Rooney: Messi better than Ronaldo

Wayne Rooney has claimed that Lionel Messi, and not his former Manchester United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo, is the "greatest player ever".

Rooney and Ronaldo shot to stardom at United under Sir Alex Ferguson, with the height of their success coming in 2008 when they won the Premier League and Champions League together. In addition, Ronaldo won the Ballon d'Or for the first time that year.

The Portuguese superstar left for Real Madrid in 2009 and spent nine years at the Santiago Bernabeu prior to his recent move to Juventus. Meanwhile, Rooney stayed on Old Trafford until 2017, becoming the club's all-time top scorer with 253 goals.

Now at DC United, the 32-year-old made an interesting claim on the Pardon My Take podcast when asked whether he preferred Ronaldo or Barcelona icon Messi.

"Yeah, I think I've said this before, but they're both probably the best two players to ever play the game," he said. "I just think Messi is, in my eyes, the greatest ever."

Baston sent out on loan again

Swansea striker Borja Baston will spend the 2018/19 season on loan in La Liga with Deportivo Alaves.

The 25-year-old Spanish frontman joined the Swans in 2016 from Atletico Madrid, having spent a number of seasons away from the club on loan at the likes of Murcia, Huesca, Deportivo La Coruna, Real Zaragoza and Eibar.

He hardly played for the Premier League side though as he was sent to Malaga last term.

He will now play under Abelardo Fernandez in the Spanish top-flight, with his deal subject to international clearance.

Borja was a club record £15.5m signing for Swansea but made just four starts. Last season he was relegated with Malaga.

In the lead up top the new English season, Swansea have already signed Joel Asoro from Sunderland.

Part of a Swansea statement read: "The 25-year-old will spend a second successive campaign on loan in La Liga, having played for Malaga in 2017-18.

"Borja links up with an Alaves side who finished 14th in the Spanish top-flight last season.

"He will hope for a more successful campaign with Alaves, having suffered relegation during his stint as a Malaga player."

 

Villarreal sign Velez star Caseres

Villarreal have bolstered their midfield with the signing of promising young Argentine Santiago Caseres from Velez Sarsfield.

The 21-year-old defensive midfielder has signed a five-year contract with the Spanish outfit and is thought to be a replacement for Rodri, who left to join La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid.

Caseres' transfer from Velez to the Yellow Submarine is reportedly worth around 10 million euros.

The Argentine made 23 Primera Division appearances for Velez in 2017/18, but remains inexperienced with only 35 league games under his belt.

Caseres joins fellow new signings Gerard Moreno, Karl Toko Ekambi, Roger Martinez, Ramiro Funes Mori, Miguel Layun, and Santi Cazorla at Villarreal.

Ronaldo 'grateful' for Juve opportunity

Cristiano Ronaldo is determined to take Juventus to a higher level after completing his big-money move from Real Madrid on Monday.

The Portugal international joins the Serie A champions on a four-year contract having passed his medical in Turin to finalise the €100 million transfer.

Ronaldo leaves the Santiago Bernabeu as a legend after breaking a whole host of records on his way to becoming Real's all-time leading scorer with 450 goals in just 438 games.

The 33-year-old forward isn't planning on slowing down in Italy either, insisting he remains as motivated as ever to bring even more success to the Juventus Stadium.

"I'm not sad about leaving Real Madrid, this is a big club and with all due respect players at this stage of my career usually go to Qatar or China, so I'm grateful to Juventus for allowing me to join such a big club," Ronaldo told the press at his unveiling.

"I feel great to be here. It's a big challenge, it's a tough league but I'll be ready. Age isn't important, I feel good and motivated. I'm excited. I'll try to do my best as always and I'm looking forward to trying to do my best and winning every title.

"Juventus gave me a wonderful opportunity and I'm so grateful for that. I can see that Juventus is a club that can have a lot of success, they've won domestic cups and Scudetti and were in the Champions League final.

