Lionel Messi's future is often a topic of discussion.

Messi has an early break clause in his Barcelona contract.

As Barca look to re-sign Messi, the 33-year-old superstar is reportedly ready to walk away next year.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI WANTS BARCA EXIT

Lionel Messi will leave Barcelona when his contract expires at the end of 2020-21, according to Cadena SER.

Barca captain Messi – previously linked to Inter and Manchester City – has reportedly been in talks over a new two-year deal at Camp Nou.

However, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner and Barca's all-time leading scorer is reportedly tired of being blamed for issues at the club, with the LaLiga champions set to be dethroned by Real Madrid.

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Camp Nou and club legend Xavi has agreed to become Barcelona head coach next season. Mundo Deportivo journalist Francesc Aguilar says the Al-Sadd boss has agreed a €6million salary to replace under-fire coach Quique Setien.

- Mundo Deportivo reports Manchester United and neighbours City have asked Barca about the availability of out-of-favour forward Antoine Griezmann. A big-money signing from Atletico Madrid at the start of the season, Griezmann has struggled and found himself on the bench in recent weeks. However, the report claims Barca are not considering a transfer.

Liverpool are poised to sign Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara, says Sport. Thiago is out of contract at the end of 2020-21 and the Spaniard is not willing to re-sign. Now, Liverpool are believed to be in advanced negotiations as Bayern seek £31m (€35m) for Thiago.

- Everton full-back Lucas Digne has emerged as a target for City and Chelsea if they fail to land Leicester City star Ben Chilwell, according to ESPN.

Borussia Dortmund have completed the signing of Birmingham City teenager Jude Bellingham, reports Bild. United were also chasing the 17-year-old sensation.

- After signing Achraf Hakimi from Real Madrid, Sky journalist Fabrizio Romano claims Inter have opened talks with Chelsea for Italian full-back Emerson Palmieri.

Juventus are hoping to settle Paulo Dybala's new contract between July and August, says Calciomercato.

- The Telegraph reports Chelsea are ready to step up their pursuit of Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz after Saturday's DFB-Pokal final against Bayern. Havertz has been linked to Bayern, Madrid, United, Liverpool and Barca.

- Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga could be shipped out on loan to Sevilla, claims The Sun. The world's most expensive keeper has been criticised for his performances this season.

Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann has no interest in leaving the LaLiga giants.

Speculation over the France international's future has increased amid his, and Barca's, struggles.

But the 29-year-old seemingly wants more than one season at Barcelona.

 

TOP STORY – GRIEZMANN NOT INTERESTED IN BARCELONA EXIT

Griezmann has no interest in leaving Barcelona, according to Le Parisien.

Since arriving from Atletico Madrid for €120million, Griezmann has managed just 14 goals in 43 games this season.

Griezmann was introduced as a 90th-minute substitute in Barca's 2-2 draw with his former club on Tuesday.

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- Staying at Camp Nou and Quique Setien's future as Barcelona head coach remains a talking point after one win in four games. AS reports Setien is not in immediate danger but is far from safe, while Sport says his future is uncertain, although the club are hoping to keep him at the helm until the end of the season.

- Manchester City look set for a rebuild in the close season. The Guardian claims Bayern Munich defender David Alaba, who is out of contract next year, is a target for the Premier League giants.

- After making a stellar start to the season with Lyon before suffering a serious knee injury, Memphis Depay has been linked with a move. Le 10 Sport reports Arsenal want the attacker, who has 14 goals in 18 games this season.

- Carlos Tevez's future remains uncertain. Ole says the former Manchester United and Manchester City forward, 36, could retire as he struggles to agree to a new contract with Boca Juniors.

- With Bruno Lage on his way out as Benfica coach, the Portuguese giants are searching for a new boss. According to A Bola, Benfica have looked at the likes of Mauricio Pochettino, Ernesto Valverde and Laurent Blanc, but are now considering former Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal coach Unai Emery.

- Tottenham defender Serge Aurier could be set for a move. Sky Sports reports Monaco are interested in the Ivory Coast right-back.

Arsenal could be getting their hands on the next Patrick Vieira if they manage to sign Porto captain Danilo Pereira.

That is the view of Abel Xavier, who tipped his Portuguese compatriot to shine in the Premier League if given the chance.

Defensive midfielder Pereira, who moved to Porto from Maritimo in 2015, has been heavily linked with the Gunners, with whom Vieira won three league titles.

And former Portugal international Xavier thinks it would be a good move for both Pereira and Arsenal.

"Danilo I think is a great midfield player who gives a lot of balance in the team," Xavier told Stats Perform News.

