Netherlands interim coach Dwight Lodeweges has handed maiden senior call-ups to promising youngsters Mohamed Ihattaren, Perr Schuurs and Owen Wijndal for their upcoming Nations League fixtures against Poland and Italy.

Lodeweges, who was assistant to Ronald Koeman until his departure to Barcelona earlier this month, had the responsibility of selecting the full squad for the first time.

He has taken the opportunity to introduce fresh faces and recall some familiar ones not seen in the selection for several years, while Juventus centre-back Matthijs de Ligt remains sidelined after knee surgery.

Attacking midfielder Ihattaren impressed in his 22 Eredivisie appearances for PSV in 2019-20 and declared for the Netherlands last year having also been eligible for Morocco.

Ball-playing centre-back Schuurs broke into Ajax's first-team squad before Dutch football was halted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Similarly, attack-minded left-back Wijndal – also 20 years old, like Ihattaren and Schuurs – earned rave reviews with AZ prior to the 2019-20 campaign being cancelled.

While those three will be hoping for their first caps, Leroy Fer and Tim Krul are aiming to return to action with the national side after significant periods away.

Krul last played for his country in October 2015, while Fer's absence has been 11 months longer – he featured most recently against Mexico in November 2014.

Daley Blind was among several on the provisional list, but he has been discarded after a recent health scare in an Ajax friendly.

The centre-back, who was last year fitted with a subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator after being diagnosed with heart muscle inflammation, collapsed in the meeting with Hertha Berlin but insisted he was "feeling fine" when he provided an update on Wednesday.

Myron Boadu, Teun Koopmeiners and Calvin Stengs were among the more surprising omissions of those on the provisional list.

The Netherlands face Poland on September 4 and Italy three days later.

Netherlands squad in full:

Jasper Cillessen (Valencia), Marco Bizot  (AZ), Tim Krul (Norwich City); Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Denzel Dumfries (PSV), Nathan Ake (Manchester City), Hans Hateboer (Atalanta), Perr Schuurs (Ajax), Joel Veltman (Brighton and Hove Albion), Stefan de Vrij (Inter), Owen Wijndal (AZ); Donny van de Beek (Ajax), Leroy Fer (Feyenoord), Mohamed Ihattaren (PSV), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Marten de Roon (Atalanta), Kevin Strootman (Marseille), Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool); Luuk de Jong (Sevilla), Quincy Promes (Ajax), Ryan Babel (Galatasaray), Steven Bergwijn (Tottenham).

Ajax defender Daley Blind allayed concerns over his health, insisting he is "okay and feeling fine" following a scare.

Blind is said to have collapsed before being substituted during Tuesday's 1-0 friendly win against Bundesliga opponents Hertha Berlin.

Former Manchester United utility Blind was fitted with a subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator – a device that monitors and regulates his heart rhythm – after being diagnosed with heart muscle inflammation following a Champions League game with Valencia last December.

The 30-year-old Netherlands international provided an update via social media on Wednesday, writing: "Many thanks for all the kind messages I've received.

"I can say that I'm okay and feeling fine."

Blind re-joined Dutch giants Ajax, where he began his career, in 2018 after spending four years with United in the Premier League.

Ajax are due to begin their Eredivisie season on September 13.

The 2019-20 campaign was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic before being declared void a month later.

It appears that, if Lionel Messi has his way, he will be playing for a new club before long.

The Barcelona captain and talisman has told his employers that he wants to leave and, although the club seem determined to keep him, they may be fighting a losing battle.

Of course, prising Messi away from Barca is by no means straightforward. His basic salary is said to be roughly €71million and, when you add in bonuses and other possible commitments, that represents a huge outlay on a 33-year-old player.

That's before you consider the prospect of a nine-figure transfer fee, assuming he cannot successfully argue that the clause allowing him to walk away from Barca for nothing is still valid. Only a tiny handful of clubs are even capable of pulling off such a deal, particularly in a financial landscape changed by COVID-19.

But what if, just for a minute, we imagine money is no object and Messi could play for anyone he chooses? What if the thrill of the game were more important to him than winning a fifth Champions League? What if he threw caution to the wind and went somewhere just for fun?

We've imagined such a scenario, and these are the teams we'd love to see him play for...

 

AJAX

The link between Ajax and Barca goes beyond the basics of football: it's a shared ideology, a philosophical connection, a spiritual understanding.

