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The fittest Benzema has ever looked
Editorial

The fittest Benzema has ever looked

If you are a social media follower of Real Madrid's Karim Benzema, you will know how hard he has worked over the summer to get fit.

He has rarely been spotted outside the gym, or with some type of weights in his hand.

Taking full advantage of his vacation, the Los Blancos man looks lean and reported back to pre-season in great shape.

An image of the Frenchman seen laying on the medical examination table has surprised many, especially as he has been labelled overweight in the past.

Benzema lost six kilos between January and April and has carried on from his recent health kick.

The current transfer market always links Madrid with a new striker, but Karim wants to hit the ground running, going into the new season.

Zinedine Zidane is somewhat protective of his compatriot, and will be fully prepared for another year of discussions regarding BBC and whether they are suitable for his side.

Morata and James Rodriguez back at Real Madrid with their futures unresolved

Real Madrid pre-season training commences on Monday, July 10, with both Alvaro Morata and James Rodriguez working under huge question marks regarding their future.

While both want to leave and attain star man status at another top European club, there is no obvious route out for either player.

One man who is perfectly happy to see the pair is coach Zinedine Zidane, who would capably welcome Morata and Rodriguez back into the fold for the season ahead.

It's down to the players themselves to engineer an exit although striker Morata found out to his detriment how little desperation there is in the Madrid boardroom to sell for anything other than their concrete price tags.

With even Manchester United unwilling to find the cash for the Spaniard, and only minor rumours linking Rodriguez with a move, both are forced to start the campaign under Zidane's orders and Tuesday should see them head to North America for the club's summer tour.

Iniesta: I want to retire at Barcelona

Andres Iniesta wants to stay on at Barcelona after retirement from the game, and only sees himself ever representing the Catalan club on the pitch as well.

Speaking at the opening of an artificial football pitch at his former school in Fuentealbilla, the midfielder expressed his desire to continue his association with the club.

"I have always said I would like to retire at Barcelona," he said.

"It is the club I have been at since I was 12.

"I still have years left to play at the highest level so it is too early to decide my future, but Barcelona is where I want to be and hope to be for a long time.

Chelsea to make €70m offer for Borussia Dortmund's Aubameyang

After missing out on a move for Romelu Lukaku, who opted to reunite with Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, Chelsea are set to open negotiations to sign Borussia Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The Blues are also looking at a move for Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata, as the Gabon striker has a number of options to choose from, including Paris Saint-Germain and a big money move to the Chinese Super League.

Dortmund's starting price for offers is thought to be set at 70 million euros, which Chelsea were willing to pay for Lukaku, and it is thought that the Bundesliga side are more willing to discuss a deal than Real Madrid are with Morata.

Chelsea looking at options beyond the Spaniard complicates his future, with the player wanting to leave to find more regular minutes, and Antonio Conte's team was his first choice destination after United's signing of the Belgian.

Ronald Koeman: Rooney to play across Everton front line

Wayne Rooney will play across the front line for Everton, his manager Ronald Koeman said on Monday when the 31-year-old made his official return to the club after 13 years with Manchester United.

Rooney trained with his new team mates at their Finch Farm centre earlier in the day before addressing the cameras with Koeman when he said returning to the club was a "no-brainer".

Koeman immediately made clear that he expected Rooney to provide an offensive threat, ending suggestions that he might play in midfield.

"Everyone knows the qualities of Wayne. We're trying to get more productivity. He can be 10 behind the striker, the 9, the 7," said Koeman.

"We need to improve our goal strike rate. Last season Romelu (Lukaku) scored 25 goals and the next best was with four or five. That's not good enough. Wayne is the sort of player who can bring productivity to the team.

"Wayne was desperate to come back. He showed us in the first meeting that he likes the pressure. Some players need that to get the best out of themselves."

Koeman confirmed Lukaku is about to sign for United and presented Rooney with his favoured number 10 shirt before the news conference.

Rooney said he was delighted to be back at his boyhood club and intended to help them win their first major trophy since their 1995 FA Cup triumph over Manchester United at Wembley, a game he attended as a supporter.

"All my family are delighted to see me playing in a blue shirt again," said Rooney, adding that he had not contemplated a return until a lack of first-team opportunities at United forced his hand.

"Not being in the team at United was frustrating. My whole career I have played, that was then first time I was on the bench. It's not me. I need to play. But obviously I was captain there so I had to be positive.

"I never really thought about (returning to Everton) that much, only when I was at the stage when I had to take the next step.

"Once I knew Ronald Koeman was interested in bringing me back to Everton it was a no-brainer, it's where I wanted to play."

Rooney, who will be 32 in October, has signed a two-year deal at the club who finished seventh in the Premier League last season, one place behind United.

"I'm excited, it's a challenge which is the right time in my career. Hopefully, we will win trophies. This isn't a retirement home," he said.

Ronald Koeman: Rooney to play across Everton front line

Wayne Rooney will play across the front line for Everton, his manager Ronald Koeman said on Monday when the 31-year-old made his official return to the club after 13 years with Manchester United.

Rooney trained with his new team mates at their Finch Farm centre earlier in the day before addressing the cameras with Koeman when he said returning to the club was a "no-brainer".

Koeman immediately made clear that he expected Rooney to provide an offensive threat, ending suggestions that he might play in midfield.

"Everyone knows the qualities of Wayne. We're trying to get more productivity. He can be 10 behind the striker, the 9, the 7," said Koeman.

"We need to improve our goal strike rate. Last season Romelu (Lukaku) scored 25 goals and the next best was with four or five. That's not good enough. Wayne is the sort of player who can bring productivity to the team.

"Wayne was desperate to come back. He showed us in the first meeting that he likes the pressure. Some players need that to get the best out of themselves."

Koeman confirmed Lukaku is about to sign for United and presented Rooney with his favoured number 10 shirt before the news conference.

Rooney said he was delighted to be back at his boyhood club and intended to help them win their first major trophy since their 1995 FA Cup triumph over Manchester United at Wembley, a game he attended as a supporter.

"All my family are delighted to see me playing in a blue shirt again," said Rooney, adding that he had not contemplated a return until a lack of first-team opportunities at United forced his hand.

"Not being in the team at United was frustrating. My whole career I have played, that was then first time I was on the bench. It's not me. I need to play. But obviously I was captain there so I had to be positive.

"I never really thought about (returning to Everton) that much, only when I was at the stage when I had to take the next step.

"Once I knew Ronald Koeman was interested in bringing me back to Everton it was a no-brainer, it's where I wanted to play."

Rooney, who will be 32 in October, has signed a two-year deal at the club who finished seventh in the Premier League last season, one place behind United.

"I'm excited, it's a challenge which is the right time in my career. Hopefully, we will win trophies. This isn't a retirement home," he said.
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