Mourinho thanks Madrid fans for support

The outgoing Blancos boss has sent out a message ahead of his final game in charge at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has sent out a message of thanks to the club and its fans ahead of his final game in charge on Saturday.

The Portuguese coach and Spanish giant reached a decision to tear up his contract at the end of the season, meaning that the outgoing Santiago Bernabeu boss is free to return to Chelsea in the summer.

Mourinho will take charge of his last game as Blancos coach against Osasuna on Saturday and stressed that he wishes the club all the best going forward.

"I wish everyone associated with Real Madrid much happiness in the future," he said in a statement on the club's website. "I appreciate the support of lots of fans and respect the criticism of others. Once again, a lot of happiness to everyone and, above all, good health. Hala Madrid!"

Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes and Carlo Ancelotti are currently favorites to replace Mourinho - the former is being replaced by Pep Guardiola in the summer despite having won the Champions League this season while Madrid has inquired to Paris Saint-Germain about the latter.

Ibrahimovic: This has been one of my best seasons ever

With a Ligue 1 title in the bag, the forward has branded Maxwell as the best Parisians player in 2012-13 and praised David Beckham's career
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has labelled his debut season at Paris Saint-Germain as one of the best of his illustrious career.

The Swedish striker has won league and cup titles in Serie A and La Liga, but the 31-year-old has revealed that PSG's Ligue 1-winning year is up there with the very best.

"It is without a doubt one of the best of my career. I'm very happy because I won the title here," he told the club's official website. "If we hadn't won the league I wouldn't be able to say that.

"Last year I finished as top goalscorer in Italy with AC Milan, but I have always said it wasn't a good season for me because I didn't win a trophy with the team. When I win, it's like a reward for all my hard work."

David Beckham announced his retirement this summer, having joined the Parc des Princes side on a five-month contract in January, and the 31-year-old lauded his outgoing teammate.

"[Beckham's retirement] is a huge loss for football," Ibrahimovic continued. "I understand his choice. He is a lovely person. I didn't know him personally before he signed here, but I got to know him. I only have positive things to say about him.

"His influence goes well beyond the playing field. He is an example to follow, a great professional. He came here and he won. Now we all wish him the very best of luck for the future and hope that he stays in football in some form to share that experience."

The Parisians have had plenty of stars in their trophy-winning campaign but Ligue 1's top goalscorer this year has highlighted the performances of defender Maxwell.

"I think Maxwell had a fantastic season," Ibrahimovic said, when asked whom he would say has been the club's best player in 2012-13.

"He managed to maintain such a high standard of performance in every single match and he played in nearly every match, so for me, it has to be Maxwell."

Vilanova: Barcelona looking for Puyol successor

The Blaugrana coach also spoke about the recent acquisition of Neymar, Eric Abidal's imminent exit from Camp Nou and defended his decision to stay despite health issues
Tito Vilanova has revealed that Barcelona is looking to sign a center back successor to club captain Carles Puyol this summer.

The Spain international, who has been a Blaugrana player his entire professional career, is 35 years old and has been ravaged by injury this season, triggering calls for Vilanova to plug the gap in his side's defense.

The coach has revealed that a center back will be one of Barca's targets in the upcoming transfer window but insisted he wants Puyol to recover from his injury and remain at Camp Nou regardless of his age.

"We'll be looking for a player in that position - in the middle of defense," he told reporters on Friday. "We hope Puyol recovers but we'll still be looking for a new player in that position. He's said he wants to play until he's 40 and I hope he does!"

Two players who have been linked with a move away from the club are David Villa and Thiago, but Vilanova has stressed that no decision has been made about the pair.

"We haven't talked about whether Villa's going to leave the club," he added. "As for his performance over the last three years, he's been very good. It's been a pity about the serious injury he had [in December 2011]. He has a good relationship with the fans, he scored a goal in the Champions League final.

"I don't know anything about Thiago wanting to leave. Thiago has a future here at Barcelona. We want him to stay but it depends on him. There's a lot of competition in midfield. It's up to the player if he wants to continue but it's not only us having confidence in him, but him having confidence in himself."

The first player who has been confirmed as leaving is defender Eric Abidal - Vilanova admitted that the club's decision was hard, but hopes he can find success away from the Liga champions.

"I feel bad that Eric Abidal won't stay on, but it's a decision the club has taken," he said. "We won't find another player like Abidal. The decision was very difficult. I hope he finds a good club and proves us wrong."

