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."

Vicente del Bosque defended the standard of Spanish football after LaLiga clubs missed out on European success.

Both European finals will be played between English clubs, with Liverpool and Tottenham meeting in the Champions League and Chelsea facing Arsenal in the Europa League decider.

But former Spain and Real Madrid coach Del Bosque defended Spanish clubs, pointing to their recent record in Europe.

Madrid or Barcelona have won the past five Champions League titles, while Atletico Madrid or Sevilla have claimed four of the previous five Europa Leagues.

"Well, if you saw the last 20 years, the Spanish clubs have won 50 per cent of the Champions League titles," Del Bosque said on Tuesday.

"Also, we've had very good performances of Sevilla and Atletico, who win the Europa League.

"Villarreal, Deportivo La Coruna and others contributed to a great hegemony of Spanish football during the past two decades."

Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino trained with his team-mates on Tuesday as he stepped up his recovery ahead of next week's Champions League final against Tottenham.

The Brazil international has missed his side's last three games – including their sensational Champions League semi-final second-leg win over Barcelona – with a groin injury.

However, the 27-year-old took part in the Reds' first session of their training camp in Marbella on Tuesday as he looks to regain full fitness ahead of the clash against Spurs in Madrid on June 1.

Liverpool said his return to full training will "be carefully managed" and Firmino will take part in a series of "specialised programmes" over the coming days.

Firmino has played an important role in Liverpool's impressive season, scoring 16 goals in 47 appearances across all competitions.

Former Juventus head coach Marcello Lippi hinted to Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino or Chelsea's Maurizio Sarri potentially replacing Massimiliano Allegri at the Serie A champions.

Allegri will leave Juventus after Sunday's trip to Sampdoria and five consecutive Scudetto titles, and talk about who will succeed the 51-year-old in Turin has dominated headlines.

Chelsea boss and former Napoli coach Sarri has been linked with a return to Italy after just one season in the Premier League, while Pochettino has emerged as a possible candidate among the likes of Simone Inzaghi and Antonio Conte.

Sarri and Pochettino will feature in upcoming European finals, with Chelsea to face Arsenal in the Europa League decider (May 29) and Tottenham set to meet Liverpool in the Champions League (June 1) showpiece.

And Lippi – who led Juventus to five Serie A trophies during his time in charge – alluded a coaching announcement could come after the two finals.

"Why hasn't a well-run club like Juventus named the successor to Allegri yet, well it's a difficult decision to make, but perhaps they are waiting for a certain competition to end," the 71-year-old said.

"We'll see if their new coach comes from those involved in either of the all English Finals, then we will understand the reason for the delay of the announcement.

"This year the English clubs are the best in Europe, but these things go in cycles. I think Sarri has a great chance at winning the Europa League, then there is Pochettino whose family is from Piedmont."

Juventus – 11 points clear of Napoli atop the table – drew 1-1 with Atalanta in Allegri's final home match in charge of the club last week.

Italy head coach Roberto Mancini joked that Premier League teams from England are dominating in Europe, despite the country voting to leave the European Union.

Liverpool and Tottenham are set to contest the Champions League final in Madrid on June 1, while Arsenal will face London rivals Chelsea in the Europa League showpiece on May 29 in Baku.

It is the first time in history all four clubs in the Champions League/European Cup and Europa League/UEFA Cup finals will be representatives from the same nation.

Asked about four English teams in the two European finals, former Manchester City manager Mancini replied with a smile: "What does it mean? They want to leave Europe and they are playing the European finals.

"English teams are strong, they have a lot of economic incomes, much more than Italian teams. They can invest a lot. Obviously, they have great squads with great players. This is one of the reasons.

"Teams eliminated from the Champions League perhaps were technically stronger, but this what the beauty of football is about. Nobody expected these two English teams to reach the Champions League final."

Mancini – who experienced Serie A success with Inter before leading City to Premier League glory in 2012 – is overseeing Italy's new generation.

The 54-year-old replaced Gian Piero Ventura following Italy's failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and his team are amid a six-game unbeaten streak.

Italy routed Lichtenstein 6-0 and beat Finland 2-0 in March to be two points clear atop Group J in Euro 2020 qualifying.

"I think it was a good year," Mancini said. "At the beginning the team played so so, afterwards many players started playing well and many of them not so known until then managed to stand out. This is a great news for us.

"Italy always had good players. We won all competitions where we were not considered as the favourite team. I do not think we are favourite but I believe we have a strong team which will play an important European championship."

Bernardo Silva vowed to "go for" the Champions League after being named Manchester City's Player of the Season at the club's trophy parade on Monday.

