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Football Focus: Rakitic leaves Barcelona to rejoin Sevilla

Last updated on: September 01, 2020 22:58 IST
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Ivan Rakitic

IMAGE: Ivan Rakitic, who had one year left on his contract, was not part of new Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman's plans for next season. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic rejoined Europa League holders Sevilla on a four-year deal from Barcelona for an undisclosed fee, the Liga team said on Tuesday.

 

His departure ends a trophy-laden six-year spell at Camp Nou during which Rakitic won four league titles, four Copa del Rey trophies plus the Champions League and Club World Cup.

Spanish media reports had said the 32-year-old, who had one year left on his contract, was not part of new Barca coach Ronald Koeman's plans for next season.

"Sevilla FC and FC Barcelona have reached an agreement for the transfer of midfielder Ivan Rakitic, who will return to the club for a second spell after his first spell at the club between January 2011 and June 2014," Sevilla said in a statement.

Rakitic captained Sevilla to Europa League success in 2014 before leaving to join Barca.

Arsenal sign defender Gabriel from Lille

Gabriel Magalhaes

IMAGE: Gabriel Magalhaes made 34 appearances in all competitions for Lille last season as they finished fourth in Ligue 1. Photograph: Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images

Arsenal signed Brazilian centre back Gabriel Magalhaes from French side Lille on a long-term contract, the Premier League club said on Tuesday.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed but British media reported Arsenal paid around 27 million pounds ($36.29 million) for the 22-year-old.

Gabriel made 34 appearances in all competitions for Lille last season as they finished fourth in Ligue 1. He also had loan spells at French club Troyes and Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb during his three-year stay at Lille.

"So many fans were sending me messages asking me to join Arsenal and that played a big part in me signing for this club," Gabriel told the club website.

"It was a very surreal experience, there were offers coming from a few different clubs.

"I spoke a lot with my family and my agents, I also spoke with some of Lille's directors, but as I said, this club's history and traditions and the team project for the next few years were very motivational for my decision to come here."

Gabriel is Arsenal's second major signing in the close-season following the arrival of compatriot Willian on a free transfer last month.

He joins the north London club as manager Mikel Arteta looks to shore up his defence ahead of the new campaign with centre back William Saliba, who was signed last year and loaned back to St Etienne, also set to make his debut this season.

"He (Gabriel) has many qualities which will make us stronger as a defensive unit and as a team," Arteta said.

"He has proved with Lille that he is a defender with many outstanding attributes and we are looking forward to watching him grow as an Arsenal player."

Arsenal, who won the Community Shield last week by beating Liverpool 5-4 on penalties, begin their new Premier League campaign with a trip to Fulham on September 12.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic extended his AC Milan contract to 2021 

IMAGE: Zlatan Ibrahimovic extended his AC Milan contract to 2021. Photograph: AC Milan/Twitter

Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has renewed his contract with AC Milan until June 30, 2021.

The striker had begun his journey with the club in 2010 when he made 85 appearances and scored 56 goals during a stint which also yielded one Scudetto and one Supercoppa.

Ibrahimovic then returned to Milan in January this year and he immediately made headlines after contributing significantly to the side.

"Zlatan Ibrahimovic re-joined his teammates and coach Stefano Pioli at Milanello Sports Center, where he took part in his first training session of the season," AC Milan said in an official statement.

The striker netted 11 goals in 20 matches and along the way, he also reached the 100 appearances milestone with the club.

Milan rose to the sixth position in the Serie A 2019-20 season after winning nine and drawing three of their last 12 Serie A games.

Ibrahimovic's had joined AC Milan after ending his stint with LA Galaxy in January.

He had scored 53 goals in 58 appearances during his two seasons in Major League Soccer (MLS) before opting to return to Milan after previously featuring for the club from 2010-12.

AC Milan will now begin their Europa League campaign on September 17 against Shamrock Rovers as part of the competition's second qualifying round.

Mkhitaryan terminates Arsenal contract, joins Roma on permanent deal

Midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan terminated his Arsenal contract after an unsuccessful stay at the Emirates. He joined Arsenal in January 2018.

IMAGE: Midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan terminated his Arsenal contract after an unsuccessful stay at the Emirates. Photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters

Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan has joined Serie A side AS Roma on a permanent deal after terminating his contract with Arsenal, the Premier League club said on Monday.

Mkhitaryan joined Roma at the start of last season after a disappointing 18-month spell at Arsenal following a swap deal in January 2018 which saw Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez move to Manchester United.

Roma had initially reached an agreement last month to extend Mkhitaryan's loan deal until the end of next season.

"Micki leaves us following his season-long loan in Italy. We have agreed to terminate his contract with us by mutual consent to allow him to join Roma in a permanent move," Arsenal said in a statement.

Mkhitaryan scored nine goals and grabbed six assists last season as Roma finished fifth in Serie A to qualify for the Europa League.

The new Serie A season begins on September 19.

Two PSG players test positive for COVID-19

Two Paris St Germain players have tested positive for COVID-19 and gone into quarantine, the club announced on Monday without revealing their identity.

But French media said Argentine internationals Angel Di Maria and Leandro Paredes had cut short their holidays in Ibiza after contracting the novel coronavirus.

“Two Paris Saint-Germain players are suspected of being infected with COVID-19,” said a club statement.

“The state of their health is very reassuring. They have already been subjected to the appropriate health protocols.”

Both now face missing PSG’s belated start to the Ligue 1 season away at Racing Lens on Sept. 10 and at home to Olympique Marseille three days later.

The pair both featured for the French club in the 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League final in Lisbon on August 23.

Real Sociedad's Silva tests positive for COVID-19

Former Manchester City midfielder David Silva has tested positive for COVID-19, his new club Real Sociedad said on Monday.

The 34-year-old Spaniard, who joined Sociedad on a free transfer earlier this month, returned a positive test after arriving in San Sebastian.

He is not displaying any symptoms and is self-isolating, the La Liga club said.

Former Spain international Silva left City at the end of last season after a decade of service in which he won four Premier League titles.

Forlan leaves Penarol after second defeat in four games

Diego Forlan parted ways with Penarol on Monday after coaching the Uruguayan club for just 11 games, the former Manchester United and Atletico Madrid player said.

Forlan’s team lost 2-0 at home to Wanderers on Sunday, their second defeat in four games.

“It’s time to leave Penarol,” he tweeted.

“I have no complaints, that’s football.”

The Montevideo club currently languish in seventh place in the 16-team first division, six games after the league restarted following a five-month hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

They have won only four times since Forlan, a former Penarol and Uruguay striker, was appointed to his first managerial post last December.

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