Geoffrey Kondogbia joins Valencia on loan from Inter Milan

Valencia have moved to sign a Liverpool midfield target Geoffrey Kondogbia on loan from Inter Milan.

The 24-year-old French holding midfielder was understood to be a target for Jurgen Klopp after the German failed to sign Naby Keita from RB Leipzig this summer.

Kondogbia has joined Marcelino’s rebuilding job at Valencia.

The player has returned to La Liga four years after leaving Sevilla for Monaco, later joining Inter in 2015.

Local media reports claim that Valencia’s Joao Cancelo will go on loan to the Serie A club as part of the deal.

Valencia will need to pay €25million to buy Kondogbia at the end of his one-year loan period.

The deal for Kondogbia follows the signing of centre-backs Jeison Murillo and Gabriel Paulista.


La Liga results: Zaza scores in Valencia win; Alaves beaten by Gabriel’s goal for Leganes

Leganes 1-0 Alaves

Valencia 1-0 Las Palmas

    • Valencia 1-0 Las Palmas
  • Simone Zaza was the match-winner as Valencia started their La Liga campaign with a 1-0 home victory over 10-man Las Palmas.

    The former Juventus and West Ham forward struck after 22 minutes when Carlos Soler rolled the ball into his path on the edge of the penalty area.

    Zaza finished with a powerful side-foot which gave Leandro Chichizola no chance in the visitors’ goal.

    Alen Halilovic should have equalised two minutes later but he fired tamely at Valencia goalkeeper Neto and it got a lot more difficult for Las Palmas when Croatian midfielder Halilovic was sent off after 34 minutes, receiving a straight red card for catching Jose Gaya with a high foot.

    Valencia’s impressive football should have put the game beyond Las Palmas in the second half, but Chichizola made excellent saves to deny Joao Cancelo and Zaza before substitute Santi Mina’s header hit a post in the final seconds.

    • Leganes 1-0 Alaves

    Gabriel’s close-range strike settled the first game of the new La Liga season for Leganes as they beat Alaves1-0.

    The Brazilian struck in the 24th minute after Miguel Angel Guerrero’s free-kick took a deflection and Alaves goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco could only push the ball into his path.

    In doing so, Gabriel became the first Brazilian since Atletico Madrid midfielder Juninho in 1997 to score the opening goal of a La Liga season.

    Alaves had wasted a great chance to take a 17th-minute lead when home defender Diego Rico flattened Burgui in the penalty area.

    Manu Garcia sent a weak spot-kick straight at Ivan Cuellar, who was able to catch the ball for his third successive penalty save in LaLiga.

    Few chances were created in the second half with Leganes content to defend their 1-0 lead, although Burgui gave them a late scare when his powerful 25-yard drive clipped the top of the crossbar.

    Gabriel joins Valencia from Arsenal

    Arsenal have sold Gabriel to Valencia for a fee understood to be £10m.

    The Brazilian defender had fallen down the pecking order under Arsene Wenger after signing from Villarreal in January 2015, following the arrivals of Rob Holding and Shkodran Mustafi.

    Gabriel made 64 appearances for the Gunners during his two and a half years at the club, soring once and winning the FA Cup on two occasions.

    The 26-year-old made just 19 Premier League appearances in his final campaign at the Emirates Stadium.

    Valencia announced the signing in a statement on their official website.

    It read:

    “Valencia have reached an agreement with Arsenal for the transfer of … Gabriel Paulista.

    “The Brazilian player has signed for the next five seasons until June 30, 2022, with a termination clause of 80 million euros.”

    Gabriel sustained a serious knee injury in Arsenal’s final Premier League game of last season and did not feature in pre-season.

    Gabriel could be the first of a number of departures at the Emirates, with Lucas Perez, Calum Chambers and Joel Campbell also linked with moves away.