Silva enjoyed a fine campaign, nailing down a spot in the starting spot despite Riyad Mahrez's arrival and excelling in a number of different roles.

The Portuguese midfielder's haul of seven goals in the Premier League helped City retain the title, while they also claimed the EFL Cup and FA Cup, the latter of which they won in a 6-0 hammering of Watford on Saturday.

City announced Silva had topped a fan vote for the individual honour during Monday's celebrations, with the winner declaring his intention to help secure European success next term.

"Thank you very much everyone," he said. "The way you pushed us this season. You made it real for us. Without them [the fans], it wouldn't be possible. Next season, we'll come back, trying to give you more titles.

"A lot of hard work has been put in. We're very tired! It's been a long season, a fantastic season for us, but with four trophies [the Premier League, EFL Cup, FA Cup and Community Shield] for all squad and staff, it's been amazing.

"Hopefully, we want to do better, try and go for European trophies as well - it's what we're missing.

"The supporters need to demand more from us. European trophies - we need that. Let’s go for it."

Ilkay Gundogan is ready to reopen contracts talks with Manchester City after their historic domestic treble.

Watford were thrashed 6-0 at Wembley on Saturday as City became the first English men's team to complete a clean sweep, adding the FA Cup to their Premier League and EFL Cup titles.

Gundogan is heading into the final year of his contract at the club, who also won the Community Shield at the start of the season.

The Germany international has enjoyed extra responsibility under Pep Guardiola this season, making 31 Premier League appearances, partly down to injury issues for Fernandinho and Kevin De Bruyne.

City have already lost Vincent Kompany after the club captain left to take a player-manager role at Anderlecht but Gundogan suggested he will stay at the Etihad Stadium.

"Now is enough time to reflect on the situation and to take up the talks again more intensely with the club," he told Bild of his contract situation.

While City made history domestically, Guardiola has acknowledged his time at the club will be judged by European success.

And his side fell short again in their bid for a Champions League crown as they were knocked out by Premier League rivals Tottenham in stunning fashion.

"The exit in Europe was extremely bitter," Gundogan said of the quarter-final defeat. "But it would be wrong to mourn the Champions League after our domestic success.

"If I can wish for something at club level for my future, then it is definitely to win the Champions League.”

Luciano Spalletti challenged his Inter players to prove they have the gumption to "wear the shirt" as Serie A's Champions League race goes to the wire following their 4-1 dismantling by Napoli.

Inter were comprehensively outclassed by Carlo Ancelotti's Napoli at Stadio San Paolo on Sunday, only becoming a genuine threat in attack once they were 3-0 down away from home.

Piotr Zielinski's stunner was added to by a Dries Mertens header and Fabian Ruiz's brace, with Mauro Icardi's consolation coming via a late penalty.

Inter could have confirmed Champions League qualification with victory, but failure on that front means they head into the final game of the season just a point ahead of bitter rivals AC Milan.

Spalletti's side face relegation-battlers Empoli at home in their season closer and the head coach has thrown the gauntlet down to Inter's players.

"It's a final for us, we need to be ready to play it," he told reporters. "We need to maintain the composure of those who know how to assess things.

"The team played poorly [against Napoli], but our destiny is in our own hands. We need to take to the pitch to win because it's a crucial match for us, we'll either be in or out.

"We need to have the substance, composure and strength that an Inter side should have. You have to know how to withstand this kind of pressure if you wear this shirt."

 

Kevin De Bruyne is not bothered about Manchester City's Champions League failure, adamant every team would want to be in their position after clinching an unprecedented domestic treble.

City crushed Watford 6-0 in the FA Cup final on Saturday, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus netting braces while De Bruyne and David Silva also scored in the rout at Wembley Stadium.

Their success on Saturday followed on from Premier League and EFL Cup triumphs, capping an immensely successful campaign for Pep Guardiola's squad.

The only trophy to elude them was the Champions League, having been knocked out by Tottenham in the quarter-finals.

However, De Bruyne would rather focus on what they have won rather than the one that got away.

When asked if it was annoying City did not do better in Europe, De Bruyne said: "No, not at all.

"I think if everyone could take our situation, they would do it without blinking. You can't really think about 'what if' or what should happen.

"We lost in the Champions League, you take it on the chin and go further. The response we did afterwards is the way you should react. By winning the title and winning the FA Cup.

"I don't think in the start of the year you have the goal of winning three titles.

"You set up to be the best you can and in the end you have to reflect on what's going well and what's not.