Barca made its first signing of the summer in the past week by signing up Santos starlet Neymar, beating Real Madrid to his signature, and Vilanova had plenty of praise for his new forward.

"Well I think Neymar's a player who can play in many positions, not only on the left," he said, when asked where he would play the 21-year-old.

"He's a really top player, he combines well with other players. He's good defensively and tactically he's going to help us as well. Every club in Europe wanted to get him but we're convinced that he's a player who can score goals for us."

Vilanova swatted aside rumors that he will quit and brushed off comments from Barca legend Johan Cruyff that he should step down to concentrate on recovering from cancer.

"I can't make it any clearer, I can't say it any louder - I'm staying at Barcelona," he insisted. "People talk about things - Mr Cruyff talked about my health and the club. When he makes these kind of declarations then people listen."

Barca faces Malaga on Saturday in what will be its final game of a successful Liga season, though star attacker Lionel Messi - who was called up to Argentina's squad for matches in June - remains sidelined with a hamstring injury and will not feature according to the coach.

Vilanova said: "No, Messi won't be playing tomorrow. He doesn't have the green light from the doctors.

"If he can play for Argentina then he will get to play, but obviously we don't want to take any risks with him. We don't want him to get injured again."

Carles Puyol says he plans to retire when he's 40

The Barcelona veteran claims he will hang up his boots when his current contract at Camp Nou expires despite ongoing problems following knee surgery.
Barcelona captain Carles Puyol has revealed he plans to retire from football at the age of 40, when his current contract at Camp Nou expires.

Puyol, who has played in the Barcelona first team since making his debut in 1999, says he has no plans to call it a career in the near future despite struggling with problems following knee surgery.

"I have four years to run on my contract and my plan is to complete them and retire when I am 40," Puyol told reporters on Friday. "My idea is to continue working on my fitness. The important thing is to be ready for when the league starts again.

"The players who are in form are the ones who have to play and I have been having ongoing problems with my knee.

"My knee operation, which lasted two and a half hours, revealed more problems than we expected.

"My knee was full of liquid and blood, and after four weeks I still couldn't even walk properly."

The Spaniard also gave his thoughts on rumors linking him with a move to AC Milan at the end of the season, insisting there is no truth whatsoever in the speculation.

"The idea of joining AC Milan has never entered my mind. When my playing days are over, I'll study other options," Puyol said.

The Blaugrana captain also spoke about teammate Eric Abidal, whose illness-hit career at Barcelona will draw to a close against Malaga on Saturday.

"He was an example to all of us, a good friend and I thank him for everything he showed us," Puyol said.

Manchester City set to confirm Pellegrini appointment

Man City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak says the club will announce its next coach within the next couple weeks
Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak expects to appoint the club's new manager within the next two weeks.

Goal understands Manuel Pellegrini will succeed Roberto Mancini at the Etihad Stadium after the 59-year-old claimed earlier this week that he already has a verbal agreement with the club.

"We’re pretty much done," Al Mubarak told the club's official website. "We’re very close. I expect to make an appointment probably in the next two weeks."

Pellegrini takes charge of his final game as Malaga boss on Saturday as the club faces Barcelona at Camp Nou. The Chilean confirmed in his pre-match press conference that he will announce his decision regarding his future on Monday.

“On my future I will speak next week. On the Monday I will announce where,” Pellegrini told reporters on Friday.

Zanetti: Cambiasso and I did not cause Stramaccioni's sacking

The legendary Argentine insists he and Esteban Cambiasso did not influence the departure of the Nerazzurri coach and believes president Massimo Moratti will not sell the club.
Inter Milan legend Javier Zanetti has denied that he and long-term club and international teammate Esteban Cambiasso played a part in the dismissal of coach Andrea Stramaccioni.

The 39-year-old Nerazzurri icon says he always had a good relationship with his former coach, who was sacked from his post at Giuseppe Meazza last week following a disappointing Serie A campaign.

"Cambiasso and I were not behind the exit of Stramaccioni," Zanetti told reporters at an event held at his Milan restaurant. "My relationship with the coach has always been honest and sincereAfter my operation he came to visit me in the hospital and told me how important I am to the teamHe also came to the partyfor 10 years of my restaurant."

Zanetti also spoke about the future of Inter president Massimo Morrati, who has been rumored to sell the club at the end of the current campaign, affirming his belief that the 68-year-old will remain at the 2010 European champion beyond the summer.