"I'm so proud to be here, I'm proud they were interested in me and I hope I can take Juventus to an even higher level."

Sevilla name their price for N'Zonzi

Sevilla have warned potential suitors that 2018 World Cup winner Steven N'Zonzi will not be sold for anything less than the fee stipulated in his buyout clause.

The 29-year-old defensive midfielder helped France win the title in Russia and came on as an early second-half substitute on Sunday as Les Blues beat Croatia 4-2 in the final.

N'Zonzi has been linked with a move to Arsenal which would reunite him with former Los Rojiblancos head coach Unai Emery, while Barcelona are also credited with an interest.

The Frenchman was part of Emery's Europa League-winning team in 2015/16 and made 42 appearances across all competitions for the Andalusians last term.

Sevilla director of football Joaquin Caparros says any interested parties must follow the example of Barca, who acquired the signature of Clement Lenglet earlier this month after meeting his buyout clause.

"Steven has two years remaining on his contract," Caparros told Cadena Ser. "We have texted each other during the World Cup and I have congratulated him on his achievements with France, of course.

"We have not received any offers for him and I will say the same to any clubs who may be interested as what we said with Lenglet - he has a buyout clause, and it's €40m."

Mbappe continuing career at PSG

Fresh from helping France win the 2018 World Cup, Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe has moved to dispel rumours about a potential move to Real Madrid.

The 19-year-old, who was voted Young Player of the tournament, has been linked with a switch to the Santiago Bernabeu in the wake of Cristiano Ronaldo's departure to Juventus.

Mbappe bagged four goals in Russia, including one in the 4-2 win over Croatia on Sunday to become only the second teenager since Pele to score in a final.

However, the young star has no intention of quitting PSG after just one season, having recently made his loan deal from Monaco permanent.

"I will stay with PSG, continuing on my path with them," Mbappe told reporters. "I am at the beginning of my career."

Courtois unsure of his future

Thibaut Courtois is undecided as to where he will be playing his football next season after starring for Belgium at the World Cup in Russia.

The Chelsea stopper was excellent as Belgium made it all the way to the semi-finals where they were unfortunate to lose 2-0 to France.

The Red Devils ended their tournament by picking up a bronze medal with an easy 2-0 defeat of England in the third/fourth place play-off on Saturday.

With Real Madrid a serious admirer of the former Genk and Atletico Madrid goalkeeper, the 26-year-old is keeping his options open heading into the new season.

He told Marca: "Now I'm going to talk to my agent to see what the possibilities are. All options are open for me. I may also stay at Chelsea.

"People always complain that players don't comply with their contracts, but maybe they do.

"I don't think they will keep someone with my qualities on the bench, even if I don't sign [a new contract]. But maybe [staying] is possible, because I like it in London."

Courtois currently has a year remaining on his contract with the Premier League side.

Betis sign Carvalho from Sporting

Real Betis have announced the signing of Portuguese international William Carvalho on a five-year contract from Sporting Lisbon.

Carvalho was part of the players that terminated their contracts at Sporting after the fans attacked the club's training ground in May.

The midfield hard man came through the famous Sporting academy and made his debut for the senior team in 2011 aged 18.

He was part of the Portugal squad at the World Cup in Russia and has so far won 47 caps for his country.

Carvalho was also part of the team that won the Euro 2016 after beating France 1-0 in the final.

The 26-year old is Betis's fifth signing ahead of the new season and will be unveiled at Estadio Benito Villamarin on Tuesday.

"Real Betis signs Portuguese international William Carvalho," the club said on its social media account.

Remy back in France with Lille

Lille have announced the signing of former France striker Loic Remy on a two-year contract after a spell in Spain last season.

Remy is making a return to France after five years playing in the English Premier League and Spanish La Liga.

The 31-year old left his country in 2013, where he was playing for Marseille to join Queens Park Rangers.