From Johan Cruyff to Ronald Koeman, plenty of players and coaches have shared the love of both clubs, but Messi moving to Amsterdam would turn the romance up to 11.

Messi as the focal point of an Ajax side - who are beautiful to watch as it is - is a wonderful idea, and there is even the faint prospect of Luis Suarez going back to his old club to join him.

Plus, given the players they have signed from Ajax in the past - Frenkie de Jong the latest - Barca probably owe the Eredivisie club a transfer favour in return.

ATALANTA

Gian Piero Gasperini's side captured the hearts of the football world in 2019-20, threatening a title challenge in Serie A and coming close to reaching the Champions League semi-finals.

They did all this on a modest budget, playing vibrant, attacking football, and all during a global pandemic that struck Bergamo and the Lombardy region harder than almost anywhere else in Europe.

The way Argentine Alejandro Gomez pulls the strings for Atalanta is a joy to watch, but imagine if Messi were doing it alongside him. Imagine them facing Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus. Imagine Marten de Roon's Twitter feed.

Glorious, isn't it?

COLOGNE

The GOAT and the Billy Goats - what could be better?

Cologne have gone through some tricky times but Markus Gisdol has done a brilliant job in steadying the ship in the Bundesliga and was rewarded with a new contract until June 2023.

They might not have won the title since 1978, but they are among Germany's most esteemed clubs, with an ardent fan base and a beautiful home city. If Messi could lead them to challenge the might of Bayern Munich, it would be an unforgettable story.

If not... well, they have a goat as a mascot, for goodness' sake. It's too perfect.

LEEDS UNITED

It might be too early for Messi to return to Newell's Old Boys, but what if he joined up with Rosario's other most famous footballing export in Yorkshire?

Leeds United are back in the Premier League at last, having swept all before them in the Championship in 2019-20 under the stewardship of Marcelo Bielsa and his big blue bucket.

The chance to help awaken a sleeping giant of the English game while playing for the man who inspired Pep Guardiola sounds like an opportunity that's too good to miss.

Plus, if he wanted to visit Sergio Aguero, Manchester is less than an hour away by train.

MARSEILLE

If he's not ready to give up the Mediterranean lifestyle, Marseille is parfait for Messi.

OM remain the only French men's team to be champions of Europe - something of which they've been keen to remind fans of Paris Saint-Germain in recent days - and their supporters are possibly the loudest outside South America. Messi's Marseille beating Neymar's PSG would probably cause a year-long street party.

Head coach Andre Villas-Boas has compared Dimitri Payet to Messi, so you can only imagine he'd be thrilled to have them both. As for getting him there, sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta knows him only too well from his time at Barca.

In fact, Zubizarreta was another to be forced out by Josep Maria Bartomeu's operations. He'd probably like nothing better than to share a quiet cassis on the Cote d'Azur, reminiscing about those Camp Nou troubles.

Ajax defender Daley Blind is "feeling well" and will undergo further tests following a health scare on Tuesday, his club have confirmed.

The former Manchester United defender is said to have collapsed before being substituted during a friendly match with Hertha Berlin.

Blind was fitted with a subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator, a device that monitors and regulates his heart rhythm, after being diagnosed with heart muscle inflammation following a Champions League game with Valencia last December.

Ajax issued a statement via Twitter on Wednesday, saying: "Daley Blind was forced to leave the pitch during Ajax - Hertha BSC.

"The central defender is feeling well, given the circumstances, and was at Sportpark de Toekomst this morning. He will undergo further examinations and await the results of these tests before resuming training."

Netherlands international Blind rejoined Ajax, where he began his career, in 2018 after spending four years with United.

Ajax are due to begin their Eredivisie season on September 13. The 2019-20 campaign was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic before being declared void a month later.

Lionel Messi wants to leave Barcelona, but where will he go?

Manchester United, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Inter and Juventus are possible destinations.

But, both Manchester clubs are believed to be targeting the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED EYE MESSI, BUT LIONEL WANTS CITY

Manchester United are in position to sign wantaway Barcelona captain Lionel Messi, according to Deportes Cuatro.

Messi wants to sensationally leave embattled LaLiga giants Barca and United are reportedly one of the clubs capable of signing the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

However, The Athletic claims neighbours Manchester City and Messi have held talks, with the superstar open to playing for Pep Guardiola again.

