Lionel Messi's Barcelona contract is making headlines.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu confirmed Messi has a get-out clause in his deal.

Now, a move across the pond could be on the cards for the Argentina superstar…

 

TOP STORY – MESSI CONSIDERING MLS

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi could leave Camp Nou for MLS, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Messi has an annual exit option in his deal and the five-time Ballon d'Or winner could swap Spain for the United States.

It comes as the Catalan giants look to offer Messi – who has been linked to David Beckham's Inter Miami franchise – a lifetime contract.

 

ROUND-UP:

- Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is set to sign a new contract, reports Il Messaggero. The Serbia international midfielder – contracted until 2023 – was linked to Manchester United, Inter, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain during the transfer window. However, Lazio are looking to include a release clause of at least €100million.

- Tuttosport, meanwhile, says Inter are targeting Milinkovic-Savic and Fiorentina star Federico Chiesa.

- According to AS, Real Madrid are lining up Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek for the 2020-21 season. Van de Beek was heavily linked to Madrid prior to the transfer deadline but a move did not materialise.

Manchester City continue to be linked to Inter centre-back Milan Skriniar. Tuttosport says Pep Guardiola wants to sign the star defender in January following Aymeric Laporte's knee injury.

- Corriere dello Sport claims Dries Mertens could move to China, Belgium or the USA on a free transfer when his Napoli contract expires at the end of the season.

- According to the Daily Star, Adidas played a crucial role in keeping Paul Pogba at Manchester United. Reports linked Pogba to Real Madrid and Juventus but the Frenchman remained at Old Trafford.

Spain captain Sergio Ramos said his goal is to reach 200 international appearances after equalling Iker Casillas' record.

Ramos moved level with Casillas as Spain's most-capped player following his 167th cap in Sunday's 4-0 rout of the Faroe Islands in Euro 2020 qualifying.

After matching Casillas in the Group F qualifier, the 33-year-old defender – who debuted in 2005 – said: "Records are there to be broken.

"I hope that this momentum, enthusiasm and ambition always accompanies me and that I reach 200 games, which is the objective.

"You have to make it difficult."

Casillas praised Ramos after the Spain and Real Madrid skipper joined him in the history books.

"Congratulations on those 167 games!! I hope there are many more. Great moments we have lived with the @SeFutbol," Casillas tweeted.

Ramos – winner of two European Championships in 2008 and 2012 and the 2010 World Cup – replied: "I'm flattered by Iker's praise.

"I still have to overcome [his number] and I hope I can play for this country for many more years."

Braces from Rodrigo and Paco Alcacer against the Faroe Islands put Spain on track to qualify for Euro 2020.

Spain have won their six matches to be top and seven points clear of Sweden in Group F.

Ramos praised head coach Robert Moreno, who replaced Luis Enrique in June after the former Barcelona boss stepped down due to personal reasons before the death of his daughter last month.

"I think he is comfortable and we're delighted with him," Ramos said.

"He knows the dressing room and our way of playing well. He can help us."

Sergio Ramos moved level with Iker Casillas as Spain's most-capped player on 167 appearances after being named in their starting XI to face the Faroe Islands.

Ramos, 33, has been an ever-present since making his international debut in 2005 and featuring on Sunday leaves him on the brink of history.

The centre-back was a key player in Spain's greatest international triumphs, helping them to European Championship success in 2008 and 2012, as well as their first World Cup title in 2010.

Casillas had been out in front by himself ever since retiring from international football in 2016, but Ramos is now just a single appearance from setting a new outright record.

The Real Madrid captain will likely remain at the top of the pile for a significant period of time, with Sergio Busquets the closest active player with 114 caps.

Ramos was the one constant from the backline that lined up in the 2-1 win over Romania last time out, as David de Gea, Dani Carvajal, Mario Hermoso and Jose Gaya came into the team.

Coach Robert Moreno – still deputising for the absent Luis Enrique whose daughter recently died – also rang the changes in midfield and attack.

Rodrigo Moreno retained his place, but otherwise Spain were completely refreshed, with Suso, Mikel Oyarzabal, Thiago Alcantara, Rodri and Dani Parejo starting.

Spain have won all five of their Euro 2020 qualifiers and were expected to continue that run in Gijon.

Real Madrid striker Luka Jovic has been released from international duty after sustaining an unspecified injury with Serbia.

Jovic, 21, has not had the smoothest of starts to life at Madrid and another injury could further disrupt the season for the former Eintracht Frankfurt star.

