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Real Madrid ease past Espanyol to reclaim La Liga top spot

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Madrid Espanyol

Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane and Karim Benzema scored in each half to earn a comfortable 2-0 win over Espanyol that sent their team provisionally top of La Liga on Saturday.

Madrid were not at their best but moved three points clear of rivals Barcelona, who host Real Mallorca in the late game. Real have 34 points from 15 games with Barca on 31 from 14.

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Varane broke the deadlock in the 37th minute after a quiet opening to the game, with Benzema setting up the defender to neatly slot the ball home.

Benzema missed two good chances but got the second goal from close range in the 79th before Madrid defender Ferland Mendy was sent off four minutes later for a second yellow card.

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“It was a very demanding game on a physical level, they pressed us high up and we had to be patient in front of goal,” said France defender Varane.

“We tried to play our game but we lacked the final ball to hurt the opponent. We played well and they did too.”

 

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Man United unwilling to pay £108m for Sancho

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Manchester United are refusing to pay anywhere near Borussia Dortmund’s £108m asking price for Jadon Sancho after the latest round of talks between the clubs.

Negotiations are ongoing for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s top transfer target, but it’s understood the two sides are miles apart in their valuations of the England international.

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Sancho’s wages are also a sticking point, with United determined not to upset their wage structure for a player so young.

Suggestions that personal terms worth £250,000-a-week had already agreed are believed to be premature.

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Everton to sign 36-year-old former Chelsea defender, Ivanovic

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Former Chelsea’s favorite Branislav Ivanovic looks to be on the verge of securing a move back to the Premier League.

The veteran Serbian defender has spent the last three years with Russian giants Zenit Saint Petersburg since leaving Stamford Bridge in 2017 but now seems likely to reunite with former Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti by sealing a free transfer to Everton.

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“I will probably continue my career at Everton,” said the 36-year-old, who is also a target for Red Star Belgrade in his homeland.

“I received a good offer from them.

“I will see how things will turn out.”

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I was surprised Barca sold me – Carles Perez

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Carles Perez has spoken of his surprise at leaving Barcelona, claiming he “didn’t deserve” to be sold by the LaLiga giants.

The Spaniard joined AS Roma in January but believes he merited further first-team chances at Camp Nou having previously declined multiple offers to depart.

“For me, it was a surprise that they decided to dispense with me,” the 22-year-old told EFE. “I consider that I didn’t deserve that.

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“Ever since the ‘cadete’ team (around the age of 16), I had offers to leave Barca, some of them from England.

“And even when I was at Barca B, I had offers from LaLiga teams and I always said ‘no’ because I wanted to get to the first team.

“Later, I had opportunities and I think I took advantage of them as much as I could. In fact, I even earned a contract as a player in the first team.”

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