By JUSTIN FERGUSON
Despite widespread rumors of a summer move to the Premier League, David Villa will stay in Spain for the upcoming season—but he will not be calling Camp Nou home anymore.
Barcelona have reached an agreement to move the 31-year-old forward to Atletico Madrid in a deal that will be worth no more than €5.1 million ($6.6 million). Atletico will pay €2.1 million this season, €2 million more if Villa stays at Atletico next year and €1 million more should the top goalscorer in Spanish national team history stay at the Vicente Calderon for a third season.
After scoring 23 goals in his debut season with the La Liga giants, Villa missed most of Barcelona’s 2011-12 season with a broken tibia. Villa, who joined Barcelona from Valencia in May 2010 for €40 million ($51 million), came off the bench in most of his appearances for the club this past season.
Villa will reportedly take a significant pay cut to join an Atletico side that recently sold its top goalscorer, Radamel Falcao, to big-spending Ligue 1 outfit AS Monaco. His first match leading the attack for Los Colchoneros could be against his old club—defending Copa del Rey champions Atletico will face La Liga winners Barcelona in August’s Spanish Super Cup.
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CLUB PRESIDENT SAYS RONALDO WILL RETIRE AT REAL MADRID
On the other side of the Spanish capital, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez addressed several rumors swirling around the Bernabeu on Tuesday, including ones on the future of Cristiano Ronaldo.
In an interview with Univision, Perez said the superstar winger, who has been rumored to make a move back to Manchester United during his recent contract drama, will retire at the club.
“(Ronaldo) wants to finish his career at Real Madrid and Real Madrid wants him to retire here too, like Zidane and many others have done,” Perez said.
Perez also talked about players linked with the club through North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur. He said Madrid have not made a bid for Spurs winger Gareth Bale. Likewise, Perez said that the Gunners had not yet made an offer for current Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain.
BENTEKE SUBMITS TRANSFER REQUEST AT ASTON VILLA
Although he has spent less than a year at Aston Villa, striker Christian Benteke has formally expressed his desire to leave the Premier League side before the start of the 2013-14 season.
The 22-year-old Belgian striker, who has been linked recently to several Premier League and La Liga clubs, handed in a transfer request late Tuesday. In a statement, Aston Villa said Benteke will be allowed to leave if it receives an acceptable offer “within an appropriate timeframe during preseason”, but the club expected him to remain at Villa Park.
“While we’re hugely disappointed that Christian has put in a transfer request, it’s important that people appreciate we are trying to build something strong and vibrant here at the club, something this club demands and stands for, and we want Christian to be part of that,” Villa manager Paul Lambert said.
Aston Villa also confirmed that Benteke did not travel with the rest of the club for its preseason trip to Germany but clarified by saying he was given extra time off until July 18. The former Genk player played a major role in Villa’s successful battle to avoid relegation last season, scoring 19 goals in 34 appearances.
DORTMUND SIGN SHAKHTAR’S MKHITARYAN
After a season that ended with disappointment in the Champions League final and a sale of midfielder Mario Gotze to Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund have wasted no time in reloading for their upcoming campaign.
Dortmund have completed a transfer for highly touted Armenian international Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Shakhtar Donetsk. The deal is worth €27.5 million ($35 million), and the attacking midfielder has signed a four-year deal with the Bundesliga club.
Mkhitaryan joined the Ukrainian champions in August 2010 after one full season with crosstown rivals Metalurh. In 106 appearances for Shakhtar, the attacking midfielder scored 46 goals, 28 of them coming in 2012-13 league play.
Dortmund fans should not expect any more noise from the club for the rest of the transfer window. After signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Saint-Etienne and Sokratis Papastathopoulos from Werder Bremen, club officials say almost all of Dortmund’s €50 million ($64.5 million) summer transfer budget has been spent.
The two La Liga editions of El Clasico for the upcoming season will be on October 27 in Barcelona and March 23 in Madrid. (REPORT)
Atletico Miniero have confirmed there are five offers on the table for talented young Brazilian midfielder Bernard. (REPORT)
After securing the services of former Liverpool man Andy Carroll in a permanent transfer, West Ham United are reportedly looking to bring in Stewart Downing from Anfield. (REPORT)
Everton have confirmed the signing of striker Arouna Kone from new manager Roberto Martinez’s former club, Wigan Athletic. (REPORT)
The Dubai Sports Council has extended the contract of Argentinian legend Diego Maradona, who has served as an ambassador for the council since his firing from local club Al-Wasl. (REPORT)
What do you make of these reports? Surprised to see Villa move to Atletico? See Ronaldo staying at Real Madrid for the rest of his career? Where do you think Benteke will be at the start of next season?
Share your thoughts below.