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Rafinha to undergo surgery after tearing knee ligament

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says midfielder Rafinha will need knee surgery and is expected to be out for the rest of the season.

The club says tests have confirmed a torn anterior cruciate ligament in Rafinha’s left knee. He will undergo surgery in the coming days.

Rafinha got hurt in the team’s 1-1 draw at Atletico Madrid in the Spanish league on Saturday.

The Brazilian had torn a ligament in his right knee in 2015, and had a meniscus injury in the same leg in 2017.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Bayern unhappy with opponents’ rough style in Bundesliga

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BERLIN (AP) Bayern Munich wants more protection from referees.

The defending champions lost French midfielder Corentin Tolisso and Brazilian defender Rafinha to injuries sustained in last weekend’s win over Bayer Leverkusen. Both club president Uli Hoeness and chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge have called for a reaction from the German soccer federation.

[ MORE: Europa League wrap ]

“It can’t go on like this. Otherwise we won’t have any players after the 10th round or we won’t be able to get 11 players together,” Rummenigge said ahead of Saturday’s Bundesliga match against Schalke in Gelsenkirchen.

Tolisso was ruled out for several months after rupturing a cruciate ligament and the medial meniscus in his right knee, while Rafinha is out for several weeks with a partial tear of ligaments in his left ankle after a bad challenge from Karim Bellarabi, who was sent off.

Bellarabi, who apologized after the match, was subsequently banned for four games and fined 10,000 euros ($11,750).

After the game, Hoeness had called for Bellarabi to be banned for “three months – for stupidity.”

Bayern already lost French winger Kingsley Coman to injury in its first home game of the season, after which Rummenigge accused Hoffenheim of playing “football in a wild-west manner.”

Bayern coach Niko Kovac said his side was “fair game” for others to target with hard challenges.

It was different when Kovac was in charge of Eintracht Frankfurt from March 8, 2016, to June 30, 2018. No side committed more fouls per game (15.4) than Frankfurt in that time.

[ MORE: Top 5 Premier League storylines for Week 6 ]

Contrary to Bayern’s claims, both Kicker magazine and the Bild tabloid reported that promoted teams Nuremberg and Fortuna Duesseldorf, and Wolfsburg, all were fouled more the defending champions in the opening three games of the season.

Bayern’s 36 fouls is the same as Leipzig and Stuttgart, and its average of 12 per game is marginally below the average for last season.

Bayern’s players are more relaxed about the issue after winning their opening three league games and making winning starts in the German Cup and Champions League.

“I don’t think it’s so extreme,” Bayern midfielder Joshua Kimmich said.

On Saturday, the team can expect committed opponents again. Schalke, which finished runner-up last season, is looking for its first win after starting with three losses.

More AP Bundesliga coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/Bundesliga and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Alexis leads Man United past Real Madrid; Spurs, Roma win

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The International Champions Cup brought some power matches to the preseason pitch on Wednesday, and two of the three brought some real entertainment.

[ MORE: Modric interested in Inter ]

Manchester United 2-1 Real Madrid

Alexis Sanchez’s wonder assist joined his opening goal to make him the easy Man of the Match as Jose Mourinho’s men emerged victorious from Miami Gardens.

Karim Benzema scored for Real Madrid, but the reigning UEFA Champions League victors couldn’t find a second against United’s defense.

Now back to Alexis’ assist. Consider the athleticism involved in nodding this Juan Mata cross into the path of Ander Herrera. Insane.


Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 AC Milan

Georges-Kevin N’Koudou’s early second half hammer in Minneapolis was enough to let Spurs leave the ICC with two wins and a loss in penalties.


Barcelona 2-4 AS Roma

Rafinha gave Barcelona a 1-0 lead before Justin Kluivert fed Stephan El Shaarawy to leave it level at the break in Arlington.

New winger Malcom restored Barca’s lead from an assist courtesy former Montreal Impact man Ballou Tabla, but that was about all she wrote for the Blaugranas. Alessandro Florenzi, Bryan Cristante, and Diego Perotti scored thrice in eight minutes to hand Barca its first loss of the preseason.

Rafinha’s goal was pretty nice, though.

Robben, Rafinha commit to Bayern Munich for another season

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MUNICH (AP) — Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben is staying with the club for another season.

Bayern says that both Robben and Brazilian defender Rafinha have agreed to extend their contracts through June 2019, and will soon sign their new deals.

The 34-year-old Robben, who joined Bayern from Real Madrid in 2009, had been considering other offers but he follows Franck Ribery, 35, in committing to another season with the Bavarian powerhouse.

The 32-year-old Rafinha joined in 2011 from Genoa.

Inter Milan sign Barcelona midfielder Rafinha on loan

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MILAN (AP) Inter Milan completed the signing of Barcelona midfielder Rafinha on loan until the end of the season, with a view to a permanent move.

Inter can sign the Brazil international permanently for $43 million plus $3.7 million in bonuses, and said on Monday that option “must be taken up before the end of the season.”

Rafinha, who was born in Sao Paulo, had been at Barcelona since 2006, when he joined its youth team. He spent the 2013-14 season on loan at Celta Vigo.

After nine months out after surgery on his right knee, he made his first appearance of the season last week as a late substitute in Barcelona’s Copa del Rey defeat at Espanyol.

“It’s an important stage in my life,” he said, “and I had a lot of desire to approach this new phase in my career.”

Inter has slipped to fourth in Serie A, 11 points behind leader Napoli.

It could slip out of the Champions League places if Roma wins its match in hand on Wednesday.

“I hope to play in as many matches as possible and help the team to reach our objective which is Champions League qualification,” Rafinha said.