Lyon sporting director Juninho wants Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema to finish his career at the Ligue 1 club.

Benzema, 31, came through the Lyon academy and starred in Ligue 1 before joining Madrid for €35million in July 2009.

The Frenchman has scored 233 goals for Madrid, helping the Spanish giants win two LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues among numerous other trophies.

Juninho, who played alongside Benzema at Lyon, wants the forward to return to the club.

"My desire is to propose to Karim that he finishes his career at Lyon," the Brazilian told OLTV.

"He is from here, he feels from here. Why not make an economic effort between both parties to make it happen?

"We can't offer the same salary as Real Madrid, but we will wait for the right moment.

"We exchanged messages when I was in Brazil. I felt like he would like to come. He has a lot of respect for the club.

"I want him to come and play with us for two years, and then train some of the younger players.

"Karim could be the leader that we need. I dream that he will end his career here at Lyon, his home."

Benzema has made a fine start to this season, scoring 11 goals in 15 games in all competitions for Madrid.

Lyon, meanwhile, are struggling in 14th in Ligue 1, with Rudi Garcia replacing Sylvinho at the helm last month.

Rodrygo Goes says it is a "shame" he never got to play alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and does not want to be seen as a replacement for the Real Madrid great.

The 18-year-old has made a quick impact at the Santiago Bernabeu since arriving from Santos in a reported €45million deal agreed last year, scoring five goals in six appearances.

Rodrygo has already earned comparisons to Ronaldo, who scored a club-record 450 goals for Madrid before leaving for Juventus in July 2018.

However, the teenage forward – in line to earn his first senior Brazil cap in Friday's friendly with Argentina – is cautious about playing with such high expectations. 

"Being able to play alongside Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid was a dream of mine and it's a shame that he left because now I think it would be very difficult to play with him," he said at a Brazil news conference on Tuesday.

"I am still a very young player to talk about filling the place left by someone like Cristiano Ronaldo, who is one of the greatest players in the history of the club – if not the greatest.

"I don't want to weigh myself down with the pressure of replacing Cristiano Ronaldo."

Rodrygo scored 93 seconds into his Madrid debut in September's 2-0 LaLiga win against Osasuna and netted a hat-trick in last week's 6-0 victory over Galatasaray in the Champions League.

The youngster has made a big impression in the Spanish capital but is surprised by how quickly his career has taken off.

"You always try to make sure you are fully prepared so that things turn out well, but I could never have imagined that everything would happen so quickly," he said.

"It's all come as a huge surprise to me. Only a short while ago I was hoping to make my Champions League debut... and maybe at the most score a goal.

"Scoring a hat-trick like I did was something nobody expected. So I can't really explain how I felt after the game. Al I could do was enjoy a special, once-in-a-lifetime moment."

He added: "Learning the ropes as a footballer isn't just about what's done on the training pitch. There is a big mental part too, preparing yourself so that success doesn't go to your head and knowing how to handle fame and to not be presumptuous. 

"On that side of things, it helped me a lot that my father was a footballer, and that gave me a head start on the mental part. I watched him go through things that are happening to me now and so I know I can't let all of this attention go to my head."

Rodrygo was left on the bench for Madrid's 4-0 win over Eibar on Saturday but is primed to make his senior Brazil debut.

"I feel fulfilled. It has always been my dream," he said. 

"Since I was a boy I have dreamt about representing the national team and playing alongside the best players in the world – players whose careers I have been following for a long time.

"So being here gives me happiness that I can't begin to put into words. Everything that has been happening in my life makes me feel very happy."

Lionel Messi is seemingly in no rush to extend his Barcelona contract.

Messi's future is regularly talked about after it was revealed earlier this year the superstar can leave the LaLiga giants for free at the end of any season.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner is contracted at Barcelona until 2021, though it remains to be seen if he wants to stay on beyond his current deal.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI IN NO RUSH OVER BARCELONA CONTRACT

Messi has no intention of discussing a contract extension at Barcelona until next season, according to Marca.