"This year we can reflect on that we won three titles and got to the quarter finals of the Champions League and that's an incredible feat in itself."

City's exploits over the last two seasons has seen some suggest they are among the greatest English sides ever but while De Bruyne is flattered, he is not about to join the debate as he feels it is impossible to compare different generations.

"Luckily, I don't ever have to debate that," he said. "It's great to be in contention to be named with other teams.

"For me personally, it is impossible to compare generations, it is impossible to compare style of football.

"Football changes all of time like every other sport. It is great to be there, it means you are part of one of the best ever teams in the Premier League and that doesn't happen to a lot of people."

Pep Guardiola still has the hunger to improve Manchester City and believes he will ultimately be judged by whether he can deliver the Champions League trophy to the Etihad Stadium.

City hammered Watford 6-0 in a record-equalling FA Cup final victory on Saturday, wrapping up the third major trophy of their season following on from their Premier League and EFL Cup triumphs.

The Champions League remains out of City's grasp for now, with Guardiola's side having lost to Tottenham - who will meet Liverpool in an all-Premier League final on June 1 - on away goals in the quarter-finals.

And Guardiola, who also failed to win the Champions League with Bayern Munich and last lifted the trophy with Barcelona in 2011, conceded that ultimately his side's performance in Europe's elite club competition with be his measuring stick for success.

"Yes, of course, I wouldn't be here next season unless I believed we could improve as a group," Guardiola said when asked if he still had a desire to get better.

"I know it will be difficult because people will compare and people cannot expect us to repeat the treble or four titles in one season, that is something one team does once in their lifetime.

"I said before that I know we will be judged at the end on whether we win the Champions League. I know unless we do that it will not be enough.

"This comes with me. I know that. I arrive in Barcelona, we were lucky we won it two times in four years and the people expect I am something special that we have to win the Champions League and it's still true.

"In this club, the points record and the domestic competitions is incredible, but the Champions League we don't win quite often compared to the other ones because the teams are so good, the competition is so demanding but we want to win it.

"But I'm not focused believe me at the start of the season thinking: 'I have to win one title, two, three or four', never. 

"We will prepare against Liverpool [in the Community Shield], this game and that's all and we will see how far we arrive."

One player who will not be taking part in City's next campaign is Vincent Kompany, who has confirmed that he will be leaving the club to join Anderlecht as player-manager.

Nicolas Otamendi and Fabian Delph are also reportedly on the verge of leaving the club, while Ilkay Gundogan and Leroy Sane have not yet signed new contracts.

And, after re-iterating that City are keen to keep both Sane and Gundogan at the club, Guardiola says he has learned plenty about all of his squad this campaign. 

"We offered to extend Sane's contract and we hope he will stay. What more proof is there – we have been saying for six or seven months we want to keep him," Guardiola said.

"If he doesn't want to stay, he doesn't want to stay. It is the same with Gundogan – he has one year left and we want to extend his contract and we haven't done that yet.

"People forget they are human beings. Their relationship with each other is incredible. In the bad moments we were seven points behind Liverpool and we did not give up.

"After we lost the Champions League quarter-final we had two days recovery and then played Tottenham and then to Old Trafford, then to Burnley.

"It was never, never, never, never give up. We did not have low moments really because we got 98 points. There is not one player or two players I can single out, in these finals I think of the players who did not play.

"They are incredible – I think about Phil Foden, he helped us win the cup, or Otamendi, they were an incredible part of our success. I feel sorry for them. When you achieve the treble or four tiles it is not one player, it is everybody. Everyone was incredible and they were involved. That is why we did what we did."

Valencia beat Real Valladolid 2-0 away from home to secure fourth place in LaLiga and qualification for next season's Champions League ahead of Getafe and Sevilla.

Marcelino's side were already fourth going into the final league game of the season but both Getafe and Sevilla could have dislodged them had Valladolid earned an unlikely victory at Estadio Jose Zorrilla.

Carlos Soler settled Valencia's nerves with the opening goal after 36 minutes, and the result was made safe by Rodrigo Moreno's strike seven minutes after half-time.

Sevilla lobbied LaLiga to change the kick-off time ahead of their final league fixture against Athletic Bilbao, complaining that the temperatures in Andalusia would be too warm for their players, but the game went ahead as scheduled and Wissam Ben Yedder put them ahead after 44 minutes.

Athletic hit the crossbar late on as they pressed for an equaliser that might have landed them Europa League qualification but Sevilla countered and Munir El Haddadi scored in second-half stoppage-time to wrap up a 2-0 victory.