"He plays very simple football and his physical presence is important on the field.

"When I look back, he's a kind of player like Patrick Vieira when we're talking about a physical presence.

"I think if Arsenal are interested in him, for the style they play at the moment, a team trying to use forward-thinking players who are always very positive, it's very important to have balanced players – Danilo is this kind of player.

"I think it can be very good for both if there is a concrete interest."

Porto turned down a bid from Monaco for Pereira's services in July 2019.

 

Former Barcelona and France star Jeremy Mathieu has retired after suffering a knee injury in training at Sporting CP - news that has left Bruno Fernandes "crestfallen".

Manchester United midfielder Fernandes paid tribute to his former Sporting team-mate who quit after damaging the medial collateral ligament in his left knee on Wednesday, calling Mathieu "a centre-back with the quality of a number 10".

Mathieu, 36, won only five caps for France but shone in spells with Valencia and Barcelona, playing for the Catalan giants from 2014 to 2017 before joining Sporting.

At Barcelona, he won two LaLiga titles plus the Champions League in 2014-15, coming on as a late substitute in the 3-1 final win over Juventus.

Portuguese newspaper Record quoted a statement from Mathieu, in which he said: "I thought I would end my career in another way, but it is part of football. I wanted to finish on the pitch so badly, but destiny decided otherwise.

"Anyway, I spent 19 years living my life with intense passion, with ups and downs, joy and crying, victories and defeats and incredible trophies."

Mathieu played in France with Sochaux and Toulouse before moving to Spain with Valencia.

Fernandes posted on Instagram: "I had news that left me sad and crestfallen.

"I learned that the best centre-back I ever had as a team-mate was injured and decided to end a career full of titles and unforgettable moments."

Fernandes added: "I had two and a half years with you, two and a half years of apprenticeship, two and a half years of eternal bets in training to see who scored the most free-kicks, two and a half years to see magic come from the feet of a centre-back, yes from a centre-back."

He stressed Mathieu "was a centre-back with the quality of a number 10 and extreme speed" and said he intended to reunite with him on the golf course.

Fernandes said: "Thanks for the tears in the final of the Taca de Portugal that showed me what it is like to love the game and how all victories are as important as the first."

Spain's World Cup-winning captain Iker Casillas has announced he has pulled out of the running to be the next president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), citing a need for unity amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Real Madrid great Casillas confirmed his intention to stand for the position in February, but his withdrawal means Luis Rubiales is expected to be re-elected unopposed in August.

Casillas, who won Euro 2008 and 2012 alongside the 2010 World Cup with Spain, explained via a Twitter post his decision was in part due to "the exceptional social, economic and health situation that our country is suffering".

"This makes the elections take a back seat," he added.  "I think it is time to add and not divide."

The former Madrid goalkeeper, who made 167 senior appearances for his country, insists the decision to pull out does not mean a "closed door for the future" and said he could opt to run for the position further down the line.

"I wanted a fair, transparent and truly participatory electoral process, looking for the best for Spanish football," he said.

"I hope that in the next elections it can happen with me or with other candidates."

Spain has been one of the worst-affected countries of the pandemic, with over 290,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of those returning a positive test, 27,136 people have died.

Casillas won five LaLiga titles and three Champions Leagues with Madrid before departing his boyhood club for Porto in 2015.

The 39-year-old suffered a heart attack in May 2019 and was later added to the club's backroom team, with Porto president Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa announcing Casillas had retired from playing in February.

Francisco Trincao is similar to Neymar and is ready to make an impact at Barcelona, according to former Portugal international Nuno Gomes.

LaLiga champions Barca completed the €31million signing of Trincao in January but allowed him to stay at Braga for the rest of the 2019-20 season.

The 20-year-old, who was the joint-top scorer as Portugal won the European Under-19 Championship in 2018, has scored seven goals and supplied three assists in 18 Primeira Liga appearances this term, while also helping Braga beat Porto in the Taca da Liga final.

Nuno Gomes sees similarities between the left-footed Trincao and former Barca star Neymar and predicts his development will be rapid upon joining his new team-mates at Camp Nou.

"Trincao is very good and he's very young so it's a big step for him to play for Barcelona, let's see how things will develop. But I believe that he's ready to play because if you look at him from his early ages until now, he improved a lot," Gomes told Stats Perform News.

"But even now when you look at him, for him it doesn't matter if he's playing against Porto or Benfica or a lower team. I believe he plays the game for fun, he plays the game and it doesn't matter about the opponent.

"I believe Barcelona will give him even more strength and Barcelona will put him in difficult situations that will allow him to develop.

