Lionel Messi took part in Barcelona training on Monday, his first session since his attempt to leave the club failed.

The Argentina star confirmed last Friday that he will be staying at Camp Nou after being unable to engineer a move away.

Messi believed he could use a clause in his contract to leave for free, but Barca and LaLiga disputed that claim and insisted his deal could only be terminated should his €700million release clause be paid.

The 33-year-old accused Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu of going back on his promise to allow him to leave if he wished, but he stressed he would be fully committed to the club for 2020-21.

Messi, who was pictured modelling Barca's new third kit early on Monday, was later seen arriving at the club's training ground.

According to Marca, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner was the first player seen in Sant Joan Despi, having arrived an hour and a half before training was due to start.

Barca later tweeted a picture of Messi taking part in a training session under new coach Ronald Koeman for the first time.

The Catalan giants are due to begin their new LaLiga campaign against Villarreal later this month.

LaLiga president Javier Tebas insists his part in the battle to get Lionel Messi to stay at Barcelona was not personal and only about ensuring players respect contracts.

Messi last week announced he would remain at Camp Nou against his wishes to avoid a legal battle with the club.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner had previously stated his intention to Barca on a free transfer by exercising a clause in his contract at the end of the 2019-20 season.

Barca and LaLiga argued that option expired in June and any club wanting to acquire Messi's services must pay his €700million release clause or negotiate a fee.

Messi's representatives claimed the clause to leave for free was still active due to the season being extended by the coronavirus pandemic.

The impasse forced a U-turn from Messi but Tebas is adamant he would have taken the same stance with any player in the league.

"It wasn't my battle with Messi. I would have done the same if it had been Pepito Perez or any other player in our league," Tebas told Corriere della Sera.

"As a league we must defend the rules and promote justice: they must respect the contracts. Always. Whether you're called Messi or Pepito Perez.

"I personally don't see it as a battle with Messi and his team. I've got a special appreciation for Leo, I love him and the history he's created in our football over the past 20 years.

"How could I be at war with him? I repeat, my intervention was only so that contracts were respected. But it's clear that with Leo being involved, the media turned it into a giant story.

"Although his lawyers say the opposite, the contract is clear. In the end, I'm happy Messi will avoid a legal battle. He'll continue playing for the club of his dreams. I hope their relationship goes back to normal."

Messi's contract expires at the end of next season and asked about the possibility of him leaving following the 2020-21 campaign, Tebas replied: "That will be his decision. The contract allows that to happen."

Serie A side Inter have been heavily linked with a move for Messi. On the possibility of a switch to the Italian top flight, Tebas added: "Italy is a great country and Serie A has a lot of room for growth, although Spain and LaLiga is a big pull. You can never say never."

Lionel Messi was filmed arriving at Barcelona's training complex after being used to promote the club's new third kit on social media as he prepares to get back to work.

The Argentina superstar on Friday confirmed he will remain at Camp Nou, having previously shocked the football world by telling Barca he wanted to leave.

Messi was of the belief that a clause in his contract allowed him to walk away for free but both Barca and LaLiga disputed that claim and said any suitor would have to meet a €700million release clause or negotiate a fee.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner consequently decided the financial demands made by the board meant a transfer was "impossible", but he gave a withering assessment of president Josep Maria Bartomeu in an exclusive interview with Goal Spain.

In the interview, Messi – who was heavily linked with a reunion with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City – accused Bartomeu of going back on his word that he would be free to leave at the end of the 2019-20 season if he desired.

But Messi is now scheduled to take part in his first training session with new head coach Ronald Koeman at 17:30 local time (15:30 GMT), having not shown up for coronavirus tests or the beginning of pre-season last week.

Video footage showed Messi arriving at Barca's Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper complex for the session.

Earlier on Monday, Barca also tweeted pictures of Messi in their new pink third strip for the 2020-21 season. 

Barcelona's chances of landing Inter star Lautaro Martinez could reportedly become clearer this week.

The LaLiga giants remain interested in the Argentina forward, who scored 21 goals for Inter in 2019-20.

Just whether they can get a deal done, however, may become known this week.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA'S CHANCES OF SIGNING MARTINEZ SET TO BECOME CLEARER

Martinez's agents will meet with the leaders of Inter this week to assess his situation, according to Sport.

The report says Barcelona and Inter are in regular contact, but there is a big difference between the clubs.

