Achraf Hakimi

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Transfer news: Hakimi to Chelsea; Ronaldo to leave Juventus

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In the latest transfer news Achraf Hakimi has been linked with a move to Chelsea, while Cristiano Ronaldo will reportedly leave Juventus at the end of this season.

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Chelsea have been linked with plenty of left backs so far this summer with Ben Chilwell and Nicolas Tagliafico among them, while Nathan Ake could return to Chelsea and although he’s a center back, he can slot in at full back too.

However, a new right back (who can also play at left back) target has reportedly emerged. According to 90min, Achraf Hakimi is the latest to be linked with Chelsea, as the Moroccan full back has excelled on loan at Borussia Dortmund over the last two seasons. Tottenham and Man City have also reportedly joined Chelsea in making enquiries about the talented full back and that make sense because all three of those Premier League clubs need help in that position.

Hakimi, 21, has 10 assists this season and is a marauding full back, who is often deployed as a wing-back in Dortmund’s 3-4-3 formation. He is clever on the ball, has quality in attack and he certainly doesn’t shirk his defensive responsibilities and even though prefers to play at right back, playing on the left is fine.

With Dani Carvajal and Marcelo in his way at Real Madrid, is Hakimi willing to wait a few years to become a regular at his boyhood club? He expects to return to the Santiago Bernabeu at the end of the Bundesliga season this summer and although Dortmund want to sign him permanently, it appears plenty of clubs will be circling to snap him up if he’s available.

Chelsea aren’t messing around this summer and have cash burning a hole in their pocket after their transfer ban. With a move for Hakim Ziyech sealed, Timo Werner on the way and interest in Kai Havertz, Frank Lampard is making moves but most of them are attack-minded additions.

A move for Hakimi, an attack-minded defender, makes sense for Chelsea. He is likely to cost them a lot of cash, though, so maybe a loan move makes the most sense until Real Madrid are ready to sell him.

Ronaldo Juventus
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Speaking of players becoming available, a report from Italy claims that Cristiano Ronaldo will cut short his stay at Juventus and leave the Serie A giants this summer.

Ronaldo, 35, has two more years left on the monster four-year contract he signed in the summer of 2018 as he switched Real Madrid for Juve.

According to the report from Radio Rossonera, Ronaldo spent plenty of time during the coronavirus suspension to think about his future and may agree to move on from Juventus after the 2019-20 season is over due to high wages and the impact it is having on the Turin club.

Where could Ronaldo go? Of course, only a handful of clubs could afford him and Paris Saint-Germain would sit right at the top of that list, especially with Edinson Cavani set to leave on a free transfer this summer.

MLS could be another option, and it is one Ronaldo has spoken positively about in the past, but right now staying in Europe may be the better play until the long-term situation over the coronavirus pandemic becomes clearer. Ronaldo has delivered goals galore, as expected, at Juve. He’s scored 53 goals in 75 games, won the Italian title last season and has Juventus top of the league this season too.

UEFA Champions League glory remains the ultimate goal for Juventus and if Ronaldo can help them overcome a 1-0 deficit from the first leg of their Round of 16 clash against Lyon, they will be among the favorites to go all the way when the tournament is expected to resume in August.

Ronaldo looks set to follow the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic in having an incredibly long playing career and by those standards he’s still a few years away from heading to MLS.

Bundesliga: No sanctions for George Floyd protests

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The Bundesliga and German FA have confirmed that Marcus Thuram, Weston McKennie, Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakimi will not be punished for their message of support for George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN last week there have been widespread protests across the USA. A video showed former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, putting his knee on George Floyd’s neck for more than 8 1/2 minutes. Chauvin was arrested last Friday and charged with murder, authorities confirmed.

Over the weekend Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakimi revealed messages of support on their jerseys, while McKennie wore his armband saying ‘Justice for George’ and Borussia Monchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram took a knee after he scored in the Bundesliga.

Clubs and players across Europe have since issued their support to the movement. As for the German FA, they said they are looking into potential breaches around rules on political, religious or personal slogans.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino called for ‘common sense’ to prevail over FIFA’s long-standing rules punishing players for wearing political, personal or religious messages on shirts or making gestures, while he added the four players should be ‘applauded not punished’ for their actions.

In a statement released Wednesday, the German FA and Bundesliga confirmed the quartet will not face any action over honoring George Floyd with their on-pitch protests.

“The DFB Control Committee will not initiate proceedings against Achraf Hakimi, Jadon Sancho, Weston McKennie and Marcus Thuram. The committee also intends to maintain this line in new anti-racism campaigns to mark the death of George Floyd on the coming match days.”

