It is 60 years to the day since Real Madrid hammered Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3 to win the European Cup and there was a high five for Michael Jordan on May 18, 1998.

Alfredo Di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas were the heroes as Madrid tore Eintracht apart at Hampden Park to lift the famous trophy for the fifth consecutive season.

The legendary Jordan won his fifth and final NBA MVP award 22 years ago.

Milan fans and pitcher Randy Johnson can also reflect on this day with fond memories.

 

1960 - Madrid maul Eintracht 

Di Stefano and Puskas put on a show as Madrid put Eintracht to the sword in Glasgow.

A packed crowd of 127,000 were treated to one of the great performances, with the Spanish giants remaining kings of Europe after going behind to a goal from Richard Kress.

Di Stefano put Madrid in front with a quickfire first-half double and Eintracht were torn to pieces in devastating fashion after the break.

Hungary great Puskas struck three times in the space of 15 minutes and the magnificent Di Stefano completed his treble to put Madrid 7-1 up before Erwin Stein bagged a brace for the shocked German side.

 

1998 - High five for Jordan 

Jordan was rewarded for yet another outstanding season when he was named the best player in the NBA yet again in 1998.

The superstar led the way as the Chicago Bulls won a third consecutive title and a sixth in an eight-year period, beating the Utah Jazz to retain their crown.

Jordan was aged 35 when he landed his fifth and final NBA MVP gong and went on to be named Finals MVP.

He scored an average of 28.7 points per game, with an average of 5.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists, stepping up time and again with inspirational performances and a huge on-court presence

 

1994 - Ruthless Milan batter Barca

Milan retained their Champions League title in emphatic fashion at the Olympic Stadium in Athens 26 years ago to the day.

Barca were unable to live with Fabio Capello's side, who were in a class of their own despite being without some key men.

Marco van Basten and Gianluigi Lentini - the world's most expensive player at the time - were ruled out due to injury, while captain Franco Baresi and Alessandro Costacurta missed out due to suspension.

That mattered not for masterful Milan, Daniele Massaro scoring a first-half brace and Dejan Savicevic on target with an exquisite lob before Marcel Desailly added insult to injury with a fine finish.

 

2004 - Age no barrier for 'Big Unit' Johnson

Randy Johnson made history when he became the oldest player to pitch a perfect game in the MLB 16 years ago.

Johnson was 40 when he achieved the magnificent feat in the Arizona Diamondbacks' victory over the Atlanta Braves.

The veteran's second career no-hitter came at Turner Field, breaking a record that Cy Young set when he was aged 37.

Johnson's perfect game was the 17th in baseball history.

Former Brazil striker Giovane Elber feels Barcelona should not re-sign Neymar as he questioned the forward's decision to join Paris Saint-Germain.

Neymar, 28, has been linked with a return to Barca, nearly three years after joining PSG for a world-record €222million.

But Elber, who starred for Bayern Munich and played 15 games for Brazil during his career, said the LaLiga giants should opt against taking Neymar back to Camp Nou.

Asked by Cadena SER if Barca should sign Neymar again, Elber said: "No. As he left Barcelona, for me there is no possibility of returning to Barcelona."

Elber added: "For me, Neymar behaved very badly with Barca, because when he wanted to leave Barcelona he said he wanted to be the best in the world.

"But for God's sake, you are not going to be the best in the world playing for PSG. For that you have to go to Real Madrid or Barcelona, to some team where you can win the Champions League.

"I believe that PSG will still not be able to win the Champions League in the next three or four years."

Neymar has won three Ligue 1 titles among numerous domestic trophies since arriving at PSG.

The Ligue 1 giants were into the Champions League quarter-finals when this season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gerard Pique was "bullied" out of the Premier League because he could not handle Bolton Wanderers' physicality, according to Wayne Rooney.

Before he returned to Barcelona and became a key figure in sides that won La Liga and the Champions League on multiple occasions, Pique spent four years at Manchester United.

However, with Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand the regular centre-back pairing of choice for Alex Ferguson, Pique only featured in 12 Premier League games prior to re-joining Barca in 2008.