It says Barca want to pay a maximum of €65million plus a player, while Inter are demanding a minimum of €85m.

Goal reports Barcelona are preparing a final offer for Martinez.

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona are seeking a forward with Luis Suarez set to leave. Goal claims Barca and Juventus are negotiating a fee for the 33-year-old Uruguayan, who is said to have agreed to a three-year deal with the Serie A champions.

- Staying at Camp Nou and Marca reports Philippe Coutinho is set to spend 2020-21 at Barca. Coutinho spent 2019-20 on loan at Bayern Munich but the LaLiga club have ruled out another loan move, the report says.

- A player set for a Barcelona exit is Arturo Vidal. Sport Mediaset says Vidal is expected in Milan soon as he prepares to join Inter, where he has agreed a two-year deal with an option for a third.

- Real Madrid, meanwhile, look set to keep Gareth Bale. Mundo Deportivo reports Madrid have not received an offer for Bale, who is contracted until 2022 but has been linked with a move away.

- With Ronald Koeman having left to take over at Barcelona, the Netherlands are looking for a new head coach. Voetbal International reports the players want Henk ten Cate to be the Netherlands' next coach.

- Watford forward Gerard Deulofeu is reportedly wanted by numerous European clubs. The Telegraph reports Milan, Napoli and Sevilla want Deulofeu on loan with an option to buy.

Barcelona target Memphis Depay is also the subject of interest from Roma, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has revealed.

Lyon captain Depay is into the final year of his contract with the Ligue 1 club and has been linked with a big move to Barca.

The former Manchester United forward previously worked with new Blaugrana coach Ronald Koeman with the Netherlands.

But Aulas warned a deal with Barca has not yet been done, encouraging Roma's rival interest.

He told Telefoot: "Memphis' contract is expiring. Koeman wants him at Barcelona, but there is also Roma in for the player."

Depay returned from a serious knee injury to feature in Lyon's run to the Champions League semi-finals, having earlier netted nine goals in only 13 Ligue 1 matches last term.

Last week he scored a hat-trick in Lyon's first Ligue 1 game of the season as Dijon were beaten 4-1.

The 26-year-old joined Lyon from United for €16million in 2017 and is now reportedly available for just €25m.

Sandro Tonali's move to Milan is almost complete but Brescia's president Massimo Cellino wanted him to join Roma.

Italy international Tonali has been one of the hottest properties in Italian football over the past few years, having broken into the Brescia team as a 17-year-old.

A technically gifted midfielder renowned for his dribbling and passing abilities, Tonali – now 20 – has long been seen as a future star of the Azzurri.

Brescia managed to keep hold of Tonali for the 2019-20 season after they were promoted to Serie A, but their relegation left them helpless to resist offers.

Cellino previously claimed Tonali ignored offers from Barcelona and Manchester United, while Inter had also tried to prise the talent away.

But Milan, whom he supported as a child, look set to win the race for Tonali – though Cellino would have preferred to sell him to Roma.

Speaking to Il Messaggero, Cellino said: "Sandro has supported Milan since he was a child.

"The negotiation with them made me doubly happy – I also respect a club that gives value to money.

"[Milan technical director, Paolo] Maldini has Milan DNA and has all the prerequisites for becoming a great manager.

"I would have seen Sandro more at Roma. It's a beautiful team, a hot city. [Roma vice-president, Mauro] Baldissoni told me some time ago that he was their dream, but now I don't know who is in charge of their transfers.

"I had an excellent relationship with [former president, Franco] Sensi and I know [former director of football, Walter] Sabatini very well.

"I feel very attached to Roma. For this reason, when I sold Cagliari, I had the dream of buying Roma and rehabilitating it, enhancing its potential through my work and my experience. It remained just a dream."

The deal for Tonali is rumoured to be an initial loan worth €10million, plus an option to buy set at €20m, and given Brescia's relegation, Cellino felt it was impossible to keep him any longer.

"It had never happened to me before, to discover a strong player like Tonali," he added. "I would have liked to keep him, but unfortunately the dream was shattered with the relegation and the uncertainty transmitted by the pandemic.

"I had to manage Brescia without refinancing the company. I hold the position of president as a profession, while my other millionaire colleagues do it as a hobby."

Could Antoine Griezmann leave Camp Nou now that Lionel Messi has committed to Barcelona for the 2020-21 season?

Griezmann endured a difficult first season at Barca following his arrival from Atletico Madrid.

