"The older I get, the better I feel," says Wesley Sneijder after sealing Nice move

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Wesley Sneijder

Wesley Sneijder is excited for the challenge of competing for titles with Nice after being presented to the media on Tuesday afternoon.

The 33-year-old Holland international completed his move to the Ligue 1 outfit after passing a medical on Monday.

In a series of tweets on the official OGC Nice account, Sneijder said: “I always found new challenges in my career. I still want to win titles and I came in Nice for that.

“I am very proud. The reception has been great. I’m here to help. I had a good feeling in training. Nice is a very beautiful city, but I came only for the sport.

“I came to Ligue 1 for the team and the style of play the team wants to play. It was an easy decision.”

Sneijder, who is the most-capped player in Dutch history, was without a club following his release from Galatasaray last month.

The midfielder, who was attracting interest from the Los Angeles Galaxy, has opted to move to the south of France, penning an undisclosed contract.

Sneijder left the Turkish club in the summer after four years, ending his contract early by mutual consent.

He said he made his decision to sign after speaking with head coach Lucien Favre and that he feels he is getting sharper with age.

He added: “I know Mario (Balotelli) but to make my choice I talked with the coach, players and management. Here, there is talent and a great state of mind. That’s what attracted me to Nice.

“The older I get, the better I feel.”

He trained with his new team-mates on Monday and will wear the number 10 shirt at the Allianz Riviera.

“I have long played number 10. The coach knows my qualities, and I play everywhere where he asks me in the middle,” Sneijder said.

Meanwhile, Nice have also announced the signing of France Under-20 international Allan Saint-Maximin from Monaco.

Provided by Press Association

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Will Cristiano Ronaldo start and four other key talking points as Real Madrid and Manchester United set to contest Super Cup

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Ronaldo is in contention for match on Tuesday night in Skopje, Macedonia.

Real Madrid vs Manchester United is a mouthwatering UEFA Super Cup final and is the perfect way to kick-off the season before the domestic football campaign gets underway.

Ahead of the match in Macedonia, both teams have decisions to make over selection and personnel.

What do you make of the key talking points?

Get in touch with your thoughts on Twitter and via Facebook.

Starting with United’s backline…

ISSUES IN DEFENCE FOR UNITED

Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof will likely start the game in the heart of Manchester United’s defence after the Red Devils found themselves on the wrong side of UEFA.

Eric Bailly and Phil Jones would most probably be Jose Mourinho’s starting centre-back pairing, but both have been given bans. Mourinho has been experimenting with a back five in pre-season but he might switch back to a traditional four for the final.

Either way it means starts for new signing Lindelof, who has looked shaky in pre-season, alongside the much maligned Smalling.

First-choice: Chris Smalling.

WINGERS OR MIDFIELD DOMINANCE?

Towards the end of last season, Zinedine Zidane turned his back on the 4-3-3 formation he had previously used almost exclusively, instead fielding a midfield diamond which allowed Luka Modric and Toni Kroos to control possession while Isco roamed and Casemiro held firm.

It worked superbly and there’s no reason for Zidane to revert back to his former 4-3-3, unless he feels obliged to find a place for Gareth Bale.

Real Madrid's French coach Zinedine Zidane looks at Real Madrid's forward Cristiano Ronaldo (R) during a training session ahead of the UEFA Super Cup 2017 football match between Real Madrid and Manchester United at The National Arena Filip II in Skopje on August 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / DIMITAR DILKOFF (Photo credit should read DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Zidane has choices to make in midfield department.

‘NEMANJA, WHOOOA’

Mourinho now has three of the four signings he demanded this summer after bringing his former charge Nemanja Matic (right) in from old club Chelsea last week. The Serbian, importantly, gives United discipline in midfield.

It means Paul Pogba will be allowed to exert his influence on the game, while Ander Herrera is free to be at his creative best, while not being stymied by having to sit back and screen the defence.

Manchester United's midfielder Paul Pogba warms up during a training session ahead of the UEFA Super Cup 2017 football match between Real Madrid and Manchester United at the National Arena Filip II in Skopje on August 7, 2017. Cristiano Ronaldo could feature against his former club Manchester United in Tuesday's UEFA Super Cup after being included in Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane's squad for the trip to Skopje, Macedonia. / AFP PHOTO / DIMITAR DILKOFF (Photo credit should read DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)

License to thrill: Pogba.

