Celta Vigo have confirmed Eduardo Coudet will be their new head coach following the sacking of Oscar Garcia.

The Galician club have endured a tough start to the 2020-21 season, winning just one of their opening nine LaLiga games, form that has left them just outside the bottom three and cost Garcia his job.

Coudet arrives with a burgeoning reputation, having led Racing Club to the Argentinian title in 2019 before joining Internacional, whom he had taken to the summit of the Brasileiro before quitting on Tuesday.

The 46-year-old, a native of Argentina, spent his entire playing career in the Americas bar a short spell with Celta in 2002. He has signed on until 2022.

Memphis Depay has talked up his transfer link with Barcelona, acknowledging any player would want to play for the Catalan giants.

Speculation around Barca's interest in the Lyon forward has been particularly strong since Depay's former Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman arrived as the club's new coach in August.

Depay remained with Lyon when the transfer window closed in early October, but his contract expires next year.

While Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has insisted he will not sanction a deal in January, as he is not prepared to miss out on European football for a second successive season, Barca may opt to test his resolve as the Ligue 1 side face missing out on a transfer fee.

Failing to earn a move to Barca for this season does not appear to have impacted Depay negatively, however – he has been involved in eight goals (five scored, three assists) in Ligue 1 this term, a figure only Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe can match (seven goals, four assists), while he is level with Leo Dubois for the most goalscoring chances created (27).

Depay continues to stress his focus is on Lyon and the Netherlands, though he did not shy away from a desire to play for Barca.

"Who wouldn't like to go to Barcelona? It's a top club," he said after wearing the captain's armband in the second half of the Oranje's 1-1 draw with Spain on Wednesday.

"We'll see what the future holds for me. Barca is one of the biggest clubs and everyone would like to play there, but I'm focused on my club and the national team."

With regards to whether a January move is an option, despite Aulas' recent comments, Depay added: "I don't know. The transfer window is not open.

"I don't have the focus on that at the moment. I am training well and focusing on being a better player. There is a lot of speculation, but my head is not there at the moment."

Depay's last venture at one of Europe's elite, Manchester United, did not go as expected, the forward struggling to adapt.

He was eventually sold to Lyon in January 2017, and it is fair to say he has rediscovered the form that made him one of Europe's most promising young players at PSV.

Depay has set up 35 league goals since his Lyon debut on January 22, 2017, level with Angel Di Maria for the most in Ligue 1 in that time.

Similarly, Mbappe (110) is the only player to have been involved in more goals than Depay (83) across the same period.

Cristiano Ronaldo's name is still chanted at Old Trafford, 11 years on from his Manchester United exit.

The 35-year-old enjoyed great success in Manchester, while he has gone on to break records with Real Madrid and Juventus.

However, the Juventus superstar could reportedly be set for a second stint at the Theatre of Dreams.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED EYE RONALDO RETURN

Manchester United are looking to re-sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Juventus, according to ESPN broadcaster Christian Martin.

Ronaldo spent six years at United, winning three Premier League titles and the Champions League, before joining Real Madrid in 2009.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner swapped Madrid for Serie A champions Juve in 2018, but he has been linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain.

Juve would negotiate a deal with United if Ronaldo asked to leave Turin, the report claims.

 

ROUND-UP

Kylian Mbappe tops Real Madrid's list of transfer targets, reports Diario AS. The club's wishlist includes the PSG forward, Rennes sensation and United target Eduardo Camavinga, Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland and RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano. It comes as United eye both Upamecano and Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane.

Matthijs de Ligt will not leave Juventus next season, reports Calciomercato. Juve are not entertaining offers, unless a club pay De Ligt's €150million release clause, which will be active in 2021.

- Calciomercato says United have set their sights on Dortmund defender Dan-Axel Zagadou. The 21-year-old arrived from PSG in 2017.

Madrid are concerned about the form of Zinedine Zidane's team, according to Cadena SER. While there are reports Madrid directors are losing faith in Zidane, the club are also unwilling to throw Raul or Mauricio Pochettino in the deep end at the LaLiga champions.