Liverpool and Manchester United are among the teams who could tempt the Frenchman.

 

TOP STORY –  LIVERPOOL, UNITED CONSIDER GRIEZMANN

Liverpool and Manchester United are eyeing Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann, according to the Daily Mail.

Griezmann had reportedly been promised a leading role by new head coach Ronald Koeman had Lionel Messi left the club, but Barca's captain will remain at Camp Nou in 2020-21.

With Messi saying put, Premier League champions Liverpool, United and Arsenal are believed to be considering moves for Griezmann.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Guardian claims Manchester City are preparing a second bid for Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly. Pep Guardiola's City are hopeful they can find a compromise as United also reportedly eye the star defender.

- Sunday's La Gazzetta Sportiva is dominated by Barcelona pair Luis Suarez and Arturo Vidal. Suarez is poised to join Serie A champions Juventus, while Vidal is set to move to Antonio Conte's Inter.

- While Suarez is reportedly close to swapping Barca for Juve, the Italian giants are considering alternatives if the deal falls through. AS Diario says Juve are weighing up Atletico Madrid's Alvaro Morata, while Roma's Edin Dzeko and former Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani have also been linked.

- According to Le10 Sport, Rennes are in discussions with Inter defender Diego Godin. The 34-year-old just finished his first season in Milan.

Milan remain one of the most active teams in the transfer market. Calciomercarto reports the Rossoneri have held talks with agent Fali Ramadani regarding Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic, while Real Madrid forward Luka Jovic is still of interest to the club.

- Norwegian journalist Fredrik A.N. Filtvedt says United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had spoken to Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho many times and the England international wants to leave for Old Trafford.

Lionel Messi was left with no choice but to reverse his decision to quit Barcelona due to bad advice from his father and agent Jorge, according to former Real Madrid player Hugo Sanchez.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner sent shockwaves through the football world last week by informing Barca of his intention to leave.

However, LaLiga disputed Messi's claim that he could leave on a free transfer courtesy of a clause in his contract, meaning any potential suitor would have to negotiate with Barca or pay his €700million release clause.

Messi announced on Friday he will now remain at Camp Nou because the financial demands made by the Barca board for a transfer to happen rendered such a prospect "impossible".

And Mexico icon Sanchez, who has been critical of Messi during the saga, blamed the 33-year-old's failed exit strategy on his representatives.

"That untimely burofax only strengthened the image of the president of Barcelona and gave him time to weaken Messi's decision," he told ESPN.

"Messi has had no choice but to stay at Barcelona due to bad advice from his father and the law firm, because they could have saved that burofax. That has caused weakness to his image within the team.

"Coincidentally, Messi had the lawyers who had previously worked with Barcelona, but due to a conflict of interest, the Catalan club changed its strategy.

"If Messi and his father already had the decision to leave Barcelona, they should not have waited in time.

"But before the end of the term agreed in the contract, they had to tell the club that they wanted to leave at the end of the season and on a free, without paying any compensation. If they had it planned, it should have been done that way."

He added: "Messi's second problem was to send that burofax without certainty and guaranteeing that they had a team that would pay the €700m, which, due to the pandemic, no team in the world that can invest that amount."

Messi is now expected to re-evaluate his future at the end of the 2020-21 season with Inter, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City possible destinations should he finally leave the club he has represented since the age of 13.

"He has no choice but to drink several garlic and water teas in these next eleven months," Sanchez said.

"Messi likes to win titles and will need to look for another team where he can win championships and prove that he is the best player ever.

"The whole problem with Barcelona is going to distract him next season, in such a way that there will be doubts both about his behaviour and the fact that he is not the same young man who ran all over the pitch."

Gareth Bale will continue to be selected by Ryan Giggs for Wales duty despite his minimal playing time at Real Madrid.

The 31-year-old has fallen down the pecking order at Madrid and was taken off at half-time in Wales' 1-0 win over Finland on Thursday as his lack of fitness told.

Giggs revealed after the match the substitution was planned for Bale, who had played a combined 100 minutes since February prior to the Nations League clash in Helsinki.

However, the Wales boss is not worried about forward's tribulations at club level and expects an improved display against Bulgaria on Sunday.

"With his situation, it doesn't change. I'm always happy with Gareth when he comes here," Giggs said at a pre-match news conference on Saturday.

