Pep Guardiola rings the changes for Man City friendly defeat against Girona

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Ilkay Gundogan made his first appearance in eight months as Manchester City lost a friendly 1-0 against Girona in Spain.

The German midfielder has been recovering from the serious knee injury sustained against Watford in December, but following his run-out on the Costa Brava, replacing Phil Foden after 71 minutes, Gundogan could now be available for the Premier League match against Everton on Monday evening.

City opened their domestic campaign with a 2-0 win over newly promoted Brighton at the AMEX Stadium on Saturday.

Manager Pep Guardiola used the trip to the Spanish training camp to further assess his squad although defender Kyle Walker, who joined City in a £45million deal from Tottenham, did not travel.

Guardiola made some nine changes to his starting XI from the Brighton game, but there was no action at the Estadi Montilivi for Benjamin Mendy, the £52m signing from Monaco, who has just resumed training after injury, while Yaya Toure captained the team.

After Raheem Sterling saw a 20-yard effort saved Portu scored from close range after the ball had been swept in following a break down the left on 14 minutes to give the lead to the Spanish side, who are getting ready to play in LaLiga for the first time when they face Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

Blues goalkeeper Claudio Bravo produced a good stop from Cristhian Stuani before half-time, with midfielder Bernardo Silva, another big-money summer recruit from Ligue 1 champions Monaco, later seeing his second-half effort disallowed for offside as City could not find an equaliser.

City are set to return to England on Thursday evening.

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Buffon joins Messi and Ronaldo on UEFA Player of the Year award shortlist

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The 39-year-old Buffon was a key member of the Juventus side that reached last season’s Champions League final, but he missed out on a first winner’s medal as the Italians were beaten 4-1 by Ronaldo’s Real Madrid in Cardiff.

The shortlist was decided by the 80 coaches of the clubs that played in the Champions League and Europa League group stages, as well as 55 journalists.

Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi has won the award twice, as has Portuguese forward Ronaldo.

Since its inception in 2011, unlike other similar individual awards, the UEFA accolade has not been totally dominated by Ronaldo and Messi.

Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta won the honour in 2012, followed by French winger Franck Ribery a year later.

Real Madrid, who have lifted the European Cup in three of the past four seasons, had four players in the top 10, with Luka Modric fourth, Toni Kroos fifth and Sergio Ramos seventh.

Argentinian forward Paulo Dybala (sixth) joined his Juve team-mate Buffon in being named, while Monaco’s rising teenage star Kylian Mbappe, Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski and former Manchester United forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic rounded out the top 10.

Luis Suarez, who scored 37 goals for Barcelona in all competitions last season, missed out, as did his former team-mate Neymar, who has since joined Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record 222-million-euro ($260.9m) move.

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Sergio Ramos criticises referee for Cristiano Ronaldo red card

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Sergio Ramos criticised referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea for sending off Cristiano Ronaldo as Real Madrid secured a 3-1 win over Barcelona in the first leg of the Supercopa de Espana at the Nou Camp.

Substitute Ronaldo restored Real’s lead with a brilliant effort from range 10 minutes from time, but was sent off two minutes later after picking up a second yellow card for diving after going down under pressure from Samuel Umtiti.

To compound matters, the Portugal forward – linked with a move away from the Bernabeu this summer – then pushed De Burgos Bengoetxea after being shown a red card.

Gerard Pique’s own goal had put Real ahead after a low-key first half, but in a frantic finish Lionel Messi equalised from the spot before Ronaldo struck, with Marco Asensio grabbing a last-minute third for the 10 men.

Real skipper Ramos said of the second booking, in quotes reported by Marca: “I was far away, but I think it was a piece of play in which (Ronaldo) lost his balance, rather than feigning anything.

“It could be appealed. Sending off a key player with 10 minutes remaining of a Clasico in which we’ve given our all is something which needs to be evaluated and thought about.”

Barcelona’s penalty was awarded after Luis Suarez was brought down by goalkeeper Keylor Navas, and Ramos also took issue with that decision.

“In no moment was it a penalty,” the Los Blancos defender added.

“I will need to watch it and evaluate it because I don’t think the referee would blow for an action in which there was nothing there, knowing that he could be mistaken.

“My feeling was that it wasn’t (a penalty).”

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