And it was a game in Pique's final season - a 1-0 loss to Bolton when the 20-year-old was hauled off after 59 minutes - which Rooney believed spelled the end for his time at Old Trafford.

"Bolton away more or less finished Gerard Pique's career at United," Rooney wrote in his column for The Sunday Times.

"He was young and got bullied there and I think that's when Fergie decided that, physically, he wasn't right for the Premier League.

"I always remember Vidic: if we were going to Bolton — and it was the same when he was about to face Didier Drogba — he would be in the gym for two or three days before, pumping himself up."

Bolton's only goal that day came courtesy of Nicolas Anelka, when he took advantage of a mistimed Pique leap to score.

Pique has since gone on to win 28 major honours with his boyhood club Barca.

The defender also has over 100 caps for Spain and was part of La Roja teams that won World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012.

Have Barcelona found their new Dani Alves?

According to reports in Spain, the Blagurana have identified Ajax teenager Sergino Dest as the long-term solution to their problematic right-back spot.

Despite his inexperience, it seems the 19-year-old could command a sizeable eight-figure sum.

 

TOP STORY – DEST THE BEST FOR BARCA

Nelson Semedo's proposed move to either Manchester City or Juventus looks set to pave the way for Barca to bring in a highly rated new right-back.

And the Catalan club know exactly what it will take to land their preferred target: €20million.

That is the fee Spanish newspaper Sport suggests will be enough to secure United States defender Dest when the transfer window reopens.

The Dutch-born full-back, who spurned Netherlands' interest in his international future, only recently graduated from Ajax's youth setup, making 15 Eredivisie starts before the coronavirus pandemic curtailed his breakthrough 2019-20 campaign.

 

ROUND-UP

- AC Milan are interested in Freiburg centre-back Robin Koch but the Rossoneri could face competition from Serie A rivals Napoli, claims CalcioMercato.

- Heading across town and Inter appear more interested in attacking reinforcements amid the uncertainty surrounding Lautaro Martinez. La Repubblica suggests the Nerazzurri are on the cusp of agreeing personal terms with Napoli forward Dries Mertens, who will become a free agent on June 30.

- Is a transfer battle brewing in Manchester? The Sun claims City boss Pep Guardiola wants to beat crosstown rivals United to Argentine attacking midfielder Thiago Almada, the promising Velez product said to be viewed as the successor to David Silva.

- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and United could encounter more transfer frustration if Aston Villa continue to stand firm over their Jack Grealish valuation. According to the Mirror, relegation-threatened Villa are not prepared to budge on their £80m asking price.

- Ligue 1 heavyweights Paris Saint-Germain could move for experienced former Arsenal right-back Mathieu Debuchy, now of Saint-Etienne, to replace the out-of-contract Thomas Meunier, reports Le10Sport.

May 17 is a momentous sporting date that Arsenal fans will not remember fondly.

Fourteen years ago on this day, the Gunners lost the Champions League final against Barcelona in Paris.

This date also represents the 30-year anniversary of a famous day in the history of Manchester United, who won the first trophy of Alex Ferguson's era as manager.

Here we look back at some of the top moments to occur on May 17 in the world of sport.
 

2006 - Arsenal rue Barcelona comeback

Arsenal were within 15 minutes of winning their first Champions League on this day in 2006, when they ultimately suffered a painful defeat to Barcelona at the Stade de France.

Remarkably, despite having goalkeeper Jens Lehmann sent off after only 18 minutes, a Sol Campbell header put the Gunners ahead, a lead they still held entering the 76th minute as their fans dreamed of glory.

A star-studded Barca team which included Samuel Eto'o, Ronaldinho and Deco had not found a way through, but it was substitute Henrik Larsson who turned the game.

Man of the match Eto'o scored the equaliser and the inspirational Larsson set up an unlikely scorer for the winner 10 minutes from time, full-back Juliano Belletti. 

Thierry Henry had missed a chance to put the Gunners two goals up and a year later he would end up joining Barca, going on to help them to win the 2009 Champions League along with Eto’o and Lionel Messi.

Arsenal have not made it back to the final since – they crashed out in the Champions League knockout stages for 11 consecutive seasons after this loss, their best effort being a run to the 2009 semi-finals.

