Pep Guardiola expressed his disagreement with the idea of a breakaway competition for Europe's top clubs, saying a prospective Super League would "kill" domestic football.

Reports suggesting Bayern Munich and their chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge might attempt to lead the creation of a new competition for Europe's biggest clubs have been circulating since late 2018, and Guardiola is one of many to have voiced their concern.

Bayern and Rummenigge have strongly denied the reports but rumours persist that the clubs who dominate their respective leagues might seek to establish a year-round competition that offers the quality, competitiveness and lucrative rewards of the Champions League.

Guardiola was asked for his views on a breakaway league in an interview with Catalan daily newspaper Ara, and he said: "I do not agree much with the idea. Someone should explain to me [why it's a good idea].

"If it happens we'll kill the leagues. If Barca and Madrid go and they do not play against Espanyol, who will follow the league? The Spanish league will die.

"In England they are very intelligent, the grounds of the fourth division are full. England will not let this essence of local football die."

Guardiola's failure to deliver glory in the Champions League has been one of his few shortcomings during an otherwise hugely successful three-year spell at Manchester City.

City have been knocked out in the round of 16 once and the quarter-finals twice under Guardiola, but he expressed his appreciation for the Champions League's format while making it clear he does not see an alternative European competition as the way forward for anyone.

"Part of the greatness of the Champions League is that it is not every Sunday," said Guardiola. "If games were every week it would lose its charm.

"Barcelona v Espanyol is very necessary for the city. And the more Catalan teams in LaLiga, the better.

"If we kill the domestic leagues, nobody will be interested in watching teams that do not have the chance to go to the European league."

Pep Guardiola has reaffirmed his commitment to Premier League champions Manchester City and ruled out a return to Barcelona.

Guardiola led City to an unprecedented domestic treble last term, although they fell short of Champions League glory once more.

The Catalan was then linked with a move to Juventus as a replacement for Massimiliano Allegri, but indicated he was not interested in a switch to Serie A with Maurizio Sarri instead lured from Chelsea.

Former Bayern Munich boss Guardiola has long been linked with a return to Barcelona, where as manager he won the Champions League twice, as well as a trio of LaLiga titles.

But in an interview with Catalan newspaper Ara, Guardiola indicated he sees his long-term future at the Etihad Stadium, with his City contract running to 2021.

"I have everything here, sincerely, everything I need," Guardiola said of City, who have won the Premier League two years running.

"Work at home [in Spain] is more wearing because the emotions are so intense and the press conferences harder.

"Here, in Manchester, I have [director of football] Txiki [Begiristain], who is the most important person of my career because he trusted me when I was no one.

"I have [chief executive] Ferran [Soriano] also, who sometimes asks, 'How can it be so cold?'. But, at the same time, he manages with a brutal precision.

"When I win I am good, when I lose I am bad. That is the same everywhere, but in this club we are three or four people deciding in the sporting area, there isn't the noise of 18 board members.

"I extended my contract because we have a young team, I have everything I desire to do my job. I won't go back here [to Barcelona] or Germany.

"Where can I find facilities so good as in such a beautiful league as the Premier League?"

Sergio Aguero's healthy selfishness helped inspire Gabriel Jesus back to form but the Brazil striker will still "tease" his Manchester City team-mate if the Selecao oust Argentina from the Copa America.

Jesus and host nation Brazil face their fierce rivals in a blockbuster quarter-final in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday.

Tite's side needed penalties to scrape past Paraguay in the last 16, with a rejuvenated Jesus, who made his second start of the tournament, converting the winner.

It was a moment of relief after a tough season at club level that yielded only seven Premier League goals, but three in two games for Brazil in June marked a change in fortunes and the 22-year-old credits Aguero's example for playing a part in his improvement.

"I had a difficult time at City at the beginning of last season, I wasn't well and I didn't play much, but my family and the people who surround me helped me a lot," Jesus said.

"I sought a physical trainer to help me and he is with me today.

"And I tried to shoot more at goal. My average of shots was very low - there where games where I didn't have a shot on goal. That complicated things a little.

"Today I want to shoot more. That has changed a lot, at City and here with the national team. It's one of the main things I've changed.

"I see other attackers like Aguero, he shoots a lot at goal and this makes things easier.

"I have learned a lot from him. But now he is on one side and I'm on another."

As he prepares to face another City team-mate, Nicolas Otamendi, in what could be a head-to-head battle, Jesus knows there is plenty at stake.