The 32-year-old plans to be at the club next season, the report says, but will not open talks regarding a new deal.

Messi has been at Barcelona during his entire professional career, winning 10 LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues among numerous other trophies.

ROUND-UP

- Paris Saint-Germain are looking to the future. Sport reports the Ligue 1 giants are seriously considering a move for Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior. Kylian Mbappe and Neymar have been linked with moves away from PSG and the 19-year-old could help the French club going forward.

- Manchester City and Real Madrid could be set for a transfer battle. The clubs are interested in Real Sociedad and Spain forward Mikel Oyarzabal, according to CalcioMercato. The 22-year-old has scored 29 LaLiga goals since the start of 2017-18.

- Unai Emery has some time. The Sun reports the under-fire Arsenal head coach will be given until 2020 to turn the club's form around. It also reports Manchester City would allow assistant Mikel Arteta – an ex-Arsenal midfielder – to head to Emirates Stadium, should his former club want to appoint the Spaniard.

- Liverpool could strengthen in January. TalkSPORT reports the Premier League leaders are in advanced talks with Bournemouth over a deal to sign winger Ryan Fraser, who is out of contract at the end of the season. Bournemouth may want Harry Wilson – who is on loan from Liverpool – as part of a deal.

- Struggling in ninth in Serie A, Fiorentina may be ready to move on from Vincenzo Montella. The club are ready to make an approach for former Inter coach Luciano Spalletti, according to Firenze Viola.

Brazil captain Thiago Silva is not concerned about coming up against Lionel Messi in Friday's clash with bitter rivals Argentina, rather seeing it as a source of pride to take on the Barcelona superstar.

Messi is back in the Argentina squad for the first time since the Copa America, where Brazil beat Argentina 2-0 in July's semi-final.

After that controversial encounter, Messi accused CONMEBOL of corruption, earning a four-match ban and a $50,000 fine.

Messi is expected to make his return during the friendly clash in Saudi Arabia, and Silva prefers not to look at the situation with fear, instead relishing facing one of the best.

"We are not concerned but proud to have a chance to face him," Silva told reporters on Monday.

"They [Argentina] have their star, we won't have ours [Neymar, who is injured], but Brazil is Brazil, and we showed it during our Copa America win.

"They are living a different moment, as are we when you consider the last few matches. Brazil versus Argentina is always a great game, with great football and scoring chances.

"There's a 50:50 winning chance for each side - let's hope we are more inspired then than they are."

Brazil winger Willian added: "He [Messi] is a great player, unmatched, the best in the world. We've faced Argentina when he played before, and this will be just like those times.

"There must be more attention on him, we must restrict his spaces. We'll not man-mark him, but whoever is around him must close down the spaces, not leave him room to think."

Real Madrid youngster Rodrygo Goes is in line to earn his first senior cap at the tender age of 18 after breaking into the first team at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The wide attacker has already scored five goals in just six matches for Madrid, and Silva has been impressed, even suggesting he hopes Zinedine Zidane leaves the teenager out when Paris Saint-Germain take on the LaLiga giants in the Champions League later this month.

"The fact he's with the Selecao is a unique opportunity, he surely has dreamt about this moment," the PSG defender said of Rodrygo. "I hope he can enjoy it the best way possible.

"I have over 100 caps and every time I'm here, I feel the chills. I hope he has the wisdom to make the most of it.

"It's surprising really to most people, an 18-year-old with loads of personality. You see for the way he scores goals how calm and reserved this kid is, he's not doing it to show off.

"Let's hope Zidane keeps him on the bench! He's a player who'll demand more attention from your side. His quality speaks for itself."

A new four-team format has been finalised for the Supercopa de Espana that will see the competition moved to Saudi Arabia for the next three years, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has confirmed.

RFEF president Luis Rubiales revealed a proposal to convert the season curtain-raiser into a mini-tournament in February this year.