They have spent the past three seasons in the Europa League, while Barca built on their 2009 success with further victories in 2011 and 2015, moving them on to five overall.
 

1990 - First of many United trophies for Ferguson

In a magnificent era of success, Ferguson led Manchester United to 28 major trophies, including 13 Premier League titles prior to his retirement in 2013.

The opening years of his tenure were less glorious, though, and the club's first trophy was a crucial moment to launch a spectacular run of silverware lasting over two decades.

It was the FA Cup in 1990 where Ferguson earned his first triumph.

A dramatic extra-time equaliser from Mark Hughes earned United a 3-3 draw against Crystal Palace in the first match at Wembley, and in those days that meant a reply rather than a penalty shoot-out.

The return game five days later, which came on May 17, was less exciting, but Lee Martin's goal in the 59th minute was enough to give Ferguson's men a 1-0 victory.

After that first trophy in four years, a win in the European Cup Winners' Cup followed the next season, and United never looked back.

 

2019 - Koepka makes major history at the US PGA

Brooks Koepka was already a sensation at golf majors before his magnificent performance at the US PGA Championship on this day a year ago.

He already had three major titles and nine finishes inside the top 10 over a five-year span before he took things to a whole new level at the notoriously difficult Bethpage Black course in New York.

While golfing legend Tiger Woods was missing the cut, Koepka stormed into a seven-shot lead after the first two rounds.

His rounds of 63 and 65 gave him the lowest 36-hole total score in the 159-year history of professional major championship play.

Koepka slowed in his following rounds, with efforts of 70 and 74, but he was still crowned champion by two shots over Dustin Johnson thanks to his extraordinary scoring across the opening two days.

'Next Generation' is a series focusing on the young players tipped to establish themselves as the elite in the 2020s.

 

At long last, football is almost back. After a hiatus of more than two months, top-level European club action returns on Saturday with the resumption of the 2019-20 Bundesliga season.

With nine rounds of the season still to be completed, there remains much to play for in Germany's top flight and it all kicks off once again this weekend, with the Revierderby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke undoubtedly the highlight.

Given there are precious few other sporting events around the world allowed to resume yet, the Bundesliga could be set for an influx of new viewers and fans.

While most followers of ffootball will be well aware of the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Erling Haaland, Timo Werner, Jadon Sancho and the Bundesliga's other leading stars, there are other players perhaps not quite at that level of exposure yet but also worth keeping an eye on.

We identified six who were either enjoying impressive seasons before the suspension, or have shown significant promise.

Amine Harit (22), attacking midfielder – Schalke

To seasoned viewers of the Bundesliga, Harit won't be a new name – after all, he was Rookie of the Year in 2017-18. But after a difficult 2018-19, Harit is enjoying his finest season in professional football. With six goals and four assists, the Morocco international has been a key player for David Wagner's Schalke this term – the skilful and creative attacking midfielder a threat to any defence on his day. However, all of his goal involvements came before Christmas, and if Schalke are to hold on to a Europa League spot, the 22-year-old rediscovering his 2019 form could be vital.

Christopher Nkunku (22), central midfielder – RB Leipzig

A product of Paris Saint-Germain's academy, Nkunku broke into their first-team squad last term but couldn't hold down a place in the starting XI. Leipzig had seen enough of him to feel compelled to part with a reported €15million for the French midfielder, however, and it looks great business. After scoring with his first touch in Bundesliga football, he has contributed another three goals and 12 assists – a haul bettered by only Sancho and Thomas Muller. A wonderful technician, Nkunku is a dead-ball specialist, a fine striker of the ball and a supreme midfield athlete.

Marcus Thuram (22), forward – Borussia Monchengladbach

There aren't a huge amount of similarities between Marcus and his dad Lilian, one of the greatest centre-backs of his generation, but physical presence is one. Marcus Thuram is a handful for defences in virtually every way possible; quick, strong, tall, athletic and a good dribbler. Capable playing anywhere in attack, Thuram is particularly useful coming in off the left on to his right foot, and he has played a role in 14 league goals this term, eight of which were assists. Gladbach are looking to secure Champions League qualification – if they fail, keeping Thuram could be a challenge.

