Nicolas Otamendi and Gabriel Jesus were all in the ruptured eye socket

LOS ANGELES — Nicolas Otamendi says Manchester City teammate Gabriel Jesus has forgiven him after the Brazilian was left with a broken eye socket when they faced each other in a national team friendly in June.

Gabriel was taken off the field on a stretcher late in a friendly between Argentina and Brazil in June after being caught by a stray elbow during an aerial challenge with Otamendi.

Gabriel Jesus was stretchered off the field in Brazil's friendly against Argentina in June.

 
The Brazilian has recovered in time to join up with the City first team on their preseason tour to the United States and Otamendi says the striker understands it was an accident.

“It’s all good with Gabriel. We had a great game and I actually spoke to him in the locker room after the game,” Otamendi, speaking at the launch of City Football Group’s joint venture with Goals in the United States and Canada, told reporters.

“We’re all good as teammates — we’re used to being able to compete tough on the field and obviously it didn’t work out for him. But it’s good.”

Otamendi will be part of a new-look defence when City kick off the Premier League season next month. Manager Pep Guardiola has already added three new full-backs and a goalkeeper Ederson to his squad with potentially a new centre-back set to arrive before the transfer window closes.

The 29-year-old is excited by the new signings even if it adds even more competition for a starting place.

“It’s always positive when there’s this much competition,” he added. “It doesn’t allow for any of the players to relax, you always have to give 100 percent.

“It makes it complicated to choose the starting XI but that’s why we need to have a strong preseason.

“This season, obviously we’ve got good quality players and that’s always a great thing to have. The ultimate goal is to get titles. Unfortunately we weren’t able to do that last season so that’s a big goal for us.”

There is no Manchester City deal Danilo, Benjamin Mendy, Alexis Sanchez

Pep Guardiola admits that Real Madrid defender Danilo is one of a number of players that Manchester City are interested in, but denied that an agreement has been reached.

The City boss wants to add at least three new full-backs to the club and has already signed England international Kyle Walker in a deal that could reach £50 million.

Reports from Italy claim that a £26.5m transfer fee for Danilo has been agreed, but Guardiola denied that a deal is in place for the 26-year-old.

 

Danilo is one of a number of players Manchester City are looking at, says Pep Guardiola.
“I said he’s a player for Real Madrid, so we are talking with three or four players who have not joined us, we need that to refresh the players and rebuild a little bit more the club,” Guardiola told a news conference ahead of City’s International Champions Cup game with Manchester United in Houston on Wednesday.

City missed out on Dani Alves, who opted to move to Paris Saint-Germain instead after leaving Juventus on a free transfer, and Guardiola wants a second right-back after Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna left the club for free this summer.

Danilo is currently in Los Angeles with Real ahead ahead of their International Champions Cup match with Manchester United on Sunday. Real will then play City on July 26.

Chelsea have also been linked a move for the Brazil international, who joined Real from Porto in a €31.5m deal from FC Porto two years ago.

City are also chasing Monaco’s Benjamin Mendy, with sources saying that a deal with the Ligue 1 champions is close to being reached.

Guardiola said: “It’s like the case of Danilo, we have targets and we are going to see what happens. He’s a Monaco player so I have to try and be quiet.”

Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez is another player that City have been heavily linked with this summer. The Chilean international is entering the final year of his contract but Gunners boss Arsene Wenger insists he is not for sale.

Guardiola refused to deny the speculation but said that UEFA should consider shutting the transfer window before the seson starts.

“Alexis is a player from Arsenal. Arsene said that, it’s because he knows more than me. Unfortunately the market finishes the 31st, I think that’s a huge mistake from UEFA,” Guardiola said.

“I think the market should finish when we start the season, it’s too long, too large. We are playing here with guys who maybe will not continue, or with players who are coming but are not here.

“We are playing in a situation where we don’t know exactly what is going to happen for the rest of the season, so we miss time.

