Zinedine Zidane admitted Real Madrid lacked fluency in their 2-0 win over Espanyol and said the team "can do much better", yet he still had saw positives at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Goals from Zidane's French compatriots Raphael Varane and Karim Benzema saw off the lowly visitors from Barcelona.

There were promising performances from the likes of striker Vinicius Junior and midfielder Federico Valverde, two youngsters of whom much is expected in the coming years.

But it was largely an underwhelming display by a team that ultimately ground down their opponents, Madrid's pedigree telling in the end despite Ferland Mendy's late red card.

"Today, we have to be happy because we continue on a good run," Zidane said afterwards.

"Of course, we can do much better, but we played a very serious game, respecting the opposition, and that is the most important thing."

Zidane said that 19th-placed Espanyol "do not deserve to be where they are in the table", and he acknowledged: "I think we controlled our own game, even though we were missing a bit of fluidity.

"Despite this, I'm happy because we scored two goals and didn't concede."

He added that he continues to feel pride at coaching Madrid in his second spell in the post, saying: "I am fortunate to be here with them.

"It is they who are fighting on the pitch and we have a very good squad. There is still a lot of work and let's not forget where we came from."

After winning three Champions League titles in his first spell as head coach, Zidane is jostling for more silverware this season, and his side are battling Barcelona for LaLiga supremacy, inching ahead of their great rivals at least for a few hours with their latest victory.

Asked about Valverde's lively display, Zidane said of the 21-year-old Uruguayan: "Fede has a place for many years here because he is demonstrating what he has, he is an important player, like everyone else.

"He is very young; when he plays, he doesn't have any trouble with the ball and without the ball. And when he plays, he does well."

Zidane also highlighted his other options in midfield, including Luka Modric, who came off the bench late on, and Isco, who was not used.

Modric, who was celebrating his new status as a Ballon d'Or winner this time last year, still has a major role to play for Madrid, as Zidane stressed: "He knows that occasionally he'll miss a game. But physically he can hold up very well."

In attack, Madrid continue to rely on the goals of Benzema, but they have a major talent in 19-year-old Brazilian Vinicius Junior.

His pace and dribbling caused Espanyol problems at times, and Zidane is sure the goals, in short supply for now, will come.

"The important thing is his work. What he has done, he has done well, both in attack and in defence," Zidane said. "I don't ask anyone for goals. That is a consequence of what the team does."

Real Madrid extended their unbeaten run to nine games in all competitions with a straightforward 2-0 win over struggling Espanyol on Saturday.

Raphael Varane opened his season account and sent Los Blancos on their way to a fourth consecutive LaLiga victory with a left-footed finish in the 37th minute.

Karim Benzema made the points safe when he swept home Federico Valverde's pass 11 minutes from full-time, making Ferland Mendy's late sending off for a needless second booking the only blight on an otherwise unfussy showing.

Madrid's win momentarily edges them three points ahead of title rivals Barcelona, who host Mallorca later on Saturday.

Vinicius Junior started for the first time since October and registered two attempts on target inside the opening 30 minutes.

Thibaut Courtois clawed away Esteban Granero's header between those chances before Varane made the breakthrough.

The defender stayed forward following a corner and finished with impressive poise after Benzema created space through neat footwork.

Vinicius escaped a potential second yellow for an ungainly collision with David Lopez, then forced goalkeeper Diego Lopez into a near-post save.

Espanyol's number one prevented Benzema from doubling the margin when the French striker broke through on goal after the interval.

Benzema squandered another good chance to put the result beyond doubt 20 minutes from full-time, turning wide from Rodrygo's cut-back.

But the 31-year-old was not to be denied, his unerring low finish after Valverde's fine build-play ensuring the late loss of Mendy for a silly foul on Victor Gomez counted for little.
 

What does it mean? Madrid building towards El Clasico

The rescheduled first Clasico of the season is fast approaching and Madrid look set to take a good deal of confidence to Camp Nou on December 18.

Zinedine Zidane's men have two games to negotiate before that big test but the head coach will be pleased with how his side has moved on from a middling start to the season.


Vinicius excites in Madrid sunshine

Vinicius has struggled for minutes this season but here it was simple to see why Zidane has ruled out a loan move.

The winger was vibrant and incisive on the left flank, with a sense of over-eagerness perhaps the only area for improvement.