"I know all about the passion of the president and his family for Inter. Do I think he will sellI do not know 100 percent, but I find it difficult to see Moratti selling," Zanetti said.

Zanetti has made more than 900 performances for Inter since joining the club in 1995. He is also hold Argentina's record for appearances, having won 145 caps to date.

Liverpool statement: Suarez is not for sale

The 26-year-old has publicly announced he is searching for a move away from Liverpool but his wishes have been rejected by the club, which insists the player is not for sale.
Liverpool has insisted want-away striker Luis Suarez is not for sale after the player announced his desire to leave Anfield this summer.

Suarez confirmed his ambition to leave the club on Thursday, stating the effect of the English press on his public image and family life as the main reasons for wanting a transfer. The Uruguay international publicly announced his intention to leave the club despite the continued stance he is not for sale, with Liverpool reiterating its desire to keep its leading striker.

"Luis Suarez is not for sale - neither Luis or his representatives have communicated these feelings directly to Liverpool football club," Liverpool said in a team statement. "The club remains supportive of Luis and expect him to honor his contract. We will not be making any further comment at this stage."

Suarez was named as Liverpool Fans' Player of the Year by supporters after leading the goal-scoring charts with 30 goals in all competitions, but controversy surrounding the striker has led to a fractured relationship with fans outside the club, with his latest incident being a bizarre bite of Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic, which resulted in a 10-game ban.

The decision of the 26-year-old to publicly state his desire to leave comes amid rumors suggesting he is being tracked by Spanish giant Real Madrid.

Heynckes denies Real Madrid agreement

The departing Bayern Munich boss has dismissed claims from Anatoliy Tymoshchuk that a deal is "99 percent" agreed but hinted he may reveal his future plans on Saturday
Jupp Heynckes has denied claims from Bayern Munich midfielder Anatoliy Tymoshchuk that he has agreed a deal to take over at Real Madrid.

Tymoshchuk said on Thursday that the 68-year-old was "99 percent" certain to replace Jose Mourinho at Santiago Bernabeu once he leaves his post at the Allianz Arena at the end of the season.

However, Heynckes has now moved to deny that any agreement is in place but hinted that he could make an announcement about his future as early as June 1.

"I do not know where Anatoliy got this from," he told a press conference ahead of Bayern's DFB Pokal final against Stuttgart on Saturday. "Of course we joke around and everything about those rumours, but I do not know why he thinks that it is a done deal. 

"If I am going to be in a good mood I will talk about it tomorrow [Saturday]. If not I will make an announcement in the first week of June."

Heynckes' future has long been the subject of speculation ever since Pep Guardiola was announced as the man to replace him at the newly-crowned European champions in the winter.

Both Heynckes and Paris Saint-Germain boss Carlo Ancelotti have been tipped to take over from Mourinho at Real Madrid at the end of the current campaign, as the Portuguese coach nears a return to the Premier League with Chelsea after departing the Spanish club by mutual agreement.

La Liga Preview: Barcelona - Malaga

The Blaugrana can hit 100 points, matching Real Madrid's points record from last season, if they beat the Andalusian side, which is playing its last game under Manuel Pellegrini.

Barcelona boss Tito Vilanova has no fresh fitness concerns heading into Saturday's Liga finale against Malaga.

Captain Carles Puyol remains absent with a knee problem, while Lionel Messi is unlikely to be risked as he continues his recovery from a hamstring strain. Eric Abidal is set to make a farewell appearance after Barca announced it will not be renewing the Frenchman's contract into next season.
  • Barcelona is on a four-game winning run in La Liga and will hit the 100-point mark if it can extend that stretch to five games.
  • The Blaugrana have won their last 14 Liga matches at Camp Nou.
  • Alexis Sanchez (pictured, right) has scored three goals in his last three appearances for Barca.
  • Malaga is on a five-match losing run away from home in all competitions.
  • The Andalusian side has lost 10 of its last 11 meetings with Barcelona.
  • Malaga's last away win over Barca came in November 1999.
  • The game is set to be Malaga manager Manuel Pellegrini's last with the Champions League quarterfinalist. He is expected to take charge at Manchester City.

La Liga Preview: Real Madrid - Osasuna

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo could miss the home encounter against Osasuna as he continues to manage a back problem.

