Yannick Carrasco

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Hamsik admits he is struggling to adapt in Chinese league

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Former Napoli midfielder Marek Hamsik, who moved this winter to Chinese club Dalian Yifang, has told Chinese media that he is struggling to adapt to the new league with teammates who don’t speak a familiar language.

The 31-year-old has made six appearances for Dalian Yifang since joining – all starts – but was dropped out of the squad completely for a 4-1 loss at leaders Beijing Guoan on Sunday. Hamsik admitted that he is in uncharted territory for himself at the new club.

“I am not particularly satisfied with my performances,” the Slovakian international midfielder told Chinese channel China Central Television, as quoted by global news agency AFP. “I have always tried my best to help the team but I’ve not encountered a situation like this before. There are big differences between Chinese and European football, but I will try to overcome this and adapt.”

Hamsik does not have a goal or assist yet in 513 minutes of Chinese Super League play, and he believes it comes down to familiarity. “Many times I want to communicate with my teammates, for example on pitch, but because of the language I can’t, so I can only use gestures,” Hamsik said.

The struggles may not just be down to his new club, however. Hamsik was a bit-part player for Napoli this season before moving on, and in 13 Serie A appearances totaling 922 minutes, he did not register a goal or assist either.

Still, the Slovakian international is not the only one from overseas struggling at Dalian Yifang. His current teammate Yannick Carrasco, who started Super League play with a bang registering three goals in the season’s first two matches, is also said to be wanting out. The Belgian told domestic outlet HLN back in late March, “I would like to return to Europe,” saying that he looked for a way out in the winter but couldn’t make it work.

Carrasco cited the struct rules in China as part of the reason for his uncomfortable state, referring back to a training ground fight last fall that resulted in the Chinese government temporarily revoking his passport, which caused him to miss a pair of international matches. The 25-year-old was benched in the loss at Beijing Guoan on Sunday, left as an unused substitute marking the first match he has missed this season.

Top 5 players to watch on Deadline Day

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January has seen some familiar names come and go from the Premier League.

[ MORE: Liverpool 1-1 Leicester ]

Mousa Dembele, Gonzalo Higuain, and Alvaro Morata are on the list, and some others will likely join them on a frantic deadline day.

We’ll keep are eyes trained for the specific names below…


Make sure to tune-in for our special Transfer Deadline Day show on NBCSN on Thursday, Jan. 31 from 5 p.m. ET as we focus on all of the moves across the Premier League in the January window. You can stream the show live online right here.

Idrissa Gana Gueye, Everton — The poor man’s N'Golo Kante, Everton’s mighty midfielder has been linked with Paris Saint-Germain for much of the January window. Rumors that Marco Silva would leave the club if a sale is made sound a bit much, but Gana is a real treat for any club.

Callum Hudson-Odoi, Chelsea — Subject to massive bids from Bayern Munich, relatively speaking, the Blues’ youngster was not in the 18 for Chelsea’s 4-0 loss at Bournemouth on Wednesday.

Yannick Carrasco, Dalian Yifang — The Belgian winger is just 25, and a year removed from a $30-plus million move from Atletico Madrid to China. Linked with Arsenal and AC Milan.

Miguel Almiron, Atlanta United — He’s been photographed on Tyneside and Atlanta needs to sell him. Given the club’s stingy ownership, though, we’ll believe the signing has happened when Newcastle United announces the move and shows a photo of him in black and white.

Nathan Ake, Bournemouth — Why would Bournemouth sell the center back? Because they may have to, with rumors of a buyback clause in his contract following a Chelsea sale 18 months ago.

BONUS: Eden Hazard, ChelseaAnd by extension, Maurizio Sarri. Chelsea is going to want to cash in on Hazard should he not sign a new deal, and his value tomorrow is going to be higher than it will be at any point in the next 18 months (his contract with Chelsea expires in the summer of 2019). Real Madrid needs a jolt, and so does Chelsea. Changing managers again won’t do it. Sure, it’s a wild idea… but watch him anyway.

Transfer rumor roundup: Carrasco to Arsenal; Leicester land Tielemans

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Make sure to tune-in for our special Transfer Deadline Day show on NBCSN on Thursday, Jan. 31 from 5 p.m. ET as we focus on all of the moves across the Premier League in the January window. You can stream the show live online right here.

