‘Happy’ Bale and Benzema staying with Real Madrid, says Rafa Benitez

Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez remains confident Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema will both still be at the Bernabeu this coming season.

Bale has long been linked with a move to Manchester United and, with Angel di Maria poised to leave Old Trafford for Paris St Germain, fresh talk about a possible bid for the world’s most expensive player has re-emerged in the media.

It is a similar story with Benzema, with Arsenal the latest in a long line of reported suitors believed to be keen on the 27-year-old France international.

However, new Madrid boss Benitez is not expecting either forward to be leaving the club any time soon.

He said: “Gareth is a huge player for us and I know that he’s happy.

“I’m not going to talk about offers. Everything is well and he’s going to have a good season with us I’m sure.” On speculation about Benzema, former Liverpool boss Benitez added: “My answer is that I think Benzema is going to stay with us. I’m very happy with him. There’s no reason to think he’s going to go.” Meanwhile, Juventus director general Giuseppe Marotta admits the club cannot offer Paul Pogba a ‘crazy salary’ but reiterated their desire to keep hold of the highly-rated France international.

Juve turned down a reported €80m bid for Pogba from Barcelona last month and Marotta concedes the Turin club cannot offer the 22-year-old midfielder the sort of salary some of their European rivals can.

Marotta said: “It’s obvious that we would like to keep him until he stops playing, but we can’t afford to do anything crazy in terms of salaries and some clubs can guarantee twice what we can.” Meanwhile, Brazilian right-back Rafael has agreed to move to Lyon from Manchester United.

The Ligue 1 club announced the 25-year-old defender will sign a four-year deal, until June 2019.

Rafael was told he could leave United earlier this summer after being left out of the squad for the club’s pre-season tour of the United States.

Leicester have snapped up defender Yohan Benalouane from Atalanta.

The 28-year-old has signed a four-year deal to become the Foxes’ second signing of the day after N’Golo Kante joined from Caen.

“Defender Yohan Benalouane has completed a move to Leicester City on a four-year deal subject to international clearance and Premier League and FA approval,” the club said in a statement.

Tunisia international Benalouane has moved for an undisclosed fee and becomes the club’s fifth signing of the summer. He started his career at St Etienne before moving to Italy in 2010, when he signed for newly promoted Cesena in Serie A.

He moved to Parma in 2012 before a switch to Atalanta in January 2014 and joins midfielder Kante to become Claudio Ranieri’s second signing since being appointed last month.

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