Raphael Varane (knee) and Sami Khedira (suspension) are both sidelined, while Pepe, Xabi Alonso and Kaka are all doubts.
However, goalkeeper Iker Casillas and defenders Sergio Ramos and Fabio Coentrao should be available after missing the 3-3 draw at Real Sociedad through injury.

Osasuna defender Damia is suspended after picking up his 15th booking of the season in the win over Sevilla but midfielder Nano is available after serving a one-match ban.

Lolo, Miguel Flano, Sisi, Anthony Annan and Nino are all out injured for the visitors, who have already secured their top-flight status for next season.
  • Real Madrid is on a 10-match winning run at home in La Liga.
  • Los Blancos have kept a clean sheet in just one of their last eight matches in all competitions.
  • Gonzalo Higuain (pictured, right) has scored three goals in his last two appearances against Osasuna.
  • Osasuna has only won two of its last eight matches in La Liga (W2, D2, L4).
  • The Pamplona club has lost four of their last five meetings with Real Madrid.
  • Osasuna’s last away win over Madrid came in April 2004.

Schweinsteiger: Bayern wants to give Heynckes a special farewell

The 28-year-old has made it clear that the Bavarians want to give the outgoing coach a fitting goodbye by completing the treble against Stuttgart in the German Cup final
Bastian Schweinsteiger says Bayern Munich is determined to win Saturday's DFB-Pokal final againstStuttgart in order to give head coach Jupp Heynckes the farewell he deserves.

"It will be our last match under Heynckes and that's another motivating factor. We want to give him a special sendoff," Schweinsteiger was quoted as saying on the club's official website.

The German led Bayern to a record breaking Bundesliga title this season while also clinching an elusive Champions League crown against Dortmund at Wembley.

The 68-year-old will make way for Pep Guardiola this summer and Schweinsteiger is eager to give the veteran coach a worthy send-off by clinching a historic treble.

"The game at the Olympic Stadium is very, very important. I know what it's like to win there, so I'm highly motivated," Schweinsteiger explained. 

"It's always a wonderful evening in Berlin and the atmosphere and the stadium are something very special. We'll do whatever we can to win the cup.

"I'm too focused on Saturday’s match to be talking about the treble or anything else. We're all utterly determined to win this match."

Bayern is within touching distance of an incredible treble triumph, one which would make it the first Bundesliga side to win all three major competitions in the same season.

Ljungberg returns to Arsenal in ambassadorial role

The former Sweden international, who was a member of the
Gunners' "Invincibles" team of 2003-04, will be a figurehead in the club's plan for international growth.
Former Arsenal star Freddie Ljungberg is returning to the club in an ambassadorial role.

The 36-year-old will return to the club as a figurehead in international growth, hoping to help the Gunners reach out to more fans around the globe. The former Sweden international midfielder will begin working with the club on a trip to Asia next week to promote the Gunners' preseason tour of the region.

"We are delighted that Freddie has agreed, in this ambassadorial role, to help us reach more of our passionate supporters around the globe. He is much loved by our fans and it’s great to have him back," Arsenal’s head of marketing, Charles Allen, told the club's official website.

Ljungberg was a member of the Arsene Wenger's historic 2003-04 "Invincibles" Arsenal side that went through an entire Premier League season undefeated, and he was also on the losing end with the Gunners in the 2006 Champions League final.

The Swede holds the distinction of being one of only three players in the history of the FA Cup to score in consecutive finals of the competition.

In total, the midfielder, who also represented West Ham, Celtic, the Seattle Sounders, Chicago Fire and Shimizu S-Pulse, made 216 appearances for Arsenal and scored 46 goals.

Julio Cesar confirms talks with English clubs amid Arsenal rumors

The 33-year-old is eager to seal his place in the Brazil squad ahead of the 2014 World Cup and has been heavily linked with a move to the Gunners
QPR goalkeeper Julio Cesar has confirmed he is in talks with English clubs over a move away from Loftus Road this summer.

Hoops boss Harry Redknapp indicated recently that the Brazil international would be allowed to leave, rather than spend the season prior to the 2014 World Cup playing in the Championship.

Arsenal has been heavily linked with the 33-year-old, and Cesar has now fuelled speculation that the Gunners are among the clubs pursuing his signature.

"There are indeed talks with some teams, but nothing definitive,” he told Globo Esporte. “This is the Confederations Cup moment, I have to focus on doing a good work for the national team.