[ MORE: Tuesday’s transfer rumor roundupMonday | Sunday ]

Yannick Carrasco’s big-money move to Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang last winter hasn’t exactly worked out how he had hoped, and now the 25-year-old Belgian midfielder is desperately seeking to leave the club and return to relevance in Europe. More specifically, the former Atletico Madrid winger is reportedly in talks with Arsenal over a loan move, with an option to buy, to the Premier League. However, AC Milan have reportedly emerged as last-second suitors hoping hijack the deal.


Leicester City and Monaco are reportedly close to completing a loan swap, with no money involved, of a pair of midfielders. Multiple reports have placed 21-year-old Belgian wonderkid Youri Tielemans as joining join the Foxes with Portuguese veteran Adrien Silva, who only joined the PL side in the summer, for $28 million, heading the other way.


Lucas Perez has only been at West Ham United since signing for the Hammers from Arsenal in the summer, but his time at the London Stadium might already be finished. Bundesliga side Schalke have reportedly made a loan bid, with an option to buy, for the 30-year-old Spanish forward.


If Cardiff City have any chance of avoid relegation, they must improve their defensive record (46 goals conceded in 24 games, second-worst in the PL). With that in mind, the Bluebirds are reportedly working toward signing 22-year-old Monaco right back Almamy Toure for a fee believed to be in the neighborhood of $10 million.

La Liga: Own goals help Barca stay perfect; Atleti, Real win

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GIRONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona was helped by two own goals from Girona as it eased to a 3-0 win and kept its perfect record in the Spanish league on Saturday.

Barcelona increased its lead of the league to four points after Atletico Madrid beat Sevilla 2-0 to leapfrog the Andalucian club into second place.

Barcelona went ahead at Montilivi Stadium when Girona defender Aday Benitez deflected Jordi Alba’s off-target shot back into his net.

Barcelona’s Luis Suarez and Aleix Vidal did more to help provoke a second goal three minutes after halftime, when Suarez deftly let Vidal’s dangerous short pass go through his legs, where it hit surprised goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz and went into the net.

Suarez capped Barcelona’s sixth victory in as many league matches – to go with a victory over Juventus in the Champions League – when he was left all alone to take Sergi Roberto’s lobbed pass and beat Iraizoz.

It was a second goal in six matches for Suarez, who missed two matches because of a right knee injury.

The decision by Girona coach Pablo Machin to man-mark Lionel Messi with Pablo Maffeo succeeded in preventing the Barcelona star from adding to his best ever start to a Liga. Messi scored nine goals in the first five rounds.

“Messi worked for the team,” Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. “I like the team spirit we are showing. We are mentally focused to get to work.”

Girona, which is playing in its first season in the topflight, was left in 15th place with just one win.

Barcelona visits Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League on Wednesday.


BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Real Madrid turned to new midfielder Dani Ceballos to help it get back on the winning path in the Spanish league on Saturday.

The midfielder made the most of his first start for Zinedine Zidane’s team by scoring twice to lead a 2-1 victory at winless Alaves.

The win came three days after Madrid lost 1-0 at home to Ceballo’s former team, Real Betis. That slip combined with a pair of home draws left the defending champions trailing leader Barcelona.

Madrid cut the difference with Barcelona to four points before the pacesetter visited Girona later.

Ceballos struck in the 10th minute and restored the defending champions’ advantage two minutes before halftime.

Ceballos received a pass from Marco Asensio, fought through a tackle, and shot just inside the post for the opener.

Manu Garcia responded by ending Alaves’ long scoring drought. His powerful header from a cross by Munir El Haddadi was the Basque Country club’s first goal of the season.

But Ceballos put Madrid back in charge when he fired in a ball that goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco spilled when he collided with a teammate while defending a cross.

Alaves almost leveled late when substitute Alfonso Pedraza twice hit the woodwork.

Cristiano Ronaldo also hit the goal-frame twice in the second half as the Madrid forward seeks his first goal in the league after he was suspended for the first four rounds for pushing a referee.

Diego Costa watched as his soon-to-be teammates on Atletico Madrid dealt Sevilla a 2-0 defeat and leapfrogged the Andalucian side into second place.

Antoine Griezmann and Yannick Carrasco scored in the second half while Costa watched from the stands of the club’s new Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

Carrasco raced around Steven N’Zoni to reach a through pass from Luciano Vietto. Carrasco avoided sliding goalkeeper Sergio Rico and pushed the ball into the empty net.