Paris Saint-Germain, Inter and Juventus have also been linked.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Telegraph reports Real Madrid outcast James Rodriguez is close to joining Everton. James has previously worked under Carlo Ancelotti at Bayern Munich and Madrid.

Chelsea will complete the signing of Leicester City full-back Ben Chilwell, says Fabrizio Romano. The transfer will be announced soon as Chelsea also look to bring in Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz and PSG captain Thiago Silva.

- Calciomercato claims Zlatan Ibrahimovic is close to signing a new deal with Milan. The 38-year-old is out of contract after returning to Milan for a second spell in January.

Barca want City's Gabriel Jesus to replace veteran forward Luis Suarez, according to Globo Esporte. Suarez has been told he can leave Camp Nou, and former club Ajax are reportedly trying to re-sign the Uruguayan.

Ajax sporting director Marc Overmars said the club's chances of re-signing Barcelona star Luis Suarez are "quite small".

Suarez, 33, has reportedly been told he is not part of Barca's plans as new head coach Ronald Koeman tries to rebuild the embattled LaLiga giants.

Ajax have emerged as a possible destination for Suarez, who spent four years playing for the Eredivisie champions before joining Liverpool in 2011.

Amid speculation Ajax are in talks to bring Suarez back to Amsterdam, Overmars addressed the rumours.

"Let me put it this way: the chance that he will come is quite small," Overmars told Ziggo Sport as Ajax defeated Hertha Berlin 1-0 in Tuesday's friendly.

"That's a straight answer, I think. Whether there has been any contact with him? We have that with several ex-Ajax players. That is logical, you also have to maintain that."

Suarez, who won the Eredivisie and KNVB Cup during his time at Ajax, has celebrated four LaLiga titles and the Champions League among other honours since moving to Barca in 2014.

Overmars, meanwhile, was also asked about in-demand Ajax star Donny van de Beek.

Van de Beek has been linked to Manchester United and Real Madrid, though Barca are believed to be eyeing the Netherlands international following Koeman's appointment.

"No idea, at least that hasn't made it onto my plate yet," Overmars said when quizzed on Barca's rumoured interest.

Overmars added: "It's pretty quiet. I certainly think the market has yet to get going. That makes sense: the Champions League has only just ended, so that will start soon. 

"There is always interest for some players. A few players look good, one player has fairly serious interest. Who that is? That will show itself in the coming weeks."

Manchester United have made Jadon Sancho their prime target heading into 2020-21.

However, prising Sancho away from Borussia Dortmund is proving difficult.

United, as a result, could be about to walk away.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED SET TO GIVE UP ON SANCHO

Manchester United are ready to abandon their pursuit of Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, according to the Mirror.

United have been unable to agree a fee with Dortmund for England sensation Sancho, who is valued at €120million (£108m).

Now, United are willing to give up on Sancho until next year, which could see the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Liverpool enter the fray.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca claims Barcelona have re-opened talks with Inter regarding star forward Lautaro Martinez. As Barca look to move on veteran Luis Suarez, the embattled LaLiga giants remain keen on Inter's Martinez, despite links to Lyon star Memphis Depay.

Arsenal have joined Premier League rivals Liverpool in the race to sign Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara, reports the Daily Mail. Thiago is eyeing a switch to Liverpool, though the English champions are believed to be unwilling to meet Bayern's demands.

- According to the Mirror, Barca have been quoted £143m (€158.6m) to sign Richarlison from Everton.

- Tuttosport claims former Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri is preparing to replace Antonio Conte at Inter. Conte is reportedly set to leave San Siro following one season at the helm.

Arsenal have agreed a deal to sign Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes, says Fabrizio Romano. Also linked to Napoli, Everton and United, Gabriel will fly to London on Monday to sign a contract until June 2025.

- Romano also claims Chelsea will announce the signing of Leicester City full-back Ben Chilwell in the coming days as the Blues also target Paris Saint-Germain veteran Thiago Silva and continue negotiations with Bayer Leverkusen for Kai Havertz.

Leicester are considering Ajax left-back Nicolas Tagliafico as a replacement for Chelsea-bound Chilwell, says the Daily Mail.

- Roma star Edin Dzeko only wants to leave the capital club for Juve, reports Tuttosport. Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly sees Dzeko as the perfect strike partner under Andrea Pirlo.

