Former Italy and Milan centre-back Franco Baresi, widely regarded as one of the finest defenders of all time, celebrated his 60th birthday on Friday.

As well as being an imperious performer at the heart of one of the best backlines European football has ever seen alongside Mauro Tassotti, Alessandro Costacurta and Paolo Maldini, Baresi was also a celebrated leader.

Of the six Serie A titles he won during a Milan career spanning three decades, five came as captain.

The Rossoneri's exploits on the European stage under Arrigo Sacchi and then Fabio Capello were also exceptional.

During a spell of seven years, Milan led by Baresi reached five finals in the European Cup and Champions League, winning three. Here we look back at how those showpieces unfolded.

 

1989 – MILAN 4-0 STEAUA BUCHAREST

Twenty years on from their second, Milan had a third European title courtesy of their Dutch masters at Camp Nou.

Close-range finishes from Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten established a 2-0 lead inside half an hour. A wonderful touch and strike from the edge of the box by Gullit made it 3-0 before the interval, and Van Basten latched on to a measured throughball from Frank Rijkaard to complete the rout shortly after half-time.

1990 – MILAN 1-0 BENFICA

It was a case of roles reversed as Sacchi's men found the going tougher a year later in Vienna, with Van Basten's cute pass releasing Rijkaard to score the decisive goal in the 68th minute.

Baresi and his defensive colleagues saw out the win with another clean sheet, with Milan the last team to manage back-to-back triumphs in the Europe's top competition until Real Madrid embarked on their run of three in a row between 2016 and 2018.

1993 – MARSEILLE 1-0 MILAN

In a far less memorable final moment for Rijkaard, Basil Boli rose above him to glance in a 43rd-minute corner at Munich's Olympiastadion.

Milan, now under Capello, won Serie A that season only losing twice, having gone a top-flight season unbeaten in 1991-92. But they were unable to find a response in the final of the newly rebranded Champions League.

1994 – MILAN 4-0 BARCELONA

Without the suspended Baresi and Costacurta, while also having to omit Florin Raducioiu, Jean-Pierre Papin and Brian Laudrup due to the three non-nations rule in UEFA competitions at that time, few gave Milan a chance against Johan Cruyff's star-studded Barcelona. Van Basten and record signing Gigi Lentini were also nursing serious injuries.

However, Daniele Massaro snaffled a first-half brace before the mercurial Dejan Savicevic and Marcel Desailly scored magnificent goals to complete a thrashing that marked the end of the road for Barca's fabled Dream Team.

1995 – AJAX 1-0 MILAN

As the previous year's final showed, all dynasties must come to an end at some point. And in Baresi's last Champions League final, Louis van Gaal's vibrant young Ajax side pinched glory.

Teenager Patrick Kluivert came off the bench to net the winner five minutes from time, giving Rijkaard – an experienced head among the young stars – glory at the expense of his former employers.

One could argue Manchester United have still not recovered from the departure of the great Alex Ferguson.

Ferguson quit after leading United to the 2012-13 Premier League title, the 13th of his reign and their 20th in total. He won the Champions League twice, too.

United have toiled in the intervening years, unable to replace one of sport's all-time finest leaders.

The announcement of Ferguson's exit came on May 8, 2013, allowing us to reflect on that news among other notable sporting events on this day.
 

2004 - Controversy as Marquez makes recovery

Few boxers are able to recover from the sort of first-round barrage Manny Pacquiao inflicted upon Juan Manuel Marquez in their 2004 featherweight title fight.

And, as it turned out, Marquez should not have been able to either.

The Mexican was sent to the canvas three times before the first round was up and, although he subsequently outboxed Pacquiao, Marquez would have narrowly lost but for a scoring error.

Burt Clements judged the bout 113-113, prompting a draw as Guy Jutras and John Stewart went 115-110 each way. But Clements scored the opening round 10-7 to Pacquiao, rather than 10-6, and later acknowledged: "I screwed up."