The forward has also had a spell with Newcastle before joining Chelsea on a three-year contract.

He struggled for game time at Chelsea contributing just 12 goals in three-years before making a move to Crystal Palace in 2016

The French forward's next adventure was in Spain with Las Palmas, but he made a switch to Getafe on loan in the second round of the 2017/18 season.

Remy will be expected to help Lille do better in the new season after narrowly surviving relegation in the previous campaign.

A statement from Remy read: "It makes me really happy to come back to France, in a league which I've missed and to sign with Lille, a really big French club."

Real: No intention of signing Neymar

Real Madrid have issued a statement to deny they are interested in bringing Neymar back to La Liga, despite speculation over their interest in the Brazilian.

Neymar has repeatedly been linked with a move back to La Liga, with reports earlier this week suggesting that Real had made a £275million bid for the forward.

Despite the 26-year-old only joining Paris St-Germain in a world record £200m move from Barcelona last summer, there has been talk that he is unhappy in France.

However, Real - who denied interest in PSG frontman Kylian Mbappe earlier this month - have made their intentions clear regarding Neymar.

"Real Madrid wish to clarify that the club has no intention of making any offer for the player," said a club statement.

"The two clubs enjoy an excellent relationship and, as such, if Real Madrid were at any stage to consider securing the services of a PSG player, they would approach the club in the first instance.”

Merino returns to Spain with Sociedad

Real Sociedad have brought Mikel Merino back to Spain after two years of playing abroad, with the midfielder leaving Newcastle to sign a five-year contract at Anoeta.

The 22-year-old spent last season at St James' Park following his switch from Borussia Dortmund in 2017, initially on loan before the transfer was made permanent in October.

Merino registered one goal and one assist in 24 Premier League appearances for Rafael Benitez's side - 14 of which were starts, but a desire to be closer to home prompted the Osasuna youth product to join La Real.

"I'm very happy and feel joy. I love this club, it is very close to Osasuna. I have been a fan since I was little," the Spaniard told Real Sociedad TV.

"I am delighted to be here and I can't wait to work with the ball. The new stadium project is so beautiful, the team is great, the fans...

"I will be close to my home again, I will feel integrated. Considering all of the above mentioned, I think I made the right choice.

"I want to improve and aspire to more ambitious objectives. I hope this is a great season."

The Magpies confirmed his departure on Thursday in a statement which read: "Mikel Merino has completed a permanent move to La Liga side Real Sociedad.

"Everyone at Newcastle United wishes the player the best for the future."

Lenglet swaps Seville for Barcelona

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde has bolstered his defensive options ahead of the new season with the capture of Clement Lenglet from La Liga rivals Sevilla.

The 23-year-old centre-back spent the last 18 months in Andalusia following his switch from Nancy in January 2017, and featured regularly in the first team under four separate managers.

Lenglet registered three goals and one assist in 35 league appearances last term, while he helped Los Rojiblancos reach the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, where they lost to Bayern Munich.

The Frenchman had been linked with a move to the Camp Nou during the 2017/18 campaign, and Barca have matched the buyout clause in his contract at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan to sign him on a five-year deal.

A statement from the Catalan giants read: "FC Barcelona has paid the buyout clause for Clement Lenglet who is now no longer a Sevilla FC player. The clause's value is 35.9 million euros.

"The player will sign a contract with the club for the next five seasons until 30 June 2023, with a buyout clause valued at 300 million euros."

Nani returns to Sporting

Sporting have announced the return of Nani for his third spell at the Portuguese club.

The 31-year-old left the Primeira Liga side for Manchester United in 2007 and returned for a season on loan after seven trophy-laden years at Old Trafford where he won the Premier League four times and the Champions League.

Spells at Fenerbahce and Valencia were to follow while Nani spent last season on loan with Lazio from the Spanish side.

He returns to Sporting on a two-year deal for an undisclosed fee, having made 18 appearances in Serie A last term.

