Luis Suarez praised the character shown by Atletico Madrid to dig deep and clinch a dramatic 2-1 win over Osasuna that keeps them top of LaLiga.

Atleti's hopes of landing a first top-flight title in seven years seemed to be dealt a blow in Sunday's clash at the Wanda Metropolitano when Ante Budimir put mid-table Osasuna in front.

It was the Croatia international's seventh headed goal of the season – no player in LaLiga has more – but Diego Simeone's side turned the game around in the final eight minutes.

Substitute Renan Lodi fired in an equaliser and Suarez, who had earlier hit the post and missed a couple of other good chances, guided in a dramatic late winner.

The win ensures Simeone's side head to Real Valladolid on the final day of the season only needing to match Real Madrid's result against Villarreal to finish top.

Suarez's strike came from his seventh shot of the game and the Uruguay international admitted his side were made to suffer for their 25th win of the campaign.

"These are moments of happiness, we did not deserve to suffer as much as we suffered," he told Movistar. 

"We missed many chances – me in particular. But to win the league you have to suffer, as today showed. I knew we would suffer here, but not that much.

"The effort and sacrifice of the team was great, with many people working so that the club can achieve its objectives. Now we have a chance to rest and prepare for the next game."

Had Suarez not found a way through late on – ending a five-game scoreless run in the process – Atleti would have entered the final matchday second to Madrid in the table.

The ex-Barcelona striker has now earned 19 points for Atletico with his 20 goals – only Sevilla's Youssef En-Nesyri has helped his team to more points in LaLiga this term.

"Luis has not scored for a bit, but he's always been involved," Simeone said at his post-match news conference. "He gives us leadership – who better than him to win the game.

"During the drinks break near the end, I told the players we had to look for the draw. The goal soon arrived and then Suarez showed why he is an important player."

Atletico have spent 29 matchdays at the top of LaLiga, despite some inconsistent results since the end of January, and are now one game from winning the title.

"We will prepare for the last game with the same enthusiasm to when I arrived at this club in 2011," Simeone said. "The team will be fierce. I hope the fans will be proud of us.

"We chose this profession trying to do the best we can to reach this moment. You have to prepare in the best way. I don't understand any other way."

Santi Mina scored twice as Barcelona's slim hopes of winning this season's LaLiga title ended after a 2-1 defeat to Celta Vigo at Camp Nou.

The Blaugrana entered the penultimate matchday of the season in third, four points behind leaders Atletico Madrid and two shy of second-placed Real Madrid.

But Atleti and Madrid both won, meaning Barca's challenge would have concluded early even if they had protected the lead forged by Lionel Messi.

As it was, Mina had the visitors level seven minutes before the break and then, after Clement Lenglet was sent off for a second booking, the Celta forward lashed in an 89th-minute winner.

It had all started so well for Barca, with Messi predictably at the heart of their best work up to and including his 28th-minute header.

Sergio Busquets' deep cross from the left found Messi beyond the Celta defence to nod past Ivan Villar, who had repelled the hosts' best chance to that point when he blocked from Antoine Griezmann.

But Celta levelled with their first shot, a smart Mina finish from 20 yards that wrongfooted Marc-Andre ter Stegen, apparently unsighted behind Gerard Pique.

Although that goal did not initially alter the pattern of play, Barca became increasingly impatient as they struggled to forge clear-cut openings and left gaps at the back.

A far more impressive contribution from Ter Stegen saw the goalkeeper dive to his right to deny Denis Suarez, while he tipped away an awkward free-kick moments after Lenglet earned his second card seven minutes from time for a rash challenge on Kevin Vazquez.

There was another stop from Suarez, too, and those saves might have provided a platform for a Barca winner, only for Martin Braithwaite to miss the target from close range.

The decisive goal instead arrived at the other end, with Ter Stegen caught under Augusto Solari's cross, which bounced back out off the post for Mina to blast into the net.

Luis Suarez scored an 88th-minute winner to earn Atletico Madrid a dramatic 2-1 comeback win over Osasuna that keeps their LaLiga title hopes in their own hands heading into the final matchday.