"These are two giant teams, two countries with great history in football," the former Palmeiras player said.

"Brazil, since we play at home and are in a better moment, has more pressure to win than Argentina, but it is a classic. 

"I didn't make a bet with [Aguero], he defends his team and I defend mine. But when I return [to City], I hope to tease him and Otamendi too."

Manchester United's bid to improve their defence has seen them spend a reported £50million to acquire right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace.

The 21-year-old is yet to win a senior England cap but impressed in his breakthrough 2018-19 campaign, with United hoping he can tighten up a backline that conceded 54 Premier League goals last term.

Wan-Bissaka has not cost United as much as their record signing Paul Pogba, who joined from Juventus in a then-world record £89.3m deal in 2016, but he is one of the most expensive defenders of all time.

We profile the men at the back who have cost a fair whack. 

VIRGIL VAN DIJK - Southampton to Liverpool, £75m

Liverpool tried unsuccessfully to buy Van Dijk in June 2017 and were accused of tapping him up by Southampton, but the defender's absence from several matchday squads thereafter meant a departure was never far away.

The Reds gave their fans a late Christmas gift in December of the same year, confirming the Netherlands international's arrival and he has looked worth every penny since making the switch to Anfield, winning the Professional Footballers' Association Players' Player of the Year last term and helping the club clinch their sixth Champions League title.

LUCAS HERNANDEZ - Atletico Madrid to Bayern Munich, £68m

Having featured as France's first-choice left-back in their triumphant 2018 World Cup campaign, it did not take long for other clubs to begin being linked with Lucas. Bayern were reported to have things tied up with the defender by the end of the year, though it was said they were trying to avoid paying his full release clause.

As it happened, Atletico received the €80m required to trigger Lucas' exit at the end of the 2018-19 season, meaning Bayern secured themselves a player who could cover two positions at the very top of the sport for the next decade. 


AYMERIC LAPORTE - Athletic Bilbao to Manchester City, £57m

City had been put off by the fee Southampton wanted for Van Dijk but were more willing to part with a club-record £57m to sign left-sided French centre-back Laporte.

Though he remains without a senior cap for Les Bleus, Laporte has become a key figure under Guardiola and was City's best defender in 2018-19 as they won an unprecedented domestic treble.


BENJAMIN MENDY – Monaco to Manchester City, £51.75m

City broke the record for a defender when they signed Mendy from Monaco in July 2017, the left-back having quickly established himself as one of Europe's most exciting attacking full-backs as his side won the 2016-17 Ligue 1 title and reached that season's Champions League semi-finals.

His arrival was part of a spectacular overhaul of the City backline, which saw them spend close to £165m on three defenders and goalkeeper Ederson, but two serious knee injuries have badly hindered his time in Manchester so far. 

 

DAVID LUIZ – Chelsea to Paris Saint-Germain, £50m

Paris Saint-Germain paid a whopping fee to sign Brazil international David Luiz from Chelsea in 2014.

He won Ligue 1 in both of his seasons at the Parc des Princes and made it three top-flight titles in a row after he surprisingly returned to Chelsea for £34m in August 2016, claiming his first Premier League winners' medal.


KYLE WALKER – Tottenham to Manchester City, £50m

When Walker joined Spurs from hometown club Sheffield United for £5m in 2009, few would have guessed he would one day become the most expensive English player in history.

Walker, who recently signed a new long-term deal at the Etihad Stadium, quickly established himself as a key component at the back following his July 2017 arrival and he has won two Premier League titles, two EFL Cups and an FA Cup.


AARON WAN-BISSAKA - Crystal Palace to Manchester United, £50m

Walker now has company as his country's most costly player following fellow right-back Wan-Bissaka's arrival on the other side of Manchester.

Wan-Bissaka fits the mould for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who wants young players to spearhead a revival at Old Trafford, and he made 129 tackles last term, more than any other defender across the top five European leagues.


JOHN STONES – Everton to Manchester City, £47.5m

City have certainly shown a willingness to pay large amounts for English talent, with Stones joining the club from Everton in 2016.

The 24-year-old had a difficult first campaign as Guardiola's side under-performed. His displays have since improved considerably, although he largely spent the final weeks of last season among the substitutes. 


EDER MILITAO – Porto to Real Madrid, £42m

Another reinforcement for 2019-20, Madrid caught many by surprise when it was announced earlier in March they had paid the release clause of Porto's Brazil international Militao.