“For all the managers. Hopefully in the future UEFA can think about that and the deadline will be the day we start the competition. And for the players I’ve said the players are of other teams so I cannot say too much. I don’t like when the other team’s managers talk about our players so for us it’s the same.”

Guardiola appeared to rule out a move for Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina and insisted Claudio Bravo will remain despite an error-prone first season.

Star turn Sergio Aguero is another staying at the Etihad Stadium, with Premier League champions Chelsea reported to be keen to bring in the Argentina striker.

“You know my opinion on Sergio,” Guardiola said.

“I said many times last season and I don’t change absolutely any words about what I said.

“He’s our player, he will remain here.”

One striker that is heading for the exit door is Kelechi Iheanacho, staying in the UK as a move to Leicester edges ever closer.

Wilfried Bony, who spent last season at Stoke, also looks to be on his way out, but Guardiola insists the only reason he is absent from City’s American tour is due to injury.

“It was/is an honour to work with him because it was not easy for him because I did not give him a little opportunities,” the City boss said of Iheanacho. “His behaviour, I’ve never saw a guy like him (before).

“He is close to making a deal, a transfer and he decided to stay in Manchester. Maybe next week or the next 10 days he is going to finish.

“We have an option to have the opportunity in a few years to bring him back.

“But he’s a young player and we believe he deserves to play. He needs to play at that age and that’s why him, the club and everybody, we decide what’s best for him.

“Bony is injured. If he wasn’t injured, he would be here but he had a little problem. It’s nothing important and serious, but he is recovering in Manchester.”

In the PSG interest report, Barcelona’s Neymar self-confidence is still very happy

Barcelona are confident that Neymar remains happy at the Camp Nou amid reports that Paris Saint-Germain are triggering the Brazilian’s release clause.

Spanish outlet AS reported on Monday that PSG are ready to pay €222 million — double the world-record transfer — to sign Neymar, if the player would agree to move to France.

Reports say PSG are circling around Neymar, but Barcelona remain sure the Brazilian will ignore the chance to leave.

 
Meanwhile, Diario Sport reported that Neymar was growing “uncomfortable” at getting second billing behind Lionel Messi at Barcelona.

But club spokesperson Josep Vives said the club were unworried when asked if there any concerns Neymar would opt to leave Barcelona this summer.

“The only thing we care is he keeps being happy here,” Vives said at a news conference for Barcelona’s financial report. “He played a magnificent season and he is still one of the best in the world.

“He is happy in the club and the club is happy with him. He verbalises it and he shows it with his attitude. We are relaxed about that and we only hope next season is better than the last one.

“Neymar’s departure is not in club’s imagination; the club just thinks of keeping the best players like him, one of our main symbols.”

Earlier on Monday, Barcelona sporting director Robert Fernandez rejected the possibility that any team would be willing to pay the clause to trigger Neymar’s release.

“That’s not going to happen,” he said when asked if he could imagine Barca without Neymar. “We have not had any offers for any player in our squad and no club will pay the release clause.”

At the club’s financial meeting, Barcelona announced record revenues of €708m for the 2016-17 financial year, up €13m beyond projections and €29m from the previous year.

Barcelona reported an after-tax profit of €18m while reducing debt by €24.5m to €247m.

Sergio Romero signed a new agreement to let him in Manchester United until 2021

Sergio Romero has signed a new long-term deal at Manchester United.

The Argentina international goalkeeper was set to be out of contract next summer, but will now stay until at least 2021. He helped United win the Europa League last season, starting both legs of the semifinal against Celta Vigo and the final against Ajax in Stockholm.

He is set to compete with David De Gea and youngster Joel Pereira next season.

De Gea has again been linked with a move to Real Madrid, two years after his proposed move to the Bernabeu collapsed at the last minute.

Romero said: “I am delighted to have signed a new contract. Who wouldn’t want to be at the biggest club in the world?

“We have great goalkeepers here and we are always learning from each other. Of course, it was a very proud moment for me and my family to be part of the Europa League final, and I am looking forward to helping the team build on last season’s success in 2017-18.”