Last season's Supercopa – traditionally a two-legged affair played between the winners of LaLiga and the Copa del Rey – was the first to be played abroad, as Barcelona beat Sevilla 2-1 in Tangier, Morocco, with the singular match officially classed as a friendly.

But the success of the contest from the RFEF's perspective proved its viability and it is pushing ahead with the plans having struck an agreement for Saudi Arabia to play host over the next three years, starting in February 2020.

With four teams – the Copa finalists and LaLiga's top two – set to be involved, the RFEF has moved the competition to Spain's winter in order to "lighten the calendar", instead of playing it at the start of the season.

Following confirmation of the revamp on Monday, the RFEF also revealed the historic first fixtures, with Real Madrid and Barcelona facing Valencia and Atletico Madrid, respectively, in the semi-finals, teeing up a potential Clasico finale on February 12.

Copa del Rey holders Valencia were particularly vocal in their opposition of the initial plans put forward by the RFEF, while many criticised the governing body for fraternising with a country that has a questionable human rights record.

But the RFEF has called the deal an "engine for social change" and confirmed women will be allowed "unrestricted access to the matches" and the launch of a women's football competition in the region.

RFEF believe the internationalisation of the competition will improve its credibility and subsequently boost Spain's bid to host the 2030 World Cup.

Media reports have claimed the RFEF stands to bring in €40million for every season the Supercopa is hosted in Saudi Arabia. Aside from club prize money, the federation pledges to invest all its entire income from the agreement in amateur football.

Lionel Messi scored a penalty and two free-kicks in Barcelona's 4-1 win over Celta Vigo to draw level with Cristiano Ronaldo as the player with the most hat-tricks in LaLiga history.

Messi scored three times at Camp Nou as Barca eased back to the top of the table after a tough week in which they lost to Levante and drew with Sparta Prague.

Both Blaugrana talisman Messi and Ronaldo have now netted 34 trebles in Spain's top tier, although the former Real Madrid forward, having previously played for Sporting CP and Manchester United before joining Juventus last year, had a shorter stay in the division.

The Portuguese spent nine seasons at Madrid and became the club's record LaLiga hat-trick scorer ahead of Alfredo Di Stefano (22) and Ferenc Puskas (12).

Messi is in his 16th campaign as a first-team player at Barcelona and, with eight goals in seven LaLiga games so far this season, appears likely to eclipse Ronaldo's record before the season is out.

Zinedine Zidane hailed Real Madrid's 4-0 win at Eibar as a "complete performance" and urged his players to maintain their momentum.

Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema scored first-half penalties at Ipurua after the latter opened the scoring with a close-range finish inside 17 minutes.

Federico Valverde added a fourth goal - his first for the club - just after the hour mark, as Madrid three points in front of Barcelona ahead of their bitter rivals' game in hand with Celta Vigo later on Saturday.

"It feels great to win here," Zidane told Movistar. "This is not an easy stadium to visit. Every time a team comes here they suffer, but we started well. 

"The first half was phenomenal in every way. We controlled the areas where the opponent could cause damage. We played very well with the ball, vertically, playing forward, switching sides. It was a complete performance and we can be happy with it."

Madrid have now won four out of five matches in all competitions since a 1-0 loss to Real Mallorca on October 19, with that defeat proving a turning point in the view of Zidane.

"We have worked hard and have believed in what we are doing," he added. "The game in Mallorca was complicated for us.

"But from there we have been very generous in front of goal and then everything else is easier. We must continue in this was because it's going to be complicated."

Zidane's side have kept five clean sheets in a row in all competitions for the first time since September 2015, scoring 16 times during that run.

"Defending is about all the team," Zidane said. "It was a difficult game for us. It is not only about Thibaut [Courtois] and our defence, but also Benzema, Eden [Hazard], Lucas [Vazquez]. 

"They are all doing well and must continue. I'm glad for everyone - they all know they can be useful to the team."