The 21-year-old was only brought to Europe from Sao Paulo in 2018 and appears to represent something of a gamble by Los Blancos.


DAVINSON SANCHEZ – Ajax to Tottenham, £36.6m

Spurs waited several weeks to make their first signing of the close-season transfer window in 2017, but they did so in some style, smashing their club record to bring Sanchez to north London.

The former Atletico Nacional man reportedly caught Barcelona's attention during Ajax's run to the Europa League final in 2016-17 and has looked a solid addition to the Premier League since arriving.

(*Prices are as reported at the time of transfers being completed.)

Liverpool enjoyed a superb season in 2018-19, pushing Manchester City all the way in the Premier League before triumphing in the Champions League.

As a result, the values of their squad members soared, and four of the Reds' team are included in this most valuable XI, put together by Football Benchmark.

Lionel Messi was in top form for Barcelona throughout the campaign, while Paris Saint-Germain duo Kylian Mbappe and Neymar complete a fearsome front three, though that means there is no place for Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo.

But, who else features in the team? Read on to find out.

GOALKEEPER

Alisson – Liverpool (€96m)

Eyebrows may have been raised when Liverpool paid Roma a reported £56million – at the time a record fee for a goalkeeper – to secure Alisson's services, but the Brazil shot-stopper cast any doubts over the move aside with a marvellous first season on Merseyside.

Alisson appeared in every Premier League game, conceding a league-low 22 goals as the Reds finished a close second behind Manchester City, while also playing a starring role in their Champions League triumph.

DEFENDERS

Trent Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool (€81m)

The second Liverpool player to feature is right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, who enjoyed another stellar campaign.

While solid defensively, Alexander-Arnold really came into his own going forward, amassing 16 assists across 40 appearances in all competitions, taking his value up to €81m.

Virgil van Dijk – Liverpool (€98m)

Undoubtedly one of the performers of the season, PFA Players' Player of the Year Virgil van Dijk was in extraordinary form for Liverpool last campaign, with the Reds paying a reported £75million for his signing in January 2018.

Van Dijk was a towering presence in Liverpool's defence, and also scored six goals as his value soared by an additional €30m. The former Celtic and Southampton star also led Netherlands to the Nations League final, where they lost out to Portugal.

Raphael Varane – Real Madrid (€86m)

Fresh from helping France to a World Cup triumph, Raphael Varane did not manage to replicate his international form for Real Madrid, who endured a hugely difficult season by their standards.

Varane still put in some accomplished displays at the heart of their defence, and despite Madrid's struggles, he is still the second-highest valued centre-back in world football.

Andy Robertson – Liverpool (€66m)

A fourth and final Liverpool player in this side is Andy Robertson, who like his opposite full-back Alexander-Arnold was in magnificent form for Jurgen Klopp's side all season.

Attacking has always been a strength of Robertson's, and though he is dogged defensively, it was no surprise to see him have such an impact higher up the field, with the Scotland left-back providing 13 assists from his 48 appearances across all competitions.

MIDFIELDERS

Paul Pogba – Manchester United (€127m)

Paul Pogba may well have come under criticism for his performances at Manchester United, while doubt remains over his future at Old Trafford, but that has not stopped his value staying way up above €100m.

The France star scored 16 goals and provided 11 assists in all competitions for his club last season, with Juventus and Real Madrid reportedly battling it out to sign the 26-year-old.

N'Golo Kante – Chelsea (€90m)

Maurizio Sarri decided to use N'Golo Kante in a more advanced role during his time at Chelsea last season, and it is safe to say that switch was not always a success – it is easy to feel that one of the best, if not the best, defensive midfielders in the world had been wasted playing further forward.

Nevertheless, Kante is valued as the third most expensive midfielder, and kept up his run of winning a title in every campaign during his time in England as he helped Chelsea to a Europa League triumph.

Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City (€120m)

Manchester City's midfield maestro had a season derailed by injuries in 2018-19, yet still featured enough to play a key role in each of Pep Guardiola's side's domestic triumphs.

De Bruyne scored six goals and added 10 assists from 32 appearances in all competitions, and turned in a scintillating performance in City's thrashing of Watford in the FA Cup final.

FORWARDS

Lionel Messi – Barcelona (€190m)

Messi seems to just keep getting better. Barca's mercurial forward – who turned 32 on Monday – scored a remarkable 51 times for Barcelona last term, surpassing the landmark of 600 club goals, a milestone he reached with a sensational free-kick against Liverpool at Camp Nou.