Jovic came off the bench in Saturday's 4-2 home defeat by Portugal, with the Serbian Football Federation (FSS) confirming his injury blow a day later.

Specifics relating to the injury were not revealed, with the FSS saying in a statement that Jovic exacerbated an unspecified issue he suffered before joining up with the national team.

Jovic missed a chunk of pre-season with an ankle knock, though it is unclear if the latest problem is connected.

He will not feature in Tuesday's trip to Luxembourg in Euro 2020 qualifying, while he will likely be considered a doubt for Madrid's visit of Levante four days later.

Barcelona thrashed Real Madrid's new women's team 9-1 in the first female Clasico between the rivals, Jenni Hermoso hitting a hat-trick.

CD Tacon, taken over by Madrid in a reported €500,000 deal in June, were completely outplayed at the newly opened Estadi Johan Cruyff on Saturday.

Barca led 4-0 at the break having opened the scoring in the eighth minute through Alexia Putellas.

She turned provider for Aitana Bonmati before a Lucia Suarez own goal made it 3-0, with Mariona also on target from close range before half-time.

Tacon, who train at Madrid's facilities and wear the club's famous white strip, grabbed a goal back through Jessica Martinez.

But Bonmati's second restored Barcelona's four-goal cushion and Norway star Caroline Graham Hansen, a recent Barca signing, added their sixth.

Hermoso, a second-half substitute, swiftly made it 7-1 to add to the humiliation and the goals kept coming, with Bonmati setting up the Spain attacker again.

And in added time Hermoso claimed the matchball with a curling finish, completing the Clasico rout.

With Aymeric Laporte on the sidelines, Manchester City are looking for reinforcements.

Laporte's knee injury has left City with John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi as their only recognised centre-backs.

Could a star defender from Serie A be the answer in January?

 

TOP STORY – CITY LOOK TO SKRINIAR

Pep Guardiola wants defensive reinforcements in January and Manchester City are set to target Inter centre-back Milan Skriniar, according to CalcioMercato.

Aymeric Laporte is set for a spell on the sidelines with a knee injury, depleting City's options as they eye a third consecutive Premier League title.

Inter star Skriniar has emerged as an option for City, though the Italian side are not keen on losing the 24-year-old – who was linked to Manchester United in the off-season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport reports Real Madrid will try to sign Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe at the end of the season. Madrid were linked with Neymar prior to the transfer deadline but now appear set to target his PSG team-mate.

- According to Aksam, Liverpool will monitor the form of Trabzonspor goalkeeper Ugurcan Cakir throughout the season.

- Tuttomercatoweb says Napoli are ready to re-sign Arkadiusz Milik, Piotr Zielinski and Nikola Maksimovic, while a contract extension for Gianluigi Donnarumma is AC Milan's priority.

- Former AC Milan forward Jeremy Menez wants to return to Serie A via Sampdoria, according to CalcioMercato. The 32-year-old former France international is a free agent after leaving Mexican side Club America.

- Serie A champions Juventus are eyeing a double swoop for Tottenham stars Christian Eriksen and Toby Alderweireld, says the Daily Mail. Eriksen and Alderweireld are set to become free agents at the end of the season and Inter are also reportedly monitoring the situation.

- Valencia are determined to tie down Carlos Soler and Ferran Torres to new deals, reports SuperDeportes.

Brazil boss Tite labelled Neymar as one of the top three players in the world and declared the Paris Saint-Germain forward is ready to make his long-awaited return from injury.

Neymar has not featured for club or country since injuring his ankle in a pre-Copa America friendly against Qatar in early June.

However, the 27-year-old is part of Brazil's squad for Friday's friendly with Colombia in Miami and has been passed fit to play at the Hard Rock Stadium.

"He has recovered from the injury that as everyone remembers removed him from the Copa America," Tite told reporters at Thursday's press conference.

"If he wasn't fit, he wouldn't be with the national team. We are not irresponsible to force a situation when it concerns the athlete's health. Me and the coaching staff will be very attentive to his development. He is ready, he is capable of doing what the team needs."

Despite winning the Copa America in Neymar's absence, Tite insisted the former Barcelona star remains an integral part of his plans and considers him behind only Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the list of the world's best players.

"Fifty per cent of goals scored by Brazil with Neymar on pitch are because of his goals or an assist he makes," he told reporters. "The team needs him and he needs the team.

