Arturo Vidal hopes Barcelona can come through "11 finals" in LaLiga to ensure he ends the season with a ninth successive top-flight title.

Chile international Vidal won four straight Scudetti with Juventus and was a three-time Bundesliga winner after joining Bayern Munich in 2015.

The 33-year-old tasted LaLiga glory with Barca last season and he is keen to repeat the feat in 2019-20.

Spain's top tier is set to return from a three-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic on June 11, with Barca sitting two points clear of Real Madrid at the summit with 11 games remaining.

Asked about winning a ninth league title in succession, Vidal said: "Not many players have done this before, so I am so proud of myself.

"I'm really looking forward to winning my ninth at Barcelona, so I will work hard to try to keep making history.

"The 11 matches we have now will be like 11 finals. It will be a difficult challenge as Real Madrid are very close to us, so we just need to focus on winning every single game and also do our best to get prepared for the Champions League as well."

LaLiga clubs will be able to return to full training and use their dressing rooms again from Monday, though strict hygiene protocols will still need to be followed.

"I am so happy to be back in training as the couple of months we have been in lockdown have seemed so long," said Vidal.

"Now it is so good to be on the pitch again with my team-mates. It has been a very tough two months, but now we are training again and it feels really good.

"I feel happy. I had many chats [during the lockdown] with my team-mates from a distance, trying to speak with each other on how we were managing the situation. But now we must prepare ourselves as well as we possibly can ahead of these massive two months we face."

Following the completion of LaLiga, Barca will likely continue their Champions League campaign.

They drew the first leg of their last-16 tie with Napoli 1-1 in February and will host the return match at Camp Nou.

UEFA is yet to confirm its schedule for the remaining Champions League and Europa League fixtures, however.

LaLiga clubs will be able to undertake full training sessions and use their dressing rooms from Monday, Barcelona have confirmed.

An update from leaders Barca revealed the league had enacted phase four of the return to training protocol amid the coronavirus pandemic.

With teams working towards a June 11 resumption, preparations will ramp up from June 1.

Coaches had previously been limited to working with only 14 players at a time.

Barcelona said: "Following the publication of the BOE [official state bulletin] this Saturday, the league has reported that, from this Monday, June 1, the teams will return to training in phase four."

Dressing rooms will also be available again, but the statement added: "The corresponding prevention, protection and hygiene measures established by the health authorities must continue to be complied with, as well as the disinfection and periodic cleaning of the facilities."

Barca hold a two-point lead over rivals Real Madrid at the top of the table with 11 matches to play.

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

 

Although he didn't know it at the time, March 2017 was a momentous month in the career of Mohammed Salisu, the Ghanaian centre-back who is now interesting many of the world's biggest clubs.

In the town of Nsawam, south Ghana, the African Talent Football Academy (ATFA) first began operating, coaching hopeful young footballers who dreamed of a career in Europe.

With a brand new facility – comprising of pitches and a club house that included a common area, dining space and accommodation – and connections to European clubs, the ATFA began to mark itself as potential gateway for Ghanaian youngsters chasing a better future.

Just six months after opening, the ATFA had its trailblazer, their first 'graduate'. Director Fran Castano travelled with one teenager to Spain.

Salisu was signed then and there – his journey to the top had begun.

Destined for the top

Life at the ATFA didn't start particularly well for Salisu.

"I remember my first time meeting him – he came without his boots and was late. I was very, very angry and I was close to telling him to go home," Castano, speaking to Stats Perform News, recalled. It proved a wise decision to hold that thought, however.

"He took some boots from the goalkeeper and after 10 minutes playing we saw something different. I talked to him and told him that if he can be serious and work, I promised him in half year I could send him to Spain."

Sure enough, in October 2017 Salisu was signed by Real Valladolid, with the ATFA earning a small fee and a percentage of any future sale. That could be cashed in sooner rather than later as well, with reports in Spain suggesting Rennes are very close to completing a deal in the region of his €12million release clause.

That would be considered a significant coup for the French side, as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United and Atletico Madrid are all said to have considered a move for Salisu in the past six months.

