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NOT AGAIN! Rebel clubs hold key Super League talks in bid to relaunch controversial plans

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Senior officials from Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus have recently held fresh meetings as they attempt to revive their plans for the so-called European Super League.

The project was launched in April last year but swiftly fell apart at the seams after nine of its 12 founding member clubs withdrew their support of the plans.

However, Madrid, Barca and Juve have continued to publicly back the controversial proposals and the project is now set to return with multiple reforms in a bid to win widespread support.

In October, the trio agreed on five key changes to the proposed competition rules – the first major move in their attempts to revive the idea.

That followed on from the three club’s jointly hiring a major London-based PR firm as they aimed to make a concentrated effort to change public opinion – after mass fan protests in the UK were the major factor in the original abandoning of the idea.

The Premier League ’s so-called ‘big six’ clubs of Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham all swiftly distanced themselves from the plans after a significant supporter backlash in April.

Italian giants Milan and Inter, alongside Spanish club Atletico Madrid, also confirmed they could no longer support the idea – leaving just three clubs left to cheerlead for it.

Madrid, Barca and Juve are now hopeful of relaunching the proposal this year and are discussing a legal approach that would create a sustainable project.

Last August, Florentino Perez, Joan Laporta and Andre Agnelli – the three respective top leaders of the clubs – held a meeting in which the foundations of a project in which they continue to believe was discussed.

Real Madrid president Perez is thought to be the driving force behind the proposals while Agnelli, CEO of Juventus, has been the most public proponent of the plans prior to their launch last year.

Laporta was elected as Barcelona president last March – following a decade-long absence from the post – and has put traditional rivalries with Perez and Madrid aside to join forces on this front, which would represent a clear break from UEFA.

The initial proposals were primarily to replace UEFA’s governance of European football including the current formats of the Champions League and Europa League.

Yet the move was hugely controversial and unpopular due to the fact it was guaranteeing that the most profitable clubs would automatically qualify and would remove the premise of sporting fair play and meritocracy.

The trio of clubs subsequently hired major PR firm Flint to help up clean up the image of the idea and to create a sellable product that will not receive the criticism that the plans were subjected to upon their launch.

Flint have put together a presentation document entitled: “Paving the way to the Super League; strategies for reconstruction, the restart and the triumph.”

The PR firm are now set to engage in a major campaign which will portray UEFA as an “abusive monopoly” whilst portraying the Super League plans as the only alternative that can save the sport.

A court in Madrid ruled that UEFA should lift sanctions on clubs who continue to pursue the Super League project, while the Court of Justice of EU in Luxembourg are set to decide this year whether the project is legal.

The Super League may have been firmly rejected by fans across the UK last year with club officials withdrawing their support, but the project appears to be far from dead

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SPORTS

Isco completes shock move to Real Madrid’s LaLiga rival

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Isco completes shock move to Real Madrid’s LaLiga rival

Isco has joined Sevilla as a free agent, the Spanish club confirmed on Monday.

The midfielder has been without a club since his contract with Real Madrid expired in June.

Isco has now put pen-to-paper on a two-year deal with Sevilla.

He becomes the LaLiga side’s third summer signing after Brazilian defender, Marcao came from Galatasaray and Brazil left-back Alex Telles on loan from Manchester United.

Isco will be reunited with former Spain and Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui.

The 30-year-old made 17 appearances for Real last season, only starting three matches.

Sevilla finished fourth in LaLiga last season and will play in the Champions League this campaign.

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Guardiola reacts as Haaland fumes over not scoring hat-trick against West Ham

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Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola, has said Erling Haaland’s anger at not scoring a hat-trick against West Ham, reminded him of Lionel Messi.

Haaland grabbed both goals as the Premier League champions began defence of their title with a 2-0 win at the London Stadium.

The Norway striker converted a first-half penalty, before running onto Kevin De Bruyne’s pass to complete a brace on his City debut.

In a post-match interview, Haaland said it was “a bit s***’” that he was unable to score one more, before being substituted in the closing stages.”

But Guardiola said the player’s reaction was what he would expect from a top player.

“I was fortunate to be with [Lionel] Messi.

“When he scores two, he wants three, when he scores three, he wants four. All the top players are the same.

“They are never satisfied, always hungry, starving for goals, and want more, but at same time, I have to use other players,” Guardiola said.

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Ten Hag to sign two strikers after 2-1 defeat to Brighton

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Manchester United have opened talks to sign Benjamin Sesko and Marko Arnautovic, ESPN reports.

United have contacted Bologna about Arnautovic, who has previously played in the Premier League for Stoke and West Ham.

United manager, Erik ten Hag, has pressed the club to sign an experienced forward who would be content with a back up role off the bench.

Arnautovic is 33 years old and Ten Hag is a fan of the player after working together at FC Twente.

The move for Arnautovic is considered separate from that of Sesko.

Chelsea are also interested in the 19-year-old, although Salzburg would rather keep him until next summer.

Ten Hag was asked after the 2-1 defeat against Brighton on Sunday about the need for new players.

The Dutchman replied: “I don’t go into names and I think in this preseason, 250 players are involved or linked with Man United, so that’s it.

“We have two strikers [Ronaldo and Martial], maybe a third one, [Marcus] Rashford.

“We considered him as a striker, but he had a really good season on the left side and he had two really good chances but the typical nine wasn’t available today.”

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