Dayot Upamecano (21), centre-back – RB Leipzig

You won't find many more-complete centre-backs than Leipzig's Upamecano. Strongly linked with a move to Bayern Munich at the end of the season, the France Under-21 international seems to have it all. His excellent distribution is highlighted by the fact his 66 per cent long-pass success is better than Mats Hummels (58), Manuel Akanji (55) and Benjamin Pavard (61), while his 35 interceptions is more than Virgil van Dijk has managed. Potentially the next superstar-in-waiting off the Red Bull production line, Upamecano has a big future in front of him.

Giovanni Reyna (17), attacking midfielder – Borussia Dortmund

The son of former Manchester City and United States midfielder Claudio Reyna, Gio appears destined to go on to bigger things than his old man. The 17-year-old made his debut as a substitute in the 5-3 win over Augsburg on January 18 and has played another seven Bundesliga matches since. Although mostly making cameo appearances, his direct approach to dribbling, upright running style and effortless elegance on the ball bear resemblance to Brazil and Milan great Kaka. It's only a matter of time before he gets his first Bundesliga start.

Jean-Clair Todibo (20), centre-back – Schalke

A newcomer to the Bundesliga, having joined on loan from Barcelona in January, the jury is still out on Todibo. Schalke accept it's unlikely they'll be able to trigger his purchase clause – reportedly worth €25m plus €5m in add-ons – due to the financial consequences of the pandemic, but a loan extension is said to be a possibility. A technically gifted centre-back who is comfortable on the ball and a solid passer, Todibo, 20, was perhaps unlucky to not get more opportunities at Camp Nou. He made five league appearances after joining Schalke, and although only two were starts, he is considered a real prospect.

Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic is a player in demand.

The Bosnia-Herzegovina international has been linked to Barcelona, Chelsea and Manchester United.

But Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly interested in signing the former Lyon star.

 

TOP STORY – PSG MAKE PJANIC OFFER

Paris Saint-Germain are rivalling Barcelona and Chelsea for Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic, according to RMC Sport.

Pjanic's future is dominating headlines, with the Bosnian star linked to LaLiga champions Barca, while he has been the subject of reported swap deal involving Chelsea's Jorginho.

But Pjanic has a contract offer from PSG, who are also reportedly eyeing either Houssem Aouar of Lyon or Chelsea midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Daily Mail claims Gareth Bale could leave Real Madrid for free due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Welsh star has been linked to Newcastle United recently.

Inter are putting pressure on Barca to complete a deal for Lautaro Martinez, reports Sport. The Serie A side have told Barca to wrap up a transfer this month amid reported negotiations with possible replacements Timo Werner (RB Leipzig) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal).

- Sky Sport says Liverpool's interest in Werder Bremen star Milot Rashica has faded.

- Calciomercato reports Juventus continue to observe Mauro Icardi but PSG remain in pole position to sign the Argentina international, who is on loan from Inter.

- Bayern Munich have decided not to take up their option to buy Ivan Perisic from Inter, according to Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Nicolo Schira. Perisic is on loan at the Bundesliga champions.

Arsenal completed a remarkable feat on May 15, 2004.

It is the day that Gunners vintage of 16 years ago secured its 'Invincibles' tag, finishing the Premier League campaign unbeaten.

Real Madrid – inspired by Zinedine ZIdane – and Manchester United also have happy memories of this mid-May date, each sealing continental silverware in 2002 and 1991 respectively.

And in the NBA, Allen Iverson claimed a significant personal honour 19 years ago.

Here are the sporting highlights from this day in history...

 

2004 – Arsenal become the 'Invincibles' 

Having clinched the title on enemy soil by drawing at Tottenham in late April, Arsene Wenger's men reached the last day still boasting an unblemished top-flight record.

Leicester City were the visitors to Highbury, seeking to become the ultimate party poopers. 

When Paul Dickov put the Foxes ahead, there was a genuine fear the hosts would fall at the final hurdle.

Thierry Henry levelled from the penalty spot and Patrick Vieira secure the win as Arsenal rounded off an unbeaten Premier League campaign.