Mourinho added: “Sergio is a great goalkeeper and professional. He had a good season and outstanding performances, especially in our Europa League success. Sergio deserves his contract, and for Manchester United to have Sergio and David is amazing in such an important role.”

Romero will get his first action of preseason against Real Salt Lake on Monday evening in Utah.

Argentina’s No. 1 was reduced to a watching brief as United’s preseason tour kicked off with a 5-2 win at the Los Angeles Galaxy but has been promised a half in their second match.

“In the second match, David does not play,” Mourinho said earlier in the week.

“We play the kid [Joel Pereira] for 45 and Romero for 45. The third match against Man City, we don’t play Joel. We will play David for 45 and Romero for 45.”

Jose Mourinho signed this summer for Manchester United

LOS ANGELES — Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed he wants two more signings this summer.

United have splashed more than £100 million to bring defender Victor Lindelof and striker Romelu Lukaku to Old Trafford.

But Mourinho admitted during his first news conference of the summer at the club’s UCLA training base that he wants two more players.

He has been linked with moves for Ivan Perisic, Eric Dier and Nemanja Matic as he searches for a new winger and a holding midfielder.

Mourinho was reluctant to comment on Matic, despite sources saying the Serbian midfielder was left out of the Chelsea squad for their preseason tour of the Far East.

Manchester United are not closing the door on a move for Nemanja Matic.
“I can’t say any word about another player,” Mourinho said. “[Matic] is a Chelsea player. It’s difficult and a little bit same with [Real Madrid's Alvaro] Morata.

“Matic is a Chelsea player and I have to respect the player, the club and the club owner. We don’t have our door closed.

Manchester United are not closing the door on a move for Nemanja Matic.
“We’re not happy with just Lukaku and Lindelof. We need more. We wanted four, so 50 percent of the job done.

“Everything is so difficult. I would not like to be in Ed Woodward’s position in negotiations because it’s really difficult. Maybe we don’t get two, maybe we get one. We would like two more but at least one.”

So far, Inter Milan have refused to budge on their €55 million valuation of Perisic, while Tottenham are in a strong position to keep hold of Dier after selling Kyle Walker to Manchester City for £50 million.

Matic’s future is up in the air with Chelsea on the verge of signing Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko.

 
They are set to pay more than £39 million for the Frenchman, which would increase competition for Matic, who has also been linked with Juventus.

Mourinho knows Matic well from their time together at Stamford Bridge, something the Portuguese coach hinted had encouraged him to chase Lukaku.

Meanwhile, Mourinho also lifted the lid on United’s pursuit of Morata. Negotiations with Real Madrid for the Spanish striker were stopped immediately after Ed Woodward reached an agreement with Everton for Lukaku.

And Mourinho has suggested the La Liga side priced Morata out of a move to Old Trafford.

“I don’t like to speak about players who aren’t ours, because Morata is not our player,” he said. “I am nobody to speak about players from Real Madrid.

“Yes, we have had interest, that is obvious and it’s public. We have not come to an economic agreement, that is obvious as well.

“But it’s Real Madrid’s right to ask for their players the amount of money that they want. We do not determine what the price is of a player of Real Madrid, Real Madrid do that. And we didn’t arrive at an agreement with Real Madrid.

“I do not criticise Madrid and I am not going to criticise my board because my board has made the offer, and they have tried to reach an agreement during a time, and they didn’t come to an agreement. It’s simple.”

Barcelona deals with Benjamin’s right-winger Nelson Semedo

Barcelona have reached an agreement to sign Benfica right-back Nelson Semedo, the club confirmed on Thursday.

Nelson Semedo had previously agreed to personal terms with Barcelona.
Sporting director Robert Fernandez and board member Javier Bordas were among a delegation which flew to Portugal on Thursday to finalise a transfer which sources told ESPN FC could reach €35 million with variables.

Semedo, 23, had already reached an agreement with Barca over personal terms and will undergo a medical in the Catalan city on Friday.

