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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Trending: Juventus release Dani Alves, Ronaldo stars for Portugal

Craig Burley believes Pep Guardiola's defence still needs improving, even if Dani Alves decides to join Manchester City.

Thursday's latest stories from the world of football in ESPN FC's What's Trending...

JUVENTUS: Juventus have confirmed that Dani Alves will be released from his current contract, further clearing the way for Manchester City to secure a deal for the former Barcelona defender.

- Juventus' general manager Beppe Marotta says that Alex Sandro can leave this summer if he is no longer happy, and confirmed a suitable bid has been received.

- Sampdoria forward Patrik Schick arrived in Turin...

Mario Gotze close to Dortmund return after long illness

Gab Marcotti and the FC crew debate the ever-evolving saga of Aubameyang, and if, or when he will move on from Dortmund.

Borussia Dortmund have said Mario Gotze is close to returning to training following the "metabolic disturbances" that have kept him on the sidelines since late February.

Gotze, 25, could return to team training when Dortmund begin their preseason preparations under new head coach Peter Bosz on July 7.

A picture published by German tabloid Bild on Thursday morning showed Gotze during a running session while on holiday in Florida. The Germany international, who had appeared unfit while struggling...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Cristiano Ronaldo mascot overcome with emotion at Confederations Cup

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo kisses the mascot on the head before the game.

Confederations Cup mascot Polina Haeredinova, 10, lived a moment she will never forget after she was wheeled onto the pitch by Cristiano Ronaldo before Portugal's 1-0 victory over Russia.

Haeredinova, who is in a wheelchair, said she was overcome with joy just to meet her idol, but did not expect to get a kiss on the forehead from him as well.

"I didn't expect this to be such an incredible experience," she told Russia Today. "Cristiano Ronaldo was outstanding. He gave me his team jacket and a kiss...

Thrill of seeing Cristiano Ronaldo outweighs Russia's defeat for host fans

Cristiano Ronaldo avoids commenting on his future with Real Madrid following Portugal's win over Russia.
Cristiano Ronaldo's former Portugal teammate Simao believes the forward is at his best when he is under immense pressure.

MOSCOW -- Portugal's visit to Russia for the Confederations Cup is a great gift to numerous local fans of Cristiano Ronaldo. The Real Madrid star is extremely popular in the tournament's host country, as he is just about anywhere on the globe, and a number of Russia supporters came to the Wednesday game against the European champions wearing the shirt of Ronaldo.

The expectations for the Russian national team are so low that fans were not afraid to openly support the opponents. Dima Taranenko caught...