Marching orders for Mendy

The absence of Marcelo due to a calf strain offered an opportunity to France defender Mendy and he had been perfectly serviceable for over 80 minutes.

That will have made it all the more frustrating for Zidane when his second-choice left-back left a foot in on Victor Gomez for the second time in the space of 20 second-half minutes, earning him a red card and forcing him out of the next match against Valencia.


What's next?

Madrid conclude their Champions League group stage commitments with a midweek trip to Club Brugge, then visit Valencia on Sunday.

Espanyol have a Europa League game at home to CSKA Moscow before next weekend's date with Real Betis.

Lionel Messi's inevitable retirement is a worrying thought but the record-breaker deserves to determine his own fate, according to Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Messi, 32, suggested the end of his career was "approaching" after winning an unprecedented sixth Ballon d'Or on Monday.

Ernesto Valverde insisted it was a natural line of thinking and nothing to be concerned about but Bartomeu told Catalunya Radio: "I worry about the day Messi goes."

He does not expect that day to come soon and outlined plans to agree a contract extension with Messi before his own term as president ends in 2021, which coincides with the expiry of the Argentine's deal.

"I would like to sign one more contract with Messi," Bartomeu said.

"He has a lot left. We have talked many times and he has no problem continuing at Barca. I have no doubt that he will play here until he retires, it is a commitment from him.

"It will end when he wants because Leo, for being the best, for giving what he has given, it will be up to him to say when he stops.

"He will set the terms. He has the right to decide how and when he wants to finish. He will never leave, this is his club, the club of his life."

Head coach Valverde is also due to become a free agent in 2021 but, unlike Messi, there looks to be a realistic chance of him leaving then or earlier.

The former Athletic Bilbao boss will hope to secure a third successive LaLiga title before decisions are made over his future.

Bartomeu said: "Valverde has a contract until the end of my term. He or Barcelona will decide. To continue with a coach depends on many variables.

"In Barcelona we have seen very short periods of coaches lately. Three [seasons] may be enough, but it is a decision that he must make.

"It depends on exhaustion, fatigue, although I see Valverde is excited, wants to do well, wants success and wants to combine these players who have won everything with the new generation."

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde opened the door for Arturo Vidal's departure in January, acknowledging the LaLiga champions have a lot of midfielders.

Vidal has been linked with a move to Serie A outfit Inter as the Barcelona midfielder struggles for regular game time at Camp Nou.

The 32-year-old Chilean has made 14 appearances across all competitions this season, though only four have been starts.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's match against Real Mallorca, Valverde told reporters: "Vidal is our player. We are happy with him. There are so many rumours. We will see tomorrow if he plays or not.

"And when the January transfer window arrives, we will see what happens."

"There's a lot of things going on in January but it's true that we have a lot of midfielders," Valverde said. "Some have played more than others but all of them are needed."

Ivan Rakitic is another midfielder, whose future with Barcelona is up in the air as the Croatia international eyes regular football.

Rakitic – a reported target for Inter and former club Sevilla – has only made two LaLiga starts this term.

"He's a reliable player in a lot of ways," Valverde added. "In the same way that there have been moments when he has not featured, he has continued training [with the same intensity] to seize his opportunity.

"He's played at a good level [in the last two games] and we're happy with that. We'll see what happens in the next few games. He has emerged in a difficult period."

Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone said anxiety prevented his team from scoring in their goalless draw at Villarreal.

Simeone's Atletico failed to win for the third consecutive LaLiga match following Friday's stalemate away to Villarreal.

It was another toothless showing by sixth-placed Atletico, who have only scored 16 goals through as many league games this season.

"It is normal that when you generate so many chances and do not convert, anxiety appears," Simeone told reporters. "And more anxiety, less precision. 

"When anxiety disappears, tranquillity and precision will come from the players we have. Today we had clear occasions, Joao Felix and [Renan] Lodi's, but we did not define them correctly."

Atletico could end the weekend seven points adrift of third-placed Sevilla and eight behind leaders Barcelona.

"At the moment, what worries me is to win a game and everything will be looked after in a different way," Simeone said.

Atletico captain Koke added: "In front of goal we have no fortune, precision or I do not know what is missing. To win you have to score goals.

"The team defends well, gives everything, but we need to be more precise to all, the strikers, the midfielders, the defenders..."