"Of course, to play for Barcelona if you are young you have to be better than your team-mates and you have to be aware that it will be not easy to arrive and to play in the first XI right away.

"But I think he will earn his place in the team with his quality and of course he will improve a lot with the players he will practice with every day and play together with – [Lionel] Messi for example, and other players will give him a lot of strength and a lot of things to improve even more.

"In terms of comparing him with another player, I don't know, maybe he's peculiar, he's one that you can never expect what he will be doing so maybe with all the respect Neymar, because Neymar is also a player that with the ball is unpredictable and Trincao looks a little bit like him, he plays in the wing also so maybe Neymar."

Benfica have vowed to help authorities find the perpetrators who stoned the team's bus in an attack that left Julian Weigl and Andrija Zivkovic requiring hospital treatment.

The vehicle was targeted when travelling down a major motorway following Benfica's goalless draw with Tondela at Estadio da Luz on Thursday.

It was a game that marked the team's resumption in the Primeira Liga following the suspension of domestic football in Portugal due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Supporters had earlier gathered outside the stadium in Lisbon as games are being played behind closed doors due to protocols being put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Benfica said midfielder Weigl and winger Zivkovic were taken to hospital as a precaution and condemned the actions of those involved.

A club statement read: "Benfica repudiates and regrets the criminal stoning that the players' bus suffered, when it was heading to the Seixal Training Centre [Benfica's training headquarters], at the end of the game against Tondela, held on Thursday night at the Estadio da Luz.

"We inform that, as a matter of precaution, players Julian Weigl and Zivkovic were immediately taken to Hospital da Luz to be observed, following the shrapnel that hit them.

"Benfica guarantees full collaboration with the authorities, to whom it calls for the greatest effort to be made, in order to identify the offenders responsible for these criminal acts."

The draw means Benfica are level on points with rivals Porto on 60 points after 25 games.

Football without fans in attendance is like eating a salad without a dressing on it, according to Porto boss Sergio Conceicao.

The Primeira Liga will return from its coronavirus-enforced suspension on Wednesday and all games will be played behind closed doors.

Porto sit top of the table, one point clear of Benfica, and will get their 2019-20 campaign back under way away at surprise package Famalicao.

Conceicao is not a fan of fans being shut out of matches, joking that he will even miss the whistles from opposition supporters.

"It will be different to play without a crowd. It will be like being without the condiments to make a good salad. Eating a salad without oil, vinegar and salt is not the same," Conceicao told the media.

"We have to go in there with the same desire, as if we had a packed stadium with the support of the fans. It's going to be different, that's for sure.

"The incentive that gives a boost to the player … I think is missing. Even the whistles are missing.

"It's not the same thing, but we have to look at the situation and the recommendations and face things as they are."

Conceicao said his players kept up their hard work during the league's suspension and he hopes they can maintain the momentum they had prior to the break.

"We never stopped. We didn't go on vacation, we were working all the time," he said.

"Every day we had work and that in that in itself demonstrates the desire and hope that we had for the league to resume, so that on the field we could show what we are and that we want to be the best team on the pitch.

"I hope the momentum carries on. When the stoppage occurred the team was well, had won important games, we had recovered some points in the table which were essential in the fight for the main objected."

Barcelona are continuing their push for Lautaro Martinez, while Liverpool have renewed their interest in Ousmane Dembele.

Martinez, 22, has been linked with a move to Barcelona, although just whether the LaLiga giants can get a deal done has been questioned.

Inter have insisted the only way Martinez will leave is by his €111million release clause being paid. That has seemingly not put Barca off.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA PUSH AHEAD IN LAUTARO PURSUIT

Barcelona are continuing to chase Inter star Martinez, according to Marca.

The report says the LaLiga side remain firm in their intention to sign Martinez despite Inter wanting his release clause paid.

Martinez had scored 16 goals in 31 games this season when the campaign was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

ROUND-UP

- Linked with a move for Dembele previously, Liverpool could target the Barcelona attacker again. Mundo Deportivo reports the Premier League leaders will consider a move for Dembele if they fail to land RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner.

- Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos is out of contract at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2021. However, Sport reports the defender is set to renew with Madrid.

- Kai Havertz continues to attract plenty of interest. But Marca says the Bayer Leverkusen star will have to wait for Real Madrid, who it reports have been in advanced negotiations for the attacker. Havertz is also said to be wanted by Bayern Munich.

- Will Miralem Pjanic get to Barcelona? With the Juventus midfielder linked with a switch to Camp Nou, Sport and Tuttosport report the Serie A giants have asked for 17-year-old forward Ansu Fati to be included in a deal. Arthur has also been linked to Juventus.