Lionel Messi's father, Jorge, rubbished reports he had been contacted by Paris Saint-Germain about the Barcelona star.

Messi, 33, continues to be linked with a move away from the LaLiga giants with his contract expiring at season's end and having requested to leave during the close season.

PSG, Manchester City and Inter have previously been most strongly connected with the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

But after a report claimed Jorge was contacted by PSG to start negotiations in January, Messi's father denied the suggestion.

"Stop inventing!!! #fakenews," he wrote on Instagram.

Messi has spent his entire professional career at Barcelona, where he has won 10 LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues among numerous other trophies.

He sensationally requested to leave the club in the close season but ultimately ended up staying.

Messi has scored six goals in 10 games this season, including three in seven in LaLiga.

Though it is still early in the LaLiga campaign, Messi is without an assist, while his two chances created per 90 minutes is his lowest since 2012-13 (1.6).

Ronald Koeman's men are eighth in the LaLiga table, nine points adrift of leaders Real Sociedad but having played two fewer games.

Barcelona have failed to reach an agreement with players over a salary reduction.

The LaLiga giants are seeking to reduce their wage bill amid a "serious financial problem" due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Barca say COVID-19 has caused a reduction in revenues of more than €300million for the 2020-21 season, with the club requiring a salary adjustment of €191m.

But talks between Barca and representatives of the players – and a group of corporate workers – ended on Wednesday without an agreement.

"Today, November 11, after several days of intense meetings, and the negotiation was exhausted, the parties have ended the consultation period without reaching an agreement," part of a statement from the club read.

The statement said parties had given themselves a deadline of November 23 to consider whether a deal can be struck.

Reports have suggested Barca want to cut the wages of their top earners, including Lionel Messi, by 30 per cent.

Barca are believed to have one of the highest wage bills in Europe, and the likes of Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal left the club in the close season.

Ronald Koeman's side are eighth in LaLiga, nine points adrift of leaders Real Sociedad but having played two fewer games.

Toni Kroos has accused FIFA and UEFA of treating footballers like "puppets" by creating new tournaments at club and international level.

Kroos will this week represent Germany in the Nations League, a competition formed two years ago with the aim of replacing friendly matches.

The Club World Cup has also recently been expanded and there is talk of a new European Super League being formed in the coming years.

However, Real Madrid midfielder Kroos is completely against the idea of cramming more fixtures into an already packed schedule.

"With the invention of all these new things we seem to be just the puppets of FIFA and UEFA," he said.

"These competitions are created to suck everything out of every single player physically and to suck out as much money as possible.

"When certain things work well it is a good idea to leave them that way."

Speaking on his Einfach mal Luppen podcast, which he hosts together with brother Felix, Kroos also took aim at fellow professionals who choreograph their goal celebrations.

Referencing celebrations by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has previously sported a Spiderman mask, and Antoine Griezmann, who simulates dance moves from video game Fortnite, Kroos said: "I find it very silly.

"Even worse is if there are any objects hidden in their socks. Aubameyang once celebrated and took out a mask. That's where it ends with me.

"I don't think that's a good role model, either. What nonsense."

Real Madrid's players are fully behind Zinedine Zidane and will fight for their head coach "until the death", according to full-back Dani Carvajal.

Zidane is once again under pressure at the Santiago Bernabeu with his side fourth in LaLiga following Sunday's humbling 4-1 defeat to Valencia.

Madrid are also third in their Champions League group at the midway stage after losing to Shakhtar Donetsk and drawing with Borussia Monchengladbach before beating Inter.

Reports from Spain this week suggest president Florentino Perez has doubts over Zidane's ability to turn the club's fortunes around, with replacements already being lined up.

However, Carvajal has given his full backing to the Frenchman and insists it is just a matter of time before Madrid find the type of form that saw them lift the league title last season.

"We are with the coach until the death," he told Marca. "With the club, the team-mates next to us and the philosophy of the coach, we are all together, going in the same direction.

"That is what he has done during all the years he has been here."

He added: "I think the team is reaching its highest level of the season. We are all in a good physical shape and I hope that we will have two, three good months.