Valverde impressed in his fifth start this season in LaLiga and Zidane said: "When he plays he does things very well. I'm glad for him.

"The dynamics of the team are good. I have to manage the workload of the players, so rotation is important."

Karim Benzema maintained his impressive form with two first-half goals as Real Madrid eased to a 4-0 win at Eibar that takes them top of LaLiga.

Madrid suffered a 3-0 reverse on their last visit to Ipurua 12 months ago but were comfortable winners in Saturday's clash thanks to the impressive form of Benzema, who made it nine league goals for the season.

The 31-year-old gave the visitors a 17th-minute lead and doubled his tally from the penalty spot before the half-hour mark after Sergio Ramos had also converted from 12 yards.

Federico Valverde added a fourth for Zinedine Zidane's men, who climbed above Barcelona and surprise package Real Sociedad into top spot.

Madrid had won only two of 10 away league games since Zidane's return as coach but did not take long to assert their authority in the Basque Country, Valverde teeing up Benzema to convert the opener from close range.

Ramos tucked away the first of his side's penalties three minutes later after Pablo de Blasis stuck out a leg and tripped Eden Hazard inside the box.

Madrid put the game out of Eibar's reach with 29 minutes played, Benzema matching Ramos in sending Marko Dmitrovic the wrong way from the spot following Cote's challenge on Lucas Vazquez.

After a slow start to the second half, Madrid soon clicked into gear and had a fourth goal through Valverde's side-footed finish into the bottom-right corner.

Eibar struggled to muster much of a fight in the remainder of the match as Zidane's men claimed a fifth clean sheet in a row in all competitions.


What does it mean? Madrid move top of LaLiga

Last weekend's goalless home draw with Real Betis, two weeks on from a 1-0 loss away at Real Mallorca, led to fresh talk of a crisis at Santiago Bernabeu.

However, Madrid beat Galatasaray 6-0 in midweek and were just as impressive here, this win taking them three points above Barcelona, who play their game in hand against Celta Vigo later on Saturday.

Benzema surpasses Puskas

Benzema has now netted 11 goals in all competitions this season, this latest brace lifting him above the iconic Ferenc Puskas up to sixth on Madrid's list of all-time LaLiga scorers.

He also scored a double against Eibar in April and has been directly involved in nine goals in his nine LaLiga games against them.

Orellana struggles to make an impact

Fabian Orellana has been directly involved in five of Eibar's last six goals in LaLiga, but he failed to register a shot of any note prior to being replaced 25 minutes from time.

What's next?

Madrid's first match back after the international break is a home meeting with Real Sociedad on November 23, while Eibar host Deportivo Alaves the following day.

Karim Benzema's brace against Eibar lifted him to sixth on Real Madrid's all-time LaLiga goals list, surpassing the great Ferenc Puskas.

The 31-year-old striker, who coach Zinedine Zidane championed for an unlikely France recall this week, netted the opener after 17 minutes and soon had a second from the penalty spot.

Benzema moved onto 157 league goals for Madrid, nudging ahead of Puskas, although he remains a long way short of Cristiano Ronaldo's incredible club record of 311.

The former Lyon star overtook another Madrid great in terms of Champions League/European Cup goals on Wednesday.

Benzema scored twice against Galatasaray in a 6-0 thrashing to move onto 50 in the competition, ahead of Alfredo Di Stefano's 49.

Ronaldo boasts the Madrid record in the Champions League, too, having netted 105 times for the club.

Diego Simeone has demanded greater consistency from Atletico Madrid if his side are to challenge Real Madrid and Barcelona for this season's LaLiga title.

Atleti sit fourth after 12 games, winning five and drawing six with one defeat, heading into Sunday's meeting with Espanyol - who beat Ludogorets 6-0 in Europe on Thursday but have lost their last two league matches.

Los Rojiblancos are just two points behind current leaders Real Sociedad, though could have - temporarily at least - moved top themselves last week had they overcome Sevilla.