- A possible return to Juventus for Paul Pogba appears to be difficult. However, CalcioMercato reports the Italian champions have offered Adrien Rabiot to Manchester United in a deal for the midfielder.

- David Luiz could be set for an Arsenal exit. The Mirror reports the defender will have to take a huge pay cut to secure a return to Benfica if Arsenal opt against triggering a one-year extension to his deal.

Atletico Madrid star Joao Felix says his 16-year-old brother Hugo is capable of doing things he was unable to do at the same age.

Hugo is in the youth ranks at Benfica, who Joao Felix won the 2018-19 Primeira Liga with before leaving for Atletico in a €126million move last July.

The 20-year-old Portugal international believes his younger sibling has what it takes to break into the first team and forge a successful career in football.

"If he listens to those who want to help him, he is going to be successful," Joao Felix told BTV.

"He does things I couldn't do at his age. He has everything to do well and reach the first team. For his age he works a lot.

"We both like to score. He takes better free-kicks than me, I am better at penalties, but we both play more or less in the same positions.

"In football you have to play simple, but we like to do something different, something that excites the crowd, and we have some similarities.

"Since we were little we saw each other playing and tried to do the same things."

Joao Felix also got his hands on some silverware at international level with Portugal at the Nations League Finals last year.

With Atleti having booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a dramatic extra-time victory over Liverpool in their last match before the coronavirus pandemic led to the suspension of most major sport across the globe, he is hoping for more.

"You need a bit of luck to win the Champions League," said Joao Felix.

"But we hope to [win] it and if I won the Champions League, it would be something very good in my life and my career.

"[It would be] one of the happiest days [of my life] - the dream I've always had since I've been playing football."

Liverpool are apparently looking at a Brazilian teenager who has drawn comparisons to Neymar, while Leroy Sane is set for a Manchester City exit.

Premier League leaders Liverpool are reportedly keen to strengthen this close season, albeit without spending huge amounts.

Sane, meanwhile, has been linked with Bayern Munich, and that move could be getting closer to reality.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL TARGET NEXT NEYMAR

Liverpool are targeting Vasco da Gama forward Talles Magno, according to the Mirror.

Talles, 17, has previously been likened to Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar and is a Brazil youth international.

The teenager has already made 22 senior appearances for Vasco da Gama.

ROUND-UP

- Linked with Bayern Munich, Sane could get a move. The Evening Standard reports Manchester City are prepared to sell the Germany international if he refuses to sign an extension, with his contract expiring next year.

- Adrien Rabiot appears set for a Juventus exit. L'Equipe reports the midfielder wants to join Premier League outfit Everton.

- Manchester United and Wolves seemingly know what they will need to pay if they want Carlos Vinicius. The Mirror reports Benfica have told the Premier League clubs they must pay at least £89.4million (€100m) for the striker.

- On loan at Newcastle United from Inter, Valentino Lazaro could be set for a longer stay. The Sun reports Newcastle are in talks over a £21.25m (€23.8m) deal for the midfielder.

- Jeremy Sarmiento is catching the eye. The Sun reports the England youth and Benfica forward is a target for several clubs in Europe's top five leagues.

The Primeira Liga is to return to action on June 4.

Portugal's top flight has been on hold since March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The country's Prime Minister Antonio Costa last month gave the go-ahead for the league to resume behind closed doors from May 30.

In a statement, Liga Portugal confirmed the 25th round of fixtures will take place from June 4.

It read: "Over the past few days, various entities have carried out successive alignment meetings so that the recovery can take place safely and with all the protection measures that mitigate the risks of returning to the activity.

"It is anticipated that this joint work by DGS [Directorate-General of Health of Portugal], FPF [Portuguese Football Federation] and Liga Portugal will serve as a model for the resumption of other economic activities, with the aim of this professional competition providing an example of the good practices that this pandemic imposes on us.

"In order to ensure that the stadiums are strictly inspected and medical tests are carried out on all professionals involved in the games and their organisation, the date of June 4, 2020 is set for the first game of the 25th round of the Liga NOS."

Porto were a point clear of Benfica at the top of the table when the season was suspended, and each club has 10 fixtures still to play.

There have been nearly 28,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Portugal, resulting in 1,163 deaths.

Barcelona's pursuit of Lautaro Martinez continues – and they are reportedly offering up six players as part of the deal.

The LaLiga giants continue to be linked with a move for the Inter star, although reports suggest they are likely to struggle to get a deal done.