DFB vice president, Dr. Rainer Koch, added: “Of course, the DFB control committee always has the requirements of the FIFA football rules and the DFB regulations in mind. In the specific case, however, these are targeted anti-racism campaigns by the players, which are therefore committed to values ​​for which the DFB also stands for and always stands for. Therefore, no proceedings will be initiated, even with comparable anti-racism campaigns, in the next few weeks.”

DFB President Fritz Keller said: “The DFB is firmly opposed to all forms of racism, discrimination and violence and stands for tolerance, openness and diversity – i.e. values, which are also enshrined in the DFB statutes. Therefore the actions of the players have our respect and understanding.”

German federation explains review of players who honored George Floyd

George Floyd tributes in soccer
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BERLIN — The German soccer federation has defended its decision to assess whether four young Bundesliga players who made gestures in solidarity with George Floyd over the weekend must face sanctions.

The DFB also said on Monday that Jadon Sancho’s booking for removing his jersey to reveal a T-shirt with the demand “Justice for George Floyd” had nothing to do with the message — rather, the yellow card was issued because the 20-year-old England forward broke a rule that says players who celebrate goals by taking off their jerseys or lifting them over their heads must be booked for “unsporting behavior.”

Borussia Dortmund teammate Achraf Hakimi, 21, who displayed the same message after scoring in the same game on Sunday, was not booked because he did not lift his jersey over his head.

The DFB control committee is looking into their gestures and those made by Schalke’s 21-year-old American midfielder Weston McKennie and Borussia Monchengladbach’s 22-year-old French forward Marcus Thuram to see if the four players broke laws that prohibit players from displaying “political, religious or personal slogans.”

McKennie was the first to make a statement when he wore an armband with the handwritten message “Justice for George” around his left arm on Saturday.

Thuram on Sunday took a knee after scoring in Borussia Monchengladbach’s win over Union Berlin.

Sancho and Hakimi followed suit later Sunday.

Floyd, a handcuffed black man, died on Monday after a white Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee for several minutes on his neck. Three other officers were also at the scene. Chauvin has been charged with murder and all four were fired.

DFB president Fritz Keller on Monday showed his respect and understanding for McKennie, Thuram, Sancho and Hakimi’s gestures.

“If people are discriminated against on the basis of their skin color, it is unbearable. If they die because of their skin color, then I am deeply distraught,” Keller said in a DFB statement. “The victims of racism need all of us to show solidarity.”

Keller referred to meetings with victims of discrimination and representatives of organizations that have faced anti-Semetic, anti-Muslim or racist hostility, and said the DFB and German soccer was showing its clear rejection of all forms of racism, discrimination and violence.

Keller also praised both male and female players for taking a stand and showing their solidarity.

“I’m proud of them. I can completely understand the actions from the weekend. Nobody can be indifferent to what happened in the United States,” Keller said.

Former Mainz forward Anthony Ujah was just given a warning by the DFB in 2014 in regard to the ban on political statements when he displayed a T-shirt with Eric Garner’s name and the words “can’t breathe” and “justice,” in reference to Garner’s death after a police officer placed him in what appeared to be a chokehold.

Now playing for Union Berlin, Ujah on Thursday tweeted a picture of his protest from the time, but with Floyd’s name typed above in bold.

Floyd also said “I can’t breathe” before he died.

“If the DFB’s control committee wants to investigate, then I have to ask myself if we all have the same values,” Union sporting director Oliver Ruhnert said. “It’s about a global issue here: The no to racism.”

Sancho hits hat trick during Dortmund rout

Paderborn v. Borussia Dortmund recap and video highlights
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Borussia Dortmund clobbered bottom-dwelling Paderborn 6-1 on Sunday, piling on the goals late at Benteler Arena.

Jadon Sancho scored three goals in his return to the Starting XI, celebrating the first by removing his jersey to reveal a “Justice For George Floyd” message on his undershirt.

Dortmund stays seven points back of Bayern Munich with five matches to play and moves four points clear of both Gladbach and Bayer Leverkusen. RB Leipzig is five points back of second and plays Monday versus Koln.

Paderborn’s three-match unbeaten run is done, the last-place side eight points back of the relegation playoff spot and nine back of automatic safety. Uwe Hunemeier scored from the spot for the hosts.

[ Bundesliga: Gladbach wins | Saturday roundup | Bayern blowout  ] 

Thorgan Hazard had a goal and an assist, as did Marcel Schmelzer. Achraf Hakimi also scored, with Mateu Morey and Axel Witsel picking up assists.