It's even claimed the latter were willing to pay €11m, but curiously wouldn't stretch to the full release clause. It's an oversight they could come to regret.

"I told him he would make it [to the top]," says Castano, who previously held many roles in youth coaching and analytics for the Niger and Mauritania national teams, Real Jaen, Leganes and Hearts of Oak, Ghana's biggest club, before setting up the ATFA.

"You always have doubt because it's not only about talent. To come and live in Europe was a big change for him, but I knew he would make it [on the talent side] because I saw his level compared with others in Spain at the same age and the way he can develop. You could see from the beginning he was different. The body, the technique, the winning mentality, the confidence and how he developed faster than anybody. If you increased the challenge, he increased his level."

Persistence and a friend's trust lead to vindication

Castano estimates Salisu played just 10 youth matches for Pucela before being promoted to their B team in the third tier, and then at the start of this season he became an undisputed starter for the senior side – indeed, he's one of just four defenders to play all 27 LaLiga matches in 2019-20.

A former student of sport performance analysis at the University of Granada, Castano's pride in Salisu is obvious – joining Valladolid wasn't just a big deal for the defender, but also vindication for Castano.

"I offered Salisu to a lot of teams, nobody gave us a chance. Nobody knew Salisu or me. I was just starting and it wasn't easy," he said. "I was lucky. My friend Victor Fernandez, who was a great striker in LaLiga for Valladolid and Villarreal, was coaching Valladolid's Under-19s. I called him and told him about Salisu. He told me he trusted what I say and my eye for scouting players.

"After one training exercise, just a few minutes, he [Victor] told me: 'Fran, are sure you know the kind of player you have?' He said he [Salisu] could be a very important defender in professional football. I had thought so, but I wasn't that sure of it until he told me."

Salisu's adaptation to LaLiga was impressive. In October, less than two months after his top-flight debut, he was being championed as a "star" on the league's official Twitter account after impressing in a 0-0 draw with Atletico.

Jordi Masip has been a fixture behind Salisu in goal. The experienced goalkeeper applauded the youngster's capacity to learn and is convinced a big future lies in wait.

"He's a player with an enviable physicality, he gets very fast when it comes to interceptions," Masip told Stats Perform News. "He's very young and he can grow a lot. He's a person that wants to improve and listen to us.

"He has always had a little difficulty with the language, but he is adapting very well, he understands everything, he asks questions and his adaptation is going well. To be so young, his characteristics are very good, he still can give far more than he is already giving."

A dominant defender

It's easy to argue that Pucela would be in even worse shape this season if they didn't have Salisu. After all, when LaLiga resumes they will start in 15th place, just four points above the bottom three.

But being in a team that has to spend longer stretches of time defending, Salisu's quality really shines through and it's clear he's making a difference, with only seven teams – all of whom are in the top half of the table – conceding fewer than Valladolid this term.

When watching Salisu, you really get the impression he loves defending. A real unit with long, gangly legs, he has a habit of pulling off blocks or last-ditch tackles that one wouldn't expect.

His 67 aerials won is bettered by just eight defenders, while Sevilla's Diego Carlos – widely regarded as one of the standout centre-backs in LaLiga this term – is the only player to make more headed clearances (71) than Salisu (67).

Diego Carlos – and every other defender, for that matter – trails in Salisu's wake with respect to total clearances, however. The 21-year-old has completed 136, with the experienced Raul Albiol (131) boasting the next most.

Salisu also ranks very high in terms of blocks with 22. Gabriel (26) is the solitary defender to have halted more shots. His 31 interceptions is also a decent figure, though the league-high among defenders of 48 is a fair way ahead of him.

What's clear is Salisu's enjoying a wonderful season. Despite his age and lack of experience, he is marking himself out as a consistent and committed performer.

While his technical attributes may not yet be at the required level for, say, Barcelona, he models himself on Blaugrana centre-back Samuel Umtiti and has already shown himself to be a quick learner on the pitch.