A defeat to Bayer Leverkusen in Wednesday's Champions League encounter means Atleti are now without a win in their last three matches in all competitions, and Simeone acknowledged his side - who have been hit by injuries to Jose Gimenez, Stefan Savic and Joao Felix - must regain the consistency which has made them regular title contenders in recent seasons.

"We keep thinking about the match. On Saturday, we play against an opponent with an important motivation with the new coach and it will be a complex match," Simeone told a news conference when asked if Atleti could challenge their city rivals and Barca.

"It is complex. We have three important players injured, Joao Felix, Savic and Gimenez. When they are all fit we have more strength and competition. We need to convince ourselves of what we can do and from that find the consistency, which is what we are looking for.

"There are good passages, other bad ones and we need to work on concentration. That is what you get on the field, not from words. It is given by training and matches.

"We want to keep improving and our thinking does not go beyond the match against Espanyol."

Zinedine Zidane raised the issue of Karim Benzema's continued absence from the France team again on Friday ahead of Real Madrid's trip to Eibar.

Benzema has been one of Europe's outstanding strikers during a 10-year Madrid career, yet he has not represented his country since 2015.

The Madrid frontman has not featured at international level since he was allegedly involved in a plot to blackmail his then-France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena.

Zidane claims Benzema still wants to represent France, though, and believes his player to be "the best" and worthy of a call-up.

"He's always wanted to play for the French side," Zidane told a news conference. "To be honest, I don't know exactly what's going on.

"But from a football point of view, he's the best. I think he should definitely have a place in the French national team. It's beyond my role here, but he should definitely be called up."

Benzema scored his 50th Champions League goal for Madrid in midweek, surpassing the legendary Alfredo Di Stefano on the club's all-time list in the process.

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane hopes to have Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez fit and available after the international break.

Muscle problems will keep both players out of Saturday's LaLiga game against Eibar despite them being called up to their respective national teams.

Wales winger Bale has not played a minute since a Euro 2020 qualifier close to a month ago, while midfielder James has missed Madrid's past three matches.

The pair have started individual fitness programmes but will not be considered for selection until they are able to complete full training sessions alongside the rest of the first team.

"They haven't been fit enough to play," Zidane said at Friday's pre-match news conference.

"If they're going to go [away on international duty], they're going to go. They've got five or six days to see if they're fit enough to play for their country. They're not fit enough to play on Saturday.

"They haven't trained with the team. They've been training a little but not at the same pace as their team-mates. If players aren't training with their team-mates they can't play.

"They're not injured right now."

Bale's injury occurred in the same international fixture that left Croatia midfielder Luka Modric with bruising to his right quadriceps.

The 34-year-old subsequently sat out two club games, leaving Zidane wary of a repeat as his squad prepares to disassemble.

"Hopefully nothing happens, but it could. It's true in the last call-ups the players got injured," he said.

"Hopefully the players get away with the national teams, they play, and there are no injuries, and everyone comes back fit and available."

Amid the probe over why Bale and James have been absent, Zidane was asked to clarify his recent claim that Kylian Mbappe harbours a "dream" of playing for Madrid.

The Los Blancos boss said that he was simply repeating the Paris Saint-Germain star's own acknowledged ambition.

The comment riled PSG sporting director Leonardo, who called for an end to transfer speculation surrounding Mbappe.

Zidane said: "He's within his rights to have his opinion and when I get asked a question I will also say what I believe.

"All I said was what [the player] said, that Mbappe's dream is to one day wear the Real Madrid shirt. There's not really much to it to be honest."

Toni Kroos and Leon Goretzka have returned to Germany's squad for their Euro 2020 qualifiers against Belarus and Northern Ireland.

Real Madrid star Kroos and Bayern Munich midfielder Goretzka missed the 2-2 friendly draw with Argentina and 3-0 qualifying win against Estonia through injury.

However, both players have since returned to action for their club sides and have been included in Joachim Low's 24-man squad.