IS RONALDO GOING TO BE BACK IN BUSINESS?

Bale’s playing time and position at Real Madrid will depend to a great extent upon whether Zidane decides to give Cristiano Ronaldo his first pre season run-out after being given an extended break following his Confederations Cup involvement with Portugal.

Ronaldo’s rebirth as a centre forward means he is highly unlikely to return to his old left-wing berth.

But if he starts on the bench, Zidane could field Karim Benzema as a lone frontman.

Real Madrid's French head coach Zinedine Zidane (L) looks on as Real Madrid's forward Cristiano Ronaldo shoots the ball during a training session before the UEFA Super Cup 2017 football match between Real Madrid and Manchester United at the National Arena Filip II on August 7, 2017 in Skopje. / AFP PHOTO / NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV (Photo credit should read NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP/Getty Images)

A familiar face is back…

MARCELO AND CARVAJAL TO DO THE DAMAGE?

Finding space to attack against a Jose Mourinho team is never easy, but Madrid have a couple of wild cards up their sleeves in the form of Marcelo and
Dani Carvajal.

More than any other full-back duo in world football, Madrid’s pair are responsible for giving their team attacking width.

United must be forever diligent in tracking their attacking runs if they want to minimise their influence upon the action.

Real Madrid's midfielder Luka Modric (L) and Real Madrid's defender Marcelo (R) warm up during a training session ahead of the UEFA Super Cup 2017 football match between Real Madrid and Manchester United at The National Arena Filip II in Skopje on August 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / DIMITAR DILKOFF (Photo credit should read DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Key man: Marcelo.

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Whether it’s at Real Madrid or Manchester United, Gareth Bale is playing for his future in UEFA Super Cup

Andy West 8/08/2017
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Gareth Bale

Over the last 12 months, several football stars have shone bright.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have continued to operate in a world of their own; Isco was brilliant in Real Madrid’s double- winning run-in; Kylian Mbappe exploded onto the scene in the Champions League; rising star Paolo Dybala and veterans Gigi Buffon and Dani Alves excelled for Juventus, and, Neymar made history with a world record transfer.

Many more names would be worthy in that list of the world’s best players, but there is one notable absentee: Gareth Bale.

In the relentlessly ruthless world of elite football, he is now in danger of suffering a severe loss of status.

The 2016/17 season was a poor one for Bale, partly because he entered it physically and mentally exhausted by his sterling performances for Wales during last summer’s European Championships, when he manfully bore the weight of a nation of his shoulders.

A few months later, as Real Madrid accelerated towards the finishing line in their ultimately glorious quest for a league and European double, Bale was nowhere to be seen. The Welsh winger missed the last few weeks with the latest in a long line of injuries, and the most concerning thing was that his absence didn’t even matter.

In fact, Madrid played their most convincing football for many years while Bale was on the sidelines, with Marco Asensio and Isco making the most of their opportunities to shine and Zinedine Zidane implementing a new winger-less formation which makes it difficult to see where Bale could fit in.

The upshot is Bale is becoming a peripheral and unnecessary figure and, when you take into account his astronomical wages and expectations for extended playing time, an unwanted burden.

Madrid’s likely signing of Mbappe this summer would shunt Bale further down the pecking order, and the question of his continuity at the club has become a genuinely hot topic for the first time since he arrived in 2013.

If he does leave, one potential destination looks far more likely than any other, and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho’s confession on Monday that he would like to sign the Welshman was nothing more than the revelation of an open secret.

So the timing of Tuesday’s UEFA Super Cup between Bale’s current employers and his probable next home could not be more intriguing, but Mourinho’s statement that the winger being selected would indicate he is not available for sale is somewhat misleading.

Even if Bale does play from the start, it will be in the knowledge that neither Cristiano Ronaldo (only just returned to training) nor Mbappe (not yet signed) will be there. Once they are both in place, two from Tuesday night’s starting XI will obviously have to make way, which means that being picked in Skopje does not necessarily reveal Zidane’s long-term plans.

A match-winning performance from Bale, however, would be a different matter. If he can roll back time and deliver the kind of show-stopping display which has made him an unquestioned starter at the Bernabeu for the last four years, it could force Madrid’s decision-makers into a reconsideration.

After claiming three Champions League winners’ medals in the last four years, you might think he has nothing left to prove.

But, in fact, if he wants to dispel doubts about whether or not Madrid should keep him, Tuesday could be make or break.

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