However, Messi cannot carry an entire team all of the time, and though Barca did retain their LaLiga title, they crashed out of the Champions League at Anfield, before then losing to Valencia in the Copa del Rey final – a match in which Messi scored.

Kylian Mbappe – Paris Saint-Germain (€225m)

The most valuable player in this side, Mbappe's rise continues at pace. After playing a pivotal role in France's World Cup glory, Mbappe scored 39 goals in total for Paris Saint-Germain in 2018-19, and recently netted his 100th career goal in France's win over Andorra in Euro 2020 qualifying.

At 20, Mbappe's value is way above €200m, and is surely only going to keep rising if the forward continues his sensational form.

Neymar – Paris Saint-Germain (€195m)

Rumours persist over Neymar's future at Paris Saint-Germain, with the Brazil star – who has suffered a batch of injuries at crucial points in both of his seasons in France – having failed to live up to expectations since his £200m switch in 2017.

But while PSG have not been led to Champions League glory by Neymar, his value is the second highest in this side, behind his club team-mate Mbappe.

Matthijs de Ligt seems close to deciding his future and it appears to be good news for Juventus.

The Ajax captain has been linked with Europe's biggest clubs after a standout campaign, including leading the Dutch giants to the Eredivisie title and Champions League semi-finals.

Paris Saint-Germain were reportedly favourites to sign the centre-back, but it seems De Ligt is close to joining Juventus.

 

TOP STORY – DE LIGT AGREES TERMS WITH JUVE

De Ligt has accepted a five-year contract worth €12million a year from Juventus, according to Sky Sport.

It is a big step for the Serie A champions, who must still strike a deal with Ajax for the defender.

However, Sky Sport also report PSG are still in the race for De Ligt.

The arrival of De Ligt in Turin would be a boost for Juve, whose formidable defence has the likes of Giorgio Chiellini, 34, and Leonardo Bonucci, 32, nearing retirement.

ROUND-UP

- Neymar is expected to leave PSG for Barcelona, but talks have – somewhat predictably – started slowly. Le Parisien claim the parties met and PSG are unwilling to sell the attacker, with the Brazilian perhaps needing to state his position publicly. AS report Ivan Rakitic could be key to a possible deal, with PSG having wanted the Croatia midfielder last season.

- Real Madrid's rebuild is well and truly on track, but it may not be over yet. Sport believe Zinedine Zidane is still pushing Florentino Perez to bring in Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, with the club president more interested in the cheaper Christian Eriksen, Tanguy Ndombele or Donny van de Beek.

- Manchester City could be eyeing a move for Real Madrid playmaker Isco. Marca report Pep Guardiola wants the Spain international, who he considers an ideal replacement for David Silva. Silva has announced the 2019-20 season is set to be his last at the Etihad Stadium. Isco was first touted as a possible City signing back at the start of Manuel Pellegrini's tenure in 2013.

- Inter continue to be linked with Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku and it seems they may be close to a deal. Sky Sports report the Serie A side are preparing a £9m offer to sign Lukaku on a two-year loan deal, with an obligation to buy the Belgium striker for another £54m. Inter are also set to sign Hertha Berlin midfielder Valentino Lazaro in a deal worth €22m, according to Gianluca Di Marzio.

- Manchester United seem set to finally complete the signing of Crystal Palace defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka. The BBC report the clubs have agreed a £50m fee for the full-back. United, however, have given up on signing Harry Maguire after being told Leicester City wanted £100m for the defender, according to the Daily Mirror.

- Tottenham are close to strengthening their squad, with Sky Sports reporting they have agreed a £55.5m fee with Lyon for Ndombele.

Pep Guardiola saluted Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodri as a "great player" but claimed ignorance about Manchester City's apparent pursuit of him.

Spain international Rodri has been strongly linked with City in recent weeks since he reportedly told Atletico he intends to leave the club during the close-season.

A deep-lying midfielder in the Sergio Busquets mould, Rodri enjoyed a fine first season at Atletico following his €20million move from Villarreal last year.

Reports claim City will trigger his €70m (£63m) release clause, which would make Rodri the club's record signing.

However, Guardiola was guarded when asked if the Atletico academy product was heading to the Etihad Stadium.

Speaking at a presentation in Barcelona, Guardiola told reporters: "I've no idea [if Rodri is going to City], you'll see. He's a great player."

Guardiola was rather firmer about tentative links with Real Madrid midfielder Marco Asensio, though, adamant a move is not on the cards.

"There is no chance that City will sign him," he said.