    Meanwhile, Arsenal have turned down an approach by Inter Milan to sign Mustafi on loan

    La Liga results  – Ronaldo and Benzema scores as Real Madrid clinch first title in five years; Barca win but miss out

    ​Atletico Madrid 3 – 1 Athletic Bilbao

    Celta Vigo 2 – 2 Real  Sociedad

    Valencia 1 – 3 Villarreal

    Barcelona 4 – 2 Eibar

    Malaga 0 – 2 Real Madrid

    • Malaga 0 – 2 Real Madrid

    Real Madrid won their first La Liga title since 2012 thanks to a final-day victory at 2-0 Malaga at La Rosaleda.

    Cristiano Ronaldo scored early on to settle the nerves, latching onto Isco’s through ball to step around Carlos Kameni and tap into an empty net.

    Karim Benzema added their second goal after the break after Kameni parried Sergio Ramos’ shot.

    Real, who had only needed a point, now face Juventus in the Champions League final looking to complete a double.

    The result means Zinedine Zidane, in his first full season as Real boss, is the first manager to lead Madrid to the Spanish league title since Jose Mourinho five years ago.

    If Real beat Juventus in Cardiff, they will become the first team to successfully defend the Champions League – with Zidane having won the tournament six months into the job last summer.

    • Barcelona 4 – 2 Eibar

    Barcelona fought back to beat Eibar 4-2 on the final day of the season, but could do nothing to stop Real Madrid winning the La Liga title.

    Takashi Inui’s double put the minnows in charge at the Nou Camp, but a David Junca own goal got Barcelona back into it just after the hour mark, while Luis Suarez equalised after Lionel Messi missed a penalty.

    Ander Capa was then dismissed for Eibar as he brought down Neymar in the box with 15 minutes to go, and Messi redeemed himself from the spot before sealing the win with a fine solo effort in stoppage time.

    There was a rapturous reception at the Nou Camp for Luis Enrique before kick-off.

    • ​Atletico Madrid 3 – 1 Athletic Bilbao

    Fernando Torres scored twice as Atletico Madrid ended life at the Vicente Calderon with victory over Athletic Bilbao.

    The boyhood Atleti fan, who is out of contract this summer, scored twice in the opening 11 minutes, netting from close range and hooking home a volley.

    The 33-year-old scored more La Liga goals at the Calderon than any other player in the 21st century – with 54.

    Inaki Williams pulled one back before Angel Correa’s 89th-minute strike.

    After the game, Atletico manager Diego Simeone stressed that he would remain at the club next season.

    The Argentine had two spells as an Atletico player and has enjoyed a successful five and a half years as manager during which he has won La Liga (2013-14) and reached the Champions League final twice (2013-14 and 2015-16).

    “The journalists ask me constantly if I am going to stay. Yes, I am going to stay,” Simeone told the crowd inside the stadium.

    “And do you know why I am going to stay? I am going to stay because this club has a future and this future is all of us.

    • Celta Vigo 2 – 2 Real  Sociedad

    Bilbao’s defeat, coupled with a dramatic 2-2 draw for Real Sociedad at Celta Vigo, meant Sociedad guaranteed Europa League football next season thanks to a 93rd-minute Juanmi equaliser.

    A penalty from Iago Aspas put Celta Vigo ahead but Mikel Oyarzabal levelled after 82 minutes before Andrew Hjulsager looked to have won it for Celta.

    But Juanmi was left unmarked to head home a corner and secure the all-important point.

    • Valencia 1 – 3 Villarreal

    Villarreal secured fifth place in the table as an excellent performance brought them a 3-1 win at Valencia.

    The visitors led in the first minute when former Spurs striker Roberto Soldado scored.

    Nani levelled after the break, but Manu Trigueros was quickly on the mark to restore Villarreal’s lead and Nicola Sansone added another to wrap the game up.

    La Liga results  – Ronaldo nets a brace as Real edge closer to title; Neymar bags a hat trick for Barca to keep up pressure on Real 

    ​Alaves 3 – 1 Celta Vigo

    Athletic Bilbao 1 – 1 Leganes

    Eibar 0 – 1 Sporting Gijon

    Las Palmas 1 – 4 Barcelona

    Real Betis 1 – 1 Atletico  Madrid

    Real Madrid 4 – 1 Sevilla

    Real Sociedad 2 – 2 Malaga

    Villarreal 0 – 0 Deportivo La Coruna

    • Real Madrid 4 – 1 Sevilla

    Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice, his 400th and 401  goals,for Real Madrid as they took another step towards the La Liga title with victory over Sevilla.