Atletico Madrid did little to improve their underwhelming position in the league table as they were held to an entertaining 0-0 draw by Villarreal at Estadio de la Ceramica, making it three games without a win for Los Colchoneros.

Diego Simeone was looking for a response to the 1-0 defeat to Barcelona that left them trailing LaLiga's top three by five points, but a wasteful showing meant they were unsuccessful.

A rip-roaring opening 45 minutes produced chances aplenty at either end, but the post and poor finishing stopped Atletico from taking advantage, while Jan Oblak was in inspired form in the visitors' net.

After the break there was initially a similar pattern to the contest, before Atletico upped the ante towards the end, but a woeful miss from Renan Lodi summed up their performance.

A thrilling first half began with three opportunities inside the first 15 minutes.

Oblak acrobatically stopped Samuel Chukwueze's long-range effort and then parried away Gerard Moreno's header, before Joao Felix's 30-yard strike hit the right-hand post.

Joao Felix wasted an even better opportunity 10 minutes later, firing over when played through on goal by Koke.

But Atletico again had to rely on Oblak when he tipped Manu Trigueros' brilliant dipping volley on to the roof of the net just after the half hour.

Proceedings resumed at a similarly blistering pace and Villarreal should have taken the lead – Chukwueze inexplicably missing the target after being fed into the box by Trigueros.

Lodi somehow eclipsed Chukwueze's haplessness, however, shooting over from close range following Joao Felix's cross and that proved to be Atletico's final clear-cut chance.

What does it mean? Leading pack almost out of sight for Atletico

After Atletico's 1-0 defeat to Barcelona, Diego Simeone claimed he was not paying the Blaugrana nor Real Madrid any mind. Rather, he highlighted the increasing gap between themselves and Sevilla.

Atleti could end the weekend eight points adrift of Julen Lopetegui's men, while Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao will fancy their chances of moving four points clear of the capital club.

Creative spark Trigueros carves Atleti open

Villarreal playmaker Trigueros enjoyed a wonderful display. Playing in a forward-thinking role, the midfielder was the hosts' creator-in-chief and was excellent, laying on a match-high five chances.

Morata fades into the background

Although Villarreal boast one of LaLiga's best attacks, they are by no means watertight at the back. Alvaro Morata would have fancied his chances of causing trouble, but he was largely ineffective and was fortunate to escape a second yellow card for a nasty foul on Raul Albiol.

What's next?

Atletico return to Champions League action at home to Lokomotiv Moscow on Wednesday, before hosting Osasuna in LaLiga. Villarreal face another tricky test next weekend as they travel to Sevilla.

Ernesto Valverde is not concerned about Lionel Messi retiring anytime soon after the Barcelona star suggested he was beginning to think about bringing his playing days to a close when he received a record sixth Ballon d'Or.

Messi, 32, overtook long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo in the Ballon d'Or stakes on Monday when he beat the Portugal forward and Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk to the individual gong, despite the latter being many people's favourite.

During Messi's acceptance speech, he remarked that he is "aware of how old I am, everything happens very quickly and I know that the moment of withdrawal is approaching".

Barca team-mate Luis Suarez insisted Messi's comments had been misinterpreted by many, adamant the Argentina great will "continue for a long while yet".

And Valverde says he sees Messi's state of mind as entirely normal, convinced his comments have been blown out of proportion.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's visit of Real Mallorca, Valverde said: "It seems natural [to think about retirement]. It seems normal.

"Leo is 32 years old and, although I don't think he is thinking about retirement, it is something that is there [in the future].

"When a player goes over 30 [years old], he always sees the end closer than when he starts, but come on, I think it goes around too much.

"You have to see it naturally. It happens to everyone as the years go by. To think about it doesn't mean it's going to be in three days."

The privilege of coaching Messi is not lost on Valverde, though he expects the honour to become even more apparent in the future.

"One is aware of that, but sometimes the day-by-day does not let you enjoy it at all," Valverde said.

"I think they are things that are valued more over time. I am aware that I have the great fortune to be able to say in a time that I have trained Leo.

"In the same way that the elders talk about [Real Madrid great Alfredo] Di Stefano, we can tell those who come after we were in Messi's time and we enjoyed it, some as close as me."

Zinedine Zidane has no qualms with Gareth Bale continuing to play golf, even though Wales may not allow the Real Madrid forward on courses during Euro 2020.