Meanwhile, Getafe were pegged back by a late Gerard Moreno goal as they drew 2-2 at home with Villarreal and they ended the season level on points with Sevilla, but their superior head-to-head record ensured they held onto fifth place.

Sevilla finished sixth and will have to play qualifying matches to earn the right to join Getafe in next season's Europa League, and Espanyol's 2-0 final day victory over Real Sociedad saw them climb two places to clinch the final Europa League qualification spot.

After starting the day in ninth place and going in goalless at half-time at RCDE Stadium, two goals in seven second-half minutes from Roberto Rosales and Wu Lei earned them three points and the opportunity to qualify for the Europa League, while Sociedad and Athletic missed out.

Juventus are to embark into a new era following Friday's announcement that Massimiliano Allegri is to step down at the end of the campaign.

Following a five-year stint at the Allianz Stadium, where he won five Serie A titles, four Coppas Italia, two Supercoppas Italiana and finished runner-up in the Champions League twice, Allegri is to call it a day after his side's final two matches of the 2018-19 season.

But amid all the trophy-winning highs, the 51-year-old also endured a number of lows – namely missing out on the Champions League crown that his side crave most of all.

Here we look back at the ups and downs of Allegri's tenure as Juventus start their search for a replacement.

Debut season brings domestic double

Upon taking over from three-in-a-row title winner Antonio Conte in July 2014, Allegri hit the ground running in his first season at the club by guiding Juve to a fourth successive top-flight crown for the second time in their history.

He followed that up with more domestic success in the Coppa Italia, beating Lazio 2-1 after extra time in the final to pull off the first of four doubles.

Pogba's departure raises questions

The 2016 sale of star man Paul Pogba to Manchester United reflected badly on Juventus and their coach, even if the £89million fee – a world-record sum at the time – was almost impossible to turn down.

Juve had sold to a rival who were not even in the Champions League, and Allegri acknowledged the following year that he "did nothing" to stop the transfer going through. In the wake of their latest European failure, it could be argued the World Cup-winning midfielder is exactly the type of player they could do with.

Second time unlucky

Two years after losing to Barcelona in the 2015 final, Juve fell short once again in Cardiff as they suffered a 4-1 loss to Real Madrid.

Allegri's men headed into the match having maintained their dominance of the domestic game by retaining their Serie A title and the Coppa Italia, but the Juve fell just short of winning a first ever treble.

Juve were level with an hour played at the Principality Stadium, only to crumble from that point on – largely thanks to the form of Cristiano Ronaldo, who would later join them – as the LaLiga side struck three more times to make it back-to-back triumphs on the continent.

Luring Ronaldo to Turin

If losing Pogba to United was a blight on Allegri, playing his part in persuading Ronaldo to join from Madrid in 2018 will certainly be a positive mark for his legacy.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner wanted a new challenge away from the Santiago Bernabeu, and Allegri's sustained success ensured Juve were the ideal destination for Ronaldo, who has scored 21 goals in 30 Serie A appearances.

However, Ronaldo's debut campaign may ultimately be remembered for the trophies he failed to lift, rather than the two he did.

Ajax youth proves too much for the Old Lady

Even with Ronaldo in his ranks, Allegri could not end Juve's hoodoo on the European stage.

A path to the final seemed to have had opened up for the two-time Champions League winners as, after relying on Ronaldo to bail them out against Atletico Madrid in the last 16, they had Ajax in the quarter-finals and one of Tottenham or Manchester City if they made it past the Eredivisie giants.

That elusive European breakthrough again passed Allegri by, though, as Juve were outclassed by Erik ten Hag's youthful Ajax team. The Italian champions crashed out 3-2 on aggregate and Allegri came in for criticism for his negative approach, with many marking that upset as the beginning of the end for the 51-year-old.

Sustained success in Serie A

Allegri will ultimately bow out with a smile on his face as Juventus will lift the Serie A title – his fifth with the Old Lady and sixth overall – after their final home match of the season against high flyers Atalanta on Sunday.

After they were given a run for their money by Napoli in 2017-18, Juve wrapped up the title in record time this season, only going off the boil in Serie A once it became clear they were not going to be caught.

Motivating largely the same group of players to go for title after title is no easy feat and Allegri, if nothing else, managed to achieve that consistently over five years in Turin.

Pep Guardiola remains unsure if Manchester City can win an unprecedented quadruple but will strive to improve his Champions League record at the Etihad Stadium.

EFL Cup winners City were on course for four major trophies this season until they were eliminated from the Champions League quarter-finals on away goals after Raheem Sterling saw a stoppage-time strike ruled out following a VAR review in a dramatic second leg against Tottenham in April.

