REVEALED: Real Madrid wanted ‘fear’ clause in Morata Juventus deal

Juventus striker Alvaro Morata is free to face Real Madrid in their Champions League semi next month.

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Morata left Real for Juve last summer.

AS says Real attempted to insert a clause which would see the player being unable to play in any competitive matches involving both clubs.

They also wanted to add another clause that would forbid the Italian side from selling Morata to Madrid’s eternal rivals, FC Barcelona.

However, UEFA refuse to recognise such clauses and the options were eventually rejected.

Why PFA nominees show Premier League delivers best experience to fans

The Spanish Liga has its Galacticos. But it’s the Premier League where stars are made.

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The Spanish Liga has its Galacticos. But it’s the Premier League where stars are made.

At 24, is there a better young player in the game than Eden Hazard? What about goalkeepers and David de Gea? Harry Kane and young centre-forwards?

The shortlist for last night’s PFA Players Player of the Year epitomised the strength of the Premier League – and its inscrutable relationship with fans.

Yes, it still must be a wrench for Tottenham supporters seeing Gareth Bale bombing down Real Madrid‘s wing. But it also must have been some journey for those fans who followed the Welshman from battling in the Spurs reserve-team to running Inter Milan ragged at the San Siro.

At Chelsea, they’ve seen Hazard go from a stroppy, self-important 21 year-old, famous for kicking out at ball-boys, to a leader of men. A pro’s pro. A player who has world greats, including Zinedine Zidane, queuing to lavish praise on him. And Blues fans have seen all this, up close, develop over three years. That’s some football experience.

The same can be said of De Gea and his emergence at Manchester United. Forget about being the best young goalkeeper in the game, some claim he is the outright best on the planet. But those fans who follow United home-and-away will remember that infamous flap at Tottenham two years ago, the blast from former captain Gary Neville and all the headlines about the Spaniard not being good enough.

If he does return to Madrid this summer, Real’s support will be getting the finished article. But they will have missed the chance to see De Gea develop into the player he is today. The highs and lows. The unswerving faith a supporter has in a player’s potential being realised. For many, it’s a big part of being a football fan.

Just ask Spurs supporters about ‘one of our own’, Harry Kane.

Some will have seen Kane in youth games at Enfield. Picked him as ‘one to watch’. Kept faith as he battled away on-loan with the likes of Leyton Orient and Millwall. And now celebrate with fans around the world as Kane smashes through the 30-goal barrier.

You can’t manufacture that experience. It’s among the most enjoyable aspects of being a football fan. And the Premier League offers this to us like no other competition.

Philippe Coutinho’s story is arguably the best of the lot. Bouncing between Italy and Spain, his career was going nowhere. At 21, he was washed up, Inter Milan couldn’t get rid quickly enough. But with Liverpool, under Brendan Rodgers, Coutinho has rebuilt his game and his confidence. He’s now delivering on the potential which had Europe’s biggest clubs chasing his signature as a 17 year-old at Vasco da Gama. And this has all played out – in spectacular fashion – in front of the Kop.

Even the ‘old men’ of the PFA shortlist have their best years ahead of them. Both Chelsea striker Diego Costa and Arsenal‘s Chilean dynamo Alexis Sanchez are still 26. We’re sure to see their greatest moments achieved playing in the Premier League.

Since this season’s Champions League flop, English clubs have been hammered over transfer policy, scouting, even their development structure. But given the nominees we celebrated last night, the Premier League is still where stars are made.

‘Boring is 10 years without the title’ – Mourinho hits out at Arsenal boo-boys

The crowd at the Emirates Stadium chanted “boring, boring Chelsea” late in the two sides’ 0-0 stalemate on Sunday but the Portuguese took a swipe at his opposite number

'Boring is 10 years without the title' - Mourinho hits out at Arsenal boo-boys

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho hit out after his side were booed off by Arsenal supporters following Sunday’s 0-0 stalemate at the Emirates Stadium.

The Blues saw out their game plan perfectly in securing the draw that they needed to maintain a 10-point gap from their London rivals and take what captain John Terry described as a “big step” towards the title.

But Arsenal supporters let their feelings be known towards the end of the match, chanting “boring, boring Chelsea” as the game petered out.

Mourinho, however, responded in typically defiant fashion after the game by referring to the Gunners’ failure to win the league title since 2004.

“I think boring is 10 years without the title,” he said. “I think waiting, waiting, waiting for the title for 10 years is very boring.

“Maybe they were not singing to us. When you are playing at home and take your No.9 off … maybe they wanted to see [Olivier] Giroud and [Danny] Welbeck together.

“The boring team has scored the second most goals in the Premier League and has the best goal difference.
I think only top teams can be top of the league since day one.”

Henry is wrong, Giroud can win Arsenal titles – Coquelin

The 23-year-old says the France striker, who has scored 18 goals this season, has shown he is good enough for the Gunners

Henry is wrong, Giroud can win Arsenal titles - Coquelin

Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin has hit back at Thierry Henry after the former striker said the Gunners need “a top, top-quality striker in order to win this league again”.

