Real, PSG, Bayern and Juve open Rudiger talks | Rangnick an admirer

Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Juventus have all opened talks with Antonio Rudiger’s representatives over a pre-contract agreement this month.

Ralf Rangnick, the Manchester United interim manager who will take up a consultancy at Old Trafford in the summer, is also an admirer of Rudiger and knows the Chelsea defender’s brother – who is also his agent – well.

Rudiger’s Chelsea contract expires at the end of the season and he is now free to discuss a deal with foreign clubs ahead of a free transfer in the summer.

Chelsea remain keen to extend Rudiger’s contract and remaining at Stamford Bridge has not been ruled out by the Germany international’s camp.

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However, the Blues’ most recent offer – made at the start of the season – was dismissed by Rudiger and his representatives as it promised to pay him only half of what the club’s top earners make.

Despite the uncertainty over his future, Rudiger is understood to remain committed to Chelsea for the remainder of his contract and focused on helping Thomas Tuchel’s side achieve their objectives.

Tuchel continues to count on Rudiger, with the head coach starting his compatriot in 20 Premier League games this season – the most of any Chelsea outfield player.

Rudiger joined Chelsea from Roma in July 2017 and has gone on to win the FA Cup, Europa League and Champions League with the club.

Chelsea could be facing further departures in defence this summer, with Cesar Azpilicueta, the captain, and Andreas Christensen also seeing their contract expire this summer.

However, Thiago Silva will remain at Stamford Bridge next season after signing a one-year contract extension on Monday.

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Euro: Muller, Lewandowski milestones in Bayern win

Bayern Munich’s Thomas Mueller celebrated his 400th Bundesliga appearance with a goal and an assist as the champions crushed Wolfsburg 4-0 on Friday to go into the winter break with a nine-point lead at the top of the standings.

Top scorer Robert Lewandowski also broke the record for most league goals in a calendar year three minutes from the end, volleying in his 43rd for 2021 to better Gerd Mueller’s 42-goal run from 1972.

Mueller opened the scoring, tapping in on the rebound in the seventh minute after ‘keeper Koen Casteels had palmed a Serge Gnabry shot into his path.

He then set up Dayot Upamecano with a clever chip to head in their second goal in the 57th minute, before Leroy Sane curled a superb shot into the top far corner two minutes later to put the game to bed.

Robert Lewandowski celebrates with Jamal Musiala after scoring Bayern Munich's fourth goal
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Robert Lewandowski celebrates with Jamal Musiala after scoring Bayern Munich’s fourth goal

Lewandowski was desperate to end the year on a high after missing out on the Ballon d’Or to Lionel Messi, but first fired over the bar in the 66th minute and was then denied at point-blank range by Casteels with a superb piece of goalkeeping.

But he did not miss from close range in the 87th minute to hand toothless Wolfsburg their fourth consecutive league loss and their seventh straight defeat in all competitions.

Bayern Munich celebrate after Dayot Upamecano's goal
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Bayern Munich celebrate after Dayot Upamecano’s goal

Bayern – chasing a record-extending 10th straight league crown – are on 43 points, with Borussia Dortmund, in second place on 34 points, travelling to Hertha Berlin on Saturday.

The Bundesliga will break for three weeks and then resume on January 7.

Serie A – Inter thrash Salernitana

Ivan Perisic scored early on for Inter Milan
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Ivan Perisic scored early on for Inter Milan

Inter Milan notched a sixth consecutive Serie A victory by thrashing bottom side Salernitana 5-0 to stretch their lead at the top of the standings to four points.

Ivan Perisic headed in the opener before Denzel Dumfries smashed in a second before the break, marking the first time in Inter’s history that they have reached 100 Serie A goals in a single calendar year.

Alexis Sanchez fired in a third before substitutes Lautaro Martinez and Roberto Gagliardini completed the rout to leave the hosts bottom of the table with eight points.