"I understand these last two weeks have been difficult. But today things are much more even, with all teams working a lot harder physically.

"But we are Real Madrid. We have a very good squad and you shouldn't doubt us because we will fight for anything. In the month of March we will be alive in all competitions."

Despite a sluggish start to 2020-21, Carvajal is adamant Madrid have a strong enough to squad to win a clean sweep of honours this season.

"Our aim is clear. We are going to fight for the three trophies, plus the [Spanish] Super Cup that is coming up in January. We will go for it all," he said.

"I am optimistic about what I see and what I feel. I think the team is very committed. All the players and all the coaches feel very supported by each other."

Carvajal concedes the pressure to win everything can magnify bad results like the loss at Valencia – the first time Madrid have shipped four goals in a LaLiga game under Zidane.

"Whoever has been here for a few years gets used to it," he said. "In the end you can beat Inter in a highly contested match and lose away to a good rival in Valencia.

"We didn't have our day, but you can't win every game and it seems like we're in a crisis and they put us all in the air. 

"You have to get a little used to these ups and downs, these ups and downs of feelings, criticism and flattery, but try to keep a line and seek to achieve the goal of regularity."

Carvajal has featured just three times this season because of a knee ligament injury but is hopeful of returning ahead of schedule for the trip to Villarreal later this month.

"I'm doing much better now – my entire internal ligament broke," he said. "The estimated time of discharge was ten weeks. This Friday will be six weeks injured. 

"I'm doing quite well, I'm touching the ball. I'm doing more intense things and hopefully now after the international break I can be available for the coach."

Paulo Dybala will become the next Lionel Messi but only if he leaves Juventus and joins a club like Real Madrid or Barcelona, says former Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini.

The Argentina international has struggled for minutes under Andrea Pirlo this term, starting just three of Juve's 10 games in all competitions.

He was criticised for his attitude after being brought on as a second-half substitute in last weekend's 1-1 draw with Lazio and has again been linked with a move away next year.

Zamparini was Palermo president during Dybala's time at the club and has urged the 26-year-old to take his previous advice and depart the Allianz Stadium at the earliest possible opportunity.

Asked about previously labelling Dybala "the new Messi", Zamparini told Tuttosport: "Yes and I am still convinced about that. Why should I have changed my mind?

"Besides being a champion, Paulo is also a very good guy. I can't understand why many people forget that.

"Paulo should have followed my advice from three years ago, which was to leave Turin. I told him clearly: 'Paulo, for your own good, you must leave Juventus.'

"He plays fantasy football that is more suited to Spanish teams like Barcelona or Real Madrid. But he has always told me he feels good at Juventus."

He added: "Paulo is a champion and not a deputy. At Juventus they have Cristiano Ronaldo, a true phenomenon, and Dybala must play against Ronaldo with another big team.

"Ronaldo is like [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic – very strong players with an incredible personality and crazy experience. They are two champions I would have liked to have had.

"With Cristiano at Juventus, however, I advise Paulo to become a number one choice elsewhere."

Dybala has yet to score in his three Serie A outings in 2020-21, despite managing nine shots, behind only Alvaro Morata (11) and Ronaldo (21) among Juve players.

He has created four chances, which ranks below Aaron Ramsey (eight), Juan Cuadrado, Alvaro Morata (both 10) and Dejan Kulusevski (11).

But Zamparini is shocked the forward is not given more opportunities by Pirlo, who was brought in as Maurizio Sarri's successor after their Champions League exit to Lyon last season.

"When I listen to football shows, people talk about the Juventus line-up and forget all about Dybala. I don't understand why. That Dybala is not a starter in Serie A is a blasphemy," he said.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen is desperate for more trophies after committing his future to Barcelona by signing a new contract.

The Catalans announced last month that Ter Stegen, Gerard Pique, Frenkie de Jong and Clement Lenglet had all agreed to extensions.

The Germany goalkeeper's new deal runs until 2025 and contains a release clause of €500million.

Ter Stegen, who returned to action this month after a knee injury, has been one of Barca's few major transfer success stories in recent seasons.