2002 – Zidane's brilliance leads Real Madrid to glory

Zidane took centre stage when Glasgow's Hampden Park played host to the Champions League final on this day in 2002.

The Frenchman's stunning volley from just inside the box proved to be the winning goal in a 2-1 Madrid triumph over Bayer Leverkusen.

When Roberto Carlos hooked a hopeful ball into the area, Zidane positioned himself underneath it and expertly thrashed home a sweet left-footed strike.

Zidane's stunning finish is regarded as one of the all-time great Champions League goals.

 

2001 – Iverson is named NBA MVP 

Iverson followed in the footsteps of a bona fide legend with the figures he posted to win the NBA MVP in 2001.

He led the NBA in scoring (31.1 points per game) and steals (2.51 per game), becoming the first man to top both charts since Michael Jordan in 1992-93.

It made the vote a straightforward affair, the Philadelphia 76ers star receiving 93 of a possible 124 first-place votes to finish ahead of the San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan and Los Angeles Lakers star Shaquille O'Neal.

In doing so, Iverson became the first 76ers player to be crowned MVP since 1983, when Moses Malone achieved the feat.

 

1991 – Man Utd down Barcelona in European Cup Winners' Cup final

Mark Hughes scored twice in Rotterdam as Manchester United beat Barcelona 2-1 to win European silverware for the first time in 23 years.

Not since the club's 1968 European Cup success had United triumphed in a continental competition.

This was a first foray back into such tournaments for English clubs since the ban that come into force following the Heysel disaster.

Ronald Koeman scored Barca's consolation goal as Alex Ferguson got one over on opposite number Johan Cruyff.

Lionel Messi described Lautaro Martinez as a "very complete forward" amid growing links to LaLiga champions Barcelona.

Inter star Martinez has been tipped to leave the Nerazzurri for Barca, with the Spanish giants reportedly determined to sign a long-term replacement for veteran Luis Suarez.

Messi has previously hailed Argentina team-mate Martinez, who had scored 16 goals in 31 games across all competitions in 2019-20 before the coronavirus pandemic brought sport to a standstill.

Asked about Martinez, Barca superstar Messi told Mundo Deportivo: "If I'm honest I don't know very well if there were or are negotiations right now, I have no idea. 

"I think I already mentioned it, that Lautaro is an impressive striker, especially because I think he is a very complete forward. 

"He is strong, he dribbles well, he scores goals, he knows how to protect the ball ...But well, we will have to see what happens finally with him and with other players."

On transfers amid links with former star and Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar, Messi added: "There are a few people at the club who are in charge of the theme of signings and they are the ones who select who they think are best for the team.

"It's obvious that the situation we are in will make the market a bit strange and you have to be sure to improve on what we have."

Barca were two points clear of bitter rivals Real Madrid through 27 matches when LaLiga was postponed in March due to COVID-19.

 

Lionel Messi insisted Barcelona cannot win the Champions League unless they improve their performances, disagreeing with head coach Quique Setien.

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc globally, bringing sport to a standstill, with the likes of LaLiga and the Champions League on hiatus since March.

Barca – who returned to individual training last week – had been preparing for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Napoli when the competition was suspended due to coronavirus.

The Spanish giants had drawn 1-1 away to Napoli in February, with Messi claiming Barca could not win the Champions League – a view Setien did not share in April.

Messi was asked about the Champions League again ahead of a possible August restart, and the six-time Ballon d'Or winner issued a warning for Barca.

"I never doubted the squad we have and I have no doubt that we can win all that remains, but not by playing in the way we were playing," Messi, who has won four Champions League titles, told Sport.

"Now, everyone has their opinion and they are all very respectable. Mine is based on the fact that I was lucky to play the Champions League every year and I know that it is not possible to win it by playing as we have been playing. Perhaps Setien misunderstood."

Barca were two points clear of bitter rivals Real Madrid atop LaLiga through 27 matches at the time of postponement.

LaLiga officials are looking to resume the 2019-20 season in mid-June as Germany's Bundesliga restarts on Saturday.

"This break may end up benefiting us, but we are going to see if they can start the competitions and there we will leave doubts, because we will check the level that we have or can reach when we start," Messi said.