Inter are top with 43 points, four clear of AC Milan in second, who play Napoli on Sunday evening.

Elsewere, Lazio beat Genoa 3-1 with goals from Pedro, Francesco Acerbi and Mattia Zaccagni.

La Liga – Aspas return to guide Celta to victory

Santi Mina scored inside three minutes for Celta Vigo
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Santi Mina scored inside three minutes for Celta Vigo

Back after missing two matches, Iago Aspas scored and played a part in two more goals to lead Celta Vigo to a 3-1 win over Espanyol.

The veteran striker, who missed one game because of suspension and another because of injury, set up Santi Mina to open the scoring three minutes after kick-off.

Aspas doubled the advantage two minutes after half-time when he curled a shot around two defenders and goalkeeper Diego Lopez before the ball went in off the post. It was Aspas’ eighth goal of the season.

Substitute Denis Surez added a third in the 82nd minute after Aspas started a counter-attack before playing the ball wide for Hugo Mallo to assist Suarez.

Loren Moron lobbed in Espanyol’s only goal with an audacious strike from near the centre line in stoppage time that caught goalkeeper Matias Dituro out of position.

Gnabry scores hat-trick as Bayern thrash Stuttgart

Serge Gnabry scored a hat trick as Bayern Munich stretched their lead in the Bundesliga to nine points with a 5-0 hammering of Stuttgart.

Before the game, Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann told Sky in Germany it was certainly not time to congratulate his team on the title already, but the victory showed just how dominant they can be.

Stuttgart survived an early string of chances for Bayern to score, and even created a couple of their own, before Gnabry curled the ball into the top-right corner in the 40th minute to open the scoring.

Serge Gnabry celebrates one of his three goals against Stuttgart (Pic: firo Sportphoto/Marcel Engelbrecht/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)
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Serge Gnabry celebrates after scoring against Stuttgart

Thomas Muller set up Gnabry for a second goal just after half-time, before a run of three goals in five minutes finished off Stuttgart.

Robert Lewandowski chipped the ball over the goalkeeper in the 69th minute, before tapping in a Gnabry cross three minutes later. Soon after, Gnabry completed his hat-trick when a cross from Muller was palmed into his path by the ‘keeper.

The ga me was played in an empty stadium because of state-level restrictions following a rise in coronavirus cases.
Bayern forward Kingsley Coman went off with a possible hamstring injury in the first half.

Bayern Munich
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Bayern Munich’s players celebrate their convincing win at Stuttgart

Stuttgart stay 15th in the table after a defeat which brought Pellegrino Matarazzo’s team back down to earth following a 2-0 upset victory over Wolfsburg on Saturday.

What’s next?

Stuttgart travel to Cologne on Sunday (4.30pm), while Bayern host Wolfsburg on Friday (7.30pm), with both Bundesliga games live on Sky Sports.

CL last 16 re-draw after Man Utd-Liverpool-Atletico error

UEFA will conduct a new Champions League last-16 draw at 2pm after a mistake involving Atletico Madrid, Liverpool and Manchester United.

UEFA said a “technical problem” was to blame and resulted in the original draw being declared void.

The issue arose when Group B runners-up Atletico were drawn and their possible last-16 opponents – all group winners – were then put into a separate pot, but United were not included.

Teams who met in the group stages are supposed to be kept apart in the last-16 draw. United did not face Atletico in the groups, but Liverpool did, and Jurgen Klopp’s side were mistakenly put into the pot to potentially face Atletico – who were then drawn against Bayern Munich.

The original draw had seen United set to play Paris Saint-Germain, while Liverpool had been drawn against Salzburg.

Champions League – original last-16 draw

  • Benfica vs Real Madrid
  • Villarreal vs Manchester City
  • Atletico Madrid vs Bayern Munich
  • Salzburg vs Liverpool
  • Inter Milan vs Ajax
  • Sporting Lisbon vs Juventus
  • Chelsea vs Lille
  • Paris Saint-Germain vs Manchester United

UEFA said in a statement: “Following a technical problem with the software of an external service provider that instructs the officials as to which teams are eligible to play each other, a material error occurred in the draw for the UEFA Champions League Round of 16.