Either way, one can certainly see why Diego Simeone and Atletico are said to be keen, but time appears to be running out for El Cholo. With Rennes seemingly circling, a defensive jewel could be about to slip through the fingertips of LaLiga's elite.

Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal "loves" Boca Juniors and is "dying" to play for the Argentine giants, according to Chile team-mate Gary Medel.

Vidal continues to be linked with a Barca exit, the veteran Chilean star a reported target for Serie A side Inter.

The 33-year-old has insisted he is happy at Camp Nou, where he arrived from Bayern Munich in 2018.

Amid the ongoing speculation, former Boca midfielder Medel claims Vidal wants to move to La Bombonera in Buenos Aires.

"Arturo would like to play in Boca with me or without me," Medel, who played for Boca between 2009 and 2011, told Radio Continental.

"He loves Boca and follows them on social networks. He is the only one who follows Argentina and is dying to go. Boca have a magnitude in Europe that you cannot imagine."

It comes as Inter sporting director Piero Ausilio distanced the Italian club from Vidal, who worked with Nerazzurri head coach Antonio Conte during the pair's time together at Juventus.

"I don't feel like making any final considerations, let alone for Vidal. Right now he's not an opportunity for us. We already have a very strong central midfield," Ausilio told Sky Sport Italia.

"[Christian] Eriksen arrived in January and, like anyone else who arrives in January, he needs time, not just to settle on a technical level.

"I've never seen a player who comes to Serie A and immediately makes the difference.

"Think of [Michel] Platini and [Zinedine] Zidane, they're the first two examples that spring to mind."

Jadon Sancho and a return to England continues to make headlines.

The England international and former Manchester City youngster is reportedly keen to move back to his homeland.

But Borussia Dortmund are not willing to make things easy for Sancho's suitors.

 

TOP STORY – BVB NOT BUDGING ON SANCHO PRICE

Borussia Dortmund are not prepared to offer discounts on Jadon Sancho amid strong interest from the Premier League, according to Goal.

Dortmund star Sancho has been linked to Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool and the England international remains keen on a move to the Premier League.

While Sancho reportedly has no intention of renewing his Dortmund contract – which expires in 2022 – the Bundesliga outfit are unwilling to accept anything less than £100million (€110m) amid the coronavirus pandemic.

 

ROUND-UP

- Le10Sport claims Paris Saint-Germain have made a €60m offer for Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. Lazio, however, are reportedly set to reject the bid.

- Staying in the French capital and Sky Sport in Italy reports PSG and Inter have reached an agreement over the transfer of Mauro Icardi. The Argentina international forward has spent the 2019-20 season on loan at PSG. The Ligue 1 champions are reportedly set to pay €50m plus €7m in bonuses.

Arsenal, Chelsea and United are interested in Juventus and Italy international Federico Bernardeschi, claims Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Sky Sport Italia journalist Gianluca Di Marzio says United are eyeing Monaco forward Pietro Pellegri. The 19-year-old Italian has been plagued by injuries in France.

Juve want to bring Chelsea forward Pedro to Turin, according to Calciomercato. The Spanish veteran, who is set to become a free agent, worked with Maurizio Sarri during the Italian coach's time at Stamford Bridge.

- Sport reports Martin Odegaard's future at Real Madrid depends on head coach Zinedine Zidane. Odegaard has flourished during his two-year loan spell at Real Sociedad and whether the Norwegian returns to the Basque Country remains to be seen.

Arthur remains committed to staying at Barcelona amid Juventus links, Mundo Deportivo says. Juve have been keen on bringing Arthur to the club, with Miralem Pjanic tipped to leave for Barca. However, Arthur is happy at Camp Nou and sees Spanish football more compatible with his style.

Barcelona head coach Quique Setien believes the five substitutions per game will have a negative impact on the LaLiga champions as the league prepares to restart following the coronavirus crisis.

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc globally, with the LaLiga season suspended since March, but the 2019-20 campaign is set to resume on June 11.