"I won't name the teams as it would not be ethical since I am under contract with Queens Park Rangers. I let people responsible for my career deal with it."

Cesar is in the Brazil squad for the Confederations Cup and could be in the side to face England in Rio on June 2.

Neymar to be presented as a Barcelona player on Monday

The Brazil forward has sealed his move to Camp Nou from Santos and will undergo a medical before an official unveiling after the international match against England.
Neymar will be officially unveiled as a Barcelona player on Monday after he has played for Brazil in its match against England this weekend.

The Santos forward is currently with the national squad as it prepares for next month's FIFA Confederations Cup, but the Brazilian Football Federation has granted him permission to fly to Spain after the clash with Roy Hodgson's side on Sunday evening to complete the formalities of his move.

Firstly, Neymar will undergo a rigorous medical before putting pen to paper on his five-year contract, which has already been agreed along with the 28 milion euro transfer fee. Then, the 21-year-old will be presented at Camp Nou for photos in a Barca kit in an event both fans and the media have been invited to, before he takes part in a press conference.

After the formalities are completed, Neymar will travel back home to re-join the Brazil squad, which also has a friendly against France before the Confederations Cup opener against Japan on June 15. 

"I have butterflies in my stomach. This is a dream come true. To play with [Lionel] Messi and other amazing footballers at Barcelona has made me very eager to arrive there," Neymar said after the deal was announced. "It was a tough decision but I decided together with my family. They helped me amazingly. I'm very happy but at the same time I am sad for leaving a team [Santos] I have been with for years. I have to seize the moment."

Tymoshchuk: 'Heynckes is 99 percent going to Madrid'

Bayern Munich midfielder Anatoliy Tymoshchuk has claimed that the outgoing Bavarian boss is almost certain to replace Jose Mourinho in charge at the Santiago Bernabeu
Anatoliy Tymoshchuk has revealed that current Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes is "99 percent" certain to return to Real Madrid this summer.

Jose Mourinho will take charge of his last game on Saturday for the Blancos, against Osasuna, while the Bavarians boss will attempt to achieve an unprecedented German treble in the DFB-Pokal final against Stuttgart on the same day.

With Mourinho en route to Chelsea and Pep Guardiola stepping into Heynckes' shoes at the Allianz Arena, Tymoshchuk has suggested that Heynckes will return to the Santiago Bernabeu in the coming weeks rather than consider retirement.

"There is a 99 percent chance that Heynckes will train Real Madrid," he said to Russia 2.

Heynckes spent a single season at Madrid and lifted the Champions League with the Spanish side, but he was fired after failing to perform domestically as the club finished fourth in the table.

Tymoshchuk confirmed that he would be leaving the Allianz Arena this summer but refused to reveal his destination, while insisting that Arjen Robben - who scored the Champions League-winning goal in the final - is set to stay at Bayern.

"Robben told me he's certain to stay in Bayern," the Ukrainian added. "And I'm leaving. I can't say where until Monday. Not [Borussia] Dortmund for sure!"

Figo: Madrid right to get rid of Mourinho

The ex-Blancos midfielder believes the coach had outstayed his welcome at the Liga club but insists his compatriot was not necessarily wrong in his decisions.
Former Real Madrid midfielder Luis Figo believes that the time was right for Jose Mourinho and the Santiago Bernabeu side to part ways.

Mourinho will depart the Blancos in June after three years in charge, having joined from Inter in the summer of 2010 and taken the club to three Champions League semifinals, one league triumph and one Copa del Rey trophy.

His fall-out with a number of high-profile Madrid players - most notably captain Iker Casillas - has contributed to his exit from the Bernabeu dugout, and Figo believes it is the right time for his compatriot to move on as he nears a return to the Premier League with Chelsea.

"It was to be expected," Figo told reporters at a charity event. "I believe it is right for them to bid farewell [to Mourinho].

"Some people will not like it, others will think it's the right thing, but the reality in life is you cannot please all the people. The fans should try to be fair and wait to see what happens next."

Mourinho's benching of Casillas in favor of January signing Diego Lopez has resulted in a lengthy dressing-room dispute, but Figo thinks the facts have been exaggerated and that the coach had legitimate reasons for his actions.

"They are my friends," Figo said of Mourinho and the Spain goalkeeper. "They are of the age to be able to work things out.

