'Annoyed' Theo Hernandez ready to turn back on France

France could be set to lose out on the talents of Theo Hernandez to Spain, with the left-back frustrated at a lack of call-ups.

Real Madrid full-back Theo Hernandez is "annoyed" at his lack of involvement in the France setup and has opened the door to potentially representing Spain.

Theo has played for several of France's youth teams and has emerged as one of the world's best young players.

However, he is yet to be picked for their Under-21s or the senior side, despite enjoying a fine campaign at Deportivo Alaves last season and since going on to make a solid start to life at Real Madrid.

The 20-year-old's brother Lucas Hernandez has played for the Under-21s, but the chances of them playing together at international level are becoming slimmer, as Theo conceded he is getting frustrated with the situation and may opt to play for Spain.

"If France doesn't call me, we'll see," he is quoted as saying by Marca. 


Guardiola's Catalonia stance dismissed by Spanish minister

Inigo Mendez de Vigo dismissed Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola's thoughts on politics as akin to his own on nuclear physics.

Pep Guardiola has been sharply rebuked by Spanish government spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo after the Manchester City manager dedicated his side's Champions League win over Napoli to two jailed Catalan separatist politicians.

Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, leaders of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Omnium Cultural respectively, appeared before the High Court in Madrid on Monday and are being held without bail while under investigation for sedition.

Sanchez and Cuixart were leading figures in Catalonia's October 1 independence referendum, which was deemed to be illegal by the Spanish government, and their arrests prompted protests on Tuesday.


More players should speak their mind like Pique, says Filipe Luis

Barcelona's Gerard Pique has split opinion recently, but Filipe Luis is a big admirer of the defender's outspoken nature.

Atletico Madrid defender Filipe Luis commended Barcelona's Gerard Pique for speaking his mind with regards to the recent Catalan independence referendum, saying that more footballers should be like him.

Centre-back Pique has not been far from the headlines in recent weeks, with the 30-year-old coming out in support of the disputed vote without aligning himself with either side in the debate.

Despite refusing to publicly back the yes or no campaigns, some Spanish football fans jeered Pique during an open training session while away on international duty, with sections of their support questioning his commitment to Spain.

Filipe Luis, who will face Pique when Barcelona visit Atletico on Saturday, has come out in support of the former Manchester United youngster's attitude.


Netherlands join England, Germany and Spain in top Nations League division

Netherlands, Iceland and Croatia will join Europe's biggest footballing countries in the top division of the new Nations League.

England, France, Germany and Spain are among the 12 teams confirmed as participants in the top division of the new UEFA Nations League competition.

Portugal, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Iceland and Croatia are also in League A.

The inclusion of Netherlands, who make the cut despite failing to qualify for Euro 2016 and the upcoming World Cup, may come as a surprise, the line-ups having been decided according to teams' position in the UEFA coefficient rankings as of October 11.

League B contains Austria, Wales, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Ukraine, the Republic of Ireland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northern Ireland, Denmark, Czech Republic and Turkey.


Israel 0 Spain 1: Illarramendi brilliance lights up turgid affair

Spain were far from their free-flowing best against a well-drilled Israeli side, but a moment of magic late on handed them all three points.

A stunning strike from Asier Illarramendi ensured Spain finished their World Cup qualifying campaign with a flourish as they edged out Israel at the Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem.

Julen Lopetegui's much-changed side were a long way from their fluent best and had to rely on a moment of magnificence from the Real Sociedad midfielder, who thrashed a 25-yard half-volley into the top corner of Ariel Harush's net in the 76th minute.

Pedro had earlier wasted a golden opportunity to break the deadlock at the end of the first half, while Jonathan Viera and Marco Asensio also came close with long-range strikes.


Thiago escapes serious ankle injury, could face Freiburg

Bayern Munich hope Thiago Alcantara will be back in action swiftly after tests confirmed he has escaped a serious ankle injury.

Thiago Alcantara could return against Freiburg on Saturday after Bayern Munich confirmed he has not suffered a major ankle injury.

The 26-year-old will sit out Spain's final World Cup qualifier against Israel on Monday after an MRI scan showed he had picked up a problem following the 3-0 win over Albania last week, in which he scored his side's third goal.

Subsequent tests have identified a strain to his ankle ligaments but Bayern expect him to miss only a handful of training sessions and hope he will be available when their Bundesliga title defence resumes this weekend.

"Thiago has strained an interior ligament in his ankle and must only take a short break from training," the club said in a statement.

"The 26-year-old will in all probability be back for the home game against Freiburg."


Ramos relationship is phenomenal, insists Pique

Gerard Pique says his relationship with Sergio Ramos is so good they even plan to go into business together in future.

Gerard Pique insists he has a "phenomenal" relationship with Sergio Ramos despite reports of a rift within the pair.

The Barcelona centre-back has been the subject of jeers from Spain fans during national team training sessions in recent days in the wake of his support for the Catalan independence referendum last Sunday.

There has also been speculation of a falling-out with Real Madrid captain Ramos after a tweet from Pique in support of the controversial vote provoked further anger among some supporters.

Pique held a news conference on Wednesday where he insisted he is fully committed to the national team's cause and would not be forced into retirement by his critics.

The 30-year-old stressed he has an excellent relationship with Ramos and is even planning on a future business venture with the former Sevilla man.


Impassioned Pique out to win back support after rejecting Spain retirement

Gerard Pique has affirmed his commitment to Spain amid the furore surrounding the disputed independence referendum in Catalonia.

Gerard Pique is ready for the "challenge" of winning back support from Spain fans after admitting he considered retiring from international football.

Pique's support for the right to hold the Catalan independence referendum last Sunday, which was deemed illegal by the Spanish government and led to violent clashes between police and voters, has led to further scrutiny over his position within Julen Lopetegui's squad.

The centre-back was jeered by some supporters when he arrived for training with the national team this week ahead of their final World Cup qualifiers against Albania and Israel.

Pique suggested last week he would consider stepping aside from Spain duties if it would help to improve the overall atmosphere between the fans and the team.


You can always be replaced – Busquets still on his toes ahead of 100th Spain cap

Spain midfielder Sergio Busquets is set to reach 100 caps in this international break, a milestone he feels is "really special".

Sergio Busquets says he feels more important for Spain as he prepares to win his 100th cap, but will never take his place for granted.

Midfielder Busquets, who has 99 appearances for La Roja, is suspended for Friday's home World Cup qualifier against Albania, but will get the chance to reach his century at the age of just 29 against Israel on October 9.

The Barcelona star is glad his place in Spain's team is not one that gets debated in the media, but feels there are many players who are capable of stepping into his shoes ahead of a milestone that means a lot to him.

"I have always felt important, but it's true that all the time you notice that more," Busquets said to Sport.

"You realise, for example, that the opposition get on top of you so that you touch the ball as few times as possible. 


Pique whistled at Spain open training session

Tensions ran high at Spain's training camp as Barcelona defender Gerard Pique, a Catalan independence advocate, was jeered.

Gerard Pique was whistled by fans when the Barcelona defender took part in a Spain training session on Monday, as political tensions in the country continue to spill into sport.

Barca played out a 3-0 victory over Las Palmas at an empty Camp Nou on Sunday, amid unrest in the region surrounding Catalonia's independence referendum.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu made the call to keep supporters at the gates after LaLiga refused to sanction a postponement, describing his decision as a "rejection of what has been experienced", while the stadium scoreboard bore the message "Democracia", featuring an illustration of a ballot box.

Pique has been vocal in his support of Catalonia's attempts to secede from Spain, prompting a backlash from those who fall on the other side of the argument.


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