“As a result of this, the draw has been declared void and will be entirely redone.”

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says given the problems with the initial Champions League draw a re-draw is the fair and right thing to do

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola believes UEFA has made the correct decision to repeat the draw.

Speaking at a press conference to preview his side’s game with Leeds on Tuesday, Guardiola said: “I think it is fair. It was a mistake but sometimes these things can happen.

“If there was a mistake you have to repeat so it is not suspicious.”

How UEFA’s Man Utd gaffe prompted re-draw

The Champions League draw was conducted in Nyon by UEFA deputy general secretary, Giorgio Marchetti, and UEFA head of club competitions, Michael Heselschwerdt, with the help of special guest Andrey Arshavin.

Eight balls representing eight runners-up were in one bowl, while eight group winners were in individual pots.

Every winner was to be drawn against a runner-up from a different group and football association.

Heselschwerdt confirmed that the draw process would see one runner-up drawn from the runners-up pot. A computer would then indicate which winners could be drawn against them. Balls containing the names of eligible opponents would be placed together into another bowl, from which one eligible group winner would be drawn and paired with the runner-up.

How the draw farce unfolded…

Draw starts: Benfica are the first team drawn from the runners-up pot – and subsequently paired with Real Madrid.

Villarreal error: Villarreal are drawn from the runners-up pot as Marchetti said: “Villarreal can be paired against all the other seven teams”. Arshavin draws Man Utd from the pot of eligible opponents, prompting Marchetti to correct his earlier assertion and say: “This is not possible because Man Utd were in the group so we need to do another one.”

Apology: Arshavin instead draws Manchester City but Marchetti apologises for “the technical issue that our draw is experiencing” as a delay occurs in City’s name appearing on screen as Villarreal’s opponents.

Man Utd missing: Atletico are drawn from the runners-up pot as Marchetti says: “The possibilities are all except Liverpool, who were in the same group, and Manchester United; Manchester United have already been drawn.” Manchester United have not already been drawn but Heselschwerdt appears to pick Liverpool and miss picking Man Utd when placing balls representing Atletico’s eligible opponents into the bowl. Arshavin draws Bayern to face Atletico.

Draw concludes: The rest of the draw is concluded, with Liverpool drawn against Salzburg and Man Utd eventually drawn against PSG.

Re-draw? The draw concludes but reports emerge of clubs immediately questioning the draw. Sky Sports News contacts UEFA about the possibility of a re-draw.

Draw void! UEFA admits a “technical problem with the software of an external service provider that instructs the officials as to which teams are eligible to play each other” caused a “material error” and declares the draw void, to be re-done later on Monday afternoon.

CL re-draw pits Man Utd against Atletico after initial error

A re-draw for the Champions League last 16 has pitted Manchester United against Atletico Madrid after Ralf Rangnick’s side had initially been drawn to face Paris Saint-Germain.

A surprise turn of events saw the initial last-16 draw declared void after what UEFA called a “technical error” involving Atletico Madrid, Liverpool and Manchester United.

The re-draw took place three hours later, and Liverpool now face Serie A champions Inter Milan, Chelsea drew Ligue 1 winners Lille – having done so in the first draw as well – while Manchester City will take on Sporting Lisbon.

United looked to have been offered the biggest reprieve after drawing PSG in the initial draw, but a meeting with Atletico in European competition since 1991 will still provide a stern test.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid will perhaps feel the most aggrieved by the error – they were drawn against Benfica in the morning but will now face PSG instead.

Elsewhere, Liverpool’s reward for becoming the first English side to win all six Champions League group games is a tie with Inter, who won Serie A last season and currently top the table after 17 games.