Low is still without long-term injury absentee Leroy Sane, while Niklas Sule is set for a lengthy lay-off after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament tear in his left knee last month. 

Bayer Leverkusen attacker Nadiem Amiri received a maiden senior call-up last month and is included again, as is Schalke 04 midfielder Suat Serdar.

"I would have liked more continuity with my selection, but that was not possible because of the many injuries we have had," Low said. 

"All the more important is that Kroos returns and provides some stability, along with Manuel Neuer, Ilkay Gundogan, Marco Reus and Joshua Kimmich.

"We give our full confidence to the players who are present - they deserve our attention."

Germany, second to the Netherlands in Group C on head-to-head record, face Belarus in Monchengladbach on November 16 and welcome Northern Ireland to Frankfurt three days later.

Germany squad in full:

Bernd Leno (Arsenal), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona); Emre Can (Juventus), Jonas Hector (Koln), Jonathan Tah (Bayer Leverkusen), Lukas Klostermann (RB Leipzig), Matthias Ginter (Borussia Monchengladbach), Nico Schulz (Borussia Dortmund), Niklas Stark (Hertha Berlin), Robin Koch (Freiburg); Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Julian Brandt (Borussia Dortmund), Kai Havertz (Bayer Leverkusen), Leon Goretzka (Bayern Munich), Luca Waldschmidt (Freiburg), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Nadiem Amiri (Bayer Leverkusen), Sebastian Rudy (Hoffenheim), Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich), Suat Serdar (Schalke 04), Timo Werner (RB Leipzig), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid).

Rodrygo Goes is making waves at Real Madrid but could have been shining at Liverpool were it not for his former Santos coach Elano.

Madrid paid out a reported €45million to seal Rodrygo's signature in June 2018, by which time he had only made 13 appearances in the Campeonato Brasileiro, though he remained at Santos for another year.

The 18-year-old has made a quick impact at the Santiago Bernabeu, with his hat-trick in the 6-0 Champions League thrashing of Galatasaray on Wednesday moving him onto five goals in six appearances for Los Blancos.

Premier League giants Liverpool held an interest in Rodrygo before Madrid made a formal approach, but Elano felt their bid was insufficient.

"There was a time when there was very strong interest from Liverpool for him to leave when he was still in the youth team," Elano told ESPN.com.br.

"The values were very low, but they wanted to go. Real's offer afterwards was around €30million more.

"I had a conversation with the staff and said the boy was worth the risk and we should promote him because I wanted to work with him. Thank God everything worked out.

"He already had good decision-making at the professional level at you age. Different players have it early on. When they can control it, they get better and better.

"Despite his young age, he has already formed a maturity and game personality. He has technical ability and very precise control of his movements. It did not take long for him to adapt to the senior level. It was very fast.

"I believe so much in his personality and his football. He still has room to grow."

Dani Carvajal applauded Rodrygo Goes for his natural confidence after the 18-year-old scored a hat-trick in Real Madrid's 6-0 demolition of Galatasaray on Wednesday.

Rodrygo only made his first start for the club on October 22 in Madrid's previous meeting with the Turkish champions, but he has quickly shown he is not out of place in Los Blancos' team.

His treble at the Santiago Bernabeu took him to five goals in six appearances for the club, while he also set up the first of Karim Benzema's brace.

Coach Zinedine Zidane claimed he has not been surprised by Rodrygo's impact and Carvajal was overjoyed for the winger.

"You all saw how the boy always wants the ball, tries to dribble and passes, arrives in the box," Carvajal told reporters.

"He has an innate self-confidence, so he is fantastic. His match was really good, so we have to congratulate him."

Toni Kroos was rather more cautious about lavishing praise on the teenager, though he did commend his approach in possession.

"I do not like speaking about a player just because he has scored three goals. He did well in the past few games," Kroos said.

"He is 18 years old but is already helpful for us. Given his age, he plays very well, making it easy, not losing the ball, which is important for our game. It is good to have another scorer, as we need goals."

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