Thomas Partey

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Champions League wrap: Juve, Atleti, PSG in the win column

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The UEFA Champions League had a bit of everything on Tuesday, including results for five visiting teams.

We’ve written plenty about Spurs’ big loss and Man City’s controlling win, but if you missed those recaps — as well as Real Madrid’s poor day versus Club Brugge — see below.

Real Madrid 2-2 Club Brugge — RECAP

Tottenham Hotspur 2-7 Bayern Munich — RECAP | Pochettino reacts

Man City 2-0 Dinamo Zagreb — RECAP | Foden, Sterling react

As for the five other matches on Tuesday’s slate…

Galatasaray 0-1 Paris Saint-Germain

The Türk Telekom Stadı is far from an easy place to visit, and PSG needed every bit of resolve to outlast the Turkish hosts. Pablo Sarabia did a lot of the heavy lifting in setting up Mauro Icardi for the match’s lone goal, which came in the 52nd minute.

Juventus 3-0 Bayer Leverkusen

Gonzalo Higuain gave The Old Lady an early lead, and Cristiano Ronaldo had a goal and set Federico Bernardeschi up for another to keep Juve on level footing with Atletico Madrid in the race for Group D’s seeded spot.

Atalanta 1-2 Shakhtar Donetsk

The Serie A side took a lead through Duvan Zapata and would’ve been happy to get a point on the board after Junior Moraes scored before halftime, but instead saw a home loss when Manor Soloman scored in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

Red Star Belgrade 3-1 Olympiacos

Down 1-0 after 37 minutes on a Ruben Semedo strike, the hosts took off following an early second half red card to Olympiacos’ Yacine Benzia.

Milos Vulic, Nemanja Milunovic, and Richmond Boakye scored for Red Star, who was again backstopped by Canadian star Milan Borjan.

Lokomotiv Moscow 0-2 Atletico Madrid

Scoreless at the break, Joao Felix had a goal and helped set up Thomas Partey for another to make it 2-0 by the hour mark as Diego Simeone’s men climbed to four points for the tournament.

Don’t look now (actually look now, that’s why we’re putting it here. What a silly phrase) but Atleti looks really dangerous again.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Man United after Portuguese duo, Spurs want Lo Celso

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With the Premier League season complete and the offseason officially upon us, Premier League teams are shopping to keep up with those around them and plug holes that might need improvement.

Manchester United is reportedly after a trio of Portuguese players, and there is significant news regarding two of them.

According to reports in Portugal, central defender Ruben Dias is on the verge of a new contract with his current club Benfica which would bump his release clause from its current $67 million to a whopping $112 million, making it that much more difficult for the Red Devils to pursue the 22-year-old this summer. Currently, Dias is signed through 2023, but the club wanted to boost its ability to control the market with Dias connected to the biggest clubs in Europe.

Dias, a Benfica youth product, played the full 90 minutes in 32 of Benfica’s 34 league matches this season, a fixture at the back for the club as they won the league by a two-point margin over rivals Porto. While Benfica’s main asset was its blistering attack that scored 103 goals, the most in the league by a massive 29-goal margin, the defense conceded just 31 on the season, second-fewest behind Porto’s 20.

Part of that sparkling Benfica attack, 19-year-old Joao Felix, is also reportedly wanted by Manchester United, but the club announced Friday that there had not yet been any official submissions for his services. “No offer has arrived,” Benfica executive Domingo Soares told Portuguese television channel TVI24. “There is talk and rumors. It’s true that top European clubs have expectations, but no proposal has arrived to us.”

Felix appeared 26 times for Benfica on the season, including starts in the final 19 games of the year once he earned his permanent place in the team in early January. He scored 15 goals and assisted nine others, earning comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo for his style of wing play that sees him like to drift centrally.


Tottenham is preparing for the possibility of Christian Eriksen to depart the club this summer, with a move to Real Madrid heavily reported. They are reportedly keeping a close eye on Real Betis midfielder Giovani Lo Celso, who had a fine season with the Spanish club after moving permanently from Paris Saint-Germain.

The 23-year-old proved his value with an outstanding 16-goal haul in 46 matches across all competitions, a gluttonous tally for a midfielder. Lo Celso was on loan at Betis this season, but the club activated a clause in the loan to secure him permanently this summer for a modest $25 million. According to Spanish publication AS, Tottenham would be willing to pay up to $67 million for the Argentine, a sizable and immediate return on investment for Betis despite owing PSG a 20% sell-on fee for any outgoing transfer.

Lo Celso has been slighted in his career to this point. Proving valuable in his time at PSG, he started 33 league games in 2017/18 and scored four goals with five assists in a deeper midfield role, but was still considered surplus to requirements the next campaign. He was left on the bench for most of Argentina’s disappointing 2018 World Cup journey despite the attack constantly crying out for his creative abilities, and subsequently loaned out to Betis, where he flourished.


