Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Inter will contest the European Solidarity Cup in 2021 with the aim of raising money for healthcare resources in Italy and Spain in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Spain and Italy have been two of the hardest-hit European nations during the COVID-19 outbreak, recording 27,709 and 32,007 deaths, respectively.

Everyday life – including sport – has seen massive changes across both countries over the past two months, with lockdown measures only recently beginning to be eased.

The three European giants will play matches next year to determine the winner of the European Solidary Cup, but the main purpose will be to aid the purchasing of healthcare supplies and express gratitude to medical professionals for their work during the pandemic.

The matches will be played across each of the three cities, with the tournament announced for 2021 in the hope fans will once again be able to attend.

A statement released by Los Blancos read: "Real Madrid are set to team up with Bayern Munich and Inter to host the European Solidarity Cup in 2021. The three clubs will come together to send out a message of solidarity and fraternity to the people of Europe.

"The solidarity event will see three football matches held during 2021 in the cities of Madrid, Munich and Milan. The dates for these games will depend on the competitive calendar and of course will take place when the fans are able to return to the stands.

"The three teams will all come up against each other: Madrid vs Inter will happen in Madrid, Inter vs Bayern is set for Milan and Bayern vs Madrid will be held in Munich. The proceeds from these games will go towards the purchase of healthcare resources in Italy and Spain.

"Healthcare staff who continue to fight the pandemic will be represented at all of the games. The three clubs wish to demonstrate to these heroes all of our solidarity, respect and gratitude."

Bayern resumed their 2019-20 Bundesliga campaign on Sunday with a 2-0 win over Union Berlin.

LaLiga and Serie A are not expected to recommence until next month at the earliest, however.

West Ham and Crystal Palace's pre-season fixtures in Australia have been postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Premier League clubs and A-League outfit Brisbane Roar were due to play in Queensland in July ahead of the 2020-21 season.

However, those fixtures were unsurprisingly postponed on Wednesday due to COVID-19, which has killed more than 177,000 people worldwide.

"It is a real shame that we will no longer be able to make it over to Queensland this summer, however, it is the right decision to postpone given the circumstances," West Ham manager David Moyes said in a statement.

"The players and I were really looking forward to seeing our fans and the people of Australia, especially as there was great excitement and support for the tournament.

"This is a situation that has affected the entire world, though, and the only thing that matters at this time is that people stay safe and well.

"We hope the tournament can be rearranged at a later date once things are back to normal, and we look forward to visiting Australia in the future."

Australia has seen more than 6,600 coronavirus cases, including 74 deaths.

Brazil can feel the confidence Liverpool midfielder Fabinho has brought to the squad, according to coach Tite.

Fabinho made his 11th appearance for Brazil off the bench in a 1-0 loss to Argentina on Friday, having made an impressive start to the Premier League season.

Tite said the 26-year-old had added plenty to Brazil, who are on a five-match winless run ahead of facing South Korea on Tuesday.

"Fabinho has built a positive growing. All the times he played, he played very well," he told a news conference.

"And he brings confidence from his club to the Brazil national squad. In a natural way, and we can feel it. It's not that you can only see it, you can feel it.

"Fabinho is playing his normal football in a role that he also has at Liverpool."

Brazil are winless since lifting the Copa America trophy in July, putting some pressure on Tite at the helm.

Tite was criticised by Rivaldo after the loss to Argentina, the Brazil great unhappy with the decision to give Lucas Paqueta – who was substituted at half-time – the number 10 shirt.

However, Tite would not be drawn into firing back at Rivaldo, instead speaking of his respect for the former Barcelona star.

"I respect opinions, I don't give opinions on them. I learnt to respect them," he said.

"And I also have a very clear opinion on Rivaldo. He was a great player and the image that comes to me is of him controlling the ball on the chest and scoring in Barcelona. The most beautiful thing in this world. That's my opinion."

Lionel Scaloni is satisfied with Argentina's progress after a friendly draw against Uruguay on Monday.

Argentina came from behind twice to secure a 2-2 draw in Tel Aviv, where Lionel Messi's stoppage-time penalty cancelled out Luis Suarez's goal after Edinson Cavani and Sergio Aguero had struck earlier.

It extended Argentina's unbeaten run to seven matches as they continued preparations for 2022 World Cup qualifying, which begins next year.

Scaloni is pleased with Argentina's development, although the coach still sees room for improvement.

"At the level of results, we are fine. At the level of the game, it can be improved," he said, via Ole.

"The team feeling is the best we have. The important thing is that the players who play do it well. Some make a difference and others support."

Scaloni acknowledged the challenge awaiting his team, describing the CONMEBOL qualifiers as the toughest in the world.

"Now we have to think about what we did well and what we can correct. What is coming is difficult," he said.

"I spoke with people from Uruguay. It will be difficult in the qualifiers. Those in South America are the most difficult in the world.

"We have a good base."

Tite has dismissed Lionel Messi's credentials as the greatest footballer of all time after insisting comparisons between him and "phenomenal" Brazil legend Pele have "no credibility." 