LaLiga teams will be allowed to make five substitutions – instead of the usual three – to help avoid injuries and keep players fresh following the coronavirus-enforced hiatus, just like Germany's Bundesliga.

But Setien, whose Barca were two points clear of Real Madrid atop the table with 11 matches remaining, believes the additional substitutes will hurt the Catalan giants.

"I don't know if it will harm us or benefit us," Setien told the Las Palmas Football Federation. "I think it will harm us because of our way of playing.

"We know that a lot of matches we will resolve in the final minutes. If you give the rival the option of putting on fresh players in that time, the weakness that is generated, with tired players, won't come about.

"But it can also give you resources in a specific moment. It's an unknown quantity and we'll see how it goes."

LaLiga will return with the Seville derby between Sevilla and Real Betis on June 11.

On Friday, Spain's Higher Council of Sport (CSD) said it had agreed the resumption plans with the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and LaLiga.

The CSD issued a statement that confirmed plans for the season to end on July 18-19.

"There will be lots of games in a short time," Setien said. "The heat will have an influence on performance and it will affect injuries.

"We're hoping that it does less damage than people think [it will]. It's possible that there will be lots of injuries like in Germany, because we've spent almost two months sitting on the sofa, not playing."

Setien added: "We're going to play for our objectives in the 11 games [remaining] and that means a stress that we don't know how it will influence us.

"All the teams are starting from zero. There will be 11 games and we have to win them, and we have every chance to win the league. The teams will seem little like the [teams] they were when they finished [playing in March]."

Real Madrid star Marcelo said he cannot wait for the LaLiga season to resume following the coronavirus pandemic.

LaLiga was suspended in March due to the COVID-19 crisis but the league will return with the derby between Sevilla and Real Betis on June 11.

On Friday, Spain's Higher Council of Sport (CSD) said it had agreed the resumption plans with the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and LaLiga.

The CSD issued a statement that confirmed plans for the season to end on July 18-19.

Madrid were two points behind defending champions and leaders Barcelona with 11 rounds remaining.

"We'd never gone so long without being able to train out on the pitch and our desire to play football has been growing ever since we stopped," Brazilian full-back Marcelo told Real Madrid TV. "Now we're close to getting going again and we can't wait.

"It's been different to what we're used to. We have to take the positives from it and now we're used to the routine; it's not like it used to be but everything's good. 

"We're all healthy, the training sessions have been fantastic in recovering our rhythm. Having not touched a ball for so long, when you go back out on the pitch you've lost your touch a bit, but now we just can't wait to start playing games."

 

Mexico head coach Gerardo Martino says his season in charge of Barcelona was the worst of his career.

Martino took over at Camp Nou from Tito Vilanova in July 2013 and enjoyed a positive start, winning the Supercopa de Espana on away goals against Atletico Madrid.

Barca started the LaLiga season with a 7-0 thrashing of Levante before winning his first Clasico 2-1 at home to Real Madrid in October.

The season ended in disappointment, though, with Atletico pipping Barca to the title after holding them to a 1-1 draw at Camp Nou on the final day of the league season, having lost the Copa del Rey final to Real Madrid a month earlier.

Martino, who stepped down after the Atletico draw, says it was trying to get the best out of the squad while attempting to embrace their stylistic traditions that made life difficult.

"From the results side of things, it wasn't a bad year," he said, as quoted by Sport. "We won a trophy and we played in a final, but at Barcelona what matters is how many trophies you win.

"However, I say it was my worst year because my contribution as coach started and finished with the management of the team.

"There were concerns that my management had a short life and, for me, the Clasico against Real Madrid that we won 2-1 at home was key.

"We scored the second goal running into space and if Barcelona ran into space, it was because something did not fit together.

"But I understand that, if we could add anything to the team, it was not to deny the possibility of running.

"Speed was going to make Barcelona more complete because when there were lapses in the dominance of the opposition, it was good to go back and move into space. That was carried out the following year, with Luis Enrique."

LaLiga will return with the derby between Sevilla and Real Betis on Thursday, June 11, it has been confirmed.