Pacquiao had to wait almost four years to defeat Marquez - again by split decision - before another disputed verdict went in his favour in 2011. A year later in their fourth encounter, Marquez took the judges out of the equation with a brutal sixth-round knockout of his great rival.
 

2013 - Ferguson leaves a champion

Having suffered final-day pain at the hands of rivals Manchester City in 2011-12, Ferguson made sure to bow out on a high with the 2012-13 Premier League crown.

After 26 years at the helm, the Scot confirmed his departure on May 8 - this time not backtracking on this decision as he had in 2001.

David Moyes and Jose Mourinho were among the early favourites to replace Ferguson, with the former appointed on the outgoing manager's recommendation.

Moyes' stint was short and unsuccessful, though, and neither Louis van Gaal, Mourinho nor now Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have been able to add to United's tally of 20 top-flight championships.
 

2014 - Beckham and Donald arrive in NFL

It is six years since some of the most prominent names in the NFL were drafted, with Odell Beckham Jr and Aaron Donald both selected in 2014.

Beckham went to the New York Giants with the 12th pick, establishing himself as a star at wide receiver before moving on to the Cleveland Browns last year.

Donald is now a two-time Defensive Player of the Year but then followed one pick after Beckham, going to the St Louis Rams. Khalil Mack was another standout at number five.

But the first overall pick was used by the Houston Texans to secure Jadeveon Clowney. Traded to the Seattle Seahawks in 2019, the defensive end is now a free agent looking to put persistent injury troubles behind him.
 

2019 - Another Champions League classic

Just 24 hours after Liverpool stunned Barcelona with a 4-3 aggregate semi-final win, the 2018-19 Champions League was at it again.

Tottenham looked down and out when Matthijs de Ligt and Hakim Ziyech netted for Ajax to add to their 1-0 first-leg lead, with Mauricio Pochettino's men needing three goals in Amsterdam.

However, Lucas Moura netted twice in the space of five second-half minutes, and Spurs kept pushing deep into stoppage time.

With 96 minutes on the clock, Moura struck once more to seal his hat-trick and Tottenham's place alongside Liverpool in the final, leaving a previously inspired young Ajax side bruised and beaten on the turf.

The Champions League delivered drama in droves last season.

With the 2019-20 competition on hold for now, it is the perfect opportunity to remember just how crazy Europe's premier competition became 12 months ago.

In a run of games from early March to early May, the Champions League churned out a succession of classic contests that will live long in the memory.

Here we look back at three months where Europe's grown-up football tournament started behaving like a devil-may-care teenager and was all the better for it.

March 5, 2019: Real Madrid 1 Ajax 4 (3-5 agg)

Ajax's team of fearless young stars produced one of the great Champions League campaigns.

Despite their impressive display in a 2-1 first-leg defeat, nobody really seemed to think Erik ten Hag's side could turn things around in the last 16 at the Santiago Bernabeu. Sergio Ramos certainly did not – he earned a booking to avoid the risk of a quarter-final ban, earning an extra game suspension from UEFA in the process.

In the absence of their captain, Madrid completely capitulated to their fearless and thrilling opponents.

Hakim Ziyech and David Neres put the visitors 2-0 up after only 18 minutes and it was 3-0 just after the hour mark thanks to the inspired Dusan Tadic.

Marco Asensio got a goal back, but Lasse Schone's free-kick beat Thibaut Courtois and sent Madrid crashing out. It was the first time they had ever been knocked out after winning the first leg of a Champions League tie.

March 6, 2019: Paris Saint-Germain 1 Manchester United 3 (3-3 agg, United won on away goals)

A day on from Ajax's thrashing of Madrid, Manchester United made history at the Parc des Princes.

No side had ever won a knockout tie after trailing 2-0 from a first leg at home and with 10 senior players missing, including the banned Paul Pogba, United's chances looked slim.

Romelu Lukaku scored just two minutes in, though, and despite Juan Bernat's equaliser on the night, Lukaku struck again after a Gianluigi Buffon error to make it 2-1.