    Real led through Nacho’s controversial free-kick before Ronaldo pounced on a rebound to double their lead.

    Stevan Jovetic replied after the break, but Ronaldo’s sensational second strike, his 401st for Real Madrid, and Toni Kroos’ late goal sealed victory.

    Real Madrid stay in second place behind Barcelona who beat Las Palmas 4-1.

    Barcelona, who  beat Las Palmas 4-1on Sunday, keep hold of top spot courtesy of their head-to-head advantage.

    But Real have a game in hand and need four points from their final two matches to lift their first title since 2012.

    Despite having won just three of their last 11 matches, Sevilla still secured fourth place and a spot in the Champions League play-off next season as Villarreal were held at home to Deportivo La Coruna.

    • Las Palmas 1 – 4 Barcelona

    Neymar hit a hat trick as Barcelona kept their hold on top spot — for the time being at least — with a 4-1 victory at Las Palmas.

    Neymar broke the deadlock for Luis Enrique’s side after 25 minutes, slotting home from close range after being teed up by Luis Suarez.

    And the pair swapped roles just two minutes later, with Neymar this time picking out the run of Suarez, who produced a clever finish to beat Javi Varas.

    Pedro Bigas scored for Las Palmas in the 63rd minute, smashing home Kevin-Prince Boateng’s delivery, but Neymar restored Barca’s two-goal advantage just a few minutes later with a far-post header following Ivan Rakitic’s cross.

    And Neymar completed his hat trick soon after, tucking the ball home after being found by Jordi Alba, to put the game out of sight.

    • Real Betis 1 – 1 Atletico  Madrid

    Atletico Madrid drew 1-1 at Real Betis to secure third spot and qualification for the Champions League group stages next season.

    Dani Ceballos scored a 57th-minute opener for the hosts with a strike from the edge of the box following a Betis corner.

    However, Stefan Savic found an equaliser for Diego Simeone’s side in the 66th minute with a close-range strike to wrap up third place with one game of the season to spare. Sevilla are assured of fourth spot and will enter next season’s Champions League in the qualifying rounds.

    • Eibar 0 – 1 Sporting Gijon

    Sporting Gijon were relegated despite winning 1-0 at Eibar.

    Burgui’s 32nd-minute goal gave Sporting only their second away win of the season, but Deportivo La Coruna and Leganes both drew to doom them.

    • Athletic Bilbao 1 – 1 Leganes

    Leganes secured their safety with a 1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao.

    Artiz Adruriz’s close-range strike — his 16th league goal of the season — gave Athletic the lead after 13 minutes.

    But Alexander Szymanowski equalised on the hour with a header that meant so much for Leganes.

    • Villarreal 0 – 0 Deportivo La Coruna

    Deportivo also guaranteed themselves another season in the top flight with a goalless draw at Villarreal, whose failure to win handed Sevilla a ticket to the Champions League.

    • Real Sociedad 2 – 2 Malaga

    Real Sociedad failed to take advantage of Villarreal and Athletic, rivals for Europa League qualification, dropping points as they were held 2-2 at home by Malaga.

    Xabi Prieto gave Sociedad a 31st-minute lead from the penalty spot but Malaga went ahead through Luis Hernandez (45) and Recio (75) before Jon Bautista equalised five minutes from time.

    • ​Alaves 3 – 1 Celta Vigo

    Celta Vigo, fresh from their Europa League semifinal exit to Manchester United, lost 3-1 to Copa del Rey finalists Alaves as they suffered a fifth straight league defeat.

    Alaves scored three times in the opening 37 minutes through Manu Garcia, Zouhair Feddal and Deyverson, with Iago Aspas claiming a late Celta consolation from the penalty spot.