The 28-year-old, who signed from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2014, has won 12 trophies with Barca including four LaLiga titles, four Copas del Rey and the 2014-15 Champions League.

Ter Stegen has felt at home in the city since his arrival and is now keen for more silverware – and to celebrate in front of fans again.

"Barcelona has become a home for my family and I," he said in a video published by the club. "Both on and off the pitch, we are very happy.

"So, it was clear, the direction to take. The ambition from both myself and Barca has always been to reach a renewal agreement, to continue our story, which we started together in 2014.

"It's not just about playing for the biggest club in the world; it's more than that. The city and the fans have treated me like one of their own since the beginning, and this is important to me. A feeling I will never forget.

"I want to be a player at Camp Nou for many more years and keep winning trophies. There is no greater motivation. Hopefully, in the near future, with our fans once again."

Since his LaLiga debut, Ter Stegen has kept 64 clean sheets in 152 games, a tally bettered only by Atletico Madrid's Jan Oblak (110 clean sheets in 198 games).

He has maintained a save percentage of 74.4 per cent, which is the fourth-best in Spain's top flight among keepers to make at least 100 saves, and a passing accuracy of 83 per cent – the highest in the division for his position.

Ronald Koeman is backing Antoine Griezmann to find consistent form for Barcelona but will not rule out a bid to sign Memphis Depay.

France star Griezmann, a €120million signing from Atletico Madrid last year, has struggled to impress on a regular basis alongside Lionel Messi at Camp Nou.

The forward, who missed a penalty against Real Betis last week before scoring in Barca's 5-2 victory, has just two goals, one assist and four chances created to his name in seven LaLiga appearances this season.

Koeman thinks the 29-year-old is bound to hit top gear, though, as long as he maintains his strong work ethic.

"He needs a bit more confidence and scoring goals always gives you that confidence," Koeman told Mundo Deportivo.

"You can't say he doesn't work, he works a lot, but maybe he feels a little more free when he's with the national team, having been with them a long time and always playing in the same position.

"There's are many more things besides, but a player who is working and trying so much to change things, I think in the end he'll get to where he wants to be.

"His best position is maybe more central, as a number nine, a number 10 behind a nine, with a lot of freedom on the right wing cutting in, with [Ousmane] Dembele playing more outside.

"They're positions in which he can give a lot to this team."

With Griezmann out of sorts and Ansu Fati sidelined for four months after meniscus surgery, Barca have been tipped to make a new move for Lyon forward Depay.

The Catalans agreed terms with Depay during the previous transfer window but a deal could not be struck between the clubs, and the Ligue 1 side's president Jean-Michel Aulas insists they will not sell the player in January even though his contract expires at the end of the season.

However, Koeman will not discount the prospect of signing the Netherlands international, with whom he worked while in charge of the national side and who has been directly involved in eight goals in Ligue 1 this season, a tally bettered only by Kylian Mbappe.

"Now is not the moment to talk about players who aren't here. For me, it's not good," he said.

"It's true his name has come out and he's played every game with our national team as a number nine.

"Everyone can have their opinion, but not here, and we'll see what happens in the future."

Koeman also suggested a deal could yet be struck to sign Eric Garcia from Manchester City, adding: "Well, I don't know. It depends on Manchester City."

Speaking to Sport, Koeman admitted captain Lionel Messi had been "unhappy" when he first arrived at the club, the forward having tried unsuccessfully to leave in the wake of the 8-2 Champions League destruction by Bayern Munich, a club-record defeat in the competition. 

Messi's form has been questioned in 2020-21, the Argentina star having failed to score from open play or register an assist in his first six LaLiga matches.

He produced a star turn off the bench against Real Betis, however, scoring twice, assisting another and playing a key role in Griezmann's goal as Barca claimed a 5-2 victory.

"I spoke to him on the first day, totally frankly, and I've never doubted him," Koeman said of the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

"I see him training every day and enjoying playing. I said on the first day that he's the best player in the world and of course I prefer to have the best in the world in my team.

"As I said after the game against Betis, if he's well, he'll always start."

