Bale looks for Wembley return

Bale looks for Wembley return

November 1 is the date circled in red marker pen on Gareth Bale's calendar as he hopes to return from injury for Real Madrid's game away to Tottenham Hotspur.

Coming off against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League match at the start of October, a comeback at Wembley Stadium would represent a month out of action due to a calf problem.

Already, Bale has sat out two crucial World Cup qualifiers for Wales and three games for Real; against Espanyol, Getafe, and Tuesday's 1-1 draw with Spurs.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel as the winger is back in training on Thursday morning as he looks to convince Zinedine Zidane of his fitness.

The weekend game with Eibar will come too soon for Bale, though, as it will for fellow injured Madrid men Dani Carvajal and Mateo Kovacic.

Neymar fined 1.2 million dollars for tax evasion

Paris Saint-Germain attacker Neymar has been hit with a 3.8 million Brazilian Real fine (around 1.2 million dollars) after he acted in 'bad faith' in his attempt to delay a process for tax evasion.

The sanction was imposed on Tuesday by the Third Room of the Federal Regional Court of the Third Region of Brazil, in a process where the justice determined that in September 2015, with an embargo of 192.7 million reals (about 62.2 million dollars) on the attacker's assets as they looked to ensure the payment of taxes that were owed.

The fine extends to Neymar's parents and to the three companies that administer the career of the player, judicial sources reported this Thursday.

The value of the fine corresponds to two percent of the value that the federal treasury of Brazil expects to receive from Neymar for evaded taxes and fines.

Neymar was accused by the Brazilian treasury two years ago of having not paid all of his taxes in full between 2011 and 2013, and having used his family's businesses to pay less taxes.

According to the collecting body, the winger created companies so that he could divert earnings from wages and image rights, meaning that he would pay a lower tax rate (15-25 percent) than he would as an individual (27.5 percent).

Judge Carlos Muta said Neymar's conduct in the case 'violates the dignity of justice' and accused him of delaying tactics that 'embarrass' the process.

Neymar: I hope to do for Mbappe what Messi did for me

Neymar and Kylian Mbappe are shining in the Paris Saint-Germain frontline with both scoring in the thumping 4-0 Champions League win over Anderlecht and the Brazilian said he wants to give his strike partner similar support to what he got from Lionel Messi.

Neymar arrived at Barcelona as a youngster with plenty of potential and he was helped by Messi who was the established star of the team.

"I think he is a golden boy," Neymar said.

"He does very good things and he is a great footballer.

"He has all the qualities to become one of the best players in the world and I will help him as best I can.

"I want to do for him what Messi did for me at Barcelona."

Real Madrid have no buy-back clause for Mariano

While the topic of back-up striker has debated intensely at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Mariano Diaz's summer exit cannot be undone with a buy-back clause.

Besides having Karim Benzema, Real Madrid were able to provide cover with Alvaro Morata and Mariano a year ago and both filled in admirably, allowing Benzema the rest he needed while making sure the club continued to win in his absence.

While Morata moved to Chelsea this summer in a big money move, Dominican international Mariano left for France on what was believed to be a temporary stay. Both have played well in their new surroundings, forcing many Real fans to question the club's decision to get rid of both and settle with Borja Mayoral.

However on Thursday afternoon, Lyon distributed a press release, adamant on clarifying the specifics of the Mariano transfer.

"There is no buy-back clause in the transfer of Mariano Diaz, contrary to previous reports by some in the Spanish media," the statement said.

"Olympique Lyonnais had precisely explained the terms of the transfer in its press release dated June 30, 2017, namely a transfer amount of 8 million plus euros an interest of 35 percent on the capital gain of a possible future transfer.

"Any other information than that given in the press release of Olympique Lyonnais is therefore erroneous."

Kane to frame Cristiano Ronaldo's shirt

They were rivals on the pitch but as soon as Real Madrid's Champions League match against Tottenham Hotspur ended there was mutual respect as Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Kane exchanged shirts.