"He's great around the camp and is one everyone looks up to. Like anyone else he needs to get more training time and more minutes.

"I was pleased with Gareth the other night that he was able to get 45 minutes under his belt.

"He'd only done two or three days' training. Finland are a physical team of giants and made it difficult for us so he'll be all the better for that 45 minutes."

Bale earned cap number 84 for Wales last week on the day that Liverpool right-back Neco Williams made his senior international bow.

The youngster came on as a second-half substitute and is now in contention to start against Bulgaria, with Wales looking to make it back-to-back wins in Group B4.

"It was a fantastic debut from Neco," Giggs said.

"He came on and gave us real energy and he's shown his quality in training. He's definitely given me a problem [with selection]. It's a good problem to have.

"We're really happy with Neco and he's in my thoughts with regards to starting."

Lionel Messi's reluctant decision to remain at Barcelona does not sit easily with his former coach Luis Enrique.

Messi announced on Friday that he would stay at Camp Nou because the financial demands made by the Barca board for a transfer to happen rendered such a prospect "impossible".

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner accused president Josep Maria Bartomeu of going back on his word that Messi would be free to leave if he desired at the end of the 2019-20 season – although a clause in his contract underpinning this sentiment expired while a campaign extended by the coronavirus hiatus was still in progress.

Luis Enrique coached Messi for three seasons between 2014 and 2017, a period that took in Barca's treble-winning 2014-15 efforts.

The 33-year-old made clear his frustration at the club's failure to reach those heights since, certainly as far as the Champions League is concerned, but Luis Enrique would have liked a more cordial resolution.

"I don't know whether to pronounce on Messi... but I'm going to do it," he said at a news conference to preview Spain's Nations League contest with Ukraine.

"I think the clubs are above all people, players and presidents. Barcelona, ​​founded in 1899, is one of the best in the world. They have always won titles.

"It is evident that there has been a wonderful relationship. Leo has made Barca grow exponentially but I would have liked it if a much more friendly agreement had been reached.

"Sooner or later, Messi will stop playing at Barca. Barcelona will continue to win titles without Messi and Messi will continue to be a wonderful footballer."

Luis Enrique was widely reported to have clashed angrily with Messi midway through the 2014-15 season, before a sensational run of form inspired the MSN forward line – completed by Luis Suarez and Neymar – resulted in a stunning clean sweep of major trophies.

Despite working with such greats of the game and now taking charge of his national team, Luis Enrique insists it will not be in his nature to brag about the players he has coach when he retires from the game.

Indeed, it is not Messi or any of his current Spain squad who would top his list when it comes to the favourite players he has led from the dugout.

“I'm not a fetishist at all," Luis Enrique added. "I will say that I have trained a lot of players, better or worse, but that I have tried to make them better. 

"If I had to say one, I would say that I trained Nolito. I had a wonderful time. He left Second Division with me and he's a very funny guy."

As Luis Suarez seemingly nears a Barcelona exit, the LaLiga giants could be getting close to two additions.

Barca were given a huge boost on Friday as star Lionel Messi announced he would stay at the club for another season.

But there are still set to be moves at Camp Nou.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA CLOSE TO DEPAY, WIJNALDUM DEALS

Barcelona are close to deals for Lyon star Memphis Depay and Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, according to AD.

Depay and Wijnaldum have been reported to be targets for Barca, who are rebuilding under Ronald Koeman after a tumultuous 2019-20 season.

Goal reports Barcelona are confident of landing Wijnaldum, who is out of contract next year.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Barcelona rebuild is set to see several exits, however. BBC reports Suarez has agreed a deal with Serie A champions Juventus.

- With Messi staying at Barcelona, perhaps Manchester City will turn their focus elsewhere. Gianluca Di Marzio reports the Premier League giants are set to make a new offer – of at least £66.8million (€75m) – for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly.

- The other half of Manchester are enduring frustrations of their own. The Daily Star reports Manchester United are preparing to walk away from a deal for Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho due to the Bundesliga club wanting £110m (€123.5m) for the forward.

- Arsenal could face competition for Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey. ESPN reports Paris Saint-Germain have joined the Premier League club in the race for Partey.

- While Zlatan Ibrahimovic is staying at Milan, the Serie A club may be looking for more firepower. Tuttosport reports they are again considering a move for Real Madrid forward Luka Jovic, who struggled in his first season in the Spanish capital.