As the game crept towards second-half injury time, Diogo Dalot's shot struck Presnel Kimpembe's arm and the referee awarded a penalty after a lengthy VAR review. Marcus Rashford scored it, United progressed, and the clamour for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to be given the permanent manager's job grew louder.

April 17, 2019: Manchester City 4 Tottenham 3 (4-4 agg, Spurs win on away goals)

Tottenham scored through Son Heung-min in a tense, frenetic first leg. Crucially, as it turned out, City did not. They were not about to make the same mistake as Raheem Sterling thrashed an early opener past Hugo Lloris at the Eithad Stadium.

Son responded with two superb finishes of his own, leaving Pep Guardiola's side with a mountain to climb. They duly began to scale it. Bernardo Silva scored, Sterling scored again. There had only been 21 minutes played.

Something faintly resembling a normal football match broke out and Sergio Aguero finished emphatically to give City the lead in the tie for the first time in the 59th minute.

In a sight Ajax are now familiar with, Spurs looked spent until Fernando Llorente bundled them back into the lead on away goals. That advantage ultimately remained, but only after Sterling thought he had completed his hat-trick. Bedlam ensued until VAR showed Aguero was fractionally offside during the build-up.

May 7, 2019: Liverpool 4 Barcelona 0 (4-3 agg)

Fresh from netting a late winner at Newcastle United the weekend before, Divock Origi allowed the Liverpool faithful to dream by poaching his maiden Champions League goal in the seventh minute. Still, overturning the 3-0 advantage Barca had brought to Merseyside looked a tall order.

Jurgen Klopp needed Alisson to be on form as he saved from Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, before another unlikely hero emerged.

Andy Robertson's injury forced James Milner to left-back and Georginio Wijnaldum into the fray at half-time. By the hour, the Dutch midfielder had Liverpool level thanks to two goals in 122 delirious seconds.

Origi had the final word thanks to Trent Alexander-Arnold's quick thinking from a 79th-minute corner, leaving Barcelona and Messi crestfallen.

May 8, Ajax 2 Tottenham 3 (3-3 agg, Spurs win on away goals)

As they did at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Ajax made a smooth start and led through their inspirational captain Matthijs de Ligt in the fifth minute.

Ziyech emphatically made it 2-0 on the night and 3-0 on aggregate, but Lucas changed the complexion of the contest as he was supported by Dele Alli's intelligent running from midfield and Llorente's robust accompaniment in attack.

Ziyech hit the post and Spurs centre-back Jan Vertonghen hit the bar. Amsterdam held its breath and Lucas proved to be the coolest man in the stadium in the 96th minute, sending his side through to face Liverpool in Madrid, where the Reds ultimately prevailed.

Ajax boss Erik ten Hag wants his players to "feel like professional footballers again" after they returned to training on Wednesday.

The Eredivisie season ended last week due to the coronavirus pandemic with no champions declared, Ajax and AZ having sat level on points at the top with nine games to go.

Despite the season being over, Ajax have returned to training in small groups as they begin the process of getting ready for the 2020-21 campaign.

Players worked in small position groups overseen by separate coaches.

"We thought about the ideal way to get back to training and we've combined players based on their positions," Ten Hag told Ajax Media.

"This is just how we are starting out. We've grouped these particular players, so we can work on some position-specific things. We hope to get their technical levels up again and stimulate them once again. 

"That's how we will do it from now on, and we will make sure that they keep busy at home too. 

"We need them to keep their focus and we need to make them feel like professional footballers again. It's important they keep that mindset."

Ten Hag acknowledged it was strange to start seeing colleagues in person after a prolonged period in lockdown.

"It's nice [to be back], we've been 'out of order' for such a long time, everybody sat at home in their own surroundings," he added.

"Even though we have to take some measures, we can start training again. You see that everybody is very enthusiastic. 