"From individual technical quality, I put Lionel Messi on top and Cristiano Ronaldo, because they are of another generation.

"From there I put another generation: [Neymar] and Eden Hazard are two extraordinary players for me. One advantage Neymar has over Hazard is that they think alike but he executes faster. He's unstoppable."

Vinicius Junior is also back for Brazil's friendlies with Colombia and Peru after missing out on Copa America selection because of an ankle injury.

He has struggled for consistency since joining Real Madrid from Flamengo last year, but Tite has called for patience when it comes to the teenage attacker's development.

"His irregularity is something natural for a boy of his age," he said.

"I spoke a lot with him during these days and he is an amazing lad that has extraordinary talent. He has six or seven gears and incredible speed.

"When we see him playing in Madrid, we overvalue his ability to mature. Things are happening very quickly in his life. At times we forget that he is only 19 years old. We have to give him time and take care of him.

"He still has to perfect a lot of things, but his natural talent is bigger than everything he needs to improve on. He also has to work hard on an emotional level and look after himself. He has a charisma like no other and everyone loves him. He has earned everyone's love."

Gareth Bale feels he has been made a scapegoat at Real Madrid and is eager to reach an amicable conclusion with the club over his future.

The 30-year-old came close to leaving the Santiago Bernabeu for Chinese club Jiangsu Suning during the transfer window after being told by boss Zinedine Zidane he was free to leave.

Madrid's board reportedly blocked his exit at the last minute, however, and Bale has started all three LaLiga matches this term.

Bale, under contract for another three years, believes he has been unfairly targeted during a period of upheaval for the Spanish giants and says he is "not playing happy".

"I understand I was made more of a scapegoat than most - I take it with a pinch of salt even though maybe it's not all fully fair," he told Sky Sports.

"Towards the end of last season was difficult, there is no denying that, not just for me but for the team.

"I wouldn't say I'm playing happy, but I'm playing. When I'm playing I am professional and I am always giving all I can, whether that be for club or country.

"I'm sure there'll be plenty more turbulence, to be honest. I suppose it is something you will have to speak to Real Madrid about and it's between me and them, and we will have to come to some sort of conclusion."

Bale has started the new season in solid fashion with two goals and an assist in three LaLiga matches, including a brace in Sunday's 2-2 draw at Villarreal before being sent off for two quickfire yellow cards.

The winger, who is in line to start Wales' crucial Euro 2020 qualifier with Azerbaijan on Friday, dismissed the notion it has been the most difficult period of his career.

"Coming back to pre-season, I just kept my head down and I know there was a lot of talk, with people saying the good, bad, or whatever they wanted," he said.

"It wasn't the worst time of my career. It has been not ideal, but I know how to deal with it and it's about keeping your head down.

"You get rewarded with the work you put in and I've started the season well and did a good pre-season, even if that hasn't been the case with the number of games.

"Things in football can turn quickly and it is just a matter of time."

Neymar will retire at Paris Saint-Germain unless his salary and asking price are lowered, according to LaLiga president Javier Tebas.

The Brazil forward was strongly linked with a return to LaLiga before the closure of the transfer window on Monday, with both former club Barcelona and Real Madrid said to be interested.

Tebas, though, reiterated his previous stance that the 27-year-old's return to LaLiga is not required for Spanish football and talked down the chances of Neymar finding a new club if his wage demands remain the same.

"It is always important to have good assets to increase [LaLiga's] value, but he is not essential," Tebas said at the Soccerex Europe congress in Lisbon.

"If Neymar comes, good. If Neymar doesn't come, I don't see it as essential, because we continue to grow."

Barca were reportedly unwilling to meet the Ligue 1 champions' valuation for Neymar, who made the switch two years ago in a record €222million deal and has three years to run on his PSG contract.

"The problem of not coming back now [to Barcelona] has to do with his own departure for PSG," Tebas said. "It was an off-market transfer, it was only possible to happen with 'traps' to increase sponsorships. 

"When you do it out of the market, it is impossible to sell again at this price. In view of the market, Neymar will retire at PSG unless he lowers his salary and also his PSG claims."

Neymar has not featured for PSG since May due to injury concerns and doubts over his future.

Toni Kroos says he could give up Germany duty after next year's European Championships.

The Real Madrid midfielder was one of the key players as Germany won the World Cup in 2014.

But Joachim Low's men have failed to follow up that success, losing to France in the Euro 2016 semi-finals and seeing their World Cup defence end early in Russia.