Could Cristiano Ronaldo's time in Turin be coming to an end?

Ronaldo is contracted to Juventus until 2022 but the Italian giants are believed to be willing to part with the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

Neymar could be his direct replacement.

 

TOP STORY – RONALDO OUT, NEYMAR IN?

Juventus are keen to swap Cristiano Ronaldo for Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar, according to TuttoMercatoWeb.

Ronaldo has been linked with a move away from Serie A champions Juve, while Neymar's future has often dominated headlines amid speculation over a Barcelona return.

But the superstar pair could be involved in a blockbuster swap deal as both players are on similar contracts.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca claims Athletic Bilbao are eyeing former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, with the future of current head coach Gaizka Garitano uncertain. Pochettino has been linked to Manchester United.

Milan are targeting a January move for Schalke defender and Liverpool target Ozan Kabak, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. Hellas Verona's Matteo Lovato is an alternative, while the Rossoneri are also eyeing Borussia Monchengladbach's Marcus Thuram. The French forward has been linked to the likes of Juve, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester City.

- Zinedine Zidane remains determined to bring Eduardo Camavinga to Madrid, however, Mundo Deportivo says the France sensation will not leave Rennes for below €100million.

- According to Manchester Evening News, United could rekindle their interest in Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish amid his dazzling form. Grealish and Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho were both linked with Old Trafford moves during the previous transfer window.

Roberto Martinez labelled Eden Hazard's positive coronavirus test "disappointing" as the Belgium head coach lamented the Real Madrid star's absence.

Hazard will miss Belgium's international friendly against Switzerland on Wednesday and the Nations League showdown with England four days later after contracting COVID-19.

The 29-year-old attacker tested positive prior to Madrid's 4-1 LaLiga humbling at the hands of Valencia on Sunday.

Hazard has featured just 25 times in all competitions for Madrid since arriving from Chelsea for €100million in June last year, scoring two goals and supplying four assists. In his final campaign at Stamford Bridge, he registered 16 goals and 15 assists in the Premier League alone.

Hampered by injuries and fitness issues in the Spanish capital, Belgium boss Martinez bemoaned Hazard's latest setback.

"Obviously we were all delighted to see Eden [Hazard] play in the last three games with his club and starting to look happy and free, being able to score," Martinez told reporters.

"I think we were all looking forward to seeing Eden play for the national team. I think that was good news for the club as well because to be able to play minutes and get games will help his match fitness.

"The positive [COVID-19 test] is a disappointing news but it's not abnormal in the current world we live in. I think being positive for coronavirus is not news anymore. 

"At the moment, we are just following the protocols of UEFA and making sure that Eden carries on working at home so he doesn't lose any fitness and see how quickly he can join the national team, if it can happen.

"But no, nothing mysterious about his positive [result], nothing at all. He's asymptomatic and he feels in good spirits and that's the only thing that matters."

Spain head coach Luis Enrique backed Barcelona sensation Ansu Fati to pick up from where he left off once he has recovered from a knee injury.

Fati will spend four months on the sidelines after undergoing surgery on a tear to the internal meniscus of his left knee – an injury sustained in Saturday's 5-2 LaLiga win over Real Betis

The 18-year-old has been in great form for Barca this term, scoring five goals and assisting two more in 10 appearances in all competitions.

Among a number of other records, he became the youngest ever scorer for Spain with his goal against Ukraine in September.

That was one of four caps earned under Luis Enrique and the former Barcelona coach is confident the teenage attacker will find his best form once he returns to action.

"Regardless of how old you are, injuries are part of football," Luis Enrique said at a news conference ahead of Wednesday's friendly with the Netherlands. 

"It is a sad moment but he will overcome it. He will be the old Ansu again."

Fati's absence could give the likes of Alvaro Morata and Marcos Llorente a chance to shine in attack against the Netherlands.

Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke is back involved for the first time in over two years, while team-mate Llorente is in line for his maiden cap this international window.

"Morata is here because he has the confidence of his coach. He has a strong profile," Luis Enrique said.

"Llorente is almost already playing as a forward at Atletico now as the second striker. 

