Gossip column: Diego Costa, Messi, Vermaelen, Candreva, Xavi

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Forward Lionel Messi says Argentina must improve despite beating Bosnia-Hercegovina 2-1 - a performance for which coach Alejandro Sabella awarded just six out of 10. Daily Mailexternal-link

Argentina forward Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi believes Argentina can get better despite winning their World Cup opener

Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo says a lack of game time could explain the sub-par performance of his Spain counterpart Iker Casillas in the shock 5-1 defeat to Netherlands. As.com (in Spanish)external-link

Italy striker Mario Balotelli says the Azzurri, who beat England 2-1 in their opening match, can win the World Cup and should be feared by other teams. Daily Starexternal-link

Striker Daniel Sturridge says he is gutted after "letting everyone in England down" following the 2-1 defeat by Italy in their opening game of the World Cup. Guardianexternal-link

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has warned England manager Roy Hodgson that Wayne Rooney, 28, is less effective when he plays out wide. Daily Mirrorexternal-link

Meanwhile, Rooney has conceded that he is facing a battle to keep his place in England's starting line-up for Thursday's vital World Cup game with Uruguay. Times (subscription only)external-link

Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, 36, says his Ivory Coast team-mate Serge Aurier, 21, who set up his country's two goals in the win over Japan, has the capacity to step up seamlessly to the Premier League if he leaves Toulouse. Guardian external-link

Nigeria's national team coach Stephen Keshi, who won the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations with the Super Eagles, feels African sides are close to winning a World Cup. Bild (in German)external-link

Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque is ready to make big changes to his line-up for the next game against Chile.Sun (subscription only)external-link

Meanwhile, Brazil-born Spain striker Diego Costa, 25, says the defeat by the Netherlands will serve as a lesson for the defending world champions.As.com (in Spanish)external-link

Boss Arsene Wenger will give striker Joel Campbell, 21, the opportunity to establish himself at Arsenal after he impressed in Costa Rica's shock win over Uruguay at the World Cup. The 21-year-old has had loan spells at Lorient, Real Betis and Olympiakos.Independentexternal-link


Diego Costa
Diego Costa's proposed £32m move to Chelsea appears to be close to completion

Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa, 25, claims he is close to completing his transfer to Chelsea and is looking forward to playing for "one of the greatest clubs in the world". Goal.comexternal-link

Napoli manager Rafael Benitez has no plans to sign Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina, 31, on loan for a second season and the Spaniard's future remains uncertain after being told he is not required at Anfield. Liverpool Echoexternal-link

Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen, 28, has agreed a deal in principle to join Manchester United this summer. Daily Telegraphexternal-link

Liverpool target Antonio Candreva, 27, could leave Lazio in the summer after the Italy international midfielder said he wants to play in the Champions League. Daily Expressexternal-link

Barcelona midfielder Xavi, 34, is likely to leave the Nou Camp and join Qatari club Al-Saad. L'Equipe (in French)external-link

Meanwhile, Barca have reached a deal to sign former Real Madrid forward Gonzalo Higuain, 26, from Napoli. Marca (in Spanish)external-link

Everton manager Roberto Martinez wants to sign seven new players this summer, including Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku, 21, and Dutch duo Jeremain Lens, a 26-year-old forward, and 22-year-old defender Stefan de Vrij. Daily Starexternal-link

Prospective Southampton boss Ronald Koeman has lined up Celtic's Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk, 22, for £8m as his first signing. Daily Mirrorexternal-link

Chelsea, Newcastle and AS Roma are targeting Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after the 24-year-old forward hinted at leaving Borussia Dortmund. Bild (in German)external-link

Real Madrid are looking at Benfica's 21-year-old Slovenian goalkeeper Jan Oblak to replace Iker Casillas. Marca (in Spanish)external-link

Arsenal could be set to miss out on Alvaro Morata after Wolfsburg submitted a £15.9m offer for Real Madrid's 21-year-old striker. Independentexternal-link

Meanwhile, the Gunners are interested in signing Real Sociedad's emerging right-back Joseba Zaldua, 21. Daily Mirrorexternal-link

Athletic Bilbao are interested in a cut-price move for Spanish defender Nacho Monreal, 28, who joined Arsenal for £8m in 2013. Daily Expressexternal-link

Crystal Palace, Sunderland and Aston Villa are showing interest in Marseille midfielder Morgan Amalfitano, 29, who impressed on loan at West Brom last season. Daily Mailexternal-link

Sunderland are close to signing Romania goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon, 27, who was recently told that his contract would not be renewed at Manchester City. Times (subscription only)external-link


Cristiano Ronaldo
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo works hard on his physique

Portugal's World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo lifts the equivalent of 16 cars and does up to 3,000 sit-ups a day to keep his body in trim. Daily Mailexternal-link

Shaheen the camel has been put forward as a successor to 2010 World Cup score predictor Paul the octopus after correctly forecasting the outcome of England versus Italyexternal-link and Netherlands' shock win against Spain. Gulf Newsexternal-link

Discarded Argentina striker Carlos Tevez, 30, has revealed he intends to be "happy" and "eat a chicken in a club" now that he is a World Cup spectator. Tuttosport (in Italian)external-link

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