"It's been such a strange situation, not just for us, but for the entire society. All of a sudden, you don't see each other anymore. 

"Luckily, we still kept in touch: there's a lot of technology that helped us, but to see each other in the flesh again, that's just really great.

"We are hoping we can start playing football again in September. Of course, we're all living in uncertainty and nobody knows for sure if we can start playing again at that time. 

"The players have trained individually almost every day. Now the next step: training in small groups with the ball. You can see they are really happy to play with the ball again. It's been a while.

"This is just a small start but we have returned to the pitch, which makes us all very happy. It's just a start, however it's nice to have a bit of a look to the future."

Andre Onana confirmed he wanted to leave Ajax, saying he was ready "to take a step" amid links with a move to Barcelona.

Onana, 24, has starred during the past four seasons with the Eredivisie giants, where he arrived from Barca in 2015.

The Cameroon goalkeeper has attracted interest from across Europe, with Barcelona, Chelsea and Tottenham among the clubs linked with a move for the shot-stopper.

Onana, who is contracted at Ajax until 2022, said he was ready to make a move.

"Don't get me wrong, I am very happy with Ajax and I am very grateful to the club," he told AD on Tuesday.

"It was five great years here, but now my time has come to take a step. We made that appointment last year.

"I don't yet know what will happen, but my ambitions and agreements are clear."

Matthijs de Ligt's decision to join Juventus rather than a club like Barcelona or Manchester City took his former youth team coach Ronald de Boer by surprise.

De Ligt came through Ajax's famed academy and enjoyed a rise to prominence at a very young age, earning a promotion to the first-team squad soon after his 17th birthday.

He then became the club's youngest captain as an 18-year-old and last season played a pivotal role in Ajax's journey to the semi-finals of the Champions League, before they were eventually eliminated in dramatic fashion by Tottenham.

An impressive physical specimen but also technically gifted for a centre-back, De Ligt appeared to have a litany of clubs vying for his signature last year, with Barca – who signed his Ajax team-mate Frenkie de Jong – seemingly the ideal fit.

But Juve made their move to inject developing talent into their aging backline, and De Boer concedes Turin was not the destination he had in mind for De Ligt.

"Clubs closest to the Ajax system like, Man City and Barcelona were interested," De Boer told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"It would have been easier to adapt. I thought he would have made a different choice, but I respect the decision very much."

Despite making a choice that might have taken De Ligt out of his comfort zone, De Boer remains confident he will be an era-defining defender.

"I was working in the academy of Ajax, I immediately liked his character: serious, intelligent, kind, he never complains, he works hard and learns," De Boer said

"And then he always had the skills of the great defender. He understood where the danger was coming... I remember him at under-14 level, when he returned from the following year 30 centimetres taller. He will be one of the best of this era, sure."

Federico Chiesa is a player in demand.

While Fiorentina would prefer to keep Chiesa, the Viola could cash-in on the Italy star.

Europe's elite from England and Italy are reportedly chasing Chiesa.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED BATTLE FOR CHIESA

Manchester United are among the clubs trying to sign Fiorentina attacker Federico Chiesa, reports Gazzetta dello Sport.

United, Premier League rivals Chelsea and Serie A duo Juventus and Inter are vying for Chiesa's signature.

The 22-year-old has also reportedly been offered a new bumper contract by Fiorentina.

 

ROUND-UP

- A reunion with former Eintracht Frankfurt team-mate Ante Rebic? Luka Jovic has struggled since swapping Eintracht for Real Madrid at the start of the season. Calciomercato claims Milan are interested in bringing Jovic to San Siro, where Rebic is on loan and reportedly set to make the move permanent. It comes amid doubts over Zlatan Ibrahimovic's future.

- RMC Sport says Paris Saint-Germain are interested in Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey, who has been linked to Arsenal.

