsea, but that’s well off the Blues’ evaluation according to Sky Sports.

Chelsea sees Hazard’s price as $165 million. Belgian writer Kristof Terreur told Sky that Hazard wants his future sorted by June 4.

[ MORE: Bayern wins double ]

The Blues’ superstar is entering the final year of his contract, and could begin negotiating with other clubs in January and leave on a free transfer.

Hazard turns 29 in January. He recorded 19 goals and 16 assists in 51 matches this season, his best output in a Blues uniform.

The report says Chelsea feels no pressure to sell Hazard, but it would be a surprise if it dug in its heels too deeply considering the state of the Belgian’s contract.

Even for Chelsea, letting over $100 million walk out the door is wild, and for all Hazard’s won with Chelsea there’s also been consternation under several managers and a more than occasional habit of disappointing on the table.