Spain's Higher Council of Sport (CSD) said it had agreed the resumption plans with the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and LaLiga.

The CSD issued a statement that confirmed plans for the season to end on July 18-19.

There are 11 rounds of games still to be played in LaLiga, with Barcelona two points clear of Real Madrid when the coronavirus pandemic forced football to be suspended in March.

"The resumption of competition will take place during the weekend of June 13-14, with the first match on Thursday the 11th between Sevilla and Real Betis," the CSD statement said.

"The last day will occur, provisionally and always depending on the evolution of the pandemic, on the weekend of July 18 and 19."

The Segunda Division can also resume on June 13-14.

LaLiga president Javier Tebas had been pushing for the June 11 derby date since Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez confirmed last Saturday that football could resume from June 8.

Previous reports had suggested the first LaLiga match would be played on June 12, exactly three months after the suspension started; however, Tebas has got the outcome he wanted.

All LaLiga games for the remainder of the 2019-20 season will be played behind closed doors.

The CSD praised those who took part in the talks to structure the final weeks of the campaign amid the unprecedented circumstances, saying the same officials would meet on a monthly basis, or, where necessary, more often until the season is concluded.

To fit in so many games in such a short period of time, the RFEF on Wednesday said it would allow matches to be played on Mondays and Fridays.

The Seville derby is expected to kick off at 22:00 local time due to the intense heat in Andalusia's capital.

LaLiga president Javier Tebas wants the 2020-21 season to start on September 12 and has warned clubs face €700million collective losses due to the disruption this year.

Spain's top flight was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic but there are plans in place to resume the season on June 11 with the derby between Sevilla and Real Betis.

Tebas says organisers have been working hard behind the scenes to make restarting the season practical, although many of the logistical problems will depend on how the country's regional governments are easing lockdown measures.

Restrictions are gradually being lifted across Spanish territories, with several areas now having moved from Phase One to Phase Two, which allows people greater freedom to travel and exercise in small groups away from their homes.

Madrid and parts of Catalonia, including Barcelona, are still in Phase One, however.

"We'll start, God willing, on June 11," Tebas told Marca. "Let's hope Madrid and Barcelona go to Phase Two.

"There are more than 130 people at LaLiga working so that everything can be done, in a new way: travelling, organisation, everything.

"We're prepared and the important thing will be the day we finish the competition. The next will start on September 12."

Clubs including Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have had to agree to wage reductions or deferrals due to the loss of income caused by matches being suspended and the prospect of the rest of the season being played behind closed doors.

Tebas hopes to see struggling clubs given sufficient support given the significant losses they are due to make.

"It's important that the disaster of the pandemic does not generate an economic disaster afterwards," he said.

"This is a study to see who believes in the sports industry and who doesn't. It will be important to see who our allies are.

"Returning does not mean we are not going to lose millions. Our clubs will lose at least 700million euros and that will have to be recovered.

"In that push, it will be good to see who has believed in the industry from the start."

Tebas says LaLiga is also testing methods of adding virtual crowd noise to empty grounds, to give television viewers the option of watching games with audible chants in the background.

Similar sound effects have been used in recent Bundesliga and K League 1 matches, with viewers able to turn the noise on or off via an app.

"Tonight, we will have tests so that, at an audiovisual level, the viewer can choose two images: the real one, and the one with the fans and virtual sound," said Tebas.

"In the Bundesliga, they've chosen virtual sound with great success and we're working on providing that option. We want to give the fans the alternatives: silence, or virtual stands."

Athletic Bilbao great Markel Susaeta has lauded former team-mate Aritz Aduriz following his retirement, hailing the star's longevity at San Mames and in Spanish football.

Aduriz was given a special send-off by Athletic on the hallowed San Mames turf last week after the 39-year-old retired – the coronavirus pandemic and a hip injury prematurely ending the forward's career.

Retiring at the end of 2019-20 had always been the plan for Aduriz, who netted 118 league goals for Athletic across three different periods and was the only player other than Lionel Messi to score in 15 successive LaLiga seasons after his stunning last-gasp bicycle kick against Barcelona in August.