David Silva has become the latest modern great at Manchester City to announce he will move on from the club.

The nucleus of a team that first won the Premier League in 2011-12 under Roberto Mancini has slowly fallen away over recent years, with Vincent Kompany's departure at the end of last season following Pablo Zabaleta and Yaya Toure bowing out in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Pep Guardiola will still be able to call upon Silva for one more campaign, with 2019-20 set to be his 10th and last at the Etihad Stadium.

Widely considered to be among the finest players to have ever graced the sky blue shirt, we look back on some of the finest moments produced by a silken playmaker who will be fondly remembered.

Solo stunner by the seaside

Silva arrived at City as a 2010 World Cup winner but initially struggled to make an impact amid the hurly burly of the Premier League. All that changed on a grey afternoon on the Lancashire coast, when he came off the bench to turn a hard-fought encounter against Blackpool in City's favour.

He set up Carlos Tevez's opener before claiming his first goal for the club in unforgettable style – twisting nimbly inside and out of despairing tackles before curling home to crown a 3-2 win. Silva was pivotal from that point on, as Mancini's side finished the season in the Champions League places and ended a 35-year trophy drought by lifting the FA Cup.

Masterclass in the demolition derby

A habit that has secured Silva's unimpeachable standing among the City faithful is generally saving his very best for derbies on enemy territory at Old Trafford. Three of his four goals against Manchester United have come away from home and he showed irresistible form during a seismic encounter in October 2011.

Mario Balotelli might have taken the headlines when City walloped Alex Ferguson's side 6-1, but Silva masterfully conducted a stunning performance to a brilliant crescendo. Having skipped onto Edin Dzeko's pass to nutmeg David de Gea for the visitors' fifth, Silva returned the favour with a sumptuous volleyed pass for the striker to complete the scoring.

To Hull and back for title number two

City famously pipped United at the last to win the Premier League in 2011-12 and had to go to the final day to retain the crown two years later. Locked in a three-way battle with Liverpool and Chelsea, City headed to Hull City in mid-March on the back of cup defeats to Barcelona and Wigan Athletic and shy of their best form. 

Kompany was sent off in the 10th minute, but Silva stepped up in the captain's absence – slamming home a spectacular long-ranger and before setting up Dzeko to seal a crucial 2-0 triumph. His level rarely dipped during a nerve-shredding final stretch.

For Mateo

Even as City grappled with Pep Guardiola's demands during his early days in Manchester, Silva always appeared completely in-tune with the Catalan's vision. He was pivotal as the Blues racked up a record-breaking haul of 100 Premier League points in 2017-18.

His performances that season were made all the more remarkable by him playing through the anguish of his son Mateo fighting for his life, having been born prematurely at 25 weeks. Silva barely trained as he dashed between Manchester and Valencia to be with his family, but his immaculate playing standards never wavered. Mateo was pulling through by the time Silva struck at Wembley to seal a 3-0 EFL Cup win over Arsenal in February 2018 and he paid tribute to the youngster in his celebration before being mobbed by team-mates.

Securing treble glory

Silva began 2018-19 by rifling in a superb free-kick against Huddersfield Town, with his son in the Etihad Stadium stands. Although he did not always hit the heights of previous campaigns, he showed plenty of the quality Guardiola and the City dressing room will soon dearly miss.

After failing behind at Brighton and Hove Albion on the decisive final day of the Premier League season, Silva's instinctive flick set up Sergio Aguero to equalise and set in motion a 4-1 win. Six days later it was Silva's Wembley opener that heralded a 6-0 demolition of Watford in the FA Cup final and an unprecedented domestic treble.

David Silva is on course to become the fastest player to achieve 200 Premier League wins as he enters his last season as a Manchester City player.

The four-time Premier League winner has announced that the 2019-20 season will be his last in the sky blue of City, giving himself one last opportunity to add to his already staggering achievements across nine glittering campaigns.

Silva joined City from Valencia in 2010 and went on to become one of the club's greatest ever players, contributing exquisite goals while earning a reputation as one of European football's most unselfish creative players.

A glance at the Opta data on Silva's nine years in Manchester leaves no room for doubt about his importance to Pep Guardiola's team next season, when he will aim to further improve his impressive numbers and help the club win a third consecutive Premier League title.

743 – The 2010 World Cup winner has created a remarkable 743 chances in the Premier League since he made his debut in the competition on August 14 2010, with Eden Hazard in second place on 595 during that period.