- As new boss Ronald Koeman oversees a Barca rebuild, Sport reports Ajax would demand €55m for Donny van de Beek. The Netherlands international has also been linked to Madrid and United.

Monaco coach Niko Kovac wants the Ligue 1 side to sign former Dortmund midfielder Mario Gotze, according to Le10 Sport. Gotze is a free agent after leaving Dortmund.

The transfer saga that is Jadon Sancho-Manchester United continues to roll on.

Sancho has long been tipped to join United, though Borussia Dortmund are adamant the England star will not return to his homeland this off-season.

United, however, are reportedly not giving up.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED HELD UP BY PERSONAL TERMS

Manchester United remain keen on signing Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho but personal terms and an agent fee are holding up their pursuit, according to ESPN.

Dortmund have insisted Sancho will not be sold, though United continue to target the former Manchester City youngster in a blockbuster transfer.

United have reportedly been given the green light to speak to Sancho and his representative but there has been an impasse with the player's camp over salary demands.

ROUND-UP

- Journalist Fabrizio Romano says Chelsea and Bayer Leverkusen are still negotiating a deal for star Kai Havertz. While Chelsea are confident, there remains a difference between the two clubs as Leverkusen hope to conclude a deal by the end of the month.

Jack Grealish to United? The Aston Villa captain continues to be linked with a move to Old Trafford and ESPN reports United goalkeeper Sergio Romero could be included in a deal to sign Grealish. Romero is United's number two behind David de Gea and the Argentina international's future is unclear, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reportedly keen for Dean Henderson to challenge for the number one spot.

- According to Cadena Ser's El Larguero, Luis Suarez is aiming to stay at Barcelona. Linked with a return to former club Ajax, Suarez is reportedly one of a number of players who could be forced out following Ronald Koeman's arrival. However, Suarez, Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto all want to speak to Quique Setien's replacement.

- Amid doubts over Pique's long-term future with Barca, Libero claims newly promoted Premier League side Fulham have made an offer for the Spain international star.

United remain interested in signing Barca teenager Ansu Fati, reports Marca. The 17-year-old reportedly switched agents to Jorge Mendes, having previously been represented by Messi's brother.

- The Telegraph says Chelsea are considering a move for Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva. The 35-year-old will become a free agent following the Champions League final and he has already been linked with former club Milan and fellow Serie A side Fiorentina.

Juventus are negotiating with United for Federico Bernardeschi and Douglas Costa, claims La Gazzetta dello Sport. The report also says the Serie A champions are speaking to City regarding Alex Sandro, while new boss Andrea Pirlo is eyeing Roma striker Edin Dzeko and Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli.

- Tuttosport's frontpage on Thursday suggests a merry-go-round of strikers. Inter have reportedly told Real Madrid that Romelu Lukaku is not for sale, Juve are in talks with Wolves to sign Raul Jimenez and Inter are challenging the Bianconeri for Dzeko. Meanwhile, Napoli's Arkadiusz Milik is heading towards Roma.

- The countdown is on for Madrid to sell outcasts Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez, according to Marca.

Donny van de Beek says he is "proud" to play for Ajax and will not complain if he does not get a move away from the club amid interest from Manchester United and Real Madrid.

Ajax director Edwin van der Sar revealed in June that Van de Beek is a target for United and Madrid following another impressive campaign for the Dutch giants.

However, the Netherlands international concedes that leaving the club this year is unlikely due to the "messy" situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Van de Beek, who has two years to run on his Ajax contract, insists he has no problem remaining at the Johan Cruijff ArenA for another season.

"It is very messy, in any case a very messy period in terms of transfers," he told Fox Sports following Ajax's 5-1 pre-season friendly win over Utrecht on Thursday.

"Nothing is certain yet. I am still a player of Ajax and I am still proud to be there.

"If there had not been the coronavirus, it might have been different now. There is no clarity now and we have to wait and see how it turns out.

"I'm still here and after all these years I still have a lot of fun. If I also play at Ajax next season, I still have a lot of fun. You won't hear me complaining."

Academy product Van de Beek has spent five seasons in Ajax's first team, accruing close to 200 appearances in all competitions.

Kai Havertz is reportedly still pushing for a move to Chelsea, while Manchester United are considering their options.

Havertz has been heavily linked with a move to Chelsea after an impressive season with Bayer Leverkusen.

The attacker may be getting closer to a switch to Stamford Bridge.