Aduriz – a late bloomer – also enjoyed spells with Real Valladolid, Real Mallorca and Valencia, while he made his Spain debut in 2010 before earning an international recall six years later at the age of 35.

Susaeta, who amassed over 500 appearances for boyhood club Athletic before leaving in 2019, told Stats Perform News: "Aduriz always played a very good level, very good football.

"After the first seasons at Athletic, he went to Mallorca and in Mallorca he scored many, many goals. At Valencia, the same. But when he came to Bilbao at 31-32 years of age, he started scoring goals like a crazy man.

"Very good football level and in six years, it was amazing. Everything he touched was gold. The secret? I don't know. He is a very professional man, he ate very clean."

Susaeta played alongside Aduriz – who did not move to San Mames until he was already 19 – as Athletic stunned Spanish giants Barca in the 2015 Supercopa de Espana, the club's first piece of silverware in 31 years.

Aduriz scored a second-half hat-trick in Athletic's 4-0 first-leg rout of Barca before they earned a 1-1 draw at Camp Nou.

"I remember that final," Susaeta, who now plays for A-League side Melbourne City, said. "One of the most important moments of my football career. Amazing night because winning against Barcelona is very difficult if you play two games.

"At San Mames, we won 4-0 and it was an amazing night. Aduriz scored three goals and the other one was [Mikel] San Jose. In the second game at Camp Nou, we drew 1-1 and Aduriz again scored.

"The last trophy Athletic won was maybe 30 years ago and this trophy was very special for supporters, the players."

Having already decided to hang up his boots at the end of the campaign, Aduriz looked set for a fairytale farewell after Athletic earned a blockbuster Copa del Rey final showdown against Basque rivals Real Sociedad, however, the COVID-19 crisis has left the decider up in the air since March.

"For this pandemic, coronavirus, it is a very crazy moment for the world and football," Susaeta added. "The pain for him is very strong now and he couldn't play that final. But if Athletic win that final, Aduriz is like the other players. It's his trophy also."

While Susaeta and Aduriz flourished together on the field, it is their friendship outside of football that the 32-year-old winger cherishes most.

"I have many memories," Susaeta said. "I am a privileged man because I've given him the most assists during his career. Always when we played together, we played good, very good years.

"But for me, it's more important that we have very good memories outside of the pitch, outside football. We are very good friends. We usually go on holidays, for dinner with the families."

With Aduriz now in retirement, all eyes are on Inaki Williams – who signed a new nine-year contract in August – to lead Athletic into a new era.

Asked if Williams is the man to take Athletic forward, Susaeta replied: "Yes, because in the past he played very good football. Now he is the present.

"Inaki Williams is different than Aduriz. Inaki Williams is one of the fastest players in the world and Athletic and him use that condition."

Could Spain international Fabian Ruiz be set for a return to his homeland?

Former Real Betis star Fabian, who now plays for Napoli in Serie A, is a reported target for Barcelona and Real Madrid.

The Spanish rivals are trying to lure Fabian back to LaLiga.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA, MADRID DO BATTLE FOR FABIAN

Barcelona and Real Madrid are set to battle each other for the signing of Napoli star Fabian Ruiz, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

Spanish midfielder Fabian has been linked with a return to LaLiga throughout the season, having left Real Betis for Napoli in 2018.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Napoli are expecting Barca and Madrid to go head-to-head for Fabian – who is contracted to the Serie A side until 2023.

 

ROUND-UP

- L'Equipe says Inter have made an offer for Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette. With Inter star Lautaro Martinez linked to Barca, the Nerazzurri are eyeing alternatives, however, Lacazette is not interested in swapping London for Milan.

- There could be some big changes at Madrid in 2022. AS Diario says Los Blancos want Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe and Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland to team up with Eden Hazard in a new strike force. The likes of Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Isco will be out of contract at the end of the 2021-22 season.

Juventus are ready to negotiate a deal for Santos teenager Kaio Jorge, according to Calciomercato. Santos are demanding €30million for the 18-year-old, though Juve are only prepared to pay €15m.

