Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Ander ter Stegen has been ruled out of the Copa del Rey final due to a knee problem.

The Germany international missed the final three LaLiga games of the season while undergoing treatment for an issue in his right knee.

The club confirmed on Wednesday that Ter Stegen "still has discomfort" and is therefore unavailable for the match with Valencia at the Benito Villamarin on Saturday.

It means Jasper Cillessen is likely to start, despite reports suggesting he has agreed to leave the club to join Benfica in the coming transfer window.

Atletico Madrid have confirmed Diego Costa suffered a sprain to the lateral ligament of his left ankle in Tuesday's friendly defeat to Beitar Jerusalem.

Diego Simeone's side were beaten 2-1 in their season-concluding exhibition game, but their biggest frustration was an injury suffered by Costa in the 28th minute.

The striker turned his ankle and, although the club were able to rule out damage to the bone, further tests upon their return to Madrid discovered a ligament had been impacted.

Having suffered a grade two sprain, Costa may take over two months to recover from the problem, meaning he could miss the start of Atletico's pre-season.

The injury brings a difficult season to a disheartening end for Costa, who has struggled for form and missed the final seven matches of the LaLiga campaign through suspension after earning an eight-game ban having insulted a referee.

 

Barcelona could still win the domestic double again this season, but former Blaugrana midfielder Deco feels Ernesto Valverde is still under pressure because of the humiliating Champions League exit to Liverpool.

Valverde won LaLiga and the Copa del Rey in his first campaign last season and, after retaining the domestic title, his side will achieve a double-double if they beat Valencia in Saturday's cup final.

Yet the Barca boss' position still appears perilous because of the embarrassing way in which the club exited this year's Champions League.

Despite holding a 3-0 advantage from the first leg against Liverpool, Barca were thrashed 4-0 in the return fixture of the semi-final at Anfield, leaving Deco uncertain over Valverde's long-term future.

"I don't know the future because [at] Barcelona there's a lot of pressure," said Deco, who was speaking to Omnisport courtesy of the UEFA Europa League Trophy Tour - Driven by Kia.

"When the competition starts one of my favourites to win was Liverpool because I knew they were strong, stronger than last season.

"But they had problems in the beginning, the group phase, and then it's getting better in the competition.

"Of course, after 3-0 in Camp Nou, no one could expect without two of the important players – [Mohamed] Salah and [Roberto] Firmino – that Liverpool could do that.

"It was difficult for Barcelona because it was a very tough defeat – a loss against Liverpool, 4-0, is not normal."

Deco played for Barca between 2004 and 2008, winning two LaLiga titles and the Champions League in 2005-06.

He believes that the manner of the defeat to Liverpool would result in added scrutiny for any manager.

"I know in Barcelona there's a lot of pressure, every year they need to win," he added.

"I don't know what's happened. It's difficult, not just for Valverde but every coach who would be there in that moment."

Sevilla have announced Joaquin Caparros will be replaced as head coach and take up a position supporting sporting director Monchi next season.

Caparros returned to Sevilla in April 2018, 13 years after he ended a five-season spell at the helm, replacing the sacked Vincenzo Montella for the last four matches of the 2017-18 campaign.

He then moved into a director of football role the following month and hired Pablo Machin as coach, a decision that initially looked to be a masterstroke, with the club challenging at the top of the table until December.

But a massive drop-off in form and Europa League elimination in March brought about Machin's sacking and Caparros stepped in for his third spell in charge of the team, presiding over 11 matches as Sevilla finished sixth in LaLiga.

With the 63-year-old confirming a chronic leukaemia diagnosis in April, it became increasingly unlikely he would continue as coach for the 2019-20 campaign.

And the club confirmed on Wednesday that Caparros' final game will be their friendly against Tanzanian club Simba a day later, with the experienced coach set to return to a backroom role and assist Monchi, who returned to Sevilla in March.

Eusebio Di Francesco, a former Roma colleague of Monchi's, is reportedly the frontrunner to become the new coach, with Sevilla set to make a decision "in the coming days".

Aritz Aduriz has signed a contract extension at Athletic Bilbao that will see him play beyond his 39th birthday.

Veteran striker Aduriz on Wednesday agreed a one-year deal to take part in a 12th season for Athletic, which have been split between three separate spells.

The former Valencia player has made 390 appearances and scored 171 goals for the club, four of which came over two legs in the 2015 Supercopa de Espana victory over Barcelona - the only trophy he has won at San Mames.

