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Football Extras: Atletico set to sign Benfica's Felix for $135 million

June 17, 2019 21:55 IST

News of all that's transpired on and off the football field.

Joao Felix

IMAGE: Joao Felix, 19, made his first-team debut for Benfica last season, helping the Lisbon side win the Portuguese league title. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Atletico Madrid are set to sign Portugal midfielder Joao Felix from Benfica for 120 million euros ($135 million), Spanish newspaper Marca said on Monday.

Felix, 19, made his first-team debut for Benfica last season, helping the Lisbon side win the Portuguese league title by scoring 15 goals and providing seven assists in 21 starts.

 

He made his Portugal debut in this month's 3-1 win over Switzerland in the UEFA Nations League semi-final.

According to Marca, Atletico will pay the player's full release clause imminently, smashing the club's transfer record of 72 million euros which they paid last year to sign France winger Thomas Lemar from AS Monaco.

Atletico, who finished runners-up in La Liga last season, should have plenty of money available after talismanic striker Antoine Griezmann said last month he is to leave the club.

The France international's release clause drops from 200 million euros to 120 million euros on July 1, and Spanish media reported that he has agreed personal terms with La Liga champions Barcelona.

Brazil authorities put freeze on Neymar mansions

Neymar

IMAGE: The action means Neymar can use the properties but not sell them. Photograph: Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain striker Neymar's off-pitch woes continue to mount, as Brazilian tax authorities put a freeze on dozens of his mansions and other properties amid a long-running tax dispute, local media reported Monday.

The Folha de S.Paulo newspaper reported that Brazilian authorities blocked 36 properties in Brazil as they seek 69 million reais ($18 million) in back taxes. They claim that amount is due in connection with Neymar's 2013 transfer from Santos to Barcelona.

The action means Neymar can use the properties but not sell them.

Folha cited an unspecified court ruling as approving the action by Brazil tax authorities. It was not immediately possible to locate the ruling.

Brazil's tax agency did not respond to a request for comment. A spokeswoman for Neymar did not comment.

In addition to his tax fight, Neymar in recent weeks has been accused of rape, an allegation that Brazilian police are investigating.

A Brazilian woman accused Neymar, 27, of raping her at a Paris hotel last month. He denies the allegation and says the relationship was consensual.

On Sunday, a report in L'Equipe said that Paris Saint-Germain are prepared to sell Neymar, as chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi warned that irresponsible behavior from players won't be tolerated anymore.

Arsenal name Ljungberg as Emery's new assistant coach

Freddie Ljunberg

IMAGE: Freddie Ljunberg was part of "The Invincibles" Arsenal side that won the north London club's last league title in 2004. Photograph: Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Former Arsenal midfielder Freddie Ljungberg has been appointed as Unai Emery's new assistant first-team coach as part of a change in the coaching staff, the Premier League club announced on Monday.

Ljungberg, who returned to Arsenal to coach the Under-23 side last year, was part of "The Invincibles" side that won the north London club's last league title in 2004.

Former assistant coach Steve Bould will now lead the Under-23 team and work with academy manager Per Mertesacker to help transition young players to the first team. The changes will come into effect on July 1.

"We are delighted with the impact Freddie has made in helping to develop our young players into the first team and he fully deserves this promotion," the club said in a statement.

"Alongside his new coaching responsibilities, Freddie will have a strong focus on the young players who are moving into the first team group."

Ljungberg played for Arsenal from 1998 to 2007 and made 325 appearances, scoring 71 goals, and was also named the Premier League's player of the season in 2001-02.

"I'm really excited by this opportunity to continue helping develop and work with some of the great young players... and to work alongside Unai and his coaching team to help Arsenal win trophies," Ljungberg said.

"I'm looking forward to working in this new structure and to pass on my experience and knowledge about what is needed to succeed at this level."

Ljungberg will be tasked with helping Emery guide Arsenal back to the Champions League after the club failed to qualify for Europe's premier club competition for the third consecutive season.

The new Premier League season begins on August 9.

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