Kroos, 29, is already thinking about whether Euro 2020 could be his final international competition.

"After the tournament it will be a good moment to think about it," Kroos told a news conference.

"I will not kill myself if I end my career without having won a European Championship."

Kroos and Germany continue their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign at home to Netherlands in Group C on Friday.

Low, whose side have a 100 per cent record after three games, will be without Kroos' fellow midfielder Leon Goretzka.

The Bayern Munich midfielder has left the Germany camp early due to a thigh injury.

Gareth Bale has cleared the air with Thibaut Courtois after the goalkeeper let slip that Real Madrid team-mates nicknamed the Welsh star "the golfer".

That revelation emerged earlier this year when Courtois, in an interview with a Belgian newspaper, also hinted at bemusement over Bale and Toni Kroos skipping a team evening meal because they wanted to avoid a late night.

Bale, who says his critics are misinformed and their verdicts on his Santiago Bernabeu career "mean nothing", made sure he got to the bottom of Courtois' comments.

And he believes the Belgian goalkeeper meant no offence.

"I am a golfer!" Bale said in a Wales news conference on Thursday. "I spoke to him about it and he meant it as a joke.

"People took it out of context, but I'm very happy with the nickname to be honest. It's a great one.

"Obviously football is number one. Golf is a hobby like anyone else would have a hobby.

"There's nothing wrong with having a round and people make a lot of it. It's just one thing I really enjoy. It keeps me calmer off the pitch."

Bale's scorn for the hot takes about his Madrid future was spelt out by the 30-year-old, after a transfer window full of speculation linking him with a move away from Spain.

He reportedly came close to joining Chinese club Jiangsu Suning, and was linked with various Premier League teams, but ended up staying in Madrid.

Asked about the rumours surrounding him, Bale said: "I just don't listen to any of it because they don't really know what they're on about. I don't read anything, I don't listen to anyone.

"Most people don't know the situation, don't understand things, so what they're writing means nothing."

After regaining the faith of Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane, who said during the summer it would be "best for everyone" if Bale moved on, the winger could yet have successful years ahead at the club.

Wales boss Ryan Giggs enjoyed seeing his star man net a double in Madrid's 2-2 draw at Villarreal on Sunday, although Bale's late red card was a blemish on that performance.

"It's good to see him scoring again because usually when he scores he gets on a roll, so hopefully that'll be the case," Giggs said.

Manchester United winger Daniel James could eventually supplant Bale as the Wales talisman, but Giggs is thrilled at the prospect of them playing in tandem for now.

"Dan's got off to a great start in his Manchester United career but also he's been brilliant for us in the last few games, especially in the summer [June] under difficult circumstances," said Giggs, referring to James' father dying in late May.

"It's not only about Gareth. The pressure is always on Gareth and the spotlight is always on Gareth, but I want to bring that pressure off Gareth where we can't rely on him in every game because we have other talented players in the squad."

Wales face Azerbaijan in Euro 2020 qualifying on Friday, having lost their past two Group E matches.

Barcelona should view their failure to seal a deal for Neymar as a blessing in disguise, according to Vicente del Bosque.

The LaLiga champions were unable to reach an agreement with Paris Saint-Germain prior to Monday's transfer deadline.

Brazil international Neymar, who is said to be unhappy in France, could still return to Camp Nou in future, while Real Madrid reportedly remain interested.

But former Madrid and Spain boss Del Bosque believes the talented 27-year-old represents more trouble than he is worth.

"It would have been good for the Spanish league for him to return but if I was involved with a club, I wouldn't have signed him," Del Bosque told RTVE programme Estudio Estadio.

"He is a great player, but there are other things I don't like. He did not behave well at Barcelona. He behaved badly, or very badly.

"If you did a survey in Barcelona, there would surely be more than 50 per cent who would be reluctant to have him back."

Another of the close season's transfer sagas took place over at Del Bosque's former employers Madrid as Zinedine Zidane unsuccessfully attempted to remove Gareth Bale from his squad.

The Wales international appeared destined for the Chinese Super League until Madrid's board blocked his departure.

Bale has since returned to favour, starting each of the club's three LaLiga matches this term, and Del Bosque thinks the four-time Champions League winner will prove useful to Zidane.

"No one thought his behaviour was bad, just that he did not adapt to Madrid. Very few people doubted his qualities," the retired World Cup winner said.

"I think he will perform for them because he is a very good player."

I wish I could decide my career like in Football Manager.