This week, Football Association of Wales (FAW) chief executive Jonathan Ford said he did not want players "risking their fitness by playing golf" as he scouts out potential training bases for Ryan Giggs' squad next year.

That could mean Bale is unable to partake in his favourite hobby, with the 30-year-old drawing the ire of Los Blancos fans when he posed with a 'Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order' flag last month as Wales qualified for the Euros.

Bale is currently out injured with a hamstring problem, yet Zidane insists he will not follow the FAW's lead when it comes to keeping him off the golf course.

"I'm going to give you my reply, the club might say something different," Zidane told a news conference to preview Real Madrid's clash with Espanyol.

"As Real Madrid manager I'm not going to stop my players doing anything in their free time.

"They're mature enough and they need to know what they need to do."

Zidane revealed Bale trained on Friday but "not as the same intensity as his team-mates", and he will likely miss Saturday's game along with Eden Hazard and Marcelo, who have respective ankle and calf problems.

Media reports suggested Hazard is set to miss El Clasico against Barcelona on December 18 due to the injury, with Zidane confirming the problem was worse than first feared.

"It's always bad news when a player gets injured," Zidane said.

"Of course he's upset that he's unavailable. It might be a bit more concerning, the injury, than we first thought.

"We will have to see, but he will be back with the rest of the players soon."

Hazard made a slow start to life at Madrid and has still scored just once in LaLiga, but Zidane feels he was rediscovering the type of form he showed at Chelsea prior to picking up the injury against Paris Saint-Germain last week.

"It's a very bad piece of news that we've lost Eden Hazard to injury as we have some very big games coming up," Zidane added.

"He had been playing very well and I'm sure he will again in the future. It's not good when you have players out injured, especially a player like Eden Hazard.

"He was in great form. We've seen him play very well, he had reproduced that form that we had seen before in England. It's a setback and hopefully he won't be out for long."

Christian Eriksen is back on Manchester United's transfer radar.

The Red Devils are said to be preparing a January bid for the Tottenham midfielder, whose contract expires at the end of the season.

Eriksen reportedly turned down a move to Old Trafford earlier this year.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED REIGNITE ERIKSEN INTEREST

Could Jose Mourinho unintentionally do his old employers another favour?

Tottenham lost to United in midweek and are now about to receive an offer for playmaker Eriksen from their Premier League rivals, reports The Mirror.

The Denmark international has not featured in the starting XI since Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino and, though he prefers a move abroad, might have a decision to make when the transfer window reopens.

Seemingly not convinced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side a few months ago, Eriksen can sign a pre-contract agreement with clubs overseas from January.

ROUND-UP

- Leicester City are set to hand in-demand manager Brendan Rodgers a bumper new deal in a bid to end interest from Arsenal, according to The Telegraph.

- David Moyes wants a long-term commitment from Everton before agreeing to a second stint in charge at Goodison Park, says The Sun.

- Contrary to recent reports, ESPN suggests Patrick Vieira is not at the top of Arsenal's shortlist of potential managers.

- Error-riddled Roberto's ill-fated period as a Premier League goalkeeper could soon be over. The Guardian reports West Ham will look to sell or loan the Spaniard in January, with Turkey a likely destination, as they pursue stronger competition for the injured Lukasz Fabianski.

- Serie A side  Milan have offered Zlatan Ibrahimovic a contract that could run for 18 months and will demand an answer from his agent Mino Raiola next week, claims CalcioMercato.

- Diego Simeone wants Atletico Madrid to prioritise signing a striker over Brazilian midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, according to AS. The Spanish newspaper links Krzysztof Piatek, Andrea Belotti of Torino, Chelsea centre-forward Olivier Giroud and Valencia's Rodrigo with moves to the Wanda Metropolitano.

- Staying with Atletico and the Rojiblancos have entered the race for rumoured Juventus, Inter and Borussia Dortmund target Sandro Tonali, says CalcioMercato. Tonali, 19, is in his third season in Brescia's first-team squad.

Eden Hazard is the Michael Jordan of football as Belgium boss Roberto Martinez tipped the Real Madrid star to win the Ballon d'Or.

Hazard – regarded as one of the best players in the world – swapped Premier League outfit Chelsea for LaLiga powerhouse Madrid in a blockbuster transfer prior to the start of the season.