"Going back to training is a first step but we should not trust ourselves and we must continue taking all the necessary precautions and assume that we have to start playing the games when they arrive but behind closed doors.

"Personally I am looking forward to the competitions. We know that everything is going to be weird, without fans in the stadium and with the theme of the concentrations that we really would not like to have to be separated from our families. You have to see how it looks."

Messi added: "Physically I feel very well. I was training at home these days and I think it helped me to keep fit.

"Very hard confinement, but with the children and with Antonela everything ends up becoming moments that I try to enjoy all together."

Luring Lautaro Martinez from Inter to Barcelona appears complicated.

Barca are reportedly determined to sign Martinez as the Spanish giants look to bring in a long-term replacement for Luis Suarez.

But, Barca reportedly need some help from other clubs to get the deal over the line.

 

TOP STORY – TRIO KEY TO LAUTARO DEAL

Barcelona, Juventus and Manchester City are set for a three-way swap involving Inter star Lautaro Martinez, according to Sport.

Martinez has been tipped to swap Inter for Barcelona but the LaLiga champions are trying to drive down the price.

The proposed exchange deal would see Nelson Semedo leave Barca for City, allowing Joao Cancelo to return to Inter as Martinez moves to Camp Nou.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United have agreed a £62million (€70m) deal for Lyon striker Moussa Dembele, reports TodoFichajes. Dembele has been linked with United, Chelsea and Barca.

- The Telegraph says Bundesliga titleholders Bayern Munich are preparing a €56m (£50m) bid for City star Leroy Sane, who is set to return to Germany.

- Could Houssem Aouar replace Miralem Pjanic at Juventus? Pjanic is reportedly set to sign for Barca despite interest from United and Le10Sport claims Juve are eyeing Lyon star Aouar.

- Exchange deals might be needed for Juve to have a chance of completing their dream transfers. Linked to former star and United midfielder Paul Pogba, Il Bianconero says Douglas Costa, Adrien Rabiot and Federico Bernardeschi could be used to tempt the Red Devils. An exchange deal with Chelsea could also see Douglas Costa and Aaron Ramsey, and Jorginho and Emerson Palmieri, trade places.

Dries Mertens prefers a move to Inter over Chelsea should he leave Napoli, according to Sky Sport Italia. The Belgium international is set to become a free agent.

- Gazzetta dello Sport says Inter are focused on bringing Brescia and Italy sensation Sandro Tonali to San Siro.

Barcelona and Juventus are getting close to an incredible exchange deal.

Miralem Pjanic has continued to be linked with a move to Camp Nou, although there has been uncertainty over how, and if, Barcelona could get a transfer done.

It seems they are on the verge of sealing a deal for the midfielder.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA, JUVENTUS CLOSE TO AGREEING EXCHANGE DEAL

Barcelona and Juventus are close to agreeing an exchange deal involving four players, according to Sport.

It says Pjanic and Mattia De Sciglio will join Barca, with Jean-Clair Todibo – who is on loan at Schalke this season – and Arturo Vidal or Ivan Rakitic heading to Turin.

Barcelona have also been linked with moves for Inter star Lautaro Martinez and Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar.

ROUND-UP

- Kingsley Coman is wanted by three of Europe's biggest clubs. Sky reports Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester City are interested in the Bayern Munich attacker.

- Linked with a move away from Tottenham, Tanguy Ndombele may be going nowhere. The Mirror says Spurs will not allow the midfielder, reportedly a target for Barcelona, to leave this close season.

- Another Spurs player, however, could leave. Tottenham defender Juan Foyth, who is contracted at the club until 2022, is being eyed by Barca, according to the Mirror.

- It seems Angel Gomes is leaving Manchester United. The Mirror claims Chelsea feel they are close to landing the midfielder, whose deal at Old Trafford expires at the end of June.

- Real Betis and Portugal midfielder William Carvalho is drawing plenty of attention. Diario de Sevilla reports Wolves are the latest club to join the race for Carvalho, who has been linked to Tottenham, Monaco, Leicester City and Watford previously.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp prefers Lionel Messi over Cristiano Ronaldo, even though he said the Juventus star was close to a "perfect player".

