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Football Focus: Real Madrid forward Diaz tests positive for COVID-19

Last updated on: July 28, 2020 19:45 IST

News of all that transpired on and off the football field

Real Madrid

IMAGE: Real Madrid's Mariano Diaz shoots at goal. Photograph: Vincent West/Reuters

Real Madrid forward Mariano Diaz has tested positive for COVID-19, the Spanish champions said on Tuesday, casting doubt on his participation in their Champions League tie at Manchester City next week.


Real said in a statement that tests were conducted on the squad on Monday and that though Diaz was in 'perfect health', he would be self-isolating at home.

Real, who trail Manchester City 2-1 from the first leg of their last-16 tie before the pandemic suspended the competition in March, are set to play the Premier League side in the second leg on Aug. 8 at the Etihad.

The Champions League knockout stages from the quarter-finals onwards will be played as single legs in Lisbon.

Spain has seen a surge in COVID-19 positives with thousands of new cases reported on a daily basis in the past week, taking its tally up to over 296,000 cases.

Britain has imposed a 14-day quarantine for travellers from Spain but British media reported that elite sports teams travelling into the country will be exempt.

Over the weekend, Spanish side Fuenlabrada confirmed they had 28 positive cases at the club, including a few cases in Madrid where the team is based, costing the second division club a shot at promotion to La Liga.

Lewandowski could have won Ballon d'Or

Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski has scored 51 goals in all competitions so far this season

IMAGE: Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski has scored 51 goals in all competitions so far this season. Photograph: Reuters

Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said that cancellation of the 2020 Ballon d'Or is 'not very fair' for Robert Lewandowski, who 'might have' bagged the award.

"I believe Robert Lewandowski is playing a fantastic season and he performed maybe the best season in his career," quoted Rummenigge as saying.

"Unfortunately, France Football cancelled the Ballon d'Or, which we are not very happy [about]. In the end, it's not very fair -- not just for Bayern but also for Robert Lewandowski, who might have won," he added.

Citing "lack of sufficient fair conditions", France Football on July 20 announced that Ballon d'Or will not be awarded this year.

Lewandowski witnessed a stunning season as he netted 51 goals in all competitions.

The COVID-19 pandemic had a huge impact on sports across the globe, with every sporting event being cancelled or postponed. However, after the coronavirus-enforced break, football leagues resumed under strict guidelines.

Except for Ligue 1, other leagues like Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, and Bundesliga returned to action and managed to finish the 2019-2020 season.

"I believe it's very important that in a season that, except the French league, [were] performed through to the end of the season, it has to be possible to give the Ballon d'Or to the best footballer in the world," Rummenigge said.

"Of course, I believe, in those circumstances, Robert would have a good chance to win it for the first time in his career," he added.

Liverpool's Lovren completes Zenit move

Dejan Lovren made 185 appearances for Liverpool in his six-year stay at the club

IMAGE: Dejan Lovren made 185 appearances for Liverpool in his six-year stay at Merseyside. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images

Zenit St Petersburg have signed centre back Dejan Lovren from Liverpool on a three-year contract, the Russian champions announced on Monday.

Lovren, who joined Liverpool from Southampton in 2014, leaves Anfield after making 185 appearances in all competitions, scoring eight goals.

No financial details were disclosed but British media reported Liverpool have agreed a deal worth around 11 million pounds ($14.03 million) with Zenit for Lovren.

Lovren was part of the squad that won the Champions League last season, and the Super Cup and Club World Cup in addition to the Premier League crown in 2019-20, which ended Liverpool's 30-year top-flight title drought.

The Croatia international was limited to 15 club appearances across all competitions this season after Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk emerged as Juergen Klopp's first-choice pairing in the central defence.

"In the first part of the season until he got injured he was in the team and had super games. Absolutely super games," Klopp told the club's website.

"Really good, in the air a machine, and I really liked working together with him. It will be interesting to follow Zenit St. Petersburg now."

Capped 57 times by Croatia, Lovren was part of the team that finished as runners-up in the 2018 World Cup, losing 4-2 to France in the final.

Zenit successfully defended their Russian Premier League this season, winning the competition for the sixth time.

Lovren’s friend and teammate at Liverpool, Mohamed Salah has said that the club is really going to miss the Croat defender.

"I don't know how to say, my friend. You don't know my feeling right now. We're really going to miss you a lot, especially me. You've been an unbelievable player and a great friend to me. We're going to miss you a lot. I miss you a lot, I love you so much. You've been fantastic outside the field and inside the field," the club's official website quoted Salah as saying.

"So, thank you for everything you did for the club, thank you for everything you did for me. I wish you all the best in the future and I wish you to have a great career as well, enjoying the new club with your family. Thank you very much and see you soon," he added.

Adam Lallana signs three-year contract with Brighton

Adam Lallana

IMAGE: Midfielder Adam Lallana signs a three-year contract with Brighton and Hove. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Brighton and Hove Albion on Tuesday announced the signing of Adam Lallana following the expiration of his contract with Liverpool.

The 32-year-old midfielder agreed to a three-year contract with Brighton and Hove Albion. He won the Premier League title with Liverpool this season.

Lallana has also won the UEFA Champions League, FIFA World Club Championship and European Super Cup with Liverpool, and holds 34 senior caps for England.

Brighton and Hove Albion head coach Graham Potter said Lallana is a really exciting signing for them.

"There is no doubting Adam's quality, and if you look at his footballing CV his ability is clear for everyone to see. He has played at the very highest level, for both club and country, and achieved great things. He has a wealth of experience alongside his technical quality," the club's official website quoted Lallana as saying.

"The honours he won during his time at Liverpool, and the high regard in which he is held at Anfield, only further underline his ability and character. Adam is a really exciting signing for us, someone I am sure the supporters will be really looking forward to seeing play as and when things are able to begin to return to normal," he added.

PSG's Mbappe to miss Champions League quarter-final due to ankle injury

Kylian Mbappe has been ruled out for three weeks after sustaining an ankle injury in Friday's French Cup final win over St Etienne

IMAGE: Kylian Mbappe has been ruled out for three weeks after sustaining an ankle injury in Friday's French Cup final win over St Etienne. Photograph: Christian Hartmann/Reuters

Paris St Germain forward Kylian Mbappe has been ruled out for three weeks after he suffered an ankle injury in Friday's French Cup final win over St Etienne, the Ligue 1 champions said on Monday.

It means Mbappe will miss PSG's Champions League quarter-final against Italian side Atalanta in Lisbon on August 12.

"As announced after the final of the Coupe de France against Saint-Etienne, Kylian Mbappe underwent further examinations to his injured right ankle," PSG said in a statement.

"The results of today's scan confirmed an ankle sprain with damage to the external ligament. The player is expected to be sidelined for approximately three weeks," the statement further read.

A rough tackle from Loic Perrin saw the St Etienne defender catch Mbappe on the ankle and the 21-year-old collapsed on the pitch in pain before being substituted.

Perrin was sent off for the challenge as PSG won 1-0.