Aduriz, who turns 39 in February, has twice been the highest-scoring Spanish player in LaLiga but only notched two in 2018-19 as he transitioned to being more of a squad player.

Athletic also announced on Wednesday that goalkeeper Alex Remiro will not return next season and midfielder Benat requires a finger operation.

Zinedine Zidane's return as Real Madrid coach less than a year after quitting was nothing short of "heroic", according to club great Jorge Valdano.

The former France international left the club shortly after guiding them to a third successive Champions League title last May, with Cristiano Ronaldo subsequently following him out of the door at the end of an era.

Things did not go to plan under Zidane's successor Julen Lopetegui, who lasted until October, and his replacement Santiago Solari was dismissed in March following Champions League elimination to Ajax.

Zidane's return did not produce a huge improvement, as Madrid still only finished third in LaLiga and 19 points adrift of champions Barcelona.

But coming back in president Florentino Perez's hour of need should – Valdano believes – earn him two statues and the right to build the squad he wants for next season.

"Zidane's return was, for me, almost an heroic act," Valdano told ESPN. "He knew it was risky, but he did it.

"The president, and the club, must be very grateful. He should have a statue here at the Santiago Bernabeu, and another in Florentino's garden.

"Just from his presence, the season ended much more peacefully than it could have. When there is no sporting director, it is the coach who must make the decisions.

"The risk he took would be in exchange for having the power to design the squad for next season.

"Things are different now from his first spell in charge, when he had clear leaders – Sergio Ramos for spirit, Luka Modric for football, Cristiano Ronaldo being decisive, and all at the height of their careers.

"Now Zidane must put together something new, with new players coming in. We don't know how they will adapt to a new city and the unique nature of this club.

"That will test him, but if anyone has won the confidence of the club, it is Zidane."

Paul Pogba, Eden Hazard, Kylian Mbappe and Luka Jovic are just some of the stars linked with moves to Madrid over the coming months, with many fans and commentators of the belief the squad needs serious refreshment.

Valdano is convinced Pogba would play a more central and constructive role at Madrid than at Manchester United, but the Argentine also feels the midfielder would need to be just one of five or six signings.

He added: "Pogba scores goals. He does not have so much influence in the construction of the play at Manchester United.

"But if Zidane is thinking of him for Real Madrid, for sure he would have a conducting role in the team.

"I have no idea what Zidane is thinking, but it is true that the team needs a big shake-up, they must move in the market in a much more decisive way than in recent seasons.

"There is a need for five or six really well-chosen players. You must choose very well, both the players to come in, and those who will leave."

Paul Pogba and Eden Hazard joining Real Madrid is possible because great players are always welcome at the club, says Raphael Varane.

Madrid have been linked with big-money moves for the Manchester United midfielder and Chelsea winger as Zinedine Zidane looks to rebuild the squad following a disappointing 2018-19 season.

Pogba has struggled to stamp his mark on United since returning in 2016 for a then world-record £89million, while Hazard appears set to leave Stamford Bridge with just one year remaining on his contract.

Varane, who has vowed to remain with the club next term despite links to the likes of United and Juventus, believes players of such calibre will always have a place at the Santiago Bernabeu.

"I can't say what I talk to [Pogba] about, but any great player has a place at Madrid and he is one," Varane told Marca.

"In Madrid there is a lot of competition. It is a possibility, there is a lot of noise around and we will see in August where he is."

On Hazard, he added: "I've known him since I started at Lens. He is a top player and it's like I said to explain the case with Pogba, he could also play at Madrid.

"He is in the best moment of his career with the age and quality he has. When we [France] faced [Belgium] in the World Cup semi-finals we knew we had to have a special plan to stop him."

Madrid have long been expected to sign a new striker to replace Karim Benzema, but the former Lyon man hit 30 goals in all competitions this season – his best since the 2011-12 campaign.

"To play for Madrid for 10 years and also being the number nine you have to be very good and have a huge mental strength. He is very talented and has reached a moment of fulfilment," said Varane.

"He knows himself very well, he knows what he has to do to be at his best level and he has had a very good season.

"It may be the best of his career, and it is true that I have seen him very comfortable in his role as leader of the attack. I am very happy for him."

Diego Simeone eased any fan fears he might leave Atletico Madrid as part of their expected exodus.

Atletico look set for arguably their most important transfer window since Simeone returned to the club as coach in 2011, with numerous key players departing.

Juanfran, Diego Godin and Filipe Luis are expected to leave on free transfers, Lucas Hernandez will join Bayern Munich, while Vitolo, Santiago Arias, Thomas Partey, Rodri and Saul Niguez have been strongly linked with moves.