 

TOP STORY – HAVERTZ STILL PUSHING FOR CHELSEA MOVE

Havertz is still pushing for a move to Chelsea from Leverkusen, according to Fabrizio Romano.

The Germany international would join Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech in heading to Chelsea ahead of 2020-21.

Havertz scored 18 goals and provided nine assists in 45 games for Leverkusen this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- With Jadon Sancho potentially staying at Borussia Dortmund, Manchester United could look elsewhere. Sport reports United are insisting on Barcelona's teenage forward Ansu Fati and are willing to pay more than £90million (€100m). Meanwhile, ESPN reports United are looking at another Barcelona attacker in Ousmane Dembele.

- Real Madrid are considering their options ahead of next season. AS reports the LaLiga champions will bring back Martin Odegaard, who has been on loan at Real Sociedad, and Dani Ceballos, the latter having spent time on loan at Arsenal.

- Chelsea are linked with numerous moves ahead of 2020-21. However, The Guardian reports they are yet to make a bid for West Ham star Declan Rice.

- After a fine career at Manchester City, David Silva is leaving the Premier League giants. The Guardian reports Silva, 34, will join Lazio on a three-year deal.

- Quincy Promes has caught the eye at Ajax. The Sun reports Arsenal are eyeing a £25m (€27.8m) move for the forward, who netted 16 times in 28 games in 2019-20.

- Mario Gotze is set to have plenty of interest after leaving Borussia Dortmund. However, Sport Bild reports the 28-year-old has rejected a move to MLS side Inter Miami.

The Jadon Sancho transfer saga continues to ramble on.

Borussia Dortmund insist Sancho will not leave following Monday's apparent deadline, while Manchester United are still eyeing the English sensation.

Will Sancho be gracing Old Trafford in 2020-21?

 

TOP STORY – UNITED STILL TARGETING SANCHO

Manchester United are not giving up on signing Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, according to reports in the UK.

United were dealt a blow on Monday when Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc said Sancho will remain with the Bundesliga club in 2020-21.

Despite United's frustration over negotiations, the Independent and Goal claim the Red Devils are still pursuing the England international.

 

ROUND-UP

Kai Havertz is closing in on a move to Chelsea, reports the Evening Standard. The Bayer Leverkusen star is "desperate" to join Chelsea following the German club's Europa League exit on Monday.

Andrea Pirlo's Juventus overhaul is underway. Calciomercato and Tuttomercatoweb say Blaise Matuidi is set to move to David Beckham's Inter Miami in MLS. Aaron Ramsey, Gonzalo Higuain, Sami Khedira, Daniele Rugani, Mattia De Sciglio and Douglas Costa are also on the chopping block following Maurizio Sarri's exit. United have been linked with a move for Costa.

- Sky Sport reports Chelsea and Barcelona are battling to sign Ajax left-back Nicolas Tagliafico. Atletico Madrid are also reportedly interested.

Milan are looking to re-sign star midfielder Franck Kessie, according to Calciomercato. Kessie is wanted by city rivals Inter.

- L'Equipe says Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes is set to decide his future. Gabriel will choose between United, Arsenal, Everton and Napoli. RMC and L'Equipe, meanwhile, report Gent star Jonathan David will undergo a medical at Lille on Tuesday ahead of his €32million transfer.

Paris Saint-Germain are focused on Kylian Mbappe and Neymar over Cristiano Ronaldo.

Mbappe and Neymar have both been linked with moves away from the Ligue 1 champions, while Ronaldo has reportedly been a target for PSG previously.

PSG seemingly know where their priorities are.

 

TOP STORY – PSG FOCUS ON MBAPPE, NEYMAR OVER RONALDO

PSG would prefer to extend the contracts of Mbappe and Neymar than chase Juventus star Ronaldo, according to ESPN.

Mbappe and Neymar are both coming to the end of their contracts in 2022 and have been linked to Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.

 

ROUND-UP

- Arsenal are reportedly ready to splash the cash. The Sun says the Premier League side are set to spend £100million on Real Madrid's Dani Ceballos, Atletico Madrid's Thomas Partey and Lille's Gabriel Magalhaes, but must sell at least three players.

- With Eric Garcia set to leave Manchester City, Barcelona are preparing a move. The Sun reports Barca will make a €15.5m (£14m) bid for the defender.

- Will Chelsea find a way to land West Ham star Declan Rice? The Daily Star says Chelsea are looking to raise £65m to land the midfielder.

