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Chelsea's Kenedy has medical ahead of Newcastle loan return - sources

Chelsea's Kenedy has medical ahead of Newcastle loan return - sources

ESPN

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has directed all member nations to carry out magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests on their players ahead of 2019 U-17 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers.

The MRIs are used to determine the ages of the teenagers, who must be under 17 to train ahead of the qualifiers, to avoid instances of possible age cheating. It's been used by FIFA since 2003 to ensure players are eligible, by scanning the bones in their wrists.

Nick Mwendwa, president Football Kenya Federation (FKF) told KweséESPN on Tuesday that CAF has said it is compulsory to carry out the MRI tests.

"Yes, it is true we have all been asked to have the young players undergo the MRI tests. I think it is a good move so that we do away with cries of age cheating," said Mwendwa.

Ahmed Hussein, the Uganda FA communications manager also confirmed to KweséESPN that his country's teens will undergo testing ahead of the tournament in Tanzania in August.

"We shall conduct the MRI tests on all the 31 players summoned, starting on July 10 to July 15th," he said.

"The tests will be conducted to ascertain the true age of players because it is one of the requirements by CAF."

Hussain added that although doing the MRI tests is an expensive venture, it is worth it to avoid problems in the future.

Both Kenya and Uganda will battle in the regional qualifiers (central East Zone) slated for August 11-26th in Dar es Salaam. The qualifiers will feature Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Djibouti.

Only one team will advance from the qualifiers to join the other teams from other regions for the 2019 AFCON U-17, slated for May 12-26th in Tanzania.

Apart from the hosts, each of the six zones receive one spot in the final tournament, and the zone of the defending champions receive an additional spot. Since Mali won the 2017 event, West A Zone receive two spots.

The top three teams at the 2019 tournament will qualify for FIFA U-17 World Cup in Peru next year.

Marco Asensio is staying at Real Madrid despite reports linking him with a move to Liverpool, his agent has said.

Last month, Spain attacker Asensio said he wanted to leave any talk about his future until after the World Cup, with reports suggesting Liverpool could make a €180 million offer for him.

The 22-year-old has has emerged as one of Spain's leading talents over the past two seasons, but agent Horace Gaggioli told Calciomercato he would be staying at the Bernabeu.

"Marco is going nowhere," he said. "He is improving a lot, and I believe next season will be very important for him. He's staying at Madrid."

Gagglioli added that he felt Cristiano Ronaldo would end up joining Serie A champions Juventus.

"I believe Cristiano will leave Real Madrid," he said. "They say it is at 98 percent [probability], and I believe if he does leave his new home will be Juve. But that is just my personal opinion."

Both AS and Marca suggested Juventus could present a €100m offer for Ronaldo to Madrid very soon.

Spanish news agency EFE, meanwhile, said it had been told by Italian blood donation organisation AVIS that they "will be working with the biggest star in current football -- Cristiano Ronaldo."

The reported partnership will see Ronaldo's image used on posters and a donation bus.

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan

Chelsea winger Kenedy has undergone a medical ahead of a season-long loan move to Newcastle, sources have told ESPN FC.

The Brazilian impressed at St. James' Park in the second half of last season, scoring two goals and providing two assists in 13 Premier League appearances after joining on loan from Stamford Bridge in January.

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte considers Kenedy as surplus to requirements and although the Italian's own future at Stamford Bridge remains unclear due to the ongoing pursuit of Maurizio Sarri, the Blues have still been willing to make decisions regarding the players on the fringes of the first-team squad.

Kenedy was a prime candidate to be sold this summer to raise funds for first-team signings, but Chelsea have opted to loan him back to Newcastle after failing to find a club willing to meet their asking price, reportedly around £20 million.

There was hope at Chelsea that Kenedy could establish himself as an alternative to Marcos Alonso at left wing-back but he did not earn Conte's trust, making only five appearances across the Carabao Cup and FA Cup between August and January.

Emerson Palmieri's arrival from Roma for around £20m at the end of the winter window then pushed Kenedy further down the pecking order, and it was decided that a loan to Newcastle for the remainder of the campaign was the best option to rebuild his value.

Asked about the possibility of returning to Newcastle in an interview with the Daily Mail in April, Kenedy said: "I am enjoying my time at Newcastle, but obviously I have a contract at Chelsea. If something occurs then I will be more than happy, it is a good place for me. I like it."

Chelsea are yet to buy a single player this summer, as the prolonged uncertainty surrounding Conte and Sarri has had a paralysing effect on the club's transfer plans in a window already complicated by the World Cup and compressed by the Premier League's earlier deadline, set for Aug. 9.

ESPN