That was the thought of Christian Eriksen after he was unable to engineer a move away from Tottenham.

The transfer window slammed shut on Monday but Eriksen is still in the headlines.

 

TOP STORY – INTER EYE ERIKSEN BID

Inter are interested in making a January move for Tottenham star Eriksen, claims The Express.

Eriksen wanted to leave Spurs prior to the transfer window closing but a departure did not materialise amid reported interest from the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United and Juventus.

Now, Antonio Conte's Inter could be willing to offer Eriksen a way out of London.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to The Sun, Inter may have a battle to secure Eriksen's signature. Having been linked during the transfer window, Manchester United are reportedly preparing a shock move for the Spurs star in January.

- Marca says Neymar's father "harassed" Real Madrid with phone calls as a return to Barcelona from Paris Saint-Germain became more unlikely.

- AS reports that Mariano Diaz rejected a move to Schalke prior to Monday's transfer deadline day. The Bundesliga side wanted Diaz, however, the Real Madrid forward opted to remain at the Santiago Bernabeu.

- Yannick Bolasie turned down the chance to join Russian giants CSKA Moscow over racism fears, according to the Daily Mail. He decided to swap Everton for Sporting CP on loan instead.

- What is better than one Sessegnon? Two. After signing Ryan from Fulham, Tottenham are targeting his twin brother Steven Sessegnon, says The Sun.

Vinicius Junior revealed Zinedine Zidane had told him he could enjoy a long career at Real Madrid.

Vinicius, 19, has struggled to cement his place in Madrid since arriving ahead of the 2018-19 season, having starred for Flamengo.

But the forward said Madrid head coach Zidane had backed him to have a good career at the Santiago Bernabeu, if he continued improving.

"Zidane always tells me to be relaxed and to keep growing because if I do so, and because I am so well treated by everybody, he says I'll be playing there for a long time," Vinicius told a news conference on Tuesday.

"Much like Marcelo and Casemiro, who have been there for a long time."

Vinicius has made three LaLiga appearances to begin the season, although just one of those was a start – last month's 3-1 win at Celta Vigo.

Asked about playing on the right-hand side for Madrid, Vinicius said he was happy to play on either wing.

"When I was playing youth football, I did this a little and now I've come to play on the right at Real Madrid," he said.

"I think it's important for me and for my career, so that I can play well on both sides.

"Of course, I find the right side more difficult as I'm not so used to playing like this, but I'm trying to improve day by day, at each training session with Real Madrid."

Vinicius – who could make his senior Brazil debut in friendlies against Colombia and Peru this month – hopes he can take his chances and impress Zidane at Madrid early in the season.

"The beginning of the season is also a bit difficult. New players always are tested and Real Madrid now have plenty of players," he said.

"We are playing more and Zidane always talks to all the players, he gives opportunities to all of us at the beginning, so that we can have a good season."

Luka Jovic said he is ready to answer the biggest demands at Real Madrid following a slow start to life in the Spanish capital.

Jovic – who scored 27 goals last season – is still settling in after joining Madrid from Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt in a reported €60million deal.

An injury in pre-season set Jovic back, while the Serbia international is yet to score for the LaLiga giants in three appearances.

Jovic, though, did help set up a goal with a stunning flick in his first LaLiga start as Madrid drew 2-2 at Villarreal prior to the international break.

Asked about his start to the season with Madrid, the 21-year-old told reporters: "After the pre-season, of course it's getting better now.

"I was injured, it was that red card when I had to come off against Arsenal [in the first half of the International Champions Cup clash after Nacho Fernandez was sent off].

"It's not easy for one young player, but I think I handled it in the best way possible and I'm ready to answer the biggest demands."

Jovic fronted the media ahead of Serbia's Euro 2020 qualifying showdown against Portugal in Belgrade.

Serbia play host to Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo, with the Balkan nation third in Group B, six points behind leaders Ukraine and two clear of Saturday's visitors.

There will also be a new head coach on the sidelines after Ljubisa Tumbakovic replaced Mladen Krstajic, who was sacked after June's 4-1 rout of Lithuania following their 5-0 humiliation against Ukraine.

"As far as I know, we play 11 on 11, we don't just play against Ronaldo," Jovic said. "We will prepare for the whole team, not just Ronaldo.

"He is certainly their best individual, but they have many more interesting players who can make a problem. It will be necessary to be concentrated and disciplined as much as possible to achieve a positive result."

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