Headlines Today: Champions League group stage draw at 18:00 CET today; Benzema will renew the contract until 2024

All the top stories and transfer rumours from Thursday’s national newspapers…

The 2022/23 UEFA Champions League group stage draw on Thursday 25 August at 18:00 CET.

All the matches of the 2022/23 UEFA Champions League play-offs have been completed and the 32 teams participating in the group stage have been confirmed.

2022/23 UEFA Champions League Group Stage Top 32 List

According to the ranking.

First grade: Real Madrid (defending champions), Manchester City (EPL champions), Bayern Munich (Bundesliga champions), Milan (Serie A champions), Paris Saint-Germain (Ligue 1 champions), Porto (Portuguese Super League champions), Ajax (Dutch champions), Eintracht Frankfurt (UEFA Cup champions)

Second rank: Liverpool, Chelsea, Barcelona, Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, Tottenham Hotspur, RB Leipzig

Third rank: Borussia Dortmund, Red Bull Salzburg, Shakhtar Donetsk, Inter Milan, Napoli, Benfica, Sporting Portugal, Leverkusen

Fourth rank: Marseille, Brugge, Celtic, Pilsen Victory, Maccabi Haifa, Dinamo Zagreb, Rangers, Copenhagen

Listed by their associations.

England: Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur

Spain: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla

Italy: Milan, Juventus, Inter Milan, Napoli

Germany: Bayern Munich, Eintracht Frankfurt, RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund, Leverkusen

France: Paris Saint-Germain, Marseille

Portugal: Porto, Benfica, Sporting Portugal

Netherlands: Ajax

Austria: Red Bull Salzburg

Scotland: Celtic, Rangers

Ukraine: Donetsk Miners

Belgium: Brugge

Czech Republic: Victory Pilsen

Denmark: Copenhagen

Croatia: Dinamo Zagreb

Israel: Maccabi Haifa

Benzema’s contract extension until 2024 will be announced soon.

Real Madrid superstar Karim Benzema is set to extend his contract with the club until 2024, with an official announcement on the matter expected soon, reports March.

The 34-year-old has enjoyed a sensational past year as he spearheaded Real Madrid to the La Liga and the UEFA Champions League double last season while also helping them win the Spanish Super Cup.

Benzema is all set to be named the UEFA Best Player of the Year award later today at the Champions League draw ceremony for the new season. The French international is also the favourite to win the Ballon d’Or this season.

It would nothing short of well-deserved for the French superstar, who had to play in the shadows of Cristiano Ronaldo for the majority of his career in Real Madrid. But, it is high time that his efforts and contributions get the recognition they deserve.

On top of that, Benzema will now sign a new contract with Real Madrid that will see his stay at the club get extended until the summer of 2024.

Named the club captain this season following the departure of Marcelo, the 34-year-old’s current deal runs out next year. And even though he will be turning 35 in a few months, the centre-forward remains a world-class operator and an extension seems a just reward.

An integral part of Carlo Ancelotti’s setup at the Santiago Bernabeu, Benzema has started the new season with two goals and an assist from three matches in all competitions.

For Real Madrid to achieve the heights of last season again this term, they will need the Frenchman firing on all cylinders.

Barca 3-3 Man City | Highlights

Barcelona played a charity friendly match against Manchester City at home. The charity match is to pay tribute to Barcelona’s former assistant coach Winsoue who suffers from acromegaly, and the proceeds of the match will also be used to fight against acromegaly. In the first half, Kessie opened the game with a long drive and hit the post, then Julian Alvarez caught Peña with a butterfly shot to open the scoring, and Aubameyang equalized with a shot from a small angle. In the second half, Frankie de Jong broke through to help Barcelona overtake, Cole Palmer quickly equalized, and Depay pushed a single shot; Haaland made an outrageous penalty in extra time, and Mahrez nodded in to seal the tie. In the end, Barca drew 3-3 with Manchester City.

Newcastle sign Real Sociedad striker Isak for €70 million transfer fee

Newcastle have signed Real Sociedad striker Isak, according to the latest news from Spanish media.

