AC Milan have been referred to UEFA’s Adjudicatory Chamber over alleged breaches of Financial Fair Flay regulations.
The Italian giants have been monitored in relation to potential infringements for several months and had an application for a voluntary agreement to restructure their finances rejected by UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body in December.
Milan invested more than €200million in the playing squad following the takeover by Chinese investors Rossoneri Sport Investment Lux last year and their ability to repay a loan by October is central to UEFA’s concerns.
If Milan are eventually penalised over the breaches, exclusion from the Europa League could be an option at the governing body’s disposal.
“The Investigatory Chamber of the UEFA Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) has decided to refer Italian club AC Milan to the Adjudicatory Chamber of the CFCB for breach of the Financial Fair Play regulations, in particular the break-even requirement,” read a UEFA statement.
“After careful examination of all the documentation and explanations provided by the club, the CFCB Investigatory Chamber considers that the circumstances of the case do not allow the conclusion of a settlement agreement.
“In particular, the CFCB Investigatory Chamber is of the opinion that, among other factors, there remains uncertainties in relation to the refinancing of the loan and the notes to be paid back in October 2018.
“The Adjudicatory Chamber will make a decision on this case in due course.
“The CFCB Investigatory Chamber will further communicate in June its other decisions in relation to the monitoring of the clubs under investigation or under settlement agreement.”
Arsenal playmaker Santi Cazorla will leave Emirates Stadium after coming to the end of his contract, the Premier League club have confirmed.
The 33-year-old Spain international last played for the Gunners in October 2016 and has since undergone a succession of Achilles surgeries.
Cazorla was at risk of having his foot amputated after contracting an infection but finally returned to first-team training at the end of this season.
After joining from Malaga in 2012, he made 180 appearances for Arsenal and scored 29 goals, winning two FA Cups.
In the first of those finals he netted a superb free-kick to spark a 3-2 comeback victory over Hull City.
“I am very sad to be leaving after so many great times, I have loved my time with the club and I will always remember the special moments we had together,” Cazorla said in a video message on Arsenal’s official website.
#GraciasSanti for the 180 appearances, the 29 goals, the 46 assists, the cup final free-kick, the masterclass at Man City, the Panenka, the crazy footwork, the laughs, the corners with either foot, the goals in the north London derby and for always making us smile @19SCazorla pic.twitter.com/uIyi2JMetH
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) May 21, 2018
“Our FA Cup win in 2014 is something we will never forget. It was a great moment for me and for the club.
“I want to say thank you very much because you always gave me special support and I’m very proud to be part of this club’s history.”
Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis added: “Santi is always one of my favourite players to watch. His natural ability with both feet, his speed of thought and movement were central to our best performances in recent years.
“He plays with a joy and freedom which is very rare. We wish him well for the future and thank him for his important contribution to our club.”
Fernando Torres’s double on his final Atletico Madrid appearance was not enough to secure victory for Diego Simeone’s 10-man side as Ruben Pena’s stunner earned Eibar a 2-2 draw.
Captaining a second-string Atleti side – playing four days on from their Europa League triumph against Marseille in Lyon – at a celebratory Wanda Metropolitano, Torres netted either side of the interval in Sunday’s clash.
Having cancelled out Kike Garcia’s opener just before the break, Torres edged Atleti ahead on the hour, rolling back the years with a fantastic run and delicate finish.
Any hopes Torres had of making way to a standing ovation were ended a few moments after he netted his second, though, as Jose Gimenez entered the fray for Atleti’s third change after Lucas Hernandez had seen red.
And Eibar were quick to make their numerical advantage count, Pena hammering in a thunderous long-range strike to haul the visitors level with 20 minutes remaining.
Antoine Griezmann could well be leaving Atleti during the off-season, and he looked set to mark his would-be final appearance with an assist late on when he teed up Torres, but his hat-trick goal was denied by the offside flag as Simeone’s men settled for a share of the spoils in their final LaLiga game of the campaign.
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) May 20, 2018
Eden Hazard inspired Chelsea to a 1-0 victory over Manchester United in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday.
The 27-year-old forward fuelled speculation over his future this week by stating he will wait and see how Chelsea’s close-season transfer policy develops before committing to a new contract at Stamford Bridge.