The latest report shows just how much difficulty they are facing.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA OFFER INTER CHOICE OF SIX PLAYERS FOR LAUTARO

Barcelona are offering Inter a list of six players for Martinez, according to Sport.

It says Barca would hope to offload two of the six players plus €60million to get a deal done.

Arturo Vidal, Samuel Umtiti, Nelson Semedo, Junior Firpo, Rafinha and Jean-Clair Todibo are the players they are reportedly prepared to offer.

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- Manchester United continue to be linked with a move for Jack Grealish. The Sun reports the Premier League giants are stepping up their pursuit of the Aston Villa star in a £50m move.

- Staying at Old Trafford and Sport reports Marc Jurado has rejected a contract renewal from Barcelona and will instead join Manchester United.

- Talk around Philippe Coutinho continues. With Newcastle United potentially being taken over, Mauricio Pochettino has been linked with the top job and Mundo Deportivo reports one of the Argentine coach's first wishes would be signing Coutinho from Barcelona.

- Manchester City are reportedly looking to strengthen their defence during the upcoming close season. Sport reports the Premier League side are willing to pay £30.6m (€35m) for Marseille defender Boubacar Kamara.

- Javi Martinez and Jerome Boateng could be set for Bayern Munich exits. Kicker reports Bayern are preparing to sell the duo this close season, with both coming out of contract in 2021.

- Are Newcastle United looking for a new goalkeeper? Sport 24 reports they are looking at Benfica and Greece goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos, with the Primeira Liga club wanting £17.5m (€20m) for the shot-stopper.

Bruno Fernandes' transfer to Manchester United from Sporting CP is under investigation by FIFA after Sampdoria launched a claim against the Portuguese club.

Sampdoria's complaint relates to payments they believe they are entitled to following Fernandes' move for an initial £48million (€55m) to Old Trafford in January.

The Portugal midfielder joined Sporting from Sampdoria for €8.5m in June 2017.

Sampdoria's claim concerns Sporting alone, meaning there is no suggestion United are guilty of any impropriety.

In a statement released to Stats Perform. a FIFA spokesperson said: "We can confirm that on 3 April 2020 the Italian club, UC Sampdoria, lodged a claim with FIFA against the Portuguese club, Sporting Clube de Portugal, related to financial obligations set out in the contract corresponding to the transfer of the Portuguese player, Bruno Miguel Borges Fernandes.

"The matter is currently being investigated and consequently we cannot provide further comments."

A report by The Times claimed Sampdoria believe they are entitled to €4.65m under a sell-on clause under the terms of Fernandes' move to Lisbon.

However, the 25-year-old was one of several Sporting players to rescind his contract before re-signing following an incident in May 2018 when fans invaded the club's training ground and attacked members of the squad.

It is thought Sporting believe they no longer have obligations to Sampdoria under the new contract Fernandes signed, given he technically penned that as a free agent to render any sell-on element null and void.

Fernandes has impressed since joining United, scoring two goals and supplying three assists in five Premier League matches before the 2019-20 season was placed on hiatus amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Juventus and Real Madrid have long been linked to Paul Pogba.

The Manchester United star is reportedly unhappy at Old Trafford, where he endured an injury-hit campaign prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

But another club are reportedly trying to sign Pogba.

 

TOP STORY – INTER EYE POGBA

Inter are dreaming of signing Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, reports Gazzetta dello Sport.

Pogba has been heavily linked to former club and Serie A champions Juventus, as well as LaLiga giants Real Madrid.

However, Inter are now in the mix to bring the French star back to Italy.

 

ROUND-UP

- Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Nicolo Schira claims Liverpool are nearing a deal to sign RB Leipzig's Timo Werner. The Premier League leaders and Champions League holders have offered a five-year deal for the German, who has already turned down Bayern Munich.

Barcelona are ready to sell nine players, according to the Mirror. Antoine Griezmann, Luis Suarez, Ousmane Dembele, Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal are month the names that could leave the LaLiga champions.

Atletico Madrid are still hopeful of signing soon-to-be free agent Edinson Cavani. The Paris Saint-Germain forward was wanted by the LaLiga club during the January transfer window, but a move did not materialise. However, Mundo Deportivo claims Cavani is set to join Atletico.

Milan are trying to prepare for life after Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Lille's Victor Osimhen is being considered, according to Calciomercato. Chelsea and United have also been linked to the Nigerian forward.

- France Football reports PSG are interested in Chelsea midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, who is on loan at Ligue 1 rivals Monaco.

West Ham are open to selling club-record signing Sebastien Haller, says the Express. Haller only arrived from Eintracht Frankfurt at the start of the season.

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