"Mourinho's decisions were professionally and technically sound. You might not like it but [as a player] you have to accept and take it in the best way possible for the good of the club."

Madrid faces Osasuna on Sunday in the final game of the Primera Division season, having already secured second place behind champion Barcelona.

MLS All-Stars to play against AS Roma

Sporting Park will host the summer exhibition, with Major League Soccer's best facing Michael Bradley, Francesco Totti and the Serie A power.
Major League Soccer's top stars will be playing foreign competition again for this summer's All-Star event, but for the first time since 2003, the opposition won't be from the United Kingdom.

According to ESPN, MLS will play against AS Roma in this summer's All-Star Game at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. MLS is expected to make an official announcement later on Thursday. The match will provide American soccer fans a chance to see U.S. national team star Michael Bradley along with his high-profile Roma teammates like Italian veterans Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi. 

Roma will be the first non-UK opponent since MLS faced Chivas de Guadalajara 10 years ago. Since then, the league played one year of an East-vs.-West format before welcoming Fulham, Chelsea, Celtic, West Ham, Everton, Manchester United twice and Chelsea again last year in a game MLS won 3-2 at PPL Park. MLS is 5-2-1 in those games, with Everton prevailing in penalties after a 1-1 draw in 2009. U.S. goalkeepers Tim Howard and Nick Rimando squared off in a memorable shootout to cap the match at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Assuming he plays, Bradley, who started his career in MLS with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars (now New York Red Bulls) for the 2004 and 2005 seasons before his transfer to Heerenveen sparked his European career, will join Howard, Brian McBride and Carlos Bocanegra as U.S. internationals to be on the opposing team during the All-Star Game.

Bradley is not the only U.S. connection Roma has. The club's owner, Thomas DiBenedetto, is an American based in Boston. Last summer, Roma played against John Henry-owned Liverpool at Boston's Fenway Park, with Bradley scoring a goal in a 2-1 victory. As part of that tour, Roma also played Polish club Zaglebie Lubin at Wrigley Field in Chicago and the El Salvador national team at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.

This season, Roma finished sixth in Serie A and runner-up in the Coppa Italia final, narrowly missing out on the chance to qualify for the UEFA Europa League.

Abidal announces Barcelona exit

The Frenchman will bid farewell to the Primera Division champions this summer as his expiring contract will not be renewed.
Eric Abidal has announced that he will leave Barcelona this summer after a six-year spell at Camp Nou.

The 33-year-old joined the club from Olympique Lyonnais in the summer of 2007 and had since made nearly 200 official appearances for the Blaugrana, winning four Liga titles and two Champions Leagues in the process. Health problems largely kept Abidal out of action in the past two seasons as he was diagnosed with a tumor in his liver in March 2011 and underwent a transplant last year.

"This is a difficult day for me. I have spent six years at Barcelona and it has been a very intense period together with my teammates," Abidal said at a press conference. "I was keen to continue at Barcelona, but the club have different plans and I have to respect that. I am leaving the club this summer, but I will be back here."

Club president Sandro Rosell, meanwhile, stressed that he hopes Abidal will return to Barcelona once he hangs up his boots.

"Abidal has been at Barcelona for six years and he's part of our history. This is not a goodbye. The doors will always be open for Eric," Rosell said. "When Eric retires, he will become the director of Barcelona's schools around the world."

Abidal has been linked with a return to Lyon this summer, while Monaco have also shown an interest in signing the left back, but he has yet to make a final decision on where he will continue his career.

"I have a number of offers, but I need more time to think about them," Abidal said.

Cafu: Neymar is 100 percent ready to play for Barcelona

The two-time World Cup winner is certain that the 21-year-old will be a star in La Liga after sealing a move from Santos to Camp Nou.
Brazil legend Cafu has tipped compatriot Neymar to be a big success at Barcelona following his long-awaited transfer to La Liga.

The 21-year-old star completed his move from Santos to Barca on Monday for a fee reported to be in the region of 60 million euros, signing a five-year-deal with the Spanish champions.

“Is Neymar ready? Absolutely. Neymar is 100 percent ready to play for Barcelona,” Cafu told Goal. “He is already a world-class player.”

Cafu, 42, enjoyed a glittering playing career, winning 142 Brazil caps and two World Cups while also claiming Serie A titles with Roma and AC Milan. The 2007 Champions League winner also played down reports that his former teammate Clarence Seedorf was ready to succeed Massimiliano Allegri as the coach of Milan this summer, though.