But he was all business at England’s national stadium as he turned the first half into an ordeal for Phil Jones – the United defender whose clumsy foul meant Hazard won and converted a 22nd-minute penalty.
United improved upon a tepid showing after the break and Alexis Sanchez had a goal ruled out for offside, but even the late introduction of Romelu Lukaku on his return from an ankle injury could not force an equaliser.
It meant a sweet victory for Antonio Conte over his rival Jose Mourinho on what could prove his farewell outing as Chelsea coach, with the FA Cup a notable consolation after their Premier League title defence slumped to a fifth-place finish.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) May 19, 2018
As in the semi-final win over Tottenham, David de Gea was preferred to United’s regular cup goalkeeper Sergio Romero and the Spain international was called upon in the ninth minute.
Jones gave away possession and Tiemoue Bakayoko set Hazard running at the backpedalling England defender, who he skipped past and forced De Gea to save with his right boot at the near post.
Bakayoko and Sanchez had half-hearted penalty appeals turned down but there was little doubt for referee Michael Oliver when he later pointed to the United spot.
An utterly hapless start to the game continued for Jones, who blundered through Hazard as the Belgium star darted around him after bringing Cesc Fabregas’ lofted pass under his spell.
Conte was furious on the touchline after Jones was only yellow carded – in line with the International Football Association Board update brought in from last season – but Hazard was a picture of calmness as he stroked home, sending De Gea the wrong way.
Jones had a chance to make amends but headed wide at the far post from Ashley Young’s left-wing cross, with United belatedly arriving as an attacking force in the closing minutes of the half.
Antonio Rudiger blocked well from Marcus Rashford after Paul Pogba drove a counter-attack in stoppage time.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 19, 2018
Mourinho’s side enjoyed their first sustained spell of pressure early in the second half, with Ander Herrera liberated from attempting to shackle Hazard and lending greater impetus to United’s midfield play.
Thibaut Courtois beat away a drive from Rashford and Pogba saw a deflected 57th-minute shot loop behind, before Nemanja Matic scuffed wide wastefully against his former club.
The pressure looked to have told in the 63rd minute but Sanchez was fractionally offside – a decision confirmed by VAR – when he prodded in after Courtois denied Jones.
Chelsea attacks had become a rarity by the time N’Golo Kante marauded forward and played in Marcos Alonso. The wing-back was denied by his countryman De Gea and Young escaped penalty claims for handball as Chelsea followed up.
Courtois denied Rashford one against one before the England forward made way for Lukaku, and Mourinho would no doubt have preferred a glorious 82nd-minute headed chance fell to the Belgian as opposed to Pogba.
United’s record signing was unmarked but directed substitute Anthony Martial’s corner wide, condemning his boss to a trophyless campaign.
Real Madrid are interested in signing David Alaba from Bayern Munich, according to the player’s father and agent.
Alaba has spent his whole career at Bayern, barring a loan spell at Hoffenheim, winning seven Bundesliga titles at the club.
The versatile Austria international has long been linked with Madrid, suggesting in a March interview he could be ready for a “new challenge”.
And the 25-year-old’s father and agent George says a move to the Champions League finalists could be on the cards.
“Everyone knows that Real Madrid are really interested in David,” George Alaba told AS. “But we can’t say anything right now.
“We’ll see what happens in the summer. Now isn’t the moment to discuss who is interested in him.
“Everyone already knows of Madrid’s interest, it’s no secret. But right now there’s nothing to say. He has to wait and see at the end of the season.”
Pep Guardiola’s contract extension represents fantastic news for Manchester City fans following the club’s record-breaking 2017-18 season.
City confirmed on Thursday that Guardiola had agreed new terms until 2021 – the Catalan adding two years to a deal that had been due to expire at the end of next term.
The brilliance of Guardiola’s side in the recently concluded Premier League campaign was clear for all to see, City sealing the title with five games remaining and reaching an unprecedented 100-point tally with victory over Southampton on the final day of the season.
Here, we look back at some of the key factors behind their dominant triumph.