    On Saturday 
    Espanyol 0 – 1 Valencia

    Osasuna 2 – 1 Granada

    • Espanyol 0 – 1 Valencia

    Jose Gaya’s second-half goal gave Valencia a 1-0 away win at Espanyol.

    A game of little goalmouth action and few chances was settled after 75 minutes when 21-year-old defender Gaya scored with a left-foot shot from the left side of the penalty area.

    Espanyol could not muster a response and slipped to a third straight home loss, following defeats to city rivals Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, while Valencia secured back-to-back wins.

    • Osasuna 2 – 1 Granada

    Osasuna won the battle of the basement clubs with a 2-1 win over Granada.

    Jhon Steven Mondragon handed the home side the lead after 24 minutes, before Gustavo Ramos fired an unlikely equaliser for Tony Adams’ men four minutes before the break.

    Kenan Kodro then slotted home from close range 15 minutes from time to record a morale-boosting win and condemn Adams to yet another defeat in charge of El Grana.

    Ex-Sevilla boss Marcelino Garcia Toral appointed as Valencia’s sixth coach in two years

    Former Villarreal and Sevilla boss Marcelino Garcia Toral will take charge of Valencia, the sixth coach hired by owner Peter Lim in two years.

    Marcelino has signed a two-year  contract with the two-time Champions League finalists.

    Interim boss Voro will remain in charge of the Spanish club for the last two games away to Espanyol on Saturday and at home to Villarreal on 21 May.

    Valencia are 13th in La Liga, closer to relegation than a European spot.
    They started the season with former Liverpool assistant Pako Ayestaran in charge but he was sackedwith the side bottom of La Liga after losing their opening four games of the season.

    Marcelino, 51, had been a candidate to replace Ayestaran.
    However, league rules do not allow coaches to manage more than one club in the same season and Marcelino was deemed to have started the campaign at Villarreal, although he was sacked before their first game of the season in August.

    Former Italy boss Cesare Prandelli, 59, took charge of Valencia instead but resigned after 10 gamesin charge.
    Voro led the team to safety but has since confirmed he will leave at the end of the season.

    Former Manchester United and England defender Gary Neville, 42, was sacked by Valencia after less than four months in charge in March 2016.

    UEFA Champions League Play Off Draw

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    Manchester United have been handed a relatively easy draw against Club Brugge of Belgium as they seek to return to European Club Football premier competition. The stand out games of the round sees Valencia and Lazio facing Monaco and Leverkusen respectively.

    The draws in full as follows:


    Astana (KAZ)                      vs                            Apoel (CYP)

    Skenderbreu (ALB)         vs                            Dinamo Zagreb (CRO)

    Celtic (SCO)                        vs                            Malmo (SWE)

    Basel (SUI)                          vs                            M. Tel Aviv (ISR)

    Bate Borisov (BLR)           vs                            Partizan Belgrade (SRB)


    Man United (ENG)          vs                            Club Brugge (BEL)

    Sporting CP (POR)            vs                            CSKA Moscow (RUS)

    Rapid Wien (AUS)            vs                            Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR)

    Valencia (ESP)                   vs                            Monaco (FRA)

    Lazio (ITA)                           vs                            Bayer Leverkusen (GER)

    The first leg of the games will be played on 18/19th August while the return legs hold on 25/26th of August.

    The 10 winners of the play off will join the 22 other teams who qualified directly to the group stage. They include: Barcelona (holders), Bayern München, Chelsea, Benfica, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus, Zenit, PSV Eindhoven and Real Madrid. Others are Atlético Madrid, FC Porto, Arsenal, Manchester City, Sevilla, Olympique Lyonnais, Dynamo Kyiv, Olympiacos, Galatasaray, AS Roma, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Wolfsburg and  KAA Gent.

    Draw facts  

    If Valencia win their play-off, Spain will be the first nation to have five clubs in the same group stage.

    Borussia Mönchengladbach could be the 11th different German side to compete in the UEFA Champions League group stage, one more than France and behind only Spain on 13. • Astana are the only remaining European Cup debutants.