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Juventus seals $47 million move for Douglas Costa

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Douglas Costa’s outstanding loan season at Juventus has earned him a permanent move to Turin.

It’s also earned Bayern Munich about $47 million after Juve exercised an option to buy the 27-year-old.

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Costa signed a deal which will keep him with the serial Serie A champions through the 2021-22 season.

Since arriving in Europe at Shakhtar Donetsk, Costa has won four league titles in Ukraine, two in Germany, and this year’s scudetto in Italy. Only in 2014-15, his final year at Shakhtar, did he miss out on a title.

Costa will represent Brazil at the World Cup.

Lewandowski wants to leave Bayern Munich

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The dude does not abide. The big Lewandowski wants to move on from Bayern Munich.

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According to his agent, Pini Zahavi, Bayern’s top striker Robert Lewandowksi is ready for a fresh challenge and wants to move on from the German champions.

Zahavi told German outlet Sport Bild that his client “feels that he needs a change and a new challenge in his career.”

Lewandowski, 29, has been linked with moves to various Premier League clubs in the past, plus the likes of PSG and Real Madrid. After four years at Bayern where he’s won four German titles and scored 151 goals in 195 games in all competitions, he’s won everything he can apart from the UEFA Champions League.

His current deal at Bayern runs until 2021 but he has obviously been thinking about a move for a while after hiring Zahavi as his new agent in February.

The Polish striker will captain his country at the 2018 World Cup this summer in Group D against Japan, Colombia and Senegal and a few goals and dominant displays of leading the line should do the trick to get his suitors lining up to give him one final payday.

And why wouldn’t they?

Lewandowski is a goal machine and has scored 42, 43 and 41 goals respectively in each of his last three seasons. He has 106 goals in 126 Bundesliga appearances for Bayern and before that he scored 103 goals in 187 games in all competitions for Dortmund. 332 goals in 557 games in all competitions over his career says it all.

Where could he end up?

Chelsea have been linked with Lewandowski for many years and with Alvaro Morata’s poor first season at Stamford Bridge, the Blues may jump at the chance to offload the Spaniard and replace him with the more experienced, and clinical, Lewandowski.

Lewandowski’s aerial ability would be suited to crosses flying in but previous links to the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United may well be out of reach now as Jurgen Klopp has his forward line settled and Jose Mourinho has built his attack around Romelu Lukaku.

Real is a real possibility for Lewandowski, especially after both Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo expressed doubts about remaining at the reigning European champions in the aftermath of their UEFA Champions League final victory over Liverpool at the weekend.

Wherever he goes, Lewandowski will score goals. It really is that simple.

Bayern Munich fans pay tribute to Jupp Heynckes, again

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MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich fans turned up in their thousands to bid farewell to Jupp Heynckes for a second time on Sunday.

The veteran coach is going back into retirement after leading Bayern to another league title. The side was five points adrift when he returned in October, but rebounded to wrap up the title with five rounds to spare.

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It might have been more for Heynckes, but Eintracht Frankfurt stunned the side to win the German Cup final on Saturday and Real Madrid emerged triumphant from the sides’ Champions League semifinal.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge paid tribute to the 73-year-old Heynckes for bringing “old values” such as “humanity and empathy” back to the side.

“The little downside for us is that we would have liked to give our Jupp, our coach, the nearly perfect finish, but it didn’t quite work out,” Rummenigge said of the shock defeat to Frankfurt.

Heynckes led Bayern to the Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup titles in his previous stint in 2013, before he retired for the first time.

Bayern’s players were clearly still disappointed over Saturday’s cup defeat as they celebrated the league win on the Munich town hall balcony.

“It feels really bad, how the season ended,” said Thomas Mueller, who added that the team would try to “put a brave face on it.”

Bayern Munich linked with Leverkusen youngster Bailey

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The vicious Bundesliga cycle may be about to continue.

According to multiple reports around Europe, including ESPNFC’s Raphael Honigstein, Bayern Munich has had a bid rejected for Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey and could be coming back with an increased offer soon.

The 20-year-old Bailey, already a Jamaican international, had a stellar season with Bayer scoring nine goals and assisting six more in 30 Bundesliga appearances, although he fell off a bit at the end of the season with just one goal after January.

According to the ESPN report, Bayern’s initial offer was for a whopping $70 million. Meanwhile, it states that Bayer values Bailey closer to $120 million, so one would expect the two to meet somewhere in the middle. The report also states that Real Madrid has expressed interest as well, and a bidding war could drive the price higher. Honigstein also states that a number of Premier League clubs have “closely followed his progress” and

Bailey arrived from Belgian side Genk just 18 months ago, and could represent a massive return on investment for Bayer this summer.

Manuel Neuer back in Bayern squad for German Cup final

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BERLIN (AP) Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has been included in Bayern Munich’s squad for the German Cup final on Saturday, boosting hopes he will be fit enough for the World Cup.

Neuer, who hasn’t played since September because of a hairline fracture in his left foot after being injured in training, says it’s “perhaps the best news of the day.”

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Bayern faces Eintracht Frankfurt in the German season-ending finale in Berlin’s Olympiasstadion. Backup goalie Sven Ulreich is likely to keep his starting spot as the side hopes to complete a domestic double.

Thomas Mueller, who was laboring with a stomach bug, was also named in the squad, while Jerome Boateng (thigh), Arturo Vidal (knee) and Arjen Robben (groin) will miss the game.

Neuer took a full part in team training this week. He was among four goalkeepers named in Germany’s preliminary World Cup squad on Tuesday, as coach Joachim Loew gives him every chance of proving his fitness for the tournament in Russia.