Barcelona great Messi and Ronaldo are widely considered two of the greatest players of all-time, although just who is better continues to be debated.

While Klopp prefers Messi, the German paid tribute to both for their era of dominance, which has seen them win 11 of the past 12 Ballons d'Or.

Klopp lauded Ronaldo's physical build, but said Messi was able to produce his magic while making it look so easy.

"For me Messi, but I couldn't admire Ronaldo more than I do already," he told YouTube channel freekickerz.

"The explanation is the following. We've played against both already and both are almost impossible to defend.

"But Messi has much lower physical requirements from birth on. If you could paint yourself a perfect player, it would have Ronaldo's height, he could jump and run as high or quick as Ronaldo can do. And what is then even added to that is his total attitude, it is absolutely perfect and professional, it couldn't be any better.

"And on the other side there is the small Messi who makes everything look so simple. And therefore I like him maybe a little bit more as a player on the pitch. But Cristiano is also an absolutely incredible player.

"It's really difficult therefore, but what both have in common is that both have left their footprints for such a long time.

"There are also some younger players who have a similar potential, but to do that over this time period is even more incredible."

Frenkie de Jong can be pleased with his first season at Barcelona and has the potential to successfully replace club legend Sergio Busquets, according to Ronald de Boer.

Netherlands international De Jong has faced criticism from some sections since joining Barca from Ajax in a reported €75million transfer last year.

De Boer believes his compatriot has adapted well to life at Camp Nou, however, with former team-mate Matthijs de Ligt's early struggles at Juventus being held up in comparison.

"People said he didn't reach the level he reached with Ajax last season in Europe or with the national team," De Boer told BarcaBlog. 

"But not everyone can say that they play so many minutes with such a strong team, so I think he's doing well.

"You see how another young player like De Ligt had a harder time, while everyone thought he would play regularly from the start. 

"He is doing very well when you consider that this is his first season."

De Jong has two goals in 37 games this term, but De Boer insists it is better comparing him to Busquets, who is regarded as arguably the finest holding midfielder of his generation.

"If he's going to play as a central midfielder, I'm sure he'll be successful," said De Boer, who won the LaLiga title with Barcelona in 1998-99 before joining Rangers the following year..

"He is a controller, you should not ask him to score 20 goals, he is not such a player. 

"I am sure he will be a great successor to Busquets in the future."

Barcelona are seemingly getting closer to landing Lautaro Martinez.

The Inter star continues to be linked with a move to Camp Nou, where he could play alongside Argentina team-mate Lionel Messi more regularly.

It appears an agreement has almost been reached.

TOP STORY – BARCELONA, INTER AGREEMENT FOR LAUTARO 'IMMINENT'

Barcelona and Inter are finalising a deal for Lautaro Martinez, according to the cover of SPORT.

The report says the clubs are going to agree a deal of close to €60million plus two players – midfielder Arturo Vidal and either Nelson Semedo or Emerson.

SPORT also reports Barca and Martinez have a verbal agreement for a four-year deal.

ROUND-UP

- Juventus are still looking to sign Manchester United star Paul Pogba. AS reports Juve are offering the Premier League club Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot in their bid to complete a deal.

- Talk continues over Miralem Pjanic's potential switch to Barcelona. SPORT claims Juventus have also offered LaLiga's champions Mattia De Sciglio, along with the midfielder. SPORT also says Jean-Clair Todibo, who is on loan at Schalke, could be part of the deal.

- With 22 goals for Lyon this season, Moussa Dembele continues to attract interest from the Premier League. The Daily Star reports Manchester United are increasingly confident of landing the former Celtic forward in a £60m (€68.4m) deal.

- Odion Ighalo's loan at Manchester United from Shanghai Shenhua expires at the end of June. The Sun says the striker is desperate to extend his stay at Old Trafford, with the Chinese Super League club reportedly demanding a transfer fee.

- Linked with a move to Liverpool, Werder Bremen striker Milot Rashica appears to be heading elsewhere. BILD reports the 23-year-old's move to RB Leipzig is becoming more and more likely. Rashica has scored seven goals in 20 Bundesliga games this season.

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