Local media, the Basque daily, reported that Newcastle signed the 22-year-old Swedish striker Isak for a transfer fee of 70 million euros, which will be the most expensive player sold in Real Sociedad’s history. In addition, Real Sociedad will receive a 10% share of the player’s future transfers.

In addition, the media revealed that the deal also has a floating amount of 5 million euros, that is, the transfer fee of up to 75 million euros, while Isak’s release fee at Real Sociedad is 90 million euros.

Manchester United defender Bailly joins Marseille on loan with a buyout clause

Official news, Manchester United defender Bailly will join Marseille on loan until the end of the season and contains a buyout clause.

Manchester United’s official announcement

Manchester United defender Eric Bailly has joined Marseille on loan for the remainder of the 2022/23 season and can be bought out at the end of the loan period.

A welcome addition to the Manchester United squad, Eric will have our best wishes for the coming campaign and we will be closely monitoring his progress. (End of announcement)

As previously reported, Marseille will cover most of Bailly’s salary during his loan period. If he makes more than 50% of his appearances for Marseille for the remainder of the season, or if Marseille qualifies for the Champions League next season, then a mandatory buyout clause of approximately €6 million will be triggered.

Nottingham Forest Approaches Aurier and Considers Hartbauer

According to The Athletic, Nottingham Forest want to continue to bring in a right-back through the transfer market and are currently in contact with Tottenham Hotspur veteran Aurier, while considering Atlanta’s Dutch international Hartbauer.

Nottingham Forest have brought in as many as 16 new signings so far this summer, and according to The Athletic, the Premier League-promoted side want to sign another right-back, and they are currently in contact with the 29-year-old free agent Aurier, the Ivory Coast international who left Villarreal this summer when his contract expired.

The report also said that in addition to Aurier, Nottingham Forest is also considering pursuing Atlanta’s Hartbauer.

The possibility of Depay joining Juve has been largely ruled out

According to journalist Moretto, the possibility of Depay joining Juve has been largely ruled out.

The report says that Juve and Marseille are close to reaching an agreement on the negotiations for Milik, and the possibility of Depay joining Juve has been largely ruled out.

The sources believe that the deal for Milik to join Juve on loan will be completed this Thursday with an optional buyout clause.

According to previous media reports, negotiations with Juve broke down due to Depay’s high salary demands.

Manchester United confident of signing Anthony this summer, the latest offer of 94 million euros

According to The Athletic, Manchester United are confident of signing Ajax striker Anthony this summer, with the latest offer of 94 million euros.

The Athletic’s David Ornstein reports that Manchester United are confident of reaching an agreement with Ajax on the signing of Anthony before the deadline of this summer’s transfer window.

Anthony, 22, is now United’s main focus as Tenhaag wants the Brazilian striker to strengthen his attacking options.

United’s interest in Eindhoven striker Gakpo is believed to have cooled to some extent as they are focusing their attention on a deal for Anthony. And Anthony’s agent is in London looking to complete the transfer.

The two clubs discussed a transfer fee above the initial offer of €80 million, which some sources put at €94 million, but as previously reported, Ajax bid €100 million for Anthony.

Dutch midfielder Strootman joins Genoa on loan

Marseille officially announced that Dutch midfielder Strootman joined Genoa on loan.

Born in 1990, Strootman is 32 years old and a former Dutch international. 2018 he moved to Marseille from Roma and in 2021 he had been loaned to Genoa, contributing 4 assists in 18 games played.

Last season, he was loaned to Cagliari by Marseille and played 11 matches in all competitions for the team.

Juve to be fined 3 million euros, Milan 2 million euros for FFP violations

According to a previous report in The Times, UEFA is about to impose FFP sanctions on a number of clubs, with Serie A clubs Juve, Milan, Inter and Roma among them.

According to Italian media “La Repubblica”, for Juve as well as Milan, UEFA will fine the two clubs after making a short-term debt repayment plan, with Juve at 3 million euros and Milan at 2 million euros. Inter and Roma will be subject to more severe penalties, including a limit on the number of European entries and restrictions on both clubs in the 2023 transfer market.