"The normal thing is to change your position, becoming deeper in your role, but with Llorente it is the other way around."

Spain enter the midweek friendly in Amsterdam on the back of a surprise 1-0 Nations League loss to Ukraine last month.

La Roja have won only two of their five matches this calendar year but Luis Enrique insisted all that matters is that his side peak in time for next year's rescheduled Euro 2020 finals.

"These games will help us to see all the players," he said. "But after playing these three games we still won't know what we have for the European Championships. 

"That will be seen in the tournament itself, where we can do very well. We'll see. I like what I see. You have to be optimistic and positive. Spain's real level will be seen at the Euros."

Lionel Messi remains the best footballer in the world and makes Barcelona a better team when he is in the side, says head coach Ronald Koeman.

The Argentina international was named among the substitutes for a LaLiga game for the first time since September 2019 in Saturday's 5-2 win over Real Betis at Camp Nou.

He had failed to score or assist from open play in six league matches this term before last weekend's contest, but Koeman denied he was dropped and put his absence from the side down to a knock.

Messi ended his open-play drought by powering home as a half-time substitute against Betis, having earlier scored his fifth penalty of the campaign in all competitions.

Koeman has reaffirmed he has full faith in the forward, who failed in an attempt to move away from the club at the end of last season.

"Messi has shown me to be a person who wants to win things and continue to be the best, even though he has had his problems with the club," Koeman told Sport.

"Barcelona have been, are and will be a better team with Messi than without. When I arrived, they told me that Messi was unhappy.

"We spoke at his house and he explained his reasons to me. I was honest. I told him that the only thing is the system, his position on the field, his importance in the team.

"But the problems that he had had with the club I couldn't change. From the first day I have said the same thing. He is the best and is committed to the club.

"He has had his issues, his problems this summer, but since he returned to training he has been very good.

"He has had bad luck in some games and he has not been able to offer the usual performance, but I am sure that at the end of the season he will have scored the usual goals."

Koeman replaced Quique Setien ahead of the 2020-21 campaign and oversaw Barca's joint-worst start to a LaLiga campaign after six games in the three-points-per-win era.

But the ex-Netherlands boss has put part of his side's early struggles down to poor refereeing and is confident positive changes are being made on the field.

"We have been able to change the image of the team. We have made changes that have given another air to the group," he said.

"People are very involved, very committed. We have increased the intensity of the training sessions and we have played good games.

"It is true that we have lost many points in the league, in games that we could have achieved a better result. Refereeing decisions have influenced the final result in some.

"We know we have to improve things and we are working towards that. Now we have a break, but we are already preparing a very demanding schedule for when we return."

Memphis Depay will not leave Lyon in the January transfer window despite Barcelona maintaining their interest in the attacker, according to Jean-Michel Aulas.

Barca were heavily linked with a move for Depay after former Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman took over in August, but the ex-Manchester United forward remained at the Ligue 1 side.

The Catalan giants are said to be looking to step up their efforts to sign the 26-year-old after Ansu Fati was ruled out for around four months with a knee injury.

Depay's contract with Lyon is set to expire in June and club president Aulas insists he will not be allowed to depart beforehand.

"Memphis is an exceptional player. It is him who is pulling the club, along with a number of other players," Aulas said on RMC.

"I was the first to say he would not go to Barcelona. Nobody listened to me during the transfer window because everybody thought he would leave.

"From the start, I told you, they will not leave because in a year when we were unfairly deprived of European competition, we absolutely have to make a success of the season. So, he will stay."

Depay has continued to perform in Ligue 1 despite failing to complete his move to Barca.

He has been involved in eight goals (five scored, three assisted) in the top flight this season, a tally that can only be bettered by Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe (seven scored, four assisted).

Furthermore, no player has created more chances in Ligue 1 than Depay, who has a league-leading 27 alongside Leo Dubois.

Depay has set up 35 league goals since his Lyon debut on January 22, 2017, level with Angel Di Maria for the most in the division in that time. Mbappe (110) is the only player to have been involved in more goals than the Dutchman (83) in the same timeframe.

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