7 – Pep Guardiola has won the top-flight league title in seven of his nine seasons as a manager, with the only exceptions being 2011-12 at Barcelona and 2016-17 at Manchester City. Mastermind. pic.twitter.com/wLGOio3MU2
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 15, 2018
Sterling’s late shows
City were labouring towards a second consecutive draw when Raheem Sterling’s deflected strike dolloped past Bournemouth goalkeeper Asmir Begovic to seal a 2-1 win in a breathless finale at the Vitality Stadium in August. There had been little evidence of the imperious form to follow but it was the first of a Premier League record 18-match winning run. England winger Sterling, so often criticised for being a wasteful finisher, became City’s clutch player. He had already come off the bench for the 10-man hosts to peg back Everton in the previous game and, when last-gasp wins over Huddersfield Town and Southampton needed grinding out, Sterling stepped forward. A 23-goal haul in all competitions – achieved despite some galling, high-profile misses of late – represents the best season of a career flourishing all over again under Guardiola’s guidance.
WHAT A MOMENT. pic.twitter.com/NIcEPbYtSQ
— Manchester City (@ManCity) 26 August 2017
De Bruyne masterclasses
Among countless star turns in Guardiola’s side, Kevin De Bruyne has been the standout. A dutiful cog in the machine during the opening weeks, the Belgium midfielder kicked into gear and City’s season duly took flight. A masterful performance against former club Chelsea was crowned by a wonderful winning goal, underlining De Bruyne’s intrinsic feel for the big moments in games and seasons. He brought the house down at home to Stoke City next time out – a reverse pass to create Sterling’s goal and remarkable assists for Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane in a 7-2 shellacking taking the breath away. It is a level he has maintained with startling regularity.
42 – Since the start of the 2015-16 campaign, Kevin De Bruyne has provided 42 assists in the Premier League, more than any other player in the Big 5 European leagues. Expected.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) 31 March 2018
Key December victories
The notion of anything resembling an actual ‘race’ for the Premier League title was abandoned long ago due to City’s relentless form, but things could have been different back in December. Guardiola’s men arrived at Old Trafford with a handy eight-point lead over neighbours United at the summit. A defeat might have prompted a serious challenge from Jose Mourinho’s men, but goals from David Silva and Nicolas Otamendi secured a deserved 2-1 win after the visitors controlled the majority of the action. City went on to enjoy a 4-0 win at Swansea City and a scintillating 4-1 victory against Tottenham over the following six days. United then rounded out 2017 with three consecutive draws and the gap was effectively unbridgeable.
— Ilkay Gündogan (@IlkayGuendogan) 10 December 2017
Silva’s enduring excellence
Silva sat out the Tottenham game due to a family issue, later confirmed to be complications relating to the premature birth of his son Mateo. The Spain international has since shuttled between Manchester and his family base in Valencia, missing a handful of matches and many more training sessions. Throughout this period of unenviable personal anguish, the diminutive Silva remained a footballing giant on the field for City, adding to his substantial collection of sublime displays and man-of-the-match accolades.
“When I play football I forget about everything else, it is good for me to play,” he said after scoring both goals in March’s 2-0 win at Stoke. “My private life is very hard for me but my son is fighting and getting better.” Silva is probably the finest playmaker ever to grace the Premier League and Guardiola’s City would have no chance of looking so picture perfect without him.
Para ti campeón! pic.twitter.com/gEqlYe6VL6
— David Silva (@21LVA) 25 February 2018
Stumbling at the finish line
Having bent most weeks of the season to their will, City picked a terrible time to falter at the beginning of April. Liverpool dispatched them 5-1 on aggregate in the Champions League quarter-finals and United improbably came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at the Etihad Stadium and prevent City from sealing the title in fairytale fashion. Defensive weaknesses were exposed to offer rivals encouragement for next season but it was an unusual slump.
The attacking football City unfurled in the first half against United and the ferocious intensity they hit Liverpool with before the break in the quarter-final second leg bore comparison to any of their best work this season, as did the restorative 3-1 win at Tottenham. Six of the XI that lost 2-1 at home to Liverpool were 24 or under, underlining the sense that the best is yet to come from Guardiola’s team.
5 – Man City have won the Premier League title with five games remaining; equalling the English top-flight record. They have equalled the efforts of Manchester United (1907-08 and 2000-01) and Everton (1984-85) who all won the top-flight title with five games to spare. Cruise. pic.twitter.com/SbeV1CXB0u
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 15, 2018