Sancho now has 17 goals and 17 assists in 27 Bundesliga appearances this season.

Dortmund controlled possession but Paderborn manufactured some minor chances early before the visitors came close.

That’s when Julian Brandt set up Raphael Guerreiro for a shot across goal that bounded wide of the frame.

Brandt had a chance to curl a shot on goal just before half, but sliced the effort.

The breakthrough came just under nine minutes after half when Paderborn goalkeeper Leopold Zingerle couldn’t hold Emre Can’s hard cross and Hazard was in the catbird seat to slot home.

Sancho then scored his first from close range before a controversial penalty awarded for a sliding block by Emre Can allowed Hunemeier to convert from the spot. That made it 2-1 in the 72nd minute.

The English winger bagged his second goal with a powerful striker Zingerle could only turn inside his near post in the 74th minute, and BVB scored three more times from the 85th minute.

American teen Giovanni Reyna came off the bench and had a goal ruled out in his 10-minute cameo. He had nine touches, completed all five of his passes, and registered a shot. Reyna both of his duels, drew one foul, and made a clearance (Stats by Sofascore).

Bundesliga wrap: Dortmund wins late, Leipzig drops points

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Borussia Dortmund put a little added pressure on leaders Bayern Munich with a big win at Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday.

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That’s the lead story, along with a Leipzig draw, as the Bundesliga provided Saturday action ahead of Bayern’s Sunday match with Augsburg.

USMNT players Josh Sargent and Weston McKennie both scored early in draws for their clubs.

Borussia Monchengladbach 1-2 Borussia Dortmund

Achraf Hakimi’s 71st-minute goal, off another Jadon Sancho assist, moved BVB to within a point of the leaders and dropped Gladbach’s hopes of a Bundesliga title.

Erling Haaland assisted Thorgan Hazard‘s opener before in-form Lars Stindl leveled for the hosts.

USMNT teen Giovanni Reyna was trusted with 12 minutes off the bench, making seven touches and a tackle while winning one of two duels.

Wolfsburg 0-0 RB Leipzig

There were no goals here, as Leipzig only gained a point on leaders Bayern Munich ahead of the Bavarians’ Sunday tussle with Augsburg.

John Brooks played his role in the draw, making three clearances to go with an interception and two blocked shots. He won four of six duels, completed six of 11 long balls, and passed at 81 percent according to SofaScore.

Fellow USMNT player Tyler Adams was an unused sub in his return from injury for the visitors.

Elsewhere
Paderborn 1-2 Koln — Friday
Schalke 1-1 Hoffenheim
Freiburg 3-1 Union Berlin
Hertha Berlin 2-2 Werder Bremen
Bayer Leverkusen 4-0 Eintracht Frankfurt
Bayern Munich v. Augsburg — 10:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Mainz v. Fortuna Dusseldorf — 1 p.m. ET Sunday

Standings

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 24 16 4 4 71 26 45 8-2-2 8-2-2 52
 Borussia Dortmund 25 15 6 4 68 33 35 9-3-0 6-3-4 51
 RB Leipzig 25 14 8 3 62 26 36 7-4-1 7-4-2 50
 Bayer Leverkusen 25 14 5 6 45 30 15 7-4-2 7-1-4 47
 Mönchengladbach 24 14 4 6 47 29 18 8-2-2 6-2-4 46
 FC Schalke 04 25 9 10 6 33 36 -3 5-6-2 4-4-4 37
 VfL Wolfsburg 25 9 9 7 34 30 4 4-6-3 5-3-4 36
 SC Freiburg 25 10 6 9 34 35 -1 6-2-4 4-4-5 36
 1899 Hoffenheim 25 10 5 10 35 43 -8 5-1-7 5-4-3 35
 1. FC Köln 24 10 2 12 38 43 -5 6-1-5 4-1-7 32
 1. FC Union Berlin 25 9 3 13 32 41 -9 6-1-5 3-2-8 30
 Eintracht Frankfurt 24 8 4 12 38 41 -3 6-3-3 2-1-9 28
 Hertha BSC Berlin 25 7 7 11 32 48 -16 3-3-7 4-4-4 28
 FC Augsburg 24 7 6 11 36 50 -14 5-3-4 2-3-7 27
 FSV Mainz 05 24 8 1 15 33 52 -19 4-1-7 4-0-8 25
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 24 5 6 13 26 49 -23 3-3-6 2-3-7 21
 Werder Bremen 24 4 6 14 27 55 -28 1-2-8 3-4-6 18
 SC Paderborn 25 4 4 17 30 54 -24 2-1-10 2-3-7 16