It was a case of deja vu for defending champions Chelsea, who were drawn against Lille in both the original and rescheduled draw.

City, last season’s losing finalists, face Sporting for the first time since the two sides met in the Europa League nine years ago.

Champions League last-16 draw

Salzburg vs Bayern Munich

Sporting Lisbon vs Manchester City

Benfica vs Ajax

Chelsea vs Lille

Atletico Madrid vs Manchester United

Villarreal vs Juventus

Inter Milan vs Liverpool

Paris Saint-Germain vs Real Madrid

Liverpool became the first English side to win all six Champions League group stage games
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Liverpool became the first English side to win all six Champions League group stage games

When are the last-16 ties?

The last-16 ties will be split across different weeks, with the first legs taking place on February 15-16 and February 22-23.

The second legs are then on March 8-9 and March 15-16.

How UEFA’s Man Utd gaffe prompted re-draw

Cristiano Ronaldo played a pivotal role as Manchester United topped their Champions League group
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Manchester United were initially drawn against PSG

The Champions League draw was conducted in Nyon by UEFA deputy general secretary, Giorgio Marchetti, and UEFA head of club competitions, Michael Heselschwerdt, with the help of special guest Andrey Arshavin.

Eight balls representing eight runners-up were in one bowl, while eight group winners were in individual pots.

Every winner was to be drawn against a runner-up from a different group and football association.

Heselschwerdt confirmed that the draw process would see one runner-up drawn from the runners-up pot. A computer would then indicate which winners could be drawn against them. Balls containing the names of eligible opponents would be placed together into another bowl, from which one eligible group winner would be drawn and paired with the runner-up.

What was the original Champions League last-16 draw?

  • Benfica vs Real Madrid
  • Villarreal vs Manchester City
  • Atletico Madrid vs Bayern Munich
  • Salzburg vs Liverpool
  • Inter Milan vs Ajax
  • Sporting Lisbon vs Juventus
  • Chelsea vs Lille
  • Paris Saint-Germain vs Manchester United

How the draw farce unfolded…

Draw starts: Benfica are the first team drawn from the runners-up pot – and subsequently paired with Real Madrid.

Villarreal error: Villarreal are drawn from the runners-up pot as Marchetti said: “Villarreal can be paired against all the other seven teams”. Arshavin draws Man Utd from the pot of eligible opponents, prompting Marchetti to correct his earlier assertion and say: “This is not possible because Man Utd were in the group so we need to do another one.”

Apology: Arshavin instead draws Manchester City but Marchetti apologises for “the technical issue that our draw is experiencing” as a delay occurs in City’s name appearing on screen as Villarreal’s opponents.

Man Utd missing: Atletico are drawn from the runners-up pot as Marchetti says: “The possibilities are all except Liverpool, who were in the same group, and Manchester United; Manchester United have already been drawn.” Manchester United have not already been drawn but Heselschwerdt appears to pick Liverpool and miss picking Man Utd when placing balls representing Atletico’s eligible opponents into the bowl. Arshavin draws Bayern to face Atletico.

Draw concludes: The rest of the draw is concluded, with Liverpool drawn against Salzburg and Man Utd eventually drawn against PSG.

Re-draw? The draw concludes but reports emerge of clubs immediately questioning the draw. Sky Sports News contacts UEFA about the possibility of a re-draw.

Draw void! UEFA admits a “technical problem with the software of an external service provider that instructs the officials as to which teams are eligible to play each other” caused a “material error” and declares the draw void, to be re-done later on Monday afternoon.

What are the key dates?

Last 16 first legs: February 15/16/22/23

Last 16 second legs: March 8/9/15/16

Quarter-final & semi-final draw: March 18

Quarter-final first legs: April 5/6

Quarter-final second legs: April 12/13

Semi-final first legs: April 26/27

Semi-final second legs: May 3/4

Final: May 28 – Gazprom Arena, Saint Petersburg