Their dreams of a first title since the 2013-14 season appeared to have suffered a damaging blow 15 minutes from full-time when Ante Budimir struck completely against the run of play in Sunday's clash at Wanda Metropolitano.

Diego Simeone's side had earlier wasted a string of opportunities, twice hit the post and had strikes from Stefan Savic and Yannick Carrasco ruled out, though they dug deep to turn the game around in the final eight minutes.

Substitute Renan Lodi equalised and Suarez atoned for some earlier misses by firing in a winner for Atleti, the result moving them two points above Real Madrid – the only side that can now catch them – with one game left in the season.

Nacho Fernandez's second-half goal ensured Real Madrid still have a chance of retaining their LaLiga title on the final day of the season as they beat Athletic Bilbao 1-0, but Atletico Madrid remain in the driving seat.

Madrid briefly looked to be going into their last match of 2020-21 at the top of the table after Nacho fortuitously put them in front while Atletico trailed, but Diego Simeone's men enjoyed a late turnaround against Osasuna to stay two points clear.

The build-up to Madrid's trip to San Mames had centred around reports Zinedine Zidane will leave at the end of the season, and for much of the game his team looked incapable of clinching the victory that could set up a triumphant conclusion for the French coach.

But with 22 minutes to go, Nacho bundled home what proved to be the winner, though Atletico's battling comeback at the Wanda Metropolitano means Madrid will need a helping hand if they are to be champions again, while Barcelona's chances are over following a 2-1 home defeat by Celta Vigo.

The uncertain future of Kylian Mbappe means Paris Saint-Germain's off-season plans remain unclear.

The big-spending French powerhouse could enter the market to make a splash if the superstar 22-year-old forward exits.

PSG are currently in a Ligue 1 title fight and fell in the Champions League semi-finals.

 

TOP STORY - PSG TO TURN TO BAYERN'S LEWANDOWSKI

L'Equipe claims that PSG have put Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski firmly on their radar, should Kylian Mbappe leave.

Mbappe has been heavily linked with Real Madrid along with Liverpool and Manchester United.

L'Equipe reports that PSG will want to be proactive and land a major signing if Mbappe exits and the Bundesliga top scorer is top of their list, even if Bayern are determined to keep him.

Lewandowski is contracted with Bayern until 2023 although there have been some rumblings about entertaining a move elsewhere.

 

ROUND-UP

- Goal are reporting that Zinedine Zidane has informed his Real Madrid players that he will leave at the end of this season. The Sunday Mirror claims the club are already considering Everton's Carlo Ancelotti and ex-Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri as his replacement.

- Arsenal have joined Manchester City in the race to sign departing Southampton defender Ryan Bertrand reports the Mail on Sunday.

- West Ham are reportedly front of the queue to sign West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone according to Football Insider.

- Bayern Munich are targeting Inter defender Achraf Hakimi according to Mundo Deportivo.

- Marca claims Real Madrid are interested in Rennes teenage midfielder Eduardo Camavinga.

Diego Simeone says Atletico Madrid are entering the "Luis Suarez zone" as they edge closer to securing a first LaLiga title since the 2013-14 season.

Atleti hold a two-point advantage over city rivals and reigning champions Real Madrid at the top of LaLiga, and face Osasuna in their penultimate game of the season at the Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday.

Should they claim three points against Jagoba Arrasate's side and Los Blancos fail to beat Athletic Bilbao, in a game which kicks off at the same time, Atletico will be crowned champions with a game remaining.

Leading the charge up front will be Uruguay international Suarez, who has scored 19 goals in his first season at the club since joining from Barcelona.

Suarez, 34, won four LaLiga titles during his time at Barca and Simeone is expecting him to use all that experience to ensure Atleti do not slip up in their final two games.

"As for Luis, we have entered the Suarez zone," Simeone told a news conference.

"It is an ideal moment for a footballer like him to find and solve game situations that the team will need. He is used to games like this and has the experience to do it."

Atleti are red-hot favourites to beat Osasuna, who have lost eight of their last 10 away games against Los Rojiblancos.

