Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale is set to stay at the club after a summer of speculations of a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu.
Manager Zinedine Zidane confirmed that the Welshman who was on the verge of leaving the Spanish capital has decided to stay. Bale was followed by a host of clubs like Manchester United, Tottenham, Paris Saint-Germain and Chinese club Jiangsu Suning.
After any of the transfers failed to materialise, the 30-year-old was named in Madrid’s squad that faced Celta Vigo in their opening game of the La Liga season. With Eden Hazard injured, Bale started the game and had a tremendous impact.
Zidane announced that Bale will be donning Los Merengues colours this season as they look to win big after a disappointing season.
“What has changed is that the player is going to stay, nothing else,” the Frenchman told a press conference, according to Goal.
“The important thing is that the player wants to stay, and we will count on him. He has shown he is a big player, and he must show again the player that he is.
“The other day he played a good game. But not just in what he is good at. He worked hard defensively. We have to stay on that path. Gareth, all of them.
“We know we need to improve, to achieve important things. And they all will.”
About 12,000 fans welcomed new signing Franck Ribery at Fiorentina’s Stadio Artemio Franchi on Thursday.
Ribery walked onto the field to the “Rocky” theme tune, and performed a few ball tricks in the centre circle, before speaking to the fans.
The 36-year-old Frenchman then walked around the edge of the pitch, signing autographs, and posing for photos with fans.
Ribery signed a two-year deal on Wednesday with Fiorentina, who are aiming for a renaissance under their new American ownership.
Ribery was a free agent after 12 seasons with Bayern Munich, which included a Champions League title in 2013.
Unai Emery has told Shkodran Mustafi and Mohamed Elneny to find new clubs in the coming days – for the good of their own careers.
The pair have dropped down the pecking order at the Emirates Stadium and were expected to be sold this summer.
However, with the Premier League transfer deadline passed and the European window closing on September 2, both players are yet to be moved on.
Mustafi played plenty of football in Emery’s first season in charge but has always polarised the opinion of supporters and has made plenty of mistakes.
He remains Arsenal’s fifth most expensive signing but could leave in a cut-price deal in the coming days having not made the squad for the first two Premier League games of the campaign.
Elneny, who has also yet to feature having played for Egypt at the African Cup of Nations, arrived from Basle in January 2016 but has never been able to hold down a regular place in the Arsenal midfield.
After signing the likes of David Luiz and loanee Dani Ceballos this summer, Emery is now keen to move on players who will be left unsettled by a lack of first-team opportunities.
“We have now some players, they know their situation,” he said. “For example, Elneny and Mustafi know their position in the squad and really I want the players to be happy here, I want the players to be protagonists here.
“Last year with Mustafi and Mo, when they didn’t play they weren’t happy and I spoke with them a lot of times last year and this pre-season and I think it is positive for them to leave and sign for another team where they can be protagonists and be happy and continue their careers.
“They are very big players but for one circumstance or another, they are going to have less chances to show their capacity or to be happy with us and the minutes they play in matches.
“But they know the situation and really, really I am wishing the best for them and I think now the best for them is to be protagonists in another team and sign and to get another challenge for them with another team.
“We respect them, they are training with us, but they know their situation and only I am wishing the best for them.”
Given their current standing it would be a huge surprise if either Elneny or Mustafi played any part in Saturday’s Premier League trip to Liverpool.
The only two sides with two wins from two meet at Anfield in the evening kick-off and Emery insists he is ready to hand club-record signing Nicolas Pepe his first Arsenal start.
“The most important thing is, like a person, to help him and his family to feel comfortable here,” Emery said of the £72million man.
“Now he is three weeks into working here with us. He didn’t do the pre-season here but he’s progressively feeling better.
“For example, in the first match, he played 15 minutes in Newcastle, then he played 45 minutes against Burnley. I think his individual performances are progressively getting better.
“For Saturday, he is maybe ready to have more minutes. I am going to decide tomorrow, but really his progress has been positive and has been good for the team and for him.
“The most important piece of the adaptation is to help him to feel easy and be comfortable with us.”
Mesut Ozil and Granit Xhaka are also both expected to be available having recovered from the minor issues which saw them miss the 2-1 win over Burnley last time out.
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