195 – Silva has won 195 of the 282 Premier League matches he has been involved in, putting him on track to break John Terry's record for reaching 200 wins in the competition faster than any other player. The former Chelsea captain did so in 305 games.

83 – City rely on Silva for his tireless industry around the penalty area and it is no surprise that he is seventh in the Premier League's table of players with most assists, having made 82 – nine short of Steven Gerrard.

71 – Silva has scored 71 goals in 396 games in all competitions for City, ending up on the winning side in 261 of those matches.

23 – The record for the longest run of Premier League wins by any player is currently held by Silva, who won 23 consecutive matches between August 26 2017 and Match 31 2018.

14 – Newcastle United have had to try and contain Silva more times than any other Premier League team, lining up against him 14 times and struggling to cope. He has been involved in 10 goals against the Magpies, with five goals and assists apiece.

12 – The most prolific of Silva's nine Premier League seasons at City came in 2014-15 when his goal tally went into double figures for the first and only time.

4 – Only three players have scored more Premier League goals for City than Silva, with Sergio Aguero (164) leading the way from Yaya Toure (62) and Carlos Tevez (58). Silva is four shy of Tevez on 54.

2 – Silva is second in the Premier League lists of Spanish goal-scorers and assist-makers, with Fernando Torres (85) the only of his compatriots to have scored more, and Cesc Fabregas (111) a more frequent creator.

David Silva has backed Phil Foden to fill his boots when he leaves Manchester City at the end of next season, saying of the 19-year-old: "He reminds me of myself when I was young."

Former Spain international Silva announced his decision to leave the Etihad Stadium at the end of 2019-20, which will be his 10th and final campaign for the Premier League champions.

Foden has made 38 first-team appearances during his two seasons in Pep Guardiola's senior squad and his performances have seen him earmarked as a star of the future.

Silva sung Foden's praises as he discussed his departure from City, telling reporters: "I'm sure he's going to be a fantastic player. He's a very nice man and he will be a good replacement for me.

"Apart from his natural skills, he's a very competitive person. He always wants to win and that makes a very good footballer.

"When you're young, you always ask people with experience. I've given him lots of advice, like how to move on the pitch. He's taken the information in and he's getting better day by day."

"He reminds me of myself when I was young — especially how he is as a person. He's very quiet but always there, competing. He hates losing.

"The best advice I can give him is always stay calm. Whatever happens in football, the highs and lows, always keep calm."

Silva's announcement comes in the wake of Vincent Kompany's decision to swap City for his boyhood club Anderlecht, where he will be player-manager next season.

Speaking at the launch of a campaign to stop domestic violence in his native Gran Canaria, Silva spoke about the challenge that awaits his club in replacing the man who won four Premier Leagues, two FA Cups and four EFL Cups during his 11 years as a City player.

"It's going to be very difficult to replace a player like Vinnie, on the pitch and off it," said Silva, who has made 396 appearances for City, scoring 70 goals.

"He was an excellent warrior for City. But with the new generation we will find another one, another Vinnie.

"You always need experienced footballers around to help you. But City's future is in safe hands with Bernardo [Silva], Raheem [Sterling], Leroy [Sane] and Phil there."

Defence appears to be an area of interest for LaLiga champions Barcelona.

Despite already boasting centre-backs Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti, Barca continue to be linked to Ajax star Matthijs de Ligt.

However, the Blaugrana have contingency plans should they miss out on the 19-year-old sensation.

 

TOP STORY – LINDELOF BARCA'S PLAN B

Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof is Barcelona's alternative to Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt, according to Mundo Deportivo.

The race is hotting up for De Ligt, who is a target for the LaLiga champions, United, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus.

With uncertainty over De Ligt's destination, Barca reportedly contacted United over Lindelof but the Red Devils rejected the approach. The 24-year-old moved to Old Trafford from Benfica for €35million in 2017 and the Spanish giants remain confident a deal can be struck.

 

ROUND-UP

Ajax and Netherlands midfielder Donny van de Beek has emerged as alternative target should Real Madrid miss out on Manchester United star Paul Pogba, according to Marca. Pogba has also been linked to Juventus and Corriere dello Sport claims the Frenchman and the Serie A champions will ask Adidas to intervene in a bid to bring him back to Turin.

- According to Tuttosport, an agreement on salary has been reached between Juventus and De Ligt. Juve are increasingly optimistic a deal will be reached with Ajax.