The Belgium winger also started the attack that led to the second goal. Carrasco made a run into the area before crossing for Griezmann, who fought to keep control of the ball before he exchanged it with Filipe Luis and fired under Rico.

Sevilla fell to third, one point behind Atletico.

Atletico reached a deal with Chelsea this week for Costa to return to his former club.

Atletico will host Chelsea in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Diego Rolan scored a double to help Malaga rally from a two-goal deficit in the final minutes and earn a 3-3 draw with visitors Athletic Bilbao.

Bilbao went ahead thanks to an early penalty converted by Aritz Aduriz before Rolan made it 1-1 for Malaga.

Inaki Williams then netted twice for Bilbao, but Malaga scored twice in the final 10 minutes to secure its first point of the season after it lost its first five matches.

Ronaldo scores clincher as Real Madrid wins the UEFA Champions League in penalty kicks

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  • Real snares 11th European Cup
  • Second in three years
  • Ramos nabs controversial early goal

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the match-clinching penalty kick after 120 minutes couldn’t separate Real and Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League final on Saturday in Milan.

Sergio Ramos scored an early goal before Yannick Carrasco equalized late, and it took penalty kicks to separate Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid after 120 minutes and a 1-1 score line.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Antoine Griezmann missed a penalty kick early in the second half, and Juanfran was the only player to miss in kicks.

Here’s how the kicks played out, 5-3 in favor of Real:

Real Madrid — Lucas Vasquez scores
Atletico Madrid — Griezmann scores
RM — Marcelo scores
AM — Gabi scores
RM — Gareth Bale scores
AM — Saul scores
RM — Ramos scores
AM — Juanfran hits the post
RM — Ronaldo scores

[ WATCH: Griezmann misses PK | Carrasco equalizes, makes out ]

Chippy was the name of the game early, and Atleti clearly wanted to do whatever it took to perturb and even wound Real.

Jan Oblak made a fantastic instinctive save on a sixth minute free kick from Gareth Bale that Casemiro redirected on frame.

Real’s Dani Carvajal picked up an 11th minute yellow card for a late slide tackle on Antoine Griezmann.

The opener came in the 15th minute, as Gareth Bale flicked Toni Kroos’ header onto the doorstep and Ramos ever-so-slightly redirected the chance across the line. He may have also been offside, but the goal counts.

[ MORE: Tottenham to play CL matches at Wembley next season ]

The 33rd minute found Griezmann trying his luck on goal, as Keylor Navas caught the ball for his first real save of the day. Griezmann was firing at will, though the majority of his chances were off frame.

It stayed 1-0 into the break, but changed soon afterwards.

Combustible defender Pepe stamped on Fernando Torres’ ankle in the box, but Griezmann cranked the ensuing penalty attempt off the cross bar.

[ MORE: Lewandowski headed to Real? ]

MILAN, ITALY - MAY 28: Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League Final match between Real Madrid and Club Atletico de Madrid at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 28, 2016 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Savic just missed being the toe to Diego Godin and Griezmann’s tic-tac when his left-footed tap went wide of the frame in the 55th minute.

Saul knifed a shot wide from the center of the box with a fantastic athletic shot, as Atleti kept control of the play but not the scoreboard.

Real countered with a rare chance in the 70th minute, but Oblak stopped an onrushing Benzema point blank to keep the deficit 1-0.

Cristiano Ronaldo was fairly anonymous for most of the match, and saw Oblak stop his first real shot in the 78th minute. Gareth Bale then tried a cheeky finish that failed when perhaps an easy shot would’ve done the trick. Would it haunt them?

Sure enough, Atleti dialed up an equalized moments later when Carrasco slid onto the end of Juanfran’s cross to make it 1-1 in the 80th.

[ MORE: Latest on Messi injury ]

We headed to extra time, where an advantage was distinctly in Atletico Madrid’s hands. Diego Simeone had used just one substitution to Real’s three, as Zinedine Zidane exhausted his options in trying to close out his rivals.

The first 15 minutes saw Atleti have some success working down the right side, but Real had the better of the dangerous chances aside from Griezmann flashing an overhead kick high off a corner, the last act of the frame.

The second segment was just as Real-framed, and several chances fell to a trigger shy Lucas. Aside from more silliness from Pepe, the only conclusion was penalty kicks.