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Barca-FansIn a signing that would not have been placed if the upcoming transfer ban was not happening, Barcelona have signed right-back Douglas from Brazilian side Sao Paulo in a deal worth 5.5 million euros.

The deal seems to have more than an eye on next season as Barca already have right backs Dani Alves and Martin Montoya.

The agreement should take Barca’s summer outlay to around 155 million euros, with the Catalan club stocking up on players due to the one-year transfer ban imposed on the club by FIFA.

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Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso has announced his retirement from international football.

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The 32-year-old was a member of the Spain squads which won the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ and UEFA EURO 2008 and 2012 during a sustained period of dominance – but that run came to an end with this year’s World Cup in Brazil as La Roja were dumped out before the group stages had even concluded.

Alonso, who made his Spain debut in April 2003 as a 21-year-old, retires with 114 caps to his name.

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di-maria-mufcManchester United have smashed the British transfer record to sign Angel di Maria from Real Madrid. United confirmed the signing of the Argentina winger on Tuesday after he completed a medical. United have paid £59.7m for the former Benfica player, who has signed a five-year contract with his new club.

The fee eclipses the previous British transfer record of £50m, which Chelsea paid for Fernando Torres in 2011. It also exceeds the £37.1m sum United paid for Juan Mata in January.

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ronaldo4Real Madrid got their Spanish La Liga campaign off to a winning start as they defeated newly promoted Cordoba 2-0 at home, but champions Atletico Madrid were held 0-0 away to Rayo Vallecano on Monday.

Real were far from convincing at the Bernabeu but got the three points thanks to Karim Benzema’s first-half header and a characteristic thumping finish into the bottom corner from Cristiano Ronaldo in stoppage time.

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leo-messi2A Lionel Messi brace and a delightful finish from teenager Munir El Haddadi kicked off Luis Enrique’s Barcelona reign with a 3-0 win over Elche in the Primera Division.

Messi got back to his marauding best and scored the opening goal before Javier Mascherano saw red in the closing stages of the first half.

With Barcelona down to 10 men Munir stole the limelight, latching on to a ball over the top from summer signing Ivan Rakitic before deftly flicking it into the top corner with the outside of his left boot.

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DIEGO-SIMEONEAtletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has been handed an eight-game ban by the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) following his actions during Friday’s Super Cup second leg against Real Madrid. Simeone was sent to the stands during the first half of the clash at the Vicente Calderon after aggressively remonstrating with the fourth official, who he then tapped on the back of the head.

The Argentinian’s ban has been made up of four different punishments and includes a combined fine of €4,805. Atletico have also been fined €2,800. Simeone has ten days to appeal the sanctions, which apply to any RFEF competition.

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Mario-Mandzukic-AMAtletico Madrid gained some measure of revenge for their UEFA Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid by beating their city rivals 1-0 at the Vicente Calderon on Friday to win the Spanish Super Cup 2-1 on aggregate. The hosts made the best possible start as Mario Mandzukic volleyed home the winner from Antoine Griezmann’s pass after just 90 seconds.

Real coach Carlo Ancelotti had named Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench due to the effects of a hamstring injury that had seen him withdrawn from the first leg. However, even the Portuguese could not break down Atletico’s typically well-organised defence as they held on to end Real’s hopes of claiming six trophies this season.

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sevilla-europa-leagueMarcelino insists his Villarreal players still have work to do before they can reach the UEFA Europa League group stages, despite Thursday night’s 3-0 victory at Astana. Goals from Cani, Giovani dos Santos and Mario Gaspar in Kazakhstan ensured the Yellow Submarine built a healthy lead in the two-legged play-off.

Barring a shock result at El Madrigal next week, Marcelino’s men will make it through to the next round, but the former Sevilla boss knows Astana have the potential to raise their game for the second leg. He told villarrealcf.es:

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DIEGO-SIMEONEDiego Simeone has already conceded that Atletico Madrid may have fallen too far behind Barcelona and Real Madrid to retain their Spanish title. Despite emerging from the shadows of La Liga’s big two to claim their first title for 18 years last season, the Atleti coach believes that a summer of aggressive spending by those sides will make it extremely tough to defend their crown.

“I don’t like lying to people, and one thing is clear: we cannot compete with Real and Barcelona,” Simeone told La Gazzetto Dello Sport. “Our rivals are Sevilla, Valencia, Athletic Bilbao, and the target is third place.

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luka-modricCroatia midfielder Luka Modric has signed a new four-year contract with Real Madrid.

The 28-year-old midfielder, who started in Tuesday’s Spanish Super Cup first-leg draw against Atletico Madrid, moved to the Bernabeu in 2012 and helped Carlo Ancelotti’s side to UEFA Champions League and Copa del Rey glory last term.

“Real Madrid CF announces the extension of Luka Modric’s contract, linking him to the club for the next four seasons,” a short statement from the club read.

Modric arrived at the Bernabéu at the end of the summer 2012 after a lengthy tug of war for the player with Tottenham Hotspurs. He cost 30 million euros plus add ons, and signed a four year deal.

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