Having chosen not to replace Dani Alves when he left for Juventus last year, sticking with Sergi Roberto and Aleix Vidal, Barca had targeted Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin earlier this summer.

Bellerin himself admitted Barca’s interest made him happy, but he will not be re-joining his former club due to Arsenal’s reluctance to sell.

In addition, those in charge of the club’s transfer activity — Fernandez, Bordas, Ernesto Valverde, Pep Segura and Raul Sanllehi — were not in complete agreement over a move for the Spain international.

Instead, they pushed on with their interest in Portuguese international Semedo, who joined Benfica from Sintrense in 2012 but has only established himself as a regular in Rui Vitoria’s side during the last 18 months.

In that time he has made his debut for Portugal and was part of the squad which came third at this summer’s Confederation’s Cup in Russia.

Semedo, who is represented by Jorge Mendes’ agency Gestifute, becomes Barca’s third signing of the summer, following the decision to sign Marlon Santos on a permanent basis and promote him to the first team and the return of Gerard Deulofeu from Everton in a €12 million deal.

Speaking on Thursday, president Josep Maria Bartomeu said that the club were still looking to make “two or three signings” from elsewhere.

With the right-back position sorted, Barca’s priority is now finding a new central midfielder, with Paris Saint-Germain’s Marco Verratti, Guangzhou Evergrande’s Paulinho and Santos’ Lucas Lima all targets.

Lionel Messi, Neymar, Luis Suarez are included in the US tour line in Barcelona

Barcelona will bring its top three stars of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez to the United States for the International Champions Cup, tournament organisers announced on Tuesday.

The Catalan club arrive in the U.S. next week ahead of their three games against Juventus, Manchester United and Real Madrid.

Besides the three star forwards, the team will also include the likes of Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique and Ivan Rakitic.

However, Barca will be without goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and midfielder Andre Gomes, who both are given time off after playing at the Confederations Cup.

The full squad:

Goalkeepers: Jasper Cillessen, Adrian Ortola

Defenders: Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, Lucas Digne, Samuel Umtiti, Aleix Vidal, Marlon Santos, Douglas, Thomas Vermaelen, Marc Cucurella, Sergi Palencia

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Javier Mascherano, Andres Iniesta, Ivan Rakitic, Rafinha, Arda Turan, Denis Suarez, Sergi Roberto, Sergi Samper, Carles Alena

Forwards: Lionel Messi, Neymar, Luis Suarez, Paco Alcacer, Munir El Haddadi, Gerard Deulofeu

Michael Carrick replaced Wayne Rooney with Manchester United captain

Michael Carrick says he is “honoured” to be named Manchester United’s new captain following Wayne Rooney’s departure to Everton.

The 35-year-old midfielder will take the armband after Rooney’s 13-year stay at Old Trafford came to end after he returned to his boyhood club this week.

Carrick, who arrived at the club from Tottenham in 2006, signed a new one-year deal at United in May, and he insists it will be a “pleasure” to lead Jose Mourinho’s team next season.

He told Man United’s website: “It feels great and it is such a huge honour to captain such a great club. It is my 12th year now and I came as a 25-year-old. I never thought I could be here for so long and achieve so much.

“Now, to lead the boys and look after the young boys, to guide them in some ways, it is a nice thing and a real pleasure. I came to this club as a footballer and I am now a huge fan.

“I have grown to love the club over the years and to be in this position is very special for me.”

Carrick made 38 appearances last season, including 23 in the Premier League. But he didn’t start a league game until November and was a substitute for both the EFL Cup final and Europa League final.

He may have to accept a further reduced role next season with United actively looking to sign a new holding midfielder before the close of the transfer window.

Sources have told ESPN FC that Tottenham’s Eric Dier is Mourinho’s preferred choice, ahead of Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic.

Dani Alves despite the association with Manchester City, still signed with the PSG

PARIS — Dani Alves is set to sign for Paris Saint-Germain after the club made a late bid to snatch him from under Manchester City’s noses, multiple sources close to the Ligue 1 giants told ESPN FC.