The Belgium international has showed flashes of his brilliance, earning praise for his performances prior to suffering a small ankle fracture.

Asked about Hazard, Martinez likened the Red Devils captain to Chicago Bulls great and NBA Hall of Famer Jordan.

"I see Hazard winning the Ballon d'Or," Martinez told Cadena Ser program El Larguero. "He has the role of being a Ballon d'Or winner.

"What he has done is the level of the Ballon d'Or and he is always eligible for the prize.

"He has done it at Chelsea, in France. It is difficult for a foreigner to be at the reference of a project that works to win the league.

"He is a last-pass player, a Michael Jordan. Hazard is the Michael Jordan of football."

Hazard – who has scored once this season – will miss El Clasico against Barcelona on December 18 due to a small fracture in his ankle.

The Madrid forward was forced off in the 2-2 Champions League draw with Paris Saint-Germain last month.

"It's more the process of the injury," Martinez said on Thursday. "In the game against PSG, he had a setback and now we've discovered that he will spend a bit more time out than expected.

"There's nothing to worry about. You want a player like Eden to be 100 per cent, and now he'd established himself in the team and he was playing well.

"He's in very good physical condition and he'll be back very soon. You don't want to lose players of his level, but a team always has to deal with injuries, suspensions... Real Madrid are well prepared for this."

Lionel Messi's apparent hint at retirement was "misunderstood", according to Barcelona team-mate Luis Suarez.

Messi, 32, said "the moment of withdrawal is approaching" after winning a record sixth Ballon d'Or on Monday, leading to retirement talk.

However, Suarez believes the Argentina star's comments were misunderstood, backing the forward to play for years to come.

"[Messi] amazes me because he is a one-off and is making history," Suarez told beIN SPORTS.

"As a friend and team-mate, [the Ballon d'Or] makes me happy and proud because it's a beautiful moment for him.

"[His comments] were misinterpreted. When someone wins a Ballon d'Or they are happy but also nervous.

"Leo is a human being and gets nervous like the rest of us. He wanted to say he might have to contend with retiring in a couple of years.

"It was misunderstood, but I'm sure Leo Messi will continue for a long while yet."

Suarez has starred for Barca since arriving from Liverpool in 2014, but the 32-year-old has also been linked with a move away despite being contracted until 2021.

The Uruguay international said he would do what was best for the LaLiga champions, who sit top of the table.

"If they bring in a new team-mate for me to compete with, that's the same pressure as having to play every three days," Suarez said.

"And I have to be thinking about the future of the club – as a fan of the club, I have to think about the future, and maybe the best thing is if they sign a young or an established player to carry the torch as Barcelona's number nine."

Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman dismissed speculation linking him to LaLiga champions Barcelona.

Koeman has emerged as a possible option for Barca should Ernesto Valverde leave, with the Dutchman's Netherlands contract containing a clause that would allow him to depart for Camp Nou following Euro 2020.

The 56-year-old spent six years at Barca as a player before later having a spell as Louis van Gaal's assistant from 1998 to 2000.

Koeman, however, is focused on his job with the Netherlands ahead of next year's European Championship.

"I have two more years left on my contract with the [Dutch] national team and I do not like to talk about Barcelona," Koeman said at an event in Barcelona.

"It's uncomfortable for a lot of reasons; I currently have a job and it's not fair to talk about this.

"If they come, they come; and if they don't, they don't. There are more important things [to worry about] in life."

The Netherlands are in Group C for Euro 2020, alongside Ukraine, Austria and a play-off winner.

Koeman's side will open their campaign at home to Ukraine in Amsterdam on June 14.

Gareth Bale's agent says the Wales forward has never asked to leave Real Madrid even though he is "not ecstatic" at the club.

Bale's relationship with Madrid's fans, coaching staff and the Spanish media has become strained this year.

Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane said in July it would be "best for everyone" if Bale left the club ahead of a proposed switch to China's Jiangsu Suning.

However, the deal collapsed and the 30-year-old has remained with the LaLiga side.

Bale's agent Jonathan Barnett said the player has never requested a move away from Madrid.

"He has never asked to leave," Barnett told the BBC's Euro Leagues Podcast.

"He has a contract with Real Madrid and as long as they want him, there's not much anyone can do about it.

