Posts from 2016-03-02

European Super League: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City officials did not discuss breakaway league at meeting

Officials from leading Barclays Premier League clubs did not discuss the possibility of a breakaway European Super League in London on Tuesday, Press Association Sport understands.

Reports have emerged that officials from Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United held a meeting with American billionaire Stephen Ross - the owner of Miami Dolphins NFL team.

Ross' organisation is behind the International Champions Cup series, which sees a number of Barclays Premier League clubs take on other leading sides from across Europe in showpiece matches, often held as pre-season tournaments around the globe.

Photographs of club officials leaving a meeting at the Dorchester Hotel together prompted speculation that another attempt could be made to form a continental league competition but an Arsenal spokesman, while confirming a meeting took place, told Press Association Sport: "We are strongly opposed to any breakaway.

"Not Arsenal, nor any clubs at the meeting, are seeking changes to the Premier League and European landscape and no conversations surrounding displacing the Premier League or starting a European Super League took place.

"Discussions were primarily around the ICC and formats of European competitions that would compliment the existing Premier League."

UEFA confirmed it has no concrete proposals on the table to change the format of its European competitions, but is constantly reviewing the situation.

A lucrative new broadcasting deal is set to kick in from the start of the 2016/2017 Premier League season, which will dwarf the current financial rewards on offer for a successful European campaign.

When contacted by Press Association Sport on Wednesday, UEFA confirmed they were aware of the latest reports, but had no specific comment to make on the claims.

A spokesman said: "We are constantly reviewing the formats of our competitions in consultations with stakeholders and also with the ECA (European Club Association).

"At the moment, there are no concrete proposals on the table. We have just gone into a new three-year cycle for Champions League and Europa League, so we cannot offer any further comment at this stage."

The Premier League said they had no comment to make when contacted on Wednesday.

Welbeck: Rashford has great potential for Manchester United

Danny Welbeck has hailed Marcus Rashford following the 18-year-old’s stunning introduction to the Manchester United first team.

Rashford struck twice during his senior debut for United in last Thursday’s 5-1 victory over FC Midtjylland in the Europa League, and he followed that up with another double in Sunday’s 3-2 win over Arsenal at Old Trafford.

Rashford was scouted during his time at Fletcher Moss Rangers - the same youth club Welbeck was at - and the Arsenal forward believes United have a player with “great potential”.

“He’s done brilliantly well. Individually I was really pleased for him, obviously to make a great debut like that in the Europa League and then into the weekend he did well,” Welbeck told the Daily Mirror.

“It was disappointing [for us] on the day. I was down when we lost that match. I’m pleased for Marcus but disappointed to lose that game.

“My brother is very close with his family. He’s known his family for a very long time and Marcus was coming through the ranks at United when I was playing in the first team and I would see him all of the time.

“He’s someone that I always spoke to. He’s a great kid. He’s very level headed. He’s got great potential and I hope he does very well. I’ve spoken to him a couple of times.

“Fletcher Moss was where it started for me and a lot of other players as well. It’s vital that they get the stature back up again, get everything running smoothly again.

“There’s a lot of talent in Manchester that grows up in and around that club. Hopefully it can keep going for many more years.”

Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos 'hand in' transfer requests at Real Madrid - Manchester United on red alert

A massive story has emerged from Spain today which could pave way for potentially the two biggest transfers this summer.

News outlet Sport have reported that Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos have handed in their transfer requests at Real Madrid, delivering the news in person to Real president Florentino Perez.

Both players have been strongly linked with a move to Manchester United in recent seasons.

The original story, that Ronaldo and Ramos had gone to meet Perez and tell him they wanted to leave, was first brought to light on Spanish TV programme El Chiringuito last night.

The incident reportedly happened after Real's1-0 defeat by neighbours Atletico Madrid last weekend. Real are now 12 points behind leaders Barcelona in third place in La Liga.

Ronaldo of course played for United between 2003 and 2009 before his then-world record £80m move to Real. The Portuguese scored 118 goals in 292 appearances for the Old Trafford side, and won three Premier League titles, three League Cups, one FA Cup and one Champions League in a trophy-laden spell with the club.