Guardiola's team have since held off the challenge of Liverpool to retain the Premier League title and can become the first English men's team to complete a domestic treble if they beat Watford in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday.

The former Barcelona coach, who also got his hands on the Community Shield for the first time this season, is not convinced all four trophies could have been theirs, though.

Asked if he still thought the quadruple was impossible given how close his team went this season, Guardiola replied: "Yeah, the biggest one is far away.

"Always I thought after going out to Tottenham in the Champions League quarter-finals, if we'd go through would we have been able to beat Tottenham, go to Old Trafford, Burnley and win the points we needed to be champions against this Liverpool? Honestly, I don't know if we would have been able [to do it].

"Focusing on Ajax here, then going to Amsterdam to play in the beautiful city with Johan Cruyff's new generation there and maintain it [in the Premier League], with Tottenham at home, [Manchester] United, I don't know.

"It's incredibly difficult to win it [the quadruple] but we can win it [on Saturday] - the little quadruple. It's a big chance for us."

Guardiola twice led Barcelona to Champions League glory but was knocked out at the semi-final stage in three straight seasons at Bayern Munich.

The 48-year-old is yet to guide City beyond the quarter-finals and acknowledged he needs to work on his approach if he is to achieve further success in the competition, where he has seen Lionel Messi, Thomas Muller and Sergio Aguero miss crucial penalties during his coaching career.

"Of course, it's our dream to do it but I have to improve, I have to see what I can do better to do it. As a manager I'm not good enough in this club to maintain it," said Guardiola.

"In the same point it's a more difficult competition, except [Zinedine] Zidane who is a master in this competition.

"For all the other managers who stay 10-15 years, they don't win every season this competition. It's a tough competition.

"It's so tight. You go through or not go through. Leo [Messi] missed a penalty [in Barca's 2012 semi-final against Chelsea], Muller missed a penalty [in Bayern's 2016 semi-final against Atletico Madrid], Sergio missed a penalty [in this season's first leg against Spurs]; these kind of little details in the domestic leagues you get another chance.

"We cannot imagine what we would have done without [Aymeric] Laporte in this competition. He is the best signing we have done in the last four or five years - a young player, personality, he has everything. But against Tottenham, two balls and we conceded two goals and in that competition you are out.

"That's why it's so difficult, we have to accept it. We will work on I don't know what because we tried to do our best, but the Champions League is difficult and I can admit it. It's not the same level as we've achieved in the other competitions."

Inter can register a full squad in Europe next season after meeting the long-standing conditions for their release from a Financial Fair Play (FFP) settlement agreement.

The Serie A side "have been considered in compliance" with the demands placed upon them in May 2015, the UEFA Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) investigatory chamber confirmed on Friday.

The agreement was struck after Inter breached FFP regulations and were punished with heavy fines and limited to a squad of 21 players in the Champions League this term, down from the usual 25.

Luciano Spalletti's side failed to reach the knockout rounds as eventual finalists Tottenham pipped them to second place in Group B.

Besiktas and Kazakhstan Premier League leaders Astana have also achieved the targets imposed in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

"Consequently, they have now all exited the settlement regime," a UEFA statement read.

Trabzonspor, however, have been referred to the CFCB adjudicatory chamber after breaching an agreement signed three years ago.

The Turkish team "failed to comply with the break-even requirement during the monitoring period assessed" this season and now could be at risk of being banned from European competitions.

Mauricio Pochettino will not be banned from the touchline for the Champions League final between Tottenham and Liverpool, despite receiving a UEFA charge.

The governing body fined Tottenham €10,000 and handed manager Pochettino a one-match ban, suspended for a year, for the late kick-off in the first leg of their semi-final tie against Ajax on April 30.

UEFA's decision means the Argentine can take up a touchline position at the Wanda Metropolitano on June 1.

Pochettino's men booked their trip to Madrid thanks to an extraordinary 3-2 triumph in the reverse fixture in Amsterdam, which secured an away-goals win after a 3-3 aggregate draw.

Ajax's Erik ten Hag has been let off with a warning for the same offences, but Porto boss Sergio Conceicao received a one-game ban for being responsible for a late kick-off in the home meeting with Liverpool in the quarter-finals.

Spurs will have to pay a further €5,000 fine after a fan invaded the pitch and confronted Fabian Delph during the quarter-final first-leg victory over Manchester City at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Ajax, Barcelona, Benfica, Eintracht Frankfurt and Porto must all pay various sums following a range of infractions across the Champions League and Europa League.

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