According to reports in Italy, Napoli has already rejected a $100 million offer for defender Kalidou Koulibaly from Real Madrid. Koulibaly is yet another defender linked with Manchester United, as it’s no secret the upgrade needed along the Red Devil back line, so the price tag will come as a blow, as will interest from other top clubs. Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has previously said publicly that he has turned down massive bids from clubs for his Senegalese defender, but never specified the club.

The 27-year-old signed a five-year contract last summer that runs through the summer of 2023 and contains a whopping $168 million release clause. Napoli appears to be using that as leverage, although any return even remotely close to that would be a significant gain for the Italian side that secured him from Genk for just $8 million back in 2014.

Koulibaly was a reported target of Jose Mourinho before his dismissal at Old Trafford, and it could be difficult again if the price tag is that high. With a number of top defenders on the market this summer, including the aforementioned Ruben Dias as well as Matthijs de Ligt, clubs may be forced to look elsewhere for a defensive replacement.


Arsenal and Manchester United are reportedly targeting Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey, as the 25-year-old Ghanan international anchored the Atletico Madrid defense well last campaign and could be on his way out, especially if Atleti faces an overhaul this summer.

Partey played it cool when asked about his future, noting that anything he says can and often will be used against him by the media. “It’s hard for me to talk about transfers because the next minute it will be like ‘Thomas is trying to leave’ but for me playing football is what makes me happy,” Partey told BBC Sport.

“I don’t know what the future holds for me but as long as I play and they are happy with me here then there is no need flirting with others.”

An Atletico Madrid youth product, Partey has made 130 appearances for the club, including a 32-game league season this past campaign. Atleti finished second in the table with 76 points, eight above third-placed Real Madrid and 11 behind the champions Barcelona. They conceded just 29 goals, the least in the league by a significant margin.

Atleti wins UEFA Super Cup’s Madrid Derby

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Diego Costa scored twice in regulation and Saul Niguez notched a beautiful goal in extra time as Atletico Madrid beat Real Madrid 4-2 on Wednesday in the UEFA Super Cup.

Koke added a 103rd minute marker in Tallinn, Estonia, to round out the scoring for Atleti, which claimed its third Super Cup since 2010.

Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos scored for Real, which had won the last two Super Cups. The match pits the winners of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League.

[ MORE: Premier League Club Power Rankings, Week 1 ]

It took less than a minute for Atleti to take the lead, with Costa winning a 50/50 over Sergio Ramos, then rounding Raphael Varane before blasting past Keylor Navas high and tight. Not a bad trio to count amongst your victims.

Real equalized when Gareth Bale sent a sensational back post cross to Karim Benzema, whose angled-back header was equally nice.

The 62nd minute saw Real get its first chance at the lead, with Juanfran‘s flailing arm striking a cross in he Atleti box. Ramos converted his stuttered run-up to make it 2-1.

Costa leveled the score after a glittering Juanfran move through the 18 and cutback to the top of the six.

Saul’s extra time marker was sensational, catching an 18-yard side volley with fury. The ball was always tailing away from the diving Navas, and set-up by Thomas Partey.

La Liga roundup: Barca drop points, Atleti go top to start 2016

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in Spain’s top flight:

[ FOLLOW: PST’s La Liga coverage ]

Espanyol 0-0 Barcelona

Barcelona held 73 percent of possession, created more than twice as many chances (10-4), but could put only two on target, and ended up drawing 0-0 away to 11th-place Espanyol. Lionel Messi went closest to giving Barca the three points, but his curling free kick found only the intersection of the crossbar and post (below video).

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Levante

With Barca dropping points, Saturday was Atletico Madrid’s chance to go top of the league for the first time all season, and they did just that with a 1-0 victory bottom-of-the-table Levante, courtesy of an 81st-minute winner scored by 22-year-old Ghanaian midfielder Thomas Partey (below video). The victory puts Atleti (41 points), who won the La Liga title two years ago, two points ahead of Barca and five points ahead of Real Madrid, who play on Sunday. Real Madrid haven’t lifted the league trophy since the 2011-12 season.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Malaga 2-0 Celta Vigo

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Rayo Vallecano vs. Real Sociedad (6 a.m. ET)
Real Betis vs. Eibar (10 a.m. ET)
Granada vs. Sevilla (10 a.m. ET)
Deportivo La Coruna vs. Villarreal (12:15 p.m. ET)
Athletic Bilbao vs. Las Palmas (12:15 p.m. ET)
Valencia vs. Real Madrid (2:30 p.m. ET)