To make matters worse, star forward Antoine Griezmann also announced his intention to leave the club despite only signing a new contract last year.

With several major European clubs set to change coaches, Simeone had been suggested as a potential target for some, though he insists he is not about to jump ship.

Speaking after Tuesday's 2-1 friendly defeat to Beitar Jerusalem, Simeone said: "I like my job, I feel very identified and committed to the club.

"I know that year on year it's always more difficult and that makes us see our real selves and generate enthusiasm.

"Next season there will be football players who will arrive with great enthusiasm and hopefully adapt to the responsibility that means being at Atletico Madrid."

Diego Costa avoided bone damage after suffering an ankle injury in Atletico Madrid's 2-1 friendly defeat to Beitar Jerusalem, the club have confirmed.

Spain striker Costa endured a difficult season after struggling for form and missing the final seven LaLiga games through suspension after earning an eight-match ban for insulting a referee.

Atletico faced Israeli side Beitar on Tuesday in a friendly, allowing Costa to make his first appearance since April 6, but he lasted just 28 minutes before suffering what the club describe as a "high-grade sprain" to his left ankle.

Tests have ruled out damage to the bone, though Atletico will be carrying out further investigations upon their return to Madrid to determine any ligament problems.

Antoine Griezmann scored Atletico's goal in the defeat at Teddi Malcha Stadium in what is expected to be his final appearance for Atleti, the France star having informed the club he wants to leave in the transfer window.

Raphael Varane has ended speculation over his future after insisting he will still be at Real Madrid next season.

Varane, 26, had been linked to the likes of Manchester United and Juventus after eight seasons with the LaLiga giants.

Like many of his team-mates, the France international has endured a difficult 2018-19, which resulted in Los Blancos finishing third in the table – a whopping 19 points behind champions Barcelona.

Varane, though, is adamant that he will remain at the Santiago Bernabeu as Zinedine Zidane looks to reverse the club's faltering fortunes.

"I'm going to stay here next year; I'm sure we're going to relive strong emotions,” Varane told Marca.

"We have fought, we have tried hard and we cannot blame anything in particular but it is true that we missed that spark in the difficult moments.

"In football you have cycles and last season I was not at my best level, but we will see the best Varane again.

"We have to evolve and Zinedine Zidane is clear about it: we have to rebuild, and we have to change things."

Deportivo Alaves have appointed Asier Garitano as their new head coach following the departure of Abelardo.

Abelardo left the club on Monday after a run of just one win in their last 10 LaLiga matches of the season ended their hopes of an unlikely Champions League qualification place.  

They ultimately finished 11th and Abelardo decided the time was right to part ways, insisting in his farewell media conference that the club did everything they could to keep him.

They have moved quickly to name a replacement, though, appointing former Real Sociedad coach Garitano.

The 49-year-old took charge of Leganes in 2013, guiding them from the third tier of Spanish football to La Liga for the first time ever.

He then joined Real Sociedad at the start of the 2018-19 campaign but was dismissed in December after a run of four consecutive defeats.

France head coach Didier Deschamps is happy to give Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba his opinion on their futures but has warned them to be sure they make the right choice for their careers.

Atletico Madrid striker Griezmann confirmed last week that he intends to leave the Wanda Metropolitano at the end of the season, despite only agreeing a new five-year contract last year.

Pogba, meanwhile, has been heavily linked with a move to LaLiga giants Real Madrid after a largely difficult season with Manchester United.

Deschamps – who has named both players in his squad for a friendly against Bolivia and subsequent Euro 2020 qualifiers against Turkey and Andorra next month – will give them his view but is keen for them not to come to regret their decisions.

"Players are making choices, I'm not there to advise them," he told a media conference.

"I'm here to give them my opinion, but it's about them. It depends on their career, people and family.

"Most of them ask for my opinion. They can use it or not; it's not my choice.

"What matters is that when they decide something important, they think it is the correct choice. But sometimes you think, 'yes it's a good choice to join that club' and then it's not. It's easy to say after the fact. It goes well or badly."

Despite criticism of Pogba's form towards the end of the campaign, he ended 2018-19 with 13 Premier League goals and a further nine assists – more than any of his United team-mates managed – and earned a place in the PFA Team of the Year.

Deschamps believes people are too quick to find faults in the 26-year-old's game and says he brings a lot more than just goals.