"Clarence is still a player so we can't talk about him being coach of Milan," Cafu said.

Seedorf departed Milan at the end of the 2011-12 European season to join Brazilian club Botafogo, but is said to be one of the favorites to replace the under-fire Allegri at the San Siro.

Heynckes would be a good choice for Madrid, says Carvajal

The right back feels the 68-year-old would fit in well at the Santiago Bernabeu side and insists that his own potential return to Madrid is uncertain.
Bayer Leverkusen defender Daniel Carvajal feels that current Bayern Munich boss Jupp Heynckes would be a good option for the vacant position of Real Madrid coach.

The Primera Division side is in the market for a new manager following the departure of Jose Mourinho upon the conclusion of 2012-13 campaign and had initially targeted Carlo Ancelotti as the main candidate. PSG is keen to hold on to Ancelotti, though, fuelling speculation that Madrid could turn its attention to Heynckes, who will make way at Champions League-winning Bayern for Pep Guardiola.

"I encountered Heynckes in the Bundesliga. I think that he would fit in very well at Madrid with the way Bayern have been playing this season,” Carvajal told AS. “They are a very intense team who always want to have the ball.”

The 21-year-old then responded to Florentino Perez’s comments that he will return to Real Madrid this summer and stressed that he remains a Leverkusen player for now.

“There's no news. I'm still a Leverkusen player, but I hope that my situation will be resolved soon, so I'll know where I'll play next season," Carvajal said. “I have not spoken to anyone from Madrid yet, but I appreciate what the president said. We will have to wait and see what happens.”

Carvajal left Madrid for Leverkusen in the summer of 2012, but the Bernabeu side have an option to re-purchase the defender for a fee believed to be in the region of 6.5 million euros.

Shaqiri not leaving Bayern for Dortmund, says agent

The Swiss youngster had been linked with a move from the Allianz Arena to the Westfalenstadion, but his representative says he is not looking to leave.
Xherdan Shaqiri’s brother and agent Erdin has insisted that there is no truth in the reports linking theBayern Munich attacker with a move to Borussia Dortmund.

A report in Sport Bild on Wednesday suggested that BVB coach Jurgen Klopp sees the Switzerland international as a good replacement for Bayern-bound Mario Gotze, but Erdin Shaqiri has made it clear that his brother has no intention to leave his current club any time soon.

"This is nothing but a hypothesis. Either the people at Sport Bild know more than I do, or they have a psychic working for them who can predict stuff that clubs and players don't even know yet,” the winger’s representative told Blick. Xherdan has no reason to change clubs. He's among Bayern's 14 main players and is on the verge of breaking into the starting XI.”

Shaqiri joined Bayern from Basel in the summer of 2012 and has since made 38 appearances for the European champions, scoring eight goals in the process. The attacker has a contract with Bayern until June 2016.

Aquilani expects Jovetic to leave Fiorentina

The Italian believes his teammate is destined to depart Artemio Franchi as Juventus and Arsenal continue to be linked with a move
Fiorentina midfielder Alberto Aquilani has revealed that he expects Stevan Jovetic to leave the club this summer.
Jovetic’s future has been the subject of speculation for some time, with reports continuing to link the forward with a summer move to Serie A champion Juventus and Premier League outfit Arsenal.
Aquilani feels that this summer will see the departure of his teammate after revealing that the club told Jovetic he was free to decide his own future once the season drew to a close.
“I think at this point [Jovetic] is going to leave,” Aquilani told reporters ahead of Italy’s friendly with San Marino on Friday.
“Last year they promised if he stayed another season then he could choose his future. Aside from being a teammate, he is also a great person who would do well at any club.”
The former Liverpool man, who excelled in Fiorentina's strong Serie A campaign last season, went on to refute claims he had failed to live up to his own potential following a disappointing spell at Anfield earlier in his career.
“It’s easy to say that [I struggled], but there were injuries, strange contracts and coaches who came and went," he continued.
“I think it’s a little superficial to say I never lived up to my potential, but I accept it. I am still young and have much to give.”
The 28-year-old also feels that AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri would be an ideal candidate to take over at Roma as rumors abound that he is poised to replace Aurelio Andreazzoli at Stadio Olimpico.
“He’s a great coach and a great person. If he were to leave Milan, I think he’d be the right man for Roma,” said Aquilani.