- Liverpool continue to be linked with moves. The Liverpool Echo reports Watford attacker Ismaila Sarr is on the Premier League champions' shortlist.

- Staying at Anfield and Yahoo reports Liverpool are tracking Vasco da Gama's 18-year-old forward Talles Magno.

- Ryan Sessegnon continues to be linked with a move from Tottenham. The Guardian reports Ajax are interested in Sessegnon on loan.

Chelsea must pull off one of the greatest second-leg comebacks if their Champions League hopes are not to be killed off by Bayern Munich on Saturday.

There has been a spate of stunning salvage jobs in recent seasons that may give hope to Frank Lampard's side, who trail 3-0 from the first leg in London.

Nevertheless, Bayern start as firm favourites to clinch a place in the quarter-finals heading into the clash at the Allianz Arena.

Here is a look at games that may give Blues fans some hope as their team head to Germany.

2019: Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona (4-3 on aggregate)

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool had been well beaten at Camp Nou, with the 3-0 scoreline flattering Barcelona but making the Catalans clear favourites to complete their semi-final task at Anfield.

Liverpool were without injured forwards Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino for the second leg, yet two goals each from Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum saw the hosts defy the odds in sensational style.

Origi had the final word thanks to Trent Alexander-Arnold's quick thinking from a 79th-minute corner.

It meant a Barcelona side boasting Lionel Messi and former Liverpool stars Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez were left devastated, while Klopp's men celebrated reaching the Madrid final.

2019: Real Madrid 1-4 Ajax (5-3 on aggregate)

Despite an impressive display in their 2-1 first-leg defeat, few thought Ajax could turn things around at the Santiago Bernabeu. Madrid's Sergio Ramos certainly did not - he earned a first-leg 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 capitulated against a fearless and thrilling Ajax. 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 Madrid had ever been knocked out after winning the first leg of a Champions League tie, while Ajax would themselves be stung by a comeback in the semi-finals.

2019: Ajax 2-3 Tottenham (3-3 agg)

Ajax looked certain finalists when they extended their 1-0 first-leg lead to 3-0 in Amsterdam with first-half goals from Matthijs de Ligt and Ziyech.

Mauricio Pochettino's Spurs took inspiration from Liverpool's stunning fightback against Barcelona 24 hours earlier, though, and Lucas Moura stepped up to emerge as their hero.

The Brazilian winger was thrust into a central attacking role and scored an improbable hat-trick in the second half, the vital third goal coming deep into stoppage time, as Spurs won on away goals.

2018: Roma 3-0 Barcelona (4-4 agg)

Barcelona were stunned in the Italian capital as Roma completed one of the most unlikely quarter-final turnarounds.

Eusebio Di Francesco's side came back from a 4-1 first-leg deficit to progress to the last four on away goals after a thrilling 3-0 win in front of their home fans.

Edin Dzeko, Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas secured the 4-4 aggregate draw and sent the Stadio Olimpico into raptures, as Barca fell to pieces.

2017: Barcelona 6-1 Paris Saint-Germain (6-5 agg)

Before their humblings by Roma and Liverpool, Barcelona pulled off an astonishing Champions League comeback of their own, and the greatest so far in terms of the deficit overhauled.

Trailing 4-0 from the first leg of their last-16 tie with PSG, Suarez and Messi scored either side of a Layvin Kurzawa own goal, only for Edinson Cavani to grab what was expected to be the decisive away goal for the visitors.

However, two quickfire Neymar goals against his future club – the second a highly controversial penalty after an apparent Suarez dive – levelled the tie at 5-5.

Then, in the fifth minute of stoppage time, Sergi Roberto struck to create a slice of Champions League history – no side had ever turned around a four-goal first-leg deficit before.

2004: Deportivo La Coruna 4-0 Milan (5-4 agg)

Deportivo were among Spain's major forces just after the turn of the century and one of their finest moments in Europe came in April 2004 when, despite being 4-1 down from the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final with Milan, they stunned the Rossoneri at the Riazor.

Walter Pandiani, Juan Carlos Valeron and Albert Luque had Depor ahead on away goals before half-time, with veteran Fran Gonzalez scoring the fourth to make sure of their passage.

Depor were eliminated by eventual winners Porto in the semi-finals, but this comeback stood as arguably the very best in Champions League history until Barca went one better.