"I hope you're watching all his games in the Premier League," he added. "We see Paul when he scores and gives assists, but Paul is not just about that. With us, he scores fewer goals, but he was and still is very important.

"A season lasts 10 months and players can't be at their peak all the time. With France, he knows I'm asking him different things because we have a team, and he's doing it very well."

Antoine Griezmann's decision to turn down a move to Barcelona last year "hurt" the club, according to Xavi.

Griezmann was strongly linked with signing for Barca after the 2017-18 season but he eventually announced in a televised documentary he would stay at Atletico Madrid.

However, after Barca held off Atleti to defend their LaLiga crown, France forward Griezmann confirmed his intention to leave the Madrid club after five years.

Barca are reportedly again front-runners for his signature, though head coach Ernesto Valverde has refused to discuss how Griezmann could fit into a forward line with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

And Xavi, who won eight LaLiga titles at Barca and made his last professional appearance for Al-Sadd before hanging up his boots this week, hinted there may be leftover bad feeling at Camp Nou over Griezmann's previous rejection of a move.

"I understand it hurt what he did last summer," Xavi said to Sport. "If the reason for the rejection [from Barca players] was only a footballing issue, I'd speak with the dressing room to make them see he's a player who can bring something.

"We have to see, however, who is signing him? The sporting director? Valverde? The president? If I came to Barca I would ask for the signings, and if the dressing room doesn't agree with any of them I'd speak with them, but in the end I decide. Be it Griezmann or whoever.

"Another thing would be if the coach doesn't want him either. Then we have a problem."

Barca have given Valverde their backing despite their latest Champions League disappointment, with Xavi making his ambitions to coach at Camp Nou clear.

"If one day I come back to Barcelona it's all a consequence of knowing that I will be judged," he added.

"Everyone wants to be at a big team. It would be more comfortable to go to a second division club but I'm competitive and I like big challenges.

"I know what will come, I will go bald or my hair will turn white, but it is what it is."

Messi made it clear the Champions League was Barca's top priority in 2018-19 but he was unable to add to the four European titles he has won at the club.

"That's more than a few, we only had one before," Messi's former team-mate Xavi said. "We were able to win more but it's hard to win the Champions League.

"[Pep] Guardiola's Barca were better than the rest of the teams and we only won two of four. Chelsea and Inter knocked us out. But be calm, Messi's not finished yet.

"We always talk about the post-Messi era, but Leo has three or four good years left. At the top level, like now, because he looks after himself, he's incredibly professional, he's physically strong, a beast mentally. He's the number one at everything."

Gareth Bale has been included in a Wales training squad by Ryan Giggs amid speculation over his Real Madrid future.

Zinedine Zidane left Bale unused on the bench as Madrid ended their LaLiga season with a 2-0 home defeat against Real Betis on Sunday.

Bale has played a bit-part role since Zidane returned to the club and his time at the Santiago Bernabeu looks to be coming to an end.

Manchester United have long been linked with a move for Bale, whose agent Jonathan Barnett has said a Premier League return is possible.

Before a close-season break, Bale will link up with his international colleagues ahead of Euro 2020 qualifiers versus Croatia and Hungary.

Aaron Ramsey and Ethan Ampadu are unavailable due to injury, while Ben Davies and Ben Woodburn are absent due to their sides - Tottenham and Liverpool - preparing to play the Champions League final on June 1.

After spending six days at the training camp Giggs will confirm a squad to face Croatia and Hungary on May 29.

Drawn in Group E, Euro 2016 semi-finalists Wales made a winning start to their campaign with a home defeat of Slovakia in March.

Osasuna's return to LaLiga has been confirmed due to Albacate's defeat at home to Granada.

Jagoba Arrasate's men moved to the brink of promotion with Sunday's 0-0 draw away to Cadiz.

And, when Albacete went down 1-0 against Granada a day later, Osasuna's top-two finish was secured.

"We are very happy, I think we are here on our own merits," captain Roberto Torres said to El Larguero. 

"We will give more value [to the achievement] in the days [to come]. The season has been beautiful and I think it is a beautiful moment at this time.

"We knew what could happen [when Albacete played Granada], we were aware that it could be a beautiful day."

Granada are highly likely to follow Osasuna into LaLiga as they are six points clear of third-placed Albacete, with three games remaining in the Segunda Division season.

Arrasate's team could secure the title this weekend when they entertain Las Palmas, holding a four-point lead over Granada.

Osasuna were relegated after coming 19th in LaLiga in 2016-17 and could only manage eighth in the second tier last time around.

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