- Also at Milan and Fabrizio Romano reports they are close to reaching an agreement with Chelsea for midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko. It would be a loan for €3m (£2.7m) with an option to buy for €30m (£26.7m).

Real Madrid have confirmed Dani Ceballos will spend a second consecutive season on loan at Premier League side Arsenal.

The 24-year-old Spain midfielder spent the 2019-20 campaign at Emirates Stadium, though his season was interrupted by a hamstring injury.

Nevertheless, Ceballos still managed to make 37 appearances across all competitions. 

He scored two goals for the Gunners, most notably netting a last-gasp winner against Sheffield United in an FA Cup quarter-final.

Ceballos, who signed for Madrid from Real Betis in 2017, then started in both the semi-final against Manchester City and the final against Chelsea as the Gunners secured their 14th FA Cup triumph. 

"Dani was an integral part of our team last season and finished the season in excellent form. I love Dani's passion and commitment and he's a highly skilful player," Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta told the club's official website.

"We're all delighted to welcome him back and we look forward to seeing him pick up where he left off."

Arsenal technical director Edu added: "We're thrilled to have Dani back with us for the new season. We all know his qualities after an impressive 2019-2020 campaign, which ended with him playing a key role in our FA Cup success. We're excited to add Dani to the list of quality players we are bringing in."

Ceballos could soon be joined in north London by Thomas Partey, with Arsenal reportedly interested in the Atletico Madrid midfielder, with some reports stating a deal is close.

Meanwhile, Lucas Torreira has been linked with a return to Italy, with both Fiorentina and Torino said to be interested.

Real Madrid have confirmed Dani Ceballos will spend a second consecutive season on loan at Premier League side Arsenal.

Barcelona presidential candidate Victor Font and former president Joan Laporta have welcomed Lionel Messi's decision to stay at the LaLiga giants. 

The Argentina superstar sent shockwaves through world football last week when he announced he wanted to leave Barca in the wake of the humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.

LaLiga disputed Messi's claim that he could leave on a free transfer courtesy of a clause in his contract, though, and insisted any potential suitor would have to negotiate with Barca or pay the €700million release clause in his contract, with his option to leave for nothing having expired on June 10.

That resulted in Messi confirming on Friday that he would remain at Camp Nou because the option of a free transfer was no longer available. 

Font, who is the only official candidate for the presidency as things stand, previously said the prospect of Messi leaving the club gave him "nightmares".

He took to social media to express his pleasure at Messi's decision, highlighting his comment about a lack of direction at the club alongside a picture of the talismanic forward with Xavi, his former team-mate, who Font is expected to install as head coach if he becomes president. 

In response to Messi saying "there has been no project for a long time and there is nothing, they are juggling and covering holes," Font said: "Only with a solid project, well worked out, will we overcome future challenges. We rebuild Barca. Yes to the future!"

Laporta, who previously held Barca's presidency between 2003 and 2010 and is expected to officially throw his hat into the ring for next year's election in the coming months, described the 33-year-old's decision as "wise".

He posted on Twitter: "Magnificent Leo, wise decision, very well explained. And now to continue fighting to win again and continue making history. Today Messi has given more joy to Barcelona fans!"

Barcelona's new president will be elected in March 2021.

Brahim Diaz has joined Milan on loan from Real Madrid for the 2020-21 season, the Serie A club confirmed.

The 21-year-old forward signed for Madrid in January 2019 but has struggled for first-team football since making a €15million switch from Manchester City.

Diaz featured just six times in LaLiga last term, with none of those appearances as a starter, and had been strongly linked with a transfer.

HIs agent confirmed talks with Milan earlier in the week, criticising Madrid for not giving Diaz the "required space and above all the confidence he needed".

Despite seemingly not being part of Zinedine Zidane's plans, Diaz has not secured a permanent move, and reports indicate Milan do not have a purchase option in the deal.

A Milan statement read: "Milan is delighted to announce the signing of the Spanish footballer Brahim Diaz from Real Madrid on loan until June 30, 2021."

Diaz, a technically gifted and skilful attacker, joined City in 2015 after showing promise in Malaga's youth ranks.

Although he was regarded as one of City's best prospects alongside Jadon Sancho and Phil Foden, Diaz followed the former in leaving the club in search of more opportunities.

While that has not been forthcoming at Madrid, he will be expected to see more action in San Siro, with Milan aiming to improve on their sixth-place finish in 2019-20.

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