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Karim Benzema offers uncertain response to Real Madrid contract question

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Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has left fans sweating about his future at the club after a cryptic response to a question about a possible contract extension.

The Ballon d’Or winner is in the final six months of his contract, and while he remains one of the game’s premier strikers, rumours continue to rumble about a possible return to Lyon for Benzema, who turned 35 in December.

Ahead of Sunday’s Supercopa final against Barcelona, Benzema was asked whether he wants to stay with Real for another season, and while he stressed his love for the club, the Frenchman failed to offer a definitive answer either way.

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“I’m here at Madrid,” he said. “I enjoy every training session, and as I always say, I enjoy it every year.

“I don’t know how long I’ll be here, but I enjoy every day in Madrid.

“I’m at Real Madrid, talking about a renewal is another matter. I enjoy it, like any player.”

Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey, Toby Cudworth and Tom Gott in the latest episode of Talking Transfers. This week they discuss Chelsea’s hectic transfer strategy, which includes a loan move for Joao Felix and interest in Romeo Lavia and Marcus Thuram among others, Man Utd’s pursuit of Burnley striker Wout Weghorst, Leandro Trossard’s Brighton future and more. Available on all audio platforms.

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If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast! 

Despite his Ballon d’Or win, the 2022/23 season has been tough for Benzema, who has struggled greatly with injuries and found himself caught up in further international controversy over his availability for the World Cup following a muscle problem.

He has been prolific since the return of club football, however, leading manager Carlo Ancelotti to declare that Benzema is ‘back’.

“I have returned from my injury and it’s clear that I have done a good job of returning to my level,” Benzema added. “I have touched the ball, scored, assisted… It’s clear I’m back.”

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EPL

Leicester confirm signing of defender Harry Souttar from Stoke City

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Leicester have finalised the signing of Australian centre-back Harry Souttar from Stoke on a permanent deal.

The 24-year-old returned from a serious knee injury only weeks before the World Cup but put in some excellent performances as Australia reached the knockout stages.

90min understands that a fee of £15m has been agreed for Souttar, who has now put pen to paper on his contract at the King Power Stadium.

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Leicester have endured a tricky winter window, missing out on a number of targets, but they have managed to bring in three new faces.

Brazilian winger Tete has joined on loan from Shakhtar Donetsk after his loan with Lyon was terminated, while 20-year-old Danish left-back Victor Kristiansen will join Souttar in attempting to shore up Brendan Rodgers’ defence.



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Keylor Navas joins Nottingham Forest on loan

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Nottingham Forest have confirmed the loan signing of Keylor Navas from Paris Saint-Germain until the end of the season.

The Costa Rican comes to the City Ground with a wealth of top level experience having won three UEFA Champions League titles during a lengthy tenure at Real Madrid, before enjoying a stint as PSG’s number one goalkeeper – winning two Ligue 1 titles in that time.

This season however, Navas has been fully usurped by Gianluigi Donnarumma in the PSG goal, meaning that he’s now had to go out on loan to find gametime elsewhere.

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A club statement on the signing reads:

“Nottingham Forest is delighted to announce the signing of Keylor Navas from Paris Saint-Germain.

“The goalkeeper has signed on loan for the remainder of the 2022/23 campaign.

“Navas, 36, brings a wealth of international and domestic experience to the Club, having made 564 appearances in a trophy-laden career.”

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When did the Magpies last win a cup?

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Newcastle are planning for success at the highest level following the 2021 takeover by a consortium of the Saudi Public Investment Fund, PCP Capital Partners, and David and Jamie Reuben.

On-pitch fortunes have turned around pretty drastically since Mike Ashley’s departure, with Eddie Howe coming in as manager and the likes of Bruno Guimaraes, Sven Botman and Alexander Isak all arriving for big transfer fees.

The squad’s aim in the near future will be to break the trophy duck the club has endured for many years now. They’re well set in the 2022/23 Carabao Cup, but when was the last time the Magpies brought silverware back to Tyne and Wear?

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Newcastle have not won a domestic trophy since 1955. They did earn silverware in 2009/10 and 2016/17 for winning the Championship, while their European honours are the 1968/69 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, the Anglo-Italian Cup in 1973 and the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2006.

The Inter-Cities Fairs Cup is naturally seen as a predecessor to the UEFA Cup and now Europa League, though the tournament itself did not fall under UEFA jurisdiction. As such, it is not seen as prestigious in the modern age, though Newcastle fans of a certain vintage will almost certainly disagree.

In 1955, the Magpies defeated Manchester City to win their sixth FA Cup. Strikes from Jackie Milburn, Bobby Mitchell and George Hannah gave them victory despite Bobby Johnstone’s equaliser in the verge of half time.

Newcastle have been a consistent feature in the top league in England since the club was founded in 1892. Four league titles and six FA Cups help make the Magpies the ninth-most decorated team with trophies in England.

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Newcastle have never won the League Cup, their closest run being a runners-up finish to Manchester City in 1975/76. They were beaten as strikes from Peter Barnes and Dennis Tueart made Alan Gowling’s equaliser redundant.

They have never won the Premier League in its current format, having come closest in 1995/96 and 1996/97 when they came second behind Manchester United on both occasions.

Newcastle came close to lifting the FA Cup on two occasions in the late 1990s, reaching the finals in 1998 and 1999. However, they came up against English giants Arsenal and Man Utd respectively and they couldn’t make the step up in either final.

Arsenal proved too strong in 1998 as strikes from Marc Overmars and Nicolas Anelka separated the two sides, while another 2-0 defeat came a year later when Teddy Sheringham and Paul Scholes downed Alan Shearer and co.

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