The Brazil right-back has been the subject of much speculation since he was released from the final year of his contract at Juventus, and he was expected to sign for City because of his excellent long-standing relationship with coach Pep Guardiola.

However, sources said PSG made a last-minute effort to lure Alves, 34, to Parc des Princes and thanks to tireless work by sporting director Antero Henrique and his assistant Maxwell — who is very close friends with Alves — pulled off a significant coup to land the defender.

Alves landed in Paris on Tuesday and underwent his medical at the American Hospital of Paris in Neuilly-sur-Seine — not PSG’s usual Pitie-Salpetriere facility — in the afternoon and is expected to pen a two-year contract with Les Parisiens in the coming hours.

PSG called a press conference for Wednesday afternoon at Parc des Princes, where Alves is expected to be unveiled as the latest signing alongside fellow new arrival Yuri Berchiche.

Alves has regularly been linked with PSG in the past, not least because of the club’s sizeable Brazilian contingent, and this summer the long-standing rumour has finally come to fruition.

Indeed, Marquinhos was on hand to greet Alves upon his arrival in Paris as he underwent his medical in the Parisian suburbs.

Thomas Meunier and Serge Aurier currently play at right-back for Unai Emery’s side, but Aurier has been heavily linked with a move away this summer, and Alves’ arrival appears to signal the end of the African’s time with the club.

PSG’s late signing of Alves could complicate their pursuit of City’s Eliaquim Mangala, with Guardiola reportedly furious about his former player’s late change of heart regarding a reunion at Etihad Stadium.

Alves worked under Guardiola at Barcelona, winning the Champions League twice and La Liga three times in an extraordinary four years for the coach.

Amid his departure from Juventus, the right-back went so far as to say: “Everyone knows about my admiration for Pep Guardiola,” and sources told ESPN FC that City were eager to sign him, but the mutual attraction appears to have come to naught.

City are still without a senior recognised right-back after releasing Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy at the end of the their contracts.

Real Madrid’s Rodriguez joined the Bayern Munich two-year loan

Bayern Munich have signed Real Madrid star James Rodriguez on a two-year loan deal with an option for a permanent transfer, subject to a medical.

Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Juventus were among the clubs linked with Colombia international James, 25, in recent weeks as Madrid president Florentino Perez reportedly held out for a fee of at least €70 million.

However, Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti has made a successful bid to be reunited with a player he coached while at Madrid in 2014-15, with the two clubs agreeing a two-year loan with an option to buy in June 2019.

Sport Bild reporter Christian Falk has said Bayern agreed an annual loan fee of €5 million and can pay €35.2 million to make it permanent.

Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: “We are delighted to have realised this transfer. It was our coach Carlo Ancelotti’s big wish to sign James Rodriguez, following their successful spell working together in Madrid.

“James is a versatile player. He’s dangerous in front of the goal, sets up a lot of strikes and takes great set pieces. Without a doubt, we’ve increased the quality of our squad with this transfer once again.”

James has had a mixed three-year spell at the Bernabeu since joining from Monaco for €80 million following the 2014 World Cup and had seemed certain to leave this summer, having been left out of the squad as Zinedine Zidane’s side won the Champions League final in June.

Madrid’s club statement was short on detail but said the deal was still subject to James completing a medical at Bayern.

“Real Madrid and Bayern Munich have agreed the loan of the player James Rodriguez for the next two seasons, pending the completion of a medical,” the Madrid statement read. “Bayern Munich reserve the right to buy the player at the end of the loan period.”

James was due to fly out with Madrid to California to begin their preparations ahead of the summer’s International Champions Cup, but will now instead join up with Bayern’s tour of Asia starting on Sunday.

Despite not being a regular first choice under Ancelotti’s successors Rafa Benitez and Zidane, James played 111 times in total for Madrid, scoring 36 goals and providing 41 assists. He also leaves the Bernabeu having won two Champions League medals, one La Liga title and two FIFA World Club Cups.