Barcelona have made an approach to Ajax for goalkeeper Andre Onana, according to De Telegraaf. Onana spent five years in Barca's youth system before leaving in 2015 but the Cameroon international has been linked with a return. LaLiga champions Barca have reportedly offered Neto, Riqui Puig, Alex Collado or Carles Alena in a possible deal for Onana.

Donny van de Beek is free to choose his next step following the cancellation of the Eredivisie season. Mundo Deportivo reports the Ajax star is still being targeted by Madrid, while United and Juve are also monitoring the Netherlands international.

- According to The Sun, West Ham midfielder Declan Rice could be sold as part of a massive squad overhaul. The England international has been linked to Chelsea.

RB Leipzig are facing a difficult decision regarding star defender Dayot Upamecano, says BildThe centre-back has been linked to Arsenal, Tottenham, Barca and Bayern Munich but the coronavirus crisis is set to impact the transfer market and fees.

Neymar appears likely to remain at Paris Saint-Germain for another season, while Newcastle United have big plans.

Linked again with a return to Barcelona, Neymar could yet stay in Paris, where he is contracted 2022.

Meanwhile, Newcastle – reportedly on the verge of being taken over – are considering some big names.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR SET FOR PSG STAY AMID BARCELONA LINKS

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and troubles at Barcelona, Neymar looks set to stay at PSG for another season, according to Marca.

It also reported that Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu is struggling to find the financial formula to sign the Brazil forward.

Neymar only arrived at PSG from Barca in a world-record €222million move in 2017.

ROUND-UP

- Newcastle could have money to spend if their proposed takeover goes through. Mundo Deportivo reports the club are looking at Barcelona attacker Philippe Coutinho, who it says is also a target for Everton. Foot Mercato claims Newcastle are eyeing PSG striker Edinson Cavani, Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly and Real Betis forward Nabil Fekir.

- Like they are struggling with Neymar, Barcelona are battling to find a deal for Inter forward Lautaro Martinez, according to Sky Sport Italia, which says the LaLiga side are struggling to meet the Argentina international's €111m release clause.

- Paul Pogba's future remains a talking point. Tuttosport says Manchester United are open to an exchange deal with Juventus, with Aaron Ramsey and Douglas Costa among the players linked with a move to Old Trafford.

- Barcelona are still a long way off reaching an agreement with goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, according to Sport. Ter Stegen is contracted at Barca until 2022. Meanwhile, Sport reports Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana is prioritising a move to Barcelona if he leaves the Eredivisie giants.

- Perhaps Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will stay at Arsenal after all. Sport reports the forward, whose deal ends in 2021, will renew with the Premier League club. Staying at Arsenal and the Daily Express says Arsenal are considering a move for Barcelona attacker Ousmane Dembele.

- A youth product who has spent his entire professional career at Barcelona, Sergi Roberto has gone from untouchable to transferable, according to Marca.

Saturday should have seen Barcelona host Atletico Madrid in LaLiga and pit Antoine Griezmann against his old club once more.

Griezmann left Atleti for Camp Nou in the second most expensive transfer of the previous close season, his €120million move eclipsed only by Joao Felix, the man bought to replace him.

Neither player has exactly enjoyed a resoundingly triumphant season, which is an affliction to hit many of the top 10 most expensive transfers of 2019.

We look at each of those players and whether their signings have, until now, been a hit or a miss...

 

JOAO FELIX: Benfica to Atletico Madrid (€126m)

Benfica and Portugal's golden boy scored in pre-season victories over Juventus and Real Madrid to give Atleti fans reason to believe the post-Griezmann future was bright.

However, just six goals in 28 competitive appearances later, doubts have been growing as to whether the 20-year-old forward will ever truly suit Diego Simeone's system.

VERDICT: MISS

ANTOINE GRIEZMANN: Atletico Madrid to Barcelona (€120m)

Griezmann vowed to stay at Atletico in 2018 only to change his mind a year later, and his performances for Barca are in keeping with a man not quite at ease in his surroundings.