During his two stints in Portugal, Nani scored 23 goals in 113 appearances.

He also played a significant role in his country's Euro 2016 final victory over France, and is his country’s third most-capped player.

Arthur eager to impress at Barcelona

New Barcelona signing Arthur is thrilled to have joined the Spanish giants and is determined to help them win as many titles as possible.

The 21-year-old Brazilian penned a six-year contract with the Catalans this week, after completing a transfer from Gremio that was reportedly worth 40 million euros. Arthur helped Gremio to the Copa Libertadores title last season.

He is likely to fill the gap in midfield left by the departing Paulinho, who has returned to China to reunite with Guangzhou Evergrande on loan.

"I'm very happy. This is a dream I've had since I was little," Arthur told Barca TV.

"This is a championship calibre club and my objective is to win as many titles as possible, because I know this badge deserves it.

"This is every player's dream. To be part of the greatest team in the world, with the best players in the world, it makes me feel privileged.

"I can only feel joy at what it all represents."

Villarreal bring Layun back to Spain

Villarreal have entered the transfer market once more to sign Miguel Layun on a three-year contract from Portuguese champions Porto.

The Mexico international, who helped his country reach the 2018 World Cup round of 16, makes a quick return to Spain after spending the second half of the 2017/18 campaign on loan at Sevilla.

Layun featured 16 times in La Liga for Los Rojiblancos, but they decided not to pursue a permanent deal and the Yellow Submarine made their move following his participation at the Russian spectacle.

The 30-year-old full-back becomes the sixth new arrival at La Ceramica and is expected to fill the void left by Antonio Rukavina's departure to Astana last week.

The club confirmed the transfer in a statement which read: "Villarreal CF have reached an agreement with FC Porto for the transfer of Miguel Layun, who will wear yellow for the next three seasons."

'Mina not on his way to Everton'

Yerry Mina's agent has denied reports his client has signed for Premier League side Everton.

The Barcelona defender struggled for game time in La Liga this past season, making just six appearances after his move from Palmeiras in January.

The 23-year-old former Deportivo Pasto and Santa Fe centre-back was reportedly being chased by a number of European clubs before the World Cup.

His solid showing in Russia increased the interest in his services, with Yair Mina telling El Mundo Deportivo Yerry is considering his options.

Yair Mina said: "It is not true that Yerry has signed for Everton.

“Yerry has many teams who hold an interest in him but before we can think about that, we need to know what Barcelona plan to do.

“When we hear from the club, we will make a decision.”

Del Piero hails Ronaldo signing

Juventus legend Alessandro Del Piero has hailed the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo who joined the Old Lady of Turin in a big money move from Real Madrid.

Del Piero believes Ronaldo's hunger and ambition will help Juventus dream bigger ahead of the new season. 

The Bianconeri legend feels the arrival of the Portuguese superstar will not only make Juventus a force to be reckoned with in Europe, but will also raise the level of competition in Italy.

Ronaldo joins Juventus after helping Madrid win three Champions League titles in a row and has also enjoyed a lot of individual success in the Spanish capital.

Del Piero told Sky Sport Italia: "It's great for Juve, great for Italian football, truly huge and will be wonderful for the whole city and Italian football to enjoy all he can still do.

"I think it'll raise the competition level in Italy, raise the desire to beat this Juve side that has won seven titles in a row and today people are talking about Juventus, Turin and Italy all over the world in the way they haven't for many years.

"He is a player who can score from any angle and has great technique, but on top of any economic aspects, I think he brings this incredible desire to win. The hunger he has, the way he wants to be the best, is what drags him forward almost as much as his undoubtable quality.

"Juve are a club accustomed to focusing on the details, determination and the next success rather than the one they've just had. They always aimed higher and wanted to raise the bar, so he will fit in perfectly."

Real confirm Ronaldo move to Juve

Real Madrid have announced that Cristiano Ronaldo has brought the curtain down on his illustrious career at the Santiago Bernabeu after agreeing to join Juventus.