The Frenchman was speaking after Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Chelsea at the Emirates which ended Arsenal’s eight-game winning streak and left them 10 points behind the Blues in third.

Henry insisted that Arsene Wenger needed to sign four new players if they are to clinch a first Premier League title since 2004 but Coquelin says Olivier Giroud is good enough for the Gunners.

“Thierry Henry is wrong. Giroud shows his potential every week,” he told RMC. “He showed that he has the level to be the Arsenal striker, and we can win titles with him.

“We are disappointed with the result against Chelsea because we were on a good run.

“Now the target is to focus on the end of the championship, win all the remaining matches to get this second place, and of course win the FA Cup final.”

Coquelin has played a key role for Arsenal since returning from a loan spell with Charlton in December and the 23-year-old says he is glad to have taken the chance to prove his worth.

“I had no doubt about my qualities, but when you don’t have the chance to show what we can do, doubt can settle in,” he explained.

“But I had my chance, and it went well. In every big club, there is competition. You must answer to that when you have the chance to play, that’s what I do and I hope it will continue.”

Henry hits out at Chicharito: He should have thanked Ronaldo

The on-loan Manchester United striker netted the winner to dump Atletico Madrid out of the Champions League but opted to celebrate without his team-mates straight away

Henry hits out at Chicharito: He should have thanked Ronaldo

Thierry Henry has criticised Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez for not immediately celebrating with Cristiano Ronaldo after scoring Real Madrid’s winner against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.

The on-loan Manchester United striker swept the ball home from close range after being set up by Ronaldo but the Mexican wheeled away towards the fans on his own, while his Madrid team-mates followed alongside the Portugal star.

Henry has hit out at Chicharito for celebrating “like he won the World Cup” and insists the 26-year-old should have been quicker to acknowledge Ronaldo’s run and pass.

“I don’t know about his future there. To be fair to him, he doesn’t usually play. Tonight was his opportunity and we don’t even know if he’s going to play after that,” Henry told Sky Sports.

“He had a couple of chances in the game before that but I can tell you he can thank Ronaldo tonight. I know he went on to celebrate alone and everything but he can thank Ronaldo. For me, he has to.

“That is, for me, Ronaldo’s goal. What I don’t like after [the goal] is it seems like he won the World Cup [with his celebration]. Turn around and celebrate with Ronaldo.”

Eden Hazard Not Interested In Chelsea Exit Insists Jose Mourinho

The lure of Real Madrid is often too big for any player, but Eden Hazard has no interest in leaving Chelsea, according to Jose Mourinho.

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Eden Hazard is not thinking about leaving Chelsea despite rumours of potential interest from Real Madrid, says manager Jose Mourinho.

Belgium international Hazard has been in sparkling form this term and his return of 13 goals in 32 Premier League matches has been a big part of their seemingly unstoppable march towards the title.

Real great Zinedine Zidane, now in charge of the club’s Castilla side, this week waxed lyrical over Hazard’s style of play, leading to rumours that the European champions were considering an ambitious bid for his services.

But Mourinho is unconcerned, saying: “We just signed a new contract with him [until 2021 in February]. We didn’t put a gun to his head.

“I don’t think he’s interested in going.”

On Hazard’s season, the Portuguese added: “In this moment, he is a fantastic player. I always say the most important thing is the team and their targets.

“If he wins the Premier League this season it is fantastic. If on top of that he gets individual awards then it is nice.”

Chelsea will offer the titles Fabregas craved at Arsenal, boasts Mourinho

The Spain midfielder will return to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday for the first time since his departure in 2011 but the Blues boss expects him to handle the occasion well

Chelsea will offer the titles Fabregas craved at Arsenal, boasts Mourinho

Cesc Fabregas decided to sign for Chelsea because “good projects end with titles”, Jose Mourinho has claimed.

The Spain midfielder will return to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday for the first time since he left Arsenal for Barcelona in 2011.

The Gunners had the option to re-sign Fabregas last summer but a deal never materialised and he joined their Premier League rivals instead.

“I know why he chose Chelsea,” Mourinho told reporters. “I don’t know why he didn’t choose Arsenal. I can only speak about what we promised him.

“I can’t talk about the decision for him leaving Arsenal or what stopped him going back.

“I don’t know if it was the manager’s or his decision. I just promised him we’d build a team very adapted to his style of play, that he was going to be an important player in our project … and that, normally, good projects end with titles. He was looking for that. That’s all I can say.”

Mourinho insists that he is not concerned that Fabregas’s performance might be affected if he receives a negative reception from the home crowd when the top two face off.

“I don’t know [what reception he will get],” the Portuguese added. “To be fair, I don’t know – and, to be fair, I’m not worried with that.

“Frank Lampard played at Stamford Bridge [for Manchester City] without any kind of problem and with a good reception. I don’t see a reason for Fabregas not to have the same at the Emirates but, if he has some bad reactions, I think he’s one of the players who is more than ready.

“He played in Barcelona with an Arsenal shirt. Why can’t he play at the Emirates with a Chelsea shirt? No problem.”