Only Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez better his goal involvements for the Blaugrana in LaLiga this term (eight goals and four assists), while he is second only to Messi for chances created (26), but fans were entitled to expect more from the club's latest mega-money forward.

VERDICT: MISS

EDEN HAZARD: Chelsea to Real Madrid (€100m)

Chelsea fans feared the worst when their star man was lost during a transfer embargo, but things have hardly gone swimmingly for Hazard at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Injury problems have restricted him to just nine starts and a solitary goal and assist in LaLiga. He has also only created 14 chances, as many as James Rodriguez (who has started just four league games) and Lucas Vazquez (who has started six).

VERDICT: MISS

HARRY MAGUIRE: Leicester City to Manchester United (€87m)

The world's most expensive central defender might not be thought of as the world's best, but that should not detract from his impact on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side.

He leads the way for duels won, aerial duels won, blocks and interceptions among United defenders in the Premier League this season, helping them to eight clean sheets. Oh, and he's already been made club captain.

VERDICT: HIT

MATTHIJS DE LIGT: Ajax to Juventus (€85m)

The most coveted centre-back of the window after Ajax's remarkable Champions League run, De Ligt delivered a dreadful performance on his Juventus debut in a 4-3 win over Napoli.

He has won the most aerial duels and has the pass success rate of any Juve defender to feature more than five times in Serie A this term, but there are already doubts about his long-term suitability to Maurizio Sarri's side.

VERDICT: MISS

LUCAS HERNANDEZ: Atletico Madrid to Bayern Munich (€80m)

Bayern smashed their transfer record to sign defender Hernandez, but injuries have made it difficult to assess whether the money will prove to be well-spent.

A knee problem in September was followed by a serious ankle injury that kept him out for nearly four months, meaning he has started only nine games in all competitions for the Bundesliga champions.

VERDICT: MISS

NICOLAS PEPE: Lille to Arsenal (€80m)

Pepe was something of a symbol of Unai Emery's problematic final few weeks in charge as he struggled badly to find form for the Gunners.

He has certainly shown signs of improvement in 2020 – only Mesut Ozil (38) has created more chances in the league than Pepe (34) for Arsenal – but fans will have hoped for more from their record signing.

VERDICT: MISS

FRENKIE DE JONG: Ajax to Barcelona (€75m)

Another Ajax star who became coveted by clubs across Europe last year, De Jong opted for Barca and immediately became a regular in midfield.

He has not quite adapted to life in LaLiga - Ernesto Valverde's exit and Quique Setien's arrival as coach did not help - but, in turbulent times for the club, he looks to be a safe bet as the beating heart of Barca for years to come: he had created more chances (24) than any other Barca midfielder this term and only Sergio Busquets has more recoveries and interceptions.

VERDICT: HIT

RODRI: Atletico Madrid to Manchester City (€70m)

Manchester City's record signing has proved a smart bit of a business given midfield-anchor supreme Fernandinho has spent much of this season in defence.

Rodri has attempted more passes (1,996), recorded a better passing accuracy (92 per cent) and more recoveries (181) than any other City midfielder in 2019-20. He looks very much at home in Pep Guardiola's system.

VERDICT: HIT

ROMELU LUKAKU: Manchester United to Inter (€65m)

Lukaku's move to Inter seems to have been that rarity in modern-day transfers: a deal that has worked out well for everyone concerned.

United's attack is taking the more fluid shape Solskjaer wants, Antonio Conte at last got the forward he tried to bring to Juventus and Chelsea, and Lukaku has looked in the form of his career, with 17 goals and two assists in Serie A as part of a fearsome partnership with Lautaro Martinez.

VERDICT: HIT

Hakim Ziyech slammed the decision not to crown Ajax as Eredivisie champions as "b*******" after the season was ended.

The Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) announced on Friday its intention not to continue with the campaign, with no champions, relegation or promotion.

Ajax were top of the table on goal difference ahead of AZ when the season was stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ziyech, who is moving to Chelsea next season, was unhappy with the decision not to award Ajax a 35th Eredivisie title.