The Portugal international revealed after his country's exit from the 2018 World Cup that he was "evaluating several opportunities" amid rumours of a move to Turin.

The speculation intensified on Tuesday when Juve president Andrea Agnelli flew out to Greece to meet with Ronaldo, who is on vacation there.

Los Blancos later confirmed that their all-time leading scorer with 451 goals had requested to move on after nine glorious seasons in the Spanish capital.

"Real Madrid CF communicates that, in response to the will and request expressed by the player, Cristiano Ronaldo, he has agreed to transfer to Juventus FC," the European champions said in a statement.

"Today, Real Madrid wants to express its gratitude to a player who has proved to be the best in the world and who has marked one of the brightest times in the history of our club and world football.

"Beyond the conquered titles, the trophies achieved and the triumphs achieved in the playing fields during these nine years, Cristiano Ronaldo has been an example of dedication, work, responsibility, talent and improvement.

"He has also become the top scorer in the history of Real Madrid with 451 goals in 438 games. In total 16 titles, including four European Cups, three of them consecutive and four in the last five seasons.

"On an individual basis, with the Real Madrid jersey he has won four Golden Balls, two The Best FIFA awards, and three Golden Boots, among many other awards.

"For Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo will always be one of his great symbols and a unique reference for the next generations. Real Madrid will always be your home."

The 33-year-old forward added in a statement: "These years in Real Madrid, and in this city of Madrid, have been possibly the happiest of my life.

"I only have feelings of enormous gratitude for this club, for this hobby and for this city. I can only thank all of them for the love and affection I have received.

"However, I believe that the time has come to open a new stage in my life and that is why I have asked the club to accept transferring me. I feel that way and I ask everyone, and especially our followers, to please understand me.

"I have reflected a lot and I know that the time has come for a new cycle. I'm leaving but this shirt, this shield and the Santiago Bernabeu will continue to always feel as my own wherever I am.

"Thanks to all and, of course, as I said that first time in our stadium nine years ago: Hala Madrid!"

Los Che bring in Wass from Celta

Valencia manager Marcelino has bolstered his midfield options with the capture of Daniel Wass on a four-year contract from La Liga rivals Celta Vigo.

Los Che finalised the deal on Monday which sees the Denmark international move to the Mestalla for an undisclosed fee after three seasons at Balaidos.

The Mediterranean outfit revealed that the terms agreed upon with Wass includes an €80 million release clause.

The 29-year-old midfielder becomes their fourth signing since the end of the 2017/18 campaign, with former loanee Geoffrey Kondogbia, Mouctar Diakhaby and Uros Racic already added to Marcelino's squad.

Wass registered four goals and nine assists in 35 league appearances last term to help Celta finish 13th in the table, but he will now get the chance to play in the UEFA Champions League.

Torres signs for J.League side Sagan Tosu

Atletico Madrid legend Fernando Torres has signed for J.League outfit Sagan Tosu after coming to the end of his contract in Spain.

The former Liverpool and Chelsea star was linked with moves to both the A-League, in Australia, and the MLS. However, he has opted to join Japanese side Sagan Tosu and will now compete against Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta again, following his move to fellow J.League side Vissel Kobe.

"We have had proposals from all continents," Torres told the media. "My new team will be the Japanese side Sagan Tosu.

"Sagan Tosu were one of the first clubs to be interested in me, they have convinced me with the project.

"I think Japan and the Japanese League is going to be a great experience, they have made a great effort and they believe that I can be one of the solutions so that the team returns to the place where it has to be.

"I've had offers from France, Germany, even some options from Spain, but at no time did it go through my head to go to a European team, I wanted a new challenge in a totally different place."

During his time in Europe, the World Cup winner claimed a Champions League, Europa League, and an FA Cup title with Chelsea, before clinching another Europa League trophy with Atletico in 2018.