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Pochettino joke inspires full press release denial from Real Madrid

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Real Madrid might just be pretty soft… off the field.

Easy, Madridistas. We’re simply talking about the strongly-worded condemnation of Mauricio Pochettino‘s Friday comments about Real’s training grounds.

The Tottenham Hotspur boss, seemingly joking, claimed that Real chairman Florentino Perez would not let Spurs stay at their training ground ahead of the UEFA Champions League Final against Liverpool unless he signed a deal to manage the Madrid club, saying, “I asked Florentino to let us sleep in the sports centre, but he did not want to let us have the facilities.”

From reading the comments, it’d be hard to believe he was being serious (especially with Zinedine Zidane a club legend and squarely in charge). But either the public was legit enraged by Poch’s quip, or Real is very soft. Perez’s club released this strongly worded statement regarding whether it was ever asked to allow Spurs or Liverpool to stay on the club’s grounds. From RealMadrid.com:

Real Madrid CF also wants to emphasize that the accommodation of the finalist teams of the Champions League are assigned by UEFA following criteria of organization and security. And that at no time has our club been requested that these teams could be accommodated in the facilities of Ciudad Real Madrid.

Sometimes it’s better to just stay silent and roll with the punches, Mr. Perez.

De Ligt reportedly chooses Barcelona; Klopp set at CB

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Liverpool, Manchester United, and pretty much everyone but Barcelona looks set to miss out on Matthijs de Ligt.

De Ligt, 19, has paired with Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk while in the Netherlands national team set-up, but reportedly is opting to join Ajax teammate Frenkie de Jong at Barcelona.

[ MORE: Brighton hires new boss ]

In the case of Liverpool, Sky Sports says that Reds boss Jurgen Klopp thinks he doesn’t need another center back.

Injuries hit Liverpool’s center backs this season outside of Van Dijk. Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren were rated highly and combined for just over 2500 minutes, while young Joe Gomez suffered a long-term injury midway through the season.

If all are healthy, Liverpool has decent depth. Yet even Gomez doesn’t have the upside to shake a stick at De Ligt if the 19-year-old was truly interested in coming to Anfield.

I mean, “Are you interested in this 19-year-old captain of a Champions League semifinalist? He’s interested in coming there” usually doesn’t yield a firm, “No.”

As for Barcelona, it will reinforce its back line a year after allowing 36 goals. That’s pretty decent, but the Blaugranas‘ third-highest total of the last decade.

Man City, Liverpool to contest Community Shield in August

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The Premier League’s opening act is going to be a headliner.

Manchester City will meet Liverpool in an extremely early litmus test for both clubs when the Community Shield is staged on Aug. 3 or 4 at Wembley Stadium.

[ MORE: Kompany finds new/old club ]

Traditionally pitting the Premier League champions against the FA Cup champions, Man City’s capture of the domestic treble means its opponent is the second-place team from the table.

And so Wembley will be red and sky blue in early August, as Liverpool looks to exact some measure of revenge after seeing its incredible season come up one point short of the title.

City holds the trophy, having beaten Chelsea 2-0 in August, while Liverpool’s bid for its 16th shield will be its first time in the match since 2006.

Rumor roundup: De Ligt talks with Liverpool

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Our top rumors for Sunday reside on Merseyside.

[ MORE: Kompany signed, hired by Anderlecht ]

Liverpool has “been talking” with Ajax center back Matthijs de Ligt in a bid to set up their back line for a long while.

De Ligt’s been linked with moves to Barcelona and Manchester United amongst others, but Guillem Balague says Liverpool has approached the 19-year-old about its project to bring a first Premier League era title to Anfield.

He has almost 10,000 first team minutes for Ajax despite not turning 20 until August. De Ligt has 15 caps for the Netherlands national team, scoring once, and pairing with Virgil Van Dijk could not only help his continued growth but would also give Liverpool one of the best center back pairings in the world.

Ajax will be rubbing its hands together in anticipation of a proper bidding war as the fight for De Ligt may last for some time.


Jordan Pickford is still Everton’s No. 1, but the Toffees will have insurance should the England keeper dip in form or go adventuring again.

That’s thanks to Huddersfield Town’s release of Jonas Lossl, who was outstanding in 2017-18 and just a bit less so this season as the Terriers were unable to keep their Premier League status.

The 30-year-old would take the place of former Fulham backstop Maarten Stekelenburg, who Sky Sports says is expected to leave the Goodison Park set this summer.

Liverpool’s Lallana wants Southampton return

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Frustrated with a lack of playing time for Jurgen Klopp‘s high-flying Reds, Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana would like to go back home.

Lallana, 31, couldn’t record a goal nor assist in just under 600 minutes this season, a couple of hundred minutes more than he found in 2017-18.

[ MORE: Terriers release Williams, Lossl ]

This after a strong trio of seasons with the Reds following a $32 million buy from Southampton, and now Saints look to welcome him back.

Liverpool wants a reported $17 million, which seems a touch high.

Lallana is a Saints legend, having helped the club rise from League One to the Premier League. He posted nine goals and eight assists in his lone PL campaign for the St. Mary’s outfit.

Saints brought Danny Ings home last summer, so perhaps there’s another reunion on deck.