UEFA’s penalty for Paris is the most severe, and will be a minimum fine of 10 million euros.

Umtiti will travel to Italy today to complete the loan deal to join Lecce

Barcelona defender Umtiti will travel to Italy today to complete a loan deal to join Lecce, according to well-known soccer journalist Romano.

Romano said that Umtiti will travel to Italy later today in order to complete the transfer to join Serie A side Lecce on loan from Barcelona. The parties have reached a comprehensive agreement, with documents exchanged on Wednesday night and a medical examination scheduled for today.

The journalist said Barca will receive a bonus based on the number of appearances he makes.

Villarreal’s appeal successful, Gerard Moreno’s yellow card against Atletico Madrid cancelled

Villarreal officials say that the yellow card received by the team’s striker Gerard Moreno against Atletico Madrid has been cancelled by the La Liga Competition Committee.

Villarreal wrote in the official media, “The Competition Commission supported the appeal filed by Villarreal to cancel the yellow card of Gerard Moreno at the Civitas Metropolitano.”

In the second round of La Liga, Yellow Potential beat Atletico Madrid 2-0 away from home, and the game went into injury time, Gerard Moreno scored a goal, and after the goal, he made the action of pulling his ears and spitting his tongue to the Atletico fans’ stand in front of the camera, which was recognized by the referee on duty as a provocative act and got a yellow card.

It is worth mentioning that Gerard Moreno often uses this celebration gesture in dedication to his daughters. This could be the reason for the successful appeal.


Arsenal and Tottenham have been linked with moves for Lucas Paqueta during various stages of the transfer window.

Chelsea have internally discussed the prospect of signing Bayer Leverkusen centre-back Edmond Tapsoba as an alternative to Wesley Fofana.


Chelsea might have to sacrifice either Conor Gallagher or Armando Broja in a loan deal with Everton to get Anthony Gordon.

Arsenal have offered West Ham the chance to snap up utility man Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

Newcastle are interested in signing Ajax star Edson Alvarez.

Steve Cooper is looking to add former Spurs defender Serge Aurier to his ever-growing Nottingham Forest squad.

Manchester United could be willing to sell promising midfielder James Garner for £14m, with the chase hotting up for his signature.


Arsenal have set their sights on Pedro Neto but fear that the Wolves winger could prove to be too expensive this summer.

Manchester United have cooled their interest in Kevin Trapp after baulking at Eintracht Frankfurt’s €25m (£21m) asking price for the Germany goalkeeper.

Bayer Leverkusen are interested in a deal for Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi to join them on a season-long loan.

Chelsea have embarked on a frantic dash to secure their long-term transfer targets after lodging bids totalling £130m for Wesley Fofana and Anthony Gordon.


Newcastle United are set to smash their record transfer fee with the £60m signing of Alexander Isak from Real Sociedad.

There is a strong chance that an English club will end up in the same group as the Champions League winners Real Madrid in Thursday’s draw in Istanbul for this season’s competition.

Lauren James, the uncapped Chelsea forward, is bidding to make history with her brother Reece as the first siblings of different genders to play football for England at senior level.

Angel Di Maria’s wife has revealed that she begged the Argentina winger not to make his ill-fated move to Old Trafford in 2014 while launching a stinging criticism of Manchester’s food, weather and women.


Arsenal will narrowly stay within Financial Fair Play spending limits, financial analysts expect, despite being placed on a watchlist by the European football governing body, UEFA.

Sunderland have opened talks with Paris Saint-Germain to sign midfielder Edouard Michut.

Ajax forward Brian Brobbey has revealed he turned down a move to Manchester United and reunite with Erik ten Hag this summer in favour of boyhood side Ajax.


Moussa Dembele has rejected a final contract offer from Lyon, fuelling speculation about a summer transfer to Manchester United.


Chelsea’s manager, Thomas Tuchel, was “largely culpable” for his clash with his Tottenham counterpart, Antonio Conte, with his behaviour deemed “highly provocative”, the Football Association’s independent regulatory commission has ruled.


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