News of all that's transpired on and off the football field
Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid will take their rivalry outside Europe for the first time when the two Liga clubs play in the International Champions Cup (ICC) in the United States in July.
The Madrid derby on July 26 at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey is one of 18 matches that will be played by 12 clubs across the U.S., Europe and Asia in the seventh edition of the competition, according to the ICC match schedule released on Wednesday.
Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Juventus, AS Roma, AC and Inter Milan, Bayern Munich, Benfica and Mexico's Chivas de Guadalajara are also taking part in the event.
Roma and Chivas will kick off the July 16-August 10 tournament in Chicago, while Manchester United and Inter will get the event started in Asia on July 20 at Singapore's National Stadium.
United earlier said they had added the pre-season match in Singapore plus games in China and Wales, including a clash with Premier League rivals Tottenham in Shanghai.
Among the other games, Spurs will face Italian champions Juve on July 21 at the Singapore National Stadium.
Juve will also play Inter in China on July 24, with a venue yet to be decided, while Tottenham, who won the event last year, host Inter on Aug. 4 at their new Hotspur Stadium in London.
Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino said: "It is our fourth time competing in the ICC and these fixtures are against top level sides that will help us with our preparations for the 2019/20 season."
Atletico and Juventus will close out play in Stockholm.
During the tournament, each team will play three matches, and the club with the most points at the end will win the championship and receive the first trophy of the season.
UEFA charge Ireland over tennis ball protest
UEFA opened disciplinary proceedings against Ireland on Thursday after supporters hurled tennis balls onto the field during their European Championship qualifier against Georgia.
The match in Dublin on Tuesday was held up for up to three minutes as Ireland fans threw dozens of tennis balls in protest at chief executive John Delaney's continued role at the Football Association of Ireland (FAI).
Delaney stood down as the FAI's chief executive last week, days before he was due to appear before lawmakers over a 100,000 euro ($112,450) loan provided to the governing body.
However, the FAI created a new position of executive vice-president for Delaney, who will remain with the association he led since 2005.
The Irish FA could not be immediately reached for comment.
The case will be dealt with by the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary panel on May 16.
Bayern sign defender Hernandez for 80 million euros
Bayern Munich have signed Lucas Hernandez from Atletico Madrid for 80 million euros ($89.98 million) and the defender will join the club in July, the German champions said on Wednesday.
The 23-year-old, who has agreed a five-year contract with Bayern, had been on the wish list of several major European teams after he was part of France's 2018 World Cup-winning side.
"I am very happy that we managed to get one of the best defenders in the world and a world champion," said Bayern sports director Hasan Salihamidzic.
"Lucas can play both as a central defender as well as a left back."
Hernandez will undergo surgery later on Wednesday, Bayern said, after his medical revealed some ligament damage in his right knee.
The club doctor, Hans-Wilhelm Mueller-Wohlfahrt, said he would be ready for start of next season. The player will refresh Bayern's backline, which has faced some criticism this campaign.
Current central defenders Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels have been far from their 2014 World Cup-winning best and have recently been dropped from the Germany national team.
Bayern have endured an inconsistent season having spent little during the last two transfer periods and lost to Liverpool in the Champions League Round of 16 in their earliest exit from the competition in years.
They are level on 60 points with Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga.
"Today is a very important day in my career," said Hernandez. "I am proud to be fighting for titles for Bayern in the future. I want to thank Atletico, the management, team mates and the fans for 12 wonderful years."
Brazil's Pato returns to Sao Paulo after China stint
Former AC Milan striker Alexandre Pato joined Sao Paulo on Wednesday, returning to Brazil after a two-year stint with Chinese side Tianjin Tianhai, the Brazilian club said.
Pato, who has also enjoyed time at Corinthians, Chelsea and Villareal, signed a three-year contract with Sao Paulo. It will be his second spell at the club.
Pato, 29, broke into the Internacional side as a teenager in 2006 and helped them to the Club World Cup the same year when they beat Barcelona 1-0.
His pace, maturity and cool head in front of goal won him a transfer to AC Milan, where he spent five years.
However, he has failed to make a lasting mark at any of the six clubs he graced since and fallen out of favour at international level, with his last cap coming in 2013.
US to face Canada, Cuba in CONCACAF Nations League
The United States have been grouped with Canada and Cuba in Wednesday’s draw for the inaugural Nations League organised by the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF).
The region's top-ranked side Mexico will play Panama and Bermuda, Costa Rica face Haiti and Curacao, and Honduras were drawn alongside Trinidad and Tobago and Martinique in the other League A groups.
The competition, similar to that started by UEFA in 2018 and aimed at cutting down on meaningless friendlies, is part of a broad makeover by a confederation seeking to win back confidence of fans after it was ravaged by the FIFA corruption scandal.
At a gala ceremony in Las Vegas on Wednesday, CONCACAF’s 41 teams were drawn into three leagues, with the winners of the four League A groups competing for the Nations League title.
The top four sides in Leagues B and C will be promoted and the bottom four in A and B relegated for the next edition.
The group matches will be played in September, October and November 2019, with the finals taking place the following year.