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PSG deny reports they used pressure to try and get Messi’s Ballon d’Or award




Paris Saint-Germain has denied allegations that they tried to pressure the organizer of the Ballon d’Or into giving Lionel Messi the prestigious honor in 2021.

Messi had joined PSG earlier that year after his long reign of success in Barcelona but was in a close contest for the top prize alongside Polish striker Robert Lewandowski.

The French club has been accused of attempting to influence those at France Football magazine, who decide the winner of the Ballon d’Or, in favor of Messi.

Le Monde reports that an ongoing legal investigation claims PSG lobbied for Messi to receive the honor by offering gifts and other benefits to Pascal Ferre, who was then editor-in-chief of France Football and responsible for organizing the Ballon d’Or.

A probe from the General Inspectorate of the National Police claims that Ferre received match tickets and a business-class flight from PSG in 2020 and 2021 when he was still in charge of France Football magazine.

Ferre, who is now the director of press and media relations for the PSG first team, denied the report, stating that he voted for Lewandowski, who was at Bayern Munich at the time of the 2021 ballot.

The 2020 edition of the award was scrapped due to the impact of Covid-19 on the football world, with Lewandowski a leading candidate if it was given out for his Bayern Munich performances.

However, Messi won the 2021 prize, his seventh of eight Ballons d’Or to date, which would have been a significant coup for PSG just months after acquiring him.

On collecting the award, the Argentinian mentioned the Polish striker he pipped to the title by 33 points. Messi said:

“I would like to mention Robert Lewandowski, it’s been a real honour to compete with you.

“Everyone knows and we agree that you were the winner last year [2020]. I think France Football should award you your [trophy last year] – you deserve it and you should have it at home.”

After the Ballon d’Or ceremony, Robert Lewandowski mentioned that Lionel Messi’s words “really touched me” and described it as “a nice moment in my career,” despite needing PSG’s Kylian Mbappe to help translate conversations between them.

Lionel Messi won the Ballon d’Or in 2021 after leaving Europe to play for MLS side Inter Miami. Meanwhile, Robert Lewandowski, who picked up the Striker of the Year award in 2021, finished second in the main Ballon d’Or race.

In 2022, Lewandowski left Bayern Munich and joined Barcelona. It remains to be seen if the 35-year-old striker can contend for the Ballon d’Or once again.

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Man Utd agree personal terms with Matthijs de Ligt as final barrier remains



Man Utd agree personal terms with Matthijs de Ligt as final barrier remains

Manchester United have reached an agreement on personal terms with their top transfer target, Matthijs de Ligt, as negotiations with Bayern Munich for the center-back progress.

Bayern Munich has set a £42 million price tag for the 24-year-old Dutch international, and United is confident that a deal will be finalized.

De Ligt, who has yet to play for the Netherlands at Euro 2024, is eager to reunite with his former Ajax manager Erik ten Hag.

Sources at Mirror Football confirm that Ten Hag and De Ligt have held direct discussions, with the United manager working hard to persuade the defender.

Ten Hag outlined his vision for the club, which remains positive despite a challenging season that ended with an FA Cup victory.

Last week, key figures at Old Trafford, including part-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe, activated a one-year extension clause in Ten Hag’s contract, securing his role until 2026.

Ten Hag views De Ligt as a cornerstone for United’s defense, having previously coached him to the Champions League semi-finals with Ajax when De Ligt was just 19.

Bayern Munich is willing to let De Ligt go if their valuation is met, and the player is focused solely on joining Manchester United.

Bayern’s new manager, Vincent Kompany, is close to signing Bayer Leverkusen’s Jonathan Tah as De Ligt’s replacement, following a disappointing season under Thomas Tuchel.

United plans to bolster their defense by signing two center-backs before the transfer window closes on August 30.

The club has already seen two bids for Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite rejected, the latest being £50 million. Additionally, they are reportedly negotiating with Lille for 18-year-old Leny Yoro, although Yoro is rumored to prefer a move to Real Madrid, with Liverpool and PSG also interested.