2000: Barcelona 5-1 Chelsea (aet, 6-4 agg)

This is not one Chelsea will remember fondly.

A 3-1 first-leg loss at Stamford Bridge – having trailed 3-0 – had Barca in danger of being on the wrong end of a major Champions League upset prior to Chelsea's Roman Abramovich era, but in the return match the Catalan giants showed their true class.

Tore Andre Flo's 60th-minute goal was sending Chelsea through despite Rivaldo and Luis Figo scoring before the break, but Dani Garcia headed home seven minutes from the end of regulation to force extra time.

Rivaldo atoned for an earlier missed penalty by converting from the spot after Celestine Babayaro was sent off and Patrick Kluivert finished the game off, crushing Chelsea's dreams.

Ajax have confirmed a number of players and staff have had coronavirus after De Telegraaf reported 13 cases for the Eredivisie champions.

According to the newspaper, 13 people from approximately 90 tested were shown to have antibodies against COVID-19 following blood tests conducted in June.

Players and coaches from the Ajax first-team squad, Jong Ajax and staff associated with both teams were tested for antibodies and continue to undergo weekly coronavirus tests.

Ajax's head of communications Miel Brinkhuis told De Telegraaf that these provisions indicate there are no current cases of COVID-19 among Erik ten Hag's squad.

"It is true that a number of players and staff members have had the coronavirus," he said, while declining to confirm the identify or number of cases for legal reasons. 

"I want to emphasise that there is currently no one with corona and - except Andre Onana, who has mild ankle complaints - everyone was present on the training on Tuesday."

In February, Ajax played Madrid-based Getafe in a two-legged Europa League tie, around the time of the first confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Spanish mainland.

Those fixtures represent a possible explanation for the reportedly high number of antibodies found among the Ajax squad.

Ajax are set to begin their bid for a third consecutive Eredivisie title away to Sparta Rotterdam on September 13.

Ten Hag's men were declared champions for 2019-20 when the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) cancelled the season amid the coronavirus pandemic in April.

Bayer Leverkusen will be powerless to resist selling Kai Havertz to Chelsea if the Blues' billionaire owner Roman Abramovich wants the German at Stamford Bridge, according to the Premier League club's former manager Avram Grant.

Havertz, 21, has been a revelation in the Bundesliga ever since making his breakthrough as a 17-year-old in the 2016-17 campaign.

The midfielder, who has been played in an increasingly attack-minded role over the past two years, has scored 29 Bundesliga goals since the start of the 2018-19 campaign, while his haul of 12 this term was added to with six assists.

Already a Germany international, Havertz is widely expected to leave Leverkusen in the coming weeks, with Chelsea said to be his most likely destination.

The financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic, combined with Chelsea's recent deals for Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner, have led to suggestions the club might not be willing to meet Leverkusen's apparent €78million (£70m) asking price.

But Grant, a friend of Abramovich and a former Chelsea manager, thinks the Blues will sign anyone if the owner wants them.

Speaking to Stats Perform News, Grant said: "Abramovich didn't have a problem with money before! When he wants something, he buys it.

"He doesn't do things to save money. Whether they have more or less money, I don't think it's important.

"What I think is important is that they started to use the academy. They spent so much money on it and they didn't give anyone a chance [before]. My policy at Chelsea was that we wanted one third of the squad as under-21 players, because you cannot invest a lot into the academy and not give them a chance.

"Now, not as a policy, they gave them a chance, and Frank has done a great job. Michael Emenalo, a director, was always complaining that we invested a lot of money in them [academy players] but we don't give them a chance.

"When you have a good young player, they can develop a lot and there are a lot of good talents at Chelsea, and we're in a good phase for the coming years.

"With a good signing they can compete with Liverpool or Man City. [Havertz] has the quality. We need to wait and see [if he's the one to bridge the gap]."

The signings of Ziyech and Werner, from Ajax and RB Leipzig respectively, have been widely applauded, particularly given they were both secured well before the conclusion of the season.

But Grant did urge caution, highlighting that many big signings in a short period does not always guarantee success.

"On paper they look like good signings and that they can make the team stronger, but we need to wait and see," Grant said. "We've seen years ago, Tottenham bought a lot of players but they bought too much and many didn't perform well - eventually Harry Redknapp saved them and did a very good job.

"I think you need to be careful when you sign a player, whether they will be good for the squad, but I'm sure they've checked this. It's not only about quality."

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