Despite this, Simeone is expecting a tough game and wants maximum focus from his side, who are aiming to score two or more goals in four consecutive home league games for the first time since April 2016.

"In football you cannot choose a rival," Simeone added. "There are no small enemies. Football is day to day and you have to play according to the game that you play.

"We continue in the same way as always. We are dealing with Osasuna, a team that has competed very well historically and will do so tomorrow as well. 

"Osasuna is changing. Lately he [Arrasate] uses 4-3-3 more, although he may return to 4-4-2 that has been in the essence of his game.

"He works much more across the game, with fast people on the outside, with people from the second row to accompany his striker and a very strong collective work.

"We seek to play a good game, take it to where we can hurt Osasuna and know that the rival will come to play with enthusiasm."

Zinedine Zidane insisted he does not know what is going to happen concerning his future at Real Madrid, but did little to quell talk of him quitting amid rumours of an impending resignation.

ZIdane has a contract with Madrid until the end of next season but reports have suggested he will end his second stint as the club's coach prematurely even if they win LaLiga. Madrid trail city rivals Atletico Madrid by two points with two games remaining.

Talk of him departing was predictably a hot topic ahead of Sunday's visit to Athletic Bilbao, with Zidane adamant his future is not in his thinking as Los Blancos bid to retain the title.

"I'm going to answer the same thing," he told a pre-match media conference. "It's boring because of what I always say, playing both games ... It's the truth, I don't know what's going to happen.

"I am here, yes, tomorrow we are going to play and the last game will be missing [from his thinking]. The rest I do not know, anything can happen, it is Real Madrid.

"My strength is from day to day, I do not see myself beyond day to day. I do not look at the past or the future, it is the present to the fullest."

However, asked if he was "making it easy for the club", Zidane appeared to drop several hints that this spell as coach is about to come to a close.

"Maybe you think I'm quitting because I'm taking responsibility or I'm quitting because things get complicated. Never, nothing," Zidane replied.

"The only thing is that what I do, I do it to the max. And there comes a time when things ... It's time to change. But for everyone, not for me. For the good of the players, the club, the people.

"I don't let go because it's easy to say that I take off, turn around and don't want to look at them, moments are like that. There are moments when you have to be and others when you have to change."

Madrid have not lost a league game since January, but damaging draws with Getafe, Real Betis and Sevilla have left them needing a slip-up from Atletico to tilt the title race in their favour.

They have won 10 of their last 15 away games against Athletic but Los Leones coach Marcelino has won his last two meetings against Madrid.

"We have to watch and do what we can control, which is our game," said Zidane. "In the rest we don't know what will happen.

"The important thing is to keep adding and we want to win the three points. We are going to be playing against a very good opponent, he is doing very well and we will try to give everything."

Ronald Koeman has launched a staunch defence of Barcelona's season, insisting his team did not throw away their shot at LaLiga glory.

Tuesday's dramatic 3-3 draw at Levante means Barca go into this weekend's match against Celta Vigo four points behind leaders Atletico Madrid with two games to play, having won one of their past four top-flight outings.

After the Levante game, where the hosts came from 2-0 and 3-2 down to snatch a point, Koeman said he understood questions over his future as head coach.

However, he was in a more strident mood when previewing the Celta game, insisting Barca's run of 19 LaLiga games unbeaten – beginning in December and ending with April's Clasico loss at Real Madrid – and their Copa del Rey success should be the main marker of this campaign, as opposed to the recent collapse.

"We didn't throw it away," he said. "We made a comeback that cost us a lot of effort. 

"Atletico and Real also lost points. It's true that we lost a big chance against Granada [a 2-1 home defeat at the end of last month after Lionel Messi put Barcelona ahead], but we're talking about one match.

"It is important to believe and continue, trying to win and hope. Our chances of winning are small but we still have some and it is about winning our games.

"In the past two weeks I have felt mistreated. We won the Copa, we recovered 12 points in LaLiga.

"If you look at the press in recent days, it seems that we did a very bad job and I do not agree with that."

Koeman went on to insist he retains the support of the dressing room at Camp Nou and similarly dismissed suggestions he should be disappointed by the efforts of his players.

