Pogba has God-given talent like LeBron and Bolt and always welcome at Juventus – Chiellini

Paul Pogba has been told that Juventus would “gladly welcome him back”, with Giorgio Chiellini happy to fuel transfer talk around the Manchester United midfielder. 

The France international previously spent four years in Turin between 2012 and 2016, claiming four Serie A titles and two Coppa Italia crowns. 

A record-breaking £89 million ($116m) deal then returned him to Old Trafford for a second spell, but the 25-year-old has struggled to justify that outlay amid widespread criticism of his form. 

Pogba is, however, a World Cup winner and a match-winning talent on his day, and Chiellini admits the door will always be open to him should be wish to head back to Italy. 

He told La Stampa: “Pogba? We’d gladly welcome him back.  

“He is special. He was kissed by mother nature with talent, like LeBron James or [Usain] Bolt.  

“He only has to become a bigger leader on the field, the moral abilities are there. But he is only 25 years old and there is too much responsibility for him.” 

While Pogba, who has also been heavily linked with a move to Barcelona, could form part of Juventus’ future, their present is very much about another global superstar. 

Cristiano Ronaldo Juventus 2018-19

Cristiano Ronaldo was acquired from Real Madrid over the summer in an effort to help the Bianconeri cement their domestic dominance while challenging for Champions League honours. 

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has offered glimpses of what he is capable of and Chiellini is delighted to have him on board. 

He added: “Ronaldo? He’s amazing. 

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“His decision to prove himself again at 33 was huge. His winning mentality managed to fill the gap left in the group by Buffon’s farewell. 

“Cristiano is a beacon and point of reference, he leads with a positive attitude. In addition to his goals, assists and shots, he’s an exemplary figure. I see him calm and he works with a smile on his face. 

“Juve unbeatable? Absolutely not: if we don’t face the matches in the right way or use our heads, we become vulnerable like everyone else. Barcelona and Real Madrid taught us that.”


Carragher reveals Liverpool ‘astonishment’ at Chelsea paying £50m for Torres

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has revealed that Reds players were “astonished” when Chelsea agreed to pay £50 million for Fernando Torres in 2011.

The Stamford Bridge outfit paid a then-Premier League record fee to sign the Spain international seven years ago, only for Torres to struggle to justify such an outlay.

In total, he scored just 20 goals for the Blues in 110 appearances despite being one of Europe’s most potent goalscorers during his time at both Atletico Madrid and Liverpool previously.

But Carragher has now admitted that the signs of his decline had been there for some time before his move to west London, leading to shock in the Anfield dressing room when they learned of his transfer.

“I witnessed this with Torres, a player who rose to world-class status but then lost his explosive pace and could never get it back,” he wrote in his column for the Daily Telegraph.

“When Chelsea bid £50m for Torres in January 2011 there was consternation among Liverpool supporters.

“Although we could never state it publicly at the time, there was general astonishment in our dressing room. We thought Chelsea had not been watching him for the previous 12 months.

“We knew Chelsea did not sign the player they thought. They bought a striker who – aged 26 – had already played 468 games, had not had a summer off for the previous three years and was constantly trying to repair his body.

“Torres started to have a hamstring problem during the 2008-09 season, and also suffered an ankle injury the year we finished runners-up to Manchester United. The following season – Rafa Benitez’s last as Liverpool manager – he had a groin and knee issue and was a shadow of himself, despite still regularly scoring goals.

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“Beyond Merseyside no-one seemed to notice, attributing poor displays to a struggling team. In training we could see there was more to it.”

Torres is now plying his trade in Japan with Sagan Tosu following a move to AC Milan and a second spell at Atletico as he winds down his illustrious career that saw him win the World Cup, two European Championships, the Champions League and two Europa Leagues.


Barcelona braced for Cillessen exit as they eye Athletic’s Remiro

Barcelona have started to scour the market for a new goalkeeper, with Goal of the understanding that Alex Remiro of Athletic Club is a preferred option. 

The Camp Nou giants currently have two experienced international performers on their books in the form of Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Jasper Cillessen. 

They are, however, expecting their Dutch shot-stopper to move on in the near future as he seeks to find more regular game time. 

Cillessen has made no secret of his desire to consider a new challenge and Barca will not stand in his way next summer. 

Moves to bring in suitable cover have already been put into motion, with Remiro registering on the recruitment radar in Catalunya. 

The 23-year-old’s contract status in Bilbao has Barca intrigued, with it possible that a top target could be available as a free agent in 2019. 

