Atletico Madrid

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Report: Man City could use Gabriel Jesus to get Rodri

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At the root of this report is a question to which we don’t know the answer: How highly does Pep Guardiola rate Gabriel Jesus?

A report from Spanish outlet AS says Guardiola could use his young striker to lure Atletico Madrid into a swap deal, landing Manchester City their stirring defensive midfielder Rodri.

[ MORE: Players to watch at U-20 World Cup ]

Rodri is a nearly year older than 22-year-old Jesus, and is more instrumental to his current club. One of Atletico Madrid’s top talents, his $78 million release clause is an obvious route for City.

If Guardiola doesn’t see Jesus as a huge part of the club’s future, however, the manager may be able to go nearly like-for-like money-wise.

Jesus scored nearly every other game for City in all competitions, nabbing 21 goals in 47 matches, and has 13 goals in 27 caps for Brazil. Those are good numbers, especially with still-electric Sergio Aguero turning 31 this summer.

At his relatively tender age, Jesus has appeared 100 times for Man City and his 45 goals are made more impressive by less than 5600 total minutes in those matches.

Giving up on him to complete his midfield is a tough one. We think it’s more likely Guardiola pays the release clause… unless the manager simply doesn’t rate the player.

No Champions League could lead Lacazette from Arsenal

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Alexandre Lacazette could leave Arsenal if the Gunners fail to win a place in the UEFA Champions League.

So says a report out of The London Evening Standard, which notes that Barcelona and Atletico Madrid would be interested in bringing the Frenchman to La Liga.

[ MORE: Kompany finds new/old club ]

Arsenal will participate in next season’s Europa League unless it beats Chelsea in this season UEL Final on May 29 in Baku.

Lacazette, 27, has 19 goals and 13 assists for Arsenal this season and struck up a tremendous partnership with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. He has not played in the Champions League since 2016-17.

Arsenal is being linked with a big attacking target, too, and is said to be intrigued with Ajax boss Marc Overmars comments that Hakim Ziyech will be allowed to leave if his $28 million release clause is met. From The Evening Standard:

“He is in focus because of his achievements in the Champions League. Many big clubs are buzzing around him, We promised Hakim that we would agree if there is a good transfer,” Overmars told the Dutch De Telegraaf newspaper.
Ziyech has played his entire career in the Dutch Eredivisie between Heerenveen, Twente, and Ajax. He has 12 goals in 23 caps for Morocco and scored five times for Ajax in the Champions League to go with 16 league goals.

Report: Guardiola luring $78M Rodri from Atletico Madrid

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Pep Guardiola laughed off speculation that Manchester City would step in front of Barcelona to buy Antoine Griezmann, but the Premier League champions may have another Atletico Madrid man in mind.

According to Spanish outlet AS, Guardiola has already approached Atleti midfielder Rodrigo “Rodri” Hernandez about making the move to Manchester. The 22-year-old center mid could be a long-term replacement for Fernandinho.

[ MORE: Dybala to leave Juve ]

He’d also cost around $78 million via release clause, so the price is set if Guardiola can convince Rodri to come to England. From AS.com:

Having spoken to Rodri to outline his plans for him and the team, City coach Pep Guardiola has been key to selling the club to the player. Indeed, working with Guardiola is a major lure for the ex-Villarreal man: he feels Pep’s footballing philosophy fits his playing style better than Atlético boss Diego Simeone’s.

Simeone is said by AS to view Rodri as good but not irreplaceable. Removing goal scorers and playmakers, he was the highest-ranked player in La Liga last season according to advanced stats site WhoScored.

Griezmann informs Atleti he wants to leave, so he will leave

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Antoine Griezmann has officially taken the most important step toward forcing through a transfer away from Atletico Madrid.

[ SEASON REVIEW: Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal ]

The Frenchman has informed Atleti that he will not continue as a Rojiblanco beyond Saturday’s 2018-19 final, the club announced on Tuesday. The club also posted a video in which Griezmann thanked the Atleti fans for “an incredible five years. Thank you very much for everything, I take you in the heart,” he said.

Reports have long linked Griezmann with a $135-million move to Barcelona, a deal which might very well already be agreed. An announcement revealing more about Griezmann’s future is expected in the coming days.

[ SEASON REVIEW: Man United, Wolves, Everton, Leicester, West Ham ]

Atleti played their final home game of the season on Sunday, a moment which was reserved for tribute to outgoing captain Diego Godin following his nine-year service to the club. It appears that Griezmann and Atleti timed their joint announcement so as to not take away from Godin’s deserved celebration.

At the very least, Griezmann has done well to balance his personal ambition with a healthy respect for the day-to-day operations of the club. He will go down as one of Atleti’s greatest players, and an amicable departure — even if he’s headed to Barcelona — should keep him in good stead with the club’s fans.

La Liga and Serie A: Godin’s Atleti goodbye, Real lose again; Roma beat Juve

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A roundup of all of Sunday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights…

[ MORE: Final Premier League standings of the 2018-19 season ]

Atletico Madrid 1-1 Sevilla

Captain Diego Godin made the 388th appearance of his nine-year Atleti career on Sunday, marking the final time he’ll take the field in the Spanish capital for Los Rojiblancos. Godin was honored by a capacity crowd, all on their feet, after the game.

Koke put second-place Atleti ahead in the 30th minute. Pablo Sarabia drew sixth-place Sevilla level in the 70th.

Real Sociedad 3-1 Real Madrid

Real Madrid suffered their 11th league defeat of the season (17 across all competitions, for the first time since 1998-99) after going 1-0 up in the 6th minute, courtesy of Brahim Diaz, and being reduced to 10 men in the 39th (Jesus Vallejo).

Mikel Merino (26th minute), Joseba Zaldua (57th) and Ander Barrenetxea (67th) got the goals for eighth-place Sociedad.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Barcelona 2-0 Getafe
Valencia 3-1 Alaves
Athletic Bilbao 3-1 Celta Vigo
Leganes 0-2 Espanyol
Rayo Vallecano 1-2 Real Valladolid
Girona 1-2 Levante
Real Betis 2-1 Huesca


Roma 2-0 Juventus

Roma’s quest for Champions League qualification got a massive, and somewhat unexpected, boost in the form of a victory over champions-elect Juventus. Claudio Ranieri‘s side were three places and four points off fourth place, but now they sit just two place and one point back of Inter Milan with two games left to play.

Alessandro Florenzi (79th) and Edin Dzeko (90th+1) did all of Roma’s damage late against a full-strength Juve side. Following a disastrous start to the season (just five wins from their first 15 games), Roma have righted the ship and are now unbeaten in their last seven league games and have lost just three of their last 19.

Elsewhere in Serie A

SPAL 1-2 Torino
Torino 3-2 Sassuolo
Frosinone 1-3 Udinese
Sampdoria 2-1 Empoli