Following the expiration of Raphael Varane’s contract, United is in discussions to extend veteran Jonny Evans’ stay on a short-term basis. Currently, only Lisandro Martinez, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, and Willy Kambwala are under contract. Maguire and Lindelof might be sold to raise funds.

United is leveraging their existing relationship with De Ligt’s agent, Rafaela Pimenta, to finalize the deal.

Ten Hag’s squad returned to Carrington for pre-season training on Monday, ready to prepare for the upcoming season.

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Real Madrid defeat wasteful Dortmund to claim 15th Champions League crown [VIDEO]



Real Madrid Punish Wasteful Dortmund To Claim 15th Champions League Crown

Real Madrid’s Champions League journey is akin to a high-wire act, where they often appear on the brink of disaster but rarely falter.

Under the guidance of Carlo Ancelotti, who claimed his historic fifth Champions League title, Real Madrid secured their 15th win in the tournament by overcoming Borussia Dortmund with late goals from Dani Carvajal and Vinicius Jr. at Wembley.

As Ancelotti and his players celebrated, hoisting the giant trophy amid pyrotechnics and fireworks, the scene felt familiar.

It echoed the many dramatic victories of Real Madrid in recent years, where they have often left their opponents heartbroken, including the likes of Atletico Madrid and Liverpool.

Dortmund’s disappointment was palpable as they walked past their passionate fans, who had filled Wembley with color and noise.

Real Madrid struggled in the first half, rattled by Dortmund’s pace and intensity under Edin Terzic. They were fortunate to reach half-time on level terms, living on their nerves and luck.

Dortmund’s Karim Adeyemi might question his decision-making when he attempted to dribble around Real’s goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois instead of shooting.

He also missed another opportunity that Courtois saved. Niclas Fullkrug was equally unlucky, seeing his shot rebound off the inside of the post and another powerful header saved by Courtois.

Throughout the match, there was a growing sense of inevitability that Real Madrid would find a way to survive and ultimately prevail, just as they did against Manchester City in the quarter-finals and Bayern Munich in the semi-finals.

Dortmund vs Man Utd Highlights

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OFFICIAL: Bayern have appointed Kompany as their new head coach until June 2027



OFFICIAL: Bayern have appointed Kompany as their new head coach until June 2027

Bayern Munich have appointed Vincent Kompany as their new head coach.

Kompany, who was anticipated to be a central part of Burnley’s future despite their relegation from the Premier League this season, has now taken on the role at Bayern.

Burnley’s drop to the Championship was confirmed in the penultimate week of the season.

As reported by Mail Sport last Wednesday, Bayern held discussions with Burnley chairman Alan Pace regarding a compensation fee, aiming to finalize the deal quickly. The German club has now successfully secured Kompany, the former Manchester City captain, as their new head coach.

Bayern’s search for Thomas Tuchel’s successor saw several high-profile candidates, including Xabi Alonso, former head coach Julian Nagelsmann, and ex-Manchester United boss Ralf Rangnick, decline the role.

Despite efforts to persuade Tuchel to stay after his departure was announced three months ago, those talks did not lead to a reversal of his decision.

Kompany, who spent two seasons at Hamburg before joining Manchester City in 2008, speaks fluent German and has impressed the Bayern hierarchy with his football philosophy.

However, this appointment represents a gamble for both parties following their disappointing recent campaigns.

Bayern failed to win the Bundesliga for the first time since 2012, while Kompany’s reputation, which had seen him linked with Tottenham and Chelsea, took a hit with Burnley’s 19th-place finish.

This move is a significant blow to Burnley chairman Alan Pace, who had hoped Kompany would lead a promotion charge from the Championship.

The Burnley board had placed considerable trust in the Belgian, especially in recruitment, and had planned to find a new coach to work under him next season.

Ashley Cole, currently at Birmingham City, was one name identified for that role due to his impressive work with England’s Under 21s, who won the European Championship last summer.

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