Kane is a big fan of the Portuguese, and he confessed after the match that he will have his newest possession framed.

"I asked for his shirt and I am going to get it framed," he said.

"He has been a role model for me.

"I gave him my shirt too, but I don't know what he'll do with it."

Although he didn't score, Kane put in a good performance at the Bernabeu and both he and Spurs received praised from the international press for taking the match to the European champions.

"It was a statement of intent," said Kane of the performance.

"A few years ago we were playing in the Europa League but now we felt like we could win at the Bernabeu.

"That shows what kind of team we are and it gives us confidence for the Premier League because we have shown we can do it against the best team in the world."

Napoli fear European hangover ahead of Inter clash

Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri is unhappy at facing Inter Milan so soon after visiting Manchester City in the Champions League while his opponents in Saturday's Serie A showdown believe their absence from Europe could prove a blessing.

Leaders Napoli have won all eight league matches this season, while second-placed Inter, fresh from a derby win over AC Milan, have won seven and drawn one, making the fixture one of the most eagerly anticipated of the season.

However, while Inter have had all week to prepare, Napoli had to travel to the home of Europe's most in-form team for a Champions League tie they lost 2-1 on Tuesday.

In a move that is unlikely to have won him any friends at European football body UEFA, Sarri made it clear that Saturday's Serie A game would be his priority.

The logic behind his thinking -- that City will win all their group matches and that Tuesday's match was one he could afford to lose -- may also have struck a chord with those who feel the Champions League has become too predictable.

"City are the strongest team in the group and will probably win all six matches. Other matches will be decisive for us," he said.

In the event, Sarri rested midfield duo Allan and Jorginho in favour of Amadou Diawara and Piotr Zielinski. However, winger Lorenzo Insigne suffered a muscular injury which leaves him doubtful for Saturday.

"I am not diminishing the importance of the Champions League but I will rest players every now and then when they need it," said Sarri, adding that Diawara and Zielinski were more than adequate replacements.

"If we changed two players and weren't competitive, that would be a problem. I kept getting criticised for playing the same team, and now I'm criticised for changing too much."

Sarri, whose side also visited AS Roma the previous weekend, took a swipe at Serie A organisers for the timing of Saturday's match.

"Somebody at the league got it wrong when they drew up the fixture list," he said. "It's impossible to play on Saturday against AS Roma, away to Manchester City three days later and at home to Inter another four days after that."

He also foresaw future problems.

"In December, we will play our last (Champions League) group game against Feyenoord and a few days later, we face Juventus," he added. "It's not a good situation for us when we are representing Italy in Europe." The Italian league could not immediately reached for comment.

Inter, by contrast, missed out on Europe altogether after finishing seventh in Serie A last season, considerably easing their fixture list.

"It'll be an important advantage that we can rest midweek without European commitments," forward Ivan Perisic said after Sunday's 3-2 win over Milan.

"Napoli are the best side in Italy at the moment, but we are Inter."

Conte: Mourinho should focus on Manchester United instead

The war of words between Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte has continued with the Chelsea coach suggesting his Portuguese counterpart should focus on his team instead.

The reigning Premier League champions have been hit by a series of injuries with wing-back Victor Moses sidelined with a hamstring problem whilst the absence also of N'Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater leaves Cesc Fabregas as the side's only recognisable playmaker.

Their fortunes took a further turn for the worst with David Luiz suffering a knock to his calf while Tiemoue Bakayoko also picked up an injury during their 3-3 draw against Roma.

Following Manchester United's 1-0 victory over Benfica on Wednesday, the Portuguese tactician quipped that managers too often "cry and cry and cry" over injuries, perhaps in reference to Conte's statement bemoaning his club's injury crisis.

However, the former Italian national team coach slammed Mourinho for his comments, reminding his opposite number of successes his former side enjoyed last season.

"He talks about me, but what he has to do is think about his team and start looking at himself, not at others," he said.

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