"No-one has ever accused him of not giving 100 per cent and a 100 per cent Gareth Bale is one of the best players in the world. The coach should be happy and honoured he is on the pitch for him.

"There's no guarantee he is leaving. If the right opportunity came along for him and it's something he wants to do, we have to have a chat with the president of Real Madrid and see where we are."

Barnett acknowledged Bale, who has won the Champions League four times and LaLiga with Madrid, was not thrilled to still at the club.

"He's not ecstatic," Barnett added, when asked whether Bale was happy at the Bernabeu.

"He has got a contract and as long as he is a Real Madrid player he will play at 100 per cent – and do very well. 

"He wants to win the championship and the European championship and everything else. It will not affect his performance.

"The facts and figures prove if he is on the field for Real Madrid they have a better chance of winning."

Bale held a flag up, after Wales beat Hungary in a Euro 2020 qualifier, which claimed he put his country and time on the golf course ahead of Madrid.

"It was directed only to the media because they had been writing very infantile and stupid stories from people that do not know him," Barnett said of the 'Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order' banner.

"The truth is he has done fantastically for Real Madrid in the years he has been there and helped them win so much."

Eden Hazard will miss El Clasico on December 18 after Real Madrid confirmed he has suffered a small fracture in his ankle.

Hazard was forced off in the 2-2 Champions League draw with Paris Saint-Germain late last month and required help as he hobbled off the pitch.

Coach Zinedine Zidane expressed concern after the match, convinced it was "more than a simple blow", only for initial scans to suggest Hazard had just suffered bruising.

But media reports suggested there was growing concern with Hazard's condition as he was still requiring the use of crutches to walk.

Madrid subsequently sent Hazard for further tests and discovered "an incomplete external microfissure" – or small fracture.

While the club have not confirmed how long they expect him to be absent for, such injuries generally take at least a month to recover from, with widespread media reports adamant Hazard will miss El Clasico.

Madrid are due to face Barca at Camp Nou on December 18, with the match rescheduled after the initial contest on October 26 was postponed due to political unrest in Catalonia.

Marcelo is also in doubt for the match after Madrid confirmed he is suffering with a calf injury.

While the issue is not thought to be as serious as Hazard's, Madrid-based publication Marca claim he could be out for three weeks.

Madrid and Barca are tied on 31 points from 14 matches in LaLiga, one ahead of Sevilla and former Blancos coach Julen Lopetegui, who have played 15 games.

Ahead of El Clasico, Madrid face Espanyol and Valencia domestically, while they will also go to Club Brugge in the Champions League.

Chelsea are seemingly eager to sign Jadon Sancho, but they may have to wait until the end of the season.

The Borussia Dortmund star, 19, has been heavily linked with a move away from the Bundesliga club, with numerous Premier League sides reportedly interested.

And Chelsea could be ready to spend big to land the England international.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA READY TO BREAK TRANSFER RECORD FOR SANCHO

Chelsea are prepared to break their transfer record to land Sancho, according to Goal.com.

Sancho has been linked to the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City after impressing at Dortmund.

Chelsea broke their own transfer record last year, when they paid Athletic Bilbao a reported £71.6million (€80m) for goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

The Premier League club are appealing their transfer ban, at this stage unable to buy players in January.

That may not be such a problem when it comes to Sancho, though, with Sport Bild reporting the attacker may not want a January move.

ROUND-UP

Edinson Cavani is struggling for game time at Paris Saint-Germain and the 32-year-old forward could be set for a move. AS reports the Uruguay international likes the idea of a switch to Atletico Madrid.

- Staying at the Wanda Metropolitano and Athletico Paranaense midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, 22, will join Atletico in a €30m transfer next year, according to Marca.

- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appears safe for now at Manchester United, but The Sun reports the Premier League club could turn to England manager Gareth Southgate if they decide to make a change at the end of the season.

- Carlo Ancelotti remains under pressure at Napoli. La Gazzetta dello Sport reports Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis will wait until the Champions League clash against Genk on December 10 before considering a change. Napoli are winless in eight matches and sit seventh in Serie A.

- Metz and France youth international defender Lenny Lacroix, 16, is attracting interest from Barcelona and Juventus, according to Mundo Deportivo.

- With Everton in the Premier League relegation zone after their Merseyside derby loss to Liverpool, Marco Silva could be sacked. The Sun reports Silva said goodbye to his Everton players after the loss at Anfield.

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