Tottenham have not signed a player since 2018 but the Champions League finalists a poised to complete a club-record transfer for Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele, says the Telegraph. A £55m transfer is set to be finalised, with Spurs also closing in on Leeds winger Jack Clarke, according to the Daily Mail.

- Marca says Barcelona are preparing for lengthy negotiations as they try to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou from Paris Saint-Germain following his €222milllion move in 2017.

- Premier League champions Manchester City and rivals Manchester United will battle it out for Leicester City centre-back Harry Maguire, who is rated at £65m, Sky Sports reports.

AC Milan are confident of signing Lucas Torreira from Arsenal, according to Gianluca Di Marzio. Milan want to reunite Torreira with former Sampdoria boss Marco Giampaolo on an initial two-year deal with the option of a permanent €30m transfer. France Football also says the Rossoneri are also a possible destination for Lyon captain Nabil Fekir.

Manchester United are considering a move for Sevilla's Wissam Ben Yedder should Romelu Lukaku join Inter, according to France Football.

David Silva will play his final season at Manchester City in 2019-20, the influential midfielder has announced.

Silva, 33, is considered one of the greatest players in the club's history, helping them to win four Premier League titles as well as a brace of FA Cups and four EFL Cups.

But the former Spain international, who joined from Valencia in 2010, has decided the upcoming campaign will be his last with City.

Silva will not, however, sign for another Premier League club once his City contract expires.

"This is the last one," Silva told reporters. "Ten years for me is enough. It's the perfect time.

"Initially the club were talking about two years [contract] but I decided to sign another one so I finished at 10 years.

"It completes the cycle. It's a nice round figure. I can never see myself playing against City for another team. So 10 years - that's it!"

City sealed a domestic clean sweep last season but European success continues to elude the club, although Silva is not disappointed to have missed out on the Champions League.

"We haven't been able to achieve that goal yet of winning the Champions League but if every year is like last season I would sign for it right now," he added.

"When I was a kid, I never thought I would achieve everything I have done, so I'm more than happy with what I have achieved in my 10 years at City.

"The respect people have shown me and the way people in Manchester have treated me has been unbelievable. That's what I really like, the recognition they have given me.

"I've got a family now and it's about priorities. I want to spend more time with the family. I've got another year at Manchester City so we will see what happens after that."

Silva's decision will be disappointing for City boss Pep Guardiola, who said in January he hoped to persuade the player to sign a fresh contract.

Ending his career at hometown club Las Palmas has long been Silva's plan, but he indicated they will have to seal promotion to LaLiga for that move to be realistic.

"Not China," Silva said of his next destination. "I don't know. My girlfriend decides for me!

"I would love to finish my career in Las Palmas but football changes. Who knows? It depends on the team and the players. I cannot come here [to Las Palmas] to play in the second division with this team."

Manchester City and Portugal star Bernardo Silva will win the Ballon d'Or when Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo begin to show signs of decline or retire, according to former Selecao star Paulo Futre.

Silva featured in 51 matches for City in their treble-winning campaign of 2018-19 and was voted City's Player of the Season by supporters.

And after also helping Portugal to Nations League glory earlier this month, the 24-year-old has been tipped by Futre to become the next leading star in world football after Messi and Ronaldo – aged 32 and 34, respectively.

Futre, who earned 41 caps for Portugal and represented the likes of Porto, Atletico Madrid and AC Milan at club level, told Omnisport: "I think Bernardo will be the next star, or he will be when Ronaldo and Messi start to decline.

"I think Bernardo will be one of those who will be ready to win the Ballon d'Or, because he is a player with a lot of responsibility in a great team like Manchester City.

"He will continue to grow and in two or three years, when Messi and Cristiano retire, I think he can be one of the big favourites to win the Ballon d'Or."

Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric ended the decade-long reign of Messi and Ronaldo by winning the Ballon d'Or for the first time last December.

Vincent Kompany has targeted silverware in his first season with Anderlecht, but acknowledged he has "everything to prove" as he embarks on his first coaching job.

The centre-back left Manchester City at the end of last season following a trophy-laden 11-year spell to take up a player-manager position with the Belgian club.

And Kompany, who won the Premier League on four occasions with City, is out to make a big impact on his return to boyhood club Anderlecht.

"The idea of ​​becoming a player-manager has grown gradually," he said at his presentation on Tuesday. "The chance was too big for me not to go in and I think this was the right time to make this decision. 

"Returning only as a player was not an option, but as a player-manager. 

"I have everything to prove. As a manager, I have not yet proved anything, but I am confident that this story can and will succeed.