Remiro is into the final year of his current deal and has penned no extension after failing to force his way into the Athletic side. 

He had been hoping that a record-breaking move for Kepa Arrizabalaga to Chelsea would clear his path at San Mames, but that has not been the case. 

As a result, he is now weighing up his options. 

Remiro got a taste for being first-choice during a loan spell at Huesca last season and is eager to further his development. 

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A move to Barca would leave him in a similar situation to Cillessen, but he would be presented with an opportunity to learn from and follow in the footsteps of Ter Stegen. 

Remiro may be willing to fill such a position as an initial desire from all concerned to agree an extended stay in Bilbao has now made way for exit talk. 

Barcelona are continuing to monitor the situation and could make a move if forced into a move to bolster their keeping ranks.


Neymar to Real Madrid? Lucas Vazquez admits ‘any team would want to have him’

Lucas Vazquez has fuelled speculation linking Neymar with a big-money move to Real Madrid, with the Spanish forward admitting “any team would want him”. 

Ever since the Brazil international left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain in a record-breaking €222 million (£195m/$254m) deal, speculation has suggested that he is destined to return to Spain. 

Transfer talk is starting to build once more, with reports in Spain suggesting that Neymar has an understanding with PSG that if a bid of €220m is tabled in the summer, he will be allowed to leave the club.

If that proves to be the case, then long-term suitors such as Real and Manchester United would likely be in the hunt – along with Barca, who have been linked with a move to bring the South American back onto their books. 

Vazquez admits that he would welcome an approach from those at the Santiago Bernabeu, with Neymar a proven performer at the highest level who would be a suitable successor to the departed Cristiano Ronaldo. 

He told reporters after participating in the Madrid Games Week: “He [Neymar] is a great player, a world star and any team would want to have him.” 

Real are, however, reluctant to be dragged into a debate regarding future recruitment plans as they endeavour to work their way out of a mini-slump in 2018-19. 

Vazquez added: “It’s too soon to speak about signings. 

“We have what we have right now and then we will see. 

“The club need a united squad and coaching staff, and that’s what we have.” 

Lucas Vazquez Real Madrid

Madrid are currently on a four-game winless streak across all competitions, with no goals having been recorded during that run. 

Julen Lopetegui, who succeeded Blancos legend Zinedine Zidane over the summer, has fallen under mounting pressure as results have deteriorated. 

Vazquez is, however, convinced that the Real squad can respond positively to a recent wobble and play their way back into form. 

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He said: “We are used to winning all the time and when it doesn’t happen it’s natural that alarm bells ring. 

“This is the time for coming together. 

“We are eager to turn the situation around.” 


Hazard plays down Real Madrid move: I can finish with Chelsea

Eden Hazard has said that he would have “no problems” retiring at Chelsea, despite reports of renewed Real Madrid interest in his services.

The 27-year-old has been increasingly linked with the Bernabeu club in the wake of their struggles to replace Cristiano Ronaldo, who moved to Juventus in the summer. 

Meanwhile, Belgium ace Hazard has been in scintillating form since the beginning of the World Cup, where he helped Roberto Martinez’s side finish third, while he himself took the individual prize for finishing as the second-best individual player behind Croatia’s Luka Modric.

He has since followed it with equally strong displays in the Premier League, where he has fired Maurizio Sarri’s side joint top of the standings after eight matches by scoring seven goals and creating three more in the league.

Ahead of a Saturday clash against Manchester United, he has reiterated his commitment to the Stamford Bridge club.

“I can finish with Chelsea, no problem at all,” he told Sky Sports. “I am very happy with this club, with the team, my family is happy here.

“So, if I don’t go to Spain, it is not a problem. I love the fans – I think the fans love me! What happens in the future, I will be happy, so that’s it.”

Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck indicated earlier this week that the club “will do what it has to” in order to persuade the winger to remain with the Blues, though he hinted that Hazard, who is out of contract in 2020, may be tempted by an offer from Spain.

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“Let’s see how it goes between now and the end of the season,” he said when asked about the prospect of the attacker penning a long-term deal.

Hazard has spent six years at Chelsea, having arrived from Lille for a fee of £31.5 million. He has played 310 times for the club, netting 97 goals in the process, while winning two Premier League titles and an FA Cup.

At the weekend, he is expected to lead Sarri’s side as they aim to open up a 10-point gap to Jose Mourinho’s struggling Manchester United team. Hazard has scored five times in his previous 13 games against the Old Trafford outfit.