"I am not disappointed with my players. For them it has also been a very difficult year," he said.

"There are five or six players who have missed 35 or 40 matches in all competitions. We were only able to sign one player. 

"The fans have seen a team that has played fantastic games, which has shown to be very hungry, recognising that sometimes we do not win key games, such as Levante in the second half. 

"The team has a future. If we can sign what we think is missing to take the next step, we can be excited about next year."

On the subject of his own future, Koeman claimed that had not been on the agenda during a meeting with club president Joan Laporta this week.

"I can't explain much, we talked about the latest results, the team and we meet to talk [again] after the season," he added.

Luis Suarez was determined to prove his doubters wrong after getting the chance to continue playing at the highest level with Atletico Madrid.

Suarez left Barcelona after a 2019-20 season that saw the Spanish giants finish without a trophy. Having lost out to Real Madrid in a tight title race, hopes of Champions League glory were emphatically ended at the quarter-final stage by Bayern Munich.

The Uruguay striker had scored 21 goals in all competitions yet was deemed surplus to requirements at Camp Nou, allowed to leave on the cheap as he remained within LaLiga at Atleti.

Barca have watched on as their former player has scored 19 league goals to help Diego Simeone's squad push to be crowned Spanish champions - they top the table by two points with two games remaining, the first of which is at home to Osasuna on Sunday.

For Suarez, the desire to succeed following his switch to the capital was fuelled by those who had declared him to be in a state of decline.

"You like a challenge. And coming here was a very big challenge for me for many things," he said in an interview for Club del Deportista magazine.

"Last year I received criticism and they said that I was not here to compete for important things, or that at Barcelona I could not compete at a high level.

"That will generate a challenge to an individual, you want to continue to demonstrate that you can do something at the elite level of football, something I've been demonstrating as the kind of player I am for many years.

"I experienced it as a great challenge and with great enthusiasm. I'm not sorry at all, on the contrary, excited and eager to continue demonstrating."

Suarez also revealed his future plans at international level as he intends to finish his Uruguay career after next year's World Cup in Qatar.

The 34-year-old is his country's all-time leading scorer and helped them win the 2011 Copa America, a year after a fourth-place finish at the World Cup in South Africa.

"My wish is to be able to play the World Cup in Qatar and afterwards one must realise that the time has come," the former Ajax and Liverpool forward said.

"First by age and then by the young people who come after, so that they have the possibility. When the time comes I will make the appropriate decision, although assuming that costs a player a lot, but I have been working on it for a long time."

Lautaro Martinez sees winning the Scudetto as vindication for his decision to stay at Inter, where he has formed a superb partnership with fellow forward Romelu Lukaku.

Martinez was heavily linked with a move to Barcelona throughout the 2019-20 season, with the player even discussing a possible switch to Camp Nou with fellow Argentine Lionel Messi.

However, the 23-year-old instead opted to stick around at San Siro, remaining a key part of Antonio Conte's squad as the Nerazzurri secured a first Serie A title since 2010.

Inter had finished second in the previous season but have kicked on after that disappointment, running away from their rivals since the turn of the year to be crowned champions and end Juventus' nine-year dominance in the competition.

"I am very happy to be at Inter, even more so after this Scudetto which has been missing for so many years," Martinez said in an interview with Sky Sport Italia.

"We are experiencing an incredible moment and I cannot think of anything other than being here.

"I was close to Barcelona, I had also spoken with Messi. Afterwards, I made a choice - I chose to stay here and I was not wrong."

Martinez's combination with Lukaku has been a key factor for Inter, the pair scoring 75 league goals between them in their two seasons together at the club.

Lukaku has been a revelation since joining from Manchester United. After 23 goals in his debut Serie A campaign, he is at 22 this time around with two games to play, as well as providing 11 assists.

The Belgian striker has been ruthless too, converting 52.8 per cent of what Opta describes as 'big' chances, which is where a player is expected to score.

Martinez – who has 16 goals and five assists in the league in 2020-21 – believes the dynamic duo have continually pushed each other to raise the bar under Conte, in part due to the competition provided by having the experienced Alexis Sanchez in the squad.