"I want to be a champion with Anderlecht. Let that be clear – I didn't come here to be second. I can't and won't say that.

"I can start something incredible here. People who know me a little know well enough that I would not start something like this without a plan."

Anderlecht finished sixth in the Belgian First Division last season, but Kompany is confident of bridging the gap, while at the same time promoting some younger players.

"There are huge talents around here and I am looking forward to working with them," said the 33-year-old, who started his career with the Brussels-based club before joining Hamburg in 2006.

"There are more talents at Anderlecht today than when I started. Much more. We finished sixth last year, so we have to get better than five other teams in one season. But my opinion is that with a few changes we can get there. I'm convinced of that.

"If Anderlecht had become champions last year, or even second, then this story would not have happened. Or months of negotiation would have preceded. There is no better time to jump in than now. No one would have been open to a change in mentality.

"I understand that there is a lot of work, but I am really looking forward to starting. I have learned a lot in recent years and I now have the opportunity to make my mark here. I am proud that I have that opportunity."

Kompany also revealed he informed City boss Pep Guardiola of his decision to leave on the eve of their 6-0 win over Watford in the FA Cup final.

City legend Kompany picked up plenty of tips from Guardiola during their three years working together, but he is not interested in succeeding the Catalan in the Etihad Stadium dugout – instead tipping current assistant Mikel Arteta for the top job when it becomes available.

"I believe I told Guardiola the day before the FA Cup final that it would be my last game at City," he said. "I wanted to thank him for everything he taught me. The farewell was emotional.

"Working with Guardiola was as if I was suddenly in college. He explains everything in such a clear way and I learned a lot from him. I am not yet a Guardiola, let that be clear. But I think I am a good student.

"Let City be City under Pep, which is an awesome club. I think they will win the Champions League eventually, soon hopefully, and behind Pep there is Mikel Arteta who has a lot of knowledge, who is probably the right man to look at. 

"I will just build my career and be as driven as Pep has been or the best managers have been that I know. Will I be as good? We’ll see."

Neymar for Paul Pogba?

That was the proposal by Paris Saint-Germain to Manchester United, who are both set for busy off-seasons due to their wantaway stars.

But a swap between the two clubs does not appear to be on the agenda.

 

TOP STORY – WOODWARD SAYS NO TO NEYMAR

A swap deal involving Neymar and Paul Pogba was rejected by Manchester United vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

That is according to the Independent as Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar and United midfielder Pogba both seek exits.

Woodward reportedly said no to the idea due to costs and his determination to keep Pogba, who has been linked with a return to Juventus and Real Madrid .

Neymar is set to leave PSG and the world's most expensive player is ready to publicly apologise to Barcelona over his exit in 2017 to help facilitate a return to Camp Nou, according to AS.

 

ROUND-UP

Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has agreed to join Paris Saint-Germain in an €80million deal, according to Serbian newspaper Blic. The 24-year-old was linked with Manchester United and Real Madrid prior to the 2018-19 season. AS reports that Ligue 1 champions PSG are also set to sign Sevilla attacker Pablo Sarabia.

- A move to Barcelona for Matthijs de Ligt is "still possible", according to Mundo Deportivo. Italian press have reported that Juventus are favourites to sign the 19-year-old Ajax captain, however, LaLiga champions Barca still appear to be in the running.

- According to AS, Real Madrid are keen on signing Napoli midfielder and Spain international Fabian Ruiz. The 23-year-old only moved to Serie A from Real Betis in 2018-19.

Edin Dzeko's move from Roma to Inter will be announced shortly, Corriere dello Sport reports. Antonio Conte's Inter are now targeting Cagliari star Nicolo Barella. The Nerazzurri are also interested in Brazil captain Dani Alves after his Paris Saint-Germain exit, according to France Football.

- Former Manchester City and Arsenal star Samir Nasri is a target for new A-League side Western United in Australia, according to the Herald Sun. The 31-year-old Frenchman is a free agent after leaving West Ham.

Borussia Dortmund defender Dan-Axel Zagadou is wanted by Arsenal, according to the Mirror. The Gunners have been linked with Saint-Etienne teenager William Saliba but Zagadou could be available following Mats Hummels' return to Dortmund.

- Serie A rivals Juventus and Napoli are battling it out to sign Tottenham full-back Kieran Trippier, the Mirror reports. Joao Cancelo is reportedly close to joining Manchester City and Juve see the England international as the perfect replacement.

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