- The Daily Mail claims Manchester City and Newcastle United have joined Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in the race for 18-year-old Penarol winger Facundo Pellistri.

Odion Ighalo is prepared to pass on a £75m contract with Shanghai Shenhua to stay at Manchester United, reports the Daily Star. Ighalo's loan deal is set to expire at Old Trafford.

Former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell said he would try to sign Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar as he is the second-best player in the world behind Lionel Messi.

Neymar left Barca for PSG in a world-record €222million transfer in 2017, but the Brazilian forward continues to be linked with a return to Camp Nou.

The 28-year-old failed to make his way back to LaLiga champions Barca at the start of the 2019-20 season and he is reportedly a transfer target again.

Rosell was president when Barca signed Neymar from Santos in 2013 and the 56-year-old heaped praise on the Brazil international.

"If I were the president of Barca, I would try to sign Neymar," Rosell told COPE and Radio Marca.

"He is the second-best player in the world after Messi and fits perfectly into the philosophy of the club.

"But with experience, he would sign him with two contracts, one sports and the other behavioural."

Since swapping Barca for PSG, Neymar has won three successive Ligue 1 titles, to go with Coupe de France, Coupe de la Ligue and Trophee des Champions honours.

Neymar scored 13 league goals before Ligue 1 was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic and PSG were eventually declared champions.

Barca, meanwhile, have been tipped to sign Inter star Lautaro Martinez in the off-season.

However, Inter have insisted Martinez will not be sold unless his release clause – reportedly worth €111m – is met.

Rosell added: "I would not sign Lautaro for €111million but I would try to exchange two players".

Achraf Hakimi is aiming to play for Real Madrid, the Borussia Dortmund loanee's agent Alejandro Camano said.

Achraf has attracted interest from across Europe following his exploits during a two-season loan spell at Dortmund, which is set to come to an end.

The 21-year-old full-back, who emerged from Madrid's youth team in 2017, has been linked to the likes of Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Chelsea.

Inter have reportedly emerged as serious admirers of Achraf, however, Camano previously poured cold water over reports the Serie A side had made an offer.

Amid the speculation, Achraf sees his long-term future at the Santiago Bernabeu with LaLiga giants Madrid.

"He will link back up with Real Madrid when the season finishes," Camano told Onda Madrid. "We'll see what happens after that.

"He wants to play games, like this season, where he has started every match. There's no rush. His only aspiration is to play games to help his development.

"There's a magnificent dialogue with Real Madrid and they always expect to have him on their radar and what we don't want is to distance ourselves from them too much.

"So, we'll reach an agreement of some sort over whether he stays or goes, but without forgetting that the aim is to play for Real Madrid one day because, for him, it's the best club in the world."

"It could be a short wait if Real Madrid offer him to stay now or a long wait if he doesn't stay, but the aim is always the same - end up [playing for] the best club in the world."

Atletico Madrid have been dealt another injury blow ahead of LaLiga's resumption, with Angel Correa struggling with a leg problem.

Earlier this week Atletico revealed that club-record signing Joao Felix had suffered a low-grade medial ligament sprain in his left knee.

Now, the club have confirmed fellow forward Correa has also sustained a problem, which they explained was a muscle injury in his left leg.

"Angel Correa ended Tuesday's training session with discomfort and was evaluated by the club's medical services," a club statement said.

"The Argentine underwent an MRI scan that confirmed he has a muscle injury in his left leg. He's pending response to treatment."

Correa has made 33 appearances in all competitions for Atletico in 2019-20, scoring seven times.

Last week Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez confirmed LaLiga could resume behind closed doors from June 8 following the coronavirus-enforced break.

LaLiga president Javier Tebas wants games to begin again on June 11, with the derby between Real Betis and Sevilla outlined as the preferred first fixture back.

Before competitions were halted in March, Atletico had qualified for the Champions League quarter-finals by knocking out holders Liverpool and were sixth in LaLiga, one point behind fourth-placed Real Sociedad.

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