The Brazil coach and Messi exchanged words in Friday's game against Argentina, with Tite claiming the Barcelona forward told him to shut up during the friendly defeat in Riyadh.  

Tuesday marks the 50th anniversary of Brazil legend Pele scoring his 1,000th goal and, speaking ahead of his side's clash against South Korea in Abu Dhabi the same day, Tite says three-time World Cup winner Pele remains out in front when it comes to the question of whether he or Messi is best.

He said: "Pelé is incomparable. Anybody who wants to compare Pelé to any other athlete...do you know what I do? I hear but I don`t listen.

"It's as if this person doesn't know the history of this man's quality... this guy was phenomenal. Once I said that Messi is extraordinary.

"I meant he's extraordinary to the present time and among humans, with his creativity. Pele is out of normal patterns and I'm not saying this because I'm a Brazilian. You can't find a defect.

"If somebody comes to me and starts to make comparisons, for me it has no credibility."

The loss to Argentina meant Brazil are now five matches without victory, yet Tite remains philosophical over the Copa America winners' form.

He added: "I'm not desperate to win. I'm happy to be where I am. I'm aware of the pressure but I have no desperation. I don't have any of this. What I do want is to make a great game."

Tite has warned South Korea's threat extends far beyond just that of Tottenham forward Son Heung-min.

He added: "We know about Korea's strengths, on their important victory against Germany [in the World Cup] and we respect them. We know about their individual forces, not only Son, but others and the team as a whole."

Lionel Messi was delighted with Argentina's win over Brazil, saying the rivalry between the South American nations was stronger than ever.

On his international return, Messi scored the only goal of the game in Riyadh as Argentina recorded a 1-0 friendly win.

The star tapped in a rebound after his penalty was saved by Alisson, while Gabriel Jesus earlier put a spot-kick wide for Brazil.

The win over Brazil was Argentina's first against their rivals since 2017 and Messi talked up the significance.

"The rivalry is lived more than ever and it is always good to beat Brazil," he said, via Ole.

"When you win, you work better. The ideas of the coach are carried out on the pitch in another way and it is positive for what is coming."

Argentina face Uruguay in another friendly on Monday as they continue preparations for the start of the gruelling CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying beginning in March next year.

Messi praised the defensive efforts of Lionel Scaloni's side, who stretched their unbeaten run to six games.

"There is little left for the qualifiers. There is a good team feeling," the Barcelona star said.

"On the defensive level we made a big effort."

Brazil head coach Tite said he was told to shut up by Argentina captain Lionel Messi in the friendly clash between the South American rivals.

Messi returned from a three-month international ban to lead Argentina past Brazil 1-0 thanks to his 13th-minute goal in Riyadh on Friday.

Argentina star Messi missed Argentina's previous four matches due to a suspension for accusing CONMEBOL of favouring hosts Brazil – who won their semi-final meeting – at the Copa America and he was in the thick of the action against Tite's Selecao.

Messi and Tite exchanged words in the opening half, with the Barcelona superstar seen putting his fingers to his lips as the Brazil boss complained to the referee.

"I complained because he [Messi] should have been shown a yellow card and he told me to shut my mouth and I told him to shut his mouth," Tite said. "And that was it."

Tite added: "I don't want to answer anymore on it. You need a strong referee because he'll swallow you… It should have been a card, I was right to complain."

Messi's goal condemned Brazil – who have struggled since lifting the Copa America trophy – to their fifth consecutive match without victory.

Tite accepted Brazil were under pressure after their winless run continued with a 1-0 loss to rivals Argentina in a friendly on Friday.

Lionel Messi scored the game's only goal on his return to the Argentina team in Riyadh, converting a rebound after Alisson saved his penalty in the 13th minute.

Gabriel Jesus had earlier put a penalty wide for Brazil, who are winless in five games since lifting the Copa America in July.

Tite said there was pressure on Brazil – who face South Korea in another friendly on Tuesday – amid their poor run of results.

"There is a need for the result, yes. There are moments of pressure and this is one," Tite told a news conference.

"The way we are going to look is carefully, but the need for the result occurs, even at a time of preparation."

Brazil were without the injured Neymar, and they are feeling the absence of the Paris Saint-Germain star.

Tite's side have scored just four goals in their past five games and the coach lamented Brazil's inability to take their chances.

"Translating opportunities into goals is key, and I also speak of the penalty," he said.

James Rodriguez has been ruled out of Colombia's friendly against Peru on Friday after suffering a knee injury in training.

The Real Madrid midfielder, 28, will miss the clash in Florida after hurting his left knee, the Colombian Football Federation (FCF) said in a statement on Thursday.

James complained of "discomfort" in his left knee during training, leading to the FCF ruling him out of the Peru fixture.

"The player was evaluated by the medical body and his first diagnosis is reserved," the statement said.

"For now and as a precaution, the player James Rodriguez is ruled out for the match against Peru.

"In the next few hours, a detailed imaging study will be carried out to confirm the definitive diagnosis."

Colombia are winless in their past five matches and will also face Ecuador on Tuesday.