"Come on, what nonsense I have heard. We are at the top anyway," he told AD.

"All those stories that AZ deserved more because they won twice against us. So the goal difference, as it always is, doesn't count now? B*******, of course. How did PSV become champion in 2007? Exactly, on one goal.

"That we are not official champions, well, of course I would also have preferred to have won that on the field, but if you have to choose one club as champion then that would be Ajax to me."

Ajax suffered five Eredivisie losses this season, with two of those coming against AZ.

Dusan Tadic, the captain of the Dutch giants, felt like he had been denied a trophy.

"It is what you agree on. The goal difference would count in a tie," he said.

"If you had agreed that the head-to-head result would count then AZ would have been the champion for me.

"I am a pro and want to win every trophy. That's what I do it for. Now I have lost a prize, that's how it feels."

The Eredivisie season is over due to the coronavirus pandemic, with no champions, relegation or promotion.

A premature conclusion of the 2019-20 campaign was effectively confirmed on Tuesday when the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) announced its intention "not to continue" with any action.

That came after Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte announced a government ban on public events, including professional sports, until September 1.

The season was officially brought to an end on Friday, with Ajax and AZ level on points at the top but unable to play their remaining nine games.

 

Another day, another Paul Pogba story.

Pogba's future continues to make headlines, with the Manchester United star reportedly unhappy at Old Trafford.

Long linked with a switch to Real Madrid, a Santiago Bernabeu transfer could be on the cards.

 

TOP STORY – ZIDANE EYES POGBA

Zinedine Zidane wants Real Madrid to sign Manchester United star Paul Pogba at the end of the season, according to L'Equipe.

Madrid have been heavily linked to Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga but Zidane is determine to bring Pogba to the Santiago Bernabeu.

It comes as Tuttosport and Sportmediaset claim Inter have joined Madrid, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain in the race for Pogba.

 

ROUND-UP

- Juve are interested in re-signing Pogba but the Serie A champions could be about to turn to another midfielder target. Calciomercato says Juve are eyeing Ajax's Donny van de Beek, who has been linked to Madrid and United.

- Sport says Liverpool are in talks with soon-to-be free agent and Chelsea attacker Willian. The Brazilian is out of contract at the end of the 2019-20 season.

PSG have prepared an offer for Milan full-back Theo Hernandez, according to Tuttosport. The Frenchman has been a revelation since arriving from Madrid.

- Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti is Napoli's first choice if Kalidou Koulibaly leaves, claims Sport. Koulibaly has been linked to PSG, United and Madrid.

- Marca reports Martin Odegaard's future at Madrid depends on Luka Modric. The Spanish newspaper says if Modric leaves the Santiago Bernabeu, Odegaard will return from his loan spell. Otherwise, the Norwegian will spend another season on loan at Real Sociedad.

- RAC-1 claims Juve and Barca are in talks over a swap deal, which could see Miralem Pjanic leave for the LaLiga champions and Arthur move to Turin.

Madrid have accepted they will not be able to sign PSG star Kylian Mbappe this year, says L'Equipe. The Spanish capital club are determined to bring the France international to Madrid.

Lautaro Martinez has been tipped to leave Inter at the end of the coronavirus-interrupted 2019-20 season.

His exploits in Italy have reportedly alerted Barcelona, who are determined to sign a long-term replacement for Luis Suarez.

And Martinez is apparently ready to swap the San Siro for Camp Nou.

 

TOP STORY – MARTINEZ WANTS BARCA MOVE

Inter star Lautaro Martinez has chosen to join Barcelona and will press for a move if necessary, according to Marca.

While Barcelona remain interested in re-signing Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar, Martinez is the club's primary transfer objective.

Real Madrid and Manchester City have also been linked to Martinez, but the former have turned their attention to Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, while the latter are reportedly happy with Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus.