"We built our relationship from the first day he arrived," Martinez said of Lukaku.

"The year before he had watched Inter's matches and we talked about this for two or three hours after the first training session. He speaks Spanish, we understood each other immediately.

"I always tell him that there is a match between the three of us, because every training session we try to improve and give our best.

"Each one has taken a step forward this year and this is important for the growth of Inter and this group."

Lionel Messi has spent his entire career with Barcelona. 

That bond will not sway Barca's off-season plans, though.

The Spanish giants have reportedly turned their eyes to a younger option. 

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA PREFER HAALAND TO MESSI STAY

Barcelona are so desperate to lure Erling Haaland to Camp Nou that they would be willing to let superstar captain Lionel Messi walk away if they can sign the Borussia Dortmund star, according to The Sun.

Barca's financial situation would make it difficult to pay both players, and the report claims Messi might see his wages cut in half if he stays with the LaLiga powerhouse amid links to Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City

Numerous clubs are circling for Haaland, including City, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Chelsea, PSG, Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Juventus.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca says Raul is favourite to take over as Madrid head coach next season if Zinedine Zidane leaves. Madrid great Raul is chasing promotion with the club's Castilla side.

Barca are set to complete the double free transfers of City star Sergio Aguero and Lyon captain Memphis Depay, according to Sport.

Arsenal and Martin Odegaard have a mutual interest in extending the Norway international's loan stay at the Premier League, according to Football London. He has two goals in 18 appearances in all competitions since arriving on loan from Madrid.

- Diario AS reports PSG are set to swoop in for Sergio Ramos by offering the Madrid captain and soon-to-be free agent a two-year contract. Ramos has also been linked to United.

- Though Juventus may be facing an exodus if they miss out on Champions League football next season, the Bianconeri are interested in Milan midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu, says Calciomercato. 

United may shore up their midfield with a bid for Getafe's Mauro Arambarri, Diario AS reports. The 25-year-old is under contract through 2023. The Mirror, meanwhile, says United remain keen on Atletico Madrid star Marcos Llorente.

Atletico are interested in Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita, claims the Daily Star. Keita has struggled for form and fitness since moving to Anfield from RB Leipzig in 2018.

Aymeric Laporte is set to represent Spain at Euro 2020 after switching his allegiance from France.

Manchester City centre-back Laporte has represented Les Bleus 51 times in total across the under-17 and under-21 age groups.

However, the 26-year-old was never handed his senior debut, despite being called up three times by Didier Deschamps.

Laporte came through the youth ranks at Athletic Bilbao and made 222 appearances for the Basque club until joining City in January 2018.

He was granted Spanish citizenship earlier this week and FIFA has confirmed he can play for Spain with "immediate effect".

A report by Marca earlier this week claimed Spain boss Luis Enrique lobbied the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) to look into the possibility of Laporte changing allegiance, so it feels safe to assume he will be a key part of the former Barcelona head coach's plans for Euro 2020.

But how does Laporte compare to Spain's other options at centre-back?

Regular game time

Despite scoring the winner in last month's EFL Cup final against Tottenham and collecting a third Premier League title in four seasons at City, it has been a mixed campaign for Laporte on a personal level.

He went into 2020-21 as Pep Guardiola's go-to centre-back but the arrival of Ruben Dias and John Stones' resurgence means he is no longer first choice at the Etihad Stadium.

Nevertheless, the packed schedule undertaken across all competitions by the Champions League finalists means he has still played 27 games, starting 24 and completing 2,250 minutes.

Of centre-backs used by Luis Enrique this season, that places Laporte third behind Villarreal's Pau Torres (41 games, 3,675 minutes) and Athletic's Inigo Martinez (32 games, 2,914).

Sergio Ramos, who is now widely expected to have a new centre-back partner for La Roja, has been restricted to 21 games and 1,790 minutes by injuries this season, while Diego Llorente (14 games, 1,160) was compromised by a serious groin injury after joining Leeds United.

One would-be international colleague Laporte knows very well is club team-mate Eric Garcia. The 20-year-old is set to leave City after declining to sign a new contract last term.