James has made nine appearances for Madrid this season, scoring once.

Sean Maguire pulled the strings as the Republic of Ireland beat New Zealand 3-1 in their Dublin friendly.

The Preston North End forward scored the goal of the game and was the home team's most lively performer, with Blackburn Rovers' Derrick Williams and Sheffield United's Callum Robinson also netting for Mick McCarthy's side.

For all three scorers, the goals were their first at international level.

Youngster Callum McCowatt had given New Zealand a lead on the half-hour mark and he caught the eye more than Burnley's Chris Wood, before the All Whites ran out of steam.

Thursday's clash was a warm-up, ostensibly, for the Republic before a crucial Euro 2020 qualifier against Denmark, but it was a fringe team selected by McCarthy.

The home side had the first clear chance but left-back Williams could only produce a shot-cum-clearance from 12 yards after Alan Browne's cross.

New Zealand – appearing after a 525-day absence from the senior international stage – broke through when the hosts' backline was picked apart and McCowatt slid home a fine cross from the left by Liberato Cacace.

It made for a promising start to the reign of new head coach Danny Hay, the former Leeds United and New Zealand defender who in August succeeded Fritz Schmid in the post.

However, Ireland ultimately overpowered their visitors. Williams surpassed his earlier wayward effort on the stroke of half-time, heading in Robbie Brady's corner for an equaliser.

New Zealand captain Winston Reid was substituted at half-time, the West Ham defender having made his first senior appearance since March 2018 after a knee injury.

Ireland went in front after 52 minutes when Maguire cracked a 20-yard strike into the top-right corner, and he created a string of chances for others.

Robinson grabbed the Republic's third in the 75th minute, meeting Lee O'Connor's fine cross from the right with a stooping header from eight yards.

 

What does it mean?

Not even McCarthy was seriously looking for a statement performance to send out a warning to Denmark. The XI that faces the Danes will be pretty much unrecognisable, as McCarthy has already acknowledged. This game afforded the kids a chance, seeing who might become contenders for a tournament Ireland might not even reach. For New Zealand, a new dawn under Hay means dreams of reaching the Qatar 2022 World Cup finals. The more games they play, the better. Just what have they been doing for the last year and a half?

Maguire stakes a claim

On a chilly night in Dublin, Maguire was a livewire on the right side of Ireland's front three. He may be the big beneficiary of this friendly, a player that could come in and make things happen for the Irish back at their home stadium on Monday.

Voting with their feet

The Irish public made it clear what they thought of this game. The stands were half empty, being generous, for what was a glorified training game. It will be a different story on Monday.

What's next?

Beat Denmark next week and the Republic will be through to the Euro 2020 finals. New Zealand will not face another near 18-month wait for a fixture, with their next game coming up on Sunday against Lithuania.

Barcelona claimed a 2-0 win at third-tier side Cartagena on Wednesday in a match raising money for those affected by flooding in Murcia earlier this year.

A year's worth of rain fell in 24 hours back in September, causing significant damage to farmland, properties and facilities in the south-eastern region.

The charity fundraiser was well attended for the visit of Barca, who named a strong starting XI that included Neto, Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto, Junior Firpo and Ousmane Dembele.

Former Spain international Pique was withdrawn with the game still level in the 37th minute, while Dembele followed at half-time.

Despite the presence of first-team regulars, it was highly rated 20-year-old midfielder Riqui Puig who caught the eye most, impressing with his vision, close control and positive approach. 

Puig played a role in the opening goal just past the hour, prodding the ball to Carles Perez on the edge of the box after being crowded out and the forward lashed home.

Alejandro Marques wrapped things up late on, turning home Sergio Akieme's low cross.

Luis Suarez is back for Uruguay for his nation's friendlies against Hungary and Argentina this month.

The Barcelona star last featured for his country at the Copa America earlier this year, but is set for a return after being named in a 22-man squad on Friday.

Suarez missed Uruguay's matches against Peru last month, instead staying in Barcelona to undergo medical treatment.

The 32-year-old has found form for his club, moving onto eight goals in 12 games in all competitions this season.

Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani, Real Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde and Inter pair Diego Godin and Matias Vecino are also part of the squad.

Uruguay face Hungary in Budapest on Friday before taking on Argentina in Israel three days later.

Uruguay: Martin Campana (Independiente), Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray); Sebastian Coates (Sporting CP), Diego Godin (Inter), Giovanni Gonzalez (Penarol), Diego Laxalt (Torino), Bruno Mendez (Corinthians), Gaston Silva (Independiente), Mathias Suarez (Montpellier), Matias Vina (Nacional); Rodrigo Bentancur (Juventus), Brian Lozano (Santos Laguna), Nahitan Nandez (Cagliari), Lucas Torreira (Arsenal), Federico Valverde (Real Madrid), Matias Vecino (Inter); Edinson Cavani (PSG), Maxi Gomez (Valencia), Brian Rodriguez (Los Angeles FC), Jonathan Rodriguez (Cruz Azul), Cristhian Stuani (Girona), Luis Suarez (Barcelona).

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