 

ROUND-UP

- Could another star leave Inter? Premier League leaders and Champions League holders Liverpool want to sign Marcelo Brozovic, claims Calciomercato. The Nerazzurri could be tempted by a €60million (£52m) offer.

- Calciomercarto reports Juventus and PSG are in discussions over Mauro Icardi. The Argentina forward is on loan at PSG from Inter, with the Ligue 1 champions having the option to sign Icardi permanently. Icardi has been tipped to return to Serie A and the story claims PSG could sign the Argentinian from Inter before selling him straight to Juve. A possible deal could involve the likes of Mattia De Sciglio, Miralem Pjanic, Douglas Costa and Alex Sandro.

- The Telegraph says Ajax have placed a €40m (£35m) price tag on goalkeeper Andre Onana, who has been linked to Chelsea, PSG and Barca.

Jadon Sancho will only move to Old Trafford if Manchester United secure Champions League football, says the Athletic. The Dortmund sensation has also been linked to Chelsea, Liverpool, former club City and Madrid.

- Gazzetta dello Sport says Inter have a list of potential replacements for Barca target Martinez. RB Leipzig's Timo Werner is the first name on the list, which also includes Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, United forward Anthony Martial, Madrid striker Luka Jovic and Victor Osimhen of Lille.

Donny van de Beek's agent insisted he was unworried about the Ajax midfielder's future, saying there was still plenty of interest in the Netherlands international.

Van de Beek has been linked with a move away from the Eredivisie giants, with Real Madrid and Manchester United reportedly interested.

The 22-year-old's agent, Guido Albers, said while the transfer market may be different after the coronavirus pandemic, Van de Beek's future is not a concern.

"It will all be different, but I also have to be realistic," he told Voetbal International on Tuesday.

"It also creates opportunities at clubs that perhaps thought they had no chance anymore and are now knocking on the door.

"I'm not worried about Donny."

Albers was unwilling to go into detail about which clubs wanted Van de Beek, but said the interest had been ongoing.

"The interest has been, and that is also known, for a long time and from several clubs," he said.

"We will see what will come out of that in the coming weeks. I dare not say anything about it at the moment.

"I can't say anything about it because a number of things are just confidential. The situation will have changed per club and we have to look closely at that."

Liverpool are reportedly looking at Kylian Mbappe in case they lose Sadio Mane to Real Madrid.

Mane has developed into one of the world's best players at Liverpool, leading to apparent interest from Madrid.

But the Premier League leaders are considering a huge signing if the Senegal international does head to the Santiago Bernabeu.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL CONSIDER MBAPPE IF MANE JOINS REAL MADRID

Madrid are determined to sign Mane and Liverpool are targeting at Paris Saint-Germain star Mbappe as a replacement, according to The Sun.

The report says Mane is not pushing for a move away from Anfield and the Reds are keen to see off Madrid.

Mbappe, 21, has been linked with Los Blancos previously, but perhaps Liverpool could land the France international.

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Madrid and the Daily Star reports Manchester United are facing a battle with Los Blancos for Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, who has been heavily rumoured to be destined for Old Trafford.

- It remains to be seen how Madrid can strengthen their attack this close season. Amid the Spanish club's links to Dortmund forward Erling Haaland, Bild claims the Norway international's opt-out clause at the Bundesliga club does not come into effect until 2022.

- Inter are already negotiating with Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal, according to Sport. It reports Barca are open to letting the Chile international leave and want to include him in a deal for Lautaro Martinez but Inter are refusing that as it stands.

- Staying at Camp Nou and Barcelona are ready to keep Ousmane Dembele, according to Marca. The attacker has been touted for a move away from LaLiga's champions but is seemingly attracting little interest due to his recent injury struggles.

- Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana is reportedly being eyed by PSG and Barcelona, but Premier League clubs are also considering him. The Mirror reports Chelsea and Tottenham are tracking the Cameroon international.

- Out of contract at the end of the season, Dries Mertens appears likely to leave Napoli. CalcioMercato says Inter are keen to sign the Belgium forward.

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