While running down the clock to his anticipated move to Barcelona, Garcia has become a marginal figure in Manchester, despite Guardiola continuing to profess his admiration of his talents.

His 10 appearances and eight starts amount to 693 minutes, not significantly more than 514 minutes across seven caps for Spain this season.

Indeed, Luis Enrique started Garcia in all three of the March internationals, suggesting his lack of club action is not overly hindering his case.

Keeping it tight in Manchester

City's defensive improvements have been central to their success this season and, although no longer an automatic selection, Laporte has more than played his part.

The 14 goals conceded with him on the field are just four more than Guardiola's side have let in amid Garcia's sporadic outings. Only Torres (13) has amassed more than his 12 clean sheets.

Laporte ranks well across all of the key defensive metrics this season, with 18 tackles placing him level with Ramos and Torres.

Martinez has made 24, while Marcelo Bielsa's famously intense style of play might be largely responsible for Llorente going into 31 tackles during his relatively smaller workload.

Laporte's duel success rate of 63.7 per cent is the best of the bunch, with Martinez contesting and winning the most overall (263 and 149), while Torres is out in front in terms of recoveries (232).

In the air and on the ground

Standing at 6ft 3ins, Laporte will provide the kind of imposing presence Spain have perhaps lacked.

He has contested 100 and won 69 aerials, similar numbers to the 103 and 62 returned by Torres, who is of similar stature. Martinez's 136 contested and 82 won again show the Athletic man getting through plenty of work.

Perhaps Laporte's most celebrated quality is his capacity to start moves from the back via his superb left foot.

Centre-backs completing a high proportion of their passes is not unusual, given the generally simple nature of them, but Laporte generally plays in a notably progressive manner.

He has made 244 passes into the final third this season, more than any of the Spain centre-backs mentioned (Torres 240, Martinez 235), a trait that is sure to be welcomed by the attacking talents in Luis Enrique's squad.

Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos has been placed in isolation after being in contact with a person who has tested positive for coronavirus.

All tests conducted on Kroos up until this point have come back negative but he is now at home as per COVID-19 protocols.

Madrid are playing away against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday in their penultimate LaLiga game of the season.

They are locked in a thrilling title race with Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, as their city rivals lead the standings by two points with only two matches to go.

"Real Madrid reports that our player Toni Kroos is currently in isolation after being in contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, although all tests carried out on the player have come back negative," read a statement from the club on Friday.

It will be hoped that Kroos' situation does not evolve as Federico Valverde's did last month.

Valverde initially had to isolate due to being a close contact before producing a positive test five days later which then ruled him out of a key Champions League match with Chelsea.

Kroos has been a key figure for Madrid this season, featuring in 28 of their league matches.

After a gruelling schedule, he was rested by Zinedine Zidane last time out against Granada ahead of the testing trip to San Mames.

The long-term futures of Jesse Lingard and Jadon Sancho are set to become clearer soon.

Lingard has impressed on loan from Manchester United at West Ham, reviving his career as David Moyes' side push to secure European football for next season.

England international Sancho, meanwhile, has dazzled since moving to Germany - but is he now ready to return home?

 

TOP STORY - LINGARD AND SANCHO TO SWAP PLACES

The Sun reports that Manchester United will offer Jesse Lingard to Borussia Dortmund as part of a swap deal for Jadon Sancho.

United chased Sancho last year but were unable to land the winger due to Dortmund's asking price.

It is understood the value held by the Bundesliga club is around £100million (€116m), so Lingard's inclusion may help drive that down and seal a deal.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Times claims that Manchester City have formalised the top four players on their off-season shopping list in forwards Erling Haaland, Harry Kane, Lautaro Martinez and Andre Silva.

- Manchester United are preparing a bid for Atletico Madrid midfielder Marcos Llorente worth £68m (€79m), reports the Mirror.

- Off-contract Southampton full-back Ryan Bertrand is attracting interest from Leicester City, claims the Leicester Mercury.

- Per Marca, Barcelona have an agreement in place to sign Memphis Depay, who is soon to be out of contract